Benny Gantz fails

Israel

Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash, “Challenger Benny Gantz fails to form Israeli government, deepening political crisis,” Washington Post, November 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/challenger-benny-gantz-fails-to-form-israeli-government-deepening-political-crisis/2019/11/20/9e6da19c-0b14-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html


Donald Trump

Jeremy Diamond, “The White House shifts description of Trump’s visit to Walter Reed,” CNN, November 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/politics/donald-trump-hospital-visit-white-house/index.html


Pacific Gas and Electric

Mary Fricker, “Exploring options for PG&E’s future,” Sonoma West Times and News, November 20, 2019, http://www.sonomawest.com/sonoma_west_times_and_news/news/exploring-options-for-pg-e-s-future/article_cdccdf26-0bc2-11ea-a06f-1bf6a8868cad.html


Endless, endless war

War

There is a new blog post entitled, “Raw, naked power.”

Simon Jenkins, “The US and Britain face no existential threat. So why do their wars go on?” Guardian, November 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/15/britain-and-us-wars-conflicts-middle-east


Julian Assange

Karla Adam, “Sweden drops alleged rape investigation against Julian Assange of WikiLeaks,” Washington Post, November 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/sweden-drops-alleged-rape-investigation-against-julian-assange-of-wikileaks/2019/11/19/a0c4a9ae-0ad3-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html


Palestine

Michael Bachner and Jacob Magid, “Settler leaders call for West Bank annexation after US shifts stance,” Times of Israel, November 18, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/settler-leaders-call-for-west-bank-annexation-after-us-shifts-stance/


Jeffrey Epstein

I’m not seeing much explanation on the conspiracy charge.[1]

Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Sadie Gurman, “Jeffrey Epstein’s Jail Guards Charged With Conspiracy, Records Falsification,” Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jeffrey-epsteins-jail-guards-charged-11574181201


  1. [1]Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Sadie Gurman, “Jeffrey Epstein’s Jail Guards Charged With Conspiracy, Records Falsification,” Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jeffrey-epsteins-jail-guards-charged-11574181201

The neoliberal party’s version of Donald Trump

So I’ve been in Pittsburgh over six months now and I’m doing a bit of reflection.

It is often pretty here, even now that a somewhat disappointing fall foliage season[1] (I did see some of the amazing sort that reassures me that no, painters weren’t just making that shit up) has given way to the pastel hues of brown and, still, some green. That spectacular fall foliage is indeed spectacular, but there is a peace that accompanies the present hues that I appreciate.

I am not missing California, even as there are the occasional place name reminders—street names and the like—that evoke places in California that I know, sometimes with irritating discrepancies in spelling. For the most part, the places I loved in California are so much a part of me that I need only think of them to be there.

The racism here is horrifyingly apparent.[2] I don’t know what to do about it beyond acknowledging that it is so apparent and condemning it utterly.

The conservatism is also apparent. Confederate battle flags can be seen in front yards. People fly “Trump 2020” flags along with their U.S. flags as if to affirm Donald Trump’s identification of the United States with himself.[3]


Fig. 1. Map of gratuitously displayed artillery that by its very locations, mostly seems to metaphorically target Blacks. Pictures here.

And even where Confederate battle flags, Gadsden (“Don’t Tread On Me”) flags, or Trump 2020 flags are absent, there is a hyper-patriotism that evokes a wonder at what folks here might be over-compensating for. U.S. flags are flown much more commonly here than in California and monuments to veterans and war dead are everywhere. Some of those banners commemorating (almost exclusively white) war dead that I thought were coming down are still up, seemingly permanently, in all their manifestly racist splendor. Government institutions, including those that should know better, routinely fly the black POW-MIA flags that evoke a conspiracy theory about missing Vietnam soldiers who do not and never did, in fact, exist.[4] This is by no means the patriotism of people who are confident in the country they stand for, but rather a loud, conformist affirmation that denies troubling questions, both historic and present.

But mostly, it has been good to reconnect with a place I had thought I might never see again, to explore it, and to really begin to learn my way around it.

How long that lasts is an open question. I do very much sense that I am on the frontier with what Colin Woodard calls “Greater Appalachia,”[5] which I associate with authoritarian populism,[6] and that is not a comfortable place for me to be. I also sense that it might be possible to soften that by moving a bit north. Even around North Park, streets start to widen, traffic seems a bit less maddening, and the gun nuttery seems less omnipresent.


Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg is an ass. Anyone who knows anything about the history of U.S.-Mexico relations knows that the last thing the U.S. can do is send its troops into Mexico. No Mexican government could agree to it; to do so would provoke a fury that would, at a bare minimum, bring that government down.

That, nonetheless, is what Buttigieg suggested.[7]

Mexicans have many grievances against the U.S. and little reason to trust U.S. troops on their soil. There’s the the U.S. invasion of 1846-1847, the subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) which ceded about half of Mexico’s territory to the U.S., and a rather lop-sided balance of everything that has happened since.[8] “Poor Mexico,” said Porfirio Díaz, who served seven terms as president of the country, “so far from God and so close to the United States!”[9] And I will never forget a remark I overheard while bringing some folks down from a concert at the Mountain Winery overlooking Saratoga, California: “It’s our land anyway!”

Daniel Kim, “Pete Buttigieg says he’s open to sending U.S. troops to Mexico,” Sacramento Bee, November 17, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article237463004.html


Hong Kong

What we see now in Hong Kong[10] is an extreme example of a phenomenon in which the rulers’ pretense of ruling by consent is exposed as a hollow facade. The imperative here is to rule, to control.

If it were otherwise, territories could be allowed to secede. But from Scotland, to Catalonia, to Hong Kong, it is never that way. Rulers will never permit it and will, if necessary, respond with force to prevent it.

John Lyons, Dan Strumpf, and Natasha Khan, “Hong Kong Police Try to Storm University in Bid to Retake Campus From Protesters,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-police-officer-shot-with-an-arrow-at-university-battle-11573981792


Ageism

Carol Hymowitz, “Older Workers Have a Big Secret: Their Age,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/older-workers-have-a-big-secret-their-age-11574046301


Palestine

Associated Press, “Trump changes decades-old U.S. position on illegality of Israeli settlements,” Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-11-18/u-s-softens-position-on-israeli-settlements


  1. [1]Mary Ann Thomas, “Leaf peeper season in full swing in the Laurel Highlands; Pittsburgh, Alle-Kiski Valley must wait,” TribLive, October 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/leaf-peeper-season-in-full-swing-in-the-laurel-highlands-pittsburgh-alle-kiski-valley-must-wait/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not HOusebroken, October 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/
  3. [3]Peter Nicholas, “Trump’s Dark Assumption About America,” Atlantic, October 30, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/10/trump-impeachment-2020/601048/
  4. [4]Rick Perlstein, The Invisible Bridge (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014).
  5. [5]Colin Woodard, American Nations (New York: Penguin, 2011).
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Barack Obama asks, ‘Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?’” Not Housebroken, November 4, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/11/04/barack-obama-asks-why-is-it-that-the-folks-that-won-the-last-election-are-so-mad-all-the-time/
  7. [7]Daniel Kim, “Pete Buttigieg says he’s open to sending U.S. troops to Mexico,” Sacramento Bee, November 17, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article237463004.html
  8. [8]Manuel G. Gonzales, Mexicanos (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 2000).
  9. [9]Wikiquote, s.v. “Porfirio Díaz,” last modified July 19, 2018, https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Porfirio_D%C3%ADaz
  10. [10]John Lyons, Dan Strumpf, and Natasha Khan, “Hong Kong Police Try to Storm University in Bid to Retake Campus From Protesters,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-police-officer-shot-with-an-arrow-at-university-battle-11573981792

Not the good kind of acid

There is a correction in the previous issue.


Ohio River

April Johnston, “‘That’s vinegar:’ The Ohio River’s history of contamination and progress made,” Environmental Health News, November 14, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/ohio-river-pollution-cleanup-2641307895.html


Hong Kong

The appearance of the People’s Liberation Army, that is, Mainland China’s army, on the streets of Hong Kong was relatively benign: They cleared roadblocks set up by protesters. But everyone understands the implicit threat of possible intervention.[1]

John Lyons, Steven Russolillo, and Eun-Young Jeong, “Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250


  1. [1]John Lyons, Steven Russolillo, and Eun-Young Jeong, “Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250

Capitalists are bad? You don’t say!

