In the year 2016, mild-mannered James Comey is working in the FBI library when he is bitten by a radioactive history book. From that moment on, the 56 year-old boy has the power to change history—but it is a power he cannot control. All he gets is a feeling of mild nausea when it’s about to happen. Doomed to shape history but never on purpose, he is: James Comey, Historical Figure. Today is: Friday. Won’t you chronicle our hero’s exploits with me?
Last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was less a war of words than a long disagreement over whether they mean anything. “It’s all words,” Trump said early on. “It’s all sound bites.” He interrupted often, but it was usually just to say “wrong” or “no.” One of Clinton’s claims he so denied was that he had called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt American manufacturing—which of course he had:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
That’s not a screenshot; it’s embedded. The tweet is still up, despite the false and increasingly popular rumor that his campaign deleted it during the debate. Even Chris Hayes of MSNBC bought into it last night, although he apologized this morning. Like all the best hoaxes, this is one we want to believe.
About an hour into last night’s Republican debate, Ohio Governor John Kasich excoriated Donald Trump’s mass-deportation plan, calling the idea that we might deport 11 million undocumented immigrants “not an adult argument.” We have to do it,” Trump replied. “We have to.” But how would he do it? Once he had removed the immigrants from their homes, would he put them in camps while he determined their countries of origin? Or would he just deport them all—Guatemalans, Uighur Chinese, Nigerians, French—to Mexico? Will the deported immigrants fly commercial, or will there be some kind of train? These are the questions no one asked at the fourth GOP debate, while we waited for a real candidate to take the stage. But this is it. These vague, impossible ideas are not ciphers for real policy different Republicans will tell us about later. There is no one behind the curtain.
One of the many terrible disadvantages rich people face in this country is that we are all so happy to see them denied something they want. Mitt Romney triggered that psychological mechanism every time he mentioned the cars-to-people ratio of his household or owning an Olympic horse, and it cost him an election. Either that or his policies only benefited a small percentage of the electorate at the expense of everyone else—who can say? The point is that class warfare is alive and well in this country, and the pressure of anti-rich person groupthink is so great that even Sheldon Adelson told the Wall Street Journal he regards himself as kind of gross.
As you would know if you weren’t so preoccupied trying to choose worst crab, Monday was the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananman Square massacre, when the Chinese government rolled out tanks to quash pro-democracy demonstrations and killed several hundred protestors. They don’t like to talk about it. “They,” in this case, means the leaders of whatever weirdo system of government used to be run by the Chinese communist party, now the fabulously wealthy leaders of a billion-person market police state. When “they” refers to the Chinese people, they would like to talk about stuff like Tiananmen Square a lot. That’s why they/they were delighted/alarmed when the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell exactly 64.89 points on Monday, evoking the date 6/4/89.