Talking about Donald Trump and Twitter with an idealist from 2007

Josh from 2007: I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m talking to you ten years in the future. Josh 2017: Yup. I’m here to tell you that you were right about social media blowing up. Even politicians are using it. But it turns out that connecting a politician’s brain directly to millions of voters … Continued

Republican talking points on the obstruction investigation: argumentation or “whataboutism”?

According to the Washington Post, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. The Post’s White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker tweeted a picture of the Republican National Committee’s talking points to rebut the story. It’s a good case study in the difference between blowing smoke and actual counterarguments. Talking … Continued

How Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz uses words to create a biased perspective

The statement from Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s lawyer, regarding former FBI director James Comey’s testimony yesterday was, basically, “see, there’s nothing there.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post had this headline: “Comey testimony threatens to deepen political crisis engulfing White House.” The difference reveals how what you think depends on which facts and statements you want to concentrate on. As … Continued

James Comey’s statement is totally believable, but it won’t matter

In advance of his testimony before the Senate today, former FBI head James Comey released a written statement. In it, he describes his interactions with President Trump regarding the FBI’s investigations into Russian interference in the US election. The statement is vivid, consistent, and appears free from bias. Comey wrote memos after each interaction with Trump, … Continued

Why I write about politics on a blog about writing

Yesterday, a commenter on this blog wrote, “I am not interested in your personal views about the President of the United States.” Why the political analysis in a blog about writing? Because my focus on clear writing and clear thinking demands that I take on whatever writing is in the public eye — and that includes … Continued

Is Emmanuel Macron really this wonderful? Who is?

The new president of France, Emmanuel Macron, is getting rave reviews. Here’s a passage worth reading: [The President] has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of … Continued

I’ve figured out what “covfefe” means. It means we’re screwed.

President Trump posted a mysterious tweet including a the non-word “covfefe” last night. Then he asked us to figure out the its true meaning. The meaning is clear: we must no longer take seriously anything this president says. Here’s the Tweet the president sent at 12:06am. Covfefe is not a word. It’s a mistake. But the … Continued

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tap dances around a $2 trillion mistake

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, among many others, says that the Trump administration has made a $2 trillion accounting mistake in its budget and tax plan. That’s an oopsie half the size of the federal budget. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tried to defend it on CNBC, in an epic tap dance. To understand the error, … Continued