Economic outlook an important factor in middle-aged white ‘deaths of despair’: Daily Bullshit, March 23-26, 2017

Updates

  1. March 25, 4:37 am:
    • I have located Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s draft paper[12] that is the topic in Austerity and Suicide.
    • Republicans are abandoning, for now, the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.[13]
  2. March 25, 1:42 pm:
    • Niall Stanage demonstrates that one can have a horse race even when there isn’t an election.[14] (Obamacare)
  3. March 26, 2:19 am:
    • Andrew Prokop has another take on what happened to the Obamacare repeal and replace effort[15] while Matt O’Brien argues that Republicans were unduly hasty in seeking to reduce taxes for the rich at the expense of the poor.[16]
  4. March 26, 2:26 pm:
    • More on the fight over subsidizing wealthy and powerful interests in the name of ‘health care.’[17] (Obamacare)
    • Democrats make it plain they are a party of war, lusting after nuclear Armageddon, just as surely as their Cold War Republican anti-communist predecessors in calling alleged Russian interference in last year’s election an “act of war.”[18] (Golden Showers)
    • A Lawfare blog entry praises a Virginia ruling upholding Donald Trump’s revised Muslim Ban, even if the author opposes the Muslim Ban itself.[19]

Austerity and Suicide

Julia Belluz, “Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 charts,” Vox, March 23, 2017, http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/23/14988084/white-middle-class-dying-faster-explained-case-deaton

Anne Case and Angus Deaton, “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century” [draft], Brookings Institute, March 23, 2017, https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/mortality-and-morbidity-in-the-21st-century/

Alana Semuels, “Is Economic Despair What’s Killing Middle-Aged White Americans?” CityLab, March 23, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/politics/2017/03/economic-despair-killing-middle-aged-white-americans/520554/


Obamacare

It appears Obamacare may live on. But badly needed fixes will also not occur.[20] And if the Republicans ever settle their differences, the outcome might be even worse.

Peter Sullivan, “CBO releases new score for ObamaCare repeal bill,” Hill, March 23, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/325535-cbo-releases-new-score-for-obamacare-repeal-bill

Scott Wong, “Trump threatens to leave ObamaCare in place if repeal bill fails,” Hill, March 23, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/325568-trump-tells-gop-to-take-it-or-leave-it-on-obamacare-repeal

Brian Bennett, “After the GOP healthcare bill fizzles, Trump blames the Democrats and says he ‘learned a lot about loyalty,'” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-house-again-postpones-obamacare-vote-1490376174-htmlstory.html

Stephen Collinson, Dana Bash, Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh, Lauren Fox, and M. J. Lee, “House Republicans pull health care bill,” CNN, March 24, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/politics/house-health-care-vote/index.html

Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson, “GOP House Leaders Pull Their Health Bill,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-postpones-house-vote-on-health-bill-1490384577

Lisa Mascaro, “House GOP gives up on healthcare bill as Trump suffers first legislative defeat,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2012, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-house-again-postpones-obamacare-vote-1490376174-htmlstory.html

Lindsey McPherson, “Paul Ryan Concedes on Health Care, Says House Will Move On,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 24, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/ryan-concedes-on-health-care-says-house-will-move-on

Andrew Prokop, “Paul Ryan just canceled the House health bill vote in a major defeat for President Trump,” Vox, March 24, 2017, http://www.vox.com/2017/3/24/15014202/house-ahca-vote-canceled-trump

Matt O’Brien, “Why Republicans were in such a hurry on health care,” Washington Post, March 25, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/25/why-republicans-were-in-such-a-hurry-on-health-care/


Golden Showers

If Democrats are trying to persuade folks they are a more responsible governing party than Republicans, this is completely and totally the wrong way to do it.[21]

Morgan Chalfant, “Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war,” Hill, March 26, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/325606-democrats-step-up-calls-that-russian-hack-was-act-of-war


Muslim Ban

Peter Margulies accepts an assumption that “all presidents learn while in office.”[22] This assumes first, that all presidents have the capacity to learn which, given a decline in the quality of presidents beginning with Richard Nixon, seems a dubious assumption; and second, specifically that Donald Trump “learns” and has decided not to be a religious bigot after all in cutting off the admission of refugees seeking to escape the very violence he claims to oppose. Bullshit.

Peter Margulies, “Upholding the Revised Refugee Executive Order: A Virginia District Court Clarifies the Establishment Clause Issues,” Lawfare, March 26, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/upholding-revised-refugee-executive-order-virginia-district-court-clarifies-establishment-clause


