I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, ad-free, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum — then “my take.” You can read Tangle for free or subscribe for Friday editions, and you can reach me anytime by replying to this email. If someone sent you this email, they’re asking you to sign up. You can do that by clicking here.
Today’s read: 5 minutes.
As I mentioned shortly before my wedding in mid-June, this week is my honeymoon week — and I am going to lean into it. That means shortly after you get this email, I’m signing off. And really signing off — trying to take a break from email, news alerts, and all the rest of the outside world for a few days to recharge. I’ll be sending out some scheduled posts while I’m gone, so keep an eye out for those.
I’m trying to get to all of the reader feedback still in my inbox, but am asking for your patience if you wrote in and haven’t heard back yet — I truly do try to reply to everyone, even if it takes a week or two.
If you just signed up for Tangle, I apologize for the awkward timing of this hiatus and want to assure you this doesn’t happen very often. If you’ve been around for a little bit and are enjoying Tangle, now would be a great time to become a subscriber: that unlocks our entire archive and also gives us resources to build out the team so we don’t need to take breaks like this in the future.
Unfortunately, I’m boarding a plane and logging off during what looks to be a pretty interesting week in the political world. So I figured I’d let you in on what I would be keeping an eye on (and writing about) if I were here.
First, protests are breaking out in Cuba. Thousands of Cubans flooded the streets and called on President Miguel Díaz-Canel to step down in the biggest anti-government demonstrations Cuba has seen in decades. Cubans are facing an economic crisis, a lack of coronavirus vaccines (and a Covid-19 surge), shortages of basic goods and curbs on civil liberties. Conservatives in America reacted to the news by calling for new leadership in the Communist-led country. Liberals’ reactions were mixed, though some pointed to U.S. embargoes and sanctions on Cuba as the reasons for the economic hardships many on the island are facing.
President Biden signed a sweeping executive order on Friday that will change the landscape for big businesses. The order targets business practices that are popular with major tech firms and also reinstates net neutrality guidelines that were thrown out during the Trump administration. It will also tighten the vetting on mergers and acquisitions, including closer oversight of deals designed to snuff out competition. The order “relies heavily on federal agency rulemaking authority that is prone to getting bogged down in court battles and won’t achieve the loftier goals set out in more sweeping reforms Democrats are struggling to pass through Congress,” Gizmodo reports.
The White House is defending Hunter Biden after ethics experts raised red flags over an upcoming sale of his artwork. Biden’s work could sell for as much as $500,000, with anonymous buyers and no disclosures to the public. The White House justified the system to keep the buyers anonymous, even from Hunter, by saying it would ensure that nobody used the auction to peddle influence. But ethics experts, including former Obama ethics chief Walter Shaub, criticized the arrangement as a “perfect mechanism for funneling bribes.”
Lawmakers are closing in on massive antipoverty and infrastructure plans. A delicate deal between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate is on the table, with more than $4 trillion of potential spending hanging in the balance. A bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats have agreed to a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure plan, but some Democrats say they’ll only vote for it if the party pushes through other progressive priorities without Republican support; meanwhile, some Republicans say they will only support it if Democrats don’t try to use budget reconciliation to get trillions of dollars of more spending.
Are we witnessing the rise of the anti-woke Democrat? A lot of questions are being asked in Democratic circles about the party acting and sounding too judgmental, too sensitive and too “woke.” That narrative is gaining momentum after Eric Adams won the Democratic primary in New York City, despite running on a relatively moderate, pro-police platform (Adams, who is Black, is a former NYPD officer). “These Democrats warn that by jamming politically correct terms or new norms down the throats of voters, they risk exacerbating the cultural wars — and inadvertently helping Trumpian candidates,” Axios reports.
President Biden is (again) putting his stamp of approval on a plan to allow local officials to use their Covid-19 relief funds to bolster their police departments. A White House memo obtained by Axios spells out the guidance and comes at a time when Biden officials worry a rise in violent crime across major cities in the U.S. could damage the president politically, as progressives call for police funding to be reallocated to other community services. Back in June, Biden explained that states and localities could use some of the $350 billion in Covid-19 relief money for law enforcement, but tied it to efforts around gun control. This time, the tone seems a little different.
Here is a fascinating zoom-out on violent crime by population in America right now. Despite the fact that 57 percent of Americans think there is more violent crime now in the U.S. than there was 30 years ago, this is the reality:
Meanwhile, a new Pew Research Center analysis of 12,832 sermons shared online by 2,143 churches found that two-thirds of congregations heard overtly political sermons in the run-up to the 2020 election. Even in churches that traditionally avoid politics, the last election, the pandemic, and racism were frequent topics of discussion.
And on coronavirus: in the last week, 506,800 doses of the coronavirus vaccine were administered each day. That is a 43 percent decrease from the week before.
In case you missed it: on Friday, I posted a personal essay I wrote about my religious beliefs. This is an issue that a lot of readers have asked me about, and I finally decided to address it by rewriting an old blog post I’d written about atheism, agnosticism and God. It was one of the most replied-to newsletters I’ve ever written, but it is for subscribers only.
You can read it by clicking here (you’ll be prompted to subscribe if you haven’t yet).
While we’re gone, you can go check out our podcasts here.
You can hit up our merch store here.
And you can find our entire archive here.
We’ll miss you.
It may sound silly, but as excited as I am for my honeymoon (and a break) I’m going to miss all of you this week. Thank you for all of your continued support, open-mindedness and engagement on so many issues that matter. And thanks for supporting Tangle and this endeavor. This community of 25,000+ is stronger than ever, even at a time when overtly partisan news outlets are struggling to attract eyes or keep viewers.
We’ll be back “live” on July 19th, but you can expect to hear from us a couple of times with scheduled posts between now and then.
All the best,
Isaac and the Tangle team