1. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has written a New York Times op-ed to appear on Sunday. She asks, “Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?,” and suggests that we are on a path, globally and even here at home, to fascism. This is a powerful indictment from a former Cabinet Secretary whose family escaped Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Her powerful words are a Jeremiad calling the electorate to vigilance and resistance. Such words are perhaps unprecedented from a former Cabinet member.
“At one time or another, Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.” https://www.nytimes.co
2. At week’s beginning, Trump raged against immigrants, his rants apparently inspired by an item he saw on Fox & Friends about a caravan of immigrants heading for our border from Central America. “Such groups are not uncommon during Easter,” reported The New York Times on Monday, and consist of “scores or even hundreds of Central American migrants making their way north by foot and vehicle from southern Mexico. They include everyone from infants to the elderly, fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands.” They come in groups for protection against bands of robbers and kidnappers. Though many will settle in Mexico, some will seek asylum in the U.S. The paper reproduced the furious weekend tweets from President Trump:
“Tweets by President Trump have suddenly turned the latest caravan into a major international incident and the most recent flash point in the politics of immigration in the United States.
“‘Getting more dangerous’ the president tweeted on Sunday. “‘Caravans’ [sic] coming…Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. … Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!’
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
“On Monday, he warned that ‘our country is being stolen’ by illegal immigration, blaming Democrats for weak border policies and urging Mexico to strengthen its border enforcement.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
Clearly, this was meant to appeal to a base terrified of what Trump seems to have thought of as an invasion. As of Tuesday, the Mexican authorities had detained them in a soccer stadium. As The Washington Post reported, “On Tuesday, several Mexican immigration officials began taking a census at the migrant encampment in the town of Matias Romero, in the southern state of Oaxaca. The migrants crowded around the officials and thrust out their IDs and documents.
“Several hours later, the officials returned and started calling people’s names over megaphones. The authorities handed those individuals temporary legal permits, giving them 20 days to leave Mexico. Several migrants said they would use that time to travel toward the United States. Others could receive 30-day permits to apply for asylum in Mexico. It was unclear how many people would receive the documents.”
But Trump was adamant that the threatened invasion was a move to take advantage of DACA, which, however, would not apply to newly arrived immigrants seeking asylum. “Conservative U.S. media outlets jumped on reports of the caravan, depicting it as a sign of the threat of unchecked migration to the United States. In fact, U.S. border authorities reported a 26 percent decline in the number of people detained or stopped at the United States’ southern border in 2017 compared with the previous year.
“On Tuesday, Trump said he would call out the military to guard the border.” [emphasis added]. https://www.washingtonpost.
Given the above facts, Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post summarizes, “The reference to the nuclear option is yet another call for the Senate to eliminate its filibuster rule, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has no intention of doing. And finally, Trump appeared to rule out any agreement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — which he canceled — allowing undocumented immigrants brought here as children to stay. The president followed up with two more tweets, one blasting Mexico and threatening to ‘stop’ the North American Free Trade Agreement, the other assailing imaginary ‘big flows of people’ who are ‘trying to take advantage of DACA.’
“Leaving aside Trump’s rather Germanic approach to capitalization, that tweet is an occasion to paraphrase Mary McCarthy’s famous quip about Lillian Hellman: Virtually every word is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’” https://www.washingtonpost.
3. On Trump’s plan to send “the military” to the border — actually the National Guard — see the article in The New York Times on Wednesday, which reports that “Late in the day, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Trump had met with Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, and members of the national security team to discuss his administration’s strategy for dealing with ‘the growing influx of illegal immigration, drugs and violent gang members from Central America,’ a problem on which she said the president had initially been briefed last week. That strategy, she said, included mobilizing the National Guard — though Ms. Sanders did not say how many troops would be sent or when — and pressing Congress to close what she called ‘loopholes’ in immigration laws. Also present at the meeting were Jeff Sessions, the attorney general; Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security; Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff.”
