The heroic prosecutors of Trump

From New Yorker:

THE PROSECUTION OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: How the House Democrats, in the face of certain defeat, presented the case for impeachment.

The magazine hasn’t been that interesting since 2016 when it switched to an all-Trump-hatred-all-the-time format, but this article is. Prosecutors who knew that they had no chance of convicting someone nonetheless pressed on!

This feeling of inevitability was shared among those who were most intimately involved with the House’s impeachment efforts. As recently as July … Adam Schiff, the ex-prosecutor who became the de-facto leader of the House’s impeachment inquiry last fall, said that he would “be delighted” if there was a real prospect of removing the President through impeachment. Unfortunately, he said at the time, “the only way he’s leaving office, at least at this point, is by being voted out⁠.”

Ordinarily, we don’t celebrate prosecutors who go after people whom they know they can’t convict, but when Trump is involved, apparently the standards are different!


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Can the Democrats impeach Trump again starting next week?

Donald Trump has demonstrated his criminal mastermind capabilities by beating the impeachment rap. In the entirely non-partisan process, out of 535 members of Congress there were 4 people whose vote could not have been predicted by party affiliation?

The failure to remove Trump has occasioned despair among my Facebook friends:

The Day Democracy Died

Tombstone: American Democracy 1776-2020, killed by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans who refused to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of a criminal president

An American flag morphing into a Nazi flag

Today the US Senate has validated the most dangerous precedent in its history. … This principle could be used to literally make a US president a dictator. Republicans will come to deeply regret this sad day. [more dangerous a precedent than court-approved Japanese-American internment?]

We now have a Russian-style government [if true, where is the U.S. metro system that runs a train on every line every 60 seconds?]

[From January 28] People who aren’t following the impeachment story are missing one as fascinating as any cliffhanger Game of Thrones story. It looks like the senators might not want to be caught letting Trump murder the Constitution. Surprise.

Today is going to be one of the darkest days in the history of the United States. Maybe, just maybe we did not deserve Democracy and all the efforts of the Framers who dedicate their energy, time and vision to set up the architecture of the Constitution… [In the good old days we had the Framers holding slaves, stealing land from the Native Americans, and speculating in real estate west of the Proclamation Line]

My fear grows that Donald Trump will win in 2020. … Badly constructed polls, and definitely national polls should be denounced. Anybody who cites a national poll should be criticized as distracting from the actual task at hand. Anybody who funds one should be questioned as being under the spell of Putin, because they can only mislead from the real answer. … Yes, under the spell of Putin. We are highly confident he is trying to manipulate the left in this election, to make them self-destruct. The question is not whether he is doing this, but to what extent he is succeeding. Any time you see the Democrats doing self-destructive things, you should be suspicious.

[me, responding to the rich Bay Area dweller above] How will you survive if the next five years are anything like the last three?

[him] it will be a challenge. More down the road, as Trump hastens the decline of not just the USA but the West, in the world.

For the above-quoted folks, impeachment of Trump is serious and/or entertaining. Why let it end with acquittal? Removing a Hitler-style dictator would be worth more than one try, right? Maybe in the second try more than one Republican will see that Trump actually is the new Hitler.

Most of us do stuff every day, right? From the point of view of politicians in the party to which he no longer belongs, isn’t almost anything that Donald Trump does conceivably impeachable? If so, why not start a new impeachment process next week? (or tomorrow!) Surely it can’t be too early to begin an investigation at least?

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Are any of the Kansas City Chiefs from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren?

So many questions after watching part of the Super Bowl with an Irish friend.

“Are any of the Kansas City Chiefs from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren?” Turns out that this was already answered by the New York Times:

On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Chiefs fans will don headdresses and mark themselves with red paint to perform the “tomahawk chop,” a wordless chant complete with a swinging motion of the forearm, caricaturing what they believe is Native American culture.

A 2005 resolution by the American Psychological Association recognized research that found that Native American team mascots and symbols harm our children’s self-esteem. Racial stereotypes are harmful, no matter the intent.

How do multiple “chiefs” play together as a team? (No answer so far.)

Inevitably from a person accustomed to soccer: “Why is this game so f*cking slow?” (I timed the last 2.5 minutes of the game… more than 20 minutes.)

