Since many people know nothing about Finland, jump on click bait headlines and retweet without checking facts, here a short overview of the things Russia has threatened Finland with so far & what their consequences are/would be:
1. Cutting electricity exports as of today
No problem, thanks to a new nuclear power plant + wind power Finland will soon be self-sufficient and even a net exporter. Finland used to import ~10% from Russia. Sweden & the Baltics can compensate for any short-term shortages.
See the latest Kos Ukraine update for more of Russia’s empty threats.
J.D. Vance, migrant babies and the unhinged GOP enemy hunt
Both stories are superficially about President Biden’s alleged policy failures. But there’s a deeper through-line linking them: In both, the never-ending hunt for culture-war enemies has truly gone off the rails. Which in turn suggests ways the new right-wing populist politics is particularly vulnerable to such lapses into derangement.
The first of these got started when Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) posted photos depicting baby-formula shortages in stores. Despite these hardships, she complained, “they” are sending “formula to the border.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) then amplified the claim. The administration is providing “baby formula to illegal immigrants,” he railed, “while mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in a panic.”
Except it’s a crock. As Glenn Kessler shows, in supplying formula to migrant kids, the administration is following the law, which requires temporarily holding them before transfer to guardians. That includes mandated nourishment. The Trump administration did the same.
The Buffalo supermarket shooting suspect allegedly posted an apparent manifesto repeatedly citing 'great replacement' theory
The manifesto includes dozens of pages of antisemitic and racist memes, repeatedly citing the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory frequently pushed by white supremacists.
A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that authorities were working to verify the document’s authenticity.
“We are aware of the manifesto allegedly written by the suspect and we’re working to definitively confirm that he is the author,” the law enforcement official said.
The manifesto includes dozens of pages antisemitic and racist memes, repeatedly citing the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory frequently pushed by white supremacists, which falsely claims white people are being “replaced” in America as part of an elaborate Jewish conspiracy theory. Other memes use tropes and discredited data to denigrate the intelligence of nonwhite people.
Isaac Chotiner/New Yorker:
Making Sense of the Racist Mass Shooting in Buffalo
An expert on the white-power movement and the “great replacement” theory puts the act of terror in context.
I spoke by phone with Kathleen Belew, an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago and the author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.” During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the alleged shooter’s influences, why the notion of a “great replacement” has gained a foothold in the United States and elsewhere, and how the media and political actors have used the theory to their benefit.
This theory seems to be useful for people in many different countries, and to target many different groups. Can you describe what it is, how it has changed over time, and how it’s become so useful to people such as this alleged shooter?
We can get into the textual background of the term if you want to, but it’s basically a new language for the same set of ideas that have worked to connect many different kinds of social threats into one broadly motivating, violent, and frightening world view for people in the white-power movement and on the militant right. The idea is simply that many different kinds of social change are connected to a plot by a cabal of élites to eradicate the white race, which people in this movement believe is their nation. It connects things such as abortion, immigration, gay rights, feminism, residential integration—all of these are seen as part of a series of threats to the white birth rate. One thing you’ll notice in the manifestos and in the talking points, really going back through the twentieth century, is this focus on the reproductive capacity of white women in maintaining the white race as a nation.
Senate Republicans' electability headache
Republicans have a problem, illustrated by the Pennsylvania Senate race: continue a lackluster record of hand picking candidates, or do nothing?
Most of them remember Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell in 2010 as the poster child for haphazard campaigns that lost them winnable races. Even so, their laissez-faire approach to critical primaries risks saddling them with Republican nominees who blow it in November.
And there’s no agreement on how to get there: Some Republicans think the party needs to actively drum out risky primary candidates, while others believe attempted interventions in primaries would backfire. It’s become a conundrum for a party that has a poor track record of hand-picking candidates, yet worries that doing nothing could cost them a chance at the Senate majority.
Under Trump, Conor Lamb was a rising Democratic star. Now, he’s fading.
Lamb was the model Democrat in 2018. But these days, Democrats in Pennsylvania say they want more.
Lamb is trailing John Fetterman by as many as 39 points in some public opinion polls. Fetterman is a tattooed, 6-foot-9 liberal with a shaved head who has emerged as a folk hero for many Pennsylvania Democrats. Lamb was the model Democrat in 2018, a congenial, manicured candidate straight from Hollywood central casting who could appeal to voters turned off by Trump while still wary of the party that opposed the 45th president.
But these days, Democrats here say they want more than something to vote against; they want something to vote for. And many say they have found that in Fetterman.
“Conor Lamb is a good guy, but we’ve got enough lambs on our side, we need a lion,” said Jeffrey Phillips, 66, a retired electrician attending a recent Fetterman event. “We get in trouble because we are always picking guys we think can win.”
Robert Shapiro/Washington Monthly:
The Truth About Inflation
Saudi Arabia and Russia fueled inflation, but Biden’s relief plan probably didn’t, and there are hopeful signs even with high prices likely to continue into 2023.
What about the view, prevalent in some economic circles, that Milton Friedman finally got it right and the current inflation is a case of too much money chasing too few goods? Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is a notable supporter of this explanation, placing much of the blame for “too much money” on the Biden pandemic relief program, passed in early 2021.
That case is doubtful at best. After the pandemic lockdowns, demand began to recover in June 2020, with support from the first tranche of pandemic relief in April 2020. That stimulus may have contributed modestly to an uptick in inflation in early 2021, but that was a small cost to prevent a protracted deep recession. Inflation indeed began to take off in March 2021—along with energy prices—but given the long lag between fiscal policy changes and changes in prices, Biden’s American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021 could not have been responsible for that. That program, along with the bipartisan infrastructure bill and deft vaccine distribution, did fuel the extraordinary job gains of the last 15 months. In that way, the Biden relief may have helped sustain the early 2022 uptick in inflation that, again, was driven much more by energy prices.