Vladimir Putin’s ‘mark’

Census

I wasn’t aware that

Though past censuses did ask for citizenship questions of some respondents until 1950, developments in statistical methodologies revealed the extent to which such questions led to undercounting.

“The Census Bureau has worked very hard over 200 years to learn how to do accurate, scientific survey research,” [Margo J.] Anderson said. “The addition of this question didn’t draw upon that expertise.”[1]

I knew only that the topic had been raised as I went through my schooling and I found it entirely credible that a citizenship question would undermine the count. Of course it would: Lots of people don’t trust the government for lots of reasons. The suspicion that the information would somehow find its way to authorities seeking to enforce immigration law is only one.

Gillian Brockell, “No, the census has never been delayed. Even when it was really hard to conduct,” Washington Post, June 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/06/27/no-census-has-never-been-delayed-even-when-it-was-really-hard-do/

Garrett Epps, “Is the Citizenship Question Dead?” Atlantic, June 27, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/court-wants-real-reason-citizenship-question/592864/

Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung, “Trump fumes as Supreme Court blocks census citizenship question,” Reuters, June 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-census/trump-fumes-as-supreme-court-blocks-census-citizenship-question-idUSKCN1TS1BL


Vladimir Putin

As per my dissertation, I would like to be clear as to which sort of ‘liberalism’[2] Vladimir Putin is declaring to be “obsolete.”[3] I can’t quite tell, but it might be “classical liberalism,” the sort advocated by Adam Smith, and the sort that capitalist libertarians claim (not entirely accurately) to be resurrecting. Capitalist libertarians and neoliberals tend to favor immigration as it undermines worker leverage. On the other hand, and more probably, it could simply be the ‘liberalism’ as ‘whatever I’m against’ kind, amorphous and impossible to pin down because there isn’t really anything to pin down.[4]

Putin joins Donald Trump in unfairly characterizing migrants as criminals; in addition, Putin thinks migrants from the former Soviet bloc are better prepared for life in Russia. He denies any problem with homophobia or transphobia and considers Christianity fundamental to civilization. He also describes Trump as “talented.”[5]

That flattery for Trump might simply be flattery for a man who likes to be flattered and whom it’s widely suspected Putin sees as a mark for manipulation. But it also lends support for a characterization of Putin as authoritarian populist, though the ‘populist’ part of that might not be going so well, to the extent the Times, a conservative paper, is correct in saying “meagre salaries and pensions are increasingly contrasted with the fortunes of a caste of Kremlin-linked billionaire oligarchs, eroding the president’s ratings.”[6]

Tom Parfitt, “Liberalism is obsolete, declares Putin,” Times, June 28, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/liberalism-is-obsolete-declares-putin-vx2xhhc2w


Joe Biden

Kamala Harris deserves a lot of credit for her performance last night, June 27, in challenging Joe Biden on race. But she used her skills as a former prosecutor[7] in a criminal injustice system that is profoundly racist and classist, enforcing laws passed by mostly wealthy white males mostly against everyone else,[8] with a deeply flawed process[9] that sends so many human beings to prison as to merit critical examination from an epidemiological perspective.[10] Frankly, Pete Buttigieg, who is facing in South Bend what is yet another case of a white cop shooting a Black man,[11] handled this better by admitting failure.[12]

In terms of the neoliberal party nomination, I think Biden is done. Lots of folks say his performance last night won’t do it in itself—and that’s the thing, it doesn’t. But there’s the “touchy feely misogynist” thing[13] in addition to the racist thing[14] and the Anita Hill thing.[15] The man is a walking, talking toxic waste dump. He should be an embarrassment to the neoliberals who support him but, well, they’re neoliberal and that’s really what matters to them.

My own preference would be for Bernie Sanders, but Sanders had his day in 2016 and the encore just isn’t looking like a winner. Buttigieg hasn’t paid much attention to homelessness in fucking South Bend (!), fucking Indiana (!)[16] where it is, if anything, even more miserable in winter than Pittsburgh, and for me, that’s profoundly and inexcusably inhumane. Meanwhile, Harris needs to compellingly address her record as a prosecutor.

For me, that probably leaves Elizabeth Warren, whose big mistake is trying to save capitalism from itself.[17] Apart from the fact that any system of exchange inherently operates to widen social inequality,[18] Warren’s proposal would be to repeat Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mistake: The New Deal was successful only for a few decades while a capitalist libertarians (or their immediate predecessors) screeched about “property rights,” attempted to organize a coup against FDR,[19] never stopped whining,[20] and went on to organize the bipartisan “Washington Consensus,” the intellectually utterly discredited neoliberal ideology that persists as the mainstream ideology of the U.S. government.[21] Warren’s heart may be in the right place, but we need a much better answer than the one she offers, one that permanently silences—total expropriation would at least deprive them of the funds for media manipulation—the capitalist libertarians and neoliberals.

