Douglas Brinkley, “Tour of Duty”; George Soros, “The Bubble of American Supremacy”; P. J. O'Rourke, “The Backside of War”; Samantha Power, “How to Kill a Country”; Christopher Buckley, “Scrutiny on the Bounty”; Christopher Hitchens, “Pictures From an Inquisition”; fiction by Lavanya Sankaran; and much more.
Senator John F. Kerry often cites his service in Vietnam as a formative element of his character. A new account of his time there—based on interviews with those who knew him well, and on his never-before-published letters home and his voluminous "war notes"—offers the first intimate look at a traumatic and life-altering experience
The White House press secretary has set a new precedent: Partisanship over patriotism. Victory over truth.
On Wednesday, two representatives of the United States government held press briefings, both of them touching on one of the most astonishing news stories of the Trump presidency—a series of events that had begun two days earlier, when Trump traveled to Helsinki to meet, behind closed doors, with Vladimir Putin.
Here was the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responding to a question from TheNew York Times’s Maggie Haberman about the notion Putin raised of a group of U.S. officials, including the former ambassador to Russia, Mike McFaul, being interrogated by Russia: “The president is going to meet with his team, and we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that.”
Here, on the other hand, was Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesperson, on the same issue: “The overall assertions are absolutely absurd—the fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian Government is making about those American citizens. We do not stand by those assertions.”
A new line of punditry is bubbling up among the president’s followers online: It was a positive thing that the Russians hacked the 2016 election.
Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET
On Wednesday morning, in the midst of yet another contentious news cycle dominated by coverage of Russian election meddling, I tweeted a kind of thought experiment: “If Trump & co. just pivoted to ‘Aren’t you glad Russia helped us defeat Hillary Clinton?’ would there be any serious blowback from his base?”
The question was rhetorical. The answers that began trickling in were not.
“No,” said Cassandra Fairbanks, a writer at the right-wing news and conspiracy website Gateway Pundit (and a former Sputnik employee). “I mean, I would be cool with it. I’m already there. If Russia was involved we should thank them.”
“No,” responded another self-identified Trump voter. “Hillary is a greater threat to our Republic.”
It’s not clear he even understands the distinction between self and country upon which the idea of patriotism rests.
In 1945, George Orwell distinguished between “nationalism” and “patriotism.” Nationalism, he argued, is the belief that your nation should dominate others. It “is inseparable from the desire for power.” A nationalist, Orwell argued, “thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige … his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations.” Patriotism, by contrast, involves “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one … has no wish to force on other people.” Orwell’s explanation of patriotism is brief. But his implication is that while nationalism is about the relationship between your country and other countries, patriotism is about the relationship between your country and yourself. It derives from the Latin “pater,” meaning father. Just as devotion to family requires placing its well being above your own, devotion to country—patriotism—extends that principle to the nation as a whole.
A new study exonerates dairy fats as a cause of early death, even as low-fat products continue to be misperceived as healthier.
As a young child I missed a question on a psychological test: “What comes in a bottle?”
The answer was supposed to be milk. I said beer.
Milk almost always came in cartons and plastic jugs, so I was right. But this isn’t about rehashing old grudges. I barely even think about it anymore! The point is that the test was a relic of a time before me, when milk did come in bottles. It arrived on doorsteps each morning, by the hand of some vanishing man. And just as such a world was alien to me as a kid, the current generation of small children might miss a similar question: “Where does milk come from?”
Many would likely answer almonds or beans or oats.
Indeed, the already booming nut-milk industry is projected to grow another 50 percent by 2020. Much of this is driven by beliefs about health, with ads claiming “dairy free” as a virtue that resonates for nebulous reasons—many stemming from an earlier scare over saturated fat—among consumers lactose intolerant and tolerant alike. The dairy industry is now scrambling to market milk to Millennial families, as the quintessential American-heartland beverage once thought of as necessary for all aspiring, straight-boned childrenhas become widely seen as something to be avoided.
A former Trump aide twists the words of the Constitution to advocate depriving American-born children of their citizenship.
