Change agent

David Brooks this morning:

If you wanted to design a personality type perfectly ill suited to be a change agent in government, you would come up with Donald Trump: solipsistic, impatient, combative, unsubtle and ignorant. If you wanted to design a personality type better suited to getting things done, you might come up with James Baker, Robert Gates or Ted Kennedy, but you might also come up with Hillary Clinton.

Source: The Banality of Change – The New York Times

Knickers in a knot 

THE office of the US trade representative is conducting its annual review of African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beneficiaries to see if any are out of compliance with the act’s conditions. In 2015, SA was in the crosshairs for being difficult about American chicken, pork and beef. In 2016 the focus is on Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi as members of the East African Community (EAC). The problem is previously used clothing.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: US getting its second-hand knickers in a knot | Columnists | BDlive

A Pigovian tax on sugar?

In 2015 Berkeley, California, became the first American municipality to implement a tax on sugary beverages to cut consumption. Set at about a rand a regular-sized can, the impost seems to have worked. But before the Treasury gets too excited, let’s note that the operative word here is “seems”.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Sugar tax debate produces no clear winners | Columnists | BDlive

An economy drugged by Big Pharma

Unchecked, the medical-industrial complex is poisoning the US economy as it sucks up an ever larger share of the nation’s wealth, using its economic muscle to buy political complaisance. The only constitutional way it can be stopped is through the election of a president who will say enough is enough, backed by strong, like-minded majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives, and, ultimately, on the supreme court.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Big Pharma has drugged greedy US politicians | Columnists | BDlive

A lock on the House

Hillary Clinton could still lose to Donald Trump on November 8. It doesn’t look likely at this point, ongoing e-mail eruptions notwithstanding. A far safer bet is that the Republican party, however badly its presidential nominee crashes and burns, will retain control of the House of Representatives, making life exceedingly difficult for Clinton even if the Democrats retake the Senate.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Republicans deft at exploiting ticket to power | Columnists | BDlive

Trump’s Rhodes-Must-Fall Moment

In sneering at Khizr and Ghazala Khan, an immigrant Muslim couple whose son Humayun, a US Army captain, was killed protecting American comrades in Iraq, Donald Trump may finally have arrived at his Rhodes-must-fall moment.

Not Cecil but “Lonesome” Rhodes, the protagonist of Elia Kazan’s 1957 cautionary tale, “A Face in the Crowd”, a movie finding a whole new audience thanks to the Republican presidential nominee. Continue reading “Trump’s Rhodes-Must-Fall Moment”