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Author: New Neo

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New Neo

Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.

The title of this article by Holman Jenkins intrigued me: "Politicians Never Lied Before Trump," and so I clicked on it. I was almost certain that the title was sarcastic---of course, politicians lie often, and have done so since time immemorial---and sure enough, the title was indeed meant as sarcasm. It seems completely obvious to me that one of the most common activities of politicians is to lie. To some extent, politics almost demands it, depending on how one defines "lie." Is a bragging exaggeration a lie? Is an optimistic promise a lie? How exaggerated does it have to be before it becomes a lie rather than mere hyperbole?

Last Friday, Professor Jacobson wrote a post entitled "Chief Justice Roberts is the new Swing Vote, or worse," explaining that:
Roberts...saw fit to make a public pronouncement after Trump criticized a San Francisco federal judge for a decision enjoining Trump’s new policy on processing asylum claims, which held that people who illegally crossed the border could not apply for asylum...

Vox's Matthew Yglesias believes that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should run for president. Hey, why not? What could possibly go wrong? Oh, and if she's not old enough—and, at 29, she's not—then it's time to "fix" the Constitution.

Rioting has been taking place recently in France, but trying to get a clear idea of what's behind the demonstrations isn't easy. The first thing to say is that the riots certainly seem to be anti-Macron. But there are plenty of reasons to be anti-Macron, some emanating from the left and some from the right or from some other impulse or belief system.

Sunday was the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, an event that caused the deaths of about 900 people (about a third of them children) who were killed at the group's compound in Guyana. Note that I write "were killed" rather than "killed themselves." One of the many misconceptions about the Jonestown tragedy was that for most of its victims it represented an act of suicide. For some it did, but for many it did not. The children, of course, were not acting for themselves and were incapable of giving consent (some were infants and toddlers). And although the adults had all signed onto the Jim Jones enterprise of their own free will, many (perhaps even most?) had essentially been kept prisoner there against their will, long after the nature of the movement had changed. What's more, as I wrote previously in a lengthy post on the subject:

In light of the many destructive fires still burning in California, it might seem like a no-brainer that fires such as these could be made less severe by a more effective and frequent use of controlled burns and selective thinning of the forest and brush. But although that idea appears to be basically correct, the situation isn't so simple, nor is it so easy to achieve these burns.

Late Thursday afternoon Trump gave a speech and then answered questions from the press about policy regarding the caravan of illegal immigrants headed towards the U.S. I listened to it at the time, and here's the text of his remarks. After hearing the speech, I wasn't surprised by the spin given by this CNN headline about it: "Trump says he will restrict asylum, claims troops will shoot at rock throwers." Oh did he, now?

You hear it everywhere right now: the Republican Party is united as never before. Mitch McConnell was pretty witty about it: “I want to thank the mob because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing the base.”

Yiddish is a language that has a lot of words that express personality qualities and types, particularly loser types or mean types or conniving types. These words often combine humor with rueful sarcasm and cynical realism about the vagaries of the human condition.

The answer to the question in the title might seem obvious, but I think it's more complicated than most people might think. Let's leave out accusers who are telling the truth. I'm interested in the ones who are not. They can have multiple motives; any of these can be combined. This list is not all-inclusive, but here are the major ones:

There are a lot of problems with the Kavanaugh accuser's story, including the fact that it's possible that she may be deliberately lying for political reasons. But even if she's not purposely lying, there are many problems connected with the phenomenon of memory itself, particularly after all these years.

Yesterday New Hampshire had a primary, and Eddie Edwards won the GOP nomination for the US House of Representatives from the state's 1st Congressional District:
Eddie Edwards, who was endorsed by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, defeated six Republican opponents in the 1st Congressional District, which covers the eastern half of the state. A Navy veteran who also served as enforcement chief for the state liquor commission, Edwards is the second African-American to be nominated to a U.S. House seat in New Hampshire.

Professor Jacobson recently wrote a post about Obama's recent rhetoric against President Trump. In giving his speech, Obama was violating the traditional code of behavior for ex-presidents, which was to keep their mouths shut and refrain from criticizing their successors. But no one on earth should be surprised by the fact that Obama just can't stay away. In fact, there's evidence that he's been trying to undermine Trump since Trump first took office, and perhaps even before.

Last week, I wrote a post on Brazilian election frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro, sometimes known as the Trump of Brazil. Now comes news that Bolsonaro was stabbed two days ago:
The leading candidate in Brazil’s presidential election is in serious but stable condition after being stabbed by an assailant at a campaign rally on Thursday, doctors said, pushing an already chaotic campaign into further disarray.