Mafia Don’s Guide to Free Trade

If you want to understand why Donald Trump has been changing his position on trade, one place to start is pork. I’m not talking about the pork that goes into congressional sausage making. I’m talking the real stuff, the kind that comes from Smithfield Foods, the Virginia-based company responsible for one out of every four American pigs. As a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement...
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Worst. 100 Days. Ever.

If I were a Trump supporter, I’d be furious at the coverage of the president’s first 100 days. The mainstream media has engaged in a bout of competitive schadenfreude as headline writers and columnists vie for the distinction of deriving the most pleasure from the administration’s failures. Pundits and journalists have made much of the legislation unpassed, the positions unfilled, the...
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The Hunger President

One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. The quote comes from Stalin. The policy comes from Donald Trump. Trump famously changed his policy on Syria after seeing photographs of a couple Syrian children killed by a chemical attack. It didn’t matter that the Syrian government had already killed thousands of children. In targeting the Assad regime, Trump was moved by the tragedy,...
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Trump: Invasive Species

In Pittsburgh, where I worked for two months in 1986, I breathed clean air. The steel mills along the rivers leading into town were mottled with rust. The Steelers still played in Three Rivers Stadium in those days, but it was the glass towers of PPG Plaza — originally the headquarters of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company — that symbolized the city’s future: clean, energy-efficient, and...
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Trump: Doubling Down on Dystopia

Dystopias have recently achieved full-spectrum dominance. Kids are drawn to such stories — The Giver, Hunger Games — like Goths to piercings. TV shows about zombie apocalypses, pandemics, and technology run amok inspire binge watching. We’ve seen the world-gone-truly-bad a thousand times over on the big screen. This apocalyptic outpouring has been so intense that talk of “peak dystopia”...
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Killer Presidents

During the presidential campaign, when he was still battling an array of Republican heavyweights for the party’s nomination, Donald Trump indulged in a bit of hubris that would have buried a more conventional candidate. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Iowa in January 2016. Trump was praising,...
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