A minor question: Why couldn’t the 49ers concede with a few seconds left in the game? Why were the players collectively forced to run out the clock?

My own question: Fox and Fox News are owned by the same parent company. Watching the Super Bowl thus puts cash into the pockets of the Official Channel of the Deplorables. Why would people who proudly #resist and who claim that Fox News is responsible for the parlous state of our nation watch regular Fox at any time for any reason?

Readers: How can anyone who purports to be resisting Donald Trump tune into a Fox station?


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Why are politicians working overtime on impeachment?

My first exposure to the impeachment show is this evening in a hotel lobby here in Charleston, South Carolina:

Note the time: 10:48 pm. Why are they working beyond normal business hours? Trial courts usually work only 9:30-4 or similar.

If Trump is obviously guilty, why can’t he be convicted on a 9-5 schedule? (Did the House go into these late sessions back in December?)

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Diversity at MIT

In a “fun lunch” presentation of photos from Oshkosh in our FAA Private Pilot ground school at MIT (videos linked from the course home page), the next slide contained the following images:

(Bo 105 aerobatic helicopter in a custom Trump 2020 paint scheme)

Before the slide appeared I asked the 75-person class “Raise your hand if you support Donald Trump.” Guess how many supported America’s leading citizen and were willing to own up to it?

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How was Ivanka Trump’s keynote speech at CES?

My Facebook friends were outraged that Ivanka Trump had been asked to speak at the Consumer Electronics Show. How was her talk?

A senior citizen white male programmer linked to “Ivanka Trump Keynoting At CES Is All That is Wrong For Women In Tech” (Forbes):

Both in 2017 and 2018, the keynote lineups did not have a single woman included on the main stage. … The presence of the so-called “booth babes” continues to anger many. While they were officially outlawed years ago by the CTA, it seems that booth babes are now on stage disguised under tight exercise clothing.

If you are a woman in tech, like me, you are very familiar with the T.WA., the “token woman appearance” on keynote stages and panels. I have been one myself several times, mostly being called to facilitate an all-male panel.

Whose job is it to decide that a person working in a booth is a “booth babe” and must be ejected?

[The author claims to be “in tech” and yet the biography at bottom says

Carolina Milanesi is the Founder of The Heart of Tech, a technology market research and consultancy firm focused on tech in education and diversity in tech.

Isn’t she actually in the diversity industry?]

All of his Facebook friends are white male senior citizen programmers. They were similarly outraged.

Of course, I couldn’t resist:

Me: It is refreshing to see older white men with the courage to boo young women off the stage before they have started to speak.

White Boomer Coder 1: She isn’t there because she is young or a woman. She is there only because of who her vile father is.

Me: I am just waiting for [the original poster] to ask “Why isn’t she home with her three children?”

White Boomer Coder 2: “before they have started to speak” is a rather bizarre claim. She’s not an unknown personna and she’s ever bit as vile as her father. And as already noted, she has literally no relevant skills to this conference.

White Boomer Coder 3: You seriously think she’s credible within the tech community? Age and gender have nothing to do with this. You’re missing the point entirely. I can think of multiple women, white and not-white, who would be almost infinitely more credible, intelligent and knowledgeable, than Ms. Trump. I’m incredulous that this decision was made for any reason other than to pander to the squatter in the WH.

White Boomer Coder 4: Philip Greenspun Are you a troll or an idiot? Serious question. She has no qualifying characteristics for delivering such a talk. It has nothing to do with race or gender. I don’t care one whit about boycotting CES or not. But shame on anyone who would attend that talk. And shame on the fools and tools who booked her. If you are serious about breaking the speaker mold, there are credible choices out there. However, you clearly are not serious about this…

How is CES lately? The folks protesting Ivanka Trump’s presence there make it sound like a sacred temple. I was there so long ago that silicone (adult film stars and their products) and silicon were able to coexist on the same floor. If almost everything interesting in technology is happening inside smartphones, how relevant is a show centered on “everything else”?

And, circling back to the top… how was Ivanka Trump’s talk?

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Trump is an ongoing threat to our national security, so we’re going to take a couple of weeks off

Shocking: Trump has now been impeached by an impartial group of politicians who said, back before he took office, that they would impeach him.