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 15, 7:43 pm.
  2. November 16, 2:58 pm:
    • Correction: Sonoma Clean Power does not own or operate the geothermal plant at the Geysers in Sonoma County. These wells are mostly operated by Calpine.[1] I have removed erroneous text. Also, it appears the Press Democrat story[2] over-emphasized the prospect that Sonoma Clean Power might acquire PG&E’s transmission network in Sonoma County. My mother tells me that the Board was concerned with the possibility that PG&E might be bought out or become something else, and what the ramifications for Sonoma Clean Power, as a subsidiary power seller, would be. There may be a story forthcoming.

Ayodhya

Sadanand Dhume, “Hindus Take a Muslim Site. What’s Next?” Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hindus-take-a-muslim-site-is-the-taj-mahal-next-11573775903


Pacific Gas and Electric

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.c
Fig. 1. Is this a picture to grab your attention or what? No, this isn’t a disaster about to happen. The original caption: “A helicopter uses a sprayer to wash high tension power line insulators after the Kincade Fire near Pepperwood Preserve.” This photograph is undated and uncredited but the other two in the article, also undated, are attributed to Kent Porter of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.[3] Fair use.

There is concern that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a company with a criminal record, will emerge from bankruptcy under control of a hedge fund.

“Nothing I can think of says, ‘screw the public interest’ like a hedge fund-owned public utility,” [Dave] King said.[4]

So Sonoma Clean Power may seek to acquire PG&E’s transmission network in the county.[5] It is unclear how this would mesh with the possibility that the state will take over the utility.[6]

While I’m no fan of PG&E, I also have to wonder to what extent public ownership will solve a problem whose causes lie not only with corporate malfeasance but also with the climate crisis.[7] And you know how you convince me you’re serious about the latter: Go vegan. Until you’ve done that, you’re really just playing around.

Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will


Gig economy

Imagine if other states, notably California, actually slapped Uber with a tax bill the way New Jersey has.[8]

Matthew Haag and Patrick McGeehan, “Uber Fined $649 Million for Saying Drivers Aren’t Employees,” New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/uber-new-jersey-drivers.html



  1. [1]Power Technology, “The Geysers Geothermal Field, California,” n.d., https://www.power-technology.com/projects/the-geysers-geothermal-california/
  2. [2]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  3. [3]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  4. [4]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  5. [5]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  6. [6]Katherine Blunt and Alejandro Lazo, “California Governor Threatens State Takeover of PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-threatens-state-takeover-of-pg-e-11572641749; Rebecca Smith, “California Mayors Join Campaign to Buy Out PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-mayors-join-campaign-to-make-pg-e-a-cooperative-11572955201
  7. [7]Kurtis Alexander, “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Scientists-see-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-13128585.php
  8. [8]Matthew Haag and Patrick McGeehan, “Uber Fined $649 Million for Saying Drivers Aren’t Employees,” New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/uber-new-jersey-drivers.html

By all means, let’s elect yet another fucking neoliberal

Neoliberalism

John Feffer traces the betrayal of workers from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Donald Trump’s election.[1] This dovetails with Melvin Leffler’s account of how the U.S. political mainstream drew the wrong message from that fall.[2] But by all means, let’s elect yet another fucking neoliberal. I am remembering what I wrote in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat. It still applies. The difference now is that the Republicans have caught the disease as well.

John Feffer, “Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce the Trump Presidency?” Foreign Policy in Focus, November 13, 2019, https://fpif.org/did-the-fall-of-the-berlin-wall-produce-the-trump-presidency/


  1. [1]John Feffer, “Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce the Trump Presidency?” Foreign Policy in Focus, November 13, 2019, https://fpif.org/did-the-fall-of-the-berlin-wall-produce-the-trump-presidency/
  2. [2]Melvyn P. Leffler, “The Free Market Did Not Bring Down the Berlin Wall,” Foreign Policy, November 7, 2014, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/11/07/berlin_wall_fall_25_anniversary_reagan_bush_germany_merkel_cold_war_free_market_capitalism

Might the border yet cease to be a “Constitution-free” zone?

