Wednesday Reads: tRumpaholics … Hump Day Cartoons 

One of the first things we were taught in my survey of politics course when I was Junior in college, was the importance of pens in Washington D.C. 

LBJ made them a big deal, when signing legislation…he would sign his name…each letter with a different pen, and then give this special pens out to those individuals “worthy” of receiving this particular enhanced acknowledgement. If you were lucky enough to get a pen from Johnson… you were a big deal in Washington. Those pens were like a gift from the king. 

It was just another form of manipulation that LBJ used to get what he wanted through congress. 

The pen give away has been used since then. We always see Presidents signing bills with a series of pens next to the documents. It is what it is. 

Now we come to the pretender in chief. 

This ridiculousness has happened:

This is not a bill. This is a fucking memo. 

It is like a Postit note to Congress. 

Now for the cartoons. *

*Sidenote here. I’ve written this post on Tuesday morning because my mother is meeting with the oncology surgeon on Wednesday…and I knew I would never be able to write the post the same day it was to be published. I’m sure tRump has done something totally embarrassing, so please be sure to update us all in the comments section below. 

I think the hands are drawn too big in this one:

T-minus 2 Days. #TheDailyDon #trumprussia #magaisformorons #thisisnotnormal #resist #comey

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I’m going to end this post with this report from Pro-Publica. 

This is an open thread. 

Wednesday Reads: The Limit? Hump Day Cartoons 

The tide is turning,

But the bullshit remains the same:

Oh and…another thing:

And with this going on…let’s remember a part of the NYTs article that may get drowned out by the rest of this shit:

For fucking hell. Let’s just get on with it…

This is an open thread….

But here is one more tweet to get you going. 

Mother of all Days: Sunday Reads 

It is Mother’s Day y’all, so Happy Day to all the Mothers out there. 

Sorry if I don’t push the holiday any more than that…

Some links today:

Only a couple tweets on the current events. I can’t take much more than that. 

Holy shit. I guess I was able to share more than I thought I could. You can see why the post is late. I was up most of the night watching the Twitterverse. 

Happy Mother’s Day 

This is an open thread. 

Wednesday Reads: Violence Stupid, Cartoon Hump Day

It is a one two punch today….


Hey…the dude must have deserved it.  Some assholes are just asking for it!

From the Twitterverse…

Well…I’m not certain if that statement about tRump not reading the EO is completely true or not. (Cough and hack.) So take it for what it is. 

And now for something equally repugnant. 

I mean, that headline tweet is just scary as hell. 

Let’s put that into perspective. Today is April 26th….and do you realize this is an anniversary of a huge nuclear disaster?

Photo by @GerdLudwig 31 years ago, on April 26, 1986 reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up. The radioactive fallout spread over thousands of square kilometers, driving more than a quarter of a million people permanently from their homes. It remains the worst nuclear accident to date. In 2011, the Ukrainian government legalized trips to the Chernobyl exclusion zone allowing it to become a disaster-tourism destination. The most riveting attraction for visitors is the ghost town of Pripyat: dolls are scattered in abandoned kindergartens, floors are rotting, paint is peeling from the walls, and gas masks litter-evacuated schools. Pripyat today bears less than honest witness to its abrupt abandonment as visitors have changed its landscape: first the scavengers, who stripped the rooms of valuables and now the tourists. With limited time in the zone, the visitors often alter the abandoned environment, making compositions to be photographed close-up by countless cameras and phones. The ever-falling chips of chalk from the ceilings have blanketed some of these “still-lifes,” often creating the illusion for the next visitors that this is how the evacuees hastily abandoned the scene. You can learn more about Chernobyl from my book and iPad app The Long Shadow of Chernobyl. @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #TheLongShadowOfChernobyl #Chernobyl #nuclear #environment #disaster #dolls #tourism

