R. A. Briggs (Stanford) and G. A. Forbes (Kent): The Future, and What Might Have Been. From Vox, Ezra and Sam Harris debate race, IQ, identity politics, and much more; and The Bell Curve is about policy — and it’s wrong (and more). The tantrum over babies on the Senate floor, explained. James Ho, first-time judge appointed by Trump, issues his very first opinion — it’s a doozy. Senate confirms climate change denier Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA. Matt Lauer, Mario Batali, and Garrison Keillor are all eyeing a return — #MeToo is at risk. What will the philosophy of Kanye West sound like? Peter Thiel’s data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens, but the scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.

Officials confirm that Trump bombed Syria to validate his tweets: “He does not use propaganda as means for advancing his preferred policies; he uses policy as a tool for advancing his preferred propaganda”. Dear Bashar al-Assad apologists: Your hero is a war criminal even if he didn’t gas Syrians.


Amid the Trump chaos, public opinion is remarkably stable. White evangelical support for Donald Trump at all-time high. White evangelicals are Trump’s base: Conservatives like to think of anti-Trump folk as living in a bubble — could it be that pro-Trump white Evangelicals are isolated from everyone else? White working-class voters may not care about Trump scandals. Trumpism doesn’t divide GOP voters — but conservatism does. Experiment proves that conservatives are little baby snowflakes who act the way they do because everything terrifies them. Turns out everyone loves “identity politics” — especially Republicans. Nancy LeTourneau on authoritarianism and the identity politics of the Republican Party.

Clay Risen on how the party of Lincoln became the party of racial backlash. If taxes aren’t working, will desperate Republicans keep turning to race-based attacks? Thuy Linh Tu and Nikhil Pal Singh on the deepening of morbid symptoms that have come to define America’s racial-capitalist order over the past several decades.


Benjamin Wittes goes behind James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty. James Comey isn’t the hero we deserve — but he’s the hero we need. Republicans are actively interfering in the Mueller probe to protect Trump. Mitch McConnell is inviting a constitutional crisis. Trump’s assault on the rule of law is working. Can Trump pardon his way out of the Mueller probe? Josh Marshall: “Cohen-ology pays off after all”. It might not matter whether or not Michael Cohen flips on Donald Trump. Why do Trump’s defenders assume he’s guilty? With friends like these, the president should probably reconsider his messaging strategy. Martin Longman goes inside the dirty tricks of Roger Stone.


No one’s talking about the new tax law: Republicans hoped to make their $1.5 trillion overhaul the centerpiece of the 2018 midterm elections — but Americans, including President Trump, have lost interest. The Trump tax cuts’ unpopularity is a crisis for the GOP. Paul Ryan suggests trillion-dollar deficits were inevitable. On the deficit, GOP has been playing us all for suckers. The Gospel According to Paul: Chris Lehmann on how a cynical Randian hustler played a myopic D.C. press corps for suckers. Donald Trump sold out to Paul Ryan, not the other way around: As president, Trump has embraced Ryan’s chilling policy agenda. Will Wilkinson on the self-destruction of Paul Ryan and the G.O.P.


Katherine Goktepe (Edinburgh): “Sometimes I Mean Things So Much I Have To Act”: Theatrical Acting and Democracy. How long will world leaders last? A billionaire and a nurse shouldn’t pay the same fine for speeding. Are conspiracy theories a force for the good? Paul J. Griffiths writes a letter to an aspiring intellectual. Trump has lost the confidence of investors: Equities, bonds and the dollar are showing anything but trust in the president’s stewardship. Barista’s burden: Chris Woolston on the dark side of “service with a smile”. Lithuanian, the most conservative of all Indo-European languages, is riddled with references to bees. You can download The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, Volume 1 by Alena Ledeneva (and Volume 2).

Smearing Robert Mueller: Sean Hannity and others are blaming the special counsel for one of the F.B.I.’s worst scandals — but there is no evidence to back up their charges.


“I’m not familiar with that”: The five most dishonest answers Mark Zuckerberg gave to Congress. Why dictators love Facebook: The social media network lives according to double standards. Facebook doesn’t need to listen through your microphone to serve you creepy ads. Facebook uses artificial intelligence to predict your future actions for advertisers, says confidential document. We may own our data, but Facebook has a duty to protect it. Why Facebook’s data scandal has not become a wider crisis: Zuckerberg grilling shows it is hard to spell out specific harms of data collection. Brian Feldman on how Facebook is too big to explain.

