Top 12 Blog Posts of the Year

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I’ve never known how to judge a category like this. I can’t do it by memory since I don’t remember most of what I’ve written for more than a few days. I can do it by the pure popularity of posts, but this year I wasn’t able to figure out how to get Google Analytics to cough up that information. So I’m trying something new and innovative: this list contains the top post from each month as ranked by Google. In a fresh private window, I searched my site; then filtered by date; then picked the top substantive post (i.e., not cat blogging or lunchtime photos). Here they are:
January: Everyone’s Known About Stormy Daniels All Along
Fox News knew all about Trump and Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign, but declined to run the story. They were “unable to verify all of the facts and publish a story,” they said. Uh huh.
February: Surprise! The Media Got Sucked In By the Nunes Memo
Rep. Devin Nunes released an obviously laughable and fraudulent memo claiming the FBI illegally surveilled the Trump campaign. It literally contained nothing either new or credible, but that didn’t matter. The media gave it grand play anyway.
March: Americans Love Torture
“The American public supports torture by a pretty wide margin, and Republicans support it almost unanimously. This means there’s really not much reason for anyone to feel ashamed about it or to think [that supporting] it will hurt their reputation or their ability to work in government.”
April: Tariffs? What Tariffs?
Larry Kudlow tells everyone to calm down. The whole tariff war thing is just a bunch of talk so far. There’s not much chance it will really happen.
May: Fox News and the Big Lie
At Fox News and other right-wing outlets, it’s now simple conventional wisdom that the Mueller probe is little more than a liberal deep-state hit job. “If you watch Fox—or listen to Rush or read Breitbart—this is what you believe….His entire investigation is a monstrous, Democrat-fueled deception designed to bring down a president elected by working-class voters who were finally fed up with liberals destroying our country. This is their story, and it’s spreading more and more widely in conservative ranks.”
June: The Press Doesn’t Cover All Undercover Stings the Same
Over the years the media has given a ton of coverage to undercover conservative stings from the likes of David Daleiden and others. Why? Because they illegally record video, edit it in obviously deceptive ways, and then put it on YouTube. That’s news, baby! Who cares if there’s no reason to give these folks even the slightest benefit of the doubt given their record of serial fraudulence?
But when a liberal does the same thing, it might as well have never happened. Why? Because Dania Flores and NARAL Pro-Choice of California obeyed the law and refrained from recording video. Their report was clearly credible and showed that most “crisis pregnancy centers” are thinly disguised fronts for anti-abortion Christian ministries. But without the video, it went nowhere. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’re hearing about it now for the first time.
July: Corporate Profits Are Skyrocketing. Wages Aren’t.
The Wall Street Journal says corporate profits are due to continue soaring. They’re right. They also say that corporate profits are being threatened by rising wages. Really?
August: Trump’s Tariffs Have Killed Off the Ford Focus
Ford planned to revive the Focus and import it from their factory in China, despite modest sales. The Trump tariffs killed even the small hope of making that workable, and there was no chance at all of reviving it in an American factory. So the Focus is gone.
September: How Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories Take Flight
“These things become believable if you first believe that the opposition party is literally evil enough and well-funded enough to be capable of anything. If they are enemies of the state, dedicated to ruining everything good about America—and they have the power of Hollywood and universities and the press to provide cover—then weird conspiracy theories start to make a lot more sense.”
October: Wall Street Profits Are Up, Up, Up
The easiest way to tell if the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill really did serious damage to the banking industry is to look at their profits. If Dodd-Frank’s regulations were egregious, then Wall Street earnings would have slumped.
Spoiler alert: They didn’t.
November: Was NAFTA Bad For America?
No, not really. Even now, after a quarter of a century, there’s still a consensus among economists that NAFTA was a net positive. As for Mexico, they definitely suffered some economic problems in the 80s and 90s. But most of that had nothing to do with NAFTA.
December:  We’re Returning to the Middle Ages
This post annoyed several medievalists, but it was prompted by Donald Trump’s statement that he might intervene in the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou if the Chinese played ball on trade. This is roughly analogous to the medieval practice of taking hostages during wartime. There was also some annoyance toward my brilliantly Photoshopped picture of Trump’s face over a famous portrait of Richard III. However, Richard III died in 1485, which clearly (though barely) makes him a medieval king, not an early modern one. So I stand by my illustration.