Weekend Reading: The Rise of the Thought Leader: David Sessions on Dan Drezner
Monday Smackdown: The Elementary Arithmetic of a Value-Added Tax (VAT)

Must-Read: Nate Silver: The Media Needs To Stop Rationalizing President Trump’s Behavior: "San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz... it’s hard to see what possible political benefit Trump could get from criticizing Cruz... https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-media-needs-to-stop-rationalizing-president-trumps-behavior/

...whose city was devastated by Maria and remains largely without power and otherwise in crisis. Nor is the government’s response to Maria necessarily something that Trump wants to draw a lot of attention to.... Trump’s dismissiveness toward Cruz... will amplify growing criticism about how the government handled Puerto Rico and why Trump seemed to be more interested in the NFL protests than in his administration’s hurricane recovery plan.

I’m happy to acknowledge that Trump’s responses to the news are sometimes thought-out and deliberate.... But at many other times, journalists come up with overly convoluted explanations for Trump’s behavior (“this seemingly self-destructive emotional outburst is actually a clever political strategy!”) when simpler ones will suffice (“this is a self-destructive emotional outburst.”).... One can understand why journalists who rely on having close access to Trump avoid explanations that portray Trump as being irrational, incompetent or bigoted. But sometimes they’re the only explanations that make sense.

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