Reading the tea leaves

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 22, 5:44 pm.
  2. September 22, 7:42 pm:
    • So-called “Arab” (for which, read “Palestinian”) parties have thrown their support behind Benny Gantz in an effort to stop Binyamin Netanyahu. A curious part is that Avigdor Liberman seems to have taken himself out of the game, refusing to endorse either Blue and White or Likud and instead insisting that the two major parties should form a unity government. Liberman doesn’t care whether Netanyahu or Gantz serves first.[1]

I’ve begun work on a new page entitled “Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated.“

My real purpose is to have something to point to when the Lyft safety team relays a complaint (which they never describe with any detail or specificity and which I suspect they sometimes pull out of thin air) about the difficulties of Pittsburgh driving. And of course they won’t actually read it because they don’t really give a damn, would be happy to just terminate me regardless, and in the meantime satisfy themselves with messing with my head. But it does show something of what I’m up against and what all Pittsburgh drivers are up against.


I’ve added photographs to my last blog post entitled, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh.


I’m not fond of the class of coverage I have here for both the Brexit and Israel headings and that nothing else had reached my very arbitrary and very ambiguous threshold for coverage here yesterday explains the absence of an issue. I’m less interested in speculation than in what actually happens. But sometimes the analysis is worth reading.

With both these issues very much up in the air—no one can predict these outcomes with confidence—I hope these analyses offer a little additional insight.


Brexit

Jamie Doward, “Supreme court poised to rule against Boris Johnson, say legal experts,” Guardian, September 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/22/supreme-court-verdict-boris-johnson-prorogation


Israel

Natan Sachs, “The End of Netanyahu’s Unchecked Reign,” Atlantic, September 19, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/israel-steps-back-two-brinks/598384/

David Horovitz, “Results aren’t even official, but already nightmare 3rd election scenario looms,” Times of Israel, September 20, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/results-arent-even-official-but-already-nightmare-3rd-election-scenario-looms/

Oliver Holmes, “Israel: Wounded Netanyahu in desperate battle for political survival after poll blow,” Guardian, September 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/21/netanyahu-battle-for-survival-after-israel-poll-shock-benny-gantz

Ruth Eglash, “Arab parties throw support behind Gantz as they seek to block Netanyahu,” Washington Post, September 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-second-stage-of-israels-election-process-president-could-be-kingmaker/2019/09/22/9cd4849c-dbce-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html


Gig economy

This[2] is not what I wanted to hear.

Diane Mulcahy, “California’s New Gig Economy Law Is All Bark, No Bite,” Forbes, September 20, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianemulcahy/2019/09/20/californias-new-gig-economy-law-is-all-bark-no-bite/


  1. [1]Ruth Eglash, “Arab parties throw support behind Gantz as they seek to block Netanyahu,” Washington Post, September 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-second-stage-of-israels-election-process-president-could-be-kingmaker/2019/09/22/9cd4849c-dbce-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html
  2. [2]Diane Mulcahy, “California’s New Gig Economy Law Is All Bark, No Bite,” Forbes, September 20, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianemulcahy/2019/09/20/californias-new-gig-economy-law-is-all-bark-no-bite/

Third time the charm for Binyamin Netanyahu?

IMG_0006
Fig. 1. McKeesport. That’s the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center McKeesport Hospital behind the cemetery.
IMG_0007
Fig. 2. Clairton.
There is a new blog post entitled, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh. It’s a more formal critical theory approach to my observations of racism in the Pittsburgh area. I haven’t added the photographs above to it yet because there’s one or two more I want to get.


Israel

Jerusalem Online, “Lapid: Bibi Is Trying to Drag the Country Into a Third Election,” September 20, 2019, https://www.jerusalemonline.com/lapid-bibi-is-trying-to-drag-the-country-into-a-third-election/


The humbling of Binyamin Netanyahu

Israel

Avigdor Lieberman, who leads Yisrael Beiteinu, which seems to have won more seats in Israel’s Knesset in the country’s re-run election, briefly seemed not quite to have the advantage the Associated Press earlier suggested[1] as it was suggested that Likud, in a bloc with the small right-wing religious parties that secularists despise, could combine with the secularist Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz, to form a unity government. The stumbling blocks to such a government were that 1) Likud would have to ditch Binyamin Netanyahu, who depends on a position as prime minister to avoid prosecution on corruption charges; and 2) that whole issue of the small right wing religious parties[2] who have used their position “to restrict public transport on the Sabbath, set marital laws and avoid military service.”[3] Likud and these small parties have agreed to a pact forming a unified bloc.[4]