Disturbing: Trump is “an ongoing threat to national security” (Nancy Pelosi, opening the “debate”; is the threat so bad that Pelosi will start converting some of the family’s real estate assets into gold?)

Confusing: The people who impeached Trump because of the “threat to national security” are now packing up for a well-deserved Christmas vacation. Trump, Kim Jong-un, and other nuclear-armed maniacs, should be fine for a couple of weeks without any supervision or advice.

Separately, who has read the 658-page report from the House Judiciary Committee that explains what Trump actually did? Are the crimes so complex that 658 pages of explanation are required? That’s only a little shorter than Anna Karenina. A typical indictment of a Nazi war criminal for the Nuremberg Trials seems to have been roughly 15 pages (examples).

[I forgot to plug in my phone for a quick drive home from a restaurant this evening and therefore wasn’t listening to these geology lectures. Flipping stations, I found out about this from the local NPR station. Massachusetts has nine Representatives in Congress. Which one’s speech did the station choose to broadcast? That of Ayanna Pressley, the only Massachusetts-based member of “The Squad”.]

Given that the votes seem to be entirely along party lines and the Senate does not contain enough Democrats to remove El Presidente, is there any reason to read about this?

Who else thinks it strange that politicians can use the language of crisis and then take a couple of weeks off?

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White men correctly perceive American Jews as their enemies?

The Jew-hater-in-Chief is back in the news for his purported Jew-hatred:

The existence of white men who express hostility to American Jews is cited as proof that Trump is responsible for this hostility (and all of this is additional evidence for Trump’s proven stupidity, since only the dumbest of Jew-haters would choose to live in Manhattan and Palm Beach; Wikipedia: “The population of Palm Beach County is 20% Jewish, which makes it by far the most Jewish county in the United States. ‘To find a more densely populated Jewish community, you’d have to go to Israel,’ says Richard Jacobs, vice president of community planning for the Boca-based Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.”; NYC has the largest Jewish community outside of Israel).

But what if a white guy’s perception that American Jews are his enemies is accurate?

Suppose that a low-to-medium skill white man wants to earn money via working. This article by a Harvard economist says “The total wealth redistribution [due to low-skill immigration] from the native losers to the native winners is enormous, roughly a half-trillion dollars a year.” What political party promotes the low-skill immigration that will take money away from this white man via lower wages and higher rent and give it to rich Americans (they enjoy paying lower wages for their service workers and receiving higher rents for the apartment buildings that they own)? The Democrats. Although only 71 percent of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton (Wikipedia), groups that claim to be “Jewish” constantly remind Americans that adherence to the modern version of the Jewish faith compels them to vote for Democrats, support immigration, etc. (example: “The Jewish Case for Open Borders”, which notes “Jews have been especially active in this mobilization, driven by their social liberalism, their sense of religious duty, or both. Synagogue networks sprang up to offer aid to refugees, while groups like Jews United for Justice and Jewish Voice for Peace have been a visible presence at protest rallies.” (it would be interesting to run an experiment in which physicians and lawyers from around the globe show up and are immediately eligible to practice medicine/law in NYC, Los Angeles, DC, and Miami, then see whether “religious duty” compels Jews to support open borders!)).

An Orthodox friend expressed fears several years ago that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (now “HIAS“) would lead to anti-Jewish sentiment in the U.S. The group started out by taking voluntary donations to help Jews settle in the U.S. Today they take taxpayer dollars (partly collected from low-to-medium-skill white men) to help “refugees” take up residence in corners of the U.S. that are far from the organization’s suburban Washington, D.C. and Manhattan offices. The organization also lobbies to demand that the government admit more refugees (which would translate into more revenue for HIAS). My friend pointed out that these refugees compete with natives for jobs and housing and that one day either a refugee or a child of a refugee brought in by HIAS might participate in a domestic jihad (see Omar Mateen, child of Aghan immigrants, Syed Rizwan Farook, child of Pakistani immigrants, and our local asylum winner: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev).

