The Cruelty of Tillerson’s Termination via Tweet

This week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired. While Tillerson’s political demise won’t be mourned at the State Department that he helped decimated in an unprecedented manner, one can still almost feel sorry for him. The former CEO of ExxonMobil, once at the helm of a sprawling business empire, was unceremoniously tossed aside …

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Fire and Fury, the gossipy tell-all of the inner workings of the Trump administration, is not, objectively speaking, a good book. The writing feels like it could have used more editing. The logic is, at times, questionable. And above all, the details are difficult to verify, or easily provable as false (take the assertion that …

Trump, Thaksin and Democracy

Some years ago, I enabled the snowing plugin on this blog so that every December, it snows on the posts that I publish. Perhaps lost in the busyness of college life has been my sense of time, and it took me by surprise when I opened this site and found snow falling on Paul Ryan’s …

The GOP’s Pyrrhic Victory

Why, many asked, did the Republican Party allow itself to be taken over by Donald Trump? An answer that some have given over the past few months is that a unified Republican government means that a Republican legislative agenda will advance. Yes, Trump is a dreadful president, and abhorred by many of the party elite, …

Making News Great Again

Jim VandeHei, the co-founder of media companies Politico and Axios, was in Berkeley last week to talk about the state of the media and American politics in 2017. The media in the 21st century is definitely an important topic, but I haven’t discussed this issue on this blog in the past two years. However, it …

The Importance of Being Earnest

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple”, replies Algernon in the play The Importance of Being Earnest, after his friend Jack explains that he has made up a fictional brother, Ernest, as an excuse to go have fun in London. That statement is as true in a romantic comedy as it is in real life …

All the President’s Nannies

https://twitter.com/SenBobCorker/status/917045348820049920 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Adult Day Care Centre. That was the term Senator Bob Corker chose for the White House after President Donald Trump unleashed an early morning Twitter tirade about the retiring GOP senator. It was an unprecedented sight: a public humiliation of the president from a member of Congress in his own party. …

John Chiang, Pragmatic Progressive

Yesterday, I had the chance to listen to California state treasurer John Chiang at a lecture sponsored by the Berkeley Forum and the Goldman School of Public Policy. At first, I had debated whether or not I should go; I love politics and public policy, but just after moving here, I knew little about California’s …

Vanquished, Not Vanished

“Stronger Together” was the slogan that Hillary Clinton had chosen for her election campaign. It was a firmly inclusive message, but it was an ironic one for the candidate. She has never really been a unifier. Whether or not the hatred for her from both the left and the right can be justified is another …

In Defence of Free Speech

“I don’t agree with a word you say”, wrote Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” The quote is often misattributed to Voltaire, because Hall was writing about the great French writer, but it does sum up his life, for he was a keen advocate of free speech …