Sunday, December 8, 2019
No time for an introduction today. On the other hand, much reason to
kick this out earlier than usual. Anyway, you know the drill.
Some scattered links this week:
Bloomberg's first TV interview showed him to be exactly who progressives
feared he was. Yeah, but when you dig further, you'll find out he's
even worse than that, and offensive not just to progressives. Someone
asked me tonight whether there are any Democrats I wouldn't vote for
against Trump. Bloomberg might be the one. Related:
Julia Belluz/Nina Martin:
The extraordinary danger of being pregnant and uninsured in Texas:
"The state's system for helping the uninsured thwarts women at every
turn and encourages subpar care."
Sorry Mayor Pete, means-testing is not progressive. Progressive is
taking things that are currently rationed via the market (and therefore
preferentially to the wealthiest) and turning them into public rights,
shared equally by all. If you still feel that the rich aren't paying
their fair share, taxing them more is a much preferable to restricting
their benefits. I'll add that I suspect one reason Buttigieg is hounded
for his McKinsey past is that means-testing is the sort of pet idea so
favored by corporate consultants.
Kamala Harris's long road to an early exit. Also on Harris:
Welcome to the global rebellion against neoliberalism.
How America's system of legalized corruption brought us to the brink of
What if Democrats have already won back enough white working-class
voters to win in 2020? I see so much crap like this in The
Nation, I responded to this by tweeting:
I generally resist the notion that the left is full of morons, but
"The Nation" keeps promoting them. We don't have enough votes anywhere.
We should seek more and win bigger, e.g. on equality/environment issues
we can all rally around:
A former Republican Congress member explains what happened to his
party: "And why it belongs to Trump now." Interview with David
The reason Trump won was because he brought in populism, not conservatism.
I don't see who follows that. Who's the populist in the Republican Party
that comes next? I don't see one. I think it's a return to conservatism
and largely white male flyover state conservatism, which statistically
just isn't going to put Republicans in office a decade from now.
Loeffler will cut huge check for Georgia special election: She'll
start off with a $20 million headstart.
Nikki Haley says Dylann Roof 'hijacked' confederate battle flag.
She almost seemed thoughtful and principled when she decided, after
Roof's racist mass murder, to take down the Confederate flag Roof
had embraced, but now she wants you to know that was only a momentary
lapse. Also, it was the media who misconstrued Roof's actions as
Forged in fire: California's lessons for a Green New Deal.
German Lopez/Katelyn Burns:
Pensacola, Florida, Naval Air Station shooting: what we know.
The House has passed a bill to restore key parts of the Voting Rights
Why Democrats are moving so fast on impeachment.
Virtue signalling and vice signalling.
So, the intellectual apologists of the right can only resort to
quoque, making the claim, in various forms, that the left
is just as bad as their own side. This started with the
Republican War on Science, but is now virtually universal.
The point of "virtue signalling" is to make this claim, without
having to say what is wrong with the virtue being signalled.
Elizabeth Warren's days of defending big corporations. Saul had
The education of Elizabeth Warren.
David K Shipler:
The pitfalls of political trash talk: "If Biden tries to beat Trump
at his own game, he will lose. . . . Besides, Biden's not very good at
Donald Trump, meet your precursor: "Andrew Johnson pioneered the
recalcitrant racism and impeachment-worthy subterfuge the president
is fond of." Related:
Democratize the Internet: An interview with the author of Beyond
the Valley: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality
and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow.
The attacks on Ilhan Omar reveal a disturbing truth about racism in
Emily Stewart/Ella Nilsen:
Pete Buttigieg's McKinsey problem, explained. I know just enough
about the management consulting company to give his employment with
them all sorts of unsavory resonances. There's a Robert Townsend quote
somewhere which sums up McKinsey perfectly: something to the effect
that a sure way to panic your underlings into doing something is to
threaten to hire McKinsey consultants if they don't perform. There
is an incredible amount of formulaic bullshit in consulting, and few
firms have raised that to the level of art as they have. Moreover,
it's easy to imagine the appeal and utility of form of bullshit for
a politician, especially one like Buttigieg. Related:
Laurence H Tribe:
Why care about the Trump impeachment? Your right to vote in free elections
is at stake. "The Trump impeachment is about protecting our freedom
and right to vote from lawless foreign election manipulation invited by
a dangerous president." Yeah, but even if successful it won't have that
effect, other than perhaps to advance a principle that Congress should do
something (or many things) to ensure the integrity of elections. And that
means reining in all forms of manipulation, starting with the billions of
dollars that are spent by all manner of interested parties to game the
system -- foreign agents are a tiny fraction of that pool. The point
about Trump being "a dangerous president" is more pointed, but again
the problem is caused mostly by the extraordinary powers we've allowed
presidents to collect. Removing Trump would help, but every president
since FDR has been dangerous, and the trendline has been increasing --
electing someone as unstable and deranged as Trump has only made the
danger more obvious. Unfortunately, none of these problems will be
addressed seriously and soberly as long as one party sees advantage
in continuing the current system (and biasing it even further toward
the rich and powerful). Some more general links on impeachment:
Julián Castro explains his vision for a "progressive" foreign policy
as president. Better, but he still earns the caveat quotes.
Joe Biden still needs a better answer on Hunter and Ukraine. Related:
Joe Biden's plan to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, explained
But strikingly, even though Biden's proposals on this front are much
more moderate, they are almost identical in their orientation -- raising
money from a similar group of people for mostly similar reasons. Despite
the disagreement about how far to go, all Democrats these days are
basically reading from the same playbook, one that says Reagan-era
conventional wisdom about the relationship between taxes and growth
"No malarkey," Joe Biden's unabashedly lame new slogan, explained:
"Boldly unafraid to be uncool."
What Trump has actually done in his first 3 years: "A big tax cut,
unprecedented environmental degradation, Wall Street unleashed, and a
whole lot of judges." Actually, a good deal more than that, and hard
to find anything good in the mix.
Julie Rodin Zebrak:
What the heck happened to Jonathan Turley? The sole law professor
who opposed impeaching Trump on the first day of House testimony.