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Betraying Ukraine, Episode 3

February 9, 2024
Notes
Transcript
The Dispatch‘s Scott Lincicome returns to discuss cheap avocados, the “China shock,” and other economic matters. The panel then discusses the GOP heel turn on the border, betraying Ukraine, and whether the Crumbley verdict was a step too far.

highlights / lowlights:

Mona: As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do. (Pamela Paul, NYT)

Linda: Isaiah Berlin and the Tragedy of Pluralism (Damon Linker, Persuasion)
1961 Debate Between Malcolm X and James Baldwin

Bill: Firing Ukraine’s top general would be a mistake (Adrian Bonenberger, The Hill)

Damon: Special Counsel Robert Hur’s Biden classified documents report.

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Welcome to Beg to Differ. The Bulwark weekly roundtable discussion, featuring civil conversation across the political spectrum. We range from center left to center right. I’m Mona Sharon, policy editor of the Bulwark and a syndicated columnist, And I am joined by our regulars. Damon Lincoln, who writes the substick newsletter notes from the middle ground, Will Saletan of the Brookings institution and the Wall Street Journal and Linda Chavez of the Niskannon Center.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:40

    Our special guest this week, is Scott Linsichem of the Kato Institute who also writes for the dispatch about trade, economics, all of those good things. So, Scott, thanks so much for joining us. This is not your first time here. We haven’t seen you in a while, and welcome to your first video version of this podcast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:00

    Yeah. I would’ve worn a nicer shirt, had I known? But,
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:03

    I’m sorry. I forgot
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:04

    to say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:04

    No. I know. No problem
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:05

    at all. You look great, though.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:06

    It’s in my puffy vest. It’s fine. Thanks thanks again for having me back.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:11

    Oh, great to see you. And for our listeners, we, of course, are going to get to what’s going on on the hill and all of that is coming up. But first, I’m really glad to have Scott here because one of the things that is close to my heart Scott is a project that you have inaugurated, which is a defense of globalization, and all of the ways in which it has made our lives better, and not just Americans’ lives, but the world. Sure. It’s enriched all of us.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:37

    But let’s get down to a really nitty gritty aspect of it that you write about. Food. Yeah. And particularly, like, what is available in supermarkets? I mean, Linda and Bill and I are old enough to remember, like, when we were young, when we were kids, there weren’t that many things in supermarkets.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:55

    You didn’t have mangoes in kiwis and papayas and all of these exotic things that are now absolutely taken for granted. You couldn’t get blueberries in the wintertime. You couldn’t get strawberries all year round. All of that kind of thing, we just take for granted. And that you say is because of globalization, these things come from other countries.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:18

    Yeah. For sure. And, you know, you’re not that old, or at least maybe I’m as old as you are because they was is also my childhood. I can remember quite well, that mom would be really excited that they had certain produce at the farmers market in downtown Dallas, or at the grocery store, she’d be freaking out about the availability of avocados and other things. So, you know, it is I think for those of us that if you’re Chen X or above, you remember all that stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:45

    But if you’re one of the youths, you know, we take it totally for granted that you’re gonna be able to walk into a grocery store and not just have the availability of produce. I mean, that’s one of the things we write about. It’s, you know, the explosion of international foods and of cuisines and all of this stuff is thanks to globalization properly understood.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:04

    Right. So you say in your piece that in nineteen seventy five, the average supermarket had about eighty nine hundred items. And by twenty twenty two, it was up to more than thirty one thousand items available. And speaking of the kids, The emblematic fruit of the generation z is the avocado. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:26

    Avocado toast, etcetera. And something like eighty eight or ninety percent of those are coming to us from Mexico.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:33

    Yeah. Right. And and it’s really a testament to to ask specs of globalization. One is technology. You know, a lot of modern globalization is nothing to do with politicians or trade agreements or anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:46

    It is just about the proliferation of things like containerized shipping and refrigerated shipping and then information technology that allows for kind of real time tracking of this. And that allows specialization to do its thing. You know, and a lot of specialization in the in the produce context is different climates, not only being conducive, in general to producing things like bananas or pineapples. I’ve written a little bit about that. You know, pineapples used to be this grand luxury good that Louis the fourteenth would expend massive amounts of money to maybe get one per season and now you can get them at your grocery store for, like, ninety nine cents.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:25

    But the other big part of that is just simply the hemispheres. You know, the fact is that, you know, half the world is in summer when we’re in winter up here, and that combined with all that other technology allows us to enjoy it. The second big aspect though does have to do with politicians, and that is the really tremendous liberalization of global trade barrier since the nineteen forties, you know, starting with the general agreement on tariffs and trade, which we call today, the World Trade Organization, But, of course, including a lot of US trade agreements as Will Saletan, now the USMCA, the US Peru free trade agreement, others, because that liberalized tariff and non tariff barriers and created some harmonization of regulations that allows us to more easily and more cheaply import what technology is again allowing us to do it. You know, it lowers the taxes. It makes it easier for compliance and the rest.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:25

    Yeah. So the critics would say, oh, fine. So you have your kiwis, and that’s great. And you have your cheap labor, but the fact is that globalization has hurt us. Because it has sent all of our good jobs overseas.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:40

    And so we are really the losers in this competition. In the world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:47

    Yeah. And, you know, that’s, of course, a very common, I think, misconception about globalization. We have is part of our defending globalization project. We have essays on all sorts of stuff. So my food essay doesn’t really get into that aspect.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:00

