From the Washington Post, a report on Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault (and more). Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials. Bob Bauer on when collusion with Russia becomes a crime. Why did Trump care more about pee than collusion? The president isn’t necessarily beholden to a hostile foreign power — he could just be a conspiracy theorist with a severe personality disorder. Face it: The president’s actions say guilty. From the Washington Monthly, Trump is obsessed with the Russia investigation (and more) and he is increasingly his own worst enemy. Report: Trump blames his WH counsel for failing to contain Russia probe.

Larry Alexander (San Diego): Ignorance as a Legal Excuse. Adviser: Trump hates the job, but “doesn't want to go down in history” for resigning. Trump doesn’t want to be president — he wants to be communications director.


Robert Olen McDonald (Kansas): Freakonomics as a Discourse of Perversion. Yulia S. Medvedeva (Missouri): Business as Usual? The Cultural, Economic, and Social Capital of Magazines in a Russian City. The man who knew too much: Scientist who helped connect Litvinenko’s murder to the Kremlin assassinated in Britain. Kenan Malik writes in defense of cultural appropriation. The White House is interested in Thucydides — uh-oh. Olivia Nuzzi on Sarah Palin’s latest business venture: Running a right-wing content farm. S. D. Chrostowska provides a typology of the beggar in Western culture.

Danielle Kurtzleben on President Donald Trump, unreliable narrator. Trump’s cryptic tweet about “tapes” had the ironic effect of unleashing a series of events that now imperil his presidency. David Frum on the lasting damage of Trump's “tapes” bluff to Comey (and more).


Francois van Schalkwyk (Stellenbosch): Open Access as a Reassertion of the Values of Science. Too many studies have hidden conflicts of interest; a new tool makes it easier to see them. How biased is science, really? Science needs a solution for the temptation of positive results. Daryl Bem proved ESP is real — which means science is broken. We live in a pre-truth universe: The next Magellan, tomorrow’s Einstein might be more inspired by our ignorance than by our discoveries. The giant shoulders of English: The advantages of having a scholarly lingua franca should not obscure the disadvantages.

A Cold War theory for why scientists and the government have become so estranged. A new take on political science: Training researchers to run for office. Scientists have shown they can march — can they help win elections? Scientists think they’re more rational than other people.


Stuart Chinn (Oregon): Threats to Democratic Stability: Comparing the Elections of 2016 and 1860. Democracy faces the enemy within: What kind of sensible political system generates 63 million votes for a thuggish incompetent to become its supreme leader? The problem with democracy is that it relies on voters: Sean Illing interviews Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, authors of Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Daniel Little on democracy and the politics of intolerance. Populism, X: Roger Kimball on the imperative of freedom. Socialist survivalism: Curtis White on a democracy beyond democracy (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4).

Stephen M. Griffin (Tulane): Trump, Trust and the Future of the Constitutional Order. How would removing Trump from office affect U.S. democracy? Political science research and other nations’ experiences suggest that, without a careful process backed by a broad national consensus, removing the president would only worsen the country’s polarization. American democracy remains healthy, but its health has worsened for the first time in recent history, according to a new survey of 1,126 political scientists (and more). Masha Gessen on why Trump’s incompetence won’t save our democracy.


Google is the Internet’s largest ad company — so why is it building an ad blocker? Torching the modern-day Library of Alexandria: “Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them”. How Google took over the classroom: The tech giant is transforming public education with low-cost laptops and free apps — but schools may be giving Google more than they are getting. “Google is as close to a natural monopoly as the Bell System was in 1956”: Asher Schechter interviews Jonathan Taplin, author of Move Fast and Break Things, on the rent-seeking and regulatory capture of digital platforms. Is it time to break up Google?


Douglas L. Kriner (BU) and Francis X. Shen (Minnesota): Battlefield Casualties and Ballot Box Defeat: Did the Bush-Obama Wars Cost Clinton the White House? Trumpcare might pass, but the conservative health-care agenda is dead. Why Bernie Sanders shouldn’t run for president again. The iron law of Republican politics is that the GOP moderates always cave — but the cave is never without a stage managed drama. How Jason Kander won by losing: The hottest star in Democratic politics might be the future of the party — if only he can figure out how. Newt Gingrich, hypocrisy pioneer: No politician has had a more malignant influence on the United States over the last 30 years.

