We have had a bit of a discussion about (true) neoliberalism the last few days, and this piece from David Dayen at The American Prospect is just stellar::
A Pitched Battle on Corporate Power
Biden’s expansive executive order seeks to restore competition in the economy. It’s been a long, slow road to get the whole government on board—but there are some formidable gains.
Flanked by Cabinet officials and agency heads, Biden condemned Robert Bork’s pro-corporate legal revolution in the 1980s, which destroyed antitrust, leading to concentrated markets, raised prices, suppressed wages, stifled innovation, weakened growth, and robbing citizens of the liberty to pursue their talents. Competition policy, Biden said, “is how we ensure that our economy isn’t about people working for capitalism; it’s about capitalism working for people.”
The executive order outlines a whopping 72 different actions, but with a coherent objective. It seeks to revert government’s role back to that of the Progressive and New Deal eras. Breaking up monopolies was a priority then, complemented by numerous other initiatives—smarter military procurement, common-carrier requirements, banking regulations, public options—that centered competition as a counterweight to the industrial leviathan.
The Specter of 2016
McGonigal, Trump, and the Truth about America
We are on the edge of a spy scandal with major implications for how we understand the Trump administration, our national security, and ourselves.
The reporting on this so far seems to miss the larger implications. One of them is that Trump’s historical position looks far cloudier. In 2016, Trump's campaign manager (Manafort) was a former employee of a Russian oligarch (Deripaska), and owed money to that same Russian oligarch. And the FBI special agent (McGonigal) who was charged with investigating the Trump campaign's Russian connections then went to work (according to the indictment) for that very same Russian oligarch (Deripaska). This is obviously very bad for Trump personally. But it is also very bad for FBI New York, for the FBI generally, and for the United States of America.
Another is that we must revisit the Russian influence operation on Trump’s behalf in 2016, and the strangely weak American response. Moscow’s goal was to move minds and institutions such that Hillary Clinton would lose and Donald Trump would win. We might like to think that any FBI special agent would resist, oppose, or at least be immune to such an operation. Now we are reliably informed that a trusted FBI actor, one who was responsible for dealing with just this sort of operation, was corrupt. And again, the issue is not just the particular person. If someone as important as McGonigal could take money from foreigners while on the job at FBI New York, and then go to work for a sanctioned Russian oligarch he was once investigating, what is at stake, at a bare minimum, is the culture of the FBI's New York office. The larger issue is the health of our national discussions of politics and the integrity of our election process.
The Republican Party is finally choosing its chair after a surprisingly intense race
There’s intense media interest in a race that most Republicans don’t think will be close. Why? One reason is the (very) slim chance that McDaniel, who for the first time doesn’t have Donald Trump’s endorsement for this job, could lose. [She won.]
A bigger reason is the way that pro-Trump conservative activists and media mobilized behind Dhillon — from mega-donors like Richard Uihlein to Kirk’s Turning Point USA network to Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. Their involvement has made the contest more acrimonious and raised the stakes on the results, which are now a heat check for the grassroots right after a midterms in which their favored candidates took plenty of criticism.
“If Ronna McDaniel is re-elected, it’s crazy to think that the party will come back together,” said Caroline Wren, a GOP fundraiser helping to run Dhillon’s campaign, at a Wednesday forum with Lindell, hosted by conservative radio host John Fredericks. “The entire Fox News evening lineup has called for her to resign.”
On Thursday, Dhillon said she was still wrangling votes, but added that she, Lindell, and McDaniel had told members that they’d come together after the election, no matter who won.
“Whatever happens here,” said Dhillon, “we'll be working towards electing a Republican president in 2024.”
‘There Is a Real Sense That the Apocalypse Is Coming’
A former evangelical tracks the rise of white Christian nationalism — and looks ahead to where the movement goes next.
Premised on the belief that America is a white Christian nation whose laws and culture should reflect its biblical heritage, Christian nationalism has attracted fresh scrutiny in recent months thanks to endorsements from prominent Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and failed Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. But what’s been missing from the broader conversation about the movement, Onishi argues in his new book, Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism — and What Comes Next, is a nuanced sense of how contemporary strains of white Christian nationalism relate to earlier iterations of conservative Christian politics.
Tim Miller/The Bulwark:
How Marjorie Taylor Greene Became Kevin McCarthy’s Best Friend
Not that long ago, the new speaker’s bosom buddy was ranting online about crazy, offensive conspiracy theories.
Tim Miller: From QAnon crazy to Queen of the GOP, the rise of Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Ben Stone (Seth Rogen in Knocked Up): How the f*** did this happen?
Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. This week, the New York Times reported on the unlikely political marriage of the ultimate establishment insider, Kevin McCarthy, and the most bombastic outsider the GOP has produced since He Who Shall Not Be Named, Marge Taylor Greene.
Rachel Goldberg (Shiri Appleby on UnREAL): That woman’s crazy.
Miller: This alliance paid dividends as MTG used her MAGA street cred to help Kevin get his coveted speakership. And now he’s poised to pay her back.
Stan Smith (from American Dad): I won. I won!
Peter Griffin (from Family Guy): But at what cost?
The Putin Super Power Myth
Putin destroyed in a year an energy business that took three generations to build. As it turns out, Russia needed Europe far more than Europe needed Russia.
When the policy was first floated, late last spring, it seemed internally contradictory: why would a country cooperate with a scheme like this, producing oil at prices that were designed to keep it from profiting off of what is under its soil? Moreover, how would such a price cap even be enforced? And who would enforce it? And what would the price cap be?
Well, after much negotiation and haggling—the price cap was set at $60 per barrel for Russia’s unique Urals crude—the measure was rolled out on December 5. The mechanism was that companies from G7 or E.U. countries (plus Australia) were forbidden from providing services—like insurance, say, or marketing, or logistics—to any entity selling Russian crude or oil from a Russian tanker, or from one leaving a Russian port, unless they abide by the price cap.
Vladimir Putin immediately slammed the measure, saying that Russia would never sell to any country or company that cooperated. But given the sheer economic magnitude of the G7 plus the E.U., and the vagueness of the punishment, as well as falling energy prices this winter, the price cap has so far been successful, largely to everyone’s surprise. “It’s worked much better than would have been expected,” Daniel Yergin, the world’s preeminent expert on Russian oil and author of The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, told me. “What was originally a topic for an economics graduate seminar has turned into a rather clever piece of statecraft.”
Biden’s done a lot right. Put this on the balance sheet.
The Tyre Nichols video (his brutal beating) released in Memphis has plenty of news stories, but not much opinion column space yet. (I’m linking to stories, not the video.)
Watch for it, it will be there.
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