Life After Lockdown, and the Politics of Blaming China
Play episode · 21 min

Since January, Peter Hessler has reported from China under quarantine. Now, as restrictions lift, he tells David Remnick about his return to normal life; recently, he even went to a dance club. But, although China’s stringent containment measures were effective enough to allow a rapid reopening, one scientist told Hessler, “There is no long-term plan. There’s no country that has a long term plan.” Back in Washington, Evan Osnos explains how blaming China for its sluggish response—and insisting that it cost lives worldwide—has become a touchstone of the Presidential race in America. The candidates have found a rare moment of agreement that it is time to get tough on China, and that their opponent is weak.

Worldly
Worldly
Vox
American democracy, hacked
Zack, Jenn, and Alex put the upcoming American elections in global context. They explain why long polling lines and gerrymandered districts are very much not the norm among advanced democracies and how other countries avoid them. Then they dissect the latest news about Russian, Iranian, and other foreign interference in the 2020 election — and debate whether it even matters anymore. References: Here’s Alex’s piece for Vox on how other countries do elections better. And Jen Kirby wrote for Vox on what US intelligence leaders said yesterday about Russia’s and Iran’s interference efforts. BBC News explains why it can be hard to vote in America. NBC News reported on how China is adopting interference techniques the Russians have been using. In August, a top US intelligence official said China, Russia, and Iran were interfering in the 2020 election for differing reasons. CyberScoop reported that North Korea, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia also aim to sway the vote. The US Justice Department charged Russians with interfering in the elections this week. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
47 min
The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
Vox
Nate Silver on why 2020 isn't 2016
As you may have heard, there's a pretty important election coming up. That means it's time to bring back the one and only Nate Silver.  Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, boasts one of the best election forecasting records of any analyst in the last 15 years. His forecasting models successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 US presidential election and all 50 states in 2012. And in 2016, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave Donald Trump a 28 percent chance of victory — a significantly higher percentage than virtually any other prominent analyst at the time. He knows what he’s talking about, and it shows in this conversation. We discuss:  What went wrong with the polls in 2016 — and whether pollsters today have corrected for those mistakes  Why a 2016-sized polling error in 2020 would still hand Joe Biden the election Why the 2020 race has been so incredibly steady despite a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and the biggest national protest movement in US history  The possibility of a Biden landslide   The not-so-small chance that Biden could win Texas and Georgia  The massive Republican advantage in the Senate, House, and Electoral College — and how that affects our national politics  Why the Senate would still advantage Republicans, even if Democrats added five blue states.  Whether the Bernie Sanders left took the wrong lessons from 2016  Why Biden’s unorthodox 2020 campaign strategy has been so successful  Whether Sanders would be doing just as well against Trump as Biden is doing  How a more generic, non-Trump Republican would be faring against Biden  Why Silver is generally optimistic that we will avoid an electoral crisis on November 3  And much more. References: "The Senate’s Rural Skew Makes It Very Hard For Democrats To Win The Supreme Court." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College by Jesse Wegman "Toby Ord on existential risk, Donald Trump, and thinking in probabilities." The Ezra Klein Show "The Real Story of 2016" by Nate Silver Book recommendations: The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom The Precipice by Toby Ord   Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1 hr 11 min
Trump, Inc.
Trump, Inc.
WNYC Studios
Trump, Inc.
Go to New York Magazine to read our list of insiders who profited off the Trump presidency. On April 30, 2018, nine top executives from T-Mobile checked in to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., with their names on a list of VIP arrivals. They landed in Washington at a critical moment: Just the day before, T-Mobile had announced plans for a merger with Sprint. To complete the deal, the company needed approval from the Justice Department, one block away on Pennsylvania Avenue. Hanging out in the lobby in his trademark hot-pink-and-black T-Mobile hoodie, then CEO John Legere was instantly recognizable to hotel guests. His company wasn’t just patronizing the president’s hotel. It was advertising that it was doing so. That evening, in a closed-door suite just off the hotel lobby, a small group of political donors got to have dinner with the president of the United States. The guests included a steel magnate, who complained to the president about rules limiting the number of hours a trucker could be on the road, and a property developer, who suggested holding the next summit with Kim Jong-un at a site he had built near Seoul. Also in the mix were two then-obscure businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. They had secured an invite to the dinner after promising a $325,000 donation to a Trump-aligned super-PAC. Like the other guests, they came with an agenda. Parnas and Fruman wanted to build an energy business in Ukraine but felt the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, stood in their way. Parnas fed the president a fabrication that was sure to get his attention: that Yovanovitch was an anti-Trumper. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s going to get impeached,’ ” Parnas told the president. Trump was enraged. Parnas and Fruman and the T-Mobile executives were pulling the same lever that night. And they all got results. T-Mobile’s merger was later approved, and Ambassador Yovanovitch was abruptly removed from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev. Later, Parnas and Fruman were indicted on a -campaign-finance-violations charge (they had concealed the origins of their super-PAC donation) and were arrested with one-way tickets to Vienna in hand. (They have pleaded not guilty and face trial in 2021.) Trump claimed he did not know them. This is the Washington Trump has built these past four years, where people who patronize Trump businesses can expect preferential treatment, where a deputy secretary can oversee a bailout that benefits his family’s company, where administration officials fly in private jets paid for by the public — and where top government officials don’t bother to divest from industries whose policies they oversee. It started at the top, of course. Just nine days before his inauguration, Trump held his first news conference as president-elect. Presiding over a table with towering stacks of folders, Trump’s lawyer suggested there would be a “wall” between Trump’s business and his presidency, even though Trump himself made it quite clear that he would not be divesting. “I have a no-conflict situation because I’m president,” Trump said. “I could run the Trump Organization, great, great company, and I could run the company — the country,” he added. “I’d do a very, very good job, but I don’t want to do that.” Trump never separated himself from his company in any meaningful way. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also didn’t fully divest from their business interests. The couple made tens of millions of dollars from an array of limited-liability companies while also serving in the White House. Trump’s Commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, pledged to Congress that he would largely sell off his assets, then took dozens of meetings with executives to whose companies he had personal financial ties. Others did divest, but then proceeded to use their agency budgets as their personal piggy banks. Friends, donors, and hangers-on also thrived. Top GOP financier Elliott Broidy leveraged his fundraising into access, including a meeting in the Oval Office. Broidy attempted to use that access as a calling card with foreign officials from whom he sought security contracts. Like several other beneficiaries of Trump’s generosity, Broidy eventually found himself in legal trouble, pleading guilty to violating foreign-lobbying laws on behalf of Malaysian and Chinese clients. But many Trump affiliates benefited in ways that are perfectly legal. Attorney William S. Consovoy, who argued before an appeals court last fall that Trump could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and be shielded from all consequences (the judges were unpersuaded), brought in $2 million from the RNC and Trump-campaign committees. Others sought the ultimate benefit: freedom. Roger Stone, who would not turn on Trump despite the threat of jail time, was one of many Trump loyalists and allies to receive clemency from the president. To be sure, a lot of people found ways to benefit from Trump’s time in office: journalists, progressive nonprofits, high earners — Trump donors or not. But Trump profiteers went far beyond what used to count as standard-issue Washington swampiness. New York partnered with WNYC’s Trump, Inc. podcast to identify 51 such insiders, whose unprecedented ability to gain from the Trump presidency will go down in history. Their schemes became ever more brazen these past four years, even as their goals shifted. The initial grifts tended to be strictly transactional on the model of the Trump Organization itself, through which the Trump name could be had by nearly anyone for the right price. Later on, not just money but power became the president’s currency. The quids became subtler: shielding Trump from legal consequences, investigating a political opponent, providing an intellectual rationale for understanding the presidency as Trump sees it — not as a civic duty but as a business. Read our full list of 51 Trump insiders (from Sheldon Adelson to Ryan Zinke) at New York Magazine. Sign up for email updates from Trump, Inc. to get the latest on our investigations.
36 min
How to Save a Planet
How to Save a Planet
Gimlet
Cold Hard Cash for Your Greenhouse Gas
Cold Hard Cash for Your Greenhouse Gas When we think about what’s heating up the planet, we may picture CO2 from smokestacks and tailpipes. But there are other greenhouse gases that are even more dangerous. And some of these are hiding in garages and sheds all over the country. We’re talking about refrigerants. They’re the secret sauce behind how refrigerators and air conditioners keep things cool. But they’re heating up the planet. This week, in collaboration with NPR’s Planet Money, we take a ride with a couple of guys who tackle these climate threats with a pair of extremely high-tech tools: a van, and some cold hard cash. Then, we talk about the climate solution you could be interacting with every time you buy ice cream. Also, sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already!  Calls to action Find out what refrigerant your local grocer uses at climatefriendlysupermarkets.org. Check out how the big supermarket chains are doing on HFCs using the Supermarket Scorecard. As for your own household fridge, if you're in the market or know someone who is, choose an HFC-free model. Learn more about how to properly dispose of your fridge, freezer, air conditioners, and other such appliances at the end of their useful lives. Of course, you can always call Tim and Gabe to help with disposal too! Check out their work at Tradewater and Refrigerant Finders. Sign Green America’s Cool It! Campaign petition. While you’re there, find a climate friendly supermarket near you and thank them! If you’re a business owner, submit a letter to the Trump Administration asking them to ratify the Kigali Amendment, the international treaty that sets the phase down schedule for HFCs globally. You would be joining many states, major industry refrigerant suppliers, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle. The AIM Act is a bipartisan bill, supported by both the House and the Senate, that effectively would enforce the same HFC phase down schedule as the Kigali Amendment without needing to ratify it – it would cut HFC use by 85% by 2035! However, it’s likely to be vetoed by the current President. So...vote, specifically, #VoteClimate. And when it comes to local candidates those really matter too for things like public transit and composting and bike lines, so please do a little digging of your own on local candidates. Finally, if you do end up taking one of these actions — do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear about what you did and what it felt like. So if you do something, record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us at howtosaveaplanet@spotify.com. We might use it in an upcoming episode.
45 min
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