It is worth noting that, as The Times notes, “previous presidents have deployed National Guard troops to act in support roles on the border with Mexico. President Barack Obama sent 1,200 in 2010 and President George W. Bush dispatched 6,000 in 2006, while governors of border states have done the same when faced with large inflows from the south.” However, no such influxes are reported at this time. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
4. The news was dominated midweek by the coming Trade War with China. The war has not yet actually begun, and there is still room to negotiate a settlement. But odds are Trump needs this war and welcomes it. The initial tariffs on steel and aluminum were augmented on Tuesday night with tariffs against aircraft and car parts, televisions and other goods totaling over $50 bln. As our readers have no doubt heard, China retaliated on Wednesday with tariffs on over 160 imported goods from the US, including farm goods meant to hit the American heartland. For details see: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
Good commentary came Wednesday from the UK Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott. He says, “US and China playing a gigantic game of chicken.” Elliott explains, “At the moment, this is simply a gigantic game of chicken. If Trump withdraws his threatened tariffs, the Chinese have said they will do the same. A trade war is not inevitable, but the risk of sleepwalking into a damaging conflict that nobody really wants is there… Beijing has stressed that it doesn’t want a trade war but has also made it plain that it won’t be pushed around by the US. By putting soya beans on its hit list, China also served notice on Trump that it is willing to inflict economic pain on his supporters in swing states. At the moment, this is simply a gigantic game of chicken. If Trump withdraws his threatened tariffs, the Chinese have said they will do the same. A trade war is not inevitable, but the risk of sleepwalking into a damaging conflict that nobody really wants is there.” Elliott cites three big risks if this game turns ugly: 1) There is a risk that the conflict will escalate, if Trump expands the war into other countries or targets sensitive consumer goods; 2) the world’s financial markets are shaken and may continue to be, leading to loss in business confidence; 3) consumer prices could rise and threaten spending power [though some economists doubt this effect will be very significant]. It is true, Elliott and other economists point out, that China’s theft of intellectual property has been a long-standing issue for its trading partners. But the WTO was set up, in part, to negotiate such disputes. However, as Elliott points out, “the current administration has little time for the WTO, preferring unilateral rather than multilateral solutions.” https://www.theguardian.com/
The Times’s Paul Krugman analyzes the effects of the trade war and concludes that probably the markets are over-reacting to the news. His analysis explains, in “wonkish” detail, the true costs and folly of a trade war. “I think it’s worth noting that even if we are headed for a full-scale trade war, conventional estimates of the costs of such a war don’t come anywhere near to 10 percent of GDP, or even 6 percent…. Yet there is a reason why stock prices might overshoot the overall economic costs of a trade war. For a trade war that ‘deglobalized’ the U.S. economy would require a big reallocation of resources, including capital.” In other words, we would need to reindustrialize our protected national economy and start producing things (like clothing) that we are not as productive at as we are at other things. This creates a drag on the productivity of the economy. And think of the cost of retooling a globalized economy: “Since about 1990 corporate America has bet heavily on hyperglobalization – on the continuance of an open-market regime that has encouraged complex value chains that sprawl across borders. The notebook on which I’m writing this was designed in California, but probably assembled in China, with many of the components coming from South Korea and Japan. Apple could produce it entirely in North America, and probably would in the face of 30 percent tariffs. But the factories it would take to do that don’t (yet) exist. Meanwhile, the factories that do exist were built to serve globalized production – and many of them would be marginalized, maybe even made worthless, by tariffs that broke up those global value chains. That is, they would become stranded assets. Call it the anti-China shock.” The essay is a bit technical, but it demonstrates the folly of thinking we can roll back the industrial clock. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
5. The Mueller investigation is making news this week, as The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III informed President Trump’s attorneys last month that he is continuing to investigate the president but does not consider him a criminal target at this point, according to three people familiar with the discussions…Prosecutors view someone as a subject when that person has engaged in conduct that is under investigation but there is not sufficient evidence to bring charges.” [emphasis added]
However, the paper notes, “The special counsel also told Trump’s lawyers that he is preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.” It appears Mueller will prepare a series of separate reports, and the initial one will be about obstruction. This does not mean Trump is off the hook. Some of Trump’s advisors “noted that subjects of investigations can easily become indicted targets — and expressed concern that the special prosecutor was baiting Trump into an interview that could put the president in legal peril.” Read the exclusive Post report here: https://www.washingtonpost.
6. Who is General James Mattis, and can he really hold the line against a raging Trump? This is the man whom President Obama dismissed as a warmonger. But a New York Times Sunday Magazine profile paints a picture of a man trying to stay loyal, to be a good soldier, while also confronting dangerous instability in the policies and personalities of his commander-in-chief. He faces a war cabinet determined to start trouble and make messes he may not want to clean up.
“A year into Trump’s tenure, Mattis has become a quietly central figure in an administration of near-constant purges. He may be the lone cabinet member to have survived with his status and dignity intact, and in the process his Pentagon — perhaps the one national institution that is still fully functional — has inherited an unusually powerful role in the shaping of American foreign policy,” reports The Times’s Robert F. Worth, who has followed Mattis’s career and has here written the best long-form analysis of the Secretary of Defense you are likely to read.
