The Atlantic

There Is Only One Trump Scandal


There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.
via There Is Only One Trump Scandal
All the scandals all link to this single root scandal.

Donald Trump Has No Plan for Making America Great Again

Donald Trump Has No Plan for Making America Great Again:

He didn’t go into specifics because there were no plans. He doesn’t even understand the problems well enough to hire people to come up with plans. He doesn’t have a plan to defeat ISIS. There is no magic healthcare plan. He can not negotiate the trade deals to help workers. There are no plans. There is just Trump, his ego and golf. That’s all.

Libertarian Economists Should've Loved Silk Road—Here's Why They Didn't

Libertarian Economists Should've Loved Silk Road—Here's Why They Didn't:

Silk Road has been called an economic experiment gone wrong. And if you look at Ulbricht’s trial, it’s clear that many things went wrong. Even the most idealistic supporters of Silk Road couldn’t ignore that it turned Ulbricht into a kingpin who acted violently toward those who he thought might compromise the anonymity of the marketplace.

Libertarian experiments keep turning out exactly how liberals say they will turn out.

Why Is Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Different From All Other Religious Freedom Laws?

Why Is Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Different From All Other Religious Freedom Laws?:

the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.

Welcome to a world where peices of paper are granted Religious Freedom.

The Art of Not Working at Work

The Art of Not Working at Work:

One Swedish bank clerk said he was only doing 15 minutes’ worth of work a day. Under these circumstances, feigned obedience and fake commitment become so central to working that a deviation from those acts can result in embarrassment for everyone. As she recalls: “One day, in the middle of a meeting on motivation, I dared to say that the only reason I came to work was to put food on the table. There were 15 seconds of absolute silence, and everyone seemed uncomfortable.

According to repeated surveys by Salary.com, not having “enough work to do” is the most common reason for slacking off at work. The service sector offers new types of work in which periods of downtime are long and tougher to eliminate than on the assembly line: A florist watching over an empty flower shop, a logistics manager who did all his work between 2 and 3 p.m., and a bank clerk responsible for a not-so-popular insurance program are some examples of employees I talked with who never actively strived to work less.

I swear this is half the people who work in IT. I remember hearing a manager talking about an employee that watched nearly 20 hours of youtube video a week for over a six month period. When you factor other net time, it might about 75% of any given week doing non-work.

Then there are whole chunks of organizations that don’t do anything useful. An 11 person group that tracked data that was rarely ever requested because the same data was availably on the web for free much easier.

Why are there so many workers who don’t actually useful work?

Black People Are Not Ignoring 'Black on Black' Crime

Black People Are Not Ignoring 'Black on Black' Crime:

The notion that violence within the black community is “background noise” is not supported by the historical record—or by Google. I have said this before. It’s almost as if Stop The Violence never happened, or The Interruptors never happened, or Kendrick Lamar never happened. The call issued by Erica Ford at the end of this Do The Right Thing retrospective is so common as to be ritual. It is not “black on black crime” that is background noise in America, but the pleas of black people.

A must read.

Ann Coulter Is Right to Fear the World Cup

Ann Coulter Is Right to Fear the World Cup:

America’s World Cup game against Portugal attracted almost 25 million television viewers in the U.S., eight million more than watched the highest rated World Cup game in 2010, and far more than the average viewership for last year’s World Series or this year’s NBA finals.

This is the kicker:

Coulter’s deeper point is that for America to truly be America, it must stand apart. That’s why she brings up the metric system. The main reason to resist the metric system isn’t that it’s a bad form of measurement. It’s that it’s a European form of measurement. So it is with soccer.

The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity

The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity:

One problem with the conservative vision of charity is that it assumes the government hasn’t been playing a role in the management of risk and social insurance from the beginning. It imagines that there is some golden period to return to, free from any and all government interference.

As for social insurance specifically, the historian Michael Katz has documented that there has always been a mixed welfare state made up of private and public organizations throughout our country’s history. Outdoor relief, or cash assistance outside of institutions, was an early legal responsibility of American towns, counties, and parishes from colonial times through the early nineteenth century. During this period, these issues were usually dealt with through questions of “settlement.” A community had a responsibility to provide relief to its own needy, native members, defined as those who had a settlement there. This became increasingly difficult with an industrialized society, as people moved to and fro looking for work and were forced out of communities when they couldn’t find any.

political scientist Theda Skocpol has documented, there were also multiple examples of state-issued social insurance programs before the New Deal. In the wake of the Civil War, Congress established an elaborate system of pensions for veterans. At its height in 1910, this de facto disability and old-age pension system delivered benefits to more than 25 percent of all American men over 65, accounting for a quarter of the federal government’s expenditures. Between 1911 and 1920, 40 states passed laws establishing “mothers’ pensions” for single women with children. These programs provided payments for needy widowed mothers in order to allow them to provide for their children.