  1. [12]Anne Case and Angus Deaton, “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century” [draft], Brookings Institute, March 23, 2017, https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/mortality-and-morbidity-in-the-21st-century/
  2. [13]Brian Bennett, “After the GOP healthcare bill fizzles, Trump blames the Democrats and says he ‘learned a lot about loyalty,'” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-house-again-postpones-obamacare-vote-1490376174-htmlstory.html; Stephen Collinson, Dana Bash, Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh, Lauren Fox, and M. J. Lee, “House Republicans pull health care bill,” CNN, March 24, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/politics/house-health-care-vote/index.html; Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson, “GOP House Leaders Pull Their Health Bill,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-postpones-house-vote-on-health-bill-1490384577; Lisa Mascaro, “House GOP gives up on healthcare bill as Trump suffers first legislative defeat,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2012, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-house-again-postpones-obamacare-vote-1490376174-htmlstory.html
  3. [14]Niall Stanage, “The Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over health care,” Hill, March 24, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/325746-the-memo-winners-and-losers-from-the-battle-over-health-care
  4. [15]Andrew Prokop, “Paul Ryan just canceled the House health bill vote in a major defeat for President Trump,” Vox, March 24, 2017, http://www.vox.com/2017/3/24/15014202/house-ahca-vote-canceled-trump
  5. [16]Matt O’Brien, “Why Republicans were in such a hurry on health care,” Washington Post, March 25, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/25/why-republicans-were-in-such-a-hurry-on-health-care/
  6. [17]Rebecca Savransky, “Lawmakers signal fight for healthcare reform is not over,” Hill, March 26, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/325844-lawmakers-signal-fight-for-healthcare-reform-is-not-over
  7. [18]Morgan Chalfant, “Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war,” Hill, March 26, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/325606-democrats-step-up-calls-that-russian-hack-was-act-of-war
  8. [19]Peter Margulies, “Upholding the Revised Refugee Executive Order: A Virginia District Court Clarifies the Establishment Clause Issues,” Lawfare, March 26, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/upholding-revised-refugee-executive-order-virginia-district-court-clarifies-establishment-clause
  9. [20]Brian Bennett, “After the GOP healthcare bill fizzles, Trump blames the Democrats and says he ‘learned a lot about loyalty,'” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-house-again-postpones-obamacare-vote-1490376174-htmlstory.html; Stephen Collinson, Dana Bash, Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh, Lauren Fox, and M. J. Lee, “House Republicans pull health care bill,” CNN, March 24, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/politics/house-health-care-vote/index.html; Lisa Mascaro, “House GOP gives up on healthcare bill as Trump suffers first legislative defeat,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2012, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-house-again-postpones-obamacare-vote-1490376174-htmlstory.html
  10. [21]Morgan Chalfant, “Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war,” Hill, March 26, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/325606-democrats-step-up-calls-that-russian-hack-was-act-of-war
  11. [22]Peter Margulies, “Upholding the Revised Refugee Executive Order: A Virginia District Court Clarifies the Establishment Clause Issues,” Lawfare, March 26, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/upholding-revised-refugee-executive-order-virginia-district-court-clarifies-establishment-clause

Still bullshitting about the Russians: Daily Bullshit, March 20-22, 2017

Updates

  1. March 22, 9:00 pm:
    • The (Republican) chairman of the House Intelligence Committee reported that some ‘incidental collection’ of Donald Trump’s and his transition team’s communications had occurred.[1] (Golden Showers)

Brexit

Jenny Gross, “U.K. to Trigger Article 50 on March 29, Starting Formal Brexit Process,” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-to-trigger-article-50-on-march-29-1490010383


Scottish independence

Kylie MacLellan, “Scottish leader softens stance on possible independence vote timing,” Reuters, March 20, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-idUKKBN16Q0HK


Golden Showers

I guess I’m going to be trying to wrap my head around the idea that some Republicans now think Barack Obama did not do some particular evil something[2] for a while. And no, I still don’t have evidence that Russians, whether in collusion with Donald Trump or his campaign or not, interfered in the 2016 election. An investigation[3] is not evidence and the fact that we do not even know what prompted that investigation undermines the confidently-made and self-justifying assertion that the existence of this investigation “directly undercut Trump’s longstanding claims that any talk of Russian involvement in the election was a story ginned up by Democrats for political gain or to excuse Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016.”[4] Such an assertion seems to rely on an assumption that the intelligence community is politically neutral and above-board in its motivations, which—I’m sorry—I just don’t buy. Really all I have here is a lack of information. Which is bullshit.

Lalo Alcarez, La Cucaracha, March 20, 2017, Los Angeles Times, fair use.
Lalo Alcarez, La Cucaracha, Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2017, fair use.

Max Greenwood, “House Intel Committee ‘satisfied’ with info DOJ gave in wiretapping probe,” Hill, March 17, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/324599-house-intel-chairman-applauds-doj-for-turning-over-wiretap

Andrew Prokop, “A crucial week for Trump’s presidency just started with the FBI confirming its Russia investigation,” Vox, March 20, 2017, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/20/14980448/trump-fbi-comey-investigation

Jennifer Williams, “All of Trump’s wiretap claims have now officially been debunked by the FBI and NSA,” Vox, March 20, 2017, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/20/14982752/trump-wiretap-claims-officially-debunked-fbi-comey-nsa-rogers

Stephen Collinson, Tom LoBianco, and Manu Raju, “House Intel chairman: Trump’s personal communications may have been collected,” CNN, March 22, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/22/politics/devin-nunes-trump-communications/index.html


Uber

I am not a venture capitalist. I don’t even remotely think like a venture capitalist. Which should give me pause before I utter that I think surely the venture capitalists must be becoming concerned now. This isn’t just about Uber’s president quitting. It’s about management in turmoil.[5] But apart from sheer greed and utter stupidity, there’s a lot I don’t understand about venture capitalists.

Reuters, “Uber’s turmoil continues as president Jeff Jones quits,” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, March 20, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/uber-president-jeff-jones-quits-turmoil-1.4032107


  1. [1]Stephen Collinson, Tom LoBianco, and Manu Raju, “House Intel chairman: Trump’s personal communications may have been collected,” CNN, March 22, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/22/politics/devin-nunes-trump-communications/index.html
  2. [2]Jennifer Williams, “All of Trump’s wiretap claims have now officially been debunked by the FBI and NSA,” Vox, March 20, 2017, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/20/14982752/trump-wiretap-claims-officially-debunked-fbi-comey-nsa-rogers
  3. [3]Jennifer Williams, “All of Trump’s wiretap claims have now officially been debunked by the FBI and NSA,” Vox, March 20, 2017, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/20/14982752/trump-wiretap-claims-officially-debunked-fbi-comey-nsa-rogers
  4. [4]Jennifer Williams, “All of Trump’s wiretap claims have now officially been debunked by the FBI and NSA,” Vox, March 20, 2017, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/20/14982752/trump-wiretap-claims-officially-debunked-fbi-comey-nsa-rogers
  5. [5]Reuters, “Uber’s turmoil continues as president Jeff Jones quits,” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, March 20, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/uber-president-jeff-jones-quits-turmoil-1.4032107

Theresa May to reject new Scottish referendum on independence: Daily Bullshit, March 15-19, 2017

There is a new blog post up.