    But look, you know, we have an essay on, you know, kind of the misguided nostalgia of a pre globalization era, whether it’s the 1970s or the 1950s or you know, some cases, people lionize the nineteen tens, but the reality is that across all sorts of metrics, things are better for the most part than they were in those eras. Whether it is median, worker wages, or living standards or the rest, and certainly they’re exceptions, and and that’s that’s coronavirus true. But, the broad arc of progress is still quite quite evident, in those. And then I think the other big point though is that we too often blame globalization, capital g, for a lot of stuff that has really very little to do with globalization. You know, a large chunk of those manufacturing jobs lost were not lost to China or Mexico.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:59

    They were lost to South Carolina or the rest of the sun belt. And then another big chunk those manufacturing jobs were simply lost to productivity. You know, we now can make ten times as much steel today as we could with the same amount of labor back in, say, nineteen eighty. And then finally, just simply changing consumer tastes as countries get richer. We tend to consume more services and fewer goods, and that’s gonna have effects on manufacturing as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:29

    But globalization is an easy scapegoat, foreigners are a easy scapegoat, and that allows us to cast so much blame for real world problems on something that has very little to do with that, without, I would note noting any of those wonderful benefits that it provides beyond simply having, you know, avocados anytime you want.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:49

    Right. So there’s been a study. I’m sure you saw this about Trump’s tariff And whether they succeeded in bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US and whether they were a net positive for the country. The results were slightly equivocal because, yes, there were some places where they sort of hedge, said, it’s sort of a wash. But basically, Biden has not removed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:14

    No. Most of the tariffs, he has on some European countries, but mostly he’s kept the tariffs in place. And again, the the average person, I think, is very easily lulled into believing that it’s better to have made in America it’s better to be self sufficient and why would we wanna be sending our money overseas? And therefore, we should slap tariffs on foreigners.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:38

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:38

    And that’s good for American business. So what do you say to them?
  • Speaker 4
    0:08:42

    Well, yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:42

    I mean, I think this gets to the third big point about globalization that a lot of people miss. And that is that globalization does mean disruption. That disruption means a lot of good stuff, whether it’s via comparative advantage and kind of moving up the economic food chain or whether it means having access to all those wonderful fruits and vegetables or simply having access to cheap televisions and the rest. You know, those benefits. But certainly, you know, globalization has some disruptive things that that people don’t like and including job loss.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:13

    That’s certainly true. But the third big mistake, I think, is that’s made frequently in the discourse is that protectionism, mainly tariffs, but other type protectionism as well by American rules and automotive quotas and the rest can somehow magically bring those jobs and that economic activity back. And the literature is just quite clear. And this latest study just simply reinforces it, that protectionism really is a terrible way to try to boost the these industries that that we’ve lost over over the years. And it’s terrible because first, it it, of course, raises costs.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:55

    If you’re the way you, you know, a tariff is a tax, the tax is gonna raise the price of imports, but it’s also gonna make people buy more expensive domestic products. That’s the whole point. So it’s cost but it’s just not very good at and effective at at actually boosting output and employment in the protected sectors.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:15

    And also it leads to retaliation, right, which then harms our export.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:19

    For for sure. And then there’s all sorts of corruption and cronyism that’s attached to it. You know, some of the earliest forms of lobbying in the United States was related to tariff poll which used to be set by Congress. And then we saw during the Trump years, this exclusion process for Trump steel and aluminum tariffs, which, like you said, remain in place. Saw a boom in lobbying for those exclusions.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:45

    And, according to multiple independent government reports has been riddled with at least the perception or the appearance of cronyism and corruption throughout. So if you even look at those studies. If you look at that data, it’s another strike against this kind of anti globalization push that’s pretty trendy in DC is that regardless if you don’t like the disruption that globalization provides, protectionism or deglobalization is a a, not just costly, but really ineffective means of of producing the outcomes you want. And that paper, which was written by some of the authors of the China shock literature, which protectionists love. They use it a time to justify new protectionism said, you know, sorry.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:28

    You not only aren’t bringing these jobs back, but you have this retaliation and you’re seeing net economic costs overall.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:34

    Scott, this is a more generic question. And this will you know, this will give me a chance to continue my adult education. I am staring at a chart produced by the Saint Louis Fed, chart I’ve studied many times before on inflation adjusted hourly male wages. And and the sort of the flat footed naive reading of this chart is that hourly mail wages corrected for inflation have not risen since nineteen seventy nine. As a matter of fact, we’ve struggled in recent years to get back to where they were in nineteen seventy nine after a very substantial period in which they were substantially lower.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:24

    So is globalization making any contribution to this trend, or do you deny the trend on technical grounds?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:33

    Well, I I do think there are technical reasons to question the data you’re you’re looking at. The big one is the inflation that’s used by the Bureau Labor Statistics to typically show real wage gains. Michael Strain over the American enterprise in Ditute has done really amazing Bulwark, and a lot of other people too. It’s not just Mike showing that the inflation adjustment that’s used to show real wage gains, dramatically overstates inflation. So if you overstate inflation and you may your wage your real wage gain look much smaller than it actually is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:13

    So if you recalculate those, exact same nominal wage figures using a better inflation adjustment. The one the Fed prefers, the PCE index, you actually will see more gains than what you see in the standard BLS data. So there is a technical component. And that’s really important. And when Mike if you look at Mike’s numbers or other numbers from the joint, economic, community, and stuff, you see that there have been pretty substantial median and other percentile wage gains.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:46

