Does Capitalism Cause Social Decay?

 

One of the paradoxes of our time is that even though material conditions have improved dramatically across the world over the last several decades, it is commonly asserted that more people feel anxious and depressed. Surely there are more reports of such dislocation and perhaps better treatment of these conditions. Understanding this alleged conundrum is critical to the future course of social policy. An increasing number of important conservative thinkers point to modern capitalism as the source of our malaise. Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute criticized labor markets in his recent book The Once and Future WorkerAnd Raghuram Rajan, a professor at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, offers his account of why more people feel despair in his new book, The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind.

I’ve covered Cass’s book previously, so will focus on Rajan’s work in this column. Before joining Booth, Rajan was the governor of the Reserve Bank of India. His training is in finance, not sociology, which is a far more nebulous field of study. But his book ventures quite often into sociological territory. A distinguished conservative intellectual, Rajan writes in his book: “We are surrounded by plenty. Humanity has never been richer as technologies of production have improved steadily over the last two hundred and fifty years. It is not just the developed countries that have grown wealthier; billions across the developing world have moved from stressful poverty to a comfortable middle-class existence in the span of a generation. Income is more evenly spread across the world than at any other time in our lives. For the first time in history we have it in our power to eradicate hunger and starvation elsewhere.”

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America settle in for three schadenfreude martinis today, kicking things off with the news that attention-seeking lawyer Michael Avenatti is charged with attempting to extort Nike for $20 million and stealing the damages awarded to his clients. They also welcome the news that House Democrats will not be pursuing the impeachment of President Trump. And they blast former CIA director John Brennan for joining “the resistance” and damaging not only his reputation, but also the reputation of the intelligence community, by perpetuating the Russia collusion conspiracy.  

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Getting Gassed in the Garden State

 

Friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce New Jersey is at it again. Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who until now had been content to be quietly slightly less awful than his counterpart in New York, was in the news for two rather remarkable things recently. The first was occasioned by Josh […]

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Trump’s DOJ Advises Court to Invalidate Obamacare

 

Remember when Obama’s DOJ decided not to defend laws that they didn’t like? And how people warned of the horrible precedent they were setting? Looks like Trump remembers and his first target is Obama’s most prized accomplishment.

The Justice Department has informed a federal appeals court that it agrees with the ruling of a Texas judge who invalidated Obamacare. The administration said that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down.

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for March 25, 2019 it is the Mulling Mueller edition of the show with your mellow mulling hosts radio guy Todd Feinburg and AI guy Mike Stopa. This is (you counting?) episode number 217!

This week it is all Mueller all the time. The report is out. Barr and Rosenstein have chimed out the results. No collusion! No obstruction! Complete exoneration!

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Schadenfreude Monday Continues

 

It was a fun news weekend watching the collapse of the flimsy Russian conspiracy theory. On Friday, Mueller cleared Trump of collusion and left the issue of obstruction unresolved. Then, Sunday morning, Attorney General Bill Barr revealed there’s no reason to fall down the obstruction rabbit hole. Stick a fork in it; the Mueller probe is done.

“Don’t worry,” media dead-enders said, “the real action is happening at the SDNY District Court!” As of Noon Monday, the SDNY had weighed in — by arresting unhinged Trump critic Michael Avenatti.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see the Mueller report conclude that neither Donald Trump not anyone else in his campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 elections. They also get a kick out of Trump critics frantically moving the goalposts to claim the new attorney general is doing Trump’s bidding or that the real action is in Congress or with the federal prosecutors in New York. And they shake their heads at the overall performance of the mainstream media in covering this story since the last presidential campaign.

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Corsi is suing Mueller

 

It will be interesting to see if Corsi can breach sovereign immunity and make Mueller pay. It would be entertaining to see Mueller cross examined and discovery could reveal much about Mueller and his questionable team. Maybe he could serve time in Massachusetts where four men were incarcerated who the FIB knew were innocent (it’s […]

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Breaking: AG Barr Delivers Mueller Summary Report to Congress

 

Attorney General William Barr sent his summary of the Mueller Investigation to Congress Sunday. You can read a PDF of the document here. The letter recounts the full Mueller report, dividing it into two parts: possible Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and obstruction of justice. Regarding the first, Barr writes:

The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the news that the Mueller probe will likely end soon with no further indictments. They wonder why President Trump is so insistent upon inviting New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to the White House with his team and whether he would be smarter to keep a distance after Kraft’s arrest for solicitation. And they have fun with a recent column wondering why so many of the Democrats running for president seem really weird.

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Let the Sun Shine In

 

As Mark Davis says “Trump makes everyone better.” President Trump just issued an executive order linking federal grants to real protection of free speech on college and university campuses. Unlike Obama administration “Dear Colleague letters,” this will be a publicly taken presidential action, with clear political accountability. This move suggests two other actions the president can and should take, in short order.

Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities

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Welcome mama bears and daddy bears to this the 216th edition of the Harvard Lunch Club political podcast – the Kraft Bears edition of the show – with your unbearable hosts, east coast radio guy Todd Feinburg and west coast AI guy Mike Stopa. We come to you every week with the pithy, the provocative and the funny stories that, well, that make you thirst for more.

This week, we discuss Robert Kraft, New England Patriots owner, winner of an unprecedented six Super Bowl Titles and (loyal?) patron of heretofore thriving establishments such as the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. As you surely know, Bob was caught with his hand, er, in the fortune cookie jar and rumor has it that there is videotape. Mr. Kraft says no. We shall see. The house of ill repute in question is more than just a whore house, however, and is a wing of a sex trafficking network.

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A Cautionary Tale: New Zealand Moves to Ban Semi-Automatic Guns

 

We saw it coming: after the horrific shooting on the mosques in Christchurch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned the public that gun laws would change. The deed has been done.

Today, New Zealand began the process for banning “military style semiautomatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.”

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More Misconceptions About College

 

Now that we’ve all had a good airing of grievances about elite colleges and their attendant injustices, let’s get some perspective.

While the number of high school graduates heading off to college has increased in recent years, the percentages graduating with a four-year degree have not increased much. Many students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, drop out before receiving a degree. (They cannot drop out of student loan payments though.)

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America blast House Majority Whip James Clyburn after the congressman likens President Trump to Adolf Hitler and says the Trump family is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime. They’re also aghast as CNN receives a Cronkite award for their disastrous Parkland Town Hall from 2018. And they wonder what is going on as George Conway, husband of White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, engages in a very public Twitter spat with President Trump.

 

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see New Yorkers souring on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez despite her glowing media coverage and roll their eyes at her explanation for her dip in popularity. They also question the journalistic integrity at Reuters after reporter Joseph Menn held on to a story about Beto O’Rourke’ being a member of the hacker group “The Cult of the Dead Cow” until after his loss to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. And they argue that long shot candidates like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who attracted a measly six supporters to his last event, should quit crowding the field and let more experienced and recognizable candidates fight it out.

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SCOTUS Backs Trump on Immigration Issue

 

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that federal officials can detain immigrants at any time for possible deportation after they have served their time in the US for other crimes. The 5-4 decision reversed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said officials have to detain these immigrants immediately or they are exempt from ever being detained.

This ruling had the classic conservative-liberal split, with Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas siding with Trump in the majority. Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.

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Thunder & Lightning Over Arizona 2019

 

Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona will be hosting an Open House and Air Show on March 23-24. General admission and parking is free. More

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