What is a national emergency — and does it mean Trump can build his wall? Presidents have declared dozens of emergencies, but none like Trump’s. Trump’s emergency declaration is the first since 9/11 to authorize military action. Trump declared a national emergency at the border — Sean Illing asked 11 experts if it’s legal (and more). Does Trump really have “absolute power” to declare a national emergency? Let’s examine the statute. Presidents have no extra-constitutional powers during real emergencies, much less fictitious ones (and more). Yascha Mounk on how national emergencies are for autocrats. Jaden Adams on states of emergence. The wall isn’t a state of emergency but a state of exception.

From Lawfare, what authorities is President Trump using to build a border wall?; Jack Goldsmith on what is and isn’t a big deal in Trump’s executive actions related to the border; and Robert Chesney on judicial deference and the inevitable border emergency litigation. The courts will likely let Trump declare an “emergency”, even if it’s made up. A state of unreality: Trump’s emergency declaration is going to run into four hurdles. Trump’s national emergency just got its first legal challenge. Li Zhou and Emily Stewart on 5 ways Trump’s national emergency declaration could be stopped. Why does Trump still want the wall so badly? Erik Klemetti on the geologic nature of our borders.


Ayelet Banai (Haifa): The Territorial Rights of Legitimate States: A Pluralist Interpretation. Ming-Sung Kuo (Warwick): Between Fact and Norm: Narrative and the Constitutionalization of Founding Moments. Paul Krugman on the empty quarters of U.S. politics; on Democrats, debt and double standards; and how much does heterodoxy help progressives? Why girls beat boys at school and lose to them at the office. A remedy for government shutdowns: Right now, members of Congress have few financial incentives to compromise in the face of government shutdowns — a constitutional amendment could change that. This is the most diverse Congress ever — but it’s still pretty white. Rift between Trump and Europe is now open and angry. Our brains aren’t designed to handle the Trump era. Kaepernick won — the NFL lost (and more and more).

Teresa Bruno-Nino (Syracuse) and Preston J. Werner (HUJI): You Oughta Know: A Defence of Obligations to Learn. Russia may absorb Belarus: “We’re ready to unite”, president says. The racist history behind the disappearance of Australia’s indigenous languages. Is there any point to writing about Donald Trump all the live-long day? The AI text generator that’s too dangerous to make public. When the suffrage movement sold out to white supremacy: African-American women were written out of the history of the woman suffrage movement — as the centennial of the 19th Amendment approaches, it’s time for a new look at the past. The rise of the right-wing globalists: The World Economic Forum showed how the Right is seizing the levers of the international order.


From Vox, Li Zhou on why Trump is signing a border security deal and declaring a national emergency at the same time. Mitch McConnell just set a hugely dangerous precedent on national emergencies (and more and more and more and more). Trump’s face-saving way out of crisis raises fears over rule of law (and more and more). Let’s say Trump declares a national emergency — what happens next? If Trump declares a national emergency, Pelosi can jam Republicans — here’s how. Trump’s emergency powers won’t get him a wall — Congress has to approve any such action, just for starters. What does Trump’s pending declaration of emergency mean about his power and the state of his presidency?

Trump wants the military to build the border wall — it might not be legal. Trump may have $21 billion in military funds available for the wall. The new Republican strategy for dealing with the emergency that is Trump: pray. “Off the rails”: Inside Trump’s attempt to claim victory in his border wall defeat. Trump didn’t get his border wall — but he’s winning the immigration debate. “In yet more proof of one of the enduring truths of the Trump era, There Is Always a Tweet”.


Mark Fenster (Florida): “Bullets of Truth”: Julian Assange and the Politics of Transparency. Eleonore Neufeld (USC): An Essentialist Theory of the Meaning of Slurs. What we don’t talk about when we talk about serial killers. Fake news: The medium is not the message. J. T. Roane interviews Kellie Carter Jackson, author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence. In U.S. and Britain, a permanent sense of crisis. Rare interview with captured scientist raises alarm over Islamic State chemical weapons program. The political scientist Donald Trump should read: Ezra Klein reviews Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign by Frances E. Lee. You can download Qualitative Freedom: Autonomy in Cosmopolitan Responsibility by Claus Dierksmeier.

