Sunday, December 29, 2019
No intro. Didn't really feel like doing this in the first place,
but had tabs I wanted to close.
Some scattered links this week:
Trump's executive order on anti-semitism isn't about protecting Jews.
A NATO expert criticized Trump on Twitter. So a US ambassador barred him
from speaking at a conference. Stanley Sloan. I meant to write some
about this, at least after Robert Christgau endorsed and circulated a
link to Sloan's talk notes. I can't go into it here, other than to note
that I thought the talk was horrible. (The extent of Sloan's delusion
can be gauged by his book title: Defense of the West: NATO, the
European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain. You can see from
that title why he's the sort of guy who gets invites to speak at NATO
Does the left have any better ideas than Obama's? "The Obama era
produced the most sweeping combination of social reforms, economic
rescue, and regulation of any presidency in half a century." That's
bullshit hyperbole, depending on a very low bar, and overlooking
the much more effective "reforms" of Reagan, the Bushes, and even
Trump, just because they've nearly always been for the worse. Those
50 years include 40 since Reagan's "revolution," following what now
looks like prefiguring by Nixon and Carter -- a period of Democrats
trying to frame their policy objectives in Republican terms (e.g.,
as "market reforms"), to ever less avail. Chait wants to rail against
recent re-evaluations of Obama's works, but I see those as necessary
steps to clear the air of zombie ideas:
President Trump's dream is to become America's Viktor Orbán: "Why
the president and his supporters are following the Hungarian autocrat's
Elizabeth Dias/Jeremy W Peters:
Evangelical leaders close ranks with Trump after scathing editorial.
California is burning -- nationalize PG&E.
Is Donald Trump the second 9/11?
California's fires prove the American dream is flammable: "If we want
to keep cities safe in the face of climate change, we need to seriously
question the ideal of private homeownership." Not the conclusion I would
draw, even from only reading this article.
Behind the bewildering recent incidents of anti-semitism. Later,
"We are living in a touristic prison": Palestinians on life in the holy
city of Bethlehem.
Astead W Herndon:
'Nothing less than a civil war': These white voters on the far right
see doom without Trump. E.g., "Mark Villalta said he had been
stockpiling firearms, in case the 2020 election does not go in the
A world to win: "Decolonization and the pursuit of a more egalitarian
international order." Review of Adam Getachew's book, Worldmaking After
Empire: Rise and Fall of Self-Determination.
2019 was a brutal year for American farmers.
The hidden histories in the periodic table: "From poisoned monks and
nuclear bombs to the "tranfermium wars," mapping the atomic world hasn't
David D Kirkpatrick:
How a Chase Bank chairman helped the deposed Shah of Iran enter the
US: "The fateful decision in 1979 to admit Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
prompted the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and helped
doom the Carter presidency."
Is nuclear power worth the risk?
Big money and America's lost decade. "Yes, the rich have too much
political influence." One might addd, "in both political parties," but
the key event of the "lost decade" was the Republican takeover of the
House in 2010, which shifted political focus away from merely serving
the rich (which Clinton and Obama did more successfully, flamboyantly
even, than any Republican) to impoverishing working Americans.
The cruelty of a Trump Christmas: "Republicans aren't Scrooges --
they're much worse."
Republicans are fiscally reckless and irresponsible: Of couse they
are. But they benefit from a double standard, as the media only seems
to take the charge seriously if directed against a Democrat.
The 2010s were the decade that bent democracy to the breaking
Eric Lipton/Maggie Haberman/Mark Mazzetti:
Behind the Ukraine aid freeze: 84 days of conflict and confusion:
"The inside story of President Trump's demand to halt military assistance
to an ally shows the price he was willing to pay to carry out his agenda."
False idol -- why the Christian right worships Donald Trump.
Holly Otterbein/David Siders:
Democratic insiders: Bernie could win the nomination.
Adam K Raymond:
Thw world's 500 richest people increased their wealth by $1.2 trillion
The Trump administration just snuck through its most devious coal subsidy
The Christmas Eve confessions of Chuck Todd: "That disinformation was
going to overtake Republican politics was discoverable years before he
says he discovered it."
Future generations will look back on Trump's latest wind turbines rant
in awe and horror.
The massive triumph of the rich, illustrated by stunning new data.
Why did Trump ditch his church in Palm Beach on Christmas Eve for
evangelical service? I predict that by election day he'll convert
to Pentecostalism. That way his gibberish will be excused as "speaking
Katrina vanden Heuvel:
Remembering Bill Greider: "Bill was an American heretic: inquisitive,
unwilling to accept conventional dogmas, and always a voice for the
A sampling of pieces by William Greider:
American hubris, or, how globalization brought us Donald Trump
[2018-04-19]: "It was 'free trade' mania, pushed by both major political
parties, that destroyed working-class prosperity and laid the groundwork
for his triumph."
What killed the Democratic Party? [2017-10-30]: "A new report offers
a bracing autopsy of the 2016 election -- and lays out a plan for
Why American democracy has descended into collective hysteria [2017-09-28]:
"We are a great power in decline -- but neither party has a clue what to
do about it."
It's Groundhog Day in Washington, with Trump peddling the same old Reaganite
snake oil [2017-04-28]: "Tax cuts for the wealthy didn't increase
government revenue then, and they're not going to now. It's mourning
again in America."
Here's what you need to know about the Federal Reserve [2017-03-17]:
"We demand way too much from the central bank -- but that's because our
elected politicians have done almost nothing to revive the economy."
Whom should we blame for our deranged democracy? [2016-09-20]:
"Laying it all on Trump is too easy -- both political parties are out
of touch and distant from the people."
How Trump dog-whistles the business establishment [2016-03-18]:
"He cleverly woos the GOP base on issues like trade, but this working-class
hero is actually a willing agent of the 1 percenters."
How Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton [2016-03-11]: "In the
general election, he could win by running to her left -- and her
Vietnam is the war that didn't end [2015-05-05]: "Forty years later,
we still haven't confronted the true lesson of Vietnam."
How the Democratic Party lost its soul [2014-11-11]: "The trouble
started when the party abandoned its working-class base."
Why was Paul Krugman so wrong? [2013-04-01]: "Everyone's favorite
Nobel-winning Keynesian is no longer gravely deluded on the global
economy. How much can we trust him now?"
When big business needs a favor, George Bush gets the call [1984-04-12]:
"Ronald Reagan's back-door man."
The education of David Stockman [1981-12].
Other recent pieces on Greider:
Senate Republicans were laser-focused on confirming judges in 2019 -- even
the unqualified ones.