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Photo by @GerdLudwig. Chairs, children’s toys and gas masks offer a surrealist still life in an abandoned kindergarten classroom. After the Chernobyl nuclear accident, all useful items were taken; now tourism is leaving its own mark. Less and less do buildings bear witness to the hasty departure of their former residents; instead, there are signs of the visitors’ need to simplify the message. Most noticeably, dolls like this one, carefully arranged next to a gas mask, have become the standard motif. This photograph is part of my exhibition which just opened at Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan. Photojournalists and photo enthusiasts gather annually in southern France for the world's premier international festival for photojournalism to view work from around the world in exhibitions across the city and dramatic evening open-air screenings. To see more and learn about the Chernobyl accident, my iPad app, "The Long Shadow of Chernobyl," was recently updated for iOS8: @natgeo @theimagereview @natgeocreative #chernobyl #ukraine #pripyat #doll #disaster #nuclear #toy #abandoned #gasmask #arrangement #tourism #exclusionzone #surreal #TheLongShadowofChernobyl #catastrophe #VisaPourlImage #Perpignan

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Photo by @GerdLudwig, published in National Geographic Magazine's "The Nuclear Tourist." In 1986 reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up. The radioactive fallout spread over thousands of square kilometers, driving more than a quarter of a million people permanently from their homes. Trips to the Chernobyl exclusion zone were legalized by the Ukrainian government in 2011. Chernobyl has since become a disaster-tourism destination. The most riveting attraction for visitors is the ghost town of Pripyat: dolls are scattered in abandoned kindergartens, floors are rotting and paint is peeling from the walls. Three decades after the accident created chaos of apocalyptic magnitude, tourists and tour guides are creating a bewildering disturbance, posing dolls (and sometimes gas masks) in unsettling scenes. This photograph is part of my upcoming exhibition at Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan, opening August 29. Photojournalists, and photo enthusiasts gather annually in southern France for the world's premier international festival for photojournalism to view work from around the world in exhibitions across the city and dramatic evening open-air screenings. To see more and learn about the Chernobyl accident, my iPad app, "The Long Shadow of Chernobyl," was recently updated for iOS8: @thephotosociety @theimagereview @natgeocreative #Chernobyl #Pripyat #Ukraine #abandoned #doll #toy #nuclear #disaster #fallout #tourism #TheLongShadowofChernobyl #catastrophe #VisaPourlImage #Perpignan

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Nuclear war is no where near the “China Syndrome” but looking at images of Chernobyl…it does remind one of the visual possibilities. 

One more quick commentary link before we get to the cartoons:

Okay….I do believe that dickwad deserves a hand job. 

Onwards and upwards. 

And this is an open thread, post all the old Bullshit and new Bullshit you want below in the comments!

Sunday Reads: We can rebuild her…

A sign from the March for Science in San Francisco.

There was plenty of wild posters at the March for Science protest yesterday, but I think the one above has to be my favorite.

Let’s check out a few more:

And how Big was this March on Science:

It has been a very busy 36 hours. So this thread is short….

An autopsy is planned.
We will end it on a science note.

This is an open thread.

Easter Sunday Reads: Let’s get Lit

Happy Easter

To those of you who celebrate it….

Happy Passover

As well….

Happy Spring…or Mid-Spring?

Happy Pre-Nuclear Summer…

(Cough, Cough.)

Happy…well, I was going to put the number of days tRump has been in office. But, and this is in all seriousness, I could not be bothered to figure out the math. Uh…If the 100 days marker is on the 29th of April, and today is April 16th, how many days has this asshole been not my POTUS.

Yes, my brain is completely gone.

I will put it in another way, as y’all know (or may not know) one of the tools I use to get through my day is a news feed app called NewsBlur. I’ve got all my RSS feeds that run through this thing, it has files that I’ve separated into crap…literally.

See…the crap is broken down to topics…even my few RWN blogs (right-wing-nuts) that I follow are pulled out apart from my other stuff. (Although I must admit, I usually just delete all those in that folder without even looking.)

Why do I bring this shit up?

I’m making a point here….

See that number there in the top, MinxCrapMain only 140 stories unread.

Just by looking at that number I know that tRump hasn’t bombed anyone today.

And that it is relatively a quiet peaceful day…news wise.

That feed number has not been that low all this week. I’ve seen the number up there to over 8,000 unread. Then I would clear the damn folders, cause I could not deal with all the fucking hell fire tRump unleashed…and within a few hours, the unread feed number would be bam, up again to 4,000 unread.

I did not live through the Cuban Missile Crisis. My child and teen years were spent during the 70s and 80s Cold War…Sting would sing about Russians…and wonder if they loved their children too.



In Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria.
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets.
MIster Krushchev said, “We will bury you.”
I don’t subscribe to this point of view.
It’d be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too.
How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
There is no monopoly on common sense
On either side of the political fence.
We share the same biology, regardless of ideology.
Believe me when I say to you,
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the president?
There’s no such thing as a winnable war,
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore.
Mister Reagan says, “We will protect you.”
I don’t subscribe to this point of view.
Believe me when I say to you,
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology, regardless of ideology.
But what might save us, me and you,
Is if the Russians love their children too

But now…we have tRump and North Korea.

And we have Twitter.

And we have Memes.

And all I can do is wonder, if that tRump basturd loves any fucking thing but money. Yet, we all know the answer to that question. Which is why with this go round, I think my fear is more real.

Leon Panetta criticizes Trump’s use of the phrase ‘my military’ – Business Insider

Trump Celebrates National Parks — After Proposing To Slash Their Funding | The Huffington Post

Top US security official says ‘all options are on the table’ when it comes to dealing with North Korea | The Independent


At any rate, I found myself ignoring the news and even putting off reading the blog. So for today’s links, we will concentrate on other shit.


I know that last week I’ve mentioned the super bloom from space, but this is too pretty to ignore.

The links are in no particular order…and yes, they are in dump format.







Okay, the Facebook links are out of the way.

The rest of the dump:

Samuel L. Jackson evokes ‘Pulp Fiction’ in radio ad for Georgia election that has GOP on edge

Video at the link.

Virginia Finally Gives Female Clerk With 27 Years Experience The Same Pay As Man With Less Than 6 | The Huffington Post

Yeah, about time right? Before this…the article says, she was making far less than the male clerk.

Now a couple from The Economist:


Writing the end of the world: Charting trends in apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction | The Economist

THE apocalypse has proved fertile ground for writers of popular fiction. In “The Day of the Triffids” (1951), John Wyndham saw mankind’s end hastened by perambulating carnivorous plants; Stephen King made a case for murderous mobile phones in “Cell” (2006). Readers are invited time and again to imagine a world devastated by natural disaster, destroyed by radiation or wracked by plague.

The Doomsday Clock is another touchstone of the geopolitical mood. A countdown to global catastrophe devised by scientists in 1947 in the wake of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was conceived as an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war. The clock started at seven minutes to midnight, with midnight symbolising the end of life as we know it. The hands have been adjusted 22 times, fluctuating between two and 17 minutes to midnight. Since 2007, it has reflected global challenges more generally, encompassing climate change and artificial intelligence as well as nuclear war.

Over the course of the clock’s 70-year history, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature has seen waves of popularity; the chart below* maps them against each other. Each time the hands edge closer to midnight—that is, when a threat is most tangible—writers seem to start scribbling about the near annihilation or total extinction of the human race (if you allow for the fact that it takes a minimum of two years to write and publish a novel). A general mood of fear and unease, as reflected in the clock’s movements, seems to roughly correlate with novels expressing fears about the future and mankind’s place within it.

There is a nice chart and more to read at the link.

Art smarts | The Economist

WHAT is art for and what good does it do? Two centuries ago, Kant and Hegel spent much of their lives contemplating questions about art and aesthetics. Many others have done so since. The latest are two studies, from either side of the Atlantic, by Michael Kimmelman and John Carey. The authors are professionally involved in the arts, Mr Kimmelman as chief art critic at the New York Times and Mr Carey as a professor of English literature at Oxford University. Scholars both, they are prodigious readers, listeners to, and students of, art. Yet both their books are at their most impressive when the authors seem to be trying the least.

In connection with that…well, no real connection but other than it is about books. (As in get lit, in the title of the post. I guess I can’t do anything without some type of theme.)

This Long Pursuit: Reflections of a Romantic biographer – review | Books | The Guardian

There is a wonderful moment in Richard Holmes’s new book in which he describes himself gazing at a flowerbed of his own making. The flowerbed is abundant in “old friends” and its roses, anemones and potentillas are redolent of the memory of their planting. In a book concerned mostly with the lives of others, Holmes offers a glimpse of himself amid the flowers. He is a fond and forgetful figure, longing to subside into the skirts of a plant the size of a “plump chaise longue”, the name of which has escaped him.

