Anatomy of the Deep State

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: In the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War.

Read more by Mike Lofgren at BillMoyers.com

The Genius of Trump’s Tweets

President Donald Trump frequently comes under criticism for tweeting, even from his own advisers. But tweeting is probably the smartest thing he has done as president. He is able to speak directly to the American people without going through the biased mainstream media filter. The media doesn’t get to ask him slanted questions or pick and choose parts of his press releases to publish. Instead, Trump gets immense control over every single sentence he issues, which are then read by millions of Americans.

With almost everyone online these days, it is easy for the average American to follow Trump’s tweets on Twitter. Twitter is free, unlike some mainstream media sites. Many of The Washington Post’s articles — the site is a frequent critic of Trump — are behind a paywall. A Twitter account isn’t even required in order to view Trump’s tweets. And even if left-leaning Twitter artificially buries positive news about Trump, it doesn’t matter, people go directly to his tweets.

Read more by Rachel Alexander at townhall.com

The Perils of the Tribal Echo Chamber

Facebook screenshot of James Hodgkinson, suspected Scalise shooter, holding a sign reading “Tax the Rich.”

It has been the case for some years now that it is all too possible to enclose oneself in a bubble and never encounter contrary opinions. Contrary to the exaggerations of some talk radio hosts, there is no deliberate conspiracy on the part of “the media” to fabricate the news or falsely report events.

Reporters and columnists, like all other human beings, have their biases and are fallible. Mistakes happen and exaggerations occur. Sometimes they are deliberate; often they are subconscious.

Read more by Avner Zarmi at PJmedia.com

The ‘Simple’ Rules for Fighting Federal Asset Forfeiture

Get out your magnifying glass for this flowchart.

The Heritage Foundation, as part of a multipartisan effort to help educate Americans about our abuse-prone police civil asset forfeiture system, has produced a lovely pamphlet explaining how the whole racket works, complete with an illustrated story.

Read more by Scott Shackford at Reason.com

How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration

–SNIP–A decade ago, liberals publicly questioned immigration in ways that would shock many progressives today.

In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”

The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama.

Read more by Peter Beinart at theAtlantic.com