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With David Folkenflik
The wrath of Dorian. Walmart and guns. Brexit, not so fast. Hong Kong concession and protests. The roundtable is here.
Seema Mehta, political writer for the Los Angeles Times covering the 2020 presidential campaign. (@LATSeema)
Shannon Pettypiece, senior white house reporter for NBC News Digital. (@spettypi)
From The Reading List
NBC News: "Why Trump's storm over Alabama was the hurricane's most predictable pattern" — "The precise path of Hurricane Dorian may have been uncertain for much of the week — but President Donald Trump's decision to highlight, rather than retreat from, his early forecast misstatement was entirely predictable.
"A weather map doctored to fit Trump’s false assertion that a hurricane had been heading towards Alabama marks the latest attempt by the president or his White House to create misleading evidence to support his version of events.
"While Trump routinely makes false statements, sometimes dozens a week, his administration has repeatedly gone even further by creating evidence to support the president’s alternative reality — in some cases marshaling government resources in the task."
Los Angeles Times: "Andrew Yang wants to give you $1,000 a month" — "Andrew Yang travels around the country warning of a dystopian 'Mad Max'-like future, yet dropping dry one-liners along the way like he’s at a comedy open-mike.
His approach — doom and Dad jokes — plus his promise to give every American adult $1,000 per month are increasingly winning the Democratic presidential candidate the favor of a small but vocal segment of voters. The New York entrepreneur has surpassed several better-known rivals in polls and is sure his quixotic campaign is surging.
"'I’m like Arcade Fire, circa 2006 … before they became cool,' Yang told more than 100 supporters at Keene State College in New Hampshire, drawing laughs as he compared himself to the now-famous band. 'This is the indie show; I hope you feel it. You’ll be like, 'Oh, I saw him in Keene.'"
"The support for Yang’s single-focus campaign — he wants to create a national universal basic income to counter the impacts of automation — is lodged in the single digits in the polls. But that and numerous donations have been enough to get him a spot at every Democratic debate — including the one next week in Houston, where some sitting lawmakers failed to make the stage."
NBC News: "World leaders may have found a way to handle Trump" — "At the end of last year’s meeting of America’s closest allies, President Donald Trump cut out early to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, bashing the Canadian prime minister on Twitter on his way out the door.
"Trump ended this year’s gathering with a bear hug for French President Emmanuel Macron and a declaration of unity among the allies. Not even a surprise visit by the Iranian foreign minister the day before, staged by Macron to portray himself as the world’s chief diplomat, could break Trump’s feeling of camaraderie.
"'If there’s any word for this particular meeting of seven important countries, it’s unity,' he said Monday at a press conference, just before heading back to Washington. 'We got along great.'
"The summit may have ended with a similar policy gap as last year's, with little by way of concrete results — except for one that could pay long-term dividends for some of those present: World leaders seem to have figured out how to deal with a president like Donald Trump."
New York Times: "In Hong Kong Protests, China Angrily Connects Dots Back to U.S." — "Jenny Lee, 26, marched with a friend through the sweltering streets of Hong Kong the other day, hoisting an American flag over her shoulder. 'We hold this to tell the world that we want democracy and freedom,' she explained.
"The authorities in China, however, are holding up those kinds of gestures as evidence of what Chinese officials portray as an American campaign to orchestrate the protests that have roiled Hong Kong for almost three months.
"China’s increasingly caustic accusations against the United States — in state media and official statements — reflect a deepening conviction that support for democratic rights in Hong Kong is part of a broader effort to undermine the Communist Party."
The New Yorker: "Walmart’s Announcement and Other Signs of Hope in the Gun Crisis" — "The current crisis of gun violence in America registers mostly in two distinct forms. (At least two; the crisis of suicide by gunshot is its own subject.) Inevitably, most of those who try to act on the crisis concentrate on the more visible form, which expresses itself in what is by now an American regularity as much as it is an American singularity: the gun massacre.
"That isn’t a false emphasis. Gun massacres, in addition to the death and horror that they bring, are reshaping our culture in ways so destructive— producing perverse exercises in school architecture and the constant, usually needless, but real panic in parents’ hearts—that to register their damage even in terms of the lives lost is insufficient. (That damage is as incomprehensible as it is real—as one chronicle shows, there have been more mass shootings this year than there have been days in the calendar.)
"Yet we can see some small signs that the inevitable process of democratic reform—in which legislation is a lagging, not a leading, indicator, and public outrage eventually directs political conduct more than political conduct can defeat public outrage—is under way. This week’s announcement that Walmart, the second-largest retailer in the world, will end the sale of some kinds of ammunition—and end the sale of handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells them—might seem pitifully minimal to visitors from other countries, not least because it was paired with a 'request' that customers in the states that allow open carry refrain from openly bringing guns into Walmart stores. But the announcement is nevertheless significant, even astounding.
"Walmart, historically a conservative company, has taken other steps in recent years, including banning the sale of assault-style rifles. It was moved to act now, in part, by the fact that this summer two of its stores were the scene of shootings, including the one in El Paso in which twenty-two people were killed. More meaningfully, the move was also propelled, as social action most often is, from below—from the pleadings and the polemics of Walmart employees, who, deciding that they no longer wanted to be 'complicit' in profiting from the sale of firearms, put their livelihoods on the line in order to push their bosses to take a further stand on the gun issue."
Allison Pohle produced this show for broadcast.
This program aired on September 6, 2019.
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