It is a brilliant vignette, prompting a meditation on the role of memory in biographical writing, and an exploration of the things that get forgotten in the writing of lives. Throughout This Long Pursuit, Holmes moves between reflections on the subjects of his career as a biographer and sketches of himself at work. We see him lecturing on Coleridge at the Royal Institution, scribbling at a table in the Cévennes, scurrying from the National Portrait Gallery with a glossy catalogue under his arm and newly discovered stories brimming in his mind. The result is a glorious series of essays on the art of life writing and a worthy successor to his earlier volumes on the craft, Footsteps and Sidetracks.

Sticking with books for a minute more:

Chart Every Country’s Favorite Book on This Map – Creators


Go to the link to read the list.

Poetry is literature, Five Fierce Women Poets to Inspire the Resistance | Good Sh*t | OZY


Because one good poem can remind you what you’re fighting for.

Moving forward to…Saturday Night Live: Alec Baldwin returns as Donald Trump to mock the President’s Mar-a-Lago trips | The Independent

Video at link.

Here is a touching article about Terry Jones: ‘I’ve got dementia. My frontal lobe has absconded’ | Society | The Guardian

Towards the end of our interview, Jones reaches out to grasp his hand, giving it a good squeeze. The pair hold hands for a couple of minutes, a gesture that perfectly reflects their 50 years of friendship – and its importance in sustaining Jones through his tribulations.

Up next…a cool little doo dad: Is Trump At Mar-a-Lago

Some beautiful photographs and history found in an envelope: An envelope in a Barcelona flea market held the work of an unknown master photographer

In the summer of 2001, American Tom Sponheim was vacationing in Barcelona with his wife, they rented a house with twiddy rentals. On their way to the cathedral of Sagrada Familia, they wandered through the bustling flea market of Els Encants.

Sponheim spotted a stack of photo negatives on a table, and after checking that they were decently exposed, asked the vendor how much. She asked for $2.50 for an envelope of the shots. He paid her $3.50.

Upon returning home, Sponheim scanned the negatives and discovered that he had stumbled upon the work of an unknown but immensely talented photographer.

These last few links will be associated with faith history and shit. Take a look and read the articles they are interesting for sure….

Love, Labor, Liturgy: Languages of Service in Late Medieval England –

As faith declines in Spain, so do Seville’s glorious convents | PBS NewsHour

Vatican unveils frescoes in Catacombs of Priscilla with paintings of FEMALE PRIESTS | Daily Mail Online


I will end the post with a few eggs…rebirth? Whatever, they are beautiful. Especially the last one!



This last egg, is simply Divine!

Divine Egg by Logan Baldauf


Lazy Saturday Reads: April the Giraffe Gives Birth (and Other News)

Good Morning!!

Here’s some breaking news that isn’t about war and government corruption. That always makes a saturday better and even better with a cup of lumitea skinny tea in your hand. April the giraffe has finally given birth!

After months of anticipation for one pregnant giraffe and hundreds of thousands of obsessed viewers, April just made good.

“It’s happening!” Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch yelled into a camera from his car about 7:30 Saturday morning. “We are in labor 100 percent!”

There had been false starts before, but not far away in a pen in Upstate New York, two hooves were peeking out of April’s backside.

Then a head.

Then at 9:55 a.m …

An apparently healthy giraffe baby hit the floor in a shower of amniotic fluid and catharsis, as more than 1 million people watched live.

Half an hour later, the not-so-tiny infant took its first wobbly steps across a pen that’s been live-streamed 24 hours a day for nearly two months.

Then it flopped delightfully back to the floor and submitted to a tongue bath from its mother.

We still don’t know if the calf is a boy or girl giraffe. Read more at the WaPo.

Here’s a report from The Upshot at the NYT on research that shows that social programs are good for the economy: Supply-Side Economics, but for Liberals.

Certain social welfare policies, according to an emerging body of research, may actually encourage more people to work and enable them to do so more productively.

That is the conclusion of work that aims to understand in granular detail how different government interventions affect people’s behavior. It amounts to a liberal version of “supply-side economics,” an approach to economics often associated with the conservatives of the Reagan era.

Those conservative supply-siders argued that cutting taxes would lead businesses to invest more, unleashing faster economic growth as the productive capacity of the nation increases. In the emerging liberal version, government programs enable more people to work, and to work in higher-productivity, higher-income jobs. The end result, if the research is correct, is the same: a nation that is capable of growing faster and producing more.

