271 Comments

So many pieces of news packed into this edition of LFAA! It must have been challenging to select and distill it all into one newsletter tonight. This week looks to be very interesting, so rest up, Dr. Heather; glad you published relatively earlier than typical, and once again I hope you have gone to bed to sleep by now. Thank you so much for your consistent high quality writing in these Letters.

Expand full comment

Default due to the debt ceiling crisis will be a gift from Trump and his MAGA crazies in the House to Vladimir Putin and authoritarians worldwide by providing a prime example of how democracies can be dysfunctional.

It will also stoke hatred of the United States worldwide as it provokes an international monetary crisis. It will undue much of the meticulous foreign policy work this administation has done.

Domestically, with the deep-pocket funding of Koch and others like him, it will be a major issue in the coming Presidental election. And it will negatively affect every person in this country in terms of higher credit card interest rates, business failures due to credit drying, and increased unemployment.

Expand full comment

President Biden is traveling the globe, supporting Democracy and countries working together. Meanwhile, at home in our own Democratic government, the repubs led by McCarthy and the Americans for Prosperity funded by Koch, refuse to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts and oppose raising taxes on the wealthy. America is not the model of a two party system. Repubs continue to be the party of obstruction and destruction. Our future depends on compromise and cooperation, but we are far from the government for the people and by the people. Stay tuned.

Expand full comment

Charles Koch continues to be one of the worst threats to the United States. He is the personification of the dangers of economic injustice, inequitable taxation, the concentration of wealth, and the uses of dark money. He also personifies the dire effects of all the bad legislation and judicial decisions by legislators and judges/justices he and his plutocrat cronies have put in office - ie the Republican Party. Greedy Old Plutocrats. Gun and God Obsessed Populists

cf Leonard Leo - Koch's 'useful man', shell corp entrepreneur, and human manure spreader growing antidemocratic initiatives to repurpose a democratic republic as a clerical fascist state.

https://progressive.org/magazine/billionaire-kingmaker-still-dividing-the-nation-maclean-graves/

Expand full comment

And to top it off, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature voted to override the governor's veto of that cruel abortion bill, giving us more evidence of their lack of humanity and their cowardly need to control.

Expand full comment
May 17, 2023·edited May 17, 2023

President Zelensky’s constant pleas for more sophisticated armaments immediately reminds me of Winston Churchill’s response to FDR’s 1941 ‘Ship of State’ letter, when Britain was standing alone against Hitler’s Germany:

“WE SHALL NOT FAIL OR FALTER, WE SHALL NOT WEAKEN OR TIRE…

GIVE US THE TOOLS AND WE WILL FINISH THE JOB.”

No outsiders thought that President Zelensky and his brave Ukrainians could long survive Putin’s brutal military onslaught on February 24, 2022. They were astonished that Kyiv was not swiftly occupied and that Zelensky was not killed, captured, or obliged to flee his country.

President Biden led an extraordinary Western (and Eastern Europe) response to Putin’s ‘special military operation.’ From the outset, Putin and others were astonished by Ukrainians gutsy and resourceful fight to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty against ‘Greater Russia’ Putin. Also, from the outset, the United States and others ‘slow walked’ Ukrainian pleas for modern weapons to counter the Russian onslaught.

Military historians will reflect on the ‘too little, perhaps too late’ response. Now there is great urgency to provide Zelensky with more sophisticated weapons—especially tanks, artillery, and planes, as well as ammunition. Meanwhile, as Anne Applebaum describes in her latest The Atlantic article, the outgunned Ukrainians are ‘doing the mostest with the leastest.’

America and the West has endeavored to limit to scope of the Russian/Ukrainian life-and-death struggle. Restrictions on armaments that would permit Ukraine to attack the attackers on their own soil [Russian and Belorussian staging areas] have been draconian.

Meanwhile, countless Ukrainians are dying on the battlefield and from Russian carpet bombing.

I implore GIVE THEM THE TOOLS SO THAT THEY CAN FINISH THE JOB.

As President Zelensky expressed it “The choice is between freedom and fear.”

If Putin is permitted to batter Ukraine into some Insipid cease fire leading to Russia retaining perhaps 20% of Ukraine including Crimea, he will be emboldened to ‘nibble’ at Moldova and other sovereign states in Eastern Europe.

