The Democrats are moving Left, and the real work is just starting. Can today’s liberals hope to match the achievements of LBJ’s presidency? Michael Kazin reviews Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House by Joshua M. Zeitz. “Anarchist” is often hurled as a slur — but can anarchists teach us something about democracy? In an age of a resurgent radical right wing in both America and much of the rest of the world, the prevalence of the phony Left in its various guises is a serious barrier to political and social progress. “I want to talk about the DSA”: Benjamin Studebaker on why the Left is not a church. The Left shouldn’t fear nationalism — it should embrace it. Jeffrey C. Isaac on why there can be no democratic Left without an energetic Left: Some thoughts on disagreement.

Phillip Deery (Victoria): American Communism. Fighting words: No, “liberal” and “progressive” aren’t synonyms — they have completely different histories and the differences matter (and more). Maximillian Alvarez on antifascism and the Left’s fear of power: History will move with or without us. Liberals, it’s not about being nice: The hand-wringing about whether liberals should be more accommodating misses the point. Radical Democrats are pretty reasonable: Don’t make false equivalence with the Tea Party, or even with the mainstream GOP. R.I.P., liberal contrarianism: Before #Slatepitch became a punchline, Slate (and others) really did thrive on a certain kind of anti-liberalism; it’s dead now — well, almost.

From Current Affairs, Nathan Robinson on why certain arguments against socialism do not succeed (and more); and don’t use the Right’s assumptions to make the Left’s arguments. Conservatives will always call socialists hypocrites — ignore them. “If you grow up poor and advocate for socialism, it’s envy. If you grow up middle class, you’re just a corn-fed hipster trying to be contrarian. If you’re well-off, your socialism is privilege. There is no ideologically correct way of being a socialist”.


From the New Yorker, is Trump the second coming of Reagan? Fox News’s Bret Baier wants you to think he just might be. Nancy LeTourneau on the poisoning of American discourse by right-wing media. The Fox News-fake news-Trump nexus: Sanford Schram and Richard Fording on the link between political orientation and the inclination to believe fake news. From Bible study to Google: How some Christian conservatives fact-check the news and end up confirming their existing beliefs. Stephane Wolton (LSE): Are Biased Media Bad for Democracy? Tim Miller on the media’s undeniable pro-Trump bias. “Is this a thing, is this a boom?”: How Washington copes with the insane Trump-era news cycle.

In Trump era, the death of the White House press conference. Jay Rosen on why Trump is winning and the press is losing. The case for even tougher media coverage of Trump.


Ulf Engel, Matthias Middell and Katja Werthmann (Leipzig) and David Simo (Yaounde): Africa in the Globalizing World: A Research Agenda. Oasis Kodila-Tedika (Kinshasa) and Simplice Asongu (AGDI): The Long-Term Effects of African Resistance to European Domination: Institutional Mechanism. How a state fails: Stuart A. Reid on Congo’s slide into chaos. Helen Epstein on Congo for the Congolese. The thing about Guinea: Doug Merlino reviews A Socialist Peace? Explaining the Absence of War in an African Country by Mike McGovern. This Kenyan village is a laboratory for the biggest basic income experiment ever. The military doesn’t advertise it, but U.S. troops are all over Africa.

Muse Gadisa Demie (UNSW): Cereals and Gender Roles: A Historical Perspective. A history of denial: Howard W. French reviews Empires in the Sun: The Struggle for the Mastery of Africa by Lawrence James. The creation of Birthright Africa: Taglit-Birthright offers trips to Israel for young American Jews — now there is a program for people of the African diaspora. Ben Taub on Lake Chad, the world’s most complex humanitarian disaster: Boko Haram, climate change, predatory armies, and extreme hunger are converging on a marginalized population in Central Africa. Joe Penney on Africa, latest theater in America’s endless war.

Pablo Yanguas (Manchester): Varieties of State-Building in Africa: Elites, Ideas and the Politics of Public Sector Reform. Using comedy to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy: A news-satire series modelled on “The Daily Show” aims to empower viewers — will the joke get lost in translation? Africa has plenty of land — why is it so hard to make a living from it? In Africa, presidential term limits are working. Emily Meierding on how cheap oil hurts sub-Saharan Africa. The first chapter from African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa by Michael A. Gomez.