    So for the median worker, for workers at the bottom end of the spectrum’s with ten percentile, pretty substantial wage gains since the, the nineteen nineties, since kind of our era of peak globalization. In fact, the stagnation and decline was really occurring. There there so the first point. Second point is that there’s a temporal problem in blaming globalization entirely. I think it’s certainly fair to say that certain low wage manufacturing jobs and things like textiles and furniture and the rest.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:20

    And these were jobs that did at that time in the nineteen seventies predominantly employ men with less education. They’re certainly true, and I don’t think anybody would deny it that globalization plays a a part in those jobs moving offshore. They actually moved from the northeast down to the rust belt and then down to the Sarah Longwell, and then they finally kicked off shore. It’s kind of natural progress. The issue though is that the big declines you see in the wage data actually really occur before peak globalization.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:52

    Right? Peak globalization is really the mid nineteen nineties and beyond. And as long as you take out you know, your recessions, great recession was terrible for a lot of reasons, but that wasn’t really a a globalization thing. Right? You actually see a pretty decent upward trend in those figures since the mid nineteen nineties.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:12

    It was really kind of the nineteen eighties where you had this decline or stagnation. And in those trends. But I think the last point that’s really important is there are all of these non globalization factors that also play a big role. Particularly if you take the data back farther than the nineteen seventies, you know, a big one is the entry of women into the labor force, which is a dramatic expansion to labor supply. The general transformation of the US economy going again along that arc that all developed economies go through, whether they have giant trade surpluses and active industrial policies and lots protectionism where you go from having more manufacturing, and then you start to manufacturing goes down, you start to have more services.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:55

    So that is gonna preference a different type of worker. So these kind of seismic changes that occur in the economy also play huge role in what is a real trend for, say, less educated males and the type of work that may have been quite prevalent in the nineteen seventies. So long story short is, yeah, I think globalization play a role, but it’s really, really complicated. And blaming it all on globalization is, which is so often the case is particularly in politics is pretty pretty wrong headed. One last thing I just note.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:28

    And then the last final point is that we had tons of protectionism back then too. In fact, more protectionism, and we still were hemorrhaging these jobs. I mean, you look at textiles, for example, we had textile quotas, which are very restrictive through the mid nineteen nineties. And yet you saw substantial offshoring of textile employment and manufacturing throughout that whole period, including in the Sarah Longwell. So, you know, again, really complicated story in which globalization plays up, a role, but a a smaller one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:01

    Here’s a time series that does make sense to me. Okay. Let’s take a look at manufacturing jobs in the United States. We had as many manufacturers sharing jobs in the year two thousand as we did in the year nineteen ninety. Trust me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:20

    I got it. Yep. Agree.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:21

    Okay. Then between two thousand and one and two thousand and seven before the great recession started, We lost three point three million manufacturing jobs. In the seven years after China’s accession to the WTO. Is it entirely naive? Is it, you know, what the rhetoricians call the post hoc Ego propter hoc argument, you know, after this and therefore because of this, that, you know, in seven years after China’s accession to the WTO, we’ve lost more than twenty percent of our manufacturing jobs.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:01

    Yeah. So the long story short is certainly Chinese imports played some role in that decline. Well, let me first plug. Part of our Dovendin Globalization project, I wrote an essay on the China shock literature all of the economic evidence here. And it’s really accessible.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:21

    It’s short unlike my long windedness. It’s only about four thousand words. So it’s pretty easy to get through pretty quickly. But I’ll give you the very cliff notes version of that already cliff notes version, is that even the most critical economic analysis of the China shop period. That period from about nineteen ninety nine to about two thousand and ten, But, you know, you can narrow it if you wanna get it rid of the great recession.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:48

    Even those show a top maximum manufacturing jobs hit. Caused by Chinese imports of a million of that three point five million, give or take. So a million jobs. It’s actually over a longer It’s what’s even gonna be fewer than that. So that means that it’s only one third of the decline.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:10

    If you accept those numbers as gospel as being a China shock related. The caveats though are that other economists equally reputable also published in very fancy journals have found much smaller declines. Once that exist, again, no one is denying import competition exists. They’re simply saying maybe it was five hundred thousand of the three point five million or two hundred even even fewer. The and then the other point is that other economists have said, well, what else happened in the US economy at the same time?
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:42

    And what else did that Chinese import competition produce? What they found is that many of the same manufacturing firms that were getting rid of manufacturing jobs factory jobs. We’re actually adding services. Other manufacturing plants services jobs. Other manufacturing plants, we’re adding jobs, related to exports because they were exporting more to China.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:05

    We had more jobs and agriculture and all these things. And they said that when you add all those other economic effects because China’s import competition meant lower prices, more access to industrial inputs, and other things, and then a new export market. It’s about a wash on kind of the total jobs hit. We actually maybe gained a few jobs. If you look at the economy wide modeling that these economists like to do, and that we ended up net economic benefits overall.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:36

    So it is a complicated issue, and it’s undeniable true that if you look at those micro cases and if you look at those direct effects, Chinese import competition caused manufacturing job losses in the United States. But once you get past that correct assertion, it’s a huge leap to say uh-huh. Three point five million jobs lost in manufacturing. Uh-huh. That’s all China, ergo.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:59

    Everything was terrible. Because of China’s entry into the global trading system.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:03

    Before I let you go, it’s so interesting. I just wanna underline one aspect of this because I was also gonna ask you about that. Namely, when you’re evaluating the effect of trade, don’t you have to look at in addition to jobs lost in perhaps manufacturing plants, the cheaper inputs that you’re able to bring in from China or other countries that then create value here so that we can then export more and you’re also creating jobs. And it’s really hard to tease out all these different threads. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:35

    Exactly. So about half of everything we import, including from China, is industrial input. So stuff our manufacturers use to make other stuff. So, certainly, those imports are actually gonna be supporting manufacturing output and and jobs in the United States. But then there are all the other jobs connected to trade that we never think about.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:53

    Transportation and logistics, the guys that work down at the ports, or drive the trucks, and all of that, manufacturing is increasingly tied to services. So, you know, the internet of things, you have software, you have design and marketing and all of these other jobs that are bundled up. And when you include all of that additional economic activity that’s tied to those imports, those job destroying imports. Yeah. You see a, a much different economic picture than if you just isolate on the import competition, the direct jobs effect.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:27

    Now I’ll add two caveats there though. First, is it is very easy for a guy like me to sit in my puffy vest in Raleigh, North Carolina in this Zoom call and and just hand wave away those direct effects. Right? It is undeniably true. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:43

    That’s gonna be hard for certain workers in certain places and certain companies. So we shouldn’t simply say, nothing to be done or the rest. Right? And and I I wrote a whole book last year about all of these types of policies that we could implement that are free market policies that would help workers adjust and live better lives and and the rest. None of them involving protectionism as you can imagine.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:08

    But the other big caveat is that I think too often, we we and the I think the China shock literature has done this too is we don’t think about these job losses in the national context. You know? Even again, if you accept those China shock numbers as gospel, the biggest numbers, even if you include the services jobs that are connected So that raises your job cost about two million jobs. When you look at it over the period you’re talking about, which is like, more than a decade in the China shock literature. You’re talking about a tiny, tiny fraction of total job losses during that same period because the United States economy creates and destroys about five million jobs every month.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:56

    Every month. And it’s only that when you see, oh, we gained two hundred thousand jobs. Well, that’s because we We actually destroyed five million, then we created five point two million, and there’s your your job gained for the month. So the gross economy is constantly engaging in that type of dislocation voluntarily and involuntarily. And we have to think about that type of churn in this broader context as well, because it is part of living in a dynamic and wonderful American economy, whether it’s related to globalization or interstate trade or technology or anything else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:33

    And it’s critical that we have that context when we talk about just trade stuff because it’s a much, much bigger, broader story.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:40

    Well, thank you, Scott, so much. You’re so clear. It’s always great talk with you, and I recommend that everybody look at, what what’s the website for the globalization project?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:50

    It’s kato dot org backslash defending hyphen globalization. But if you Google Kato defending globalization, it’ll come right up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:59

    There you go. Perfect. Thank you so much for joining us.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:02

    My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:03

    Alright. Well, it was, one of those weeks when, there was way, way, way too much news. We’re recording on Thursday. We’ve just had an oral argument at the Supreme Court regarding fourteenth amendment, disqualification matter for Trump and people who listen to the oral argument, I listen to a little snippet. Came away with the impression that the decision is looking like it might be nine zero against disqualifying him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:34

    So that will provide some clarity. Of course, probably declare that this is total and complete vindication and blah blah blah. But anyway, that happened. But of course, we now also have another Spector Linda. Linda, I’m gonna start with you by reading to you a quote because what’s at stake here really, you cannot overstate the importance of what The Republicans are now toying with, which is abandoning Ukraine and really abandoning America’s world role.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:03

    And, this is from the new Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, dear Republican senators of America. Ronald Reagan, who helped millions of us to win back our freedom and independence, must be turning in his grave today, shame on you. So what do you make of the Republican position? Which was oh, we’d really love to help Ukraine. Don’t get us wrong.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:27

    It’s just that we have to deal with the urgent emergency on our own southern border be you know, first. And then, will you tell us? I mean, the Democrats basically gave them most almost everything that they asked for. And they turned on a dime and said no.
  • Speaker 4
    0:26:45

    This was the most conservative and comprehensive change in immigration policy that we have seen in a generation that was proffered. And the Republicans who continue to claim there is this enormous crisis that we’re being invaded that our security is at risk. Nonetheless, we’re willing to stop the bill from going forward and there were major changes. It totally rewrote the amnesty law making it much harder to claim amnesty creating a new system whereby amnesty claims could be adjudicated quickly at the border, not letting people into the country to stay for years, before they came before a judge to adjudicate those claims There were all sorts of provisions in the bill that Republicans had been clamoring for. So I think this was so dishonest.
  • Speaker 4
    0:27:42

    We’ve talked about it a number of times, on the podcast. I wrote a column for the Bulwark in which I said that there were lies that were being promulgated by the Republicans and that they basically boxed themselves in to a position where there was no way after they claimed the bill was amnesty after they claimed that this was going to let in five thousand illegal immigrants in every single day and that once they did that, they couldn’t vote for it. So this is a disgrace and more importantly You’re absolutely right on the Ukraine issue. This is a matter not just of the security of Ukraine. This is a matter of the United States standing in the world whether people can take our word when we say that we are going to take a position that we are going to help an ally.
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:34

    If we are willing to walk away on this kind of a whim, it’s a disaster. Now as we’re you know on recording this podcast, the aid to Ukraine built has moved forward to at least be considered by the Senate. The Republicans did not block consideration, but who knows what’s going to happen over the next few days? And I just think the Republicans can’t be trusted.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:58

    Damon, you know, it’s always my colleague, Charlie Sykes, who the last is leaving the bulwark, but Charlie likes to say that if you want to know the direction of the Republican Party, do not look at the actions of people like Mitch McConnell, you know, or other sort of old leaders from the past, look at where the entertainment wing of the party is, and look at what going on, you know, at OAN and so forth. And sure enough, who did we see pop up in Moscow this week? But Tucker Carlson who, amazingly has been able to secure an interview with Vladimir Putin which, he says none of the western press was interested in. You care to comment?
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:45

    Well, yeah, Tucker. Wow. Really got the scoop there. Landed the big fish.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:53

    I should just clarify that Christian Amanpour and many others came out saying, do you not think we’ve been asking repeatedly for interviews, even Dimitri Pescov? Who is Putin’s press secretary, came out and said, oh, actually, yeah, we get any requests for interviews all the time. We don’t grant them. But anyway, go on.
  • Speaker 5
    0:30:13

    Right. Exactly. Tucker is it has decided that there is much more to be gained for him. I’m sure financially. And in terms of, notoriety, as a right wing, journalist and pundit, if he basically just becomes a propagandist for Vladimir Putin.
  • Speaker 5
    0:30:35

    And that does tell you, where a lot of the Republican Party is. I do think it is still divided, but as Bill has has clarified with us, using public opinion polling data at several several points over the last six months. It’s now something like seventy percent generally pro Putin and Russia, thirty percent against, whereas before Trump became president, that probably would have been the reverse. And then going back from there quite a bit of more, in the anti Putin direction before that. So I don’t You know, I don’t even know frankly what to say about this.
  • Speaker 5
    0:31:17

    It is such a dramatic and shocking turn of events. But I do think it is the reality that we we have to live with here. The the reality is that the Republicans narrowly control the house. Things are very narrowly divided, even more narrowly divided in the Senate. We still have Mitch McConnell.
  • Speaker 5
    0:31:40

    In a position of authority who very much would like to fund aid to Ukraine, but he is rapidly losing support in his caucus. And between this and the fact that there’s been this rebellion on the border bill that He was very much in favor of putting forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if he faced a real leadership challenge soon. So this is just not good on any front, and it’s very distressing. I mean, I wanna go back to Bill again for a moment to remind listeners that it was a couple of weeks ago that he put, the words discharge petition on the table with regard to what we then thought would be this kind of magnum bill that would have the border deal and funding for Ukraine and Israel and and Taiwan.
  • Speaker 5
    0:32:30

    It turns out, I guess, we’re not gonna get that bill because it has died, in its crib, because McConnell decided he needed to get rid of it. And so there won’t be a bill to, file a discharge petition about But the Senate is trying now to get out, the funding part of that bill. And I believe we could end up in a situation. Bill will clarify because he knows the the intricacies of the the institution issues in Congress better than I do. I’m afraid, but trying to get a discharge position together for what will be the funding bill, if it can get out of the Senate and be sent to the house, maybe our only path forward here, and I have to keep my fingers crossed for it.
  • Speaker 5
    0:33:16

    But, you know, is there cause for any hope on that front? I mean, go back to Mona, but I’m asking Bill too.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:23

    Sure. Yeah. Bill. So, okay. Are you still thinking discharge petition is a possibility?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:29

    And before you answer, please explain what a discharge petition is?
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:35

    Sure. A discharge petition is a procedure in the house of representatives that enables a majority of house members to affix their signatures to a document expressing their desire to bring a bill to the floor the objection of the speaker and the rules committee to the contrary notwithstanding. It is, you know, other than trying to append a bill that can’t get onto the floor to a bill that can get on the floor, seems to be the only viable option. But of course, you can’t circulate in trying to get signals for a discharge petition until you have a bill that you’re trying to discharge. From purgatory.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:24

    Right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:25

    And so all of this discussion presupposes that there is something that will get out of the Senate in the first place. We now know what it’s not gonna be. But we still don’t know what it is going to be. We don’t know what it is going to be, because the negotiation now shifts to the question of the number of amendments that different senators will be allowed to offer to the naked authorization bill for aid to Taiwan and Ukraine. And Israel.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:00

    You know, and a number of senators who voted against the compromise, the bipartisan should I say bipartisan compromise that was negotiated and over a period of four months and died in less than four days? A lot of them are gonna try to offer immigration related amendments that are even more severe than what was agreed to during those negotiations. Some of those amendments may pass. So but they certainly won’t if there’s going to be a sixty vote threshold, which there frequently is to adding amendments to the bill. All of that has to be worked out between the majority leader and the minority leader.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:44

    To complicate things further, the Senate was about to leave on vacation. They’ve worked their fingers to the bone the story goes in recent weeks and now they need a two week vacation to recover from their arduous labors. If you detect some sarcasm in my voice, you’ve heard me correctly and there is no way that they’re gonna be able to go on that vacation and deal with this bill promptly at the same time. So you know, this majority leader will now have to decide whether he wants to cancel his senator’s vacation in order to deal with this and final point In case the senate majority leader Chuck Schumer thought he was gonna catch a break, Senator Rand Paul has announced his intention to slow walk. The entire bill and consume, quote, every minute of available floor time If that happens, then this could be a long tedious process indeed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:44

    And if anyone doubts it, if you’ve been watching Randipal, you know that he’s just obnoxious enough to do that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:50

    He’ll do that. And he doesn’t care what the other ninety nine senators think of him, which is a great source of strength, actually.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:56

    Yeah. I suppose. Little lonely though.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:58

    Okay. And then if there is a bill, there’s no guarantee of that, and it comes over to the house. How many Republican house members are going to be willing to break ranks on an issue of this passion and volatility where the stakes for their careers are going to be extremely high because you know, Donald Trump will see to that. There are a lot of bumps in this road. It’s the long and short of it.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:30

    So I’ll I’ll answer Bill’s question. How many are you gonna break ranks? Fewer than zero.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:35

    Exactly.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:36

    That’s probably. Yes. But I did want to clarify something because, our listeners and viewers can’t see it, but we sometimes chat with each other. And Bill suggested that I may have used the word amnesty rather than asylum when I was talking about the asylum laws and rules that would be changed. If I did that, let me clarify that.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:58

    It is the asylum laws that that will be changed. But I did use amnesty in referring to one of the lies that Republicans are telling. Republicans are claiming this bill is amnesty. This bill has zero amnesty in it, none whatsoever. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:15

    Okay. So Linda, I’m gonna come back to you now. One of the lessons of this past week, and it’s been clear for some time, but it’s really been brought into sharp relief now, is that, you know, we can talk about divisions within the republican party. And certainly, we’ve seen in Iowa, New Hampshire, there is a rump of Republican voters who are not trumpy But when it comes to Republican office holders and whether they will stand up to the Maga faction in a fight or whether they will fold they will fold every time. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:49

    And look at what happened to James Langford. He is as conservative a senator as you can get from Oklahoma. He’s been supportive of Trump. He weighed in and agreed to do the negotiations on this compromised bill, which actually wound up being very favorable to Republicans. And at one signal from Trump, He is being destroyed by right wing, media.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:16

    His career may be over.
  • Speaker 4
    0:39:18

    Maybe over. He may be challenged next time, he may be primary. The the Republican Party of the state of Oklahoma has already, I think, disemboweled him. They’ve, censured him. Yes.
  • Speaker 4
    0:39:31

    Sensured him? I think they’d like to censor him, but you’re right. They censored him. It is really striking and and I think it really boils down to one of the biggest drivers, in politics and that is ambition. These are very ambitious people who want to keep their job and they also may want to run for higher office than the office that they hold.
  • Speaker 4
    0:39:54

    And so long as Donald Trump is pulling the strings in Magga World and what he says, basically skews everything politically then you’re not gonna have people who want to keep their job be willing to speak out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:09

    Okay. With that, I wanted to spend a little time discussing this very interesting case in Michigan where the parents of a school shooter who killed four of his classmates and wounded seven, including a teacher. Have been charged, and the mother has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, because of her role in failing to basically anticipate that her son might do this and being completely irresponsible as a parent, including She and her husband purchased a gun for their fifteen year old and gave it to him even though they had good reason to believe he was having severe mental health problems really severe. At one point, he put a picture in his geometry notebook showing a human body that was covered in blood, and the words my thoughts won’t stop help me blood everywhere. The world is dead.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:11

    My life is useless. Etcetera. Jennifer Crumble was found guilty of, involuntary manslaughter. She can spend a very long time in prison. Now when I first heard about this case, I’m gonna go to you first, Damon.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:24

    I thought, well, good. Somebody needs to be held accountable. This was grossly irresponsible. You know, was terrible, what she did, and the husband is gonna be tried next month. And yet, this case, You know, they say hard cases make bad law.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:41

    This case is a problem because it was so so clear that parents were so awful. But there are gonna be many other cases where it’s more, you know, murky. And, so in Virginia, there was a case where it’s year old brought a gun to school, and the mother was tried for, you know, negligent, you know, handling of the gun. That I can see. But to hold the parents responsible for the actual murders, I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:07

    It feels I I’m worried about the precedent of this. What do you think?
  • Speaker 5
    0:42:11

    Yeah. I I’m similarly conflicted. I mean, my general kind of way of operating is to think that moral and immoral acts are attributable to the agent involved. So if this kid did what he’s accused of doing. He should be punished because he’s the one who did it.
  • Speaker 5
    0:42:32

    And, of course, there can be accessories crimes and those around the agent who committed the crime can be punished, but it makes me nervous the thought that, like, it’s not enough to just punish the the perpetrator. You actually have to, punish with the potential, you know, felony convictions jail time, long jail time for parents when they didn’t pull the trigger. There’s no evidence. They encouraged him to pull the trigger. There are, like, levels of distance from the immoral act.
  • Speaker 5
    0:43:06

    And this seems sufficiently far removed that it it feels like a stretch to me. Even in a case like this, whereas you say, Mona, it’s more clear cut than many cases would be. So it makes me uncomfortable But it’s also the case, you know, I sometimes I sometimes joke showing you that I’m not really at all a libertarian that, like, Why don’t we have licenses for parents, you know? Not that a government bureaucracy would do a great job in that role, but It does it does make you think that, like, oh my goodness, like, anybody can have a kid. And, like, there’s no telling how irresponsible they’re going to be, and and are is there gonna be a parent in our society that’s awash and what something like four hundred million firearms that some of these families are gonna make easily available to very disturbed kids these weapons that are weapons of war and potential murder and on a large scale.
  • Speaker 5
    0:44:05

    So You know, then I think, well, shouldn’t there be some way to have a deterrent for parents? Like, look, If your kid goes, as we used to say postal when these things would happen in post offices and or postal offices, but now they have and schools and all kinds of other public areas, then I think, well, yeah, maybe there should be. I don’t know if the actual Charlie Sykes of involuntary manslaughter. That sounds a little much. But maybe there should be a new category of crime, like, you know, severe parental disregard or or something.
  • Speaker 5
    0:44:42

    So it’s maybe an area of the law where we have a little work to do. Because, unfortunately, America in the year twenty twenty four has such problems to address.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:53

    So my husband and I have three children, we adopted our first one and had to go through an unbelievable battery of psychological tests and physical tests and all kinds of things were examined about us. And we didn’t mind. We didn’t object. We just thought it’d be much better for everybody who wanted to be a parent. Even even natural parents, had to go through that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:16

    But, anyway, Bill, so we do live in a world where it’s it seems pretty hopeless that we can get any sort of a handle on our gun violence problem at the level of supply. We there’s just there’s so much resistance to gun control, but many people say, well, okay. So you you go to the other side. You you make it clear that if parents are irresponsible enough to have an unsecured gun, and, by the way, this gun was not in a safe in their house. It was available, accessible.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:50

    And when the boy, in this case, I think, again, this case was so clear, he was caught at the school library looking up how to get ammunition, and they alerted the parents, and the mother texts her son later and says, you know, l o l. I’m not mad at you. I just you have to learn not to get caught. So anyway, Bill. By the way, the parents both had criminal records as well.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:13

    Why am I not surprised to learn that from you, Mona? You know, I have to say I’m bewitched bothered and perplexed by all sorts of cases, not this one. Yeah. Let me explain why. Okay.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:31

    This was not a case where a troubled kid went out and got a bootleg gun and concealed that fact from his parents, and they’ll and the rest is history. Okay. These parents went out and bought their minor son a gun. And just to make sure he knew how to use it, The mother then takes him to the firing range for further instruction. They take no steps whatsoever to secure this gun.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:10

    And then they’re surprised when their mentally disturbed son shoots people after they’ve had multiple indications that his disturbance could tell you and his hallucinations about demons in the house could assume a violent form? I don’t know what the different gradations of killing are in the law. There’s something like, as I recall, negligent homicide or contributory negligence. See, the lawyers on this call will help me out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:44

    It varies by state.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:45

    And my view is this. We are now living in a country where the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the Second Amendment has made legal regulation of firearms virtually impossible. I therefore look with extreme favor on other aspects of the law that can constrain the proliferation of irresponsible minors with deadly firearms. The rest for me is a rounding error. And maybe this conviction will finally persuade negligent parents that they have some skin in the game.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:23

    I sure hope so, because what we have right now is worse than the wild west. Where at least there were some people who were gunslingers and some who worked. Now everybody is a gunslinger. End of Sherman,
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:37

    Linda, what do you think? You’re a gun owner. Mhmm. And I presume have always kept them safe and locked up and all of that and taken precautions. So where do you come down on all this?
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:49

    Is it should there be some lesser crime that the parents might be convicted of? Like, you know, you know, some kind of negligence or or should they be liable for involuntary manslaughter as this one was?
  • Speaker 4
    0:49:03

    Well, I think they ought to be liable civilly. I think they ought to be able to be sued because they did purchase the weapon for the boy and contributed to his learning how to use it and then they were negligent in not ensuring that he didn’t have access to it without the permission and that he had access as well to ammunition. I don’t You know, I understand Bill Cinnamon. I want to see these parents punished because I think they were at fault. I don’t think convicting the mother of manslaughter, is the right approach.
  • Speaker 4
    0:49:43

    I think there were other avenues that the district attorney’s office could have taken. They could have pursued the purchasing a weapon for an underage person, you know, directly. Maybe bills. Right? Maybe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:57

    Is that a crime in Michigan to purchase?
  • Speaker 4
    0:49:59

    Well, I know. That’s the question.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:01

    I doubt it because you can because kids can go hunting with their parents legally in Michigan.
  • Speaker 4
    0:50:06

    Well, that’s true. Yeah. So they so they may not have had that avenue. I do think that the Civil Avenue can be important You know, I think yes, incarcerating people is one method of punishment. You know, I guess I come down more with Damon that When you’re convicting somebody essentially of murder, and in this case manslaughter, but it is the killing of another individual.
  • Speaker 4
    0:50:31

    I think they have to be more than a contributor of the weapon that was used in that murder. And I think you’re opening the door to real problems if you go down that route I want to see them punished, but I don’t think manslaughter conviction, is the right way to go.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:53

    Okay. Thanks. Alright. With that, we now come to our favorite segment. Well, my favorite segment, the highlighter, low light of the week, and we’ll start with Damon Lincoln.
  • Speaker 5
    0:51:02

    Okay. Well, this is actually something. I’m not certain, the other members of the podcast even though has happened because happened since we’ve been in the podcast pretty much. I had a few other options here. But this is now taking the cake, at least at this moment.
  • Speaker 5
    0:51:19

    This afternoon, which is Thursday afternoon, special counsel, Robert Hur, released his, findings in its investigation of the Joe Biden handling of classified documents case, the kind of parallel one to trump’s. And pretty much exonerated him said he didn’t really do anything. That’s that’s bad. Certainly would not be prosecuted. So that sounds like good news, but This is going to be a bombshell for a different reason because of what the, what the reports states about Biden’s memory.
  • Speaker 5
    0:51:58

    In particular, there is a paragraph in which the special counsel writes the following. In his interview with our office, mister Biden’s memory was worse. Than he recounted earlier in the previous section. He did not remember when he was vice president for getting on the first day of the interview when his term ended and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began. He did not remember even within several years when his son Bo died.
  • Speaker 5
    0:52:29

    And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him, among other things. He mistakenly said he had a real difference of opinion with general Carl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally with whom Biden said, who is Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving menu to, the memo to president Obama. This has already, in the time that we’ve been in this podcast, ricocheting around Washington journalistic circles and is inspiring, panic along with statements by a lot of Democrats that this is unfair. He must have something against Biden. But the fact of the matter is that the the big thing that is plaguing Biden and holding him down, I think, in his approval and in his head to head polling with Trump.
  • Speaker 5
    0:53:22

    Is this concern about his fitness for office, and this is not going to help. I’m deeply distressed about this, and I don’t know what can or if anything could be done at this point. But we have a really big problem on our hands folks, and, we need to really, focus on
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:44

    that Wow.
  • Speaker 5
    0:53:45

    And try to figure out what the hell we’re gonna do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:47

    Wow. By the way, our producer, Jim Swift just texted, he should do the Super Bowl. I don’t know if that’s
  • Speaker 5
    0:53:56

    Should he? I don’t know. If he does end I mean, I I yeah. I won’t even get into it. Everyone goes what’s going on, but it it’s it’s really, really worrying.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:09

    What did we do to deserve this? Alright, Linda. What’s yours?
  • Speaker 4
    0:54:12

    Well, it’s funny. Jim Swift took the words right out of my mouth, which was about the Super Bowl. This is unbelievable news and, it may accomplish which some of us believe was a good idea in the first place, which is come up with another candidate Democratic party. It’s too late. It’s too late.
  • Speaker 4
    0:54:35

    Well, I’m not sure it’s too late. They haven’t had, you know, they haven’t had votes yet. So Trump fee Harris. Oh, my goodness. Oh, dear lord.
  • Speaker 4
    0:54:45

    Alright. Well, do we wanna go on to the highlight? Because I had
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:48

    a highlight.
  • Speaker 4
    0:54:48

    Alright. So, and I’ll tell you a funny story about my highlight because I was all ready to have as my highlight, a very erudite article, which I was gonna suggest people read who weren’t watching the Super Bowl entitled Isaiah in the tragedy of pluralism. I read through the whole article was about to print it out and then realized that it was written by our very own Damon Leaker. I’m still recommending it, but it is not my highlight because, you know, I don’t want him to get swelled him. My highlight of the week is very, very different, and it has to do with the subject of race.
  • Speaker 4
    0:55:23

    And it was very interesting. I was doing some research in the whole deI diversity equity and inclusion debate. And I don’t know how he ended up here, but I ended up on a site that had a nineteen sixty one debate between Malcolm X and James Baldwin. And I listened to it. It was fantastic.
  • Speaker 4
    0:55:43

    Oh, fantastic. James Baldwin. I’m not a big fan of James Baldwin, normally, but he was terrific in this debate. And one of the things he was terrific at, was talking about the insidious something insidious that happens in the whole question of race and when identity is all about one’s race So I recommend this to our listeners. You can read the transcript on the site I’m going to link to but you can also listen to the bait, and I would recommend the latter.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:18

    Fantastic. I look forward to that. Will Saletan.
  • Speaker 3
    0:56:22

    I’m still reeling from
  • Speaker 5
    0:56:25

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:56:25

    Demons, you know, highlight, low light No light, darkness, whatever you wanna call it, but, you know, I have a low light. I think that president Zelensky has made his first really big mistake since the Ukraine war began. Namely he fired his top general, general Zaluzhny, I believe for the crime of telling the truth, and that is that the war had degenerated into a stalemate and telling it to the economist magazine and publishing an essay fleshing out that contention. I think that’s the truth of the matter. It greatly annoyed Zelensky.
  • Speaker 3
    0:57:13

    And so he has replaced him now with general Sersky who is despised by the troops because he’s a Soviet style general who really doesn’t care that much about how many troops are killed in the name of achieving a tactical in one place or another. This will not play well. And I could go on at some length about the other painful truths, the general’s illusiony transmitted to the president, for example, that they need a much bigger draft in order to be able to place men who are exhausted because they’ve been fighting for two years without any respite. This will not end well.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:57

    Okay. Well, I do have highlight sort of. It’s a piece, in the New York Times by Pamela Paul, an op ed writer that I admire very much, and, she is willing to go where others fear to tread. And so she has written a piece called as kids, they thought they were trans. They no longer do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:19

    It’s a lengthy piece and goes in in her very meticulous fashion. She’s very fair to both sides, but she, and so at one point, for example, she says, progressives often portray the heated debate over childhood transgender care as a clash between those who are trying to help growing numbers of children express what they believe their genders to be and conservative politicians who won’t let kids be themselves. And then she says, but right wing demagogues are not the only ones who have inflamed this debate. Transgender activists have pushed their own ideological extremism, especially by pressing for a treatment orthodoxy that has faced increased scrutiny in recent years. And she gives examples from Europe where a number of European countries have scaled way back on medical interventions for kids under the age of eighteen, put much more emphasis on examining the comorbidities There are many of these children who present with, gender dysphoria also have other issues, abuse, ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder issues.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:29

    And so this is a plea to examine the whole child and not to allow politics to govern medical care. And it’s a very, very wise and important piece that I highly recommend. Alright. With that, I would like to thank our guests, Scotland’s come for joining us, and of course, my regular panel, and our wonderful producer, Jim Swift, and our wonderful sound engineer, Jonathan Last. And we will return next week as every week.
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