Updates

  1. March 15, 3:05 pm:
    • Lyft earned a bump in ridership from Uber’s woes.[1]
    • Northern Ireland may also seek a vote on leaving the United Kingdom.[2] (Irish reunification)
    • In the wider controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s claims that Barack Obama ‘wiretapped’ him, Scott Ritter points out that transcripts appear not to have been ‘minimized’ as the law requires.[3] (Golden Showers) (text here corrected at 4:18 pm)
  2. March 16, 3:04 am:
    • Jim Geraghty catches the irony of the Left’s new-found interest in Secession.[4]
    • Lane Kenworthy thinks we can’t do much about rising male Unemployment and that it isn’t that important anyway.[5]
    • Another Muslim Ban, another court injunction against it.[6]
  3. March 16, 1:03 pm:
    • A judge has added an injunction to the restraining order (apparently these are different types of orders) already in place against Trump’s Muslim Ban[7]
    • Theresa May now wants Scots to wait for their referendum.[8]
  4. March 17, 3:14 am:
    • Intelligence committee leaders in both the House and Senate have now denied having seen any evidence supporting Trump’s wiretapping claim.[9] (Golden Showers)
    • Jonathan Turley is stupid in his defense of his objections to a rising number of rulings against the Trump administration on its Muslim ban.[10] (Muslim Ban)
  5. March 18, 1:15 am:
    • The Congress that should be on Trump’s side just isn’t buying his wiretapping claim.[11] (Golden Showers)
    • Nicholas Kristof penned an op-ed for the New York Times criticizing the allegedly Catholic Paul Ryan’s budget for its treatment of the poor[12] and James Freeman replies in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting (not entirely accurately) that Kristof’s argument places government in the role of Jesus.[13]
    • The Trump administration is appealing a Maryland court’s order blocking its Muslim Ban.[14]
  6. March 18, 1:11 pm:
    • The Department of Justice apparently responded to the House Intelligence Committee’s demand for information relevant to the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia satisfactorily.[15] (Golden Showers)
    • The BBC has a more comprehensive article on Theresa May’s decision to turn down a bid for a second referendum on Scottish independence.[16] (Scottish Independence)
  7. March 19, 1:57 am:
  8. March 19, 3:26 pm:

Scottish Independence

In my previous installment, I wrote of the effort to seek a new referendum on independence,

Suffice it to say, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May does not agree,[18] which makes it hard to see how this can go anywhere, but the counterargument seems to be that the onus will now be on the U.K. parliament to deny Scots their right to self-determination, which yeah, looks pretty ugly.[19] (My own skepticism[20] might rely too heavily on the dim prospects for secession movements in the U.S.)[21]

It would seem that Theresa May has decided to go with ugly.[22] But on the face of it, this would seem to support Nicola Sturgeon’s claim to have hit a “brick wall of intransigence” in trying to deal with May.[23] And that Sinn Fein’s leader is saying something similar about the British government also has to help.[24]

As to Theresa May’s suggestion that “‘now is not the time’ for a second referendum,”[25] I have an idea. How about they hold the Irish and Scottish referendums first, albeit on an accelerated timetable. That way, May (or her successor) would really know whom she’s negotiating for. Then it might be a good time (if such a thing exists) to invoke Article 50. That she is in such a rush to negotiate a departure from the European Union on behalf of people who plainly want nothing of it should be a huge red flag.

But instead, May turns this on her head: She wants Scots to see the (probably not so wonderful) deal she’s going to negotiate with the European Union before voting.[26] Which is, again, to miss the point. Scots apparently want nothing of this. And it should be up to them to decide whether they want to place their fate in May’s hands.

Guy Faulconbridge, “May to reject Scottish referendum demand – Times newspaper,” Reuters, March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-may-referendum-idUKKBN16K2QG

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Scottish independence: Referendum demand ‘will be rejected,'” March 16, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39293513

Philip Georgiadis, “PM: ‘Now Is Not the Right Time’ for Scottish Vote,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2017, https://city.wsj.com/stories/3d6e5ffa-3409-4cb2-8c7d-15f5b4c4f6a1.html

Quentin Ariès, “Scotland’s Sturgeon: ‘There will be an independence referendum,’” Politico, March 19, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-there-will-be-an-independence-referendum/


Uber

Emma Hinchliffe, “Yep, Lyft gained users from #DeleteUber, and we now know how many,” Mashable, March 14, 2017, http://mashable.com/2017/03/14/delete-uber-lyft-1010data/


Irish reunification

Ian Graham and Conor Humphries, “Sinn Fein wants vote on Northern Ireland leaving UK ‘as soon as possible,'” Reuters, March 13, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-nireland-idUSKBN16K28M


Golden Showers

There’s a mysterious naïvete that seems to expect intelligence agencies to abide by the law.

Scott Ritter, “Trump’s Wiretapping Charge Could Contain Some Explosive Truth,” Truthdig, March 14, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/trumps_wiretapping_charge_could_contain_some_explosive_truth_20170314

Rema Rahman, “Senate Intel Leaders: No Wiretapping at Trump Tower,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/senate-intel-chairs-no-wire-tapping-at-trump-tower

Karoun Demirjian and Ed O’Keefe, “Members of Congress demand cooperation from administration on Trump-Russia probe,” Washington Post, March 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/is-there-an-investigationgraham-demands-answers-from-fbi-on-russia/2017/03/15/9d98c330-097a-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html

Max Greenwood, “House Intel Committee ‘satisfied’ with info DOJ gave in wiretapping probe,” Hill, March 17, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/324599-house-intel-chairman-applauds-doj-for-turning-over-wiretap


Secession

Jim Geraghty, “Liberals’ New Separation Anxiety,” National Review, March 14, 2017, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445752/donald-trump-liberal-resistance-left-embraces-secession


Unemployment

Lane Kenworthy, “The Trouble With Male Unemployment,” Foreign Affairs, March 14, 2017, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-03-14/trouble-male-unemployment


Muslim Ban

I’m probably not going to pay much more attention to Jonathan Turley on this issue. Actual judges just aren’t adopting his view of the matter, which seems to ignore that the Constitution is the highest law in the land and that there is ample cause to suspect that no matter how Trump dresses up his order, he is really acting out of religious bias. Whatever we think of the competence of the legal work defending these orders and whatever we think of the case law Turley thinks supports them, the emerging reality is that the courts seem to disagree with Turley when he dismisses the charge of religious bias and to disagree with Turley on the relevance of the Constitution.[27]

And as for Donald Trump claiming this judge’s order “makes us look weak,”[28] do I really have to say the obvious, that it is these Muslim ban orders that make us look pathetic? Do I? Really?