Three weeks after he was elected president, Donald Trump tweeted, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
Donald Trump thinks about citizenship—and about taking it away—a lot. His entry into Republican politics was an attack on President Barack Obama’s status as a “natural-born citizen.” He is also no fan of the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
In August 2015, he told a press conference that American-born children should not be citizens if their parents were undocumented. “A woman is getting ready to have a baby, she crosses the border for one day, has the baby, all of a sudden for the next 80 years, hopefully longer but for the next 80 years we have to take care of the people. No, no, no, I don’t think so … There are great legal scholars, the top, that say that’s absolutely wrong.”
In humans and rats, eating cured meats might induce manic episodes.
For people with bipolar disorder, manic episodes can be euphoric, but they can also be terrifying. In the throes of mania, some people feel like they are superhuman. They start new projects and stay up all night to work on them. In the worst cases, they cease thinking coherently: They might attempt to walk into the sea or fly off the roof.
Though medications can help manage the symptoms, no pill is perfect, and all of them have side effects. Bipolar disorder appears to be at least partly genetic, but environmental factors also play a role, perhaps by switching different genes on and off, which might spark manic episodes. And the thing that might be switching on some of these genes, according to a new study, is rather surprising: a category of preservatives in beef jerky called nitrates.
No one knows what President Trump told Vladimir Putin in Helsinki—or why even his own national-security adviser was excluded from the room.
As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to run the U.S. government in the same way he ran his businesses. At his Helsinki meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump honored that commitment.
According to the Russian government, Trump pledged the United States to a series of agreements on matters ranging from nuclear forces to Syria. The U.S. government seems to have no idea what those agreements might be—or whether they exist at all. It’s unclear whether even Trump himself knows what he promised or did not promise. Trump’s post-meeting tweets reference “implementing” things “discussed”—which implies some kind of agreement, but does not actually use the word.
The last episode of Trump’s personal diplomacy provides a disquieting precedent. Trump emerged from his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un convinced he had gained dramatic new concessions. He tweeted triumphantly on June 13: “Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!”
The retiring Arizona senator criticizes President Trump like no other Republican. On Thursday, he accused the commander in chief of “giving aid and comfort to an enemy of democracy.”
Eighteen months into Donald Trump’s tumultuous tenure in the White House, and days into a ferocious public backlash against Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Jeff Flake stands alone among the president’s Republican critics in the Senate.
Bob Corker, who once likened Trump’s White House to an “adult day-care center,” vacillates between defiance and deference. Ben Sasse keeps his occasional barbs confined mostly to Twitter. The president’s vanquished GOP rivals—Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham—have, apart from the occasional spat, returned to the fold. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski revolted on health care, but they backed Trump on taxes and judges, and their public criticism is more restrained. John McCain, Trump’s chief tormenter in 2017, now lashes the president only from afar, his rhetorical reach limited by a twilight fight with brain cancer.
“Each person comes into our group thinking they are a freak.”
It was AncestryDNA’s customer-service rep who had to break the news to Catherine St Clair.
For her part, St Clair thought she was inquiring about a technical glitch. Her brother—the brother who along with three other siblings had gifted her the DNA test for her birthday—wasn’t showing up right in her family tree. It was not a glitch, the woman on the line had to explain gently, if this news can ever land gently: The man St Clair thought of as her brother only shared enough DNA with her to be a half-sibling. In fact, she didn’t match any family members on her father’s side. Her biological father must be someone else.
“I looked into a mirror and started crying,” says St Clair, now 56. “I’ve taken for granted my whole life that what I was looking at in the mirror was part my mother and part my dad. And now that half of that person I was looking at in the mirror, I didn’t know who that was.”
The country can no longer afford to wait to ascertain why President Trump has subordinated himself to Putin—it must deal with the fact that he has.
We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.
Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees.
This is an unprecedented situation, but not an uncontemplated one. At the 1787 convention in Philadelphia, the authors of the Constitution worried a great deal about foreign potentates corrupting the American presidency.
When Gouverneur Morris famously changed his mind in favor of an impeachment clause, he explained his new point of view by invoking a situation very similar to the one now facing the United States: