Collusion

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 8, 11:21 am.
  2. December 9, 12:59 am:
    • I probably should have noted earlier that Robert Mueller also seems to have nailed Donald Trump on the question of payoffs to young women he (allegedly) had affairs with.[1] It’s just not really news to me as I had already accepted this as almost certainly true. But the Washington Post has yet another—but probably the best yet—summary of Trump’s very bad Friday.[2] (James Comey)
  3. December 9, 11:19 am:
    • John Dean, of Watergate infamy, thinks Congress will have no choice but to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.[3] Which, of course, is what even some conservatives would like. But, um, the Senate is controlled by the Republican Party, which is not at all like the Republican Party of the 1970s. Today’s “Grand Old Party” is all in with authoritarian populism, the larger part of Trump’s base. Which kinda makes all this pointless. But the article offers additional background so it’s probably worth reading anyway.

James Comey

The filing [sentencing memorandum] comes close to suggesting collusion without actually making that case. [Robert] Mueller notes that [Michael] Cohen’s effort to engage Russia with [Donald] Trump’s knowledge and consent “occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.” Mueller provided another hint by praising Cohen for providing the special counsel’s office “with useful information concerning certain Russia-related matters core to its investigation.” There is arguably only one matter core to the Mueller investigation, as defined by Mueller’s appointment as special counsel: “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election . . . [and] any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” If Cohen’s information is core to the Mueller investigation, it is reasonable to conclude that Mueller does, indeed, believe he can prove that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.[4]

Or, I would say, that there was not. The case that Adam Davidson lays out supports that Robert Mueller likely knows, or thinks he knows, whether or not there was in fact collusion. But it does not actually point to a conclusion in either direction.

Aaron Blake, “5 big takeaways from the new Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort filings,” Washington Post, December 7, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/07/takeaways-michael-cohen-sentencing-filings/

Adam Davidson, “The Michael Cohen Sentencing Memos Are Damning for Trump,” New Yorker, December 7, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/the-michael-cohen-sentencing-memos-are-damning-for-trump

Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller flashes some cards in Russia probe, but hides his hand,” Washington Post, December 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mueller-flashes-some-cards-in-russia-probe-but-hides-his-hand/2018/12/08/03938a34-fb01-11e8-8c9a-860ce2a8148f_story.html

Philip Ewing, “What You Need To Know About The New Manafort And Cohen Court Documents,” NPR, December 8, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/12/08/674842607/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-manafort-and-cohen-court-documents


Donald Trump

Michael Brice-Saddler, “Congress will have to ‘start impeachment’ process after Cohen filings, former Nixon counsel says,” Washington Post, December 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/08/congress-will-have-start-impeachment-process-after-cohen-filings-former-nixon-counsel-says/


Julian Assange

Gonzalo Solano and Joshua Goodman, “Ecuador: Enough UK guarantees for Assange to leave embassy,” Associated Press, December 6, 2018, https://www.apnews.com/0b95cddbe0614d47b71c07c827710210


  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “5 big takeaways from the new Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort filings,” Washington Post, December 7, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/07/takeaways-michael-cohen-sentencing-filings/; Philip Ewing, “What You Need To Know About The New Manafort And Cohen Court Documents,” NPR, December 8, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/12/08/674842607/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-manafort-and-cohen-court-documents
  2. [2]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller flashes some cards in Russia probe, but hides his hand,” Washington Post, December 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mueller-flashes-some-cards-in-russia-probe-but-hides-his-hand/2018/12/08/03938a34-fb01-11e8-8c9a-860ce2a8148f_story.html
  3. [3]Michael Brice-Saddler, “Congress will have to ‘start impeachment’ process after Cohen filings, former Nixon counsel says,” Washington Post, December 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/08/congress-will-have-start-impeachment-process-after-cohen-filings-former-nixon-counsel-says/
  4. [4]Adam Davidson, “The Michael Cohen Sentencing Memos Are Damning for Trump,” New Yorker, December 7, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/the-michael-cohen-sentencing-memos-are-damning-for-trump

It’d be nice if we’d honor the peacemakers

There is a new blog entry, “A Marxist counterfactual.”


Are we ever going to finish honoring yet another war criminal? And yeah, it’d be nice if we accorded peacemakers anything like these honors.
FireShot Capture 4 - Roundup_ We don't mourn war criminals._ - https___mail.google.com_mail_ca_u_0

Screenshot from Jacobin newsletter, December 6, 2018, fair use.


James Comey

All that about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen?[1] Repeat with Michael Flynn.[2] And, by the way, we’re still not seeing the actual fire below all this smoke.

Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Devlin Barrett, “Mueller seeks no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing his ‘substantial assistance,’” Washington Post, December 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-seeks-no-prison-time-for-former-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn-citing-his-substantial-assistance/2018/12/04/a5c56a5a-f72a-11e8-863c-9e2f864d47e7_story.html


Ridesharing

Yves Smith isn’t the first[3] to predict Uber’s demise.[4] And she doesn’t understand the business nearly so well as she thinks she does; it would have been better had she actually talked to some drivers, especially some drivers who have experience both with the taxi business and the ridesharing business.

Jake Offenhartz, “NYC Establishes First Ever Minimum Wage For Uber & Lyft Drivers,” Gothamist, December 5, 2018, http://gothamist.com/2018/12/05/uber_lyft_driver_wages_nyc.php

Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html


 

  1. [1]Dana Bash, Kara Scannell, and Evan Perez, “Two key answers from Trump to Mueller,” CNN, November 28, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/11/28/politics/trump-mueller-answers-wikileaks-trump-tower/index.html; Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, “‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/individual-1-trump-emerges-as-a-central-subject-of-mueller-probe/2018/11/29/e3968994-f3f7-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html; Harry Litman, “What Was Paul Manafort Thinking?” New York Times, November 27, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/opinion/what-was-paul-manafort-thinking.html; Jennifer Rubin, “Trump should be freaked out right about now,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/11/29/trump-should-be-freaked-out-right-about-now/; Jeffrey Toobin, “The Legal Perils That Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Poses for Donald Trump,” New Yorker, November 29, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-legal-perils-that-michael-cohens-guilty-plea-pose-for-donald-trump; Jonathan Vankin, “Robert Mueller Set Ingenious Trap For Trump In Collusion Case And Tricked Manafort Into Helping, Experts Say,” Inquisitr, November 26, 2018, https://www.inquisitr.com/5181923/robert-mueller-set-trap-for-trump-russia-collusion-paul-manafort/; Paul Waldman, “It looks like a big day for collusion. No wonder Trump is raging,” Washington Post, November 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/27/its-a-big-day-for-collusion-no-wonder-trump-is-raging/
  2. [2]Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Devlin Barrett, “Mueller seeks no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing his ‘substantial assistance,’” Washington Post, December 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-seeks-no-prison-time-for-former-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn-citing-his-substantial-assistance/2018/12/04/a5c56a5a-f72a-11e8-863c-9e2f864d47e7_story.html
  3. [3]Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, http://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203
  4. [4]Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html

