Stuff You Should Read, August 29, 2021

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Stuff You Should Read.”

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“These Afghans Won the Visa Lottery Two Years Ago — Now They’re Stuck in Kabul and Out of Luck” by Dara Lind, ProPublica

A March 2020 ban signed by President Donald Trump, citing a need to protect the American economy, prevented Akbari and visa lottery winners from entering the U.S. In response to a lawsuit by immigration lawyers, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that the government has to move ahead on processing thousands of last year’s lottery winners. But the U.S. has told the judge it can’t even start until fall 2022 at the earliest. Several hundred Afghans are in the group. They may be the unluckiest winners in the visa lottery’s 30-year history.

“Why the Biden administration’s competence strategy is flawed” by Perry Bacon, Washington Post

The Biden team should govern competently — and also fight on more polarized issues … instead of trying to dodge them.Biden can’t unilaterally end the partisan “uncivil war,” no matter how hard he tries, because the Republicans are so deeply committed to it. Biden’s strategy implies there are “culture war” issues to avoid and “pocketbook” issues to focus on. In reality, Republicans push almost every issue, from vaccinations to unemployment benefits to voting rights, into the broader, zero-sum fight between the parties. So conservative activists and politicians are opposing mask-wearing in schools just as fervently as they oppose the teaching of critical race theory.

“Let’s Not Pretend That the Way We Withdrew From Afghanistan Was the Problem,” by Ezra Klein, The New York Times

Focusing on the execution of the withdrawal is giving virtually everyone who insisted we could remake Afghanistan the opportunity to obscure their failures by pretending to believe in the possibility of a graceful departure. It’s also obscuring the true alternative to withdrawal: endless occupation. But what our ignominious exit really reflects is the failure of America’s foreign policy establishment at both prediction and policymaking in Afghanistan.

“Far-right floods the internet with calls for Biden’s ouster” by Kyle Tharp and Nick Seymour, FWIW Newsletter

On Facebook, posts about Biden impeachment or removal have received 11.25 million interactions (reactions, comments, shares) since August 15th. By comparison, in that same time period, posts mentioning “infrastructure” received around 5.2 million interactions.