The Week on Planet Trump: Celebrating Singapore Summit with Praise for “Tough Guy” Kim

Voters who supported President Donald Trump in 2016 can be expected to cheer his tough stance on trade policy with Canada. But a closer look at U.S. trade data suggests that Trump supporters in states that sent him to the White House are the last ones who should be rejoicing over the prospect of a trade war with Canada. A CNBC analysis of 2016 voter turnouts and trade flows with Canada shows that states such as Ohio, Texas and Indiana that supported Trump generally enjoy a surplus in goods trade with Canada. By contrast, the biggest goods trade deficits with Canada are in states such as California and Illinois that voted for Clinton. The major exception is Michigan, which runs a large trade deficit in goods with Canada and voted for Trump by a slim margin in 2017.

Tweet Checking: Corbynite Brexit Quislings, and the Role of Our Elected Representatives

You always wonder if things can get any worse, like a perverse bet between your Id and Superego that your Ego has to deal with when they actually do. A Tory MP blocked the anti-upskirting law against the wishes of virtually every other MP, supposedly according to him not because he was a reactionary creep, but some balls about his objection actually regarding “who controls the House of Commons on Fridays”, before he accused the government of acting like Putin. Even if he had a legitimate point about order of business, this is what he chose to make a stand on? I think James Bloodworth put it best: “Imagine choosing this f****** hill to die on”.

Common Sense on Britain's Railways

The British commuter is non-ideological: she just wants to get to and from work without wrecking her life. She’s the epitome of a self-interested, common-sense, even aspirational voter that politicians have been courting for decades. It is truly shameful (though who precisely feels this most keenly we aren’t sure) that one of the world’s seven largest economies cannot run a basic transport system that has been the hallmark of a competent country since the Victorian era. But then in a nation whose construction industry is built on a conjurer's trick known as PFI and where new nuclear plants will only come on stream on the backs of future generations having to fork out to French and Chinese for decades, it should come as no surprise.

Weekend Poetry: Three Poems

A.M. Juster's books include: Longing for Laura (Birch Brook Press, 2001); The Secret Language of Women (University of Evansville Press, 2003); The Satires of Horace (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Tibullus' Elegies (Oxford University Press, 2012); Saint Aldhelm's Riddles (University of Toronto Press 2015); Sleaze & Slander: Selected Humorous Verse 1995-2015 (Measure Press 2016) ; The Billy Collins Experience (Aldrich Press 2016) and The Elegies of Maximianus (University of Pennsylvania Press 2018). Forthcoming in 2018 will be Milton's Book of Elegies. He has won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award three times, the Richard Wilbur Award, the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and received other recognition, including two honorary degrees.

Weekend Fiction: The Alphabet Soup of Life, Love, and Death

A is for “Alcohol” The barmaid pushed me with all her might towards the doorway, but I was like a stone pillar, and wobbled from side to side as I was inched out. “I had half a pint left,” I slurred, still protesting. She finally got me over the threshold and I stumbled on the pavement over nothing. “Finally!” she shouted with a slam. I looked around in the murky darkness and a terrible confusion came over me. “You evil cow!” I screamed at the closed door, now as solid as it were the entrance to an ancient tomb. “What’ve you done with sun?!”

The Donald, Kim, and the Art of the Deal

Big on spectacle. Low on substance. That was the broad verdict of all but the most partisan of Trumpists to the Singapore summit between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. Naturally, the president saw things differently. Ever desperate to position himself against his predecessor, he tweeted that Barack Obama had declared North Korea to be the world’s greatest security threat. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” he said.

Brexit Britain from Abroad: Weakened May Lives to Fight Another Day

Commentators frequently call political fiascoes “circuses,” but rarely does a political class oblige by providing three rings of entertainment at once. Such is the British government’s attempt to leave the European Union. In the first ring, Prime Minister Theresa May survived a challenge to her government on Tuesday, as the House of Commons batted down amendments to Brexit legislation proposed by Remainers in the House of Lords. But the votes were nail-biters in a way such legislation usually isn’t. This suggests the issues—parliamentary oversight of a final Brexit deal with Brussels, and what trade deal London should work toward—won’t go away.

Playful and Witty, The Chameleon is a Book About Why We Need Books

This is a book about books that is narrated by a book. Now isn’t that a sentence to chew over? Let me explain. “My name is John, and I am this book.” Drawing upon themes Virginia Woolf so eloquently presented in her experimental novel Orlando, Samuel Fisher tells the life story of a book that has existed for centuries. Like the character Orlando, John the book does not grow old and die but instead continues to exist as the ages pass. Nevertheless, he does change a bit like the title suggests. Chameleons adapt to their environment; they shift colours to best fit their surroundings.

The many faces of Italy’s M5S: Post-ideology, populism, and the ‘government of change’

Variously described as far-left, left-wing, far-right, fascist, populist, techno-populist, left-populist, anti-establishment, and post-ideological, Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S, ‘the Five Star Movement’) has been puzzling commentators, and inspiring support from across the political spectrum, for nearly a decade. With a name that refers to five key policies – policies which made the most minimal of appearances in March’s election – the party’s favoured term has always been ‘post-ideological’.