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 13, 6:24 pm.
  2. November 13, 10:32 pm:
    • The full District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals declined Donald Trump’s request to rehear a case in which a panel ruled that Congress may have access to Trump’s tax records.[1]

Domestic spying

Darryl Coote, “Judge rules against indiscriminate searches of smartphones, laptops,” United Press International, November 13, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/11/13/Judge-rules-against-indiscriminate-searches-of-smartphones-laptops/1711573628714/


A point of order: According to Wikipedia, Pittsburgh International did not exist in 1911. “The new airport construction began in 1946 and opened in 1952.”[2] Unless a weather station existed at that site in 1911, the comparison is likely flawed. Their response:

It turns out they do have a methodology for dealing with this situation, although the Threadex page is, for me, uncomfortably vague about how they do it, and I would prefer to see specific information about how they extrapolate historical temperatures for the area now occupied by the Pittsburgh airport.[3]

So today, the roads were white from all the salt they’d laid down. Even though the roads were dry, it splattered onto the sides of my car.

It turns out that my car wash does an underbody treatment as part of their “ultimate” car wash. I have this on a monthly plan and I’ve been getting my car washed almost daily. Hopefully between that and the underbody treatment I got a few months ago, there won’t be too much corrosion. But this part is really sickening: I now know how all the horrible corrosion damage I’ve seen on cars around here got there. Even benign neglect would be catastrophic.


Donald Trump

Ann E. Marimow, “Congress can seek 8 years of Trump’s tax records, court order indicates,” Washington Post, November 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/congress-can-seek-eight-years-of-trumps-tax-records-appeals-court-rules/2019/11/13/b4fc8002-fc07-11e9-8906-ab6b60de9124_story.html


  1. [1]Ann E. Marimow, “Congress can seek 8 years of Trump’s tax records, court order indicates,” Washington Post, November 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/congress-can-seek-eight-years-of-trumps-tax-records-appeals-court-rules/2019/11/13/b4fc8002-fc07-11e9-8906-ab6b60de9124_story.html
  2. [2]Wikipedia, s.v. “Pittsburgh International Airport,” last modified November 12, 2019, 09:04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_International_Airport
  3. [3]“[Threadex] Project Background,” Applied Climate Information System, October 2, 2019, http://threadex.rcc-acis.org/help/about.html

Imperialism, neoliberalism, and the prospect of Donald Trump’s re-election


So I looked out my bedroom window this morning:
IMG_0041
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, November 12, 2019.

It actually fucking snowed. Not a lot, but nonetheless. And I still don’t have a real job.[1]IMG_0042
Fig. 2. My still faithful car, just before I plunged onto the salted roads. Let the corrosion begin. Photograph by author, November 12, 2019.

IMG_0043
Fig. 3. I have to admit, though, it is pretty. Photograph by author, November 12, 2019.

Naturally, the second ride of the day took me up Rialto Street, one of the steepest in Pittsburgh, and back down again (on a round trip). But it’d been salted, so apart from the fact the street is also ridiculously narrow, it wasn’t really a problem.

By mid-afternoon, however, I noticed that snow was sticking in some places, and not just the bridges (yes, they do indeed freeze first). I got an order on Mount Washington and a street was closed. Google’s alternative route took me up a steep alley and yes, I lost traction. Fortunately, I remembered something from a YouTube video about turning the wheels.[2] It’s a trick that wouldn’t have worked so well on a rear wheel drive car. But my car is front wheel drive and it worked great.

As usual, the most spectacular pictures are the ones I can’t stop to take, but as it was getting late in the day and toward my quitting time, I was reaching the conclusion that Pittsburgh was made for the snow (figure 4).
IMG_0044
Fig. 4. Photograph by author, November 12, 2019.

It is, I think, at its most spectacular with a light dusting.


I’ve been thinking about something Barack Obama said when he was first running for president that got him in a lot of trouble:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.[3]

There’s an irony here because the core truths here, that “the jobs have been gone,” now for 35 years, that “these communities” still haven’t “regenerated,” and that, my god, “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them” remain the case. Obama’s handling of the financial crisis[4] didn’t help. And really, Hillary clinton stepped into the same booby trap with her “deplorables” remark:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of [Donald] Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

But the other basket, the other basket, and I know because I see friends from all over America here. I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas, as well as you know New York and California. But that other basket of people who are people who feel that government has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they are just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroine [sic], feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.[5]

Obama inadvertently exposed the lie of neoliberalism. Clinton relied on that lie as a path to the White House. And the mainstream of the Democratic Party still believes in that lie, even as it hasn’t an intellectual leg to stand on.[6]

I fully understand and heartily endorse the desire to be rid of Donald Trump. But people need real jobs, not the fucking Wal-Mart jobs[7] they are supposed to satisfy themselves with. Hell, I need a real job,[8] not the “gig economy” bullshit[9] I am supposed to be satisfied with. They need hope. I need hope. More of the same old fucking neoliberalism isn’t it. The Democratic Party is determined, nonetheless, to defend neoliberalism and is accordingly likely to surrender the 2020 election.

We need to be rid of the Democrats just as surely as we need to be rid of the Republicans and I wish that so-called “progressives” would stop trying to redeem what should more properly be referred to as the neoliberal party.


Assault weapons

Mairead McArdle, “Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Lawsuit against Gun Manufacturer to Proceed,” National Review, November 12, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/supreme-court-allows-sandy-hook-lawsuit-against-gun-manufacturer-to-proceed/


Gaza

The latest violence appears to have been provoked by the Israeli assassination of an Islamic Jihad military leader.[10] The impasse over forming a government[11] is unresolved, so assume that Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to strike (he denies this, alleging the operation had been planned months ago) is indeed about making it more difficult for his rival, Benny Gantz, to form a government[12] and bolstering his own electoral prospects.

Times of Israel, “190 rockets launched at Israel since targeted killing of Islamic Jihad commander,” Times of Israel, November 12, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-november-12-2019/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  2. [2]Bjørn Nyland, “Tesla vs Hummer on steep hill,” YouTube, February 22, 2018, https://youtu.be/hlSv9fGT1Fk
  3. [3]Barack Obama, quoted in Ben Smith, “Obama on small-town Pa.: Clinging to religion, guns, xenophobia,” Politico, April 11, 2008, https://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2008/04/obama-on-small-town-pa-clinging-to-religion-guns-xenophobia-007737
  4. [4]Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire (New York: Metropolitan, 2012).
  5. [5]Hillary Clinton, quoted in Jonathan Capehart, “This is what’s ‘deplorable’ about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and this campaign,” Washington Post, September 12, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/09/12/this-is-whats-deplorable-about-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-and-this-campaign/
  6. [6]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Jason Hickel, “Progress and its discontents,” New Internationalist, August 7, 2019, https://newint.org/features/2019/07/01/long-read-progress-and-its-discontents; Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012); Robert Kuttner, “Austerity never works: Deficit hawks are amoral — and wrong,” Salon, May 5, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/05/austerity_never_works_deficit_hawks_are_amoral_and_wrong/; Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead, 2011); Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis, “Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel,” Nation, July 6, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/article/austerity-has-failed-an-open-letter-from-thomas-piketty-to-angela-merkel/; John Quiggin, “Austerity Has Been Tested, and It Failed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/Austerity-Has-Been-Tested-and/139255/; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “How Austerity Kills,” New York Times, May 12, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/opinion/how-austerity-kills.html; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “Paul Krugman’s right: Austerity kills,” Salon, May 19, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/19/paul_krugmans_right_austerity_kills/
  7. [7]Scott Sernau, Worlds Apart: Social Inequalities in a Global Economy, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2006).
  8. [8]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Time for the gig economy to grow up,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/30/time-for-the-gig-economy-to-grow-up/; David Benfell, “The larger question of California’s AB 5,” Not Housebroken, September 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/14/the-larger-question-of-californias-ab-5/; Robert Maxim and Mark Muro, “Uber’s IPO fallout underscores the need for a new labor model,” Brookings, May 23, 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/05/23/ubers-ipo-fallout-underscores-the-need-for-a-new-labor-model/
  10. [10]Times of Israel, “190 rockets launched at Israel since targeted killing of Islamic Jihad commander,” Times of Israel, November 12, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-november-12-2019/
  11. [11]Steve Hendrix, “Netanyahu fails to form new Israeli government; rival Gantz poised to take up the challenge,” Washington Post, October 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/netanyahu-fails-to-form-new-israeli-government-rival-gantz-poised-to-take-up-the-challenge/2019/10/21/7a4574d4-e27e-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story.html
  12. [12]Steve Hendrix, “Netanyahu fails to form new Israeli government; rival Gantz poised to take up the challenge,” Washington Post, October 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/netanyahu-fails-to-form-new-israeli-government-rival-gantz-poised-to-take-up-the-challenge/2019/10/21/7a4574d4-e27e-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story.html

Forecast: A blizzard of bullshit, no clearing expected

The last few days: Bullshit, mostly.

