Saturday, February 27, 2021

Literary Corner: Party of Country Clubs

Country club crowd lining up for a Biden speech in Detroit, 9 March 2020. Photo by Jeff Kowalski, AFP/Getty, via Wall Street Journal.

I Hear America Kvetching

by Senator Rafael Edward Cruz, Esquire, BA (Princeton), JD (Harvard)

They look at Donald Trump and the millions of people who went to battle
fighting alongside him and they’re terrified.
They want him to go away. Let me tell you this right now:
Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,
The Republican Party is not the party of the country clubs,
it’s the party of steel workers and construction workers and taxi drivers and
cops and firefighters and waitresses. That is our party!
these deplorables are here to stay!
Every one of you has a platform.
Every one of you has a voice.
The corporate media wants to silence these voices.

Friday, February 26, 2021

"Market Egalitarianism". No, Really.

David Brooks outraged by the decadence of the times, in which the career advice you got from Econ 101 isn't even true ("How to Get Really Rich!"):

My main message is that if you want to get rich, don’t invent a new and useful product, start a company and try to sell it. That seems risky. Put the effort into entering a clubby line of work in which legislators and professional associations are working to make you rich. It’s easier!

Instead of becoming a risk-taking entrepreneur, you should take the soft option of going to med school so you'll never have to worry about competition—

Or, as Driftglass hints, maybe you should become a columnist for The New York Times! According to Jonathan Rothwell's A Republic of Equals: A Manifesto For a Just Society (2019), "writers and authors" come 11th on the list of the 20 professions dominating the 1%, as measured by their home values.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Rectification of Names: Socialism


I know I shouldn't bother at a time like this, but no. None of these things should be called "socialism". This probably came from a kind-hearted and justice-loving person, but it uses a worthless, nonsensical rightwing pollution of the word "socialism", according to which the word means or probably means "giving cash for nothing to people who probably don't deserve it". That is not what it is supposed to mean.

At its narrowest, in the definition you probably learned in middle school, socialism is the name of a concept in political economy, of a kind of developmental midpoint between ideals of "capitalism" and "communism", 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Joe Did What? Carrizo Springs


Carrizo Springs after the Trump administration set it up for children in October 2019—nobody explains why they closed it after a month, perhaps it's because they'd succeeded in making all the children "Remain in Mexico" by that point. Via NBC News

There's a lot of frothing going on on the aspirational left over today's report by Sylvia Foster-Frau/Washington Post of the reopening of a facility for unaccompanied teenage asylum seekers at Carrizo Springs, TX, the first such place to be opened under the Biden administration, being regarded by everybody from Mehdi Hasan to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the return of the cages, which it isn't, let alone the return of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his concentration camps.

It's in fact a pretty good thing, and a sign of much better to come: a serious effort to not get overwhelmed the way the Obama administration did in 2014 by a surge in the number of kids struggling without their parents through Mexico to the border, and make sure that every kid gets as quickly as possible to the sponsors awaiting them, mostly family members already established in the US, and that their cases get heard while they're in a safe place.

Monday, February 22, 2021

For the Record: The Preemptive Whatabout

Via The Way of Improvement Leads Home.

Much respect and warm feelings toward attorney general nominee Merrick Garland, but I also enjoyed what looked to me like subtweeting skill in the written version of his opening statement for today's confirmation hearing:

Ted Cruz may have thought so too, because in his "questioning" at the hearing he brought in what you might call an argument by Preemptive Whatabout, where you don't wait for your opponent to give you a name before you respond with your whatabout, but rather trot it out in advance—in this case forestalling the Barr with a dig at Obama's first attorney general, Eric Holder.

We don't all love Holder a hundred percent, I realize. I personally think it's a divided legacy, with very good work in the civil rights area (including, I'll say this to the end, in his handling of the 2014-15 unaccompanied minor migrant crisis, "cages" and all, as comes clear when you compare it with Sessions and his crimes against humanity in 2017) and his very inadequate response to the crimes committed by bankers and insurers in the 2007-08 financial crisis. And I'm fond of the idea of Holder as Obama's anti-racism translator, if you know what I mean, expressing thoughts Obama didn't feel he could afford to express for himself.

But Cruz's remarks pushed me into one of those rants:

For the Record: Miscellany


Called a "Tomahawk" because it can be used as a weapon. No longer on the menu at Trump's BLT Prime in Washington, where the largest steak is now the 36-ounce Porterhouse at $102 and advertised as shareable.

Then there was the Times gangbang salute on the passing of Rush Limbaugh, inspiring double-edged idiocy from Frank Bruni and Ben Shapiro:

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Joe Did What? Obamacare

Claes Corneliszoon Moeyaert, “Hippocrates Visiting Democritus” (1636), via Eidolon.

I knew big things were intended to happen with our miserable health care provision system in the Biden presidency, and saluted the executive order of 28 January declaring a special open enrollment period for individual-market "Obamacare" policies from the site, which started on Monday and goes on through mid-April, for people who have lost employer-based policies along with their jobs to the pandemic, that's maybe 7.7 million workers plus 7 million dependents, and perhaps some additional number who have been paying through the nose for COBRA extension of the employer policy they lost.

Now we're getting some information about further developments in the improvement of the Affordable Care Act through the gigantic Covid relief–and–budget reconciliation bill currently making its way through Congress, from a story this morning in Business Insider and their link to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which gives you some of the wonkery you may crave without making it more than I want to handle. I probably shouldn't include it under the "Joe Did What?" rubric, I think it comes from the House Ways and Means committee chaired by Rep. Richie Neal, but it's got some of that delightful surprise element—surprising to me, anyway, and possibly to you guys as well.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Longer™ David Brooks: To a Young Republican


Do you have a future in the new multiracial party of the working class?

Opinion Columnist

Handmade in organic cotton sateen by Bridgetown Bow Ties, $30, via Etsy.

I know what you're thinking, but there's no reason I shouldnʼt be getting a note from a nonfictional young Republican whoʼs spent the last ten years, ever since he got out of his college Young Republicans unit, in Washington, fighting the fight, and feeling disillusioned. I live in Washington myself, and meet lots of young people. Perhaps I spoke at his commencement at Stanford or Hillsdale, or lectured him on Machiavelli in the the Yale Grand Strategy program during my service there from 2012 to 2018 , which would be a little less than ten years ago. Or he could be a relative, you know, or a parishioner at one of the groovy churches I attend, or one of my wife's school friends, or or even my wife herself! The possibilities are practically infinite.