As Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seems to have won another re-election, the incomparable Juan Cole reminds us how much of the Erdogan blueprint has been eagerly adopted by our own President. Filling the judiciary with "far-right ideologues" (thanks for being such a check on Presidential power, Mr. McConnell!), fomenting mistrust of the press for all the wrong reasons I feel compelled to add, allying with right-wing religious fools, and attempting to "shape the officer corps" (though I'd say not in Secretary Mattis's image per se) -- it happened there, and it's happening here, too. At least we haven't gotten to the point where our President's opponents all find themselves in jail like Mr. Erdogan's did. Yet.
Our Supreme Court upholds our President's Muslim ban in an entirely unconvincing manner -- accepting extremely debatable opinion, that ZOMG WE CAN'T VET ALL TEH IMMIGRANTZ!!!!!, as incontrovertible fact, just as they did in their Ohio caging law ruling earlier this month. At least Justice Sotomayor, in her dissent, points out that the majority, in its equally-notorious Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, looked at Colorado Civil Rights Commission members' opinions about religion with a proctoscope, but didn't think our President's stated opinions about keeping Muslims out of America worth noting. Aside from Justice Roberts's opinion on cellphone location warrants, this Court has really been stinking it up this term, and they're not done.
Caroline Chen at ProPublica notes that big pharma corporations underwrite some 75% of the FDA's scientific review budget, and then the FDA "Rush(es) Risky Drugs to Market." Why, it's almost like that's the idea! A long time ago, someone had the brilliant idea that they could cut taxes by making corporations pay "fees" funding essential government functions -- like, you know, regulating drugs so they don't hurt people! Note well that Uloric's own manufacturer found that many more Americans die from heart disease while they're on Uloric than if they're on some other gout medication, and Uloric costs $24,000 a year! And then there's Nuplazid, the drug that's supposed to treat hallucinations in Parkinson's patients that actually causes hallucinations. You will not be heartened to read about the FDA's approval process for that particular drug, which costs $33,000 annually.
Well, I was actually on Sarah Huckabee Sanders's side for once, sort of, but then one of our papers of record started bemoaning the lack of "civility" in American life, a concern I didn't hear uttered when, for example, folks hung President Obama in effigy. Once again, when liberals stand up for themselves, Our Glorious Elites suddenly wonder why we can't all get along. (BTW, I oppose kicking Ms. Sanders out of a restaurant just because she's evil, but I certainly do not oppose people gathering to heckle Ms. Nielson or Mr. Miller at separate restaurants. You'd better be able to handle that if you're an adult, let alone an adult working for the most powerful man on the planet.)
Finally, I was going to say something about the various absurdities at which right-wing media figures are grasping in order to justify our President's policy of separating parents and children when they cross the border, but then Tom Tomorrow's latest cartoon nailed the entire spectrum of this right-wing rationalization in one frame. One frame, out of six! And then two frames later he mocks the Civility Police, and then in the next frame he captures the entire spectrum of our Administration's often-contradictory responses to criticism about the affair. This one's absolutely brilliant and right about everything -- and I wish that meant more.