* * *

I doubt Turley read the foregoing, originally written on the 16th, but he is now pointing to five judges on the Ninth Circuit who have dissented from the decision upholding a lower court ruling on the original Muslim ban. I may not be correctly understanding what’s going on here, but it sounds like five judges who didn’t hear the case second-guessing the three (Turley says four, but I believe this includes the lower court judge) who did. Which sounds to me like not even a good example of cherry-picking. By the way, the Ninth Circuit is a huge court; even five judges is still a relatively small number. But Turley writes,

The blistering dissent showed that a significant number of Ninth Circuit judges strongly disagreed with the decision of the panel. (Some judges may have not approved of the panel decision but did not see the need for a rehearing). The strongly worded dissent belies the claim that the original executive order was legally unsustainable. To see this type of vociferous dissent in a withdrawn appeal is remarkable in itself but it also shows the depth of opposition to the panel’s decision among other judges.[29]

Really? Turley purely speculates with his parenthetical remark and in his claim that the dissent “also shows the depth of opposition to the panel’s decision among other judges.” In any event it would seem that a motion for an en banc review was denied—hence the ‘dissent.’[30] Which would seem to me to add a few judges to the score supporting the lower court order. In the absence of a better explanation, I’m calling bullshit.

Brent Kendall and Ian Lovett, “Trump’s Revised Travel Ban Blocked by Hawaii Judge,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hawaii-judge-blocks-trumps-revised-travel-ban-1489618057

Laura Jarrett, “Federal judges block Trump’s travel ban,” CNN, March 16, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/15/politics/travel-ban-blocked/index.html

Brent Kendall, Justice Department Appeals Maryland Judge’s Decision to Block Trump Travel Ban,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-appeals-judge-s-decision-to-block-trump-s-travel-ban-1489780586

Jonathan Turley, “Five Ninth Circuit Judges File Rare Dissent Rebuking The Panel In Immigration Ruling,” March 17, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/17/five-ninth-circuit-judges-file-rare-dissent-rebuking-the-panel-in-immigration-ruling/


Government and the Poor

I take this up in “Government, religion, and the poor.”

Nicholas Kristof, “And Jesus Said Unto Paul of Ryan …” New York Times, March 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/opinion/and-jesus-said-unto-paul-of-ryan.html

James Freeman, “Mere Budgetary Christianity,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mere-budgetary-christianity-1489780327


