Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: George W. Bush

The Paris Climate Agreement’s Failure Was Structurally Inevitable

President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement:

Unfortunately, the Paris Agreement was poorly designed from the start and never really had a chance of meaningfully addressing climate change. Trump’s decision today was produced and facilitated by these weaknesses.

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How Bad Does Trump Have to Be to Match George W. Bush?

Former President George W. Bush has been out and about, charming people with his paintings and his inability to put on a poncho, all in a bid to get people to buy his book of paintings to raise money for veterans. It sounds nice, but of course Bush is the reason so many of these vets need money in the first place–they were wounded, disabled, and sometimes killed in the tremendously expensive wars he started. Yet because Donald Trump has moved the Republican Party so far to the right, Bush now strikes many people as a moderate, and it’s become increasingly common for Trump critics to pine for the 00’s and praise the Bush administration. This nostalgic narrative will likely become more dominant as the memory of the 00’s continues to fade. But today I want to tilt against this windmill and show how much work Trump will have to do to fail as hard as Bush failed.

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Obama’s Legacy: The Evidence Beyond the Punditry

As President Obama’s term draws to a close, every political writer under the sun is offering a hot take on how he’ll be remembered. These can be fun to read, but they don’t tell you very much about what really happened while Barack Obama was president. So today I’d like to look at some of the evidence and data we have on this president. Let’s see how he stacks up next to past presidents and America’s friends and rivals.

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A Hierarchy of Lies and Falsehood

The 2016 election has been full of lies and falsehood. Candidates routinely say things that are not true or make misleading and fallacious arguments. But not all lies are equal–some are more damaging than others, some may even appear justifiable. So today I’d like to break down the different kinds of lies in politics and think about which ones are the most objectionable. To spice things up, we’ll include examples from the campaign of each kind of lie. Are you ready? Let’s go.

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Hillary Clinton is like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

When I watched the third democratic debate, I was amused and horrified with the way Hillary Clinton defended the decision to intervene in Libya:

…we have to continue to do what is necessary when someone like Gadhafi, a despot with American blood on his hands, is overturned.

This is precisely the same way that George W. Bush continues to defend the Iraq War:

One thing is certain: The Iraqi people, the United States and the world are better off without Saddam Hussein in power

On these accounts, overthrowing dictators is the right decision because dictators are bad, and we should get rid of bad people. This reminds me way too much of the plot of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2Spoilers for that movie follow, if you care about such things.

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