From Essays in Philosophy, a special issue: Is Procreation Immoral? McCabe confirms talks held about recruiting Cabinet members to use 25th Amendment to remove Trump (and more and more and more). One year after the Parkland shooting, is the #NeverAgain movement on track to succeed? (and more and more) What would happen if Trump pardons Manafort? Amazon HQ2 defeat is a win for Queens activists but a “facepalm” for tech leaders (and more and more and more). Amazon will pay a whopping $0 in federal taxes on $11.2 billion profits. The U.S. government and Facebook are negotiating a record, multibillion-dollar fine for the company’s privacy lapses. How the “U-S-A” chant became a political weapon.


Shivam Lohani (BIAS): Social Engineering: Hacking into Humans. Is our constant use of digital technologies affecting our brain health? Daniel Susser (Penn State), Beate Roessler (Amsterdam), and Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell): Online Manipulation: Hidden Influences in a Digital World. We’re all just starting to realize the power of personal data. The Internet is a privacy disaster — but we still don’t know how to talk about it. The world is choking on digital pollution. Can Google be more than an advertising company? Facebook and Google’s targeted advertising is ruining the Internet and breaking the world. Without social organizations, social technologies will eat us alive.

The most powerful person in Silicon Valley: Billionaire Masayoshi Son — not Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg — has the most audacious vision for an AI-powered utopia where machines control how we live. The power of platforms: Janosik Herder on how biopolitical companies threaten democracy. The new American empire: What is the internet if not a modern panopticon — but it is a two-sided one, a panopticon that can be turned around.


David Stebenne (Ohio State): Is American Democracy Endangered? Perry Anderson on Bolsonaro’s Brazil. When do racists deserve forgiveness? Why Ralph Northam’s racist fiasco is a golden opportunity for black voters. U.S. Senate does rare good thing and passes major conservation legislation (and more). Anand Toprani on a primer on the geopolitics of oil. The much-heralded end of the Mueller investigation: No one knows when it will actually “wrap up” — or what it will mean when it does. A look at the economics of cryptocurrency pump and dump schemes. Elisabeth Zerofsky on Eric Zemmour, the right-wing pundit “hashtag triggering” France. Political cult leader Lyndon LaRouche dies at 96 (and more).

From Cato Unbound, Stephen Davies on the Great Realignment: Understanding politics today. You don’t have to worry about a national measles outbreak. Black History Month includes Black queer history, too: “We, too, have been here, have been Black and queer, and still aren’t going anywhere”. Overlooked: These remarkable black men and women never received obituaries in The New York Times — until now. Paid line-standing: The bizarre congressional practice that shocked Ocasio-Cortez, explained. Global insect collapse “catastrophic for the survival of mankind”. What exactly is “intellectual cool”? Cool, even if by itself is a dead end, can — paradoxically enough — sometimes lead to things larger than the modish demands of the present.


Eva Brems, Laurens Lavrysen, and Lieselot Verdonck (Ghent): Universities as Human Rights Actors. Should studying literature be fun? “No” is too often the answer, as scholars signal their professionalism. Why literature professors turned against authors — or did they? Gold among the dross: Academic research in the US is unplanned, exploitative and driven by a lust for glory — the result is the envy of the world. The hard part of computer science? Getting into class. Thread: “OK, I should really write another thread about university-centric regional development, because I think people often make some (very understandable) mistakes when thinking about this issue”. Dean Baker Harvard’s choice: Hedge funds or scholarships. Art-school confidential: The expensive superficiality of M.F.A. programs.

Forget Stanford, Tsinghua beckons: America is losing African and Asian students to China. Academic ideas are supposed to thrive on their merits — if only. Europe has a plan to force academic publishers to make research free to read. Joi Ito on the quest to topple science-stymying academic paywalls. Andrew Marzoni on how academia is a cult. History majors are becoming a thing of the past, except in the Ivy League. Overworked and isolated: The rising epidemic of loneliness in academia. Graduate school can have terrible effects on people’s mental health.

