Joe Manchin’s Word Games
Plus, Don’t Look Away from the War Crimes in Ukraine.
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WILL SALETAN: Joe Manchin’s Word Games.
Joe Manchin has rescued the Democratic agenda. After blocking President Biden’s Build Back Better plan for nearly a year—as well as subsequent, pared-down versions of the legislation—the West Virginia senator has reversed course. Last Thursday he endorsed a revised $400 billion package that focuses on health insurance subsidies, cutting the cost of prescription drugs, and funding new energy technologies to reduce carbon emissions.
With Manchin’s vote, the bill is likely to pass. But he isn’t just voting for it; he’s selling it. Over the weekend, he appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows—a rare feat often referred to as a “full Ginsburg”—to make his case for the bill. It was an eye roll-worthy display of political spin. Here’s a summary of his talking points.
CATHY YOUNG: Don’t Look Away from the War Crimes in Ukraine.
The reports of Russian atrocities and war crimes in Ukraine, which had been mounting steadily since the February 23 invasion, escalated dramatically last week. On Friday morning, more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed, and 75 others wounded, by an explosion in a detention center near Olenivka, a town on Russian-held territory in the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR). While the Russians have blamed the Ukrainian military for the attack, there are many indications the Russian side is responsible. Two days later, top Ukrainian businessman Oleksiy Vadatursky, the head of the grain export company Nibulon, and his wife Raisa died in the shelling of Mykolaiv, a town near Odessa; Ukrainian authorities said that the Vadaturskys’ bedroom was directly struck, suggesting the use of a guided missile—which, if true, would make it a targeted hit. And, most shockingly, a grisly video circulated by Russian accounts on the Telegram social media network showed a Russian soldier severing the genitals of a Ukrainian POW with a box-cutter knife before shooting the victim in the head.
Trump created a permission structure for militia groups starting in 2016, and now those groups are infiltrating state and local Republican parties around the country. The Carnegie Endowment’s Rachel Kleinfeld joins Charlie Sykes to discuss the growing threat from the mainstreaming of political violence.
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FRANK LAVIN: Xi Jinping’s Favorite Television Shows.
What is going wrong in China? Why does General Secretary Xi Jinping appear to be retreating from market economics, with more robust government intervention in the economy? Why the shift from civil society, with more limitations on nongovernmental organizations and restrictions on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members? Why is its foreign policy more assertive, most recently in its embrace of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
Perhaps most importantly, what about domestic legitimacy and stability? The unwritten social contract between the CCP and the general population since Deng Xiaoping has been: We will provide you with economic prosperity and increasing latitude in your personal life. You will leave the matters of governance to us. This simple formula held for a number of decades, always with nuances and adjustments, such as less tolerance under Xi for religious expression but regularized acceptance of protests against local government decisions. But over the last twelve months, this contract has been called into question, most recently by the economic slowdown in the second quarter (with China’s GDP falling 2.6 percent over Q1).
Happy Tuesday! I’m up late tonight seeing how far the GOP wants to go crazy. My dispatch will run in the morning. Which ERIC will get the nod? Reality TV it is and is not.
We got him! 2.0. But apparently that former guy wasn’t very interested.
Here’s how the GOP wants to end Schumer/Manchin. Not that they’re good faith or anything.
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