Home2024 Elections3/20-21 News Roundup & Open Thread
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Benny
Benny

Coffee and tea available….

Coffee and Tea Screenshot.jpg
jcitybone

One of my favorite musicals

orlbucfan

T and R x 2, Ms. Benny!! 🙂 Happy Spring to you and everyone! I love those daffodils. That Beatle video is very fascinating, but I gotta say, my favorite period with them will always be the Early one: 1962-1964. There’s a joie de vivre vibe in those tunes that slowly faded out with the later stuff even though they were brilliant artistically. Just my $.02, LOL.

jcitybone

It’s long been a truism among liberal political writers that a great deal of conservative culture-war politics is misdirection that disguises the GOP’s real policy agenda. By far the most consistent laws the Republican Party has produced in office since the 1980s are tax cuts for the rich and deregulation. This type of thing is unpopular, even among Republican voters, and so a regular supply of shiny objects is needed to distract them.

That is of course true of the latest conservative hate frenzy: the crusade against “wokeness,” which the right increasingly uses as a catchall slur for everything they dislike—diversity, reproductive rights, accurate history, climate policy, the dissolution of a failed bank, and so on. Meanwhile, beneath the din, typical pro-rich policy is quietly written up.

Yet not only is the anti-woke frenzy covering up the oligarchic economics of the GOP, it is also directly profiting the allies of Republican politicians. Helping corporate CEOs and anti-woke grifters: Like the gif says, why not both?

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his allies are rushing through a law that would force banks not to use “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) criteria in their investing decisions. This is a version of a resolution that Republicans passed through Congress recently, leading to what’s expected to be President Biden’s first veto. As Jason Garcia writes at Popular Information, the Florida law would forbid any bank with accounts from state government from making banking or investment decisions based on a company’s “business sector,” or based on “support of the state or Federal Government in combatting illegal immigration.”

This idea is wildly impractical, as ESG or “business sector” questions must include many factors that directly affect the profits of an investment—like when Norfolk Southern spilled a huge amount of vinyl chloride in East Palestine, Ohio. (Would they get civil rights protections because of that in Florida?) Taken literally, DeSantis’s law would outlaw virtually half of all banking.

Of course, it is not meant literally. The subtext is that Florida banks better start lending again to DeSantis’s favorite immigrant detention camp company, or else. A private prison firm called GEO Group, based in Boca Raton, got cut off from mainstream banking in 2019, thanks to protests over its appalling treatment of detainees. The company has been one of DeSantis’s biggest campaign contributors since 2018, as well as of Florida Republicans, and it stopped paying dividends in 2022. That is likely to weigh on company stock, unless those “woke” rules turn around and GEO Group can get its financing back.

In short, DeSantis would force Wall Street to once again fund his political cronies, and thence his own political campaigns.

Or in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced that the state government is taking control of the 200,000-strong Houston school district, supposedly because one of its 50 high schools has struggled academically. (The district as a whole was recently given a “B” by the state education agency.) It’s not a coincidence that, as Forrest Wilder writes at Texas Monthly, Abbott has recently been touring overtly right-wing private religious schools touting the benefits of his school voucher plan. These luxurious schools typically cost over $10,000 per year in tuition. The wealthy, ultra-right-wing families that use them—and the highly paid right-wing administrators and teachers who run them—would benefit from a voucher that might cover about half the cost, while undermining public schools. All that is needed to get the job done is to delete a provision in the Texas constitution separating church and state, which Texas Republicans have proposed, helped along by the fearmongering that woke schools are ruining children’s lives, no doubt.

Perhaps most telling of all is the situation in Hungary, increasingly considered as an anti-woke utopia by American conservatives. CPAC invited Prime Minister Viktor Orban to their conference last year, and prominent conservatives like Tucker Carlson and Rod Dreher make regular pilgrimages.

Hungary is a quasi-dictatorship, and Orban has used his power to turn the country into a colony of international capital. When he took power in 2010, he made Hungary extremely attractive to foreign investors by slashing taxes on the rich and corporations while raising them on the working class. Together with Hungary’s low wages, this set the stage for a decade-long economic boom, concurrent with an explosion in domestic inequality. Orban’s latest plan is to entice a Chinese company into building the largest battery factory in Europe, though the idea is reportedly not popular among locals, who correctly suspect the company is not going to take proper precautions against pollution, and that workers and the local economy will see very little of the benefits.

Conservative politics is about creating, reinforcing, and preserving hierarchy. Oligarchic economics is only natural. Wedge issues that pit the lower classes against one another to cloak this hierarchy are also par for the course. If and when Republicans take national power again, it’ll be one more screaming tantrum after the next, while they rob the American people blind in the background.

orlbucfan

You know, it would really be nice to see a boatload of these while collar yahoos in serious prisons. Will it happen? Not under Byedone, look at his history.

jcitybone