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Vox Sentences: We might not always have Paris

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Trump might be reneging on the Paris climate deal, or maybe he isn’t, who knows, life's but a walking shadow, signifying nothing.


Paris, nous sommes désolés

UN Secretary General, Major Signatories Hold Press Conference On Paris Agreement Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • President Trump is about to announce whether he’ll pull the US out of the international climate agreement signed in Paris in 2015. And while he claims he hasn’t made up his mind yet, some sources believe he’s settled on withdrawal. [Axios / Jonathan Swan]
  • Leaving the climate accord would relieve the US from its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025 (though other policies Trump has already rolled back made it unlikely the US would hit that target anyway). [Vox / David Roberts]
  • The Paris agreement was a major global accord. The US, if it backs out, will join only two other countries that aren’t signatories: Syria and Nicaragua. [Washington Post / Denise Lu and Kim Soffen]
  • And it would cede future leadership on the issue of climate change — not to mention negotiating leverage in future climate deals — to China, which is eager to accept the mantle of global climate leadership but might not have the capacity the US once had to get other countries to go along. [LAT / Jonathan Kaiman and Alexandra Zavis]
  • Of course, Trump’s not doing it for the world. He’s doing it for America — in particular, in the false hope that undoing President Obama’s climate policies will bring jobs back to coal country. [Vox / Jim Tankersley]
  • In reality, the economic threat posed by unmitigated climate change would be pretty disastrous for much of the US, especially at the coasts... [NYT / Ian Urbina]
  • ...which means, yes, Mar-a-Lago would be underwater. [Vox / Sarah Frostenson]
  • All of this might be moot. The president of the European Commission mocked Trump Wednesday, pointing out that if he’d read the text of the Paris agreement, he’d know it will take the US at least three or four years to formally leave Paris. [Hallie Jackson via Twitter]
  • That’s not necessarily a good thing for those still invested in the agreement’s success. A Trump administration determined to render the Paris agreement useless from the inside might be more effective in killing it than one that simply picked up and left. [FT / Pilita Clark​]

Kabul isn’t safe

Afghans Protest Deportations Following Kabul Bombing Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
  • A bomb in a sewage tanker killed at least 80 people and injured hundreds more in Kabul on Wednesday, right outside the German Embassy. [Reuters / Mirwais Harooni and Sayed Hassib]
  • No group has yet claimed the attack. (The Taliban has denied involvement; the local ISIS affiliate is silent.) And authorities think it’s plausible the German Embassy wasn’t the target; most of the casualties were Afghan civilians. [ABC News / Luis Martinez]
  • The significance of the location of Wednesday’s bombing is that the “Green Zone,” where the embassy is located, is supposed to be the safest part of Kabul. A massive attack there simply underscores the reality that Afghanistan is not a safe place to be right now. [Deutsche Welle / Nicole Birtsch]
  • That reminder comes at an awkward time for Germany in particular. In 2017, Germany has promised to deport more failed asylum seekers to their home countries — and while it’s admitted that Syria isn’t a safe country to deport people to, it’s been willing to return Afghans. [Al Jazeera / Patrick Strickland]
  • In response to Wednesday’s attack, deportation flights appear to have been halted, but no one knows how long that will last. [HuffPost / Willa Frej]
  • The US is also deporting immigrants to Afghanistan, but in much lower numbers. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Ashley Lisenby]
  • The more immediate policy question facing the US is one President Trump was already considering before Wednesday: whether to ramp up the American military presence in what’s now officially America’s longest war. [Vox / Alex Ward​]

