Good Luck, Progressive Activists!

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Our Amazon Product du Jour says it's a "Stop Corporate Welfare T-Shirt For Progressive Activists". Do you have to present your official "Progressive Activist" credentials in order to buy it? Maybe someone could try it and let me know for sure.

One thing for sure: it's unclear where President Dotard stands on the issue. As reported by Chris Edwards: Biden Hikes Corporate Tax Expenditures 92%.

Politicians often say one thing but do another. President Biden rails against tax breaks for big corporations, and the White House boasts that Biden “has fought to build a fairer tax system that … asks big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share; and requires all Americans to play by the same rules.”

But Biden has signed into law three bills with vast subsidies and narrow tax breaks for big corporations. These were not across‐the‐board tax cuts that simplified the tax code, but rather a mess of complex loopholes with special rules for favored industries.

Biden is large, he contains multitudes. Or he could just be a lying demagogue. Your call.

I ranted and raved about Biden's use of "fair share" in his SOTU address last months. But at least he didn't commit the dishonesty seen in the White House press release linked above:

"And he believes that any extensions should be paid for by asking big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share."

"Since taking office, President Biden has fought to build a fairer tax system that rewards work, not wealth; asks big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share; and requires all Americans to play by the same rules and pay the taxes they owe."

Yes, this usage of "ask" really gets my goat.

Trust me, if Biden's wishes are enacted, the IRS will not be "asking" for more money. They will be demanding it. And that, like all government demands, will be backed up by coercion and (ultimately, if necessary) violence.

To be fair, the headline on that press release is slightly more honest, referring to "Making Big Corporations and the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share".

But control-F tells me the release contains fourteen occurrences of that weaselly "fair share". Which is eight more than Biden used in the SOTU.

Also of note:

  • Might be, but not because of me. Jeff Maurer's substack is named "I Might Be Wrong". It's fun to read, even when he is wrong. "A Two-State Solution is Impossible! (Because of Me)"

    Yesterday, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Tareq Baconi — the head of a pro-Palestinian think tank — called “The Two State Solution Is an Unjust, Impossible Fantasy”. I thought the op-ed was terrific in the same way that I thought the 1999 Sarah Michelle Gellar rom-com “Simply Irresistible” was terrific, which is to say: It was terrible. As regular readers of this blog know, my soul died in a blimp crash in 2016, so I can only derive pleasure by ironically enjoying awful things. And Baconi’s piece truly made my day because it was a delectable smorgasbord of absolute shit.

    If you switched around some specifics, Baconi’s op-ed could double as a screed by the most right-wing member of Netanyahu’s cabinet. It was all there: The litany of grievances (that don’t change the reality on the ground), the cherry-picked historical events (that don’t change the reality on the ground), and the complaints about Western behavior (that don’t change the reality on the ground). I hope psychologists one day unpack the link between chauvinist politics and a fixation on history (which Vladimir Putin recently demonstrated so vividly). You know you’re talking to a zealot when they bring up the 1161 Treaty Of Artlenburg or the Kingdom Of The Five Eunuchs or whatever the fuck — the farther back in history a person reaches to justify their views, the more one-sided their views are likely to be.

    I get what Maurer's trying to say: hey, a "two-state solution" might be possible sometime in the future.

    But it almost certainly won't happen if one of those states remains dedicated to the destruction of the other one. (And you know which is which.) To his credit, Maurer admits that he would "bet against it happening in my lifetime," And he is much younger than I.

  • The "Science is Real" folks seem to be silent on this. Ronald Bailey reports news that is probably unrelated to Claudia Gay's resignation as Harvard's president: Harvard Global Cooling Geoengineering Experiment Halted.

    Last year was the hottest year in the global instrumental temperature record. Since 1960, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has risen from 315 to 425 parts per million, largely as a result of emissions from burning fossil fuels. Some researchers argue that the pace of global warming is increasing.

    Given these trends, it would be a good idea to do some research on an emergency backup cooling system for the planet. Unfortunately, activists have pulled the plug on a preliminary solar radiation management (SRM) experiment. The aim of SRM is to lower average global temperatures by injecting tiny particles high in the stratosphere, where they would reflect a small percentage of sunlight. This would mimic the effect of Mount Pinatubo's 1991 volcanic injection of 17 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which cooled the planet by about 1 degree Fahrenheit for a year.

    Bailey claims, plausibly enough, that anti-geoengineering advocates oppose research, not because of some imagined risk, but because "they fear it will in fact be cheap and work well."

  • "Misanthropy Springs" would be a neat book or movie title. Richard Gunderman looks at the works of H. G. Wells and discovers: Misanthropy Springs from the Lust for Power.

    Best known today for science fiction novels such as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells was in his own day widely regarded as a prophet. Trained in science, he predicted the wireless telephone, directed energy weapons such as the laser, and the production of human-animal chimeras through genetic engineering. Yet Wells’ prognostications did not stop with science and technology. His imagination also ventured into the socio-political realm, where he predicted the development of a rational world government that would give rise to perpetual peace. Wells believed that if only the fate of the world could be placed in the hands of truly enlightened individuals cast in the mold of Wells himself, humankind could be saved from itself, averting disasters such as famine and war and ushering in a new era of human felicity. Yet many observers, particularly those with a strong fondness for liberty, would find Wells’ prescriptions less utopian than dystopian. Peer deeply enough, and Wells’ seemingly benevolent vision turns out to be misanthropic in the extreme.

    Wells starts all sweet and reasonable, then starts saying stuff like:

    The men of the New Republic will not be squeamish either in facing or inflicting death, because they will have a fuller sense of the possibilities of life than we possess. They will have an ideal that will make killing worth the while, like Abraham they will have the faith to kill, and they will have no superstitions about death.

    Sounds quite Morlockian.

  • On the Elizabeth Gurley Flynn watch. Damien Fisher reports the latest: 'Long Live the Revolution!' Activists Keep Legal Fight Over Rebel Girl Marker Alive.

    Historical figures of New Hampshire, unite! You have nothing to lose but your state-funded highway markers.

    The sponsors of a since-removed Historical Highway Marker honoring Concord-born Communist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit against the state. They argue no person from the Granite State’s past is safe from having their legacy erased from the public record — a common practice in Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union.

    I recently read American Anarchy by Brandeis history prof Michael Willrich, a history of our country's lefty anarchists in the early 20th century. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a relatively minor character therein; certainly her ideological odyssey to full-bore Stalinism was kinda the opposite of anarchy. Unfortunately, Willrich didn't cover it.