Simplice Asongu (AGDI) and Sara le Roux (Oxford Brookes): Understanding Sub-Saharan Africa’s Extreme Poverty Tragedy. Landry Signe on Africa’s big new free trade agreement, explained. The party had been perfectly correct on every issue: Imraan Coovadia on the end of the Zuma years. The future is African — and the United States is not prepared. You can download Violent Becomings: State Formation, Sociality, and Power in Mozambique by Bjorn Enge Bertelsen (2016).


David Matheson (Carleton): The Incoherence of Soft Nihilism. From Congressional Research Service, a report on Commemorations in Congress: Options for Honoring Individuals, Groups, and Events. Pamela Druckerman on how the midlife crisis came to be. A spymaster steps out of the shadows: John Brennan quietly ruled the national-security state under President Obama — now he’s coming forward to rail against Trump and to defend his own legacy. The World Cup so far has been apocalyptically good. Woman who climbed Statue of Liberty says Trump is a monster. Alex Ward on the most important part of the Trump-Putin summit no one is talking about. The British Russia collusion scandal is breaking wide open. Ezra Klein on Donald Trump, Bill Shine, and the problem with “triggering the libs”.

How will we know what a Supreme Court nominee really thinks? Richard Hasen on how Justice Kennedy’s successor will wreak havoc on voting rights and American democracy. What rulings would a brazen conservative majority produce? Jeffrey Toobin on how Trump’s Supreme Court pick could undo Kennedy’s legacy. Conservatives, don’t put too much hope in the next justice.


From Philosophy and Public Issues, a special issue on Pierre Rosanvallon’s Le Bon Gouvernement, including a precis by Rosanvallon; Emmanuel Picavet (Sorbonne): Observations on Pierre Rosanvallon’s Le Bon Gouvernement; Chiara D’Alessandro on The Presidentialisation of the French System in the Crisis of Political Representation; Franco Manti (Genoa): Good Government and Participatory Democracy: A Model of Social Partnership; Jack Coopey (Durham): Citadels: Crisis of Representation as Authoritarian: The Ruling Class in Adorno and Rosanvallon; and Erasmo Silvio Storace (Insubria): On “Parler Vrai”: Reflection Over the Political Languages of the (Dis)trust in Le Bon Gouvernement by Pierre Rosanvallon.


US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits. Trump creates “denaturalization” task force to pursue deportation against thousands of U.S. citizens. Republicans don’t really want to fix illegal immigration. “The House is tired of getting burned”: As the border crisis festers, Republicans fear Trump will betray them on immigration. DNA tests are being used to reunite separated migrant families. The Trump administration just admitted it doesn’t know how many kids are still separated from their parents. From the travel ban to family separations: Carrie Cordero and Quinta Jurecic on malevolence, incompetence, carelessness.


Lindsey Dillon, Vivian Underhill (UC-Santa Cruz), Christopher Sellers (Stony Brook), Nicholas Shapiro (Science History Institute), Jennifer Liss Ohayon (Silent Spring Institute), Marianne Sullivan (WPU), Phil Brown and Sara Wylie (Northeastern), and Jill Harrison (Colorado): The Environmental Protection Agency in the Early Trump Administration: Prelude to Regulatory Capture. Ultra-right Texas think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation wields power over Trump’s environmental and energy policy. Scott Pruitt is burying his radical pro-polluter agenda under oceans of boring legalese: How a dense, legalistic notice about rethinking cost-benefit analysis could derail environmental protection.

Tribalism fueled Scott Pruitt’s rise to power — and the scandals that came with it. What finally did in Scott Pruitt? How Scott Pruitt blew it: Trump had grown tired of the torrent of negative stories about him and had come to believe they were a distraction that wouldn’t go away. Scott Pruitt is gone — his assault on the environment continues. Andrew Wheeler, former coal lobbyist, is now overseeing the EPA. Life in Trump’s cabinet: Perks, pestering, power, putdowns.

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