27 September 2018

No, I Will Not Debate You

Steve Bannon, like the howling monster from the id he ushered into the White House, exploits the values of the liberal establishment by offering an impossible choice: betray their stated principles (free, open debate) or dignify fascism and white supremacy. This weaponizes tolerance to legitimize intolerance. If we deny racists a platform, they feed off the appearance of censorship, but if we give them a platform, they’ve also won by being respectfully invited into the penumbra of mainstream legitimacy. Either way, what matters to them is not debate, but airtime and attention. They have no interest in winning on the issues. Their image of a better world is one with their face on every television screen.

The marketplace of ideas is just as full of con artists, scammers, and Ponzi schemes as any other marketplace, and as always, when the whole thing comes crashing down, it’s ordinary marks who lose everything. Bannon is that rare thing: a true Gordon Gekko in the attention economy, a man who is both troll and true believer, a man whose lack of integrity is part of the ideology: win at all costs and screw the other guy, because fools and their morals are easily parted. There is no deeper truth to be divined from “holding him to account,” no point at which his racism and xenophobia will somehow become unacceptable to a public that has already bought its penny stocks in neo-nationalism.

26 September 2018

Republicans can’t hold Kavanaugh or anyone else accountable — because Trump is president

Republicans have decided that Trump can’t be held accountable for anything — ranging from the alleged groping of Jill Hart, to creepy peeping at teenage beauty pageant contestants, to the numerous acts of grand and petty financial corruption that he continues to be involved with as president of the United States. And now the party is no longer in much of a position to hold anyone accountable for anything. 

Matthew Yglesias

25 September 2018

Why God Is Laughing at Brett Kavanaugh

American politics is about power, not principle. If anyone should know this, it's Brett Kavanaugh.

John F. Harris

18 September 2018

The financial crisis and the foundations for macroeconomics

Yet it has to be acknowledged that the principle of building macroeconomics on microeconomic foundations, as applied by economists, contributed next to nothing to predicting, explaining or resolving the Great Recession. The insights into the financial meltdown that policymakers found most valuable came from scholars, such as Hyman Minsky and Charles Kindleberger, who thought in terms of broad aggregates and made no effort to establish micro foundations. The market participants, such as Ray Dalio, who were most prescient with respect to the crisis ignored microeconomics as they theorized in terms of debt and credit aggregates.

Larry Summers

11 September 2018

Republicans Were Mad at Twitter for Banning Alex Jones. Then They Met Him.

There’s nothing wrong with Republican politicians standing up to right-wing trolls or denying them the chance to spout their vitriol on Capitol Hill. Except for one awkward irony: The hearing from which Loomer was forcibly removed was motivated partly by Twitter’s alleged censorship of those very same obnoxious voices. Turns out it’s hard to focus one’s outrage at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for silencing fringe figures while they’re being dragged out of the room. 

Will Oremus

07 September 2018

John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the rise of reality TV politics

McCain empowered a demagogue who put the Republican Party on the path to Donald Trump.

Laura McGann

06 September 2018

John McCain, who died at 81, explained

McCain was a rare Washington figure who was liked and respected — for who he was.

Matthew Yglesias

05 September 2018

The 1974 Playbook

Most of the articles of impeachment against Nixon could easily apply to Trump.

Fred Kaplan

03 September 2018