最近在看一个关于一战的纪录片，顺便学法语。法国国家电视台拍的纪录片《Apocalypse》，B站和Youtube有链接。很喜欢这种从平常人的视角来开世界的角度。昨晚洗澡时听了10分钟喜马拉雅上的，中国大爷读的，关于一战的一个资料的书，那京味十足，说书一般，仿佛是英雄们在打架，吃瓜群众看热闹。法国人，起码导演，并没有表达痛恨德国人的民族主义情绪。这种公平感很难描述。题目中的威尔逊是1912-1920年的美国总统。律师。前普林大学校长。wiki 上说美国最伟大总统之一。有点像奥巴马。创立了国联（League of Nation），却没能说服自己的国家加入（参议院否决）。
Dick Cheney 和 Trump 的比较。作者在文末的一个比较点题了，“你想要一个专业杀手还是一个拿着电锯的疯子来追杀你？” 那么Dick Cheney到底做了什么坏事了？
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is running wild — and running scared.
He’s such a menace that it’s tempting to cheer any vituperative critic and grab any handy truncheon. But villainizing Trump should not entail sanitizing other malefactors.
And we should acknowledge that the president is right on one point: For neocons, journalists, authors, political hacks and pundits, there is a financial incentive to demonize the president, not to mention an instant halo effect. Only Trump could get the pussy-hat crowd to fill Times Square to protest Jeff Sessions’s firing.
We make the president the devil spawn and he makes us the enemy of the people and everybody wins. Or do they? To what extent is lucrative Trump hysteria warping our discourse?
Trump may not be sweaty and swarthy, but he makes a good bad guy. As with Nixon and Watergate, the correct moral response and the lavish remunerative rewards neatly dovetail.
Even for Washington, the capital of do-overs and the soulless swamp where horrendous mistakes never prevent you from cashing in and getting another security clearance, this is a repellent spectacle. War criminals-turned-liberal heroes are festooned with book and TV contracts, podcasts and op-ed perches.
Those who sold us the “cakewalk” Iraq war and the outrageously unprepared Sarah Palin and torture as “enhanced interrogation,” those who left the Middle East shattered with a cascading refugee crisis and a rising ISIS, and those who midwifed the birth of the Tea Party are washing away their sins in a basin of Trump hate.
They bellow that Trump is a blight on democracy. But where were these patriots when the Bush administration was deceiving us with a cooked-up war in Iraq?
Michelle Obama has written in her memoir that she will never forgive Trump for pushing the birther movement. Yet the Pygmalions of Palin, who backed Trump on the birther filth, are now among the most celebrated voices in Michelle’s party.
The architects and enablers of the Iraq war and Abu Ghraib are still being listened to on foreign policy, both inside the administration (John Bolton and Gina Haspel) and out. NeverTrumper Eliot Cohen wrote the Washington Post op-ed after the election telling conservatives not to work for Trump; Max Boot, who urged an invasion of Iraq whether or not Saddam was involved in 9/11, is now a CNN analyst, Post columnist and the author of a new book bashing Trump; John Yoo, who wrote the unconstitutional torture memo, is suddenly concerned that Trump’s appointment of his ghastly acting attorney general is unconstitutional.
MSNBC is awash in nostalgia for Ronald Reagan and W.
So it’s a good moment for Adam McKay, the inventive director of “The Big Short,” to enter the debate with a movie that raises the question: Is insidious destruction of our democracy by a bureaucratic samurai with the soothing voice of a boys’ school headmaster even more dangerous than a self-destructive buffoon ripping up our values in plain sight?
How do you like your norms broken? Over Twitter or in a torture memo? By a tinpot demagogue stomping on checks and balances he can’t even fathom or a shadowy authoritarian expertly and quietly dismantling checks and balances he knows are sacred?
McKay grappled with the W.-Cheney debacle in 2009, when he co-wrote a black comedywith Will Ferrell called “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W Bush.” In the Broadway hit, Ferrell’s W. dismissed waterboarding as a Bliss spa treatment and confided that he had once discovered Cheney locked in an embrace with a giant goat devil in a room full of pentagrams.
When McKay was home with the flu three years ago, he grabbed a book and began reading up on Cheney. He ended up writing and directing “Vice,” a film that uses real-life imagery, witty cinematic asides and cultural touchstones to explore the irreparable damage Cheney did to the planet, and how his blunders and plunders led to many of our current crises.
