Rip Van Kevin Wakes Up and Surveys the Day

Behold the fabulous new Apple Watch, which for some reason will not be subject to Donald Trump's new tariffs. Lucky Apple.Apple Inc.

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Under normal circumstances, Thursday is evil dex day and Sunday is crash day. This is just the nature of the beast. Three days after taking the stuff, it wears off and I crash for five or six hours.

But this week I took the dex on Friday, so today was crash day. But this was no ordinary crash: I think the lights went out around 10 am and I didn’t fully pull out of it until 6 pm. I have no idea what made it so extreme this time, but I’m now seriously thinking of following my doctor’s advice (or permission, I suppose) to just go ahead and reduce the dex from 20 mg to 12 mg each week. This is ridiculous.

So what happened while I was basically in a coma?

  • Donald Trump decided to raise taxes on American consumers yet again, this time by $20 billion. This tax is known as a “tariff” by some, but it’s still a tax. Where is Grover Norquist when you need him?
  • Trump has also decided to unilaterally declassify a bunch of documents related to the Russia investigation. This is insane. It’s an ongoing investigation, and he’s obviously doing this solely in the desperate hope that somewhere in all the texts and warrants and interviews there will be some snippets he can use to fuel yet more Twitter rants about how unfairly he’s being treated. How long are Republicans going to let him do this?
  • Larry Kudlow went on TV this morning and said our deficits are too high. But this is absolutely not because of the Republican tax bill. No way. The problem is that we’re spending too much on entitlements and they need to be cut—after the election, of course. “Entitlements” is code for either (a) Social Security and Medicare, or (b) spending on the poor. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Kudlow is probably thinking of (b).

If we’re grading on a curve, I suppose this counts as a pretty average day. Of course, we’re also dealing with the aftermath of a huge hurricane and we have a Supreme Court nominee who’s been credibly accused of attempted rape. In the Trump Era, though, I suppose even this isn’t enough to nudge the needle very far off normal.

BY THE WAY: This came up at the panel discussion I was on last Thursday, so I’m going to repeat it now. Despite the intense craziness of the Trump presidency, I still fundamentally believe the world is plodding along pretty normally. Liberal democracy is doing fine. Anti-immigrant sentiment is temporary. Brexit is a fluke. It’s unsurprising that a couple of eastern European countries are backsliding on authoritarianism. The economy is OK.

On a scale of zero to World War II, the current threats to liberal democracy are barely noticeable. Donald Trump is an insect compared to Mao or Stalin or Hitler or even peanuts like Nasser or Noriega. Brexit is stupid, but Britain will survive. Vladimir Putin may want to recreate the Soviet empire, but so far he’s managed to recover only a few square miles. And the Middle East is the same as it’s been for the past half century.

I sure hope everyone helps prove me right—or at least helps to get the ball rolling on proving me right—in November.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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