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Saturday, January 23, 2021


Biden has just issued an executive order mandating a $15 an hour minimum wage for all federal employees, including federal contractors. It was only one election cycle ago that the proposal for a $15 minimum wage, put forward by Bernie, was viewed as a far out radical dream with no hope of enactment. This is one more example of the importance of pushing progressive proposals from the ground up and getting them into mainstream debates. I wrote about this 60 years ago in some obscure publication. It is not exactly a new idea.

Meanwhile, it is increasingly clear that Trump will not be convicted in the Senate trial, leaving him looming as a vast obstacle to Republican political hopes for the future. If as venal and crafty an operator as Mike Pompeo thinks it is politically advantageous to call American muulticulturalism a myth, as he has just done, then I think we can assume that it  will be a long time before the Republicans decide actually to make a play for black and brown votes.  

The latest reports indicate that fully one in five of the demonstrators on January 6 were present or former military personnel. We have some hard times ahead of us, I am afraid.

Yesterday 1,800,000 vaccine shots got into the arms of Americans. If the damned virus will just not mutate in a way that makes it protected from the vaccines, we may survive this terrible trial. I have 16 days until my second shot. But it now seems that even after that I must wear a mask and socially distance when I go out. Sigh. I guess the traditional Parisian double embrace is out for the foreseeable future.


Anonymous said...

Here is what Pompeo said:

“Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.”

And here is a defense of what he said, from The National Review:

“Pompeo may have “celebrated his own Italian-American heritage,” but his argument is steeped in the Founding, not in the writings of Garibaldi. My surname is Hungarian, and though I may have some innocuous attachment to goulash, I don’t let Hungary’s legal systems or historical problems with the Romanians forge my outlook. I’m here — and so are you — because America’s liberal traditions and capitalist institutions are far superior to Hungary’s. This probably sounds jingoistic to some, but pretending that all groups have equally beneficial ideas to offer is perilous. And if we can’t acknowledge that the tenets undergirding our society are exceptional, why would immigrants?”

The error, it seems to me, is in claiming that multiculturalism entails rejection of assimilation, that preserving one’s ethnic, religious, cultural heritage precludes incorporating the ideals of democratic pluralism. Multiculturalism and pluralism are not mutually exclusive and can be integrated, preserving the merits of both.

Anonymous said...

"The error, it seems to me, is in claiming that multiculturalism entails rejection of assimilation, that preserving one’s ethnic, religious, cultural heritage precludes incorporating the ideals of democratic pluralism. Multiculturalism and pluralism are not mutually exclusive and can be integrated, preserving the merits of both."

Doesn't really seem from the quote that he's making that claim.

Anonymous said...

Larry King passed away today. A friend of mine sent me five stories from the Larry King radio show. The stories are about Larry King growing up in Brooklyn. Among his friends were Sandy Koufax, who went on to be become one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time, and Herb Cohen, who went on to become a world renowned expert on the art of negotiation (much better than our sorely missed former President), and the author of “You Can Negotiate Anything.” I recommend that you listen to the stories, which I guarantee will have you rollicking in laughter.

As preface, I will quote below from a story which Herb Cohen’s son, Rich Cohen, wrote about his father and Larry King growing up in Brooklyn (from “Tough Jews,” pp. 250-51. a book about the crime syndicate, Murder Incorporated, the hitmen for the Italian mafia, headed by the only mobster to die in the electric chair, Louie Lepke Buchalter):

“When Herbie and Larry were fifteen, they were picked up by the police in Bensonhurst. They were on the corner, just back from their Friday night dates. As they talked about the girls, a squad car glided up. ‘Okay,’ said a cop. ‘You two, get in.’ As Larry protested, saying there must be some mistake, my father, knowing a good ride when he sees one, said, ‘Larry, when they got us, they gout us.’ The cops were looking for two kids, vandals tearing up the neighborhood, and my father and Larry fit the descriptions.

“On the way to the station, Larry’s eyes filled with water. ‘You got the wrong guys,’ he said.

“ ‘Knock it off, Larry,’ said Herbie. ‘I told you justice would catch up with us.’

“At the police station, [they] were put in separate rooms and questioned. In a movie, this scene is shown in split screen. Larry on one side, crying, my father on the other, confessing to this crime and any others still on the books. ‘I think he claimed responsibility for Pearl Harbor,’ Larry later wrote. After a while the police figured these were not the kids, that there was some mistake, and what they had here was a wiseass and a crybaby. The cops called the boys’ parents to come pick them up.”

Enjoy the following stories by a raconteur par excellence.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Re: one in five participants in the insurrection were ex-army and police

The attempted insurrection is providing a mountain of evidence supporting the BLM claim of institutional racism in police departments. That the FBI is investigating National Guard troops stationed in D.C. for ties to militias/white supremacist groups is huge. The last reporting I’ve seen was that over 100 have been removed from that duty.

The implications of investigating police forces and removing officers with white supremacist and militia ties are huge. One of the first things Sessions did as AG was stop all Justice Department investigations and oversight of police departments. I live in a town, Albuquerque, that was investigated by DoJ and is now subject to a consent decree. The DoJ report is interesting reading, even though racism was not a major issue, officers were committing murder in the conduct of their duties. None were disciplined or removed from the force while the courts were regularly imposing multi-million dollar settlements in civil cases brought by families of the deceased.

Imposing the remedies the DoJ consent decree identified was been met with absolute opposition by the police union, which, of course, blames the reforms for any increase in crime. It is a long slog to get the reforms implemented and enforced. Incidentally, there is circumstantial evidence that the police were coordinating with, shall we say individuals not duly sworn as officers, during the BLM/NLM demonstration last June in which one person was shot by a militia member acting as an agent provocateur.