Robert Mueller’s vise appears to be closing

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 28, 1:50 pm, under the title, “Is Robert Mueller’s vise closing?”
  2. November 29, 8:55 am:
    • A former U.S. attorney thinks there is no good explanation for Paul Manafort’s lying. He suggests Manafort is simply a terrible gambler.[1] (James Comey)
  3. November 30, 11:56 am:
    • Roger Stone might have served as a conduit between the Donald Trump campaign and Wikileaks.[2]
    • So all that about Paul Manafort? Rinse and repeat with Michael Cohen, except that “Cohen plainly is cooperating with Mueller — and not communicating with Trump.”[3] Um, whoops. (James Comey)
    • It’s possible that the reason Donald Trump behaves like Vladimir Putin’s lackey is that Trump was still trying to negotiate a Moscow hotel deal, well into 2016, and well after he’d claimed he had no business in Russia. The trouble is he lied about it in the campaign.[4] (James Comey)
    • Pacific Gas and Electric has failed to convince the California Public Utilities Commission that it really gives a damn about safety.[5] (California wildfires)
    • I’m not even remotely caught up.
  4. November 30, 2:10 pm:
    • For the moment, I’m caught up.
  5. December 1, 12:35 am:
    • I am changing the title of this posting from “Is Robert Mueller’s vise closing?” to “Robert Mueller’s vise appears to be closing:” Because right now, it appears the smoking gun has been found. According to the Washington Post, “documents [from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation] show investigators have evidence that [Donald] Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.”[6] (James Comey)
  6. December 1, 3:55 pm:
    • On Twitter, Patrick Watson came through with some important dates for the Mueller investigation. See the tweets immediately below.
  7. December 2, 10:20 am:
    • I summarized my view of the present state of U.S. political affairs in a series of three tweets, reproduced below.
    • I am not caught up, but at this moment, it doesn’t appear there is any news that will merit a further update. We’ll see if that lasts.
  8. December 3, 1:45 pm:




This is pretty much how I see the present political state of affairs in the wake of the midterm elections:


James Comey

The buzz is huge, but we really don’t know much until Robert Mueller’s team unveils the substance of its claim that Paul Manafort lied to them after agreeing to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation. It might not be that Donald Trump knew of a meeting between his son and a Russian seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton. It might be that Roger Stone had advance knowledge of a Wikileaks dump of Democratic National Committee emails or even served as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks. But if Manafort lied, and if Trump’s answers to Mueller’s questions match Manafort’s lies, then, possibly, Trump, whom I doubt is even capable of distinguishing between the truth and what he wants to be the truth, lied. There are a lot of ifs here,[7] but yeah, folks are on the edges of their seats for this one. See Patrick Watson’s tweet above for court dates.

Jonathan Vankin, “Robert Mueller Set Ingenious Trap For Trump In Collusion Case And Tricked Manafort Into Helping, Experts Say,” Inquistr, November 26, 2018, https://www.inquisitr.com/5181923/robert-mueller-set-trap-for-trump-russia-collusion-paul-manafort/

Dana Bash, Kara Scannell, and Evan Perez, “Two key answers from Trump to Mueller,” CNN, November 28, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/11/28/politics/trump-mueller-answers-wikileaks-trump-tower/index.html

Paul Waldman, “It looks like a big day for collusion. No wonder Trump is raging,” Washington Post, November 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/27/its-a-big-day-for-collusion-no-wonder-trump-is-raging/

Manuel Roig-Franzia et al., “Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-night-owl-calls-to-roger-stone-in-2016-draw-scrutiny-in-mueller-probe/2018/11/28/77d6174e-f332-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html

Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, “‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/individual-1-trump-emerges-as-a-central-subject-of-mueller-probe/2018/11/29/e3968994-f3f7-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html

Jeffrey Toobin, “The Legal Perils That Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Poses for Donald Trump,” New Yorker, November 29, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-legal-perils-that-michael-cohens-guilty-plea-pose-for-donald-trump


California wildfires

Dale Kasler, “Judge in San Bruno criminal case demands answers from PG&E on cause of Camp Fire,” Sacramento Bee, November 27, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article222260460.html

Dale Kasler, “California orders safety upgrades at PG&E amid Camp Fire scrutiny,” Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article222375680.html


  1. [1]Harry Litman, “What Was Paul Manafort Thinking?” New York Times, November 27, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/opinion/what-was-paul-manafort-thinking.html
  2. [2]Manuel Roig-Franzia et al., “Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-night-owl-calls-to-roger-stone-in-2016-draw-scrutiny-in-mueller-probe/2018/11/28/77d6174e-f332-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html
  3. [3]Jennifer Rubin, “Trump should be freaked out right about now,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/11/29/trump-should-be-freaked-out-right-about-now/
  4. [4]Jeffrey Toobin, “The Legal Perils That Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Poses for Donald Trump,” New Yorker, November 29, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-legal-perils-that-michael-cohens-guilty-plea-pose-for-donald-trump
  5. [5]Dale Kasler, “California orders safety upgrades at PG&E amid Camp Fire scrutiny,” Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article222375680.html
  6. [6]Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, “‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/individual-1-trump-emerges-as-a-central-subject-of-mueller-probe/2018/11/29/e3968994-f3f7-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html
  7. [7]Dana Bash, Kara Scannell, and Evan Perez, “Two key answers from Trump to Mueller,” CNN, November 28, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/11/28/politics/trump-mueller-answers-wikileaks-trump-tower/index.html; Manuel Roig-Franzia et al., “Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-night-owl-calls-to-roger-stone-in-2016-draw-scrutiny-in-mueller-probe/2018/11/28/77d6174e-f332-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html; Jonathan Vankin, “Robert Mueller Set Ingenious Trap For Trump In Collusion Case And Tricked Manafort Into Helping, Experts Say,” Inquistr, November 26, 2018, https://www.inquisitr.com/5181923/robert-mueller-set-trap-for-trump-russia-collusion-paul-manafort/; Paul Waldman, “It looks like a big day for collusion. No wonder Trump is raging,” Washington Post, November 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/27/its-a-big-day-for-collusion-no-wonder-trump-is-raging/

Vicious white supremacy

There is a new blog entry that I wasn’t expecting to write, “The connection between “original sin,” misogyny, and white supremacism. Basically, this post offers backing, for something I said on Twitter that uncharacteristically attracted some favorable notice, where there just isn’t any space to supply evidence.


Unauthorized migration

I have a definition for fascism.[1] I believe it applies.

Wendy Fry and Sonali Kohli, “San Ysidro border crossing closed for hours, U.S. fires tear gas as migrants rush toward border,” Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2018, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-border-crossing-20181125-story.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” February 14, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2017/02/14/simple-definition-fascism

Malicious idiocy

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 22, 4:39 pm.
  2. November 23, 1:55 pm:
  3. November 23, 7:38 pm:
    • Journalists are well-acquainted—I know because I remember my mother telling me about this years, maybe even decades, ago—with a phenomenon in which “[w]hen politically inconvenient news is published in the final hours of a workweek, politicos call it a ‘Friday news dump.’” In this case, the case of a major—and dire—Climate change report that contradicts everything Donald Trump says about climate change, released on the reputedly busiest shopping day of the year, journalists are calling it out.[1] The calculation is simple, even if the article doesn’t quite explain it: People are paying less attention. All it will really take is for one incendiary tweet from Trump and the report might be overlooked entirely.
  4. November 24, 2:51 am:
    • I continue to ruminate on my experience with the U.S. Census Bureau. With the latest research journal entry, “Socially constructed ethics,” I begin to tackle harder questions. This is the third entry in this series; I link to the previous two entries within this entry.

My attempt to convert my old Drupal content management system to WordPress failed rather spectacularly—and for a similar reason the attempt to upgrade from Drupal 7 to 8 failed. I’m getting pissed about this shit.

I mean, c’mon now. Nobody ever attempts to move forums? Really?

The forums are how I organize archived content in Drupal. So if those don’t move, I really haven’t moved. Or upgraded. Or anything else. Except maybe been fooled. Yet again.

So I’m moving The Irregular Bullshit to DisUnitedStates.com instead. It will exist there next to my blog, Not Housebroken, at DisUnitedStates.org.


Unauthorized migration

Greg Sargent, “Another judge just blocked Trump. His ruling contains a warning,” Washington Post, November 20, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/20/another-judge-just-blocked-trump-his-ruling-contains-a-warning/


California wildfires

Dale Kasler, “Fact Check: Trump administration blames ‘radical’ environmentalists as Camp Fire toll rises. Experts disagree,” Sacramento Bee, November 20, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221953750.html


Climate change

Robinson Meyer, “A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday,” Atlantic, November 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/11/national-climate-assessment-black-friday/576589/


  1. [1]For example, Robinson Meyer, “A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday,” Atlantic, November 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/11/national-climate-assessment-black-friday/576589/

“Brexit deal in jeopardy,” they say. I think it’s all coming down.

I am still ruminating about my experience with the U.S. Census Bureau. There is a new research journal entry, “Methodological Problems of the American Community Survey.”

I also now have a new blog entry inspired by my latest brush with jury duty, entitled, “Avarice.”


Updates

  1. Originally published, November 18, 12:48 am.
  2. November 18, 4:02 pm:
  3. November 19, 9:45 pm:
    • I have a new blog entry inspired by my latest brush with jury duty, entitled, “Avarice.”
  4. November 20, 9:51 am:
  5. November 20, 12:07 pm:
    • I am migrating my main site to WordPress. I’m doing this for several reasons:
      1. I’m really getting pissed off at Drupal. The current version is 8; I’m running 7, largely because the conversion to 8 is not feasible. There is no explanation or justification for making this difficult or impossible. But at some point, they’ll stop supporting the old version and I don’t want to wait until that day to make needed changes.
      2. At one point, when I was particularly alarmed about my housing situation, I migrated the site to a host where I had to make some sacrifices. These sacrifices are problematic and appear irreversible.
      3. I live in a relatively rural area. As I write this, the Camp Fire in Butte County, which destroyed Paradise and has been licking at Chico, is still burning and we are, something like 100 miles away, still breathing the smoke. The simple fact is that in California, we are having larger fires than when I was a kid, many more of them, and over a longer fire season. It’s probably safe to say that if an area not immediately along the coast has not burned already, it is at considerable risk of doing so. All of my research materials are archived on this site.
      4. The procedure for updating the software is clunky as hell. I had a process for automating this, but it depends on a command-line client that has mysteriously stopped working on my server.

      The new site will be disunitedstates.com. If it’s not too incredibly unreasonable, I’ll set up redirects from parts-unknown.org.

    • Articles I mean to archive:

Brexit

Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “U.K.’s Brexit Deal in Jeopardy as Senior Ministers Resign,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-officials-to-meet-to-approve-draft-brexit-deal-1542269504

Tom Rees, “Pound suffers biggest plunge since 2017 election as global stocks slide amid Brexit worries,” Telegraph, November 15, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/11/15/city-backs-pms-brexit-deal-pound-left-limbo-rebellion/


James Comey

Paul Waldman, “Trump’s battle to destroy the Mueller investigation is officially doomed,” Washington Post, November 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/16/trumps-battle-to-destroy-the-mueller-investigation-is-officially-doomed/


Words I should probably never use

Clifford Thompson, “Dear white people: Stop using the term ‘Uncle Tom,’” Washington Post, November 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/dear-white-people-stop-using-the-term-uncle-tom/2018/11/15/8a68e9c0-e84e-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html


  1. [1]Clifford Thompson, “Dear white people: Stop using the term ‘Uncle Tom,’” Washington Post, November 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/dear-white-people-stop-using-the-term-uncle-tom/2018/11/15/8a68e9c0-e84e-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html
  2. [2]George Monbiot, “Hopeless Realism,” November 19, 2018, https://www.monbiot.com/2018/11/19/hopeless-realism/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “‘We have found the enemy, and he is us’ — and our system of social organization,” March 6, 2013, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2013/03/06/we-have-found-enemy-and-he-us-and-our-system-social-organization

Democrats should be ashamed of themselves, but then maybe they have more in common with their opponents than either would like to admit

There is a new research journal entry, “Unethical research.” It directly relates to my employment situation.


Updates

  1. Originally published, November 7, 10:15 pm.
  2. November 8, 5:43 am:
    • Ick. I deeply distrust survey methodology these days.[1] And of course the Wall Street Journal thinks the Democrats are moving to the left, a characterization that should only be accepted when we see party leadership acting decisively—rhetoric is woefully insufficient—to repudiate their decades-long practice of embracing and extending neoliberal and neoconservative policy. But for all their profound flaws, surveys may be the only hint of what’s going on with Polarization in the 2018 midterm election results and the Journal, apart from its own ideological bias, offers a pretty good analysis of the available survey data, such as it is.[2]
  3. November 8, 1:45 pm:
    • Niall Stanage explains why Donald Trump’s imagination that he won the midterms isn’t completely off base.[3]
  4. November 8, 11:24 pm:
    • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration had been too hasty in cancelling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.[4] (Unauthorized Migrants)
    • Asylum seekers must present their claims at a legal port of entry under a new rule to be promulgated by the Trump administration.[5] (Unauthorized Migrants)
  5. November 9, 7:01 am:
    • I’m a little late picking this up: Lawfare has weighed in on Jeff Sessions’ firing—er, umm, and this is an important distinction: resignation—and replacement with Matt Whitaker.[6]
  6. November 10, 1:42 am:
    • You need some good news. I need some good news. So here’s Benjamin Wittes to reassure us that the Robert Mueller investigation will be just fine. He’s actually refuting a somewhat more pessimistic view, which is one way of pointing out that his view is not the only one on this topic. Time will tell, but he argues well.[7]
    • Back to bad news. I really haven’t been tracking the situation with U.S.-Cuba relations since Donald Trump came to power. In an avalanche of not merely bad but absolutely appalling news, it’s been one more thing than I can bear to focus on. But Pro Publica has just come out with an investigative report on mysterious sounds that apparently make diplomats and their dependents ill.[8]
    • Fucking hell. Click here for a video of somebody driving out of the Camp Fire in Butte County. I don’t care how you rationalize it: This took some nerve. Full stop.
  7. November 10, 12:23 pm:
  8. November 11, 7:46 am:
    • It’s Donald Trump being an ass again, tweeting an allegation that California wildlands fires are the result of forest mismanagement. Firefighters point out that not all such fires occur in forests, that most California forests are under federal management,[9] and that “[i]t is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”[10] The firefighters aren’t talking about climate change but the simple fact is that, in stark contrast to when I was a child, we are having many, many more dry years than wet ones. The smoke being produced from the Camp Fire in Butte County, quite a ways away from the San Francisco Bay Area, is blanketing the Bay Area (including where I live in the North Bay, figure 2), reducing air quality to unhealthy levels, and drastically reducing visibility; to have such a fire this late in the year is simply unheard of. (Wildfires)
  9. November 12, 10:11 am:
  10. November 12, 10:12 pm:
    • Added a pretty picture (figure 3) at the bottom of this post.
  11. November 13, 2:25 pm:
    • I have now had two conversations with folks at the Census Bureau about the concerns I express in my research journal entry, “Unethical research.” These conversations go some ways toward allaying my concerns. I am considering what has been said.
  12. November 13, 11:51 pm:
    • I have made my final decision about the Census Bureau job. I am resigning. For details, see the research journal entry, “Unethical research.”
    • There is news I have not yet archived. But for now, I’m going to bed. I’ll get to it tomorrow.
  13. November 15, 01:15 am:
    • I’m not sure how much a taxonomy actually helps, but Uber has come up with 21 categories of Sexual Misconduct[11]
    • Donald Trump’s idiocy on California Wildfires continues to reverberate.[12]
  14. November 15, 7:53 am:
    • Brexit is in a shambles, with Parliament unlikely to approve a deal[13] perceived (I think correctly) as “the worst of all worlds”[14] and also (again, I think correctly) as “the best deal Britain was ever going to get in the circumstances”[15] and as Theresa May faces a wave of cabinet resignations.[16] What has happened here is that neoliberals have prevailed despite the rebuke they should have received in the Brexit vote, as even Brexiteers want so-called “free” trade but want Britain “free” to negotiate its own “free” trade deals with the rest of the world at the same time that, politically, 1) the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland must remain open and 2) the United Kingdom must remain united.[17] If you look at the citations, here, you might notice some of them are months old. That’s because the problems really haven’t changed.
    • I should also point out, regarding claims that there was indeed a “blue wave” after all, that if you have to keep saying something is something, it probably isn’t that something. A number of races remain too close to call; that so many remained in dispute days after the election, ought to, but clearly does not, inspire more than a little humility in claims of “victory.”
  15. November 16, 01:16 am:
      Fintan O’Toole has a smart analysis of the unspoken conflicts that bedevil the politics of Brexit, in which politicians are betraying the people who voted for Brexit. First, there is an English nationalism that really doesn’t care how the problem of the Irish border is solved, whose loyalty is to England, rather than to the United Kingdom. Politicians, of course, like their “nation” united[18] because, to them, any break-up means a reduction in their power. Second, some politicians see Brexit as an opportunity not to duplicate let alone preserve European Union regulation, which is necessary for the proposed customs union, but rather as a continuation of the neoliberal project to reduce or eliminate regulation.[19] (This is a part I got at least partly wrong, at least in nuance: I had thought that the “remainers” were seeking to preserve so-called “free” trade as part of the neoliberal project of globalization.[20]) The public, it seems, isn’t nearly so keen on deregulation as these politicians.[21]
    • Six ministers have resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet over her Brexit agreement.[22]
    • U.S. authorities have filed a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, who has been holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy.[23]

Polarization

FireShot-Capture-21-Midterms-2018-Live-Election-Night-Resu_-https___www.newyorker.com_news_new

Fig. 1. House of Representatives results, as of November 7, 9:54 pm. New Yorker, fair use.

The 2018 midterm election results do not support any partisan imaginations of the U.S. election—including my own. And because of high turnout from bases on both left and right, these results are, perhaps, a better indication of the larger electorate than we’ve seen for a while, which makes it difficult to dismiss the really rather muddled picture that emerges.

First, and most easily dispensed with, this is no victory for Donald Trump. He can spin to his heart’s content,[24] but he lost the House of Representatives on an election he himself characterized as a referendum on him.[25]

Second, this was not a good night for progressives. As Matt Stoller noted on Twitter,

I’m not optimistic here. These are the same Democrats who were elected to bicameral control of Congress in 2006 with a mandate to get us the fuck out of Iraq but who turned around and enabled a continuation of that war. And then there’s the great Democrat god Barack Obama, who not only did not prosecute George W. Bush administration figures for war crimes, did not prosecute the bankers who precipitated the 2008 Financial Crisis, but embraced and extended the policies that enabled these crimes.

Bush left us with two intractable wars. Obama left us with many more. For crying out loud, even Richard Nixon, whom I grew up thinking of as the epitome of evil, got us out of Vietnam.

These Democrats promise one thing, get elected, do the exact opposite, and I hope they burn in Hell.

Third, there was no “blue wave.” As somebody on CBS News put it, this was a “blue trickle.” There are other witty ways of putting it, but they’re really all getting at the same point: Against an amazingly repugnant president who draws us ever deeper than even the deepest pits of hell, Democrats performed amazingly poorly. Really, just as they had in 2016 when this thoroughly repugnant man was still only the Republican nominee.[26]

Dan Balz, “A split America reasserts its divisions in the midterm elections,” Washington Post, November 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-split-america-reassert-its-divisions-in-the-midterm-elections/2018/11/06/31475b7c-dfa9-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html

Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook, “What the Midterm Election Shows: America’s Two Parties Live In Divergent Worlds,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-the-midterm-election-shows-americas-two-parties-live-in-divergent-worlds-1541634743


James Comey

Natasha Bertrand, “What Sessions’s Resignation Means for Robert Mueller,” Atlantic, November 7, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/11/bob-mueller-jeff-sessions-firing-matthew-whitaker/575248/

Mikhaila Fogel et al., “Jeff Sessions’s Firing, Matthew Whitaker’s Rise and the Attorney General’s Role In the Mueller Investigation,” Lawfare, November 7, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/jeff-sessionss-firing-matthew-whitakers-rise-and-attorney-generals-role-mueller-investigation

Chris Megerian and Del Quentin Wilber, “Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump’s request, setting up likely clash over the Russia investigation,” Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-sessions-resigns-20181107-story.html

Benjamin Wittes, “It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller,” Atlantic, November 9, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/10-reasons-whitaker-might-not-foil-mueller/575467/


Donald Trump

Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein, “Defiant Trump declares victory, battles press in wake of midterms,” CNN, November 7, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/donald-trump-midterm-election-news-conference/index.html

Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms


Scott Walker

Tim Craig, “Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor and former GOP presidential candidate, loses reelection bid,” Washington Post, October 7, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-expected-to-pick-up-governorships-but-many-races-are-too-close-to-call/2018/11/06/ed07bf48-dfa7-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html


Palestine

In Binyamin Netanyahu’s eyes, the ability of a country to impose ethnic cleansing justifies that ethnic cleansing. Yes, he really said this.[27] I suppose this is completely consistent with the Israeli government’s notion that it’s unfair to uphold Israel to any kind of moral standard because 1) its neighbors are (allegedly) worse, and 2) other countries (allegedly) do worse.

Just a reminder—I guess one I have to offer: Israel was founded as a response to ethnic cleansing, otherwise known as genocide. Might didn’t make right then but I guess it does now.

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu says ‘occupation is baloney’ if a country is powerful enough – reports,” November 6, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-occupation-is-baloney-if-a-country-is-powerful-enough-reports/


Unauthorized Migrants

Robert Barnes, “Trump can’t immediately end DACA, appeals court panel says, setting up Supreme Court fight,” Washington Post, November 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trump-cant-end-daca-appeals-court-says-setting-up-supreme-court-fight/2018/11/08/4a76f928-e386-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html

Jordan Fabian, “Trump moves to restrict asylum claims at border,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415800-trump-moves-to-restrict-asylum-claims-at-border


Cuba

Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella, “The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington,” Pro Publica, November 9, 2018, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-strange-case-of-american-diplomats-in-cuba-as-the-mystery-deepens-so-do-divisions-in-washington


Wildfires

IMG_20181109_114524-cropped
Fig. 2. From a parking lot in downtown Sebastopol, looking toward the Post Office, November 9, 11:45 am. This is smoke, not fog or water-laden cloudiness, from the Camp Fire, in Butte County, over 100 miles away. The smoke was worse the following day.

Cassie Dickman, “Firefighters call Trump tweet on California wildfires ‘reckless and insulting,’” Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221486490.html

Andrea Germanos, “California Wildfires Hit Grim Record Amid Trump’s Clueless Tweets,” Truthout, November 13, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/california-wildfires-hit-grim-record-amid-trumps-clueless-tweets/

Matthew Hurteau, “What Trump gets wrong about wildfires, by a fire scientist,” Guardian, November 14, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/13/donald-trump-wildfires-science-forest-management


Sexual Misconduct

Victoria Song, “Uber Releases a List of 21 Types of Sexual Misconduct Reported by Riders and Drivers,” Gizmodo, November 13, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/uber-releases-a-list-of-21-types-of-sexual-misconduct-r-1830405376


Brexit

Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Theresa May vows Brexit will happen despite a wave of resignations over her plan to exit the European Union,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/britains-brexit-secretary-resigns-over-theresa-mays-plan-to-exit-european-union/2018/11/15/7163f2a2-e859-11e8-8449-1ff263609a31_story.html

Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “U.K.’s Brexit Deal in Jeopardy as Senior Ministers Resign,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-officials-to-meet-to-approve-draft-brexit-deal-1542269504


Julian Assange

Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, “Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-has-been-charged-prosecutors-reveal-in-inadvertent-court-filing/2018/11/15/9902e6ba-98bd-48df-b447-3e2a4638f05a_story.html



