Recent quotes:

Profs: Daniels leaves it to us to fend off racist, right-wing threats

We believe our universities and communities ought to be constitutive of freedom understood in the broadest possible sense.  The freedom, for instance, for women to walk alone at night without threat of violence.  Or the freedom for people of color and people of Jewish and Muslim faiths to be able to come to class without the shadow of violence mocking us.  The principle of free speech is only one freedom which ought to be part of this expansive assurance of freedom to work and live on our campus and in our community without threat of violence.  What good is the right to free speech if it is severed from the right to work and exist freely without the threat of racist violence?

On the anniversary of 9/11

For me, 9/11 will always be a time of tremendous fear, stifling conformism, forced patriotism, and vicious nationalism. Which is why I’ve always found the claim that Trump represents a new authoritarianism, even fascism, to be so fanciful and false. There was a moment in the recent memory of this country when dissent really was stifled, when opposition really was suppressed, when the military and police were sanctified and sacralized, when the Constitution was called into question (not a suicide pact, you know), when the two-party system was turned into a one-party state, when the entire nation was aroused and compelled and coerced to rally behind the dear leader, when questioning the nation-state’s commitment to violence and war provoked the most shameless heresy hunts. When intellectuals and journalists and academics dutifully—and shamefully—performed their parts in the Gleichschaltung of the moment, instructing the unreconstructed among us to understand that we were living in a new age when all the old truths no longer held. Thankfully, the intensity of that moment didn’t last too long—the fiasco in Iraq did it in—though we’re still living with its consequences today. But, yeah, when I hear about the unprecedented authoritarianism of Trump, I think to myself: either you weren’t around after 9/11 or you were part of the problem.

alicublog: TRIGGERED.

If you forget everything else about these people, never forget that they're totally full of shit. For them, free speech isn't a principle, it's just another tactic in their arsenal of victim poses.

The lessons of the Russian revolution, 100 years later

You could, I suppose, try to pin some blame for later Stalinist atrocities on the Marxist labor theory of value, which asserts that all capitalist profit is in a sense stolen from workers. If that is true we should be on the lookout for a revolutionary vanguard of libertarians who think taxation is theft. But it is simply not the case that Marxism — an arid and over-elaborate doctrine, very interesting in some ways and clearly mistaken in others — is some turn-crank formula for purges and dictatorship.

In DeVos nomination, Sen. Richard Burr to cast confirmation vote on one of his key contributors - The Progressive Pulse

But here’s one overlooked component of this developing story: Richard Burr, North Carolina’s senior senator and a member of the Senate confirmation committee that could advance or turn back DeVos on Tuesday, has benefited from the political largesse of DeVos and her wealthy Michigan family in recent years. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog in D.C., DeVos’ family made individual contributions to Burr’s campaign in 2015 totaling $43,200. Family members each gave $2,700, the maximum amount per individual allowed for a candidate during one election cycle. Of course, given the murkiness of federal election laws concerning Super PACs, it’s hard to gauge exactly how much DeVos cash went Burr’s way.

Obama's Mistake - MTV

Obama often seems a bit perplexed by the very existence of his political opponents. "How can elected officials rage about deficits," he asked in a telling passage of the speech, "when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations?" The answer to this rhetorical question seems obvious: Elected officials think that cutting taxes on corporations is more important than the deficit, and federally funding preschools is not. Instead of taking the obvious divergence in values seriously, Obama speaks as if these politicians hold the same values he does and ascribes disagreement to bad faith or hypocrisy.

Obama can appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing - The Washington Post

Here’s how that would work. The president has nominated Garland and submitted his nomination to the Senate. The president should advise the Senate that he will deem its failure to act by a specified reasonable date in the future to constitute a deliberate waiver of its right to give advice and consent. What date? The historical average between nomination and confirmation is 25 days; the longest wait has been 125 days. That suggests that 90 days is a perfectly reasonable amount of time for the Senate to consider Garland’s nomination. If the Senate fails to act by the assigned date, Obama could conclude that it has waived its right to participate in the process, and he could exercise his appointment power by naming Garland to the Supreme Court. Presumably the Senate would then bring suit challenging the appointment. This should not be viewed as a constitutional crisis but rather as a healthy dispute between the president and the Senate about the meaning of the Constitution. This kind of thing has happened before. In 1932, the Supreme Court ruled that the Senate did not have the power to rescind a confirmation vote after the nominee had already taken office. More recently, the court determined that recess appointments by the president were no longer proper because the Senate no longer took recesses.

Brexit: the bloodbath — Crooked Timber

A coalition of English and Welsh voters, advanced in years, low in education, and xenophobic in attitude, have enabled the worst and most reactionary people in British society, made it extremely likely that Scotland will secede, undermined the peace settlement on the island of Ireland, and destroyed the UK’s access to the single market. They have made it likely that their children and grandchildren will be deprived of the right of free movement within the EU. The pound is tanking and the stock market too. Imports will be more expensive, inflation will rise, house prices will fall but interest rate rises will keep the cost of being housed high. Immigration will probably fall, but not because “we” regained “control of our borders” but because immigrants come for jobs and there will be way fewer of those. Already we have the farce of areas of the country, like Cornwall, that voted for Brexit demanding that central government guarantee that the EU subsidies they get will be replaced. And then the horrible lying politics of the whole campaign, with Leave claiming that money saved on the EU would be diverted to the NHS (a commitment Farage repudiated within hours of the result). Little England with Wales is a poorer, narrower, stingier place. Cameron, the most incompetent Prime Minister in British history and the architect of this disaster is walking away, to be replaced by a hard right Tory administration under the leadership of Gove, May or the Trumpesque clown Johnson. People, we are well and truly fucked.

After the Fact - The New Yorker

The past has not been erased, its erasure has not been forgotten, the lie has not become truth. But the past of proof is strange and, on its uncertain future, much in public life turns. In the end, it comes down to this: the history of truth is cockamamie, and lately it’s been getting cockamamier.

New Republic

It’s become fairly clear, and I hope not just to me, that white people in this country have gone crazy. Granted, an apocalyptic belief in the final, definitive loss of 400 or so years of economic and cultural supremacy will do that to you—the fall has been long in coming; masters of the universe should’ve been better prepared. Instead, they act stunned. And to cope with that loss, as well as to cope with the fearmongering of Fox News and right-wing talk radio, which promises them Muslim terrorists in every closet and under every bed, they—or an insanely significant cohort—seem to have given themselves over to the worst sort of race-baiting and anti-immigrant nativism, under the guise of making or keeping America “great,” which is to say, making or keeping America “white.”