The Atlantic Daily: An Existential Threat

What We’re Following

Campaign Communications: Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his previous comments about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, stating that he had misremembered the conversations, which were described by two former campaign aides, that called his confirmation-hearing testimony into question. And Julian Assange responded to The Atlantic’s report on the correspondence between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jr., claiming that the transparency organization’s requests that the Trump campaign promote hacked emails and refuse to concede the election were made in an attempt to solicit leaks. The messages don’t show that Trump Jr. crossed any criminal lines, though they do raise many questions about the campaign’s communications with foreign entities.

Human Rights: On his recent trip to Asia, President Trump spoke very little about human rights, suggesting that he doesn’t see promoting them as an important part of his foreign policy. One of the world’s most pressing human-rights crises is the ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims in Burma, spurred in part by the myth that Muslim “overpopulation” threatens the Buddhist majority there. Meanwhile, in Kenya, violence and crackdowns in the aftermath of a contested presidential election are worrying signs for the future of the nation’s democracy.

American Extremists: The white-nationalist rally that took place this summer in Charlottesville, Virginia, brought a wide range of far-right movements to the forefront of American politics, and into conflict with one another. For some of the movements’ members, the path to extremism may have started with a simple desire for belonging—but the anonymity of the internet has made spreading noxious views all the more easy, and has made proponents of these views all the more dangerous. In our December cover story, Luke O’Brien tells the story of how Andrew Anglin—the publisher of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer and one of the alt-right’s most powerful voices—developed his abhorrent beliefs and broadcast them to others. Read it here.

—Rosa Inocencio Smith

SnapshotA GoPro camera gets bitten by a gentoo penguin in Orne Harbor, Antarctica, on March 5, 2016. More photos from Antarctica here. (Eitan Abramovich / AFP / Getty)Evening Read

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein reviews a new translation of Homer’s The Odyssey:

Andra—“man”—is The Odyssey’s first word. Instead of referring to the epic’s hero by name, it evokes a stark nakedness, the state to which he will so often be reduced in the tale that unfolds. Odysseus’s legendary craftiness—he devised the Trojan horse, delivering victory to the invading Greeks—is now devoted to the effort of fathoming what lurks within all those he meets: men and women, gods and goddesses, sorcerers and monsters. Is there a core of shared humanity he might arouse if he says exactly the right words—as he manages to do with the xenophobic Phaeacians, quelling their suspicions so that they invite him to tell his story and then offer him aid? Or are there Others with whom stories cannot be shared—whose sympathies cannot be engaged, whose very being poses an existential threat?

Keep reading here, as Goldstein reflects …read more

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