Reason Roundup

Unable To Let 2016 Go, Trump Asks World Leaders To Stay Obsessed, Too

Plus: the case for trading with corrupt countries, the problem with current criminal justice reformers, and more...


More meddling from foreign countries was reportedly sought by the Trump administration. Revelations about "quid pro quo" requests President Donald Trump made to Ukraine's president appear to have opened the floodgates on stories about Trump trying to make self-interested political deals with foreign leaders.

This includes asking the Australian prime minister for help poking holes in the Mueller report, The New York Times reported yesterday, and it includes having his attorney general ask leaders in Australia, Italy, and elsewhere to investigate the CIA and FBI's handling of Trump-Russia collusion fears.

Like Trump's chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison "shows the president using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests," the Times said, continuing:

The discussion with Mr. Morrison shows the extent to which Mr. Trump views the attorney general as a crucial partner: The president is using federal law enforcement powers to aid his political prospects, settle scores with his perceived "deep state" enemies and show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt, partisan origins.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr was reportedly talking to British intelligence authorities, Italian officials, and folks in the Australian government about the FBI and CIA's actions leading up to the 2016 U.S. election and motivations for Trump-related inquiries, according to The Washington Post and "people familiar with the matter."

"The attorney general's active role also underscores the degree to which a nearly three-year-old election still consumes significant resources and attention inside the federal government," notes the Post.

Combined with the actions undertaken by Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in Ukraine, we see "a kind of two-front war" happening, write Times reporters Mark Mazzetti and


"Twenty-five years after the infamous 1994 crime bill, too many criminal justice groups are simply reimagining mass incarceration." A powerful op-ed from Derecka Purnell, a human rights lawyer, and Marbre Stahly-Butts, executive director of Law for Black Lives, calls out the timidity of current criminal justice reform efforts, which often still center on interventions by police.

"The reality is this: The police fill prisons," they write. "We can't repair the harm that the 1994 crime bill has done by promoting mass incarceration without reducing the size and scope of the police."

And yet, "politicians promise jail closings even as they increase police budgets—and, as a result, arrests." People see the fault in old drivers of mass incarceration and yet, faced with any new or persistent social problem, still turn to cops, arrest, and imprisonment as first solutions.


Why trade with China when its government perpetuates horrible human rights abuses? Simple, writes Scott Sumner: "Politics is the answer, trade is the solution."

Free markets and international trade promote peace and liberalization, while isolationism and poverty make authoritarianism worse.

"Hundreds of years of human history strongly suggest that trade makes people better, both at the individual level and the national level," writes Sumner. "History shows that if you want to bring peace and freedom to the world, trade is one of the best ways of doing so."

Whole thing here.


  • Another case of the U.S. Justice Department bravely catching traitors created by the U.S. Justice Department.
  • A proposal in Nye County, Nevada, would confine women working in the area's legal brothels to the brothels, stipulating that they only leave the premises "for six (6) hours per ten (10) day" period.
  • "The power of the Ukraine revelations lies in their simplicity," writes Politico columnist Renato Mariotti, warning Democrats against getting "greedy" with the impeachment inquiry.
  • Gen Z and millennial Americans say they want a European-style democratic socialist state. And yet "Europe's young are less progressive—or 'woke'—than their American contemporaries," suggests The Atlantic. "A third of Millennial and Gen Z voters in Europe consider themselves centrists…and they are emphatically not socialists." In fact, "they are also less in favor than older generations of fiscal redistribution to reduce inequality."
  • If you haven't watched this Saturday Night Live parody of the Democratic presidential debates yet, you should: