Monthly Archives: April 2021

This is Real News: I Read it on the Internet

Informed sources tell us:

One day Chicken Little was pecking around in the yard when she read something misleading in the Daily Mail and decided it meant that Joe Biden was coming to take everyone’s meat.

“Goodness gracious!” said Chicken Little. “Joe Biden is coming for everyone’s meat! I must go and tell the king!”

So she went along and went along until she met Cocky Locky. “Where are you going, Chicken Little?” Cocky Locky asked.

“Joe Biden is coming for everyone’s meat!” Chicken Little exclaimed. “He is going to rip all the hamburgers off the grills, and if you are eating more than your allotted steak, he is going to fling you to his hand-reared pack of hungry Amtrak regional trains, and that will be the last anyone hears of you.”

“Oh no!” Cocky Locky said. “I will come with you and spread the news!” Cocky Locky was very active on Facebook and immediately posted this news there, and soon enough Ducky Lucky read it.

“What’s this you’re posting, Chicken Little and Cocky Locky?” Ducky Lucky asked.

“Oh,” Chicken Little said, “Joe Biden is coming for everyone’s meat! He is going to stop everyone who is eating New York strips and turn them into a windmill, and if you try to object, he is going to put you in an enclosure where you will have to sit while Greta Thunberg makes withering remarks.”

“You’ll be lucky if you get four steaks a year!” Cocky Locky added.

“This is terrible!” Ducky Lucky said. “I will come with you!”

Ducky Lucky listened to a lot of AM radio, and he called in immediately to tell his favorite host, Goosey Loosey, about everything that was going on. “Why are you calling, Chicken Little, Cocky Locky and Ducky Lucky?” Goosey Loosey asked.

“Oh,” Chicken Little said. “Joe Biden is coming for everyone’s meat!”

“Not only that!” added Cocky Locky, who had been refreshing his Facebook feed the entire time and had read an incorrect New York Post article, “but they are giving EVERYONE who comes to the border FREE COPIES OF KAMALA HARRIS’S BOOK!”

“Are they?” Chicken Little asked.

“Well, a single person donated a single copy,” Cocky Locky said, “but I liked what I said first better!”

“This has got to be stopped!” Goosey Loosey cried. “First the meat, now the children’s books! We must tell everyone!”

Goosey Loosey was a contributor to Foxy Loxy, uh, Newsy Woozy, and they decided that would be a good destination to go to next. So they went along until they met with Foxy Loxy. “Where are you going in such a hurry, Chicken Little?” Foxy Loxy asked.

“Oh,” Chicken Little said, “I just found out that Joe Biden is coming for everyone’s meat, and I must go tell the king! He is going to come to everyone’s homes and take all the sausage out of them, whether they are done using it or not! He is making everyone drink plant-based beer instead of the meat-based beer we are all used to! It is a grisly day for America — or would be, if he had not banned gristle! It is just awful what is happening — or would be, if he had not banned offal!”

“This is indeed terrible!” said Foxy Loxy. “I will tell everyone! Come into my burrow with my friends here; we know just the way to get this news out there.” And he started to display a graphic indicating that Joe Biden would soon be rationing everyone’s hamburgers.

“Don’t forget the children’s books!” added Goosey Loosey. “Why, it’s like North Korea, and I’d like to say that on your airwaves!”

“I would never forget anything that could possibly be a source of outrage!” Foxy Loxy said. “That is what I feed on! In fact, if you will just come a little deeper into my burrow, I will show you something even more outrageous!”

They went deeper into Foxy Loxy’s burrow. “Is it much farther?” asked Ducky Lucky.

“Not much farther,” said Foxy Loxy, but his voice was muffled, as though it came from all around them. And the ground beneath them squelched as though they were walking into a giant gullet.

“Is it much more outrageous?” asked Goosey Loosey.

But Foxy Loxy didn’t answer. The ground beneath them undulated, as though they were all being moved along a conveyor belt into an enormous stomach.

And Chicken Little never did get to tell the king that Joe Biden was coming for their meat, or that Kamala Harris was giving out books just like North Korea, but it did not matter, because neither one of those things was accurate. But Foxy Loxy and his friends ate very well that day.

Doug Collins: Skilled Not Only at Readin’ and Writin’ and a-Shoutin’ But Also at ‘Rithmetic

We have news today that, in 2022, Doug Collins is not going to run for senator from Georgia and he is not going to run for governor of Georgia. Also taking a pass on Secretary of State.

In case you have forgotten who Doug Collins is, you may wish to refresh yourself with the above video.

When the cameras are rolling, Collins does a good job pretending to be an unhinged lunatic. But, offstage, he has determined, correctly, that he is not going to win a race for dogcatcher in the State or Georgia, with the support of half of the people who are still voting Republican in that state

Herd Immunity for Me, But Not for Thee

Bess Levinson, Thanks to Republican Anti-Vaxxers, the U.S. May Never Reach COVID-19 Herd Immunity: The huge percentage of GOP voters refusing to get vaccinated is likely to drag out the pandemic. 

Well, yes it is, but not for me. ‘Cause, guess what, I’m vaccinated.

If there were anything I could do to change your mind, I would do it.

But if you insist on behaving so that the Democratic death rate is marginally—but significantly—less than the Republican death rate, then I will not cry.

You are making your bed.

You can damn well lie in it.

“As White Power Diminishes, White Supremacy Intensifies”

The quote is from Paul Begala, and appears at the very end of Thomas Edsall, Why Trump is Stil Their Guy. Mr. Edsall’s piece tells you a lot of things that you already knew, and it gives you some political psychology scholarly cites that you probably don’t have.

What Edsall does not do is to offer any suggestions to ameliorate the situation—other than to oppose voter suppressing and kind of wait out the demographic change from a white-dominated society to a diverse society.

One might think the quasi-respectable Right—the Mitch McConnell/Kevin McCarthy/Brian Kemp’s of the world—might do something about the rabid white supremacists on their side of the aisle. But we all know that is absolutely not going to happen.

So what should progressives do, apart from waiting for more diverse babies to be born, grow up, and vote the Democratic ticket?

Here’s what I say. A lot of the white supremacists are beyond salvation. And for those that are beyond salvation, just let them marinate in their own false perceptions of victimhood.

But there are some folks who are on the fence. For those who are not beyond salvation, I hope that a lot of concerted efforts can be made, to try to save them.

For example, some among the Evangelical clergy are actually still Christians.

It would be good if they would speak up.

Corporations Versus Wedge Issue Divisiveness and Voter Suppression: Dean Sonnenfeld Speaks

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, CEOs Lead America’s New Great Awakening: Their political activism on behalf of voting rights will help bring about a spiritual revival:

As they did recently over gun safety, immigration, climate change, social justice and the infamous bathroom bills, major business leaders have protested new voter-restriction efforts in state legislatures. I am proud to have had a role in helping trigger some of this activity. Critics have mocked such civic engagement with headlines like “Woke CEOs’ Foolhardy Bid To Shape Voting Laws” or “Woke and Weak CEOs.” This business awakening shouldn’t be ridiculed but celebrated as the rediscovery of a misunderstood pillar of America’s industrial greatness.

Economist Milton Friedman, in his 1970 essay on corporate social responsibility advised: “It may well be in the long‐run interest of a corporation that is a major employer in a small community to devote resources to providing amenities to that community or to improving its government. That may make it easier to attract desirable employees, it may reduce the wage bill or lessen losses from pilferage and sabotage or have other worthwhile effects.”

DuPont CEO and Business Roundtable chairman Irving Shapiro echoed the point in 1983 when he told me: “Most businessmen are sensible and rational people. They recognize that they’ve got to meet the needs of our society or they’re not going to be successful. Free enterprise is a slogan. It means different things to different people. . . . I would make the case that we must get rid of the adversary approach and simply say we have a common objective.”

Ensuring social cohesion in democracy is part of a CEO’s job of managing the strategic environment. No CEO wants finger-pointing employees dealing with hostile consumers and communities—even if “wedge” issues are appealing to Republican politicians with a divide-and-conquer plan for staying in office. …

I admonished the public passivity of Georgia’s business leaders. Before the new law’s enactment last month, they reassured me that working quietly backstage with Gov. Brian Kemp, they’d purged problematic voter restrictions and allowed for innocuous security provisions. Sadly, however, the actual law was drafted in the dark of night and raced through the Legislature the next morning. The secret 100-page bill was promptly signed into law.

Among the law’s antidemocratic features, it authorizes partisan legislators to dismiss the authority of elected county voting officials and override the elected secretary of state to decide, at will and after an election, whose ballots count. Global watchdogs would disqualify an election held under such rules. Lawmakers in 46 other states are considering bills to limit voting; research by Leadership Now and the Brennan Center indicates that some of them have even worse voter-access problems.

In 1962, Atlanta’s mayor dubbed it “the city too busy to hate.” Two years later, when Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize, Coke’s CEO warned Atlanta leaders to honor King on his return or risk the company’s relocation. This year, when the CEOs of Coke and Delta followed these footsteps, the state GOP threatened them for their free speech with boycotts and retaliatory tax punishment. Talk about cancel culture!

Amid such threats last week, I contacted 120 CEOs to meet last weekend for a rapid-response crisis caucus. Ninety of them called in—from finance to pharmaceuticals, transportation to technology, manufacturing to healthcare, retail to professional services. Despite favoring a range of solutions, their spirit was defiant against politicians trying to muzzle them. They rallied to support one another, especially those with the courage to have stood up first, as well as to fortify their roles in ensuring the harmonious society and functioning democracy that vibrant markets need. …

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: New Insight into the Republican/Corporate Plutocracy’s Ongoing Divorce

It’s the Divisiveness, Stupid

Politico, The GOP-Big Business Divorce Goes Deeper Than You Think: It’s not just about voting rights; it’s that businesses and the Republican Party increasingly care about incompatible things, says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is, among other things,

  • Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management,
  • the person who organized the big Zoom conference of corporate honchos last Sunday, that resulted in the Washington Post ad opposing voter suppression, and
  • Mitch McConnell’s good bud, and a speaker at the McConnell-Chao wedding.

The Politico piece explores at length Dean Sonnenfeld’s views on the headline topic—“the GOP-Big Business Divorce.” If you want to know what’s really happening in this country, you will benefit from reading the article in its entirety. Key passages:

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a legendary business professor and associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has watched this split grow in recent years, and has heard it from CEOs he knows and works with. What the GOP cares about and what major businesses care about are, increasingly incompatible, he says.

“The political desire to use wedge issues to divide—which used to be fringe in the GOP—has become mainstream,” Sonnenfeld says. “That is 100 percent at variance with what the business community wants. And that is a million times more important to them than how many dollars of taxes are paid here or there.” …

As the GOP tries to position itself as the home of “working-class values,” capturing loyalty with a steady campaign against the perceived excesses of progressive culture, it’s running afoul of a business community that can’t simply silo off “culture war” topics. In the eyes of major corporations, issues like voting rights, immigration and transgender-inclusive restrooms have economic impact, too. The millions of people alienated by those fights aren’t just their future customers, many of whom expect to support brands they believe in, they’re the companies’ employees. 

“The bad news for Republicans is that they seem to have a 1920s view of who Big Business’ workforce is,” says Sonnenfeld. “That workforce is, at a minimum, highly diverse—and they get along. Trying to stir that up is misguided.”

The new Republican penchant for mocking corporations for being too socially aware—for instance, Sen. Ted Cruz’s Twitter threat to use the power of the state to harm Major League Baseball’s business, signing the message off with “go woke, go broke”—fundamentally misunderstands what matters to business in the 21st century, says Sonnenfeld. “Basically, business leaders believe that it’s in the interest of society to have social harmony. … Divisiveness in society is not in their interest, short term or long term.”

Plutocracy Versus Republican Voter Suppression

Today, major corporations published an advertisement in the Washington Post opposing voting rights restrictions—and causing further heartache to Mitch McConnell. (It’s reproduced above. in a hard to read form; I have been looking for a text version to respost on this blog.)

Meanwhile, Thomas Edsall sucks his thumb at truly remarkable length on the economics, psychology, and ethics or the corporate progressive position on voting rights.

Now, I am someone who is often criticized for seeing complexity where others see simplicity. And so, I feel uncomfortable claiming that Edsall’s piece aganizes far too much over what is really quite simple. Three points.

One. The individuals who occupy the seats of corporate power, like other members of the human race, vary significantly among themselves in respect of racism (or lack thereof), empathy toward the less fortunate (or lack thereof), and ethics generally. Many of these individuals—“individuals,” I said—are as empathetic and as ethical as you would want them to be.

Two. Whatever their individual ethics and political leanings, the individuals who occupy the seats of corporate power are not going to let their ethics or their politics get in the way of corporate profit.

If they do, they will become former corporate executives. And that right soon.

Three. The reason—and the only reason that matters—for the current corporate push against White authoritarianism is that these folks recognize that embracing White authoritarianism would be the kiss of death for their corporations.

Therefore …

Therefore, the irreconcilable conflict between the two stools of the Republican Party as We Have Known It—corporate greed and White resentment—is proceeding apace.

We can see history accelerating this week.

Humpty Dumpty ain’t gonna be put together again.

It’s the Real Thing, What the World Wants Today

Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sucks its thumb at considerable length on the topic of Georgia’s corporate landscape: business incentives, political fights. There’s lots of information, but the key message is found in the language I have underlined below:

Delta and Coca-Cola changed their tune [on the Georgia voting bill] nearly a week after the bill was signed, and after more than 70 top Black executives placed a full-page ad in The New York Times warning the new law was “undemocratic and un-American.”

The move infuriated Republican lawmakers who said they worked hand-in-hand with those companies as the elections law was being drafted.

“I don’t think you’ll hear anybody on our side say that we don’t greatly respect them and the role they play,” said Bert Brantley, Kemp’s deputy chief of staff for external affairs. “I do think there’s some frustration out there because the process worked as it has so many times before and then we were blindsided. You had CEOs or whoever just completely turn their backs on all that work that was done at the capitol after months of discussions.”

To Sum Up: The Times They are A-Changin’

Like a Newtonian moving object that just keeps on moving until someone stops it, the Government Relations operations at Delta and Coca-Cola were working hand in glove with the Republican politicians to depress the Black vote, rile up the rednecks, replace the Reverend Senator Warnock in 2022 with Ms. Kelly Moneybags, and keep taxes low. The same race-baiting game that the Richie Richs have been playing for four hundred years.

Then the CEOs woke up and smelled the coffee. There was a huge risk that their brands would turn toxic. That’s an especially big problem for Coke. Delta is selling an important service—one you may badly need and might not be able to get from anyone else. Coca-Cola is selling flavored fizzy water with aggressive advertising that makes you feel good about drinking the stuff.

Coca-Cola would dearly love to keep on selling flavored fizzy water to poor rednecks and to progressive young people. They would love not to have to choose between them.

But the CEO of Coca-Cola, who probably has about a hundred more IQ points than the governor of Georgia, realized he was forced to make a choice.

So he chose.