Sunday, November 10, 2019
Another "going through the motions" week, so no introduction. I noted
a friend of a friend commenting that people don't realize how much time
it's going to take after the 2020 election to undo the damage Trump has
inflicted (and is continuing to, no doubt with a special flurry after he
gets beat, including a bunch of pre-emptive pardons). This person was
citing the difficulties Laura Kelly has faced since becoming governor
of Kansas, but it's a general rule. For me, the best election news last
week was the defeat of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, who spent his term
making shady deals with real estate developers. One of those was to wreck
McLean Boulevard, which used to hug the river from 13th North to Pawnee
(23rd South), but now will have its downtown passage moved so realtors
can offer exclusive river views. Unlikely that would ever have passed a
public vote, but it's also unlikely that the new mayor will be able to
undo the blight. Of course, a big part of Kelly's problem is that the
state legislature is still controlled by Republicans. The bigger the
Democratic wave in 2020, but more a new president will be able to do.
But still, the task list is daunting, and growing every day.
Some scattered links this week:
Trump throws more red meat to nativists, polluters, and evangelicals.
Austerity blues: "After sixty years of IMF intervention, Pakistan has
little to show for it." Also: "The IMF bailout of today is far from what
Keynes had envisioned for his lender of last resort: it does less to lift
economies than break them in to be fit for Western interaction -- or
Robert P Alvarez:
Republicans, not Russians, threaten our elections: "When turnout
climbs, Republicans lose. No wonder they're closing polling places and
purging voters all over the country."
Fracking halted in England in major government U-turn.
The Berlin Wall fell and the US learned the wrong lessons. It got us
What the right fears about Warren's wealth tax.
Trump has stolen the anti-war mantle. Here's how to get it back.
While Washington is checked out, Macron is pushing to lead the Western
world. Here's a cluster of articles on NATO, reflecting the decline
of American influence and interest. Others:
Ted Galen Carpenter:
What's really undermining NATO? Europe's yearning for neutrality.
Emmanuel Macron is right: NATO is over: Starts with Lord Ismay's
explanation that the purpose of NATO was to "keep the Russians out,
the Americans in, and the Germans down." One might make a sensible
argument that none of those things matter much these days, therefore
neither does NATO. On the other hand, this veers off into insanity:
The moment has arrived for France and Germany to adopt more than baby
steps to make Europe great again. This would require them to establish
a Franco-German condominium to assert their interests, including the
joint development of new nuclear weapons to deter Russia and China.
It would also allow Europe to win an independent footing from an
increasingly hostile United States.
Need I remind you that Europe's previous claim to greatness was
built on the rape and pillage of the rest of the world, starting with
the looting and extermination of the Americas and the enslavement of
Africans. I'm always struck by the fact that British rule reduced
India's share of world GDP from 20% to 5%. The post-colonial period
hasn't been much more generous, as political control was sub-contracted
to locals committed to preserving capitalism's property rights.
The Trump administration's plot to end DACA faces a Supreme Court test.
Secret gerrymandering files can now be made public, court rules.
Thanks to Rand Paul, Russian media are naming the alleged whistleblower.
Two caveats here: one is that Davis doesn't repeat the unmasking; the other
is that she seems to have cultivated a niche in painting Trump as Putin's
puppet. E.g., see:
Trump's Syria fiasco is part of Putin's to-do list. She filed that one
under the tag "Donald J. Subservient."
Jason Del Rey:
Amazon tried to buy a new Seattle City Council. It doesn't look like it
The humanoid stain: "Art lessons from our cave-dwelling ancestors."
California is burning -- nationalize PG&E.
Benjamin Y Fong/Christie Offenbacher:
Medicare for All is a strategy.
75 books from university presses that will help you understand the world.
Bernie Sanders says denying aid because of Hamas is "part of an effort to
When America tried to deport its radicals: Emma Goldman, for
instance, a hundred years ago..
The center does not hold: Review of Jill Lepore's books: These
Truths: A History of the United States, and This America: The
Case for the Nation.
Virginia Democrats campaigned on their Green New Deal and fighting climate
change. And won.
The tears of the taxed: "Ignore the rich: tax opposition has never
been about liberty."
Loyalty vs Democracy: "The impeachment transcripts say Republicans
have to choose between Trump and America's political future." No prizes
for hed writing here, as Republicans haven't trusted democracy for some
time now, and most would be happy if Trump were the future. Moreover,
while I'm not going to argue that Democrats shouldn't impeach Trump,
the fate of democracy in America depends much more on the outcome of
the 2020 elections and the build up of a political movement that is
strong enough to overcome Republican obstruction -- something the
currently constituted Congress is not able to do.
Thanks to Trump, STD rates hit a record high: "Trump's pro-life
policies and attacks on reproductive health care are having repercussions
beyond the GOP's intent."
Titled "Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report," the report
noted that in 2018, there were more than 2.4 million syphilis, gonorrhea
and chlamydia infections combined -- an increase of more than 100,000
from the previous year.
There was also a 71 percent increase in syphilis cases since 2014,
along with a 22 percent increase from 2017 in the number of newborn
deaths related to congenital syphilis.