The clearest example of a program that appears to increase labor supply and hence the United States’ economic potential is the earned-income tax credit (E.I.T.C.), first enacted in 1975 and expanded several times since then. It supplements the income of low-income workers, and numerousstudies find that its existence means more Americans work than would in its absence.

For example, there was a major expansion of the program that was passed in 1993 and phased in over the ensuing years. Jeffrey Grogger of the University of Chicago finds that it was a major driver of higher employment among single mothers. By 1999, his researchsuggests, 460,000 more women who headed their household were working than would have been without the E.I.T.C. expansion. That is more, in his estimates, than the number of such women who were pulled into the work force by welfare reforms or a booming economy during that decade.

Child care subsidies appear to work the same way. It’s a pretty straightforward equation that when government intervention makes child care services cheaper than they would otherwise be, people who might otherwise stay home raising their children instead work. More women work in countries that subsidize child care and offer generous parental leave than in those that don’t.

Please go read the whole thing.

All eyes have been on North Korea for the past couple of days as the country celebrates the anniversary of its founding with a huge parade on Saturday.

NBC News: North Korea Parades New Prototype Long-Range Missiles amid Nuclear Tensions: Experts.

North Korea paraded its military might Saturday in a massive public display that experts said showed new capabilities for its long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Kim Jong Un did not speak during the huge event, which celebrates the birthday of North Korea’s founding ruler Kim Il Sung, but another top official, Choe Ryong Hae, warned that the North would stand up to any threat posed by the United States.

Choe said President Donald Trump was guilty of “creating a war situation” on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching U.S. forces to the region.

“We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” Choe added.

The parade, the annual highlight of North Korea’s most important holiday, came amid growing international worries that North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a major missile launch, such as its first flight test of an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. shores.

Reuters: North Korea displays apparently new missiles as U.S. carrier group approaches.

North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.

Missiles appeared to be the main theme of a giant military parade, with Kim’s grandson, leader Kim Jong Un, taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch that oversees the missile arsenal.

A U.S. Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the United States.

Trump would love to be able to parade military equipment through the streets of Washington DC, as we learned from leaks about his inauguration plans. I have no doubt he’d love to be a dictator like Kim Jong-Un or Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post: Trump delights in watching the U.S. military display its strength.

Amid the often jarring inconsistency of President Trump’s foreign policy, one thing has always been crystal clear: He loves a big show of American military force.

“You gotta knock the hell out of them — Boom! Boom! Boom!” Trump said of Islamic State terrorists at a January 2016 rally in Iowa, punctuating each “boom” with a punch of his fist.

That same impulse has been apparent over the past 10 days as Trump pummeled a Syrian air base with cruise missiles, threatened military action against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program and praised the U.S. military’s first-ever use of a massive 11-ton bomb, nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” to kill Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.

“So incredible. It’s brilliant. It’s genius,” Trump said Tuesday of the missile strike in Syria. “Our technology, our equipment is better than anybody by a factor of five.”

As he searches for a coherent foreign policy during his first months in office, Trump has celebrated but often inflated the effect of military actions. The massive shows of strength, at times, have seemed to be a strategy unto themselves.

Remember during the campaign, when Trump kept telling us our military was “depleted?” Suddenly it’s the greatest show on earth, according to the man who took 5 draft deferments during the Vietnam war.

Meanwhile sane people are just hoping Trump doesn’t start World War III.

The Atlantic: North Korea and the Risks of Miscalculation.

Not long after the United States Navy dispatched a carrier strike group in the direction of the Korean peninsula following a North Korean missile test last week, Pyongyang vowed to counter “the reckless act of aggression” and hinted at “catastrophic consequences.” The remarks came amid rising tension in the region as satellite images seem to indicate that North Korea is preparing for a possible sixth nuclear test, and as U.S. President Donald Trump warns that North Korean President Kim Jong Un is “doing the wrong thing” and that “we have the best military people on earth.”

There’s nothing particularly unusual about this sort of creative, bellicose rhetoric from the North Korean regime, which routinely threatens to do things like turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” or fire “nuclear-armed missiles at the White House and the Pentagon—the sources of all evil.” North Korea needs to be taken seriously as a hostile regime in artillery range of a close U.S. ally, and potentially in missile range of another. But its leadership lobs threats so promiscuously and outlandishly that one can build in a discount factor—there’s a long track record of unrealized North Korean threats to judge by. In that context, the probability that any given one will be realized is quite small….