In October 2018, a 46-year-old white guy killed 11 mostly elderly Jews in Pittsburgh after their synagogue promoted its support for HIAS. The organization’s web site shows numerous recent articles doubling down on the idea that bringing more migrants to the U.S. is a specifically Jewish mission, e.g., “Jewish Groups Rally to #CloseTheCamps” (“Jewish groups across the country marked Tisha b’Av, the traditional Jewish day of mourning, on August 10-11 with vigils and protests to demand an end to the mistreatment of immigrants and refugees.”), “More Than 1500 Jewish Clergy Sign Petition to Protect Asylum” (“‘This country is a nation of immigrants, our story is one of immigration and travel from one place to another,’ said Rabbi Elyse Wechterman” (#SoBrave, but how many Hondurans are qualified to take her job?)), and “The Pittsburgh Attack: One Year Later” (“We cannot disentangle white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigration sentiment because they are all bound together by hate” — but what if it was HIAS itself that bound together anti-Semitism and anti-immigration sentiment?).

Suppose that a white man is in between jobs. What political party advocates the continued legality of discrimination in employment such that he will be hired only if no acceptable applicants identifying as “women” or non-white are available? Again, the Democrats and again, publicly supported by people who call themselves “Jews.” (See also, the Anti-Defamation League supporting race-based college admissions; the 2018 “Reform Jewish Movement Condemns Decision to Roll Back Federal Affirmative Action Guidance”; a 2017 article noting that “Most mainstream Jewish organizations still support affirmative action.”)

American Jews are more likely than non-Jews to benefit from a larger government. Jews are over-represented in medicine by 7X (source, a bit misleading since I don’t think this is adjusted for the fact that median age among Jews is older than the U.S. median and an older person is more likely to have completed medical school). For anyone working in health care, the river of government cash that started flowing in the 1960s (Medicare and Medicaid) has been wonderful. Jews have more years of education than the average American (Pew) and therefore are more likely to get jobs at universities, which have been supported by federal student loan subsidies (and soon, loan forgiveness in Queen Elizabeth Warren’s jubilee year!), tuition grants, and research grants. Jews living in larger cities (that may be 97 percent of us) have benefited from the fact that a big government builds most of its lavish facilities in big cities. I don’t want to take the risk of being lumped in with the Jew-haters by implying that there are Jews who work in finance, but if there are indeed any Jews in this sector of the economy they’ve been advantaged by government policies favoring Wall Street. Jews tend to hold the credentials that qualify them for unionized government work, e.g., school teacher, social worker, etc. So they benefit when government payrolls are fattened and expanded.

Jewish Democrats will tell you that they’re voting for a bigger government not in order to line their own pockets, but because of their commitment to social justice, which they say may be inspired by their Jewish faith and identity. But what stops a white man who can’t access these rivers of government cash from resenting these Jews and disbelieving their claims of altruism? (When queried, my coastal-dwelling Jewish friends simply dismiss the possibility that there is anyone who could have voted against the Democrats for reasons of rational self-interest; in their view, Trump voters, for example, are stupid and short-sighted, and fail to realize that they are stupidly voting against their own self-interest, e.g., because Planet Earth will be destroyed by climate change without the Democrats in charge of the federal government.)

Hypothetical: Suppose that the coastal elites forgot to take away the right of the non-elite non-welfare-collecting Americans to vote. And then a candidate who promised to advocate for the interests of those who weren’t poor enough to collect welfare and weren’t credentialed enough to get on the government payroll actually became President of the United States? Then a bunch of Jews simultaneously showed up to Congress to try to get rid of this person? Would a non-elite white guy then be irrational to perceive Jews as his enemies?

Reality: “Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters”:

And while the officials who appeared before Schiff’s committee were fact witnesses who described the events surrounding the Ukraine scandal, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., brought three witnesses — all constitutional scholars — that he hoped would outline a theory of impeachment.

All three witnesses are Jewish: Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela Karlan of Stanford and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina. So are Schiff and Nadler, and so was the Democrats’ counsel who directed the first 45 minutes of questioning, Norm Eisen.

I.e., if you were a Trump voter watching the above on TV and someone called from the kitchen to ask what was going on, you would be literally correct in saying that “a bunch of Jews are trying to undo my vote”. Of course, it wouldn’t be correct to say that “all Jews are trying to undo my vote,” but that’s a logical correction, not an emotional one.