Bloomberg to follow the not-so-successful Giuliani strategy in the
primaries. The former New York City major, after months of first
flirting with running for president then publicly deciding not to,
filed last week to appear on the ballot in Alabama, just beating the
deadline there. Presumably he's just keeping his options open, as
opposed to making a strategic bet that there's serious interest in
him down there. Still, he got a ton of publicity, even if the bottom
line is that he has no chance, even if he floods the primaries with
money. That's basically because he's a DINO: maybe his support for
gun control makes him a non-starter in the Republican Party, but he
doesn't offer any reason for rank-and-file Democrats to give him a
moment's thought. His commitment to finance-based oligarchy is as
deeply seated as his membership in same. The media may slot him as
a "moderate," but his reaction to Occupy Wall Street was as rabid
as Bull Connor's to civil rights marches. Hmm, maybe that explains
Alabama? But doesn't he know that Connor's ilk are all Republicans
now? More links on Bloomberg here:
Three years later, Trump has lost the element of surprise: "Memories
of the shock of Election Night 2016 could become a strategic asset for
Democrats, who sure won't get over-confident in 2020."
House Dems want to give America impeachment for Christmas.
Top US toxicologist was barred from saying PFAS cause disease in
humans. She's saying it now.
Trump hires a con artist to provide outreach to white evangelicals:
Leftism isn't very appealing to nonvoters. But Bernie Sanders is.
The GOP's opposition to impeachment is (terrifyingly) principled: "To
many conservatives, Democrats (and/or popular democracy) are a greater
threat to America than [XXX]." The actual quote said "Vladimir Putin,"
but you can fill that in with lots of things -- the author picks on Putin
because lots of liberals instinctively regard him as an actual threat,
even if the only concrete example they can give was the support Russian
hackers gave to electing Trump. The fact is that conservatives have never
trusted democracy, and have regularly done everything in their power to
game it in their favor.
Multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi warns "fellow leftists": Medicare for All
is a very bad idea. She's also knocking the wealth tax.
Nobody is buying Mark Halperin's book. The disgraced journalist's publisher
lambastes 'cancel culture.' First week's sales of How to Beat Trump:
America's Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take totaled 502.
Halperin gained some fame when he co-wrote (with John Heilemann) a big book
on the 2008 election (Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and
Palin, but he's now viewed as the very definition of a hack political
journalist -- qualities you can get for free any time you turn in a cable
news panel. "Disgraced" refers to his "#MeToo" reputation, which can't have
helped him, but he was a sinking ship anyway.
Ellen Nakashima/Greg Bensinger:
Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by digging
into the accounts of kingdom critics.
State Department officials warned Trump not to revoke protections for
Jeff Sessions announces a Senate run -- by telling voters he's still loyal
to Trump. Also:
Why did Amazon spend $1.5m in Seattle's local elections?
What Virginia, Mississippi and Kentucky can tell us about 2020.
The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower on how American voters are "primed
to be exploited".
How a former senator and defense secretary explains Republican
spinelessness: "I think it's either fear or complicity." He's being
too generous. Strikes me more as Führerprinzip. Having accepted Trump
as their leader, they now have no option but to follow.
Trump team has a plan for national parks: Amazon, food trucks and no
South Koreans are pleading for a breakthrough in the US-North Korea
Amy Davidson Sorkin:
Trump's frantic fight for immunity: "As public impeachment hearings
begin, Trump's Presidency is still defined by his belief that he cannot
be held to account."
Keith A Spencer:
There is hard data that shows that a centrist Democrat would be a losing
candidate. This is largely based on a paper by Thomas Piketty, based
on French and British data as well as American, which is only one of many
reasons why the conclusions might not apply. More intuitively, I'd say that
centrist Democrats face two major risks: one is that they spend so much
time and effort discounting leftist proposals they're lose the ability
to convince voters to trust them; the other is that their "centrism" is
largely defined by their willingness to favor business, which makes them
appear corrupt. Leftists face other obstacles, but they do have an edge
in authenticity and integrity, which given Trump may be important.
We get it, rich guys are not into Elizabeth Warren: "From Bill Gates
to Jamie Dimon to Leon Cooperman, billionaires have lots of thoughts and
feelings about Elizabeth Warren."
In A Warning, anonymous author makes case against re-election:
New book attempts to expand on last year's
op-ed attributed to an anonymous but "senior Trump administration
official." The idea then was to reassure us that sane conservatives are
working stealthily to limit the damage of Trump's petulant insanity, but
a year later the author is more pessimistic, admitting that "just a wet
Band-Aid that wouldn't hold together a gaping wound." Related:
Visit to Arlington Cemetery reminded Donald Trump Jr of all his family's
'sacrifices,' he writes. He has a new book with his name on the
cover, under the ridiculous title Triggered: How the Left Thrives
on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.
Migrant children are being given to an adoption agency linked to Betsy
DeVos. Probably over the top to accuse DeVos of human trafficking,
but the anti-abortion movement has a long association with adoption
agencies, and the latter seem to be happy to take children wherever
they can find them.
How Mike Pence's office meddled in foreign aid to reroute money to favored