our opening political verse by Skip Tenczar (our version of Calvin Trillin)
Revenge for him is so sweet,
Especially in the form of a tweet.
Insult and demean
Is his bitter routine,
Like some bully terrorizing the street.
China beat the coronavirus with science and strong public health measures, not just with authoritarianism https://theconversation.com/china-beat-the-coronavirus-with-science-and-strong-public-health-measures-not-just-with-authoritarianism-150126
Elanah Uretsky is an Associate Professor of International and Global Studies. She is trained as a medical anthropologist with a PhD in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University (2007). I am currently an Associate Professor of International and Global Studies at Brandeis University. I was previously an Assistant Professor of Global Health, Anthropology, and International Affairs at The George Washington University (2009-2017) and Associate Professor of Anthropology at The George Washington University (2017-2018). I am the author of Occupational Hazards: Sex, Business and HIV/AIDS in Post-Mao China (Stanford University Press, 2016).
Why Joe Biden Can Stop Worrying and Start Spending Like Crazy The country is in desperate need of a massive economic recovery program. The incoming administration shouldn’t hold back. by Robert Hockett, Aaron James
We chat with Robert Hockett a professor of law at Cornell University. He is the co-author of Money From Nothing
bio: Robert Hockett joined the Cornell Law Faculty in 2004. His principal teaching, research, and writing interests lie in the fields of organizational, financial, and monetary law and economics in both their positive and normative, as well as their national and transnational, dimensions. His guiding concern in these fields is with the legal and institutional prerequisites to a just, prosperous, and sustainable economic order.
A Fellow of the Century Foundation and regular commissioned author for the New America Foundation, Hockett also does regular consulting work for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the International Monetary Fund, Americans for Financial Reform, the 'Occupy' Cooperative, and a number of federal and state legislators and local governments.
Prior to doing his doctoral work and entering academe, he worked for the International Monetary Fund and clerked for the Honorable Deanell Reece Tacha, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Our first guest is Mel Goodman, professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. A former CIA analyst, Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. We discuss US policy toward China -- both in its current form and what changes we think ought to be made. We also discuss the likelihood that Pres.-elect Biden’s new foreign policy team will follow an effective China policy.
We speak with Lydia Dugdale, professor at Columbia and Director of its Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. She is author of a book entitled “The Lost Art of Dying; Reviving Forgotten Wisdom,” about medieval advice developed in the wake of the bubonic plague.
We discuss Dr. Dugdale’s recent article: “Rethinking Black Friday to Include End-of-Life Conversations.”
We rethink the week with Stephen Pimpare, Professor at the University of New Hampshire and a nationally recognized expert on poverty, homelessness, and U.S. social policy; Steven Greene, professor of political science at North Carolina State University; Dean Spiliotis, Civic Scholar and Presidential Scholar at Southern New Hampshire University; and Ron Abramson, immigration attorney at Shaheen and Gordon.
We discuss the Supreme Court’s decision on the midnight before Thanksgiving striking down New York Gov. Cuomo’s restrictions on large indoor gatherings as they applied to churches and synagogues. NY’s restrictions were recently established in order to protect public health in the wake of the enormous spike in COVID-19 illnesses and deaths. In a 5-4 ruling from which Chief Justice Roberts dissented (!), the Court held that the public health restrictions imposed too much of a burden on people’s constitutional right to freely exercise their religion when they wanted to.
Some commentators saw this as the first indication of the Court’s new lineup along ideological lines: Barrett adds a fifth very conservative vote, removing Roberts as the “swing” vote who determines the outcomes of high-profile cases. Other observers think that the legal implications of this midnight ruling was more of a political statement, a warning to Pres-elect Biden that, even if he is able to persuade the Senate to enact any progressive (i.e., non-“centrist”) laws, the Court will strike them down. No longer will Roberts be able to save the ACA.
We remark on the stridency of Justice Alito’s dissent – and its alarmist diatribes against what he calls slanted news. This is not the careful legal reasoning of which he is capable. Should we read anything into his focus on scoring political victories rather than legal reasoning? Does this signal a return to the 1930’s when the Supreme Court cut the legs out from under FDR’s New Deal by declaring that the government does not have the authority to take many of the actions that it has been undertaking in the 88 years since then?
We also discuss Pres. Trump’s agenda for his final weeks in the White House. It appears he plans to leave office only after burning down as much of the federal government’s institutions as he can. How many ancient means of execution will the United States reinstate into our system of “justice”? How many pardons will allow conspirators against democracy to walk free? How many more Americans will die from COVID-19? How many asylum-seekers – children and adults – will be deported back to countries where their lives are in grave danger? Whoever is masterminding all of Trump’s hateful plans, it must be someone who is quite knowledgeable about how to utilize the powers of the administrative state.
We chat with Harold Meyerson, editor at large at The American Prospect, about the problems created by “Florida’s most powerful Democrat” living in New York (Michael Bloomberg). The Florida Democratic Party will soon be choosing a new party chair, and the mayor of Miami (Diaz) is a candidate. Bloomberg has offered the Florida party a lot of money if -- but only if -- they choose Mayor Diaz to be the next state party chair.
Aside from resurrecting the ugly optics of a “carpetbagger” telling Floridians how to run their politics, Bloomberg’s move brings an air of smarminess. The public already distrusts politicians and the political system. Democracy requires public discussion and free and independent voting, not another sordid display of buying and selling.
We also discuss the state of the two major parties. The two seem to represent two distinct and opposing groups of people, groups which get their news and information from distinct and one-sided silos, “socialize” (digitally) with like-minded “friends,” and refuse to listen to any other views. Even facts are deemed “fake news” if they don’t support the group’s world-view.
In recent years, the Republicans have learned how to better communicate a message that makes voters think their interests will be served by voting Republican. But the Democrats have still not learned how to write a message and communicate in a way that leads the average voter to feel heard, to believe that their needs will be served if they vote for the Democrat. Will the Biden administration learn these lessons?
Can journalism be saved?
We speak with Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly, about the demise of local journalism and the concomitant deterioration in the quality and reliability of media coverage in general.
The extreme partisanship from which we are now suffering is the result, in part, of the decimation of local news coverage. In the past, voters followed their local news media. Local reporters – who understood local needs, issues and concerns – would ask the community’s legislators about the things that mattered most to their constituents. Then the local media would inform the community about what their representatives were doing to try to help them.
Now that local news outlets have disappeared, they have been supplanted by national media networks which present the same limited narrative to Americans all across the country. So the voters back home know only that their representatives are members of the red team or the blue team; and what voters know about each team is only that “my” team is good and does everything right and the “other” team is evil incarnate trying to undermine everything we believe in. The partisan divide is the only thing we know.
We have allowed this to happen, so what can we do now to “fix” it? Glastis proposes a decentralized system which allows choice and local control. This would include a tax credit for money people donate to local media – defined as media whose coverage contains at least 50% local news. He would also require the mega-outlets like Google and Facebook to change their business model, to end their profiteering from selling people’s personal information to advertisers. Pres. Biden could enforce our existing antitrust laws to make this happen. He wouldn’t even have to try to get Congress – and especially Mitch McConnell and his cronies – to consent to these actions.