Maybe the majority of American Jews do wish to continue their efforts to harm the interests and undo the votes of roughly 25 percent of Americans (i.e., the white men who voted for Trump). But is it then reasonable to cry “anti-Semitism” if the non-elite white men object to being harmed and disenfranchised?

Readers: What do you think? Given the increased power of government, the dramatic effect of government policies, and the tendency of American Jews to support a particular party/platform, is it possible that the irrational anti-Jewish sentiment of the 19th century has been replaced by rational anti-Jewish sentiment, motivated by anger at the reported actions of Americans who identify as Jews (and are willing to go to any length, short of practicing Judaism, to maintain that identity!).

Separately, could the relationship between Jews and those who currently experience anti-Jewish feelings be repaired? I think so. After 56 years and 50 states (see Travels with Samantha for some of these conversations), I can’t remember meeting anyone in the U.S. who hated Jews as individuals, even those who expressed negative views about the actions of Jews in politics, Jews in media, and/or Jews in finance. Suppose, for example, that in response to any question on low-skill immigration, upper-income degree-holding Jews said “We don’t have any special insight into migration-into-a-cradle-to-grave-welfare-state issues as a consequence of our Jewish heritage and therefore we should let the low-wage native workers who will bear the cost decide policy.” Suppose that Jews quietly voted their self-interest by voting for bigger government, but didn’t use Jewish-owned media (NYT!) to broadcast “anyone who disagrees that the government needs to be bigger is a moron and/or immoral.” Suppose that Jews who are passionate about social justice used their own money to fund private efforts to accomplish social justice goals, e.g., building homes for the homeless, rather than using the political process to try to force people who don’t agree that these goals are appropriate targets of government efforts to pay higher taxes. Given that lobbying the government is the most lucrative investment an American can make (Heritage Foundation), it is a big ask to request that Jews with political connections do something other than politics, but maybe they could try to avoid all showing up at the same time to the same hearing as they did recently?


  • this Showtime clip (“Look at that fine-looking Jew” (towards end))
  • “Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews” (Paul Krugman): “this particular anti-Semitic cliché — that Jews are greedy, and that their political behavior is especially driven by their financial interests — is empirically dead wrong.” The brilliant economist notes that some high-income Jews vote for Democrats, which he credits as altruistic due to the potential for higher tax rates, but never considers that these Jews may derive their income from government spending programs and/or regulatory regimes that Democrats promise to maintain and expand. A physician earning $300,000/year from Medicare and Obamacare may have different interests than the owner of an aircraft repair business who earns the same $300,000/year (see also “Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout” from 2016: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”).
  • “The epidemic of bomb threats against
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China proves that one-party rule makes people happier?

I met a lot of people in China who were unhappy with some of the Chinese government’s policies, notably the Great Firewall and control of the media (the stuff that is used to whip up Westerners’ outrage was not foremost in their minds; nobody mentioned the Uyghurs and when I asked the response was that the potential for domestic jihad required some tough policies, the Hong Kong situation was regrettable, but not obviously the government’s fault).

The level of personal bitterness regarding politics was much lower than in the U.S. To the extent that anyone was blamed, it was a handful of leaders at the top of the Communist Party, not fellow citizens. (The Party has roughly 90 million members, or 6 percent of the population, but this includes people with ordinary jobs as farmers, for example.)

Contrast to the U.S. Even in a one-party state, such as California, there is bitterness and hatred. Bay Area Californians, for example, blame the Republican remnant down in Orange County for preventing them from implementing their Socialist dream (somehow a Republican in Orange County is stopping San Francisco from taxing residents to pay for housing for the homeless, universal health care for San Francisco residents, and the rest of the dream? why can’t folks in the Bay Area give up their Teslas and foreign vacations and move the tent people into apartments?).

On a nationwide scale, given the roughly even split among voters, we are virtually guaranteed to have 50 percent of Americans blaming the other 50 percent for voting for whichever party is currently in power (see for example). This does not happen in China. One business executive said “I explain our politics to friends from Texas by saying ‘imagine that the mafia took over control of Dallas.'” Certainly he seems to have little affection for the Party (referring to them as a “mafia”), but he recognizes that there is nothing he can do to change it and that none of his neighbors are to blame for the Party’s control of China. So he concentrates on his business, his family, and his friends, enjoying what he says is a superior lifestyle to what he had in New York City (elite U.S. MBA and job at a top Wall Street bank). He says that there is more practical freedom of speech in China compared to the U.S.: “In China, the Party is clear about what they don’t want you to disagree with publicly,” he noted. “but in the U.S. the boundaries of acceptable speech change from week to week.”

