Christopher Skovron (Northwestern): What Politicians Believe About Electoral Accountability. Politics aside, Pelosi made the right decision on SOTU. Democrats cannot give Trump what he wants — just look at the incentives and the demographics. Many Americans say they want politicians to compromise — but maybe they don’t. The IRS is recalling 46,000 workers to handle tax returns. WH economist admits economic strain after saying fed workers “better off”. What workers have lost in the shutdown, so far. The shutdown threatens the promise of government jobs — and a way of life. The longer the shutdown lasts, the more it hurts the economy. Here are 9 key questions about the longest government shutdown in history, answered.


Peter L. Strauss (Columbia): Separation of Powers in Comparative Perspective: How Much Protection for the Rule of Law? Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes on the real significance of the FBI’s probe into Trump. From LARB, Omer Aziz reviews Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor. Pankaj Mishra reviews Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948 by Ramachandra Guha. The census citizenship question was designed to discriminate — until incompetence doomed it. “Trump created a crack in the liberal centrist hegemony”: Slavoj Zizek on why catastrophe gives him hope. Actually, the numbers show that we need more immigration, not less.

What to expect when you’re expecting Brexit (and more). Clare Malone on how Kirsten Gillibrand could win the 2020 Democratic primary (and more). EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing was all about climate change. Virginia could soon place the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. How professionals of color say they counter bias at work. “Are you a doctor?” The unchecked racism faced by physicians of color. “This model of education is not sustainable”: Yes, raises are important, but LA’s teachers are striking so their students have a fair shot at an education. What makes a protest powerful? Micah L. Sifry reviews How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance by L.A. Kauffman.


Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Oxford): Britain and the European Union: Federalism and Differentiation; and Brexit, Boundaries and the Power of Images. Theresa May experiences a historic parliamentary humiliation — but the Brexit disaster is a failure of the entire British political class. Britain is a nation in desperate need of a driver (and more). As Brexit deal goes down in flames, exasperated Europe wonders what the Britons want. Richard Seymour on the strategic perplexity of the Left on Brexit. Donald Tusk says Brexit deal looks impossible. Does the government’s Brexit defeat mean a Norway-style deal? The Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament — here’s what happens next (and more).

Greece with its bailout, the UK with Brexit: The European Union is the reigning champion in this game of chicken. How does the E.U. think this is going to end? In the standoff over Italy’s debt, Brussels is playing a very dangerous game. The rough year ahead for France: Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vest protesters won’t fix a problem that’s fundamentally about the European Union. Broken Europe: Helen Thompson on why the EU is stuck in perpetual crisis. The anti-Europeans have a plan for crippling the European Union.


Gary Bolton (Texas), Eugen Dimant (Penn), and Ulrich Schmidt (Kiel): When a Nudge Backfires: Using Observation with Social and Economic Incentives to Promote Pro-Social Behavior. Welcome to the People’s Democratic Republic of America: Reporters need to start treating DC like a foreign posting. You should care that Richard Spencer’s wife says he abused her. Democrats are wondering what the hell happened to Lindsey Graham. How to think about empire: Avni Sejpal interviews Arundhati Roy on censorship, storytelling, and her problem with the term “postcolonialism”. How much do you trust Bill Barr? Diversity on Capitol Hill starts with paying interns. Why archaeology is so much more than just digging.

From The Atlantic, a look at the 50 moments that define an improbable presidency. Curtis Bradley, Oona Hathaway, and Jack Goldsmith on the death of Article II treaties. The verdict is in: Aung San Suu Kyi is an authoritarian. Should federal workers walk off the job? Federal workers potentially have the leverage to stick it to Trump and put an end to the shutdown. Trump confronts the prospect of a “nonstop political war” for survival. Often aided and inspired by social media, an increasing number of young Saudi women are taking enormous gambles to escape the country, rights groups say. The Border Patrol has been a cult of brutality since 1924. Here’s what’s really happening at the border.


Hannes Bajohr (ZfL Berlin): The Sources of Liberal Normativity. Sean Phelan (Massey) and Simon Dawes (UVSQ): Liberalism and Neoliberalism. Michael A. Wilkinson (LSE): Authoritarian Liberalism as Authoritarian Constitutionalism. Michael K. Connors (Nottingham): Liberalism Against the People: Learning to Live with Coups D’Etat. Slavery-entangled philosophy: John Locke took part in administering the slave-owning colonies — does that make him, and liberalism itself, hypocritical? Amanda Fugandkiss on why the idea of “Classical Liberalism” is a myth and not supported by any rigorous historical survey, and why John Locke's status as the “father of Liberalism” should be reevaluated.

What cafes did for liberalism: They were essential social institutions of political modernity — caffeinated pathways out of clan society and into a cosmopolitan world. The many lives of liberalism: David A. Bell reviews Can Democracy Work?: A Short History of a Radical Idea, from Ancient Athens to Our World by James Miller; The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century by Helena Rosenblatt (and more); and On the Spirit of Rights by Dan Edelstein. Liberalism in theory and practice: Contemporary liberals are temperamentally conservative — and what they want to conserve is a morally bankrupt political order.

From Commonweal, has liberalism failed? An exchange. How liberalism failed: Sheri Berman reviews The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality by Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles; Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy by Sasha Polakow-Suransky; and Counter-Revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat by Jan Zielonka. Liberals need to fight for their values again: Formerly tough underdogs, liberals need to rekindle a fighting spirit.


