29 June 2018

Donald Trump Goes Rogue

In half a week, between Quebec and Singapore, Trump showed that the liberal order is hateful to him, and that he wants out.

George Packer

Donald Trump’s cruel immigration politics is a scam

His entire approach is based on big lies.

  • Statistically speaking, states with a larger influx of unauthorized immigrants have slightly less violent crime, not more.
  • A similar methodology suggests unauthorized immigration is associated with significant reductions in nonviolent crime.
  • A study looking at metro areas and overall immigration, both legal and illegal, likewise found that immigration is associated with lower crime.
  • That places with more immigrants have lower crime rates is perhaps not so surprising because immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.
  • Unauthorized immigrants, meanwhile, obviously do commit immigration-related crimes, but a detailed study of Texas incarceration records show they commit violent crimes at a lower rate than the native population.

Matthew Yglesias

28 June 2018

To stop endless war, raise taxes

Until the public has to pay for war, it won’t demand peace.

Sarah Kreps

Trump’s Damning Doublespeak

The White House’s complaints about the FBI imply there’s ample evidence of collusion with Russia.

William Saletan

27 June 2018

For the biggest group of American workers, wages aren’t just flat. They’re falling.

For workers in “production and nonsupervisory” positions, the value of the average paycheck has declined in the past year. For those workers, average “real wages” — a measure of pay that takes inflation into account — fell from $22.62 in May 2017 to $22.59 in May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

“The extra growth we are seeing in the economy is going somewhere: to capital owners and people at the top of the income distribution,” said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute and a former chief economist at the Labor Department, noting workers' share of corporate income remained relatively low as of January. “And what we've seen is in recent period a much higher share of total income earned going to owners of capital.”

Jeff Stein

Elizabeth Holmes Deserves Prison, but Her Indictment Won’t Make Silicon Valley Any Less Reckless

The only way to disincentivize founders from lying to investors is to throw one or two of them in jail for doing so. And Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t count. The Theranos indictment is likely to have zero deterrent effect, because it’s clear that she’s not really being prosecuted because she lied to investors. That’s just the easy, prosecutorial low-hanging fruit. The real reason for the prosecution is that her activities were incredibly reckless and dangerous on a human level for thousands of patients’ health.

Felix Salmon

25 June 2018

Demolition Donald

Trump is hardly responsible for the fracturing of world order, which has been in process to some degree since the end of the Cold War. But Trump is unique among modern presidents in accelerating the unraveling as a matter of policy and absorbing the aftershocks with glee.

It’s not entirely clear why. Is he in severe debt to Russian banks with ties to Putin? (Robert Mueller may soon shed light on that theory.) In any event, he seems more comfortable in the company of brutal autocrats than with democratically elected leaders. He seems to admire, and possibly envy, their absolute control over their domains. His most astonishing, and perhaps telling, comment of recent days was his excuse for Kim’s rampant executions of critics. Kim, he said, is a “tough guy. Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have—if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s 1 in 10,000 could do that.”

When his Fox News interlocutor noted that Kim has “still done some really bad things,” Trump replied, “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

With that attitude, it’s not surprising that Trump puts so little stock in the values that the United States has traditionally shared with its allies and that have undergirded even fairly Realpolitik notions of U.S. interests in world affairs.

Fred Kaplan

The Kim Con

Trump isn’t trying to win over North Korea’s leader. He’s using him to win over you.

William Saletan

22 June 2018

21 June 2018

20 June 2018

Jeff Flake Should Do Something

Moderate Republicans like to talk about the dangers of Donald Trump. They should take action instead.

Instead of taking concrete action to hold Trump accountable, however, they’ve been satisfied to criticize him while confirming his nominees and advancing his legislative agenda, such that it exists. For all their dismay and condemnation, neither Flake nor his like-minded colleagues have tried to connect their work to their rhetoric. They’re posturing against Trump while doing little to actually stop him.

Jamelle Bouie

19 June 2018

Ajit Pai Is Twisting the Meaning of the “Open Internet”

In his op-ed, Pai insists that the internet will now be protected as a place “where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone’s permission.” That may be true for large internet providers like Comcast, which will now be able to throttle or censor traffic on its networks however it wants, but it’s not true for most U.S. internet users, who generally have few, if any, options to take their business elsewhere.

April Glaser

18 June 2018

13 June 2018

Showdown in Singapore

The best, and worst, we can expect when Trump sits down with Kim.

When a reporter asked Trump if he was prepared for the summit with Kim, he replied, “I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about the attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done. But I think I’ve been preparing for the summit for a long time.”

Each sentence in this remark reveals a man out of his depth.

Fred Kaplan

11 June 2018

Trump’s legal memo to Robert Mueller is a recipe for tyranny

Consider that if the memo is correct, there would be nothing wrong with Trump setting up a booth somewhere in Washington, DC where wealthy individuals could hand checks to Trump, and in exchange Trump would make whatever federal legal trouble they are in go it away. You could call it “The Trump Hotel” or maybe bundle a room to stay in along with the legal impunity.

Having cut your check, you’d then have carte blanche to commit bank fraud or dump toxic waste in violation of the Clean Water Act or whatever else you want to do. Tony Soprano could get the feds off his case, and so could the perpetrators of the next Enron fraud or whatever else.

Matthew Yglesias

08 June 2018

Trump Pardoned Dinesh D’Souza to Troll Liberals

But did anything drastic really happen to D'Souza? Or is his current stance the logical destination point of his embrace of conservative radical chic—an endless series of provocations masquerading as thought?

Jacob Heilbrunn

The media's undeniable pro-Trump bias

But the notion of a vast media conspiracy against Trump is only unobjectionable on the counter-plane of reality inhabited by Trump’s supporters and enablers—one where mendacity, cruelty, racism, corruption, and buffoonery needed to be treated one pole of a two-sided debate that must be respected.

Tim Miller

05 June 2018

California’s top-two primary chaos, explained

Andrew Prokop

Forget about broad-based pay hikes, executives say

Now, executives of big U.S. companies suggest that the days of most people getting a pay raise are over, and that they also plan to reduce their work forces further.

Steve LeVine

04 June 2018

There is no productivity crisis, experts say

In a presentation at the Dallas Fed on Friday, Chad Syverson, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, said technological history has been one of lag-times between the launch of new technologies and their visibility in productivity numbers.

Steve LeVine

NFL owners are stifling speech, but it’s not called “no-platforming” when you’re rich and own the platform

Real power over the flow of ideas rests with the wealthy.

Matthew Yglesias

01 June 2018

Actually, the 1 Percent Are Still The Problem

The Atlantic trots out a familiar argument blaming the upper middle class for income inequality. It’s wrong.

Jordan Weissmann

Backfire Hurricane

The FBI’s Russia investigation was a tangle of conflicting motives and unintended consequences.

1. Many factors relevant to the investigation’s fairness have been invisible.
2. Trump and his people brought the scrutiny on themselves.
3. The FBI’s secrecy helped Trump.
4. There were good reasons for the secrecy.
5. Investigators tried not to hurt Trump, in part to avoid helping him.
6. The “insurance policy” was an argument for propriety.
7. One key factor was that then–FBI Director James Comey was kept out of the loop.

William Saletan