Avigdor Lieberman, the head of Yisrael Beiteinu, has said he wouldn’t sit with any religious parties. Mr. Gantz has said he wouldn’t sit in a government with Mr. Netanyahu while he is under investigation for alleged corruption.[5]

As it turned out, the stumbling blocks were fatal.[6]

Gantz, not mentioning Netanyahu by name, said Thursday that he will lead a “liberal” coalition without Netanyahu’s haredi Orthodox allies. Moshe Yaalon, a Blue and White leader and former Israeli defense minister, said plainly that the party will “not enter a coalition led by Netanyahu,” echoing what the party had stated throughout the election campaign.[7]

Lieberman’s leverage seems to lie in that rejection of a unity government, as either Likud or Blue and White could combine with his party to form a majority.[8] Likud and the religious parties remained loyal to Netanyahu and Gantz rejected a coalition with those parties.[9] (It had earlier appeared as if the knives were out for Netanyahu even within Likud.[10]) The curious part of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency story[11] is that it does not mention the possibility of Lieberman’s party helping to form the coalition,[12] focusing instead on the possibility of so-called “Arab” (meaning Palestinian) parties taking part.[13]

Finally, while I’m inclined to view Netanyahu’s defeat (assuming it actually transpires) as a positive step towards unpacking the mess of Israeli politics, Diana Buttu pours cold water on the idea of any immediate or even near-term progress for the Palestinians.[14]

Diana Buttu, “The Israeli Elections Are a Referendum on Who Can Treat Palestinians Most Harshly,” Nation, September 16, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/israel-election-2019/

Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix, “Election setback has Netanyahu now seeking to share power in a unity government,” Washington Post, September 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/election-setback-has-netanyahu-now-seeking-to-share-power-in-a-unity-government/2019/09/19/2449d634-dac1-11e9-ac63-3016711543fe_story.html

Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead

Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009


  1. [1]Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891
  2. [2]Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix, “Election setback has Netanyahu now seeking to share power in a unity government,” Washington Post, September 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/election-setback-has-netanyahu-now-seeking-to-share-power-in-a-unity-government/2019/09/19/2449d634-dac1-11e9-ac63-3016711543fe_story.html; Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead; Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  3. [3]Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  4. [4]Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix, “Election setback has Netanyahu now seeking to share power in a unity government,” Washington Post, September 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/election-setback-has-netanyahu-now-seeking-to-share-power-in-a-unity-government/2019/09/19/2449d634-dac1-11e9-ac63-3016711543fe_story.html; Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  5. [5]Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  6. [6]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  7. [7]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  8. [8]Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  9. [9]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  10. [10]Bernard Avishai, “A Climax to the Saga of Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman,” New Yorker, June 1, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/a-climax-to-the-saga-of-benjamin-netanyahu-and-avigdor-lieberman; Times of Israel, “Ehud Barak says Netanyahu is ‘finished,’ predicts Likud will turn on him,” May 31, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ehud-barak-says-netanyahu-is-finished-predicts-likud-will-turn-on-him/
  11. [11]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  12. [12]Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891; Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891
  13. [13]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  14. [14]Diana Buttu, “The Israeli Elections Are a Referendum on Who Can Treat Palestinians Most Harshly,” Nation, September 16, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/israel-election-2019/

Politics, whether or not by other means

Iran

Paul Schemm, “Saudi military presents weapons debris, says oil attacks ‘unquestionably sponsored’ by Iran but launch point not yet determined,” Washington Post, September 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-warns-us-of-broad-retaliation-in-case-of-any-attack/2019/09/18/35a1275c-d99f-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html


Israel

Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891


Gig economy

John Myers, Johana Bhuiyan, and Margot Roosevelt, “Newsom signs bill rewriting California employment law, limiting use of independent contractors,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-18/gavin-newsom-signs-ab5-employees0independent-contractors-california


 

Warmongering as the last refuge of a racist misogynist delusional raging narcissist-in-chief

Iran

There is a new blog post entitled, “The most very dangerous kind of bullshit.”