Konczal corrects some basic misconceptions about the role of the state in social insurance prior to the new deal. Worth reading.

Gingrich vs. the Right on Apartheid: What Would You Have Done?

Gingrich vs. the Right on Apartheid: What Would You Have Done? :

Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid?

Gingrich puts on his historian hat and puts Mandela in context.  Coates adds:

Newt Gingrich was among a cadre of conservatives who opposed the mainstream conservative stance on apartheid and ultimately helped override Reagan’s unconscionable veto of sanctions. At the time, Gingrich was allied with a group of young conservatives including Vin Weber looking to challenge Republican orthodoxy on South Africa. 

Worth a read. 

Apartheid's Useful Idiots - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic

Apartheid's Useful Idiots - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic:

Buckley’s racket as an American paid propagandist for white supremacy would be repeated over the years in conservative circles. As Sam Kleiner demonstrates in Foreign Policy, apartheid would ultimately draw some of America’s most celebrated conservatives into its orbit. The roster includes Grover Norquist, Jack Abramoff, Jesse Helms, and Senator Jeff Flake. Jerry Falwell denounced Desmond Tutu as a “phony” and led a “reinvestment” campaign during the 1980s. At the late hour of 1993, Pat Robertson opined, “I know we don’t like apartheid, but the blacks in South Africa, in Soweto, don’t have it all that bad.”

Why exactly is it on the right that allows them to give safe harbor to racists and have it shrugged off? Why does the right draw so many racists and so many people willing to hire racists? 

High-income kids who don't graduate from college are 2.5 times more likely to end up rich than low-income kids who do get a degree

High-income kids who don't graduate from college are 2.5 times more likely to end up rich than low-income kids who do get a degree

The American Dream isn’t dead. It’s just moved to Denmark.

The argument that we should tolerate growing inequality because of our great mobility is based on fiction. We have growing inequality and shrinking mobility.

Mitt Romney Would Pay 0.82 Percent in Taxes Under Paul Ryan's Plan

Mitt Romney Would Pay 0.82 Percent in Taxes Under Paul Ryan's Plan

Romney would have paid an effective tax rate of around 0.82 percent under the Ryan plan, rather than the 13.9 percent he actually did. How would someone with more than $21 million in taxable income pay so little? Well, the vast majority of Romney’s income came from capital gains, interest, and dividends. And Ryan wants to eliminate all taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends. Romney, of course, criticized this idea when Newt Gingrich proposed it back in January by pointing out that zeroing out taxes on savings and investment would mean zeroing out his own taxes.

Basically, the Romney campaign is just the latest Romney tax avoidance scheme.

During Farrakhan's heights in the 80's and 90's, national commenters generally looked on in horror. They simply could not understand how an obvious bigot could capture the imagination of so many people. Surely there were "good" Civil Rights leaders out there, waging the good fight against discrimination. But what the pundits never got was that Farrakhan promised something more-improvement, minus the need to beg from white people.

During Farrakhan’s heights in the 80’s and 90’s, national commenters generally looked on in horror. They simply could not understand how an obvious bigot could capture the imagination of so many people. Surely there were “good” Civil Rights leaders out there, waging the good fight against discrimination. But what the pundits never got was that Farrakhan promised something more—improvement, minus the need to beg from white people.

The Messenger - Ta-Nehisi Coates - politics - The Atlantic

Coates compares Paul and Farrakhan. Worth a read.

My Country, Tis of Me

What is most irksome about the Tea Party Patriots is their expropriation of the word patriot, with the implication that if you disagree with them, you re not a patriot, or at least you re less patriotic than they are. Without getting all ask-notty about it, I think a movement labeling itself patriotic should have some obligation to demonstrate patriotism in a way other than demanding a tax cut.
From My Country, Tis of Me - Magazine - The Atlantic

Samuel Johnson said it best. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. The Tea party seems to be made up of people conflating their personal self-interest with the interests to the nation.