Scott Gottlieb, the new FDA chief, explained: Trump wants to deregulate the Food and Drug Administration — he chose the right guy for the job. The Trump administration used a highly unusual personnel move to skirt Senate confirmation and standard ethics requirements when it installed financial services lawyer Keith Noreika atop powerful banking regulator Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. When President Trump’s bodyguard revealed Jim Mattis’s private cellphone number. “Looking like a liar or a fool”: What it means to work for Trump. Jack Goldsmith on lawyerly integrity in the Trump administration. Is Trump looking for a new press secretary? It must be a real joy working in the White House these days. Republicans should pay attention to what Trump does to his defenders. Trump is making a fool of conservative media.


Jagadish Thimiri, Ramya Burugu, Neale Smith, and Eric Smith (UTEP): An Economic Argument for Drug Legalization. Severin Johannes Zorgiebel (Frankfurt): The Rise of the Unicorns: How Media Affects Start-Up Valuations. In computer attacks, clues point to frequent culprit: North Korea. If Americans can find North Korea on a map, they’re more likely to prefer diplomacy. Syria is secretly executing detainees and burning the remains. 38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island. Colin Dickey reviews Phenomena: The Secret History of the U. S. Government’s Investigations Into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis by Annie Jacobsen. Barron Trump to attend Maryland’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in the fall.

The murderers’ row of voter suppression is here. Trump’s voter fraud commission is a shameless white power grab. Despite Supreme Court ruling, the future looks grim for voting rights.


From ProPublica, the problems with the FBI’s email investigation went well beyond Comey. From TPM, Josh Marshall on how to understand James Comey; and how the Trump tax return/Russia letter is full of holes. The Senate starts to look at Trump’s businesses. Eric Schneiderman on keeping Trump in check and maybe, maybe, investigating the Russian ties. Julian Sanchez on a misplaced focus on “collusion”. A president cannot “hire and fire whoever he wants”: Trump is not the “CEO of the country” — he’s not even the CEO of the federal government; he’s the head of one branch, but there are two co-equal branches. Firing James Comey to impede an investigation isn’t smoke — it’s fire.

Senate Dems have a doomed strategy on Comey — activists want them to go nuclear (and more). The Russia scandal is driving Trump mad; it might undo him — and the Republicans. Republicans are abetting Trump’s abuse of power. This is how democratic backsliding begins: Coups are out — the erosion of the rule of law more typically occurs through the curbing of watchdog agencies.


From Lawfare, consider American politics from the outside looking in: A foreign intelligence analyst report on President Trump; and initial thoughts on the Washington Post’s game-changing story. Trump gave Russia classified intelligence: What we know so far. Ex-intelligence leaders: “Nightmare” if Trump leaked to Russia. Trump’s handling of classified info brings new chaos to White House: “It never stops”. On the campaign trail, Trump was very worried about revealing America’s secrets. 9 times Trump criticized others for mishandling classified information. Paul Ryan, July, 7, 2016: “It’s simple: Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ w/ classified info should be denied further access to it”.

It was long clear that Donald Trump would be an incompetent president — but over the past week he has proven himself to be a dangerously incompetent president. The Russia leak won’t end Trump’s presidency unless Republicans agree it should. Christa Blackmon: lolsob is the new weltschmerz.


Robin Bradley Kar (Illinois): Trump as the First Deal-Maker-In-Chief: Promise and Perils of the Model (“Trump’s model of executive governance through deal-making suggests that he may not be able to serve as a fully functional president. His governing style may also render him especially prone to intolerable forms of corruption”). How Trump gets his fake news: The president rarely surfs the web on his own, but his staff have made a habit of slipping news stories on to his desk — including the occasional internet hoax. This week just gave a clear snapshot of all Donald Trump’s leadership troubles. The election is over, but Trump can’t seem to get past it.

Yet another reason Donald Trump is bad news: He’s utterly lacking in “integrative complexity” — and that’s dangerous. There is no correct Theory of Trump: We overanalyze Trump — he is what he appears to be. He shows he is unfit — yet he’s still the president. Trump has no shame: That’s what makes him dangerous. Masha Gessen on the autocrat’s language. Trump seems happy to meet with authoritarians — how does this compare with other presidents?


The gender pay gap is largely because of motherhood: Some women work just as much after having children, but employers pay them less, too, assuming they will be less committed, research shows. How to get companies to stop lowballing women: A new proposal to ban salary histories is one small step toward ending a systemic problem. While the idea of women billing the men in their lives for emotional services rendered may succeed on some level as a rhetorical provocation regarding gender roles, treating emotional labor as a commodity — or a previously untapped resource to be monetized — suggests that the market is the solution to, rather than a cause of, gender inequality. Why more men will soon find themselves doing “women’s work”.


Cheng-Chih Tsai (MMC): On Killing as Causing Death. Kevin Inston (UCL): Inscribing the Egalitarian Event: Jacques Ranciere and the Politics of Iterability. Duncan Bell (Cambridge): Race, Utopia, Perpetual Peace: Andrew Carnegie’s Dreamworld. The world is getting hacked — why don’t we do more to stop it? Actually, why not cancel the White House Press Briefing? Sinclair requires TV stations to air segments that tilt to the right. Someone is trying to use email to blackmail Paul Berman — nothing can be done about it (and more). “Thought leaders” and the plutocrats who love them: Eric Alterman reviews The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats Are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas by Daniel Drezner.