Saudi Arabia was dissatisfied with the evidence supporting U.S. claims that the attack on its oil facilities originated in Iran[1] but appears to be corroborating the claim on its own.[2]

Dion Nissenbaum, Summer Said, and Jared Malsin, “U.S. Tells Saudi Arabia Oil Attacks Were Launched From Iran,” Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-tells-saudi-arabia-oil-attacks-were-launched-from-iran-11568644126

Summer Said and Dion Nissenbaum, “Saudi Arabia Increasingly Confident Iran Launched Oil Attack,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-increasingly-confident-iran-launched-oil-attack-11568733861


Brexit

Owen Bowcott, “Government declines to rule out fresh prorogation if it loses case,” Guardian, September 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/17/government-declines-to-rule-out-fresh-prorogation-if-it-loses-case

Rowena Mason, “Jeremy Corbyn: I’ll stay neutral and let the people decide on Brexit,” Guardian, September 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/17/corbyn-vows-to-put-sensible-brexit-deal-to-voters-in-referendum


Environment

Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, “Trump administration to revoke California’s power to set stricter auto emissions standards,” Washington Post, September 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/trump-administration-to-revoke-californias-power-to-set-stricter-auto-emissions-standards/2019/09/17/79af2ee0-d97b-11e9-a688-303693fb4b0b_story.html


  1. [1]Dion Nissenbaum, Summer Said, and Jared Malsin, “U.S. Tells Saudi Arabia Oil Attacks Were Launched From Iran,” Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-tells-saudi-arabia-oil-attacks-were-launched-from-iran-11568644126
  2. [2]Summer Said and Dion Nissenbaum, “Saudi Arabia Increasingly Confident Iran Launched Oil Attack,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-increasingly-confident-iran-launched-oil-attack-11568733861

Has Iran given Donald Trump a gift?

Iran

I think Donald Trump is running for re-election and may be seeking a “rally ’round the flag” bump like George W. Bush got with the 9/11 attacks. We see that Trump wants to appear at least as tough as John Bolton,[1] who quit or was fired a few days ago,[2] and has declared that the U.S. is “locked and loaded.”[3] That said, I’m waiting for a refutation of the bit about “the scope and precision of the attacks [coming] from a west-northwest direction.”[4] (The site of the attack, which is also near Kuwait, lies to the west, across the Persian Gulf, from Iran.) It could be that the Iranian government has offered Trump a gift, albeit a gift that may come at considerable cost to its own people.

Jessica Donati, “Trump Has Few Options to Respond to Saudi Oil Attack,” Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-has-few-options-to-respond-to-saudi-oil-attack-11568509069

Bianca Quilantan, “Trump says U.S. ‘locked and loaded’ after attack on Saudi oil,” Politico, September 15, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/trump-locked-loaded-iran-saudi-arabia-1497452

Sheena McKenzie, et al., “Saudi attacks send oil prices soaring,” CNN, September 16, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/saudi-oil-attack-dle-intl/index.html

Sputnik News, “US Officials Claim Yemen Not Behind Saudi Aramco Attack, Houthis Reveal ‘Intel Operation’ – Reports,” Global Security, September 16, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2019/09/mil-190916-sputnik01.htm


  1. [1]Tina Nguyen, “Trump Visibly Distressed by Media Describing Bolton as ‘Tougher’ Than Him,” Vanity Fair, September 12, 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/09/donald-trump-vs-john-bolton
  2. [2]Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html
  3. [3]Bianca Quilantan, “Trump says U.S. ‘locked and loaded’ after attack on Saudi oil,” Politico, September 15, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/trump-locked-loaded-iran-saudi-arabia-1497452
  4. [4]Sputnik News, “US Officials Claim Yemen Not Behind Saudi Aramco Attack, Houthis Reveal ‘Intel Operation’ – Reports,” Global Security, September 16, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2019/09/mil-190916-sputnik01.htm; see also Sheena McKenzie, et al., “Saudi attacks send oil prices soaring,” CNN, September 16, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/saudi-oil-attack-dle-intl/index.html

Second thoughts

Brexit

The usual Boris Johnson bullshit to the contrary, it’s apparent that little progress has been made in talks with the European Union,[1] because—surprise, surprise—there still is no alternative to the fucking backstop.[2]

So I suppose the question here is whether it’s darkest before the dawn[3] as a hard Brexit as the the legal default[4] looms despite Parliament’s attempt to compel Johnson to seek an extension[5] or it’s only darkest because Britain hasn’t recently seen darker.[6]

Michael Savage and Emma Graham-Harrison, “‘Johnson is a liar who only backed Leave to help his career’ – David Cameron,” Guardian, September 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/david-cameron-slammed-for-horrendous-mistake-brexit-referendum