  1. [1]Emma Hinchliffe, “Yep, Lyft gained users from #DeleteUber, and we now know how many,” Mashable, March 14, 2017, http://mashable.com/2017/03/14/delete-uber-lyft-1010data/
  2. [2]Ian Graham and Conor Humphries, “Sinn Fein wants vote on Northern Ireland leaving UK ‘as soon as possible,'” Reuters, March 13, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-nireland-idUSKBN16K28M
  3. [3]Scott Ritter, “Trump’s Wiretapping Charge Could Contain Some Explosive Truth,” Truthdig, March 14, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/trumps_wiretapping_charge_could_contain_some_explosive_truth_20170314
  4. [4]Jim Geraghty, “Liberals’ New Separation Anxiety,” National Review, March 14, 2017, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445752/donald-trump-liberal-resistance-left-embraces-secession
  5. [5]Lane Kenworthy, “The Trouble With Male Unemployment,” Foreign Affairs, March 14, 2017, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-03-14/trouble-male-unemployment
  6. [6]Brent Kendall and Ian Lovett, “Trump’s Revised Travel Ban Blocked by Hawaii Judge,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hawaii-judge-blocks-trumps-revised-travel-ban-1489618057
  7. [7]Laura Jarrett, “Federal judges block Trump’s travel ban,” CNN, March 16, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/15/politics/travel-ban-blocked/index.html
  8. [8]Philip Georgiadis, “PM: ‘Now Is Not the Right Time’ for Scottish Vote,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2017, https://city.wsj.com/stories/3d6e5ffa-3409-4cb2-8c7d-15f5b4c4f6a1.html
  9. [9]Rema Rahman, “Senate Intel Leaders: No Wiretapping at Trump Tower,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/senate-intel-chairs-no-wire-tapping-at-trump-tower
  10. [10]Jonathan Turley, “Five Ninth Circuit Judges File Rare Dissent Rebuking The Panel In Immigration Ruling,” March 17, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/17/five-ninth-circuit-judges-file-rare-dissent-rebuking-the-panel-in-immigration-ruling/
  11. [11]Karoun Demirjian and Ed O’Keefe, “Members of Congress demand cooperation from administration on Trump-Russia probe,” Washington Post, March 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/is-there-an-investigationgraham-demands-answers-from-fbi-on-russia/2017/03/15/9d98c330-097a-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html
  12. [12]Nicholas Kristof, “And Jesus Said Unto Paul of Ryan …” New York Times, March 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/opinion/and-jesus-said-unto-paul-of-ryan.html
  13. [13]James Freeman, “Mere Budgetary Christianity,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mere-budgetary-christianity-1489780327
  14. [14]Brent Kendall, Justice Department Appeals Maryland Judge’s Decision to Block Trump Travel Ban,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-appeals-judge-s-decision-to-block-trump-s-travel-ban-1489780586
  15. [15]Max Greenwood, “House Intel Committee ‘satisfied’ with info DOJ gave in wiretapping probe,” Hill, March 17, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/324599-house-intel-chairman-applauds-doj-for-turning-over-wiretap
  16. [16]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Scottish independence: Referendum demand ‘will be rejected,'” March 16, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39293513
  17. [17]Quentin Ariès, “Scotland’s Sturgeon: ‘There will be an independence referendum,’” Politico, March 19, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-there-will-be-an-independence-referendum/
  18. [18]Andrew Learmonth, “Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum on Scottish independence,” National Scot, March 13, 2017, http://www.thenational.scot/news/15152259.Scotland_to_have_second_referendum_on_independence/; Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/; Reuters, “‘Politics is not a game,’ says May after Scottish referendum call,” March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-game-idUKKBN16K1XW
  19. [19]Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/; Alastair Sloan, “If Scotland leaves, England will lose the Brexit game,” Al Jazeera, March, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/03/england-big-loser-brexit-170312092648577.html
  20. [20]David Benfell, “Scottish parliament to vote on Brexit,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, February 10, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/02/10/scotland-parliament-to-vote-on-brexit-daily-bullshit-february-7-2017/; David Benfell, “Probably not a possible way forward for Scotland,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, March 4, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/03/04/probably-not-a-possible-way-forward-for-scotland-daily-bullshit-march-4-2017/
  21. [21]David Benfell, “Still evading the issues,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, March 14, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/03/14/still-evading-the-issues-daily-bullshit-march-8-10-2017/
  22. [22]Guy Faulconbridge, “May to reject Scottish referendum demand – Times newspaper,” Reuters, March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-may-referendum-idUKKBN16K2QG
  23. [23]Nicola Sturgeon, quoted in Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/
  24. [24]Ian Graham and Conor Humphries, “Sinn Fein wants vote on Northern Ireland leaving UK ‘as soon as possible,'” Reuters, March 13, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-nireland-idUSKBN16K28M
  25. [25]Philip Georgiadis, “PM: ‘Now Is Not the Right Time’ for Scottish Vote,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2017, https://city.wsj.com/stories/3d6e5ffa-3409-4cb2-8c7d-15f5b4c4f6a1.html
  26. [26]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Scottish independence: Referendum demand ‘will be rejected,'” March 16, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39293513
  27. [27]Jonathan Turley, “Judges In Seattle and Boston Reach Opposing Opinions On Trump Executive Order,” February 4, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/04/108507/; Jonathan Turley, “Ninth Circuit Rejects Motion For Immediate Reinstatement Of Executive Order But Schedules Expedited Argument For Monday,” February 5, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/05/ninth-circuit-rejects-motion-for-immediate-reinstatement-of-executive-order-but-schedules-expedited-argument-for-monday/; Jonathan Turley, “Ninth Circuit Briefing Completed Today For Ruling On Trump Appeal,” February 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/06/ninth-circuit-briefing-completed-today-for-ruling-on-trump-appeal/; Jonathan Turley, “Ninth Circuit Deliberates Appeal Over Trump Executive Order,” February 8, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/08/ninth-circuit-deliberates-appeal-over-trump-executive-order/; Jonathan Turley, “Trump Says Administration Will Issue New Immigration Order Next Week and Appeal Ninth Circuit Ruling,” February 16, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/16/trump-says-administration-will-issue-new-immigration-order-next-week-and-appeal-ninth-circuit-ruling/; Jonathan Turley, “Executive Redux: Administration Set To Issue New Order On Immigration,” February 20, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/20/executive-redux-administration-set-to-issue-new-order-on-immigration/; Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/
  28. [28]Brent Kendall and Ian Lovett, “Trump’s Revised Travel Ban Blocked by Hawaii Judge,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hawaii-judge-blocks-trumps-revised-travel-ban-1489618057
  29. [29]Jonathan Turley, “Five Ninth Circuit Judges File Rare Dissent Rebuking The Panel In Immigration Ruling,” March 17, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/17/five-ninth-circuit-judges-file-rare-dissent-rebuking-the-panel-in-immigration-ruling/
  30. [30]Jonathan Turley, “Five Ninth Circuit Judges File Rare Dissent Rebuking The Panel In Immigration Ruling,” March 17, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/17/five-ninth-circuit-judges-file-rare-dissent-rebuking-the-panel-in-immigration-ruling/

Still evading the issues: Daily Bullshit, March 8-14, 2017

Updates

  1. March 10, 12:44 pm:
    • California’s drought is probably over, but Jerry Brown is waiting to end the associated state of emergency.[1] (California Drought)
  2. March 12, 01:13 am:
  3. March 12, 10:11 am:
  4. March 12, 2:02 pm:
    • The Hill reports on the struggle to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.[4]
  5. March 13, 1:53 am:
    • Chris Hedges believes The End of Civilization may well soon be at hand.[5]
    • “Sen. John McCain suggested Sunday ‘there’s a lot of shoes to drop’ once more information is known about President Donald Trump and his associates’ ties to Russia.”[6] (Golden Showers)
  6. March 13, 2017, 6:21 pm:
    • Scotland’s First Minister will be seeking a new referendum on independence from the United Kingdom.[7] (Scottish Independence)
  7. March 14, 4:23 am:
    • Nate Silver argues that “there really was a liberal media bubble.”[8] (2016 Horse Race)
    • The Congressional Budget Office has ‘scored’ the Republican bill to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare.[9] (Obamacare)
    • Zack Beauchamp points out that right-wing (probably authoritarian) populism is strongest in social democracies and among well-off but older and non-college educated people.[10] (Dumbocrats)
  8. March 14, 10:10 am:
    • I finally remembered where I’d seen a map of what regions of the U.S. are predominantly settled by which ethnic groups[11] and fixed my footnoting for the analysis in Dumbocrats accordingly.
  9. March 14, 12:36 pm:
    • The Guardian keeps Zack Beauchamp’s view on left-wing economics in perspective.[12] (Dumbocrats)
  10. March 14, 1:39 pm:
    • Added a cartoon by Mr. Fish to the analysis in Dumbocrats
    • More footnote fixes. Sigh….
  11. March 14, 6:13 pm:
    • The Republican effort to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare still isn’t going well.[13] (Obamacare)
  12. March 14, 11:57 pm:
    • The White House backed down on its claims that Barack Obama wiretapped Donald Trump.[14] (Golden Showers)

Nevada

Matthew C. Klein, “Will Nevada ever recover from the housing bust?” Financial Times, March 6, 2017, https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2017/03/06/2185515/will-nevada-ever-recover-from-the-housing-bust/