Worth paints a picture of a dutiful man standing at the intersection of major questions of war and peace, from the Middle East to North Korea.
“‘This gets to a fundamental question,’ [Worth] was told by a retired senior officer who knows him well. ‘Can Mattis win the president over in the most important debate we’ve had in decades, maybe centuries? I believe there is a moral hazard with this president, he will take everybody to the cliff. … If Mattis is able to prevail, that is what God put him on earth to do. It’s that serious’” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
7. The Huffington Post reported Wednesday about a big win for Democrats in Wisconsin. The liberal who won was Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet, who could not run officially as a Democrat (judgeship races are nonpartisan), but the party lines in the race were obvious. “It’s the first time in 23 years that a liberal candidate won an open Supreme Court seat in the state. Dallet won by nearly 12 percentage points….Dallet defeated Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock, an appointee of Gov. Scott Walker (R) who had his own big-time backing from the National Rifle Association.” The conservatives’ majority on the Wisconsin court has dropped from 5-2 to 4-3.
8. All over the country, teachers are energized and fighting back against Republican anti-public education policies and funding. The wave of wildcat strikes across the country follow the successful strike of the West Virginia teachers this year. The New York Times on Apr. 2 gave a full report on what is being called “an “education spring.” “Thousands of teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walked off the job Monday morning, shutting down school districts as they protested cuts in pay, benefits and school funding in a movement that has spread rapidly since igniting in West Virginia this year. In Oklahoma City, protesting teachers ringed the Capitol, chanting, ‘No funding, no future!’ Katrina Ruff, a local teacher, carried a sign that read, ‘Thanks to West Virginia.’
‘They gave us the guts to stand up for ourselves,’ she said.
“The walkouts and rallies in Republican-dominated states, mainly organized by ordinary teachers on Facebook, have caught lawmakers and sometimes the teachers’ own labor unions flat-footed. And they are occurring in states and districts with important midterm races in November, suggesting that thousands of teachers, with their pent-up rage over years of pay freezes and budget cuts, are set to become a powerful political force this fall.” [emphasis added] One teacher leading a movement in Arizona (which is not yet on strike) said that “younger teachers had been primed for activism by their anger over the election of President Trump, his appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary and even their own students’ participation in anti-gun protests after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.” It is possible this activism will energize young voters in the fall: “The Democratic National Committee plans to register voters at teacher rallies, and hopes to harness the movement’s populism.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
9. And what, realistically, are the chances of a Democratic wave in the fall, centered on those “suburban” voters dissatisfied with Trump? Don’t be so quick to assume anyone really knows, says polling site FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich. He points out that “if 2016 represents a new normal, then the party would do well to prioritize suburban districts that moved from Romney to Hillary Clinton, such as the California 45th, Illinois 6th or Texas 7th. But if the 2012 map still applies, then Democrats might be better off targeting districts that voted for Obama before they defected to Trump, like the Iowa 1st, Maine 2nd and New York 19th. Guess wrong, and the party will end up spending valuable time and money in districts that are redder than they appear while lower-hanging fruit goes untouched.” In fact, though it is not generally known, and under-reported in the press, “[i]f [Democrats] outperformed expectations among certain demographics more than others — and the picture is far too fuzzy to say for sure if they have — it’s probably been among working-class voters without college degrees.” That is, the Democratic base is actually still strong in working class areas. “[O]n average (and relative to partisan lean), Democrats are doing better in working-class areas than in suburban ones.” The statistics will surprise you. But he concludes, with some frustration, that so far the numbers do not answer the essential questions of working-class / educated suburbanite lean very well: “On average, Democrats are doing better in working-class areas than in suburban ones — but the dozens of examples to the contrary make a blanket statement like that almost worthless (and certainly not something you should base a midterm prediction on).” https://fivethirtyeight.com/
Moreover, it is a myth that white working-class voters put Trump in the White House. Yes, in the key Electoral Vote states, they did give him the slim majority he needed to win. But, as FiveThirtyEight and others have pointed out, nationally, the average Trump voter is neither poorly educated or rural. “As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.” So media obsession with the angry white rural voter is counter-factual, and based on the tipping-points in the rust-belt, as well as, perhaps, the attendance at Trump rallies. https://fivethirtyeight.com/
An article in The Washington Post last December explored why 43% of white millennials voted for Trump. They commissioned and analyzed a poll. They found a “hybrid explanation. First, white millennial Trump voters were likely to believe in something we call ‘white vulnerability’ — the perception that whites, through no fault of their own, are losing ground to other groups. Second, racial resentment was the primary driver of white vulnerability — even when accounting for income, education level or employment.” [emphasis added] https://www.washingtonpost.
