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Biden Must Invoke the Defense Production Act
Plus, Pennsylvania Republicans Are Going to Nominate an Election Conspiracist for Governor.
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SHAY KHATIRI argues Biden Must Invoke the Defense Production Act.
How much are we talking? Most military weapons have a low per-unit cost. The financial burden is on the development side—that is to say, producing the first unit costs most of the money, and the ones after that are by comparison much cheaper. The Javelin, for example, runs about $250,000 a pop, which may sound like a lot, but in terms of a cost-exchange ratio—i.e., the cost of the weapon against the cost of what it’s shooting at—a Javelin is just a fraction of the cost of a Russian T-72 tank. That’s a cost worth paying.
Among the weapons that Ukraine needs now, in addition to the Stingers and Javelins most often talked about, are ammunition, rocket-launchers, land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, tanks, and long-range missiles—both surface-to-surface and surface-to-air. And because the Russians mined the path of their retreat to make eastward movement difficult for the Ukrainians, mine-resistant and mine-clearing vehicles and equipment are needed, too.
The evolution of the war over the last few weeks means that two arguments against sending more arms to Ukraine have become irrelevant. First, with western Ukraine secure—for now—the argument that it’s too difficult to transport heavier weapons into Ukraine is void. And second, the notion that sending certain types of arms is “escalatory”—the Defense Department’s claim a month ago when Poland wanted to involve the United States in a plan to send Poland’s MiGs to Ukraine—is moot now that there are other weapons such as armored vehicles and heavy artillery currently being transported into Ukraine.
The parts of the Republican Party that see Trump as a political liability are setting Ron DeSantis up as a MAGA alternative. And that includes the Murdoch empire, which is cranking out DeSantis propaganda night and day. Jonathan Chait joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
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Eliot and Eric host Professor Elizabeth Samet of the US Military Academy to discuss her new book Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness. They examine the role of mythology in justifying US military action.
The name “Mastriano” should sound familiar. He’s the bald military vet Pennsylvania state senator who bused people to the Capitol on January 6, where he was scheduled to speak at a “Stop the Steal” rally. He was subpoenaed by the January 6th Committee for his participation in Trump’s phony elector scheme. He tried to bring an Arizona-style “audit” to his state in hopes of decertifying the election. Both of these actions should have made him a pariah. Instead, they increased his profile with Trump voters.
Most early polls showed that former congressman and Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta held an edge on Mastriano, but Mastriano seems to have momentum. A Fox News poll conducted March 2-6 showed Barletta’s lead shrinking to one point; an Emerson College poll conducted March 26-28 showed Mastriano leading the race by 4 points.
He sure does like to put on a show. He announced his bid for governor with a 4-hour event described as a “political rally, rock concert, and Christian religious revival” that drew 1,500 people. Trump’s former National Security Advisor-turned-Q enthusiast Michael Flynn, who has endorsed Mastriano, spoke and reassured the crowd that “Jesus was a domestic terrorist.”
Mastriano maintains an active presence on Facebook, where he often posts videos and appears on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. Trump flunkies Liz Harrington and Jenna Ellis have traveled to Pennsylvania to headline campaign events for him. If anyone has momentum in the race, it’s Mastriano.
WILL SALETAN writes: Putin Wants to Break NATO. Republicans Want to Help Him.
The “Putin wing” of the House GOP—useful idiots such as Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who openly spout Russian propaganda—is only a tiny fraction of the Kremlin’s target audience in Congress. They’re joined by a larger crowd of Ukraine bashers, hardcore isolationists, and right-wingers who say we shouldn’t worry about anyone else’s borders until we “secure” our own. Together, that coalition adds up to more than 20 lawmakers.
That’s a problem. But when you combine them with the NATO skeptics who voted against last week’s resolution—another 40 or so House Republicans who don’t trust alliances and who view Europeans as America’s rivals or adversaries—the problem gets a lot bigger.
The GOP’s turn against NATO is particularly worrisome because Congress has been warned, explicitly and repeatedly, about Putin’s goal of dissolving the alliance. In March 2017, after a U.S. intelligence report confirmed that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs—which was then, like the rest of Congress, under Republican control—held a hearing on this subject. The hearing was titled, “Undermining Democratic Institutions and Splintering NATO: Russian Disinformation Aims.” Analysts and former officials explained to the committee how Russia had, in the words of one witness, persistently funded propaganda in the West to “fracture allied security, stoke public distrust against democratic institutions, and discredit the alliance structures that defend Europe.”
On the Jukebox… In Pieces by Sucre. Before this song was released, it was the credits track for an episode of the great (but short-lived) show Blunt Talk. I emailed the studio for the name, and three years later discovered it was released.
What it’s like… In the skies over Ukraine.
RIP Gilbert Gottfried. We’ll never forget your voice, and your brutally funny comedy.
Gov. Abbott is slowing trade with Mexico… And it’s hurting American businesses.
“Social media has both magnified and weaponized the frivolous…” Read Jonathan Haidt in The Atlantic on our uniquely stupid decade. Also read our friend Molly Jong-Fast on “these dreadful days.”
REMINDER: JOIN THE TO PARADISE BOOK CLUB…. With Tim Miller.
What would you do with some moon dust? Because the lunar dust NASA accidentally sold is on the auction block again.
Who is the “right” kind of refugee? At Defector, a look at how Germany handles asylum seekers, and what the situation in Ukraine has changed.
An upcoming trip to the theatre… To take the kids to see Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, which looks spectacular.
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