Expand full comment

I can't help wondering why the 140 companies and Charles Koch (who essentially own the House Republicans) don't tell their boys to raise the debt limit. Why do they bother threatening Biden ? Those boys are the responsibility of their puppet masters. Koch and companies should know by now Biden can't be blackmailed. And Koch and companies will suffer most if the entire world economy crashe and they will be responsible. I think they are cowards trying to be bullies, blowing hot air.

Expand full comment

In a small but perhaps significant victory, Jacksonville, FL elected Democrat Donna Deegan as mayor yesterday, rejecting DeSantis's extremist choice. Democrats also won a number of other races on the ballot.

Expand full comment

McCarthy is trying to '... extract budget cuts they cannot get through the normal process of legislation.' This, in order to roll back the Biden agenda , which is working.

"While Republicans claim to be concerned about spending, it is notable that they have flat-out refused to help reduce the deficit by closing tax loopholes that would raise $40 billion. They also refuse to consider any measure that would raise taxes, focusing solely on spending cuts."

That's the whole issue, somewhere, in the background , the "big boys" are telling them to cut the taxes and regulation on business and the repubs do what they are told !

Expand full comment

I want to salute the Ukraine for " not going gently into that good ( ? ) night ". Instead of being conquered like, say, Tibet, they're resisting.

They're not " The Mouse that Roared ", but they're baring their teeth.....

Expand full comment

Dear Heather,

Grateful for you. Your sharing. Your report of Truth.

All. The. Things.

Onward!

Peace + Love

E 💜

Expand full comment

Genius brilliant political philosopher and the most profoundly influential U Chicago professor, buried at Bard College, Hannah Arendt, used the Banality of Evil to discuss the worst fascism’s affect in her writings. Her phrasing moved mountains... and is used this day at the Institute named after her at Bard College..

What political philosopher, author, campus or group will coin the phrase that describes the run away fascism of today - that is influencing dozens of nations, including the United States of America, today?

And what is driving the fear, ignorance and banality of today’s intolerance and political violence that is driving the Republican Party, threatening a Crash and chaos in the name of a false solvency in the craven stupidity of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, toady to his most insane members, for whom he is the slave bitch, heading straight to Hell... at the direction of his party’s most malevolent fascists bent on power to the exclusion of everything else.

What is the invisible force driving McCarthy’s masters headlong rush to chaos? PREJUDICE and racial hatred are the triggers, ignorance and fear are the fuel feeding the banal prejudice and rank Republican banality... today’s Banality of Evil... which has no Hannah Arendt, no political North Star to light the darkness... no philosopher to voice the phrase needed to capture the diminishing flame of freedom in nation after nation consumed with radical hatred’s, explosive intolerance and, yes, fascism.

Conspicuous Consumption coined by Thorstein Veblen focused the philosophy of his day... as he moved from The University of Chicago north to a far smaller campus that lit up with his genius. What is the name of that Minnesota college? Carleton College, and it is one of the best.

Where is Professor and author Allison S. Davis of the University of Chicago, where is Max Eastman... of New York City?

Yale University and Columbia University and Boston University - in their day - had outspoken leaders that formed the dialogue... that moved the congress.. and led the nation. What were their names?

President Dwight David Eisenhower used troops to open Little Rock high school and flip Gov. Orval Faubus...

AG Nicholas de B. Katzenbach of Lyndon Johnson’s one term administration used federal Marshals to roll third party candidate and racist, the mortally wounded Governor George C. Wallace, to open a campus. AG Bobby Kennedy risked his life...and spoke out, paying the ultimate price at the hands of a lunatic.

Where is President Kingman Brewster? Where is Martin Luther King? Caesar Chavez?

There were so many - back then.

Expand full comment

I totally agree, these selfish, greedy, arrogant criminals don't give a hoot about anyone but themselves. I just cant understand how these crooks be so uncaring, hateful, and cruel to other human beings. Seems like NAZI Germany all over again, except instead of Hitler, it's TUMP as king dictator.

Expand full comment
May 17, 2023·edited May 17, 2023

Per Reuters, the President of Belarus who has not been seen in Public since early May has been hospitalized but, that status is "not officially confirmed". Lukashenko is 68 years old.

Expand full comment

It's worth noting that the Republican "patriots" never flinched after the hagoc they visited on the American people after the debt ceiling budget fiasco in 2011. GOP loyalty plainly is to itself while America be damned. Ike Eisenhower would administer a sharp rejoinder to his wretched party if he was alive today.

Expand full comment

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Domestic terrorists are the worst kind. Whatever the Koch nuts want is an attack on the country and us all

Expand full comment