10. In another twist, back in February, The Atlantic did a fine-grained study with Gallup to examine attitudes towards Trump as 2017 ended. The upshot indicates that the role of women may be crucial in the fall. As they headline their study, “White Women in the Rustbelt Are Turning on Trump: Support from majorities of white, working-class women powered Trump’s midwestern wins, but those voters are souring on him in office—providing Democrats with a complicated opportunity in 2018.” https://www.theatlantic.com/
11. Can President Trump actually refuse to spend the money on social programs in the $1.3 tln budget bill he signed, grudgingly? Believe it or not, he can, and he can do it without any Democratic input or consent. The process is a kind of impoundment, and the law allows it. Some media have reported on this plan, being mulled by Trump and some congressional leaders, as explained in Roll Call on April 3. “The idea would be to deploy lesser-used provisions of the 1974 budget law to roll back spending by impounding some of the appropriated funds. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 — more frequently referred to as the Budget Act, the sections of the law that are more commonly used — provides an expedited process for the president to propose and Congress to review a rescission resolution identifying appropriations that the administration does not want to spend.” The resolution could pass by simple majority vote, which would not be hard in the House, but, as Roll Call points out, might be harder in the Senate, where members may not wish to renege on a carefully-worked-out deal. http://www.rollcall.com/news/
12. In the April 5 issue of The New York Review of Books is an article on the security dangers, newly dawning on the public, posed by “The Big Five,” Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft. Tasmin Shaw writes, “Beware the Big Five…who have at their disposal immense troves of personal data on their users, the most sophisticated tools of persuasion humans have ever devised, and few mechanisms for establishing the credibility of the information they distribute. The domestic use of their resources for political influence has received much attention from journalists but raised few concerns among policymakers and campaign officials. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have, in the last few election cycles, employed increasingly intricate data analytics to target voters.” What most people do not know about the data collection is that much of the technology we use daily was developed by the military and DARPA, and it has implications for cyberwarfare beyond our government’s ability to control.
Shaw is reviewing a new book by Alexander Klimberg, The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace. “With its unparalleled reach and targeting, Klimburg argues, the Internet has exacerbated the risks of information warfare. Algorithms employed by a few large companies determine the results of our web searches, the posts and news stories that are featured in our social media feeds, and the advertisements to which we are exposed with a frequency greater than in any previous form of media. When disinformation or misleading information is fed into this machinery, it may have vast intended and unintended effects.” Shaw continues, “Facebook estimated that 11.4 million Americans saw advertisements that had been bought by Russians in an attempt to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. Google found similar ads on its own platforms, including YouTube and Gmail. A further 126 million people, Facebook disclosed, were exposed to free posts by Russia-backed Facebook groups.” http://www.nybooks.com/
13. In a new development in the big-five involvement in national defense contracting, “Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes…. ‘We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,’ says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not ‘ever build warfare technology.’” [emphasis added] So reported The New York Times on Wednesday evening: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
14. In other Big Five news, on Wednesday Facebook announced that, as The Washington Post put it, “‘malicious actors’ took advantage of search tools on its platform, making it possible for them to discover the identities and collect information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide…. malicious hackers harvested email addresses and phone numbers on the so-called ‘Dark Web,’ where criminals post information stolen from data breaches over the years. Then the hackers used automated computer programs to feed the numbers and addresses into Facebook’s ‘search’ box, allowing them to discover the full names of people affiliated with the phone numbers or addresses, along with whatever Facebook profile information they chose to make public, often including their profile photos and hometown.” [emphasis added] The search tool has since been shut down. https://www.washingtonpost.
