Sunday, July 31, 2022

Speaking of Which

Mostly just noting things this week, although I couldn't help but make the occasional comment.

Louis Anslow: [07-31] Peter Thiel's Candidates Are More Unabomber Than Tech Bro.

Emily Badger/Margot Sanger-Katz/Claire Cain Miller: [07-28] States With Abortion Bans Are Aong the Least Supportive for Mothers and Children. No surprises here.

Dean Baker: [07-29] The Semi-Conductor Bill and the Moderna Billionaires. Unlike Republicans, Democrats at least try to do good things. But they seem incapable of doing them in ways that don't create windfalls for the already-rich. Baker doesn't draw this conclusion, but has examples that point that way (e.g., the "chips" bill).

Ben Burgis:

Zachary D Carter: [07-29] On Economics and Democracy. A good, general lesson about the New Deal, Keynes, and now. He also suggests that Republicans today are no worse than Democrats were in 1931, so if they could just come up with their own FDR, they could conquer all. But he doesn't nominate any candidates.

Rachel M Cohen: [07-27] The big upcoming vote on abortion rights in Kansas, explained. Also Peter Slevin: [07-30] The first post-Roe vote on abortion.

David Dayen: [07-28] Cut Off Private Equity's Money Spigot. "It is genuinely hard to find a more destructive economic force in America today than the private equity industry."

Andrew Desiderio: [07-28] Pelosi and China: The making of a progressive hawk. An oxymoron? Or just a moron? Related: [07-25] US Officials Grow More Concerned About Potential Action by China on Taiwan. These soto voce concerns are exactly what the Biden administration was doing with Russia prior to the invasion. They can be viewed as taunting or goading, daring China to verify their predictions. Seems especially foolish as long as the war with Russia is going on. Haven't the armchair generals learned that two-front wars are something to avoid?

David Friedlander: [07-25] Why Republicans Stopped Talking to the Press.

Lisa Friedman/Jonathan Wiseman: [07-27] Delay as the New Denial: The Latest Republican Tactic to Block Climate Action.

Jonathan Guyer: [07-29] What think tank drama tells us about the US response to Russia's war: Also see Politico's report: Atlantic Council cuts ties to Koch-funded foreign policy initiative. Koch has his fingers in a number of foreign policy initiatives -- the only one I'm familiar with is the Quincy Institute, which is headed by conservative anti-war historian Andrew Bacevich, and has published many articles I have cited over the years -- including Stand Together, and the Stimson Center, which will take over the Koch-financed NAEI (New American Engagement Initiative). NAEI's previous home was the Atlantic Council, which is largely funded by European governments and "is pro-NATO by design." What seems to be happening is that the think tanks are under increasing pressure to line up behind Ukraine and against Russia. Two related notes: Matthew Rojansky ("director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center") was blackballed from possible appointment to Biden's NSC because he wasn't hawkish enough on Russia (see Biden won't bring on board controversial Russia expert); Joseph Cirincione, a leading expert on nuclear proliferation, charging the Quincy Institute with pro-Russian bias (see America's Top Anti-War Think Tank Is Fracturing Over Ukraine). Robert Wright has written a detailed review of Cirincione's charges: Anti-war think tank attacked.

Michael Hudson: [07-29] American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama.

Dhruv Khullar: [07-25] Living Through India's Next-Level Heat Wave.

Paul Krugman:

  • [07-26] Recession: What Does It Mean? I've been under the impression that the overly-technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, which we've just had, but evidently it isn't as simple as that. Krugman followed up with the optimistic How Goes the War on Inflation? and the pessimistic Much Ado About Wages. Also related: Timothy Noah: [07-27] The Economy Is Doing Amazingly Well for One That's Possibly in a Recession.
  • [07-25] The Dystopian Myths of Red America. He means the widespread belief among the Republican base that Dems are evil and intent on destroying America, even though there's no real evidence. The belief is pervasive enough that it can be invoked to explain anything. Centrists like to think that Blue America harbors comparable views, and indeed many of us have concluded that the Repugs are indeed evil, but first we demand evidence showing a logical connection, and we're willing to consider alternative theories, like ignorance, stupidity, or a callous disregard for others (which, sure, is a kind of evil). We're also more likely to regard people as complex and nuanced.

Robert Kuttner: [07-29] Another Airline Merger That Would Worsen Inflation: JetBlue buys Spirit Airlines.

Sharon Lerner: [06-30] How Charles Koch purchased the Supreme Court's EPA decision.

Ron Lieber: [07-26] The Case of the $5,000 Springsteen Tickets: Welcome to "dynamic pricing."

Ian Millhiser: [07-25] Gavin Newsom's plan to save the Constitution by trolling the Supreme Court.

Judith Newman: [07-26] The Power of Negative Thinking: Quotes Whitney Goodman: "Positivity lingo lacks nuance, compassion and curiosity."

Rick Perlstein: [07-22] They Want Your Child: "How right-wing school panics seek to repeal modernity and progress." Or, more pointedly: "What they're after is crushing the power of their children -- and all of ours -- to choose their own life: to, in other words, acquire the ability to become free." As Perlstein explains, conservative panics over education are a perennial: he cites instances back to 1923, but could have noted the prohibitions against teaching slaves to read and write. The flip side of this fear that liberals are training students to think for themselves is the belief that good, conservative education can train students who will grow up to respect social hierarchies. (Michael B Katz's The Irony of Early School Reform explains how mid-19th century Massachusetts proponents of mandatory universal education sold their program as a way to "socialize" Irish immigrants.) I've personally found that coercive education is as likely to produce rebellion as obedience, but maybe that's just me. One thing it's not capable of doing is stopping the clock.

Jeremy W Peters: [07-29] Fox News, Once Home to Trump, Now Often Ignores Him: It's been more than 100 days since Fox last interviewed Trump. Given that Fox is the real power in Republican politics, this may mean that Rupert Murdoch has decided to move on. However, Fox was cool on Trump early in the 2016 campaign, so I'm reluctant to read much into this.

Jake Pitre: [07-29] The Internet Doesn't Have to Be This Bad. Review of Jonathan Crary: Scorched Earth: Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World.

Mitchell Plitnick: [07-28] AIPAC declares war on any support of Palestinian human rights.

Alexander Sammon: [07-25] It's Time for Public Pharma: Not the worst idea, but better still would be to end drug patents. Development and testing would be funded through public sources (which could be pooled across nations, as the benefits should be shared by all nations), with funding targeted to medical needs, and all information publicly shared. Approved drugs could then be manufactured competitively, with strict limits on marketing.

Jeffrey St Clair: [07-29] Roaming Charges: Tell Tom Joad the News.

Peter Wade: Trump Sides With Russia Over Brittney Griner.

David Wallace-Wells:

Robert Wright: A couple pieces from his archive:

Note that Bill Russell (88) and Nichelle Nichols (89) died this week. Both made indelible impressions on this teenager growing up in 1960s Wichita.

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