‘Special Master’ to Trump: “You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It”
Plus, Don’t Blame the Immigrants. It’s Our Laws That Are Criminal.
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CHARLIE SYKES: Merrick Garland's Red Line.
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A flurry of filings in several different courts has created a wad of legal confusion around exactly what is happening to the boxes of material seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago on August 8. To help sort through the perplexing details, here’s an explainer in three parts.
America needs more immigrants, but we seem determined to shoot ourselves in the foot. Before addressing that self-sabotage, permit a small digression.
Not so very long ago, in the 1980s, Venezuela was the wealthiest country in Latin America. Did the country have problems? Of course. What country doesn’t? But sitting on about 18 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, Venezuelans enjoyed higher living standards than their neighbors, and seemed to have a stable democracy. Looks were deceiving. When the price of oil plummeted in the 1990s, the country was plunged into instability. In 1999, they elected a charismatic military officer, Hugo Chavez, who promised to redistribute the nation’s wealth and proceeded to befriend Fidel Castro and destroy the nation’s economy. He nationalized companies and farms, crushed labor unions, put opponents in prison, and seized the assets of foreign oil contractors. To tame rampant inflation, he imposed price controls, which only fueled a black market and drove the middle class from the country. Chavez succumbed to cancer in 2013, but by then Venezuela was a basket case. Today, one in three Venezuelans doesn’t get enough to eat, malnutrition among poor children is rife, and more than 75 percent of Venezuelans live in extreme poverty. It is the most abrupt collapse of a thriving nation not at war on record and a cautionary tale about what can happen when people make bad political choices.
Elements on both the left and right are tracking in the same illiberal direction on economic regulation, the First Amendment, and on radical rhetoric. Plus, the NatCons’ plan to get the country to go full Trump. Stephanie Slade joins Charlie Sykes today.
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It was the longest blackout in American history, more than twice as long as the New York City blackout of 1977. In February 2021, almost all of Texas was without power for four days after a frigid winter storm, named Uri, descended on the region to create such a demand for energy the state’s electricity grid crashed. Property damage topped $100 billion; hundreds of people died.
Those who lived through the storm will never forget it, which is why over the last 18 months Uri has become a perennial topic of uneasiness for most Texans. Some questions are obvious. Why did the grid collapse? Who profited from Uri? And, most concerning, could the disaster happen again? In the storm’s wake, the Texas legislature passed two bills that did little to change the circumstances that led to the grid’s collapse, yet Governor Greg Abbott declared the grid “fixed”—a claim questioned by many industry insiders.
Happy Wednesday! My pal and old colleague Matt Labash wrote about Trump and Civil War. You should read it.
Enjoy retirement, Joe! Joe Haden is retiring as a Brown. While Jimmy Haslam has ruined the franchise for me, I hope Joe enjoys retirement.
“Be normal.” Lis Smith has some advice for Democrats.
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