Kate Losse: “I was Zuckerberg’s speechwriter. ‘Companies over countries’ was his early motto”. Democracy vs. the algorithm: As it turns out, self-government and social connection are not the same thing. Facebook hides behind Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook’s motto to connect the world is failing, and Zuckerberg isn’t helping. Unexpected consequences: If the law is an ass, what does that make Mark Zuckerberg? How Russian Facebook ads divided and targeted US voters before the 2016 election. Your Facebook friends could be leaving you vulnerable to major privacy invasions.

What comes after the social media empires: The intense political battles over Facebook and the other giant social media companies mark the end of the empire-building phase of those companies’ history. Facebook is creepy — and valuable: To protect the public without overreacting, the issue for legislators and regulators to weigh is how much the data-driven ecosystem is worth to us. We don’t have elections: How tech companies merge with the nation-state.


Women once ruled the computer world — when did Silicon Valley become brotopia? Writing women back into the Internet: Addie Wagenknecht interviews Claire L. Evans, author of Broad Band The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. Claire L. Evans on the untold story of Jaime Levy, punk-rock cyber-publishing pioneer. Jason Kehe on recognizing the women who wove the web. The origins of diversity data in tech: Tracy Chou’s call to action in 2013 preceded an industry-wide release of numbers. Sara Wachter-Boettcher on how Silicon Valley’s blind spots and biases are ruining tech for the rest of us. Ethan Chiel reviews Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. The tech bias: Jess Bier on why Silicon Valley needs social theory.


The GOP “has become the caricature the Left always said it was”: Jennifer Rubin has become a leading voice for a group of conservative intellectuals who don’t fit comfortably in either political party — and sees the party she left behind as “immoral” and “anti-American”. Charles Pierce: “I’d like to offer this sanity quiz to all #NeverTrump conservatives”. The GOP’s Never-Trumpers are really just Never-Democrats: “The idea of abandoning the Republican Party because it is authoritarian and toxically anti-intellectual was apparently as unfathomable to him as a fish in a polluted river deciding to live on land”. “Never Trump” conservatives won’t save us: Nathan J. Robinson reviews Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy by Jonah Goldberg.


Landon Schnabel (Indiana): Secularism and Fertility Worldwide. Thomas Hurka (Toronto): More Seriously Wrong. Myles E. Johnson on Beyonce and the end of respectability politics. Thanks to Beyonce, all eyes are on black colleges — a historian says they should capitalize on the hype. Sean Hannity was very concerned about conflicts of interest — until he had one. Neil Gorsuch voted with the liberal justices, but his opinion should chill you to the bone. Politicized by Trump, teachers threaten to shake up red-state politics. Richard Clarida and Michelle Bowman, Trump’s new Fed appointees, explained. Richard Cohen’s privilege, explained: The Washington Post columnist and alleged sexual harasser is bitter about having lost a job to a woman more than 40 years ago.

From Vox, John Bolton wanted a massive bombing raid in Syria — Trump said no; Trump wants Arab nations to send troops into Syria — that’s a spectacularly bad idea; and Syria exposes the core feature of Trump’s foreign policy: contradiction. Why no world power really wants to topple Syria’s Assad. A Syria for all its people: Maryam Saleh reviews No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria by Rania Abouzeid and The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria by Alia Malek.


From Knowable Magazine, taxes past, present and future: Eryn Brown interviews Edgar Kiser. Ajay K. Mehrotra (Northwestern): Fiscal Forearms: Taxation as the Lifeblood of the Modern Liberal State. Kitty Richards on an expressive theory of tax. Asbjorn Melkevik (Harvard): A Tax Dead on Arrival: Classical Liberalism, Inheritance, and Social Mobility. Eric A. Kades (William & Mary): Of Piketty and Perpetuities (“Thus perpetual dynastic family wealth thus imposes real social costs. This article recommends the conventional solution to such negative externalities: calibrated taxation of the anti-social behaviors”.)

100 years of tax brackets, in one chart: Alvin Chang on how the debate around brackets often misses the point. Damon Jones on how the IRS could save time — and money — for millions of taxpayers.

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