What i read today…

Letters from an American, December 8, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson… HCR is a daily read for me… her gathering of the important stories of the day into the beginnings of a historical record and then, often, placing them in historical context is very well done and tells me much of what i need to know… since she believes fervently in democracy, i would say she has a liberal bias, since conservatives, by and large, seem prepared to toss democracy out… today, HCR discusses Biden’s call with Putin and the considerable financial leverageu the US can organize if Russia invades Ukraine… she also updates us on the January 6th commissions efforts to compel testimony from former high level officials of 45’s administration and those officials efforts to resist… She notes that Fox News Channel personalities are:

echoing Russian talking points, saying that Putin is building up troops near Ukraine simply because he “wants to keep his western border secure.”

… she notes the $650K contributions made by Julie Fancelli, Publix grocery store chain heiress, to various organizations involved in staging the “Stop the Steal” event in Washington that led to the insurrection…

Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post, and America’s Moral and Political Seriousness, Benjamin Wittes, The Bulwark

… a tribute to Fred Hiatt and the editorial page of the Washington Post… i never read the post, but this piece makes me want to… FH has recently passed away and the author doesn’t know if the spirit of Meg Greenfield and Fred Hiatt will continue to dominate the production of the editorial page… if this tribute is even halfway accurate, and i have no reason to believe it isn’t, i hope Jeffrey Bezos and his management staff continue a proud tradition… this paragraph in particular struck me:

Sarah Longwell recently told a story about meeting me (Benjamin Wittes) and having no ability to identify my politics. This is an ethos I learned from Fred: discuss issues, discuss values, discuss policy, discuss facts, embrace complexity and don’t argue when others characterize your politics.

… this struck me because i, like the author, don’t play for a team… i remember in the run up to the last election that i was doing my best to share articles that i thought were good reads about important issues… i have made it a point to read publications from both ends of the political spectrum… a couple of times i was called out by team playing friends as participating in the circular firing squad of the Democratic party… i am liberal, i believe in democracy, but i am not a my party right or wrong person and never will be… in fact, listing myself as a democrat is so i can vote in primaries… the above paragraph also strikes me because it tells me how i must deal with the politics of M, which i view as derived solely from Fox News and Fox News personalities… so, i will need to do the hard work of discussing issues, values, policy and facts while embracing complexity and i will not argue when anyone tries to characterize my politics…

As Grifters Squabble, QAnon’s Bloodlust Gets More Open, Thomas Lecaque, The Bulwark… after reading this article it is not hard to imagine epic tragedy unfolding sometime over the next three or four years… QAnon may be the most crazy conspiracy theory going, but it has no corner on the market in murderous thinking and incitement… it appears the conspiracy situation is every bit as bad in Canada as it is here… which i have heard from people living there or with relatives there…

The New Puritans, Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic… i have for some years been wondering if we are heading into a period of illiberalness that could last for centuries… i look up Dark Ages and on Wikipedia, i discover that current scholarship eschews this descriptive title for the time following the collapse of the Roman Empire… so, illiberalism it is… this article is a harrowing read… i take it as another indication of where we are heading, and to someone with my liberal enlightenment view of the world, where we are heading is disturbing… more and more i feel there are mega trends that i, we, have no control over, that are shaping what we are heading into… i view what is described in this article as symptomatic of these mega trends… does it need to run its course?… is it reversible?… can we manage a transition to what it augers without intense suffering?… my answers would be probably, probably not and also, probably not… but i am hopeful that i am wrong on this last point…

First Thoughts

… halloween… we are ready for the trick or treaters, except we never get very many… we bought good chocolate so we would be willing to eat what is left over… a stash that could last the year depending on how many come to our door tonight…

… no HCR meter this morning… she decided to take the night off… in her place i read a couple of articles in The Bulwark… the first is about standing up to bullies… Fox News and FN personality, Tucker Carlson are the bullies… Liz Cheney and Adam Kinsinger are viewed as standing up to the bullies… is it doing any good?… the good that needs doing is to ween the too-many-people swallowing Carlson’s bullshit off of the bullshit… really, at some point, the whole concept of opinion news built around personalities needs to be reigned in… news needs to go back to being news with standards of truth and fairness… personality opinion needs to be kept off the news so that it is not mistaken for news… i am sure this is free speech problematic, but there has to be away to reign in the flow of bad information and incendiary personalities…

the second was about a crazy Qanon conspiracy speech given by the actor who played Christ in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ… a film widely viewed as anti-Semitic as is MG… the degree of crazy in this country, at this moment, is astounding… i am very worried we are on the path to authoritarianism underpinned by this crazy… if it comes to pass, there will be chaos and abundant lives lost…

… a frustrating day yesterday… after having spent the entire day before cleaning the house and making dinner for K and D, i looked forward to Saturday being a me day where i got things done i wanted to do… it didn’t turn out that way… H wants to get a second wire crate so we could leave the dogs in crates and attend, last night, a birthday party… then there is setting it up… then there is laundering the dog beds… when i get down to the laundry room there is lots of water on the floor… drain pipes from the kitchen have sprung a leak… should i fix it myself?, or should i call the plumber… i decide to call the plumber because, the plumbing is a mess and needs to be done properly… shouldn’t cost that much and we will then be good to go into the distant future… but, because the plumbing is a problem we can’t do dishes and thus can’t cook, which means we have to order in for the weekend and the pot roast i bought on Friday needs to go into the freezer until we can cook a more elaborate meal…