By Kent R. Kroeger (November 6, 2020)
I am a Bernie Sanders-supporting registered Democrat (check the voter databases in Iowa and New Jersey); yet, I never hated Donald Trump, even as everyone around me did. My wife and I stopped talking politics on the morning of November 9, 2016 and my mother-in-law to this day only refers to him as “Number 45” or “Turdface.”
But I see beyond his fake tan and broken syntax and recognize some of the good things Trump did over the past four years: He reset some bad trade agreements. Told our European allies it was time they chipped in their share for mutual defense. Oversaw an unprecedented surge in small business growth. And, most importantly, helped expose the falsehood of the Washington, D.C. trope that large, ceaseless federal budget deficits are inflationary and need to be dealt with through deep cuts in entitlement and discretionary spending. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 4, 2020)
Conservative writer George Will said after Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory that the loss was good for the Republican Party: “Republicans are a bad governing party, but an exceptional opposition party.” Which soon will be evident as the Republicans spend the next four years calling into question the validity of this election and the president and Congress it elected.
And why shouldn’t they? Republicans and their wealthiest constituents win whenever their party can so effectively muck up the legislative system nothing substantial or transformative ever gets passed. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 3, 2020)
No más. I can’t take it anymore.
If you thought the 2016 election was unwatchable, welcome to 2020—an election where our main choices for president are two de facto Republicans.
Guess which party will win?
Sure, the “official” Republican Party lost control of the presidency and the U.S. Senate, but at the end of the day, its the Democratic Party that has moved to the right. And it is unlikely, based on the last Democratic presidency, that the new president will ever move credibly back to the left.
I predict more government spending disproportionately benefiting corporate balance sheets over American households, an expansion of U.S. military involvements across the globe, our inefficient health care system will stay inefficient, and…
By Kent R. Kroeger (October 29, 2020)
“Come to terms with death. Thereafter anything is possible”— scribbled by Albert Camus in one of his notebooks.
The U.S. presidential election is essentially over. Can we stop being afraid and have a serious discussion about the coronavirus and the next steps to address it?
During this dreadful election, watching the world’s news organizations post a daily coronavirus death counts has been one of the most depressing aspects of this pandemic. And not simply because of the figure’s size — 1,176,000 people worldwide have died from this virus as of October 28th (or about 0.015 percent of the total world population)— but because the news media uses it, not just to inform us, but to force us to stew in its political ramifications. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (October 25, 2020)
Yesterday’s news that the U.S. reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday (83,000+) did not surprise anyone who has been listening to Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, since this coronavirus pandemic began.
When many politicians and news media celebrities in March and April were talking about the pandemic as a single surge as part of a one large wave, Dr. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (October 21, 2020)
Generally, I am a fan of journalist Bob Woodward, who was one of the few national journalists to see the Russiagate story for what it really was — a coordinated and thinly-veiled attack by the political establishment against a president they viewed as unfit for office and dangerous.
A false sense of moral righteousness can get otherwise honest people to say and do dishonest things. That same moral righteousness in the hands of dishonest people can sink a nation.
That not a single, conclusive piece of evidence ever emerged linking the Donald Trump campaign (or presidency) to the Russians in a conspiratorial act against our Republic is incontrovertible. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (October 20, 2020)
Over the past four years, the news media’s central, animating trope about Donald Trump has been accusations over his lying.
At least 66 more lies and misleading claims were uncovered over the weekend, according to a CNN report.
Admittedly, Trump’s willingness to spread unverified rumors does not help his reputation for honesty (Sorry, Mr. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (Source: NuQum.com; October 19, 2020)
Our World In Data (OWID), a non-profit organization that provides open-source access to worldwide economic and development data, recently asked a simple question on its website: Have the countries experiencing the largest economic decline performed better in protecting the nation’s health, as we would expect if there was a trade-off?
Using cross-sectional data for 38 countries on 2020-Q2 GDP growth and the number of COVID-19 deaths per capita (through June 30th), their answer was as straightforward as their question:
“Contrary to the idea of a trade-off, we see that countries which suffered the most severe economic downturns — like Peru, Spain and the UK — are generally among the countries with the highest COVID-19 death rate. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (October 14, 2020)
[Data used in this article can be found on GITHUB]
In August I posted an article discussing the importance of culture in modeling cross-national variation in coronavirus case and fatality rates. Its basic premise was that some cultures are more amenable to the individual-level behavioral changes (e.g., wearing masks and social distancing) needed to stunt the spread of the virus (i.e., East Asian collectivist cultures), while other cultures are more prone to spreading the virus (i.e., American individualism).
One reader suggested another culturally-based explanation for some of the cross-national variation in coronavirus cases, particularly among European nations: Catholicism. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (October 9, 2020)
Why is it that the two major U.S. political parties (but particularly the Democrats) make little effort to attract voters who are, for various reasons, detached from the two-party system?
Loosely called the ‘political center,’ when they do get attention it is mostly from academics who divide them up into “independents,” “undecideds,” and ideological “centrists,” and generally dismiss them as less-informed and prone to emotional appeals from politicians.
Occasionally, a political campaign will spend some of its finite campaign funds on attracting “centrist” voters; but, for the most part, the modern U.S. …