This week, I have been mostly reading:
- Big Tech’s Kafkaesque Approach to Censorship Is Driven by an Abiding Contempt for Its Audience — Ryan Grim at the Intercept:
The politics morning show “Rising,” produced by The Hill and which I currently co-host, was suspended by YouTube on Thursday for allegedly violating the platform’s rules around election misinformation. Two infractions were cited: First, the outlet posted the full video of former President Donald Trump’s recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on its page. The speech, of course, was chock full of craziness. Second, “Rising” played a minutelong clip of Trump’s commentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which included the claim that none of it would have happened if not for a “rigged election.” […] The crime, we learned, that got the show suspended for seven days from its platform was that neither I nor my co-host, Robby Soave, paused to solemnly inform our viewers that Trump’s phrase — “a rigged election” — referred to his ongoing claim that the election was stolen from him in 2020 and that this claim is false. […] The notion that any viewer came away from watching that segment with the mistaken idea that Trump — whom we described as a fraudster and “an actual madman” — had indeed won the election and that it had been stolen from him can’t be taken seriously. It’s absurd, and The Hill is appealing the decision, so far with no success. But YouTube’s approach reflects a broad problem with Big Tech’s approach to censorship: It has nothing but contempt for the viewer. If we had paused to note that Trump’s gripe about his election loss was unfounded, what voter who previously believed that claim would be convinced by my simple rejection of it? And who was the person to begin with who was not previously aware that Trump disputes the election outcome? It might possibly be the most known political fact in America.
- If Trans Kids Are Able to Transition… — Seth Rubin in McSweeney's Internet Tendency:
If trans kids are able to transition, that would mean that I would also need to transition. I would need muscles as big as Dwayne Johnson’s in order to pass as a man, and then I would get cast in a Fast and Furious movie against my will, and then I would get fired from my job for taking three months off to film car stunts. […] If trans kids are able to transition, they’ll expect me to get their pronouns right. And then they’ll expect me to know other things, like how to crack into a high-tech safe, and then I’ll be forced to come out of retirement to join a ragtag crew of misfits on one last heist. It’s not that I don’t support trans kids; it’s just that I don’t know if I have one last heist in me. Go ahead, explain that to the woke mob parked outside my house.
- Biden's SOTU Mentioned the Deficit Six Times :( — Stephanie Kelton:
First, government deficits were the key to ending the pandemic-induced recession. They are the reason the recession was the shortest on record. They are the reason poverty fell to its lowest rate on record in 2020. They are the reason President Biden was able to boast about presiding over an economy that has created more jobs in a single year—6.5 million—than at any time in in the history of America. And they are the reason Fed Chair Powell was able to declare that “we have the strongest economy in the world now.” Instead of making deficit reduction a centerpiece of the president’s agenda, we should embrace the healing power of fiscal policy and work to educate the American people about how deficits can (and must) be used to deliver an economic agenda that tackles the many intersecting crises we face today.
- Bizaro — by Dan Piraro:
- Rejoinder to Robert Skidelsky: Keynes is on the side of the workers — Geoff Tily in the Progressive Economy Forum:
It is all too easy to revert to the orthodoxy of the industrial revolution, that somehow technology alone set us on the trajectory to today’s prosperity. And even ‘Keynesian’ economists impose the same underlying scenario on their gravely diminished Keynes. But Keynes’s theory and the view from the labour movement tells us that causality is the other way around. Advanced technology hasn’t created more prosperity, more prosperity has advanced technology!
- The American Empire self-destructs — Michael Hudson:
The basic assumption of economic and diplomatic forecasting is that every country will act in its own self-interest. Such reasoning is of no help in today’s world. Observers across the political spectrum are using phrases like “shooting themselves in their own foot” to describe U.S. diplomatic confrontation with Russia and allies alike. For more than a generation the most prominent U.S. diplomats have warned about what they thought would represent the ultimate external threat: an alliance of Russia and China dominating Eurasia. America’s economic sanctions and military confrontation has driven them together, and is driving other countries into their emerging Eurasian orbit. […] The recent escalation U.S. sanctions blocking Europe, Asia and other countries from trade and investment with Russia, Iran and China has imposed enormous opportunity costs – the cost of lost opportunities – on U.S. allies. And the recent confiscation of the gold and foreign reserves of Venezuela, Afghanistan and now Russia, along the targeted grabbing of bank accounts of wealthy foreigners (hoping to win their hearts and minds, along with recovery of their sequestered accounts), has ended the idea that dollar holdings or those in its sterling and euro NATO satellites are a safe investment haven when world economic conditions become shaky. […] Trying to force Russia to respond militarily and thereby looking bad to the rest of the world is turning out to be a stunt aimed simply at demonstrating Europe’s need to contribute more to NATO, buy more U.S. military hardware and lock itself deeper into trade and monetary dependence on the United States. The instability that this has caused is turning out to have the effect of making the United States look as threatening as Russia.
- Matt Wuerker:
- How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal? — Ed Yong in the Atlantic:
While epidemics flow downward into society’s cracks, medical interventions rise upward into its peaks. New cures, vaccines, and diagnostics first go to people with power, wealth, education, and connections, who then move on; this explains why health inequities so stubbornly persist across the decades even as health problems change. AIDS activism, for example, lost steam and resources once richer, white Americans had access to effective antiretroviral drugs, Steven Thrasher told me, leaving poorer Black communities with high rates of infection. “It’s always a real danger that things get worse once the people with the most political clout are okay,” Thrasher said. Similarly, pundits who got vaccinated against COVID quickly started arguing against overcaution and (inaccurately) predicting the pandemic’s imminent end. The government did too, framing the crisis as solely a matter of personal choice, even as it failed to make rapid tests, high-quality masks, antibody cocktails, and vaccines accessible to the poorest groups. The CDC’s latest guidelines continue that trend, as my colleague Katherine J. Wu has argued. Globally, the richer north is moving on while the poorer south is still vulnerable and significantly unvaccinated. All of this “shifts the burden to the very groups experiencing mass deaths to protect themselves, while absolving leaders from creating the conditions that would make those groups safe,” Courtney Boen, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told me. “It’s a lot easier to say that we have to learn to live with COVID if you’re not personally experiencing the ongoing loss of your family members.”
- Don’t Say Straight — Devorah Blachor in McSweeney's Internet Tendency:
Don’t say straight! When kids are small and impressionable, they believe the world is full of possibilities. One kid might want to grow up and live in a house with their two best friends and make bead loom handicrafts, for example. Another might want to create a universe structured around their favorite manga comic. Still another might want to solve crimes by leading a pack of emergency service specialty puppies. It would be a shame to expose children to heterosexual relationships so early and ruin their chances for happiness and fulfillment. Look where all this heterosexual madness has gotten us! Society is breaking down. The heterosexual agenda is responsible for what happened when 62 million Americans voted for a man accused by dozens of women of sexual assault, and who bragged about assaulting women to other men. Kids are way too young to learn about that without becoming traumatized. Let’s protect our children from this terrible knowledge so they can feel safe, and while we’re at it, let’s make sure they don’t know about the existence of Brett Kavanaugh either. What kind of twisted mind would want our children to learn about these degenerates?