15. And in an alarming report, The Guardian last Friday said that “In a broad expansion of the information gathered from applicants for US visas, the federal government is proposing to collect social media identities from nearly everyone who seeks entry into the United States, according to a state department filing on Friday. The proposal, if approved by the office of management and budget (OMB), would require most immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants to list all social media identities they have used in the past five years. The information will be used to vet and identify them, according to the proposals, which would affect about 14.7 million people annually.” [emphasis added] https://www.theguardian.com/
16. No matter how hard you try, it can be impossible to escape social media, especially once you enter its ecosystem. Last week we reported on the psychological as well as purely technical difficulties of cutting away from Facebook. As The New York Times reported on April 1, “They Tried to Boycott Facebook, Apple and Google. They Failed.” For example, “Ryan Knight, a Democratic activist in Los Angeles, called for a boycott of Apple in February because it hadn’t responded to calls to delete a channel from the National Rifle Association from its streaming-video service after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
‘Dear @Apple,’ Mr. Knight wrote on Twitter. ‘Your silence is deafening. #BoycottApple.’ More than 330 accounts retweeted the message.
“How did Mr. Knight post the message? He used an iPhone.” Calls to boycott various Silicon Valley goods and services have indeed increased in recent weeks. But, The Times points out, “pulling off a boycott is not exactly easy: The tech companies’ products are so pervasive that they are difficult to avoid.”
But many commentators on the article were not at all convinced by the article’s pessimism. One comment, by Samuel Russell, was typical: “This almost reads like an Onion article. You are cherrypicking examples that are all from the internet world, so you keep coming up with essentially ‘How am I going to use the internet to boycott the internet?’ But it’s actually easy to boycott these companies. ‘Where am I supposed to go?’ she said. ‘I wish there was something else.’ Like real life? How is it that you can’t survive without things that didn’t even exist a decade ago? When I want to share things my friends, I email them. Or, god forbid, I call them, or meet them in person. I buy things in stores. The internet is a convenience but should never become a necessity. When I was in high school literally none of these companies existed and somehow everybody was perfectly happy.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
17. You will, along these lines, find the following article interesting. Or perhaps amusing. One writer for The Guardian, New York-based David Lengel, a TV producer, attempted to reclaim his life: by limiting his use of a smart phone and retreating to the pleasant calm of an old Nokia dumb phone. “My wife and I have two young children. On a good night, we’re lucky to get a couple of hours together. More often than not, you’ll find us on the couch, in silence, each staring into a phone. And yet, one night not so long ago, a handful of my enslaved brain cells sparked unexpectedly to life. I looked up from Twitter. ‘Is this how it all ends?’ I wondered out loud. ‘Is this what we’ll do for the rest of our lives?’
“I’ve always been an internet junkie. When they made it really fast and put it on a phone, it was pretty much game over. My usage is heavy, best described as a zigzag, across apps. …All it takes is a slim distraction and my thumb turns turbo. More troubling is a sporadic buzzing I feel in my leg, which feels like a phone ringing, when the phone isn’t actually in my pocket. I have found myself wondering if this is a matter of evolution. Maybe future humans will have legs that ring. And maybe knees that tweet.
“And so I began looking for balance.
“The next day, I walked back into the world. I felt vulnerable. It had been years since I’d been on the subway without a smart device. Almost everyone else was using one…. Cowed, I reverted to the traditional blank, upwards stare. Nostalgia flooded through me like I was 25 again. I could almost taste the ramen noodles.
But as the day wore on, I noticed something. I wasn’t getting many messages. Strangely, even my wife was out of touch. She called, to ask if I got the photo she sent. I hadn’t. ‘I can’t have a husband that doesn’t get photos,’ she said, a clause that was not in any vows I took.
“[But eventually] I started to use a real, plastic credit card to buy things. On the subway, listening to a podcast, I conquered the temptation to bounce between other apps. I was paying attention to everything – even my kids. I watched proper TV shows without straying, I read actual books without swiping and I enjoyed more shared experiences with my wife. And as a bonus, I was able to harass her when she was browsing Instagram.” But he still keeps his smartphone for particular uses, “I do what I need and turn it off. I estimate I’m using the thing 65% to 80% less.” https://www.theguardian.com/
18. You may have heard about the demand from Sinclair Broadcast News, a right-wing media owner, that its anchors read a prepared statement attacking “fake news,” on dozens of local TV stations they own. They were forced to read the following script: “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
“Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias.
“This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
For details on the real danger to democracy from broad media consolidation, and differential treatment given to Trump’s media supporters, see the good article by Helaine Olen in the April 2 Washington Post. She reminds us that “Sinclair is currently attempting to receive approval from both the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to acquire Tribune Media [owner, in our area of WGN-TV]. If that deal is approved, it would allow Sinclair local stations to reach more than 70 percent of American households.” Yet Time-Warner, owner of Trump target CNN, is in a battle with the Justice Department over its acquisition of AT&T. https://www.washingtonpost.