Why Won’t the EPA Watchdog Fully Investigate Pruitt?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s independent watchdog can’t keep up with all of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s scandals. In January, EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins revealed that his office will limit its investigation of Pruitt’s controversial first-class travel to the previous calendar year. The Office of the Inspector General lacks the “people, time and funds” necessary to investigate … [Read more...]

How News Outlets Became Lifestyle Brands

On Tuesday, Fox News announced it would be launching Fox Nation, a streaming service populated with original content. While similar to other standalone streaming services that have popped up in recent years, like HBO Now and ESPN Plus, Fox Nation is squarely aimed at the network’s core audience. “Fox Nation is designed to appeal to the Fox superfan,” John Finley, who oversees program development … [Read more...]

The New Working Class

More than a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, political commentators continue, despite all evidence to the contrary, to depict his political base as the “white working class.” Articles on his supporters seem almost entirely devoted to baseball-capped Middle Americans in declining industrial towns who believed the president’s campaign-trail promises to bring back coal, or steel, or keep the … [Read more...]

Whitewashing Trump Country

Rural America is white and in love with Donald Trump, according to reports. Since 2016 it has been depicted as the nation’s one true bastion of Trump support. A 2016 New Yorker piece announced that West Virginia, “the heart of Trump country,” had “practically no immigrants.” The state’s immigrant population actually increased at rates higher than the national average from 2010 to 2014, but media … [Read more...]

Nationalize the Trump Organization

Donald Trump Jr. is in India for a week-long business trip on behalf of the Trump Organization, which he runs with his brother Eric, to promote $1 billion in luxury residential units that their company is building there. The president’s eldest son will also be a keynote speaker at the Global Business Summit in New Delhi alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Technically, Trump Jr. is a … [Read more...]

Right-Wing Populism Can’t Fix Globalization

Just a year ago, it seemed like the era of globalization was over.At the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—on a panel called “Squeezed and Angry”— hedge fund guru Ray Dalio set out the new direction of the global economy. “We may be at a point where globalization is ending and where provincialism and nationalism are taking hold,” he said. “You will see more protectionism, perhaps the … [Read more...]

Night Vision

When I was 16, I read “First Love,” by Vladimir Nabokov. He describes a trip on the Nord Express train, which went from St. Petersburg to Paris. “I would put myself to sleep by the simple act of identifying myself with the engine driver,” Nabokov wrote. And then comes a dream. “In my sleep, I would see something totally different—a glass marble rolling under a grand piano or a toy engine lying on … [Read more...]

Dismantle the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security’s first problem is its name. Mainstream American political thought long celebrated the United States as a multicultural nation, one that forged a common civic identity among people from disparate cultures. Except for the Native Americans, this country is no one’s “homeland,” a word that evokes the blood-and-soil ethno-nationalism of the Old World.“The word … [Read more...]

Stop Inflating the Russia Threat

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russians last week for meddling in the 2016 election has incited hysterical threat inflation among many pundits and foreign policy experts. For Washington Post columnist Max Boot, the unfolding Russiagate story is “the second-worst foreign attack on America in the past two decades,” after 9/11. “The Russian subversion of the 2016 election did … [Read more...]

Time Is a Feminist Issue

In the months since the #MeToo movement began in October of last year, it has become an article of faith that there is a “generational divide” between older and younger feminists. “Compared to their elders,” The Chicago Tribune wrote, “younger women are seen as generally more willing to speak out about being sexually harassed, and bring a new set of expectations to their sexual relationships.” In … [Read more...]

Zadie Smith’s Book of Essays Explores What It Means to Be Human

“If I have any gift at all,” Zadie Smith admits in one of the essays in Feel Free, “it’s for dialogue—that trick of breathing what-looks-like-life into a collection of written sentences.” Smith does voices. Sometimes literally: an audio recording of her reading her story “Escape from New York,” includes the treat that is impressions of its three characters, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and … [Read more...]

Who Counts?

In his first year in office, Donald Trump and his administration have launched a daunting number of direct and open attacks on long-respected American rights and freedoms—threatening immigrants, the media, health care, transgender rights in the military, and much else. But there have been other, indirect and behind-the-scenes attacks, too, which may be no less damaging to the United States in the … [Read more...]

Baltimore’s Lonely Fight for Police Reform

Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, in December to push President Donald Trump’s false narrative that illegal immigration—and sanctuary cities, like Baltimore, that protect undocumented immigrants—are driving up violent crime in America. “Over the last two years,” he said, “this city in particular has experienced violence like we haven’t seen in nearly a quarter of a … [Read more...]

The Source of the Next Recession

The Trump administration is delivering on its promise of financial deregulation. Mick Mulvaney has eroded the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since being installed as acting director in November. The agency’s new strategic plan says it will “fulfill the Bureau’s statutory responsibilities, but go no further.” In practice this has meant freezing or dropping investigations against miscreant … [Read more...]

Trump Can’t Kill Renewable Energy

Gregory Pitner had done all the research, crunched all the numbers. The nanoelectronics researcher from San Jose, California, knew that he wanted solar panels installed on his home. The only question was timing: Should he do it now? Or perhaps in a few months, when it was warmer? Maybe if he waited, the price would go down. Maybe he’d get a better quote.Then President Donald Trump announced his … [Read more...]

Peter Thiel’s Lonely Culture War

Peter Thiel has had a pretty good couple of years. He helped elect President Trump, speaking on his behalf at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Trump’s tax bill, passed in November of the following year, will undoubtedly grow his multibillion-dollar fortune. He bankrupted Gawker, the culmination of a decade-long campaign to get revenge on the site after its defunct sister site outed him. He … [Read more...]

Trump Can’t Deny Russian Meddling Anymore

The Russian election meddling story is real news. That’s the message sent by special counsel Robert Mueller’s surprise charges against thirteen Russian nationals on Friday afternoon. The 37-page indictment describes a deliberate campaign by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency and its associates to exploit Americans’ political divides, damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and bolster … [Read more...]

The Mental Health Scapegoat

Nobody doubts that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old man responsible for killing 17 people in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, is troubled. The troubles are obvious now, the troubles are chyrons on the television, and experts are busy exploring the ruins those troubles have created. Every time someone troubled picks up a gun and murders mass numbers of people, we ask ourselves why it happened as if … [Read more...]