Interesting Things I Read Today

Before I get to today’s bullets, a serious long-form recommendation from my favorite political scientist, Matt Kerbel. It’s called Five Excrutaitg Steps to Republican Renewal, and here’s how he ledes it off: “My proposal cuts against the short-term thinking that drives the political process. It involves making five excruciatingly difficult choices that run counter to how parties are built to act, which is why I don’t think anything like it will be considered by the political class. Still, I offer it as a serious and good faith recommendation to enable Republicans to reverse the significant damage they have done to their ability to function as a national party over the past seven-plus years.” Our shared national community is stronger when it has two parties dedicated to constructive governance, so I honestly do hope that one day soon they do some of the things he suggests. 

Now, on to those bullets…

On Brexit

  • “Mr. Johnson offered no details about when or how Britain should invoke Article 50 — the formal process for leaving the European Union — nor did he lay out a plan for how Britain could maintain free trade with the European Union, the world’s largest common market, without accepting the bloc’s demand for the unrestricted movement of workers.” [NY Times]
  • “If it wants access to the bloc’s single market, post-Brexit Britain must accept EU freedom of movement rules and the supremacy of the European Court of Justice, EU diplomats have warned ahead of a vital summit. The idea that Britain could have access under a European Economic Area style deal and impose border controls was a non-starter, diplomats said. []
  • “The EU is an even more ambitious outgrowth of those same liberal ideals. Not a new nation, but a political entity that transcends nation and insists that Poles and Brits and Spaniards and Swedes are all created equal and should all have the right to live and work and trade peacefully amongst themselves. This is a very big idea, and when you take its magnitude seriously you can see that it’s not particularly surprising that it’s run into a few problems along the way.” [Matt Yglesias]
  • “If Britain wants to have a similar status to Switzerland and Norway, then it will also have to pay into EU structural funds like those countries do. The British public will find out what that means.” [The Guardian]
  • “European leaders may also be hoping that forcing Britain to make a stark choice between staying in the EU or leaving under possibly chaotic circumstances will cause them to think twice about leaving at all. Defying the will of the voters would be politically costly, of course, but so too would be presiding over a chaotic exit from the EU that damages the British economy.” [Timothy B. Lee]
  • “The structure of the EU–a common market with free flow of people and goods–has a great deal to recommend it, especially given Europe’s bellicose history. But the incomplete architecture–the absence of a fiscal and banking union–along with gross mismanagement–fiscal austerity, punitive actions by Brussels and Germany, non-management of immigrant flows–surely led “Leave” voters to discount the benefits of EU membership.” [Jared Bernstein]
  • “The entire EU project was fundamentally flawed from the start in as much as it created monetary union without political union – a workable enough scheme until you hit any crisis worth its name and the whole edifice starts hemorrhaging on every front. That crisis came in 2008 and the EU has limped from crisis to crisis ever since. It’s a side point but this is an example of just how amazing an edifice the framers of the US constitution created when they set in place what amounted to a massive and expanding free trade and unified legal/regulatory zone that became the United States.” [Josh Marshall]

On the US Election

  • Hardly Anybody Wants To Speak At Trump’s Convention: “POLITICO reached out to more than 50 prominent Republicans. Few said they plan to attend the convention in Cleveland, let alone speak.” Some of the on-the-record quotes are truly hilarious if you know how to read between the political lines.
  • “This also sound shady! But no. It turns out that on Hillary Clinton’s official State Department schedule, she sometimes had private meetings and didn’t list the participants. “No known federal laws were violated,” the article says.” [Kevin Drum]
  • “you shouldn’t protest vote if you’re not willing to live with the implications of your protest, the implications, having been outlined to you by, you know, experts.” [John Scalzi]
  • Mitch McConnell on Donald Trump: “I think just kind of going from rally to rally and winging it may have worked in the primary but it’s not going work in the general.” [TPM]
  • Former Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has announced he will vote for Clinton instead of Trump. I post this not because I like Paulson, but because he’s yet more evidence that establishment Republicans are continuing their movement towards Clinton. And yes, I would post stories of important people moving the opposite direction if there were any, but there aren’t. 
  • “People are people. To some extent, we’re all prisoners of the environments we were raised in and the trials we’ve been through over the course of our lives. That might call for empathy and understanding as much as it calls for censure. But one thing it doesn’t excuse is politicians and media personalities who very much know better but cynically appeal to racial sentiment anyway, either for ratings or for votes. Calling out these folks for appealing to racism—or even just tolerating it—is almost certainly useful.” [Kevin Drum]
  • “The current trends give Hillary Clinton a 7.3-point lead over the tiny fingered, cheeto-faced, ferret wearing shitgibboon (thanks Scotland, for that one!)” [Kos]
  • This is one of the reasons that Trump is having such difficulty in the general election: “Almost eight years after electing a black president, vast majorities of blacks and Hispanics think President Barack Obama at least tried to make race relations in the United States better, according to a poll released Monday. But only about half of whites think Obama made race relations better or at least tried to make race relations better but failed. Almost a third of whites said the president “made race relations worse.” [TPM]
  • Newt Gingrich on Donald Trump: “”I think he stands for an evolving process of trying to come to grips with really big problems.”
  • “Most of the Trump Baja condo buyers accused Trump and two of his adult children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., of duping them into believing that Trump was one of the developers, giving them confidence that it was safe to buy unbuilt property in Mexico.” [LA Times]

On other randomness

  • As we near the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park system, a reminder: “every dollar invested in the National Parks generates $10 for local economies.” And yet… “There’s a record $12 billion in deferred maintenance across the parks system, leaving leaky toilets, crumbling roads and unsafe bridges at various sites, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters on a June 16 conference call.” [Bloomberg]
  • Six Million years of human history in Ten Minutes. [Kottke]

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