With an echo of his Batman growl, Christian Bale brilliantly shape-shifts into another American psycho, the lumbering, scheming vice president who easily manipulates the naïve and insecure W., deliciously played by Sam Rockwell. While W. strives to impress his father, Cheney strives to impress his wife, Lynne, commandingly portrayed by Amy Adams.
Before we had Trump’s swarm of bloodsucking lobbyists gutting government regulations from within, we had Cheney’s. Before Trump brazenly used the White House to boost his brand, we had Cheney wallowing in emoluments: He let his energy industry pals shape energy policy; he pushed to invade Iraq, giving no-bid contracts to his former employer, Halliburton, and helping his Big Oil cronies reap the spoils in Iraq.
The movie opens at Christmas, but it’s no sugary Hallmark fable. It’s a harrowing cautionary tale showing that democracy can be sabotaged even more diabolically by a trusted insider, respected by most of the press, than by a clownish outsider, disdained by most of the press.
After a screening of “Vice” Thursday, I asked McKay which of our two right-wing Dementors was worse, Cheney or Trump.
“Here’s the question,” he said. “Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I’d rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse. And also, if you look at the body count, more than 600,000 people died in Iraq. It’s not even close, right?”
After almost six years in Munich, my family and I will soon be returning to California, and there are a few things I already know I will miss. I am not talking about the obvious (fresh pretzels, fresh pretzels with cheese, fresh pretzels with cheese and pumpkin seeds, no potholes, universal health care) but the less known differences that come with spending time in schools.
We are fortunate to live in a part of Munich with top-notch public schools, similar to where we lived in America. We pay a few percentage points more in taxes than we paid in California, but holy Betsy DeVos, do we get more!
Our daughter’s elementary school, which she graduated from a few years ago, offered a rich curriculum, from math and sciences to arts and languages. After school, in addition to the more traditional offerings of chess, theater and computers, she could take circus lessons, where children learned to juggle, walk on a tightrope and ride a unicycle. Since her school did not have a pool, students were bused every week to a nearby sports club for swim lessons, at no extra charge.
The school also offered a weeklong enrichment program that varied year to year. One year, students spent five days visiting sports clubs, each day being introduced by experts to sports such as fencing, ice hockey and volleyball. Once a real circus came to her school for a week and trained the students, who then put on a performance. We did have to contribute $25 per student for that, since constructing an actual circus tent was costly.
We have also paid for extras like trips to museums (about $4 each) and $250 for a weeklong class trip to Austria intended to foster independence (a highlight was that each child did a short walk alone at night in a field), but that’s it. On the few occasions when the school organized fund-raising efforts, the recipients were in other countries.
Based on their academic performance in fourth grade, children in Germany are divided into three tracks. I do not agree with this system but high-performing children benefit greatly. The top track qualifies for “gymnasium,” the most advanced secondary school, with a curriculum that prepares students for higher education. The gleaming facilities of our daughter’s gymnasium, complete with sports halls, music rooms and a library housing ancient books, rivals those of any top university. Did I mention that higher education is free?
In the midterms, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana, Florida restored the vote to over 1.4 million people with felony convictions, and Louisiana passed a constitutional amendment requiring unanimous jury verdicts in felony trials. These are the latest examples of the astonishing progress that has been made in the last several years on a wide range of criminal justice issues. Since 2010, when I published “The New Jim Crow” — which argued that a system of legal discrimination and segregation had been born again in this country because of the war on drugs and mass incarceration — there have been significant changes to drug policy, sentencing and re-entry, including “ban the box” initiatives aimed at eliminating barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people.
This progress is unquestionably good news, but there are warning signs blinking brightly. Many of the current reform efforts contain the seeds of the next generation of racial and social control, a system of “e-carceration” that may prove more dangerous and more difficult to challenge than the one we hope to leave behind.
Bail reform is a case in point. Thanks in part to new laws and policies — as well as actions like the mass bailout of inmates in New York City jails that’s underway — the unconscionable practice of cash bail is finally coming to an end. In August, California became the first state to decide to get rid of its cash bail system; last year, New Jersey virtually eliminated the use of money bonds.
But what’s taking the place of cash bail may prove even worse in the long run. In California, a presumption of detention will effectively replace eligibility for immediate release when the new law takes effect in October 2019. And increasingly, computer algorithms are helping to determine who should be caged and who should be set “free.” Freedom — even when it’s granted, it turns out — isn’t really free.