Hard-Corbyn

The BBC Leader's Debate Takes Place In Cambridge Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
  • On April 18, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she was calling a surprise snap general election, to be held on June 8 (a week from tomorrow). While she could have stayed in office through 2020 if she wanted, observers interpreted May's decision as an effort to get a bigger majority in Parliament and a mandate to negotiate a deal for leaving the European Union. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • May had every reason to think she'd win in a blowout. In the five most recent polls before the announcement, she was defeating the Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by an average of 18 points. For context, David Cameron won the 2015 election for Conservatives by less than 7 points. [Polling Report / Anthony J. Wells]
  • Then a funny thing happened: Corbyn and Labour started to surge. A number of recent polls have seen May's lead fall to the single digits.
  • Indeed, one assessment by the polling firm YouGov estimated that Conservatives would fall 20 seats short of a majority, necessitating either an unstable minority government or a coalition government, led by Conservatives with Northern Irish unionists supporting them or by Labour with the Scottish National Party and other small, left-leaning nationalist groups on its side. [The Times / Sam Coates]
  • What happened? Was it that the Manchester concert bombing shook the public's confidence in May? Not really: It appears to be motivated by the Conservative campaign manifesto, which included a controversial change to long-term care funding, a change that Labour frequently refers to as the "dementia tax." [Polling Report / Anthony J. Wells]
  • Specifically, the manifesto dropped a provision set to take effect in 2020 that would cap elderly people’s total long-term care costs at £72,000 (~$104,000). It also proposed including real estate property when calculating elderly people’s financial ability to pay; that would effectively force some people to remortgage or sell their homes to pay for long-term care. [FT / Chris Giles]
  • After a massive public outcry, May reaffirmed her support for a cap on long-term care spending. But the provision on home property values hasn’t gone anywhere. [Reuters / Kylie MacLellan and Kate Holton]
  • May isn't acting threatened, in any case. She sent Home Secretary (which is like a mashup of the US attorney general and homeland security secretary) Amber Rudd to debate Labour leader Corbyn and a few other minor party leaders Wednesday night. [BBC]
  • And maybe she’s right to be optimistic. Two new polls on Wednesday showed Conservatives ahead by 6 and 10 points, respectively; another, which was in the field last week but had a relayed release, has Conservatives ahead by 15. Even if Labour is doing better than expected, Conservatives are still the big favorites to pull out a victory. Moreover, polls showed Labour winning in 2015 only to see Conservatives gain seats overall. [Polling Report / Anthony J. Wells]
  • Win or lose, it’s a remarkably strong performance for Corbyn, whose brand of hard-left politics was widely expected to lead to total electoral catastrophe. For crying out loud, one of his top campaign aides only resigned from the Communist Party last year, has praised Stalin, and has called for solidarity with the “People’s Korea.” [Huffington Post / Paul Waugh​]

Miscellaneous

  • The Knife of Aristotle doesn't just run a website aimed at debunking what it deems fake news. It's also part of a full-on cult. [Paste / Brock Wilbur]
  • Master of None is one of my (Dylan's) absolutely favorite shows currently on the air. But season two has a big problem: a love interest who's never allowed to be a full person. [NY Mag / Anna Silman]
  • How Amanda Chantal Bacon, a juice mogul and lifestyle guru beloved of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley, became the posh, rich, liberal version of Alex Jones. [NYT / Molly Young]
  • Bacon isn’t alone. Chemtrails and other classic conspiracy theories are spreading rapidly outside traditional far-right circles. [The Guardian / Carey Dunne]
  • A fascinating, ingenious new experiment suggests that Trump's election really is making people more willing to express bigotry openly. [Bloomberg / Cass Sunstein]

Verbatim

  • “This is from the man who destroyed his entire family over a centuries old maple syrup feud.” [A.V. Club / LaToya Ferguson]
  • “Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.” [Quanta / Joshua Sokol]
  • “Inequality creates liars and delusion. The powerless need to dissemble — that’s how slaves, servants, and women got the reputation of being liars — and the powerful grow stupid on the lies they require from their subordinates and on the lack of need to know about others who are nobody, who don’t count, who’ve been silenced or trained to please.” [Lithub / Rebecca Solnit]
  • “More than any technical advantage, the key to Uber’s growth has been its $15 billion of venture-capital funding. The company has long acknowledged that most of its losses come from subsidizing rides. (The most progressive argument for using Uber may be the fact that it has been a considerable redistribution of wealth from investors to working-class drivers.)” [NY Mag / Reeves Wiedeman]
  • “At this stage of the American opioid epidemic, many addicts are collapsing in public — in gas stations, in restaurant bathrooms, in the aisles of big-box stores. Brian Costello, a former Army medic who is the director of the Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services, believes that more overdoses are occurring in this way because users figure that somebody will find them before they die. ‘To people who don’t have that addiction, that sounds crazy,’ he said. ‘But, from a health-care provider’s standpoint, you say to yourself, “No, this is survival to them.” They’re struggling with using but not wanting to die.’” [New Yorker / Margaret Talbot]

Watch this: Want to save animal lives without going veg? Eat beef, not chicken.

You don’t have to eat like a vegan to save animal lives. [Vox / Matteen Mokalla, Dean Peterson]


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