Steven Rattner | Washington Should Quit Its Budget Gimmicks – The New York Times

Mr. Rattner served as counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration.

“Americans of a certain age may remember J. Wellington Wimpy, a droll character from Popeye cartoons. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” Wimpy would periodically implore passers-by.

That pretty much summarizes the opaque budget math behind the two huge spending plans now before Congress, one aimed at fixing our physical infrastructure and the other targeted at everything from child care to the climate crisis.

Unlike earlier pandemic rescue efforts, Democratic leaders have promised that these new bills would not add to the country’s enormous deficits. “It is zero price tag on the debt,” President Biden said recently. “We’re going to pay for everything we spend.”

Except they won’t. Take, for example, the bipartisan infrastructure bill. When it was unveiled with great fanfare at the end of July, a group of Democratic and Republican senators proudly proclaimed that its costs would be fully offset by new revenues.

“This is paid for,” said Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia. “Our infrastructure bill is all paid for.”

Just a few days later, the Congressional Budget Office — the official scorekeeper — delivered its verdict: The $550 billion in new spending would, in fact, mostly add to the deficit, with just $173 billion of offsets. A separate analysis by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Budget Model pegged the 10-year shortfall at $351 billion.”

Paul Krugman | A Deserved Nobel Economics Prize Reminds Us Facts Matter – The New York Times

“Nobel Memorial Prizes in economics are given for long-term research, not for economists’ role in current debates, so they don’t necessarily have much bearing on the political moment. You might expect the disconnect to be especially strong when the prize is given mainly for the development of new research methods.

And that’s the case for the latest prize, awarded Monday to David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens, leaders in the “credibility revolution” — a change in the way economists use data to assess theories — that has swept economics over the past generation.

It turns out, however, that the credibility revolution is extremely relevant to current debates. For studies using the new approach have, in many though not all cases, strengthened the argument for a more active government role in addressing inequality.

As I’ll explain, that’s not an accident. But first, what’s this revolution all about?”

Intersectionality, explained: meet Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term – Vox

“There may not be a word in American conservatism more hated right now than “intersectionality.” On the right, intersectionality is seen as “the new caste system” placing nonwhite, non-heterosexual people on top.

To many conservatives, intersectionality means “because you’re a minority, you get special standards, special treatment in the eyes of some.” It “promotes solipsism at the personal level and division at the social level.” It represents a form of feminism that “puts a label on you. It tells you how oppressed you are. It tells you what you’re allowed to say, what you’re allowed to think.” Intersectionality is thus “really dangerous” or a “conspiracy theory of victimization.”

This is a highly unusual level of disdain for a word that until several years ago was a legal term in relative obscurity outside academic circles. It was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap. “Intersectionality” has, in a sense, gone viral over the past half-decade, resulting in a backlash from the right.”

Source: Intersectionality, explained: meet Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term – Vox

Josephine Bennett: Hartford’s City Mother | Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project

By Steve Thornton

“The history of the early Connecticut women’s movement is not complete without the story of militant suffragist, feminist, anti-imperialist, and labor pioneer Josephine Day Bennett (1880-1961). Bennett played a leading role in the federal passage of the 19th Amendment which guaranteed voting rights for women. As an organizer, speaker, and prison inmate (five days in a Washington, D.C. jail), Bennett shed her family’s class privilege and became a model of tireless advocacy.

Working for Women’s Suffrage

Bennett’s suffragist activity centered on transitioning Connecticut’s women’s movement “from philosophical to political work.” She placed special emphasis on recruiting working women and African Americans, as well as forging links with other social movements. Her first public speaking engagement was at the State Capitol on April 5, 1911, where she shared the stage with Dr. Anna Shaw, president of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA).”

Source: Josephine Bennett: Hartford’s City Mother | Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project

Paul Krugman| The Republican Senate Spending Bill Vote Was Sabotage – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Yesterday every single Republican senator voted to shut down the U.S. government and provoke a global financial crisis.

Of course, they claimed otherwise; Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, portrayed the vote against raising the debt limit as a test of Democrats’ ability to govern, and some of his colleagues claimed to be taking a stand for fiscal responsibility. But everyone involved understood that this was an act of political sabotage. And the terrible thing is that it might work.

The U.S. debt limit is a very peculiar institution, because when combined with the filibuster it gives a minority party the ability to undermine basic governance. You might think that once Congress has passed fiscal legislation — once it has passed bills that set spending levels and tax rates — that would be the end of the story. But if this duly enacted legislation leads to a budget deficit, which requires that the U.S. government issue debt, as few as 40 senators can then block the needed borrowing, creating a crisis.”

Thomas Friedman | Do Democrats Have the Courage of Liz Cheney? – The New York Times

“. . . Just listen to Cheney. Addressing her fellow Republicans on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, she noted that when they abet Trump’s delegitimization of the last election, “in the face of rulings of the courts, in the face of recounts, in the face of everything that’s gone on to demonstrate that there was not fraud … we are contributing to the undermining of our system. And it’s a really serious and dangerous moment because of that.”

This is Code Red. And that leads me to the Democrats in Congress.

I have only one question for them: Are you ready to risk a lot less than Liz Cheney did to do what is necessary right now — from your side — to save our democracy?

Because, when one party in our two-party system completely goes rogue, it falls on the other party to act. Democrats have to do three things at the same time: advance their agenda, protect the integrity of our elections and prevent this unprincipled Trump-cult version of the G.O.P. from ever gaining national power again.

It is a tall order and a wholly unfair burden in many ways. But if Cheney is ready to risk everything to stop Trump, then Democrats — both moderates and progressives — must rise to this moment and forge the majorities needed in the Senate and House to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill (now scheduled for a Thursday vote in the House), a voting rights bill and as much of the Build Back Better legislation as moderate and progressives can agree on.  . . . “

Jamelle Bouie | We Underestimated Trump Before. It Didn’t Go Well. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Sometimes, and much to our detriment, we find real events are simply too outlandish to take seriously.

Many professional Republicans, for example, initially dismissed the movement to “Stop the Steal” as a ridiculous stunt.

“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” an anonymous senior Republican official told The Washington Post a few days after Joe Biden claimed victory:

He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.

Republicans went ahead and humored the president, who then urged his followers to assault the Capitol and try to void the election results in his favor.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Jamelle Bouie, for an extraordinary essay– a prize winner. Let me explore. You pointed out that the northern Republicans completely underestimated the willingness of the new confederacy to fight. They thought it was a bluff, and the civil war ensued. What if Lincoln and the GOP just allowed the succession? How would history have changed? Might make a good mini series. In my own study of history, I have read several writers claim that slavery was dying out relatively quickly, without civil wars, because it didn’t have the right economic model for the new industrial societies that were developing in the western world. If the United States was allowed to break in two, would the Nazi party of Germany and the Japanese militarists be in power over most of the world today? One can easily make the dots go in that direction.
Could the Northern and the Southern States come together and fight fascism in the WW II, and if they did, would they be ready to become the industrial engine of the Allies in a relative short period of time? This thought makes me even more grateful for Lincoln and the soldiers who sacrificed for the Union. Now, who will stop this new menace, and would be dictator Donald Trump, who threatens us from within. In reading, “Inside the Third Reich,” by Albert Speer, one can see many similarities. They both designed their platforms, by what enraged their audiences. Neither had scruples.
Author of The Tayson Rebellion, and blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | This Is No Way to Run a Democracy – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi Gail. So it turns out that Joe Biden really did win Arizona last year. Are you … shocked?

Gail Collins: Pass the champagne, Bret. We’ll drink a toast to the fact that recount-wise, it’s been easy to find excuses to celebrate.

Arizona’s recheck showed Biden actually getting a few more votes than originally tallied. And some of the state’s Republican leaders nodded their approval — one called it “encouraging.” Despite one little cyclone of outrage spotted over Mar-a-Lago.

Did you start out here because it’s the only good news in the country right now? If so, appreciate the effort.

Bret: The truly bad news is that even this modestly good news is actually awful news.

Gail: Ah, welcome to our world.

Bret: What I mean is that this Republican-ordered, Republican-financed audit of ballots in Maricopa County, which is Arizona’s largest, won’t make any difference to Donald Trump’s true believers. There was a similar audit of votes in Michigan that finished earlier this year, also overseen by Republicans, which proved that Biden won that state, too, and it also didn’t have the slightest effect on the two-thirds of Republicans who, as of August, thought the election was rigged.

Gail: Congratulations — you’ve convinced me to be depressed again.

Bret: It reminds me of a line from Huck Finn: “Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?” That sums up Trump’s political strategy, and if the Biden presidency continues to stumble the way it’s been stumbling, it might just work.”

David Lindsay: Bret thinks Biden should separate the infrastructure bill from the larger reconciliation package, and I agree with him on that issue. I thought it was dangerous to tie them together. Biden will thrive politically if he can get the infrastructure bill over the finish line in a timely fashion, and the rest will follow at some point, but he needs to survive with his majorities in congress for eight years to get the climate crisis addressed. Kathleen calls out the left wing of her democratic party for naivete on how to govern to achieve progressive goals. “They need to be more strategic about leading the country from where we are now to where we need to go. They are ahead of the country on some issues, and too siloed in their thinking at times.”

Owning the libs – Wikipedia

Owning the libs

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A “fuck your feelings” sign at a pro-Trump campaign rally in 2019

Owning the libs” is a political strategy used by some conservatives in the United States that focuses on upsetting political liberals. Users of the strategy emphasize and expand upon culture war issues intended to be divisive to evoke an overreaction in others or demonstrate the absurdity of a position.[1]

Terminology[edit]

Variant phrases such as “triggering the libs[2] and “melting snowflakes[1] are also used to refer to the strategy. It is associated with confrontational political slogans.[3][4]

The phrase “own the libs” comes from a slang usage of the word own, meaning “to dominate”, “to defeat” or “to humiliate”.[citation needed] The phrase was coined and popularized by critics of the strategy, including politician Nikki Haley, who increased the prominence of the phrase in a 2018 speech in which she criticized the strategy as unpersuasive.[5] It is also used by some who practice the strategy, such as Dan Bongino.[6] The phrase dates back to at least 2015.[2]

The “trigger” variants of the phrase come from the idea of trauma triggers and “trigger warnings” intended to avoid them.[7] In his 2019 book Triggered, Donald Trump Jr. says that the purpose of triggering liberals is to oppose political correctness.[8]

Source: Owning the libs – Wikipedia

Paul Krugman | Why Are Democratic Centrists Spouting Right-Wing Propaganda? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Everyone who paid attention during the Obama years knew that Republicans would also try to undermine Democratic presidencies. Some of the G.O.P.’s actions — notably, the efforts of governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott to prevent an effective response to a deadly pandemic — have shocked even the cynics. Still, a Republican attempt to make President Biden fail, no matter how much it hurt the rest of the country, was predictable.

More surprising, at least to me, has been the self-destructive behavior of Democratic centrists — a term I prefer to “moderates,” because it’s hard to see what’s moderate about demanding that Biden abandon highly popular policies like taxing corporations and reducing drug prices. At this point it seems all too possible that a handful of recalcitrant Democrats will blow up the whole Biden agenda — and yes, it’s the centrists who are throwing a tantrum, while the party’s progressives are acting like adults.

So what’s motivating the sabotage squad? Part of the answer, I’d argue, is that they have internalized decades of right-wing economic propaganda, that their gut reaction to any proposal to improve Americans’ lives is that it must be unworkable and unaffordable.

Of course, this isn’t the whole story. We certainly shouldn’t underrate the influence of money: Both wealthy donors and Big Pharma have been nakedly throwing their weight around. Nor should we discount the importance of simple innumeracy: $3.5 trillion sounds like a lot of money, and you shouldn’t assume politicians understand (or think constituents understand) that this is proposed spending over the course of a decade, not a single year. It would amount to little more than 1 percent of gross domestic product over that period and would still leave overall government spending far below its level in other wealthy democracies. It also ignores the fact that the true cost, after net savings and new revenue, would be much less than $3.5 trillion.”

David Lindsay: In other words, this big package is only $350 billion per year, for ten years, and is easily affordable, and focus on real needs, mitigating climate change and income inequality, while helping grow the economy. Just improving tax collections could pay for it.