Fig. 3. With all of Donald Trump’s bullshit generally, his bullshit about climate change in particular, and his bullshit about California Wildfires in particular, I was needing a reminder of what we’re actually talking about. I took this shot on November 12 at 4:32 pm from along Highway 20, between Willits and Fort Bragg.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “On a nine percent response rate,” May 28, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2017/05/28/nine-percent-response-rate
  2. [2]Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook, “What the Midterm Election Shows: America’s Two Parties Live In Divergent Worlds,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-the-midterm-election-shows-americas-two-parties-live-in-divergent-worlds-1541634743
  3. [3]Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms
  4. [4]Robert Barnes, “Trump can’t immediately end DACA, appeals court panel says, setting up Supreme Court fight,” Washington Post, November 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trump-cant-end-daca-appeals-court-says-setting-up-supreme-court-fight/2018/11/08/4a76f928-e386-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html
  5. [5]Jordan Fabian, “Trump moves to restrict asylum claims at border,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415800-trump-moves-to-restrict-asylum-claims-at-border
  6. [6]Mikhaila Fogel et al., “Jeff Sessions’s Firing, Matthew Whitaker’s Rise and the Attorney General’s Role In the Mueller Investigation,” Lawfare, November 7, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/jeff-sessionss-firing-matthew-whitakers-rise-and-attorney-generals-role-mueller-investigation
  7. [7]Benjamin Wittes, “It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller,” Atlantic, November 9, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/10-reasons-whitaker-might-not-foil-mueller/575467/
  8. [8]Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella, “The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington,” Pro Publica, November 9, 2018, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-strange-case-of-american-diplomats-in-cuba-as-the-mystery-deepens-so-do-divisions-in-washington
  9. [9]Cassie Dickman, “Firefighters call Trump tweet on California wildfires ‘reckless and insulting,’” Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221486490.html
  10. [10]Brian Rice, quoted in Cassie Dickman, “Firefighters call Trump tweet on California wildfires ‘reckless and insulting,’” Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221486490.html
  11. [11]Victoria Song, “Uber Releases a List of 21 Types of Sexual Misconduct Reported by Riders and Drivers,” Gizmodo, November 13, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/uber-releases-a-list-of-21-types-of-sexual-misconduct-r-1830405376
  12. [12]Andrea Germanos, “California Wildfires Hit Grim Record Amid Trump’s Clueless Tweets,” Truthout, November 13, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/california-wildfires-hit-grim-record-amid-trumps-clueless-tweets/; Matthew Hurteau, “What Trump gets wrong about wildfires, by a fire scientist,” Guardian, November 14, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/13/donald-trump-wildfires-science-forest-management
  13. [13]Daniel Capurro, “The Prime Minister faces the Commons this morning to begin the desperate fight to sell her Brexit deal,” Telegraph, November 15, 2018, http://m.email3.telegraph.co.uk/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40Gao0FLZOFXl4rGmIxTuTFTc4iOtJNEzyprtXMR8lqSc%3D&WT.mc_id=e_DM875719&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FrB_New&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FrB_New_2018_11_15&utm_campaign=DM875719
  14. [14]Steven Swinford, “DUP threatens to bring down Theresa May’s Government if it crosses Customs Union red line,” Telegraph, April 26, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/25/dup-threatens-bring-theresa-mays-government-climbs-brexit/
  15. [15]Daniel Capurro, “The Prime Minister faces the Commons this morning to begin the desperate fight to sell her Brexit deal,” Telegraph, November 15, 2018, http://m.email3.telegraph.co.uk/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40Gao0FLZOFXl4rGmIxTuTFTc4iOtJNEzyprtXMR8lqSc%3D&WT.mc_id=e_DM875719&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FrB_New&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FrB_New_2018_11_15&utm_campaign=DM875719
  16. [16]William Booth and Karla Adam, “Theresa May vows Brexit will happen despite a wave of resignations over her plan to exit the European Union,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/britains-brexit-secretary-resigns-over-theresa-mays-plan-to-exit-european-union/2018/11/15/7163f2a2-e859-11e8-8449-1ff263609a31_story.html
  17. [17]Michael R. Bloomberg, “A Brexit Choice Between Bad and Worse,” Bloomberg, April 27, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-27/brexit-michael-bloomberg-on-the-customs-union-choice; Gavin Cordon, “Brexit: Theresa May warns EU exit may not happen ‘at all’ if rebel Tories don’t play ball,” Independent, July 15, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-brexit-tory-rebels-trade-chequers-donald-trump-a8447776.html; Sam Knight, “Theresa May’s Impossible Choice,” New Yorker, July 23, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/30/theresa-mays-impossible-choice/amp
  18. [18]Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/
  19. [19]Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/
  20. [20]David Benfell, “The ‘Brexit’ vote may signify the end of the illusion of ‘progress,’” Not Housebroken, June 26, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/06/26/the-brexit-vote-may-signify-the-end-of-the-illusion-of-progress/
  21. [21]Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/
  22. [22]Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “U.K.’s Brexit Deal in Jeopardy as Senior Ministers Resign,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-officials-to-meet-to-approve-draft-brexit-deal-1542269504
  23. [23]Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, “Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-has-been-charged-prosecutors-reveal-in-inadvertent-court-filing/2018/11/15/9902e6ba-98bd-48df-b447-3e2a4638f05a_story.html
  24. [24]Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms
  25. [25]Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein, “Defiant Trump declares victory, battles press in wake of midterms,” CNN, November 7, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/donald-trump-midterm-election-news-conference/index.html
  26. [26]Dan Balz, “A split America reasserts its divisions in the midterm elections,” Washington Post, November 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-split-america-reassert-its-divisions-in-the-midterm-elections/2018/11/06/31475b7c-dfa9-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html; Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms
  27. [27]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu says ‘occupation is baloney’ if a country is powerful enough – reports,” November 6, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-occupation-is-baloney-if-a-country-is-powerful-enough-reports/

Donald Trump wants it both ways. In other news….

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 4, 11:29 am.
  2. November 4, 10:45 pm:

Unauthorized migration

As I explained in my dissertation,[1] the first thing and most important thing to understand about people fleeing Central America is that the conditions that drive them north are, in significant part, the product of U.S. policy. The not very “new” drug gangs that now merit the Wall Street Journal’s attention[2] and that now supplement but do not replace the cartels are a nimble response to the drug war’s closing of some transit routes. As the Journal notes, they have dramatically increased the violence in Central American villages—and certainly not just in El Salvador. The Journal is also considerably less anxious to acknowledge the North American Free Trade Agreement’s and Central American Free Trade Agreement’s ruin of Mexican and Central American farmers, driving entire communities into dire poverty, which these people also flee.

Donald Trump and his crowd are thus trying to have it both ways: They want to preserve the policies that push people north but have the people remain in intolerable conditions. They treat an arduous and highly dangerous trek as if it is too easy by seeking to build a border wall and sending in the military[3] but do nothing about the desperation that drives these people.

And as for the militia,[4] they should have joined or stayed in the military, where they can have the shoot-em-up adventures they so desperately long for and which the U.S. continues to enthusiastically pursue.

Philip Bump, “Trump’s 15,000 border troops would top the number stationed in 160 countries,” Washington Post, November 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/01/trumps-border-troops-would-top-number-stationed-countries/

CBS News, “Mexican official offers buses to migrant caravan to go to Mexico City or ‘to the place they wish,'” November 2, 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/migrant-caravan-veracruz-miguel-angel-yunes-offers-transportation-today-2018-11-2/

Robbie Whelan, “Why Are People Fleeing Central America? A New Breed of Gangs Is Taking Over,” Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pay-or-die-extortion-economy-drives-latin-americas-murder-crisis-1541167619

Mary Lee Grant and Nick Miroff, “U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms,” Washington Post, November 3, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-militia-groups-head-to-border-stirred-by-trumps-call-to-arms/2018/11/03/ff96826c-decf-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  2. [2]Robbie Whelan, “Why Are People Fleeing Central America? A New Breed of Gangs Is Taking Over,” Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pay-or-die-extortion-economy-drives-latin-americas-murder-crisis-1541167619
  3. [3]Philip Bump, “Trump’s 15,000 border troops would top the number stationed in 160 countries,” Washington Post, November 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/01/trumps-border-troops-would-top-number-stationed-countries/
  4. [4]Mary Lee Grant and Nick Miroff, “U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms,” Washington Post, November 3, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-militia-groups-head-to-border-stirred-by-trumps-call-to-arms/2018/11/03/ff96826c-decf-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html