Josh Chafetz (Cornell): Constitutional Maturity, or Reading Weber in the Age of Trump. A nation “bored of Brexit” risks sleepwalking into disaster. Sophie Smith on John Finnis and academic freedom. “Senior Trump official” on shutdown: “We do not want most employees to return”. The economic cost of the shutdown will soon be the cost of the wall. Lisa Ryan on the real effects of the government shutdown. The government shutdown is making airports even more hellish. It’s time for T.S.A. workers to strike: The shutdown is painful, but it is also an opportunity for labor to take a stand. Female economists push their field toward a #MeToo reckoning. Can economics fix its gender-imbalance problem? It’ll take more than research, women say.

Los Angeles teachers go on strike: The number of students in public school classrooms is irrefutably political. What we know about the 5 meetings between Trump and Putin (and more). Did the FBI “overstep” by investigating Trump? Five dealbreakers for confirming Trump’s next attorney general. You know you’re in a constitutional crisis when: The health of the republic may seem imperiled, but this is in many ways a slow-moving catastrophe. The House Democrats’ colossal election reform bill could save American democracy. John Bolton’s obsession with fighting Iran is making Trump policy more dangerous. They are here because we are there. Louise Matsakis on MacKenzie Bezos and the myth of the lone genius founder.


Javier Zarracina and Li Zhou on The astonishing effects of the shutdown, in 8 charts. How can the government expect people to work without pay indefinitely? Federal workers don’t need financial advice — they need a paycheck. The shutdown reveals just how automated our government is. Trump’s border wall creates deep divisions among Texas landowners in its path. Traffickers at the El Chapo trial say drugs aren’t smuggled through open parts of the border. Forget Mexico: Democrats turn focus to porous Canadian border. A border is not a wall — it’s much more interesting. Q&A: How the government shutdown might end.

Why autocrats love emergencies: Crises — real and imaginary — loosen normal constitutional constraints. This is Mitch McConnell’s shutdown. We’re all to blame for the shutdown — that’s what the game theorists say, anyway. This is now the longest government shutdown in US history and there’s no end in sight. “In the White House waiting”: Inside Trump’s defiance on the longest shutdown ever. Don’t make a deal — unless it’s a better deal than Trump is likely to accept. Waiting for a national emergency: Republicans and Democrats have stopped negotiating an end to the government shutdown — it’s crisis-declaring time.


Deborah Tuerkheimer (Northwestern): Unofficial Reporting in the #MeToo Era. An imperfect victory for democracy in Congo: This is not the outcome that the incumbent president initially wanted. African nations call for recount in DRC election. What if the obstruction was the collusion? Benjamin Wittes on the New York Times’s latest bombshell (and more). Strobe Talbott on how it’s already collusion. On what grounds can the FBI investigate the president as a counterintelligence threat? The FBI can’t neutralize a security threat if the president is the threat. Why the FBI’s investigation into the president was unavoidable. What humpback whales can teach us about alien languages. The Millions will live on, but the indie book blog is dead.

Here is Foreign Policy’s annual list of the top 100 Global Thinkers. The Louvre is returning sculptures to West Africa — here’s how and why Emmanuel Macron made it happen. Rep. Rashida Tlaib cursing got 5 times more coverage on cable news than Rep. Steve King embracing white supremacy. A hard Brexit after all? The dismantling of the State since the 1980s: Brexit is the wrong diagnosis of a real crisis. What Europeans talk about when they talk about Brexit. Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit. Brexit: Banks are moving $1 trillion out of the UK. Carme Font plans to shed new light on women writers overlooked for centuries. Harry Reid has a few words for Washington. Sure, Pelosi is unpopular — but another Democratic Speaker likely would be too.


From Lawfare, can President Trump fund the wall by declaring a national emergency? How Trump could use a national emergency to get his border wall, explained (and more). It’s not a national emergency — it’s also not the dawn of dictatorship. Trump’s emergency powers threat could end shutdown crisis, but at what cost? If the shutdown lasts two more weeks, the cost to the economy will exceed price of Trump’s wall. The cascade of shutdown problems grows each week (and more). The “doomsday” scenario: Here's what happens if the shutdown drags on. The government shutdown is hurting America’s diplomats — and diplomacy. ICE might be violating federal law by keeping immigrants detained during the shutdown. Farm country stood by Trump — but the shutdown is pushing it to breaking point. The shutdown is reminding everyone of the good things government does.

Dems eye legal challenge as Trump threatens national emergency. Trump’s advisers push for emergency declaration — while assuming it’ll be stopped in court. Thread: “Let's take a look at the 1879 shutdown, shall we?”


Eric Boot (Leiden): Obligatory Whistleblowing: Civil Servants and the Complicity-Based Obligation to Disclose Government Wrongdoing. Video game addiction is real, rare, and poorly understood. Campaign journalism needs an overhaul — here’s one radical idea. Why horse-race political journalism is awesome: Telling voters who’s winning and who’s losing the 2020 campaign isn’t trivial — it’s a crucially important job for the media. Easter Island statues: Mystery behind their location revealed. Costica Bradatan contemplates the blind cruelty of power and the gifts of humility. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s critique of fact-checking is valid. AOC takes the Democrats back to the future: Isaac Chotiner interviews Rick Perlstein.

From the Congressional Research Service, a report on the failed coup attempt in Gabon. Melting snowballs and the winter of debt: The policy obsession that took over Washington now looks even worse (and more). The chaos of Brexit has led John Dunn, one of Britain’s foremost political theorists, to appreciate the Queen for the first time in his life. Why Elizabeth Warren turned out to be so likable, after all. American extremism has always flowed from the border. Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus. Is the Aeneid a celebration of empire — or a critique? By mythologizing the Romans’ Trojan origins, Virgil turned a story about losers into an epic about winners. Oxford students call for emeritus professor John Finnis’s removal over alleged homophobia.

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