Only Democrats can restore faith in the political process: Trump has caused a crisis in American democracy, and the minority party can’t rely on “prosecutorial liberalism” to solve it. Is North Carolina the future of American politics? The state is narrowly split between Democratic and Republican Parties that agree on virtually nothing — are its scorched-earth politics what the rest of us have to look forward to? Profiles in courage: Why Republicans may ride the Trump train off a cliff. What’s wrong with the Democrats? If the party cares about winning, it needs to learn how to appeal to the white working class.

Don’t trust a Republican just because he hates Trump: The horror of Trump has reinvigorated American political protest, but focusing the movement solely on Trump is a mistake — his ascent to power was made possible by the Republican Party, and he continues to be propped up by Republicans at every turn. The most profound gap between Clinton and Sanders supporters wasn’t about policy. The Republican Party’s contempt for truth: Senate Republicans claim their secretive health care process is no different than the Democrats’ Obamacare passage — it’s a lie, and they know it.

“Bipartisanship” means “I don’t understand what politics is”: What are bipartisanship and civility in comparison to life and death and human rights?


Angelo J. Corlett (SDSU): Are Women Beach Volleyballers “Too Sexy for Their Shirts”? A combination of historical ignorance and disastrous blundering: Richard Beck on how the US has no prospects for improving the stability of Afghan politics through military force. Putin says economic sanctions are making Russia stronger — he’s not totally wrong. Russia’s cyberwar on Ukraine is a blueprint for what’s to come. How a shorthanded Supreme Court gutted a historic civil-rights remedy. How St. Augustine invented sex: He rescued Adam and Eve from obscurity, devised the doctrine of original sin — and the rest is sexual history. American Socrates: Christopher Lydon interviews Noam Chomsky. Omarosa is now demanding people call her “Honorable”.

This was the election where the newspapers lost their monopoly on the political news agenda. Crushing saboteurs: Alan Greene on Theresa May’s “Schmittian” gamble. Soros says Britain nearing tipping point, may reverse Brexit. Cancelling Brexit: What would happen if we changed our mind about leaving the EU? A lump of rock, an otter and a secessionist: A growing number of Shetlanders are being drawn to calls by a “nutter” for more independence for their remote and scenic isles.


Confronting the corporate university: From Cold War federalization to financialized higher education. Inequality University: Ivy League universities fuel social inequality at the same time public colleges are cut to the bone — they deserve to be dismantled. Who can save the university? Joshua Clover reviews The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them by Christopher Newfield. It’s time we come to grips with the uncomfortable truth that many of the desires and lofty aims that drew us to academia in the first place are killing us softly, rotting away our ability to achieve the goals that initially drew us in while compounding the conditions of our own exploitation.


Ed Kilgore on 6 takeaways from the very special election in Georgia. Ossoff’s Georgia special election loss to GOP’s Handel exposes deep fissures in the Democratic Party in the Trump era (and more). This might be the worst Democratic freak-out ever. Scott Lemieux: “GA-6: If everyone else has a take, I guess I should too”. Nancy LeTourneau on why moral victories matter in special elections. Ossoff chose civility and it didn’t work — how do Democrats beat Trump? Don’t focus on Georgia — voter suppression is the issue. Where can Democrats win? Losses in Georgia and South Carolina don’t necessarily mean Democrats are going to lose in 2018. Pelosi faces growing doubts among Dems after Georgia loss. Calls for Nancy Pelosi to be replaced as Democratic Minority Leader are short-sighted.

The overall message of 2017 special elections is that Republicans are in trouble: Democrats are consolidating Clinton’s gains, and Republicans aren’t consolidating Trump’s. Anti-anti-Trumpism is the glue holding together the Republican Party. The culture war is alive and well — and Republicans will keep fighting it. It’s Trump’s party now: The Republican triumph in an affluent, educated Georgia congressional district showed GOP voters standing by their president.


The real reason Republicans can’t answer simple questions about their health care bill: They know you won’t like the answers. Aaron Rupar on 14 Republican tweets about health care that are very awkward now. The healthcare industry doesn’t love Obamacare enough to save it. Josh Marshall on the McConnell corrupt bargain and the fallacy of policy literalism. What if Rep. Steve Scalise was uninsured? Repeal of the ACA would only further compound the tragedy faced by thousands of low-income firearm assault victims each year in the U.S. Even the insured often can’t afford their medical bills: Helaine Olen on how the debate over the future of healthcare is obscuring a more pedestrian reality — insurance may handle most costs, but many Americans still need to turn to charity for help when they get sick.

Putting profits ahead of patients: Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband review An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal and Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks by Geoffrey C. Kabat.

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