Former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa on 5 questions about James Comey’s firing, answered. When questions of norms become questions of law: Bob Bauer on Trump’s conversations with Comey (and part 2). Critics say Trump broke the law in firing Comey — proving it isn’t so easy. This isn’t a “constitutional crisis”: In a true crisis, Trump could claim license to act illegitimately. If you’re not worried about FBI Director James Comey getting fired, Benjamin Wittes might change your mind. Retired FBI agents are furious with Donald Trump. Chris Smith goes inside Trump’s coming war with the F.B.I. Trump won’t win fight with the intelligence community. Don't worry, the FBI won’t give up the Russia investigation. Picking a good FBI director won’t fix anything: Firing Comey under false pretenses has fatally compromised the bureau’s independence. We need to hear from James Comey, ASAP.

Is America becoming a failed state? Now it’s about much more than Trump and Russia. He is acting not only like a child but also like a monarch: This is the biggest political crisis since Watergate. John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon, on what Trump and Nixon have in common. Five reasons why the Comey affair is worse than Watergate. Believe it or not, Senate’s Russia investigation is moving faster than its Watergate counterpart 44 years ago. Trump has a long history of secretly recording calls, according to former associates. Republicans and Democrats agree: If Trump has tapes, he’ll need to turn them over to Congress. If Trump’s White House has secret recordings, destroying them may be a crime. Trump’s “tapes” tweet is too much — hasn’t the GOP had enough?

When will the GOP finally wake up to President Trump? GOP senators won’t buck Trump on Comey firing. We’ve crossed the Rubicon: The fate of the rule of law may hinge on a handful of Republican Senators — this is not a drill. This is not a crisis, Republicans say as a large spider slowly devours them. A forgotten lesson of Watergate: conservatives may rally around Trump. Suicide Squad: Trump’s loyalists will never care about his abuses of power. Most people now realize that Donald Trump holds basic American political values in contempt — what we need to realize is that much of his party shares that contempt. Any Republican president would be terrible — Trump is even worse. Trump meltdown sets off GOP alarms over 2018 midterm. Will Republicans apologize for embracing Trump after the 2018 midterms? They just might.

U.S. government “under assault” by Trump, James Clapper says. A special prosecutor is not the answer: Rather than an inquiry focused narrowly on criminal conduct, the way to resolve questions swirling around President Trump and his associates is to impanel an independent commission. Laurence Tribe on why Trump must be impeached. Impeachment of the president, explained: The history and logistics of trying and removing the president from office.


Jim Jose and Sara C. Motta (Newcastle): Reoccupying the Political: Transforming Political Science. Michael Smith (ASU): Social Science and Archaeological Inquiry. Guillaume Calafat and Eric Monnet on the return of economic history. Riccardo Emilio Chesta interviews Wolfgang Streeck on crisis and critique of social sciences. From the Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Social Science, here is the entry on Philosophy of History by Paul A. Roth. Darrick Hamilton on the moral burden on economists. Michel Agier (EHESS): Epistemological Decentring: At the Root of a Contemporary and Situational Anthropology. Nadine Marshall and Chris Cvitanovic on ten top tips for social scientists seeking to influence policy.

James Johnson (Rochester): Models-As-Fables: An Alternative to the Standard Rationale for Using Formal Models in Political Science. From the Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology, Patrick Neveling (SOAS): Beyond Sites and Methods: The Field, History, Global Capitalism. Economics needs to tackle all of the big questions in the social sciences. The first chapter from The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology: A Manifesto for Reforming the Culture of Scientific Practice by Chris Chambers. Ben Marwick (Washington): Open Science in Archaeology. What if sociologists had as much influence as economists? Neil Gross on how to do social science without data.

Martin Savransky (Goldsmiths): A Decolonial Imagination: Sociology, Anthropology and the Politics of Reality. Penelope Maddy (UC-Irvine): Psychology and the A Priori Sciences. Seven ways to think like a 21st century economist: Economics matters enormously for the future, but its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date. How should we talk about Amy Cuddy, death threats, and the replication crisis? Jacob T. Levy on what classical liberals get wrong about political science. Social scientists tell Congress: “Don't cut our funding”. Douglass Carmichael on the mechanical turn in economics and its consequences. You can download Social Sciences for an Other Politics: Women Theorizing Without Parachutes, ed. Ana Cecilia Dinerstein.

From the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, a special issue on pragmatism and the writing of history. From protoscience to proper science: Chris Chambers on the path ahead for reforming psychology. Economists are arguing over how their profession messed up during the Great Recession — this is what happened. The everyday economics we rarely hear about could have a hugely positive impact on society. Why social science? Because social science research can lead to unexpected discoveries; because all fields of science are drivers of freedom and prosperity; and because it is in the national interest, both in interdisciplinary work and on its own.


The tragedy of James Comey: The former FBI director’s attempts to protect the bureau’s independence may have fatally compromised that independence. How it was done: The problem is not only that Trump fired Comey, but how he did it. “He doesn’t give a crap who he fires”: The only people who aren’t surprised by Trump’s dismissal of James Comey are the people who’ve watched his whole career. Trump’s Razor is simply never wrong. “Loyalty freak” Donald Trump freaks out FBI with alleged loyalty pledge. From Vox, why the FBI might wage “war” on Trump — and how they would actually do it; and the 3 ways to do an independent investigation of Trump and Russia, explained.

Trump seems to be staging a coverup — so what’s the crime? Mark Tushnet thinks Trump really could be impeached over Comey: “When a president can break the law without fear of impeachment, then we should really be worried”. Are there any Republican heroes left? Republicans stepped up during Watergate — who will step up now? (and more) This feels like a turning point: Nobody is in control of the narrative right now.

Dylan Matthews asked 7 experts if the Comey firing is a constitutional crisis — here’s what they said (and more). Experts on authoritarianism are absolutely terrified by the Comey firing. Trump is trying to control the FBI — it’s time to freak out: If Republicans in Congress continue to cover for his actions, the damage to the health of American government may be longstanding (and more). Our rendezvous with authoritarianism has arrived.

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