Basic Income

Paul Basken, “Universal Basic Income: An Idea Whose Scholarly Time Has Come?” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/article/Universal-Basic-Income-An/239438


Uber

Laura Bliss, “Is Uber Over?” CityLab, March 9, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/commute/2017/03/is-uber-over/518727/


Muslim Ban

Reid Wilson, “Four states suing to block Trump’s new travel ban,” Hill, March 9, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/323226-four-states-sue-to-stop-trumps-new-travel-ban


Golden Showers

Whether Donald Trump’s team had or did not have connections to Russia is one issue. Whether Russia interfered in the U.S. election is another. The issues might be related, but we don’t even know if either allegation is true, let alone what relationship may exist between the two. I’ve already rejected the evidence available so far for the latter,[15] and nothing has appeared since to change my view.[16] As to the former, apparently, “former and current US officials have stated that there is not (at least not yet) evidence of collusion between Trump’s circle and Russia.”[17] Are you fucking kidding me? But I guess we’re going to keep yammering about this bullshit anyway, as if repeating unverifiable claims offers some sort of verification. Anything, after all, to avoid dealing with the real issues in last year’s campaign.

Look, I understand that the Left has issues with trusting Trump. He has done little to deserve anyone’s trust and Sean Spicer’s performance in backpedalling on Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped him[18] is one more example why. But the real reason that Hillary Clinton lost was that the Left has, for the most part and for decades, decided to piss on the poor and on working people. Republicans may indeed be exploiting resentment,[19] but at least they acknowledged some of that resentment, which the Left still refuses to do.[20]

Also, one more point: Let’s stipulate that Trump and his team lie a lot. Indeed, and specifically relevant to the matter at hand, “despite the Trump team’s denials, Russian officials acknowledged that they had repeated contacts with the Trump campaign.”[21] I am disturbed that I even have to say this, but that only means we cannot trust anything Trump or his administration says. It does not make the opposite of everything they say true, let alone either of the claims at issue here.

Ryan Goodman, “A Supplement to Nicholas Kristof’s Ten Dots Connecting Trump to Russia,” Just Security, March 9, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/38632/supplement-nicholas-kristofs-ten-dots-connecting-trump-russia/

Nicholas Kristof, “Connecting Trump’s Dots to Russia,” New York Times, March 9, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/opinion/connecting-trumps-dots-to-russia.html

Nolan D. McCaskill, “McCain on Trump-Russia probes: ‘Lot of shoes to drop from this centipede,'” Politico, March 12, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mccain-russia-trump-235966

Ted Mann, “White House Back-Pedals on Claim Obama Wiretapped Trump’s Phones,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-back-pedals-on-claim-obama-wiretapped-trumps-phones-1489439784


California Drought

Adam Nagourney, “When Is a Drought Over? A Wet California Wants to Know,” New York Times, March 10, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/us/california-drought-snowpack.html


Gender Conformity and Sexual Orientation

Suffice it to say, this study’s results were unexpected.[22] I would expect an especially vigorous response from queer theorists. (Yes, there really is something called ‘queer theory’ in academia. I do not completely buy into it, meaning I accept that sex and gender are not synonymous, but I’m just not ready to accept a complete divorce between the two, with gender cast exclusively as a social construction. That said, our differences are not about scholarly integrity, the theory is real, and there’s been a lot of real work done in this realm over a period of decades.) For now at least, I’ll probably mostly leave it to them.

* * *

Having slept on this, I do want to pose a question in response to a question. In the final paragraph, Patrick Ryan Grzanka asks “why we’re so invested in this purported link [between gender conformity and sexuality] in the first place.”[23] That would be the link this study supports. In the article’s paraphrase, he points out that “[t]he authors appear to regard gender nonconformity as the primary marker of gayness,” and yeah, as he continues (still in paraphrase), this “doesn’t align with current research suggesting that your individual preferences for either stereotypically male or female behaviors and traits has little to do with your sexual orientation.”[24]

I think Grzanka is headed in the right direction. But gender roles have apparently existed since prehistoric times with men mostly being the ones going on hunts[25] and women (providing the bulk of food) mostly gathering plant-based foods.[26] I’m trying to avoid a hasty generalization, but though cultural understandings of gender vary, I think we’d be hard-pressed to find a society where gender roles do not exist. According to Scott Sernau,

As a rule, hunter-gatherers have gender-divided societies: The men hunt and the women gather. With their longer legs, men have an advantage in sprinting after game, and their longer arms allow them to throw spears father. Young women are also likely to have young children, and it’s very difficult to chase down your dinner with a 2-year-old in one arm![27]

This passage is actually a bit problematic, but it, too, points toward a biological connection between gender and sex—a link that queer theorists dispute. An immediate question is why the role of carrying a toddler, especially one beyond breast-feeding age, seems to be women’s work. But the second question is why gender roles persist today: If they are, as folks on the Left are inclined to believe (and I think correctly), superfluous, then why haven’t they disappeared along with any number of other customs that have gone by the wayside?

It’s easy enough to point to problems with gender role specialization. One of Riane Eisler’s very important points is that, in modern society, we devalue what we assign principally as women’s work, especially caring work. How, for example, can we claim to think children’s education is important when we pay teachers so poorly? Even more fundamentally, how can we claim to value our children when we barely pay child care workers minimum wage? Why are housewives unpaid?[28] In light of these questions, gender role specialization appears to enable a devaluation of over half of our species. I don’t see how that’s a good thing.

And that’s my point. If gender role specialization is bad, then why does it continue to exist at all? What advantages, if any, does it offer?

On the other hand, if gender in fact has a biological basis, it’s a lot less mysterious that toddlers might act on gender roles innately. If sexual orientation also has a biological basis (which also seems to be the direction of current research), it’s a lot less mysterious that there might be the correlation between the two that this study reports.

But even this really begs the question. Let’s say that, indeed, there is a biological basis for gender. Why did the biology evolve the way it did? How is it an advantage, in so many species, that females assume primary responsibility for rearing the young?