Toby Helm, “We must stop Brexit in any form, councillors tell Jeremy Corbyn,” Guardian, September 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/we-must-stop-brexit-in-any-form-councillors-tell-jeremy-corbyn

William James, “UK Liberal Democrat leader says her party will not support any Brexit deal,” Reuters, September 15, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-swinson-idUSKBN1W0083

Jennifer Rankin and Daniel Boffey, “EU officials reject Boris Johnson claim of ‘huge progress’ in Brexit talks,” Guardian, September 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/eu-officials-reject-boris-johnson-claim-huge-progress-brexit-talks


  1. [1]Jennifer Rankin and Daniel Boffey, “EU officials reject Boris Johnson claim of ‘huge progress’ in Brexit talks,” Guardian, September 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/eu-officials-reject-boris-johnson-claim-huge-progress-brexit-talks
  2. [2]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues; Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz
  3. [3]Toby Helm, “We must stop Brexit in any form, councillors tell Jeremy Corbyn,” Guardian, September 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/we-must-stop-brexit-in-any-form-councillors-tell-jeremy-corbyn; William James, “UK Liberal Democrat leader says her party will not support any Brexit deal,” Reuters, September 15, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-swinson-idUSKBN1W0083; Michael Savage and Emma Graham-Harrison, “‘Johnson is a liar who only backed Leave to help his career’ – David Cameron,” Guardian, September 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/david-cameron-slammed-for-horrendous-mistake-brexit-referendum
  4. [4]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/18/could-parliaments-latest-amendment-stop-no-deal-brexit; Josh Wilson, “No-deal Brexit odds: Latest predictions on leaving the EU without a deal,” Telegraph, August 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/no-deal-brexit-odds-latest-predictions-leaving-eu-without-deal/
  5. [5]Charlie Cooper, Annabelle Dickson, and Emilio Casalicchio, “Boris Johnson loses control,” Politico, September 4, 2019, https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-loses-control-brexit/; Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-house-of-lords-approves-bill-to-block-no-deal/a-50331382; Heather Stewart and Severin Carrell, “Boris Johnson short of options as rebels vow to secure Brexit delay,” Guardian, September 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/06/boris-johnson-short-of-options-as-rebels-vow-to-secure-brexit-delay; Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam, “Britain may face snap elections after Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers major loss in Parliament,” Washington Post, September 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/showdown-set-for-the-british-parliament-as-legislators-return-from-summer-recess/2019/09/03/105ecca6-cb6c-11e9-9615-8f1a32962e04_story.html; Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam, “Boris Johnson suffers two major losses in Parliament, leaving his governing authority and the terms of Brexit in doubt,” Washington Post, September 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/uk-parliament-brexit-vote/2019/09/04/cc934b1c-cb6d-11e9-9615-8f1a32962e04_story.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Boris Johnson might think he’s playing poker with the European Union, but he’s actually playing ‘chicken’—with a brick wall,” Not Housebroken, August 2, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/02/boris-johnson-might-think-hes-playing-poker-with-the-european-union-but-hes-actually-playing-chicken-with-a-brick-wall/; Michael Savage and Daniel Boffey, “No-deal Brexit spells calamity for union, warns Gordon Brown,” Guardian, August 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/10/gordon-brown-says-no-deal-brexit-would-be-calamity-for-united-kingdom; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/

California’s AB 5 has larger implications

Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “The larger question of California’s AB 5.”

Angela Chen, “This is one way Uber and Lyft want to get around making drivers employees,” MIT Technology Review, September 13, 2019, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614308/uber-lyft-ab5-gig-workers-labor-classification-third-category-tech-policy/

Noam Cohen, “How Tech Firms Like Uber Hide Behind the ‘Platform Defense,’” Wired, September 13, 2019, https://www.wired.com/story/how-tech-firms-like-uber-hide-behind-the-platform-defense/


Brexit

Tim Ross, Jess Shankleman, and Alex Morales, “Boris Johnson’s Nightmare on Downing Street,” Bloomberg, September 13, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-13/nightmare-on-downing-street-as-team-johnson-fears-brexit-mutiny


Iran

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed credit for a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities 500 miles away.[1]

Hours later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed Iran for “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Pompeo, however, offered no specific evidence.[2]

If the Trump administration is looking for an excuse to attack Iran, I suppose this will do. Even if Mike Pompeo is wrong about Iran launching the attack,[3] Iran backs the Houthi rebels and would likely have supplied the drones that would capable of hitting the target. It would almost be as if Donald Trump got rid of John Bolton[4] just in time (four days ago) to avoid him taking credit or blame for such a decision.

Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html


  1. [1]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  2. [2]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  3. [3]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  4. [4]Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html

Funny thing: Proroguing Parliament hasn’t stopped Brexit from being a mess

Brexit

Rowena Mason and Owen Bowcott, “John Bercow: I’ll stop Boris Johnson breaking the law on Brexit,” Guardian, September 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/12/bercow-warns-pm-not-to-defy-law-on-no-deal-brexit

Deutschewelle, “Brexit: Ireland doubts Boris Johnson can do a deal with EU,” September 13, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-ireland-doubts-boris-johnson-can-do-a-deal-with-eu/a-50418964


Uber and Lyft defiant

Gig economy

We already knew Uber was planning to defy California’s AB 5 requiring it to classify its drivers as employees.[1] Now we see Lyft will do the same.[2] It’s no surprise and the Vox article[3] otherwise adds nothing new to earlier coverage.[4] Nathan Heller’s article[5] is a bit more retrospective, with little new for those of us who’ve paid close attention, but possibly useful for those who haven’t.

I guess two things are remarkable to me here: First, how widely and generally accepted it is that Uber and Lyft drivers deserve better protection from neoliberal bullshit; and second, that Uber and Lyft really imagine they can prevail in a court system that handed down the Dynamex decision. Really, what they can do is stall, and I suspect that’s the real plan, to delay being busted for their bezzle.

Shirin Ghaffary, “Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees,” Vox, September 11, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/9/11/20861599/ab-5-uber-lyft-drivers-contractors-reclassify-employees

Nathan Heller, “A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft,” New Yorker, September 12, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-silicon-valley/a-new-california-law-takes-aim-at-uber-and-lyft


Brexit

Boris Johnson has repeated the lie[6] that everyone, including the Scottish Court of Session, knows is a lie.[7]

Francis Elliott, “I didn’t lie to the Queen, says Boris Johnson,” Times, September 12, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/i-didnt-lie-to-the-queen-says-johnson-q875lrxzk


Palestine

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu: I tried to annex Jordan Valley before election but AG said I couldn’t,” September 11, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-tried-to-annex-jordan-valley-before-election-but-was-told-to-wait/

Jacob Magid, “PM’s Jordan Valley map was error-strewn, but is his vow worth taking seriously?” Times of Israel, September 12, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/pms-jordan-valley-map-was-error-strewn-but-is-his-vow-worth-taking-seriously/


  1. [1]Kate Conger, “Uber Says It Will Not Change Driver Status Under California Gig-Worker Law,” New York Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/business/economy/uber-california-bill.html; Aaron Gordon, “Uber To California: Make Us,” Jalopnik, September 11, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-drivers-shouldnt-expect-to-be-employees-a-1838048966
  2. [2]Shirin Ghaffary, “Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees,” Vox, September 11, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/9/11/20861599/ab-5-uber-lyft-drivers-contractors-reclassify-employees
  3. [3]Shirin Ghaffary, “Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees,” Vox, September 11, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/9/11/20861599/ab-5-uber-lyft-drivers-contractors-reclassify-employees
  4. [4]Kate Conger, “Uber Says It Will Not Change Driver Status Under California Gig-Worker Law,” New York Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/business/economy/uber-california-bill.html; Aaron Gordon, “Uber To California: Make Us,” Jalopnik, September 11, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-drivers-shouldnt-expect-to-be-employees-a-1838048966
  5. [5]Nathan Heller, “A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft,” New Yorker, September 12, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-silicon-valley/a-new-california-law-takes-aim-at-uber-and-lyft
  6. [6]Francis Elliott, “I didn’t lie to the Queen, says Boris Johnson,” Times, September 12, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/i-didnt-lie-to-the-queen-says-johnson-q875lrxzk
  7. [7]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html; Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “Scottish court rules Johnson’s suspension of Britain’s Parliament was illegal,” Washington Post, September 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/scottish-court-rules-johnsons-suspension-of-britains-parliament-was-illegal/2019/09/11/84265a36-d40a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html; Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “Scottish court rules Johnson’s suspension of Britain’s Parliament was illegal,” Washington Post, September 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/scottish-court-rules-johnsons-suspension-of-britains-parliament-was-illegal/2019/09/11/84265a36-d40a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html