What’s different now is Donald Trump. Whereas many of his predecessors steered sedulously clear of escalatory rhetoric, preferring to treat various North Korean leaders as recalcitrant children at worst or distasteful but nevertheless semi-rational negotiating partners at best, Trump has threatened North Korea via Twitter, declaring that the regime is “looking for trouble.” As my colleague Uri Friedman pointed out Thursday, three successive presidents prior to Trump, since the Clinton administration considered military action against the North’s then-nascent nuclear program, have opted for trying negotiations rather than risk a strike. It’s apparent that none succeeded in halting the nuclear program’s progress. But it’s equally apparent that the kind of massive conflagration on the Korean peninsula that world leaders are now warning against has been avoided since 1953.

For allies, enemies, and observers alike, though, Trump appears to be a wild card,and self-avowedly so. Even foreign-policy positions that are “predictable” for an American president—condemning the use of chemical weapons in war, say, or not deriding NATO as obsolete—were unanticipated reversals from this particular president. Trump himself has said that America needs to be more “unpredictable;” as Kevin Sullivan and Karen Tumulty reported in The Washington Post this week, he has made it so, leaving diplomats to ask what exactly the White House intends to do on issues ranging from border-adjustment taxes to Russia. (Russians are themselves confused: A foreign ministry spokeswoman told my colleague Julia Ioffe and other journalists this week: “We don’t understand what they’re going to do in Syria, and not only there. … No one understands what they’re going to do with Iran, no one understands what they’re going to do with Afghanistan. Excuse me, and I still haven’t said anything about Iraq.”)

Read more at The Atlantic link.

One more important foreign policy read from Anne Applebaum at the WaPo: Yes, Rex Tillerson, U.S. taxpayers should care about Ukraine. Here’s why.

“Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” That was the question that Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, was heard to ask at a meeting of the Group of Seven foreign ministers, America’s closest allies, a day before his visit to Moscow this week. We don’t know what he meant by that question, or in what context it was asked. When queried, the State Department replied that it was a “rhetorical device,” seeking neither to defend nor retract it.

If Tillerson were a different person and this were a different historical moment, we could forget about this odd dropped comment and move on. But Tillerson has an unusual background for a secretary of state. Unlike everyone who has held the job for at least the past century, he has no experience in diplomacy, politics or the military; instead he has spent his life extracting oil and selling it for profit. At that he was successful. But no one knows whether he can change his value system to focus instead on the very different task of selling something intangible — American values — to maximize something even more intangible: American influence.

So what’s Applebaum’s answer to Tillerson’s question?

It’s an explanation that cannot be boiled down to bullet points or a chart, or even reflected in numbers at all. I’m not even sure it can be done in a few paragraphs, but here goes. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014 were an open attack on the principle of border security in Europe. The principle of border security, in turn, is what turned Europe, once a continent wracked by bloody conflicts, into a safe and peaceful trading alliance in the second half of the 20th century. Europe’s collective decision to abandon aggressive nationalism, open its internal borders and drop its territorial ambitions made Europe rich, as well as peaceful.

It also made the United States rich, as well as powerful. U.S. companies do billions of dollars of business in Europe; U.S. leaders have long been able to count on European support all over the world, in matters economic, political, scientific and more. It’s not a perfect alliance but it is an unusual alliance, one that is held together by shared values as well as common interests. If Ukraine, a country of about 43 million people, were permanently affiliated with Europe, it too might become part of this zone of peace, trade and commerce.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an aggressive, emboldened Russia increasingly threatens European security and prosperity, as well as Europe’s alliance with the United States. Russia supports anti-American, anti-NATO and indeed anti-democratic political candidates all across the continent; Russia seeks business and political allies who will help promote its companies and turn a blind eye to its corrupt practices. Over the long term, these policies threaten U.S. business interests and U.S. political interests all across the continent and around the world.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. If you’re celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful day. It’s also a long weekend here in Boston, because Monday is Patriot’s Day and the running of the Boston Marathon. I plan to relax and enjoy what I hope will be peace and quiet. I’m still getting used to the traffic noise and police sirens in my new apartment. (My old neighborhood was quiet every weekend and dead on long weekends.)

Have a great weekend Sky Dancers!