It just really isn’t enough here to to say women get pregnant and lactate. In species where males and females are born in roughly equal numbers, there’s no advantage I see to freeing males to impregnate other females—in the crudest light, they’ll already have been impregnated by other males.

I think I’m missing some clue.

Michael Price, “Toddler play may give clues to sexual orientation,” Science, March 10, 2017, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/toddler-play-may-give-clues-sexual-orientation


Passwords

I’ve been arguing for some time that excessively complex password rules essentially force the ordinary user to write their password on a scrap of paper to be stuffed into their top desk drawer. Which is usually left unlocked. Which is the first place an attacker with physical access will look. Jeff Atwood makes a similar point in arguing that such rules penalize über-geeks, and a bunch of other good points, some of which I’ve seen before (among these, he reproduces an old XKCD cartoon on the topic of entropy), besides.[29]

Yes, I am quite well aware that this is not the conventional wisdom. I’ve also had bad luck with password generators that actually integrate properly with browsers (How about when Atwood’s über-geek tries to run his password manager and it flatly fails to start due to some stupid—and there are lots of these—upgrade issue?)

But this is also an issue I ran into when I was a programmer in the late 1970s and early 1980s (on the DEC systems I worked with, password length was limited to six radix-50—an extremely limited character set that I doubt is still in use anywhere—characters). It has not gone away or been properly addressed in all. that. time. Which, by itself, is another reason to call these rules bullshit (Atwood’s preferred designation[30]).

Jeff Atwood, “Password Rules Are Bullshit,” Coding Horror, March 10, 2017, https://blog.codinghorror.com/password-rules-are-bullshit/


Obamacare

The Republicans are finally having to govern. But more fundamentally, as a society, we need to agree on whether health care is a right. If it is, then it is an entitlement and needs to be treated as such. Which is not the way Barack Obama treated it, as payback for his pharmaceutical and health insurance industry benefactors,[31] but rather in the form of single-payer or “Medicare for all.”

Peter Sullivan, “Power struggle over ObamaCare repeal,” Hill, March 11, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/323491-power-struggle-over-obamacare-repeal

Lindsey McPherson, “CBO: Lower Deficit, More Uninsured Under House Health Plan,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 13, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/cbo-lower-deficit-more-uninsured-under-house-health-plan

Kelsey Snell, Sean Sullivan, and Mike DeBonis, “White House tries to salvage GOP health-care proposal as criticism mounts,” Washington Post, March 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/conservative-lawmakers-continue-to-push-back-on-obamacare-plan/2017/03/14/f7331e70-08aa-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html


The End of Civilization

I basically agree with Chris Hedges on the self-destruction of the U.S. as having dire consequences for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, his writing on this is more poetic than precise. More seriously, he takes history as an analogy for the present, which may prove to be a misuse of history, since while his historical precedents are likely instructive, in no previous case might collapse have been global. “No longer can any individual nation collapse,” Hedges writes. “World civilization will disintegrate as a whole.”[32]

But, as I said, I basically agree with Hedges. Many of the threats, especially those involving nuclear war and climate change, facing humanity are global threats.[33] To me, it seems eminently reasonable that conflagrations such as the Pentagon warns of from climate change[34] in the interconnected, globalized world that neoliberals celebrate could easily become firestorms.

I might be wrong about human extinction. That is, if the outcome of the ecosystem change we’re only beginning to experience permits humans to continue to exist.[35] But I’d have to say I’m having a hard time imagining that Hedges is wrong about civilization.

Chris Hedges, “The Dance of Death,” Truthdig, March 12, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_dance_of_death_20170312


Scottish Independence

Suffice it to say, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May does not agree,[36] which makes it hard to see how this can go anywhere, but the counterargument seems to be that the onus will now be on the U.K. parliament to deny Scots their right to self-determination, which yeah, looks pretty ugly.[37] (My own skepticism[38] might rely too heavily on the dim prospects for secession movements in the U.S.)

And it is disingenuous for anyone to claim, as Theresa May does, that “politics is not a game.”[39] That’s all it is, with terribly deadly consequences.

Andrew Learmonth, “Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum on Scottish independence,” National Scot, March 13, 2017, http://www.thenational.scot/news/15152259.Scotland_to_have_second_referendum_on_independence/

Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/

Reuters, “‘Politics is not a game,’ says May after Scottish referendum call,” March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-game-idUKKBN16K1XW

Alastair Sloan, “If Scotland leaves, England will lose the Brexit game,” Al Jazeera, March, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/03/england-big-loser-brexit-170312092648577.html


2016 Horse Race

Nate Silver, “There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble,” FiveThirtyEight, March 10, 2017, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/there-really-was-a-liberal-media-bubble/


Dumbocrats

Zack Beauchamp’s analysis[40] is useful and I encourage you to read it. But Beauchamp misses a couple things.

The first is that to act on Beauchamp’s advice would be to appeal to racist voters or possibly to divide the country in the way that paleoconservatives recommend—along racial and ethnic lines,[41] which probably wouldn’t work.[42] This would be, yet again, to do what the Democrats have been doing for the last several decades, moving ever further to the right, trying in vain to beat the Republicans at their own game.

In more practical terms, you don’t expect to win every vote, you just seek a majority of all votes. And what that might mean is that while you don’t get every working class vote with a left-wing economic program, you hope to win enough of them to win an overall majority.