I have been to hell, otherwise known as Southern California, and back (and no, it’s not that bad, but how could I pass up that joke?)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 27, 8:41 pm.
  2. October 28, 11:19 am:
    • Something I let pass below was the xenophobic and extreme right-wing violence—yet more violence—that has occurred recently. There have been three such incidents—bombs sent to some of Donald Trump’s prominent opponents, a shooting of two people (Blacks) at a Kroger store, and an attack on a synagogue that killed 11 people.[1] I generally let stories like this pass. The U.S. is an extraordinarily violent and vicious society, due to alienation, due to a style of entertainment that promotes violence and Hierarchically Invidious Monistic thinking, due to the identification of a significant part of the population with guns, due to empire and its legacy. I see such stories and I don’t really see them as news. You may deny that “this is who we are,” but the plain and simple fact is that it is. I don’t like it but I am powerless to change it. So I have to accept it. (Yet more violence)
  3. October 28, 2:15 pm:
  4. October 29, 7:47 am:
    • Finger-pointing blah over the recent violence[2] even though this does absolutely nothing about root causes.
  5. October 29, 12:18 pm:
    • Is it any wonder chronological children can't wait for fucking Christmas when retailer children put up Christmas decorations before Halloween?
      Is it any wonder chronological children can’t wait for fucking Christmas when retailer children put up Christmas decorations before Halloween?
  6. October 29, 2018, 7:26 pm:
    • Paul Waldman has another scathing review of Donald Trump’s and his followers’ ‘victimhood.’[3] (Yet more violence)
    • There’s been more fun on Wall Street.[4]
  7. October 30, 7:18 am:
    • Words fail me. I cannot even utter what Mike Pence did.[5] (Yet more violence)
    • Moved Jennifer Rubin’s column on Donald Trump’s and his supporters’ ‘victimhood’[6] from Donald Trump to Yet more violence. Also, this post had misclassified Paul Waldman’s column[7] under Donald Trump when it had actually been archived under Yet more violence.
    • I don’t know who is telling Donald Trump he can end birthright citizenship with an executive order[8] but I’m sure wondering how they manage to mangle the 14th amendment to reach that conclusion. The amendment begins, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”[9] The only weasel words I see there are about being “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” but if they’re here, they’re subject to that jurisdiction. Unless, that is, Trump wants to not enforce the law against unauthorized migrants. (Unauthorized migration)
  8. October 30, 2018, 11:10 am:
  9. October 30, 2:19 pm:
    • Aaron Blake thinks Donald Trump’s claimed intention to abolish birthright citizenship by executive order is a “cynical ploy that, even if it’s attempted, will likely fail. And it probably won’t even be attempted.” His logic boils down to that this is the kind of thing that idiot authoritarian populists, whom Trump wants to motivate to vote, slobber over.[12] My guess is that Blake is right. (Unauthorized migration)
    • Donald Trump is a black hole. There is no limit to the depths of his depravity. The latest? “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims [of sexual assault] about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.”[13] (James Comey)
  10. October 30, 3:40 pm:
    • I neglected to mention in the last update that I am still not caught up.
  11. October 30, 10:52 pm:
    • Now, I’m caught up.

It’s been a week. Just as my server was having a crisis, I had to leave to go to Southern California. Now that I’m back, I’ve almost got things back to a tolerable condition.

In the meantime, I have three new blog entries:

  1. On understanding the ‘other’
  2. Musings of a San Francisco kid
  3. This is not just extremist right-wing violence. It is our violence. And we must own it.

And my patience with my credit union is running very, very short.

I had a transaction declined for absolutely no good reason. It wasn’t that I had insufficient funds and, it turns out, it wasn’t that they had suspected my Southern California activity was fraudulent.

Though my patience with so-called “fraud protection” ran out a while ago. I do yell at customer service representatives on the phone these days and I have been no less scathing in my communication with the credit union (they close down their customer service phone lines at night and on weekends so I couldn’t actually yell at them). I have been hit with these holds numerous times, presumably because my life does not—nor would I ever in a million years want it to—fall into nice neat predictable patterns except over a relatively, but apparently long enough to fool their artificial idiocy, short periods of time.

I need to be clear here: Declines for scratching-their-scrotum reasons are absolutely unacceptable. They are intolerably rude. They are inexcusable. And don’t try to tell me they’re protecting me against fraud when all I see, and see way too often, are false positives, which means I have no evidence whatsoever of true positives, but considerable reason to doubt they can tell a false positive from a true positive. All they’re really doing is keeping me from money I have a right to access, just as I need to access it. What this really amounts to is another way of picking on the poor, who are less likely to have access to alternative payment methods.

Right now it looks like they just have an incredibly incompetent Information Technology department. Among other things, they hate Android. Their Android app simply sucks in so many ways that I’ve uninstalled it and refuse to use it. They failed to enable near field communication (NFC) payments on Google Pay for Android devices for years after it worked on Apple Pay and didn’t get on the ball for at least several months after claiming it worked (it does now work on my Wear OS smartwatch).

And again, these assholes are making huge salaries while I remain poor. I should dump them for their arrogance alone. As it is, I’m getting closer to making that decision simply because with their IT problems they simply aren’t a reliable place to keep what little money I have.


#MeToo

Kat Rosenfield, “Sarah Silverman Tweaks #MeToo,” Tablet, October 26, 2018, https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/273331/sarah-silverman-tweaks-metoo


Brett Kavanaugh

Seung Min Kim and Elise Viebeck, “Grassley refers Avenatti and Swetnick to Justice for a criminal probe,” Washington Post, October 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/grassley-refers-avenatti-and-swetnick-to-justice-for-a-criminal-probe/2018/10/25/75ef7a02-d879-11e8-9559-712cbf726d1c_story.html


Wall Street

Thomas Heath, “Dow plunges more than 600 points in another day of losses, officially wiping out its 2018 gains,” Washington Post, October 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/us-stocks-whipsawed-in-fresh-wave-of-volatility/2018/10/24/b9b75066-d7a2-11e8-a10f-b51546b10756_story.html

Amrith Ramkumar, “Markets Moving in Lockstep Are Latest Warning Sign,” October 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-moving-in-lockstep-are-latest-warning-sign-1540382401

Thomas Heath, “U.S. stocks skid deeper on tech sell-off,” Washington Post, October 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/us-stocks-skid-again-on-tech-sell-off/2018/10/26/cf9607f4-d920-11e8-aeb7-ddcad4a0a54e_story.html

Amrith Ramkumar, “U.S. Stocks Slump on Tech Worries,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-stocks-resume-declines-1540541081

Thomas Heath, “Embattled tech stocks drag down rest of market in late-day plunge,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/embattled-tech-stocks-drag-rest-of-market-down-too/2018/10/29/6dc8a230-dbae-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html


Unauthorized migration

Kevin Sieff and Joshua Partlow, “Why Mexico isn’t stopping the migrant caravan,” Washington Post, October 22, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/why-mexico-isnt-stopping-the-migrant-caravan/2018/10/22/0a10c886-d608-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html

Kevin Sieff and Joshua Partlow, “How the migrant caravan became so big and why it’s continuing to grow,” Washington Post, October 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/how-the-migrant-caravan-became-so-big-and-why-its-continuing-to-grow/2018/10/23/88abf1a6-d631-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html

Aaron Blake, “Trump’s transparent, frivolous ploy on birthright citizenship,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/30/trumps-transparent-frivolous-ploy-birthright-citizenship/

John Bowden, “Trump says he will sign executive order banning birthright citizenship,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/413770-trump-says-he-will-sign-executive-order-banning-birthright


Student loans

Annie Nova, “These Americans fled the country to escape their giant student debt,” CNBC, October 27, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/26/he-moved-to-a-jungle-in-india-to-escape-his-student-debt–and-hes-not-alone-.html


Yet more violence

Jennifer Rubin, “President Trump, ever the victim,” Washington Post, October 26, 2018,https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/26/president-trump-ever-the-victim/