How about freedom of the press? That’s an unqualified good, right? We love the First Amendment, I hope (though we don’t want “hate speech” or anything that makes us and our allies feel unsafe). Consider the New York Times. They run article after article intended to make the majority of Americans resentful of our richest neighbors. These include statistics on inequality that are cooked by valuing the services that a poor American receives at $0. So a person who is guaranteed the lifetime (and often multi-generational) right to live in a $1 million market-value unit in the center of a gleaming city, guaranteed a $30,000/year market-rate family health insurance policy, guaranteed a lifetime of free food and free smarthphone service, etc. is considered to be poorer than the poorest resident of Malawi.

Even if the data were not cooked to the point of absurdity, an article about inequality in the broad economy has no value to more than 95 percent of Americans. Unless they live in a swing state, their vote does not count and they have no influence on national politics. The English-language media in China contains a lot of puff pieces on the good works done by the Chinese government, e.g., flatland Chinese troops who are stationed in Tibet rescuing injured tourists, but the propaganda angle is clear and the reader can ignore it all if desired. Consider how much time Americans spend obsessively tracking the Mueller report (see my recent bookstore photos from Denver), the quest for Trump’s tax returns, the impeachment process soon to be entering its fourth year, etc. Except for those who are in Congress, wouldn’t they have been better off using that time for dinner with friends, reading a book, or learning new skill? Here’s a selection of English news offered at my hotels:

(Note that government control of traditional media has, according to locals, no effect on their practical access to information. “We can learn anything we want about Hong Kong on social media,” said a 24-year-old.)

Maybe the system of government as conceived by our Founding Fathers was a good one (especially since it came with the ability to steal the rest of North America from the Native Americans, which the British had prohibited), but stretched from 3 million to 330 million and combined with a reader-hungry media it results in unhappiness? Or maybe democracy itself is inherently a system in which neighbor will end up hating neighbor (or spouse)? Every government policy results in winners and losers (even building a bridge will harm the livelihood of people who previously operated ferries) and therefore every government policy has voters on both sides. Folks who are harmed by a government policy will therefore inevitably come to hate a majority of their fellow citizens on that issue (since presumably it wouldn’t be a policy if a majority of voters did not support it)? The mutual hatred level gets amped up considerably when people take the position that their vote on an issue is due to their passion for “justice” (a universal) rather than simply self interest (potentially personal).

Not being a Mandarin speaker, it is a bit tough to say whether people are actually happier in China than in the U.S. overall. Out and about, the Chinese actually did seem more content, consistent with the Gallup Global Emotions survey. 87% of Chinese experienced “enjoyment” versus 82% of Americans, an achievement given that the GDP per capita is lower in China; “worry” was at 29% in China and 45% in the U.S. (imagine how worrying it is for a Californian or New Yorker to think about what crimes Trump might commit next!), “anger” and “sadness” were substantially lower in China as well. Despite consuming more opioids than the rest of the world combined, Americans experienced more “pain” than people in China! Maybe we all need higher doses of fentanyl?

Family life in China seems happier. Maybe it is the one-child convention (no longer a law), but it was common to see married couples out with their cherished offspring as a unit of 3. In the U.S., by contrast, Parent A might be with Child 1 at Activity X while Parent B is with Child 2 at Activity Y. (Or the child might have only one parent, incentivized with welfare and/or child support cash, unlike in China where being a “single parent” from the start is simply illegal.)

A 1996 photo series, Standard Family, by Wang Jinsong. From the (awesome) Power Station of Art.

Readers: What aspect of American political and press freedom actually contributes to the happiness of Americans?


  • trust in fellow citizens in China versus the U.S. (63 percent versus 38 percent who say “most people can be trusted”; China is at about the same level as Sweden (certainly Shanghai taxi drivers are a lot more trustworthy than their old-school New York counterparts!))
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