Is email making professors stupid? It used to simplify crucial tasks — now it’s strangling scholars’ ability to think. No tuition, but you pay a percentage of your income (if you find a job). The liberal arts may not survive the 21st century.


Valeriano Diviacchi (Harvard): Race and Class: Are They Social Constructs or Ontologically Real and How Are They Related? (A View From the Bottom Up). On Iran, it’s Trump’s national security adviser vs. Trump’s intel chiefs. Perry Bacon on 6 things to listen for when the 2020 Democrats talk about policy. “Progressive prosecutor”: Can Kamala Harris square the circle? Amy Klobuchar, latest presidential candidate, faces questions about temperament, treatment of staff (and more and more). “This is my space”: Kirsten Gillibrand’s unabashedly feminist campaign. “A woman, just not that woman”: How sexism plays out on the trail. Emily Stewart asked Wall Street insiders whether they’d prefer Elizabeth Warren or Donald Trump — it turned out to be a hard question. Blackwater mercenary Erik Prince has a new $1 trillion Chinese boss.

Sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts in France stokes old fears. The gatekeepers: Mychal Denzel Smith on the burden of the black public intellectual. Black women freedom fighters: An interview with Keith Gilyard and Joseph R. Fitzgerald. Does Trump’s success vindicate or undermine liberal theory? Samuel Scheffler on the Rawlsian diagnosis of Donald Trump. Sinaloa cartel marches on after El Chapo arrest, conviction. Historian who shamed Davos elites Rutger Bregman says Tucker Carlson called him a “fucking moron” in meltdown. Wait, what’s going on in Thailand? Here’s the background. Are we rational when it comes to rationality? Jakub Rudnicki reviews Rationality and Decision Making: From Normative Rules to Heuristics, ed. Marek Hetmanski.


Daniel Matthews (Hong Kong): From Global to Anthropocenic Assemblages: Re-Thinking Territory, Authority and Rights in the New Climatic Regime. Hye Young Kim (ENS): Entelechy of Technology? A Philosophical Analysis of Anthropocene. Amanda Machin (UW/H): Democracy and Agonism in the Anthropocene: The Challenges of Knowledge, Time and Boundary. Jayne Svenungsson (Lund): Interdependence and the Biblical Legacy of Anthropocentrism: On Human Destructiveness and Human Responsibility. Hannah Rogers reviews Welcome to the Anthropocene by Alice Major. Why the “Anthropocene” is not “climate change” and why it matters.

Arran Gare (Swinburne): Ethics, Philosophy and the Environment. Dominika Dzwonkowska (UKSW): Is Environmental Virtue Ethics Anthropocentric? Benjamin Barnard (Essex): Do Rights-Based Moralities Cause Climate Change? Balancing the Rights of Current Persons and the Needs of Future Generations. Steve Paulson interviews Bruno Latour, author of Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime (and more).


Karen J. Alter (Northwestern), Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton (UCSD), and Laurence Helfer (Duke): Theorizing the Judicialization of International Relations. From the Congressional Research Service, a report on Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress. The North Magnetic Pole’s mysterious journey across the Arctic. From LARB, the best of the worst? Roslyn Fuller interviews Paul Cartledge, author of Democracy: A Life; and Andy Fitch interviews David Runciman, author of How Democracy Ends. How the idea of Hell has shaped the way we think: For centuries, we’ve given lavish attention to the specifics of punishment, and left Heaven woefully under-sketched. Mumbai business executive Raphael Samuel is trying to sue his parents for giving birth to him. None of our ambitions are possible without a guaranteed right to vote. The controversy over Ilhan Omar and AIPAC money, explained (and more).

Sam Stoner (Assumption): Who is Descartes’ Evil Genius? Jennifer Dos Reis Dos Santos on how African American folklore saved the cultural memory and history of slaves. The urgency of a third Reconstruction: The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment marked a turning point in U.S. history — yet 150 years later, its promises remain unfulfilled. A new Americanism: Jill Lepore on why a nation needs a national story. Jerome Groopman reviews Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George. Max Weber’s enduring wisdom: Democratic politics is a remorseless struggle, he warned 100 years ago. The first two chapters from Max Weber and the Modern Problem of Discipline by Tony Waters.

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