Ray Sanchez and Melissa Gray, “72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects,” CNN, October 28, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/28/us/72-hours-of-hate-in-america/index.html

Robert Costa and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump, GOP defiant amid allegations that incendiary rhetoric contributed to climate of violence,” Washington Post, October 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-gop-defiant-amid-allegations-that-incendiary-rhetoric-contributed-to-climate-of-violence/2018/10/28/eecd91f6-dae1-11e8-b732-3c72cbf131f2_story.html

Alana Newhouse, “American Yahrzeit,” Tablet, October 29, 2018, https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/273679/american-yahrzeit

Paul Waldman, “How Trump and Republicans wield the politics of victimhood,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/29/how-trump-and-republicans-wield-the-politics-of-victimhood

Moriah Balingit, Avi Selk, and Mark Berman, “Shooting victim’s family shuns President Trump in Pittsburgh as top officials decline to join him,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/despite-calls-stay-away-trump-heads-pittsburgh-after-synagogue-massacre/

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah,’” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/honoring-pittsburgh-synagogue-victims-mike-pence-appears-with-rabbi-who-preaches-jesus-is-messiah/


James Comey

Emily Birnbaum, “Special counsel asks FBI to investigate conspiracy against Mueller,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/413873-fbi-asked-to-investigate-claims-women-were-offered-money-to-allege


  1. [1]Ray Sanchez and Melissa Gray, “72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects,” CNN, October 28, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/28/us/72-hours-of-hate-in-america/index.html
  2. [2]Robert Costa and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump, GOP defiant amid allegations that incendiary rhetoric contributed to climate of violence,” Washington Post, October 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-gop-defiant-amid-allegations-that-incendiary-rhetoric-contributed-to-climate-of-violence/2018/10/28/eecd91f6-dae1-11e8-b732-3c72cbf131f2_story.html
  3. [3]Paul Waldman, “How Trump and Republicans wield the politics of victimhood,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/29/how-trump-and-republicans-wield-the-politics-of-victimhood
  4. [4]Thomas Heath, “Embattled tech stocks drag down rest of market in late-day plunge,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/embattled-tech-stocks-drag-rest-of-market-down-too/2018/10/29/6dc8a230-dbae-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html
  5. [5]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah,’” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/honoring-pittsburgh-synagogue-victims-mike-pence-appears-with-rabbi-who-preaches-jesus-is-messiah/
  6. [6]Jennifer Rubin, “President Trump, ever the victim,” Washington Post, October 26, 2018,https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/26/president-trump-ever-the-victim/
  7. [7]Paul Waldman, “How Trump and Republicans wield the politics of victimhood,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/29/how-trump-and-republicans-wield-the-politics-of-victimhood
  8. [8]John Bowden, “Trump says he will sign executive order banning birthright citizenship,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/413770-trump-says-he-will-sign-executive-order-banning-birthright
  9. [9]U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1.
  10. [10]Alana Newhouse, “American Yahrzeit,” Tablet, October 29, 2018, https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/273679/american-yahrzeit
  11. [11]Moriah Balingit, Avi Selk, and Mark Berman, “Shooting victim’s family shuns President Trump in Pittsburgh as top officials decline to join him,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/despite-calls-stay-away-trump-heads-pittsburgh-after-synagogue-massacre/
  12. [12]Aaron Blake, “Trump’s transparent, frivolous ploy on birthright citizenship,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/30/trumps-transparent-frivolous-ploy-birthright-citizenship/
  13. [13]Peter Carr, quoted in Emily Birnbaum, “Special counsel asks FBI to investigate conspiracy against Mueller,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/413873-fbi-asked-to-investigate-claims-women-were-offered-money-to-allege

Idiocy: Why they get the big bucks

There are two new blog posts:


Twitter isn’t really the place for lengthy ranting. The post-length limitation and the fact that posts can’t be edited both make it dubious. So I don’t do it often. I did it Wednesday.

There are a few updates here:

  1. AAA took its own failures as a reason to shut off recurring payments. Which is simply a non sequitur, but to them, this is logic. My guess—I don’t know because they haven’t actually mentioned the expiration date like anybody else does in this situation—is that the card information is out of date. It’s my debit card; a little, but not very long before the expiration, they send me a new one. When I activate it, the old one immediately becomes invalid. If they’d simply include the expiration date with the notice of failure, it would help a lot. Instead, they offer a generic message: Their site is currently unable to process payments.
  2. Uber requires its “partners” (the euphemism for employees whom they’re trying not to acknowledge are employees[1]) to occasionally submit a selfie when they try to go on line or even while driving for verification. This supposedly happens at random and there is no alternative procedure. So now I’m supposed to drive 70 miles out of my way to the nearest “Greenlight” location on the slim hope that they’ll be able to sort out their malfunctioning app there. (Lyft does not do this.)
  3. Meanwhile, Lyft sends me a note informing me that someone gave me a low rating on cleanliness. Which is absurd. The car is spotless. I have it washed nearly every day and the interior cleaned about twice a week on monthly plans I have with not one, but two, car wash places.
  4. And when I composed the twitter rant, I forgot to mention $EX-EMPLOYER, who keeps wanting to know if I’ll come to work today, when I have repeatedly informed them that I can’t plug the piece of shit GPS tracker that they require into my OBD2 port because it wipes critical safety related settings on my car. We’re only talking about minor things here like braking and traction control. As the rainy season approaches. My mechanic and dealer have both informed me that plugging things into OBD2 ports is unsafe. The relevant regulation only requires GPS tracking, owned by the company, not the driver, that can promptly locate the vehicle and must be attached to the vehicle. It says nothing about the OBD2 port, but $EX-EMPLOYER insists this is the only solution.

Understand the people who make these decisions are pulling down six and seven figures, if not more. But I have to be poor.

My fury knows no limits.


  1. [1]City Attorney of San Francisco, “Herrera investigates Uber, Lyft over driver pay and benefits,” PR Newswire, May 29, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/herrera-investigates-uber-lyft-over-driver-pay-and-benefits-300655892.html; Lydia DePillis, “California ruling puts pressure on Uber, Lyft and other gig economy employers,” CNN, May 1, 2018,http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/01/news/economy/california-gig-employer-ruling/index.html; Bryan Menegus, “San Francisco Subpoenas Uber and Lyft for Proof Drivers Aren’t Employees,” Gizmodo, May 29, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-and-lyft-for-proof-drivers-1826398148; Sam Schechner, “Uber Suffers Setback as U.K. Court Rules Its Drivers Should Have Workers’ Rights,” Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-loses-appeal-against-u-k-ruling-on-drivers-rights-1510313218; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco subpoenas Uber, Lyft on driver classification,” Reuters, May 29, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ridehailing-sanfrancisco/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-lyft-on-driver-classification-idUSKCN1IU2IX