It was supposed to snow here, and didn’t. It did get cold, but the streets had dried from the rain that was supposed to turn to snow, so there wasn’t even very much ice.
FireShot Capture 039 - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson for November 10, 2019 - GoComics_ - www.gocomics.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of comic by Bill Watterson from 1989. Actually, I’d be just fine without the snow, and especially the ice.

I’m beginning to get the picture that folks have been telling me about for months. I’d still desperately rather be doing something besides driving for Uber and Lyft in a Pittsburgh winter or anywhere in any season.[1]


Pete Buttigieg

Which, come to think of it, isn’t much of an improvement on calling Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables.”[2]

The neoliberal party does not engage on issues because its issue is neoliberalism and even it knows that that’s a loser. It claims a progressive mantle by running on identity. And some idiots still fall for it.


Uber

Kia Kokalitcheva, “Uber says it’s likely to pay Waymo or revamp its self-driving tech,” Axios, November 7, 2019, https://www.axios.com/uber-says-its-likely-to-pay-waymo-or-revamp-its-self-driving-tech-ffa6e420-4273-4cf1-8161-fc40e25b61da.html


Trade

Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury, “Trade Liberalization for Development?” InterPress Service, November 5, 2019, http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/11/trade-liberalization-development/


California

fireseasons
Fig. 2. California climate change since 1895.[3]

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “How California’s weather has changed during fire season since 1895,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10274200-181/how-californias-weather-has-changed


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  2. [2]Jonathan Capehart, “This is what’s ‘deplorable’ about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and this campaign,” Washington Post, September 12, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/09/12/this-is-whats-deplorable-about-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-and-this-campaign/
  3. [3]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “How California’s weather has changed during fire season since 1895,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10274200-181/how-californias-weather-has-changed

Uber’s lockup expires and we still don’t know what investors think

FireShot Capture 038 - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson for November 06, 2019 - GoComics_ - www.gocomics.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of comic from 1989 by Bill Waterson.


Uber

The bottom line here is that this is simply not, cannot be, and never will be a sustainable business model.[1] The question, which remains even with today’s sell-off,[2] is to what extent investors will continue to believe the contrary.

Tom McKay, “Surprising No One, Uber Continues to Hemorrhage Cash,” Gizmodo, November 4, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/surprising-no-one-uber-continues-to-hemorrhage-cash-1839625062

Heather Somerville, “Uber Booked Another Quarterly Loss as Revenue Climbed,” Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-booked-another-quarterly-loss-as-revenue-climbed-11572901549

Megan McArdle, “Uber can’t keep bleeding money, can it? It apparently thinks it can,” Washington Post, November 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/uber-cant-keep-bleeding-money-can-it-it-apparently-thinks-it-can/2019/11/05/4aa4fec0-000b-11ea-8501-2a7123a38c58_story.html

Sebastian Herrera and Heather Somerville, “Uber Shares Hit New Low as Post-IPO Lockup Expires,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shares-face-more-pressure-as-post-ipo-lockup-is-set-to-expire-11573041602″

Erik Sherman, “Yesterday, Shareholders Bailed on Uber. Today, Insiders Got Their Chance,” Fortune, November 6, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/06/uber-stock-insiders-growth-profit-lockup-period/


Pacific Gas and Electric

Rebecca Smith, “California Mayors Join Campaign to Buy Out PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-mayors-join-campaign-to-make-pg-e-a-cooperative-11572955201


Ageism


Bhaskar Sunkara, “Why it’s time to ditch the ‘ok boomer’ meme,” Guardian, November 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/06/ok-boomer-meme-older-generations


  1. [1]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural
  2. [2]Sebastian Herrera and Heather Somerville, “Uber Shares Hit New Low as Post-IPO Lockup Expires,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shares-face-more-pressure-as-post-ipo-lockup-is-set-to-expire-11573041602″; Erik Sherman, “Yesterday, Shareholders Bailed on Uber. Today, Insiders Got Their Chance,” Fortune, November 6, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/06/uber-stock-insiders-growth-profit-lockup-period/