Mark Z. Barabak, “Seven takeaways from Democratic debate Night 2: Sparks from Biden and Harris, honesty from Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-democratic-debate-miami-takeaways-20190627-story.html

Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden throws own campaign into turmoil after Harris attacks his record on race,” CNN, June 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/28/politics/first-democratic-debate-night-2-analysis/index.html

Maeve Reston, “Harris’ attack on Joe Biden steals spotlight at Democratic primary debate,” CNN, June 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/politics/democratic-primary-debate-night-two-joe-biden-bernie-sanders-kamala-harris/index.html


Pittsburgh

WTAE, “U.S. Steel, health department have deal to settle 2018 air pollution violations at Clairton Coke Works,” June 28, 2019, https://www.wtae.com/article/us-steel-reaches-agreement-with-health-department-to-resolve-enforcement-orders-at-clairton-coke-works/28221648


  1. [1]Gillian Brockell, “No, the census has never been delayed. Even when it was really hard to conduct,” Washington Post, June 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/06/27/no-census-has-never-been-delayed-even-when-it-was-really-hard-do/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  3. [3]Tom Parfitt, “Liberalism is obsolete, declares Putin,” Times, June 28, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/liberalism-is-obsolete-declares-putin-vx2xhhc2w
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  5. [5]Tom Parfitt, “Liberalism is obsolete, declares Putin,” Times, June 28, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/liberalism-is-obsolete-declares-putin-vx2xhhc2w
  6. [6]Tom Parfitt, “Liberalism is obsolete, declares Putin,” Times, June 28, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/liberalism-is-obsolete-declares-putin-vx2xhhc2w
  7. [7]Mark Z. Barabak, “Seven takeaways from Democratic debate Night 2: Sparks from Biden and Harris, honesty from Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-democratic-debate-miami-takeaways-20190627-story.html; Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden throws own campaign into turmoil after Harris attacks his record on race,” CNN, June 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/28/politics/first-democratic-debate-night-2-analysis/index.html; Maeve Reston, “Harris’ attack on Joe Biden steals spotlight at Democratic primary debate,” CNN, June 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/politics/democratic-primary-debate-night-two-joe-biden-bernie-sanders-kamala-harris/index.html
  8. [8]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  9. [9]Dan Simon, In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2012).
  10. [10]Ernest Drucker, A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America(New York: New Press, 2011).
  11. [11]Matt Pearce, “Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-pete-buttigieg-mayor-police-shooting-black-voters-20190624-story.html
  12. [12]Mark Z. Barabak, “Seven takeaways from Democratic debate Night 2: Sparks from Biden and Harris, honesty from Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-democratic-debate-miami-takeaways-20190627-story.html
  13. [13]David Benfell, “Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/04/05/joe-biden-blows-his-metoo-moment/; Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done
  14. [14]Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden gets in his own way on race,” CNN, June 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/20/politics/joe-biden-race-2020-election/index.html; Scott Detrow, “Democrats Blast Biden For Recalling ‘Civil’ Relationship With Segregationists,” CNN, June 19, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/734103488/democrats-blast-biden-for-recalling-civil-relationship-with-segregationists; Greg Sargent, “Joe Biden is badly undermining his ability to challenge Trump,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/20/joe-biden-is-badly-undermining-his-case-against-trump/; Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, “Biden faces backlash over comments about the ‘civility’ of his past work with racist senators,” Washington Post, June 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-faces-backlash-over-comments-about-the-civility-of-his-past-work-with-racist-senators/2019/06/19/c0375d2a-92a8-11e9-b58a-a6a9afaa0e3e_story.html
  15. [15]Elise Viebeck, “Joe Biden was in charge of the Anita Hill hearing. Even he says it wasn’t fair,” Washington Post, April 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-was-in-charge-of-the-anita-hill-hearing-even-he-says-it-wasnt-fair/2019/04/26/a9a6f384-6500-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html
  16. [16]Charles Bethea, “What Pete Buttigieg Has and Hasn’t Done About Homelessness in South Bend,” New Yorker, June 24, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/what-pete-buttigieg-has-and-hasnt-done-about-homelessness-in-south-bend
  17. [17]Ali Donaldson, “Why Elizabeth Warren Still Calls Herself a Capitalist,” Bloomberg, February 1, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-02/why-elizabeth-warren-still-calls-herself-a-capitalist
  18. [18]Max Weber, “Class, Status, Party,” in Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings, ed. Charles Lemert, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010), 119-129.
  19. [19]George Seldes, 1000 Americans: The Real Rulers of the U.S.A. (New York: Boni and Gaer, 1948; Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive, 2009).
  20. [20]Charles A. Reich, The Greening of America (New York: Crown, 1970).
  21. [21]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012).

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