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Lessons from the London high-rise fire

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | June 16, 2017

Every catastrophe has multiple causes, so there will be lots to learn about this one as the facts come in. Whatever they are, they will include irresponsible, probably corrupt, behavior by people who should have known better.

Jane Marple meets Donald Trump

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | June 13, 2017

Agatha Christie’s sometimes dithery but always profoundly insightful sleuth, Miss Marple, maintained that there are only two reasons for murder — sex and money. As we watch our social norms and legal frameworks destroyed by one man, one way to keep our spirits up is to put bets on what might happen next. I suggest Miss Marple’s analysis applies to the question, Why is trump so eager to please the Russians? Did they help bail him out of his usual financial mistakes? Or should we look more carefully at Miss Marple’s other explanation — sex.

Behind Lex CEU —how Orban has been suffocating the Hungarian higher education system

Gérard Roland, E. Morris Cox professor of economics and professor of political science | May 27, 2017

The passing of Lex CEU by the Hungarian Parliament to outlaw Central European University in Budapest has stirred widespread protests both in Hungary and outside Hungary. This legitimate protest should not hide the fact that Viktor Mihály Orban’s government has been passing laws to muzzle the whole system of higher education in Hungary. After the … Continue reading »

Manchester: The newest terrorism, and the future of terrorism

Bruce Newsome, Lecturer in International Relations | May 24, 2017

The suicide bombing of a concert in Manchester, England, is indicative of the latest trends in terrorism — trends that have emerged as recently as the last few years, and will continue in the wrong direction for years to come. The tragedy illustrates the new normal in terrorist motivations and behaviors; unfortunately, you would not … Continue reading »

Was the Comey firing legitimate? Time will tell

Dan Farber, professor of law | May 10, 2017

Was the firing of James Comey another Saturday night massacre? No, not really. But there’s enough resemblance between Trump’s action and Nixon’s axing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation to be worrying. Unlike Cox, Comey had clearly engaged in conduct that warranted firing. During the campaign, he blatantly violated Justice Department policies … Continue reading »

A statement from the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (

Lawrence Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Right-Wing Studies | April 27, 2017

A statement by CRWS Chair Lawrence Rosenthal on 4/27 events at Berkeley The situation at the University of California does not conform to the claims of suppression of free speech that conservative politicians and commentators have been trying to tie it to. Neither student groups nor the university administration are responsible for the threats of … Continue reading »

Why I invited Ann Coulter to speak at Berkeley

Pranav Jandhyala, Founder of BridgeUSA at Berkeley |

I founded BridgeUSA, the nonpartisan organization that invited Ann Coulter to the University of California at Berkeley’s campus. Our organization hopes to create a future in which our campus and our country are venues for free and fair political discussion and debate from all sides. We stand for the preservation of spaces where political ideas … Continue reading »

Mar-a-Lago’s menu — security a la carte

Peter Bartu, lecturer on Middle East studies |

Serendipitously, President Trump was dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he ducked out to inform the world of his instructions to strike against the Syrian Air Force unit believed responsible for the gas attacks in Syrian city of Idlib last Tuesday. It was hard not to feel some satisfaction that finally someone was standing … Continue reading »

Sincerely, Niccolo Machiavelli: an open letter to Donald Trump

Peter Sahlins, professor of history | February 26, 2017

“I must commend you on your masterful victory over your opponents. But some of my lessons you’ve failed to learn.” So wrote Liam Frölund, a freshman at Berkeley, using Machiavelli’s voice and texts, in a masterly fulfillment of his class assignment, published last week in Salon Magazine. I’ve been teaching History 5, “Western Civilization Since … Continue reading »

Trump: master of American spectacle

Charles Henry, professor emeritus, African American studies |

From comedians to political commentators everyone says they have never seen a presidency like Donald Trump’s. Whether it is his (and his press secretary’s) press conferences, or the perpetual campaigning, his alternate “facts” or the spectacle of the wall, Trump is seen as outside the mainstream or unique. Although Trump has taken it to a … Continue reading »

Milo Yiannopoulos: A post mortem

Lawrence Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Right-Wing Studies | February 22, 2017

Milo was always dispensable. He wasn’t the business end of things. He wasn’t going to wind up in the White House, like his old Breitbart boss, Steve Bannon. In the alt-right eco-system he was useful, but not essential. Provocateurs like Milo did important work—outraging the normies and exposing the cuckservatives. Milo was good at it, … Continue reading »

Trump and the siren song of confidence

Don Moore, professor, Haas School of Business |

Homer spun a chilling tale about the power of the Sirens’ song. Their beautiful voices beckoned passing ships into a fatal trap. When selecting leaders, most of us are tempted by something like the Sirens’ song: confidence. My research with colleagues suggests that confident people are more likely to be selected as leaders. When we … Continue reading »

Funding the resistance of conscientious civil servants

Chris Kutz, professor of law | February 15, 2017

What can we do to support the government administrators, the Bartlebys, as Judith Levine calls them, who would “prefer not to” cooperate with Trump’s orders that they believe to be immoral or unconstitutional? Career civil servants, unlike political appointees, are supposed to implement the policies of a new administration, regardless of their personal political values. But … Continue reading »

Gorsuch meets the highest standards

John Yoo, law professor | February 7, 2017

After a terrible week beset by controversy over immigration, Donald Trump finally used presidential power in a measured, deliberate way. In choosing Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump kept his campaign promise to replace Justice Antonin Scalia with a judicial conservative, though one with intriguing wrinkles. If Democrats reflexively try to defeat Gorsuch, … Continue reading »

Alexander Hamilton would be worried, too

John Yoo, law professor |

Faced with President Trump’s executive orders suspending immigration from several Muslim nations and ordering the building of a border wall, and his threats to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, even Alexander Hamilton, our nation’s most ardent proponent of executive power, would be worried by now. Article II of the Constitution vests the president … Continue reading »

A Breitbart-Bannon drive to defund universities?

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | February 6, 2017

The events at Berkeley Wednesday night have been a boon to Milo Yiannopoulos, of Breitbart News, and to Steve Bannon, formerly head of Breitbart News and now Trump’s consigliere. As you may know, on February 1, Berkeley gave Yiannopoulos a major forum to spout his racist and misogynistic vitriol. But police had to cancel the … Continue reading »

More speech

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | February 3, 2017

I have not encountered very much of the discourse of the alt-right (e.g. Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos). But their utterances strike me as both infantile and anti-social: infantile, because their rallying cries are variants of the three year old’s “I, me, mine”; anti-social because their notion of humanity excludes pretty much everyone who is … Continue reading »

No to Jeff Sessions, a southwest Alabama good ole boy

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | January 31, 2017

This week Congress will  be vetting Jeff Sessions appointment as U.S. attorney general. It is unimaginable that Sessions could be empowered to represent “law, justice and the American way.” For most of his public career Sessions has represented white interests. Yesterday, representatives of the NAACP were arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, during a protest in which they … Continue reading »