Mr. Fish, Truthdig, March 12, 2017, fair use.
Second, Beauchamp really doesn’t address this:

In places like Battle Creek, you see and hear a lot of despair. The good jobs, ones that could be turned into careers, have been replaced with an economic version of the Hunger Games. Magnifying it is the sense that “higher-ups” – the collection of distant political, economic and thought leaders – don’t see the anguish, don’t care about it and are partly responsible for it. It has made many nostalgic for a better past.[43]

Unlike in many fundamentalist movements, that better past really did exist once upon a time, largely in the 1950s and 1960s. And now that it’s gone, the people are still there, and they still need jobs. But journalists mostly just look at economic statistics that discount the long-term unemployed and ignore them. And then they wonder why so many people turned out for Trump. Now Beauchamp ignores[44] that many of them had voted for Barack Obama before, undermining any sweeping generalization that Trump voters are all racists.[45]

And I have to think there are a lot more Blacks saying things like this:

Most of the men I know didn’t vote. Nobody had the spirit this time. Trump or Hillary? Doesn’t make much difference. Things out here gonna stay the same. We had high hopes for Obama. But nothing changed. Blacks here didn’t end up being helped by him. I mean, he might have tried, but his hands were tied by both parties. Lots of us are just so frustrated. Nobody had the spirit.[46]

Here’s a hint: If you’re going to bank on the non-white vote, you’d better actually deliver for non-whites. But Barack Obama really didn’t deliver for anyone but Wall Street. (And before you trot out Obamacare, see my comment on that above.) Now, a bunch of folks don’t have jobs, the economists don’t count them, and Democrats expected us to vote for his annointed successor, Hillary Clinton, who would have delivered more of the same unemployment and the same lack of acknowledgment.

Mr. Fish, “Mourning Glory,” Truthdig, March 12, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/mourning_glory_20170312

Zack Beauchamp, “No easy answers: why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism,” Vox, March 13, 2017, http://www.vox.com/world/2017/3/13/14698812/bernie-trump-corbyn-left-wing-populism

Chris Arnade, “Nostalgia: the yearning that will continue to carry the Trump message forward,” Guardian, March 14, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/14/trump-voters-michigan-iowa-jobs-economy


  1. [1]Adam Nagourney, “When Is a Drought Over? A Wet California Wants to Know,” New York Times, March 10, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/us/california-drought-snowpack.html
  2. [2]Michael Price, “Toddler play may give clues to sexual orientation,” Science, March 10, 2017, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/toddler-play-may-give-clues-sexual-orientation
  3. [3]Jeff Atwood, “Password Rules Are Bullshit,” Coding Horror, March 10, 2017, https://blog.codinghorror.com/password-rules-are-bullshit/
  4. [4]Peter Sullivan, “Power struggle over ObamaCare repeal,” Hill, March 11, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/323491-power-struggle-over-obamacare-repeal
  5. [5]Chris Hedges, “The Dance of Death,” Truthdig, March 12, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_dance_of_death_20170312
  6. [6]Nolan D. McCaskill, “McCain on Trump-Russia probes: ‘Lot of shoes to drop from this centipede,'” Politico, March 12, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mccain-russia-trump-235966
  7. [7]Andrew Learmonth, “Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum on Scottish independence,” National Scot, March 13, 2017, http://www.thenational.scot/news/15152259.Scotland_to_have_second_referendum_on_independence/; Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/; Reuters, “‘Politics is not a game,’ says May after Scottish referendum call,” March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-game-idUKKBN16K1XW; Alastair Sloan, “If Scotland leaves, England will lose the Brexit game,” Al Jazeera, March, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/03/england-big-loser-brexit-170312092648577.html
  8. [8]Nate Silver, “There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble,” FiveThirtyEight, March 10, 2017, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/there-really-was-a-liberal-media-bubble/
  9. [9]Lindsey McPherson, “CBO: Lower Deficit, More Uninsured Under House Health Plan,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 13, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/cbo-lower-deficit-more-uninsured-under-house-health-plan
  10. [10]Zack Beauchamp, “No easy answers: why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism,” Vox, March 13, 2017, http://www.vox.com/world/2017/3/13/14698812/bernie-trump-corbyn-left-wing-populism
  11. [11]Max Fisher, “3 maps that explain America,” Vox, July 4, 2014, http://www.vox.com/2014/7/4/5868921/three-maps-that-explain-america
  12. [12]Chris Arnade, “Nostalgia: the yearning that will continue to carry the Trump message forward,” Guardian, March 14, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/14/trump-voters-michigan-iowa-jobs-economy
  13. [13]Kelsey Snell, Sean Sullivan, and Mike DeBonis, “White House tries to salvage GOP health-care proposal as criticism mounts,” Washington Post, March 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/conservative-lawmakers-continue-to-push-back-on-obamacare-plan/2017/03/14/f7331e70-08aa-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html
  14. [14]Ted Mann, “White House Back-Pedals on Claim Obama Wiretapped Trump’s Phones,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-back-pedals-on-claim-obama-wiretapped-trumps-phones-1489439784
  15. [15]David Benfell, “Blaming the Russians,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9151
  16. [16]David Benfell, “Donald Trump must supply evidence to support wiretapping claims,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, March 7, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/03/07/donald-trump-must-supply-evidence-to-support-wiretapping-claims-daily-bullshit-march-5-2017/
  17. [17]Ryan Goodman, “A Supplement to Nicholas Kristof’s Ten Dots Connecting Trump to Russia,” Just Security, March 9, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/38632/supplement-nicholas-kristofs-ten-dots-connecting-trump-russia/
  18. [18]Ted Mann, “White House Back-Pedals on Claim Obama Wiretapped Trump’s Phones,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-back-pedals-on-claim-obama-wiretapped-trumps-phones-1489439784
  19. [19]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2005).
  20. [20]Chris Hedges, “Donald Trump’s Greatest Allies Are the Liberal Elites,” Truthdig, March 5, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/donald_trumps_greatest_allies_are_the_liberal_elites_20170305
  21. [21]Ryan Goodman, “A Supplement to Nicholas Kristof’s Ten Dots Connecting Trump to Russia,” Just Security, March 9, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/38632/supplement-nicholas-kristofs-ten-dots-connecting-trump-russia/
  22. [22]Michael Price, “Toddler play may give clues to sexual orientation,” Science, March 10, 2017, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/toddler-play-may-give-clues-sexual-orientation
  23. [23]Patrick Ryan Grzanka, quoted in Michael Price, “Toddler play may give clues to sexual orientation,” Science, March 10, 2017, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/toddler-play-may-give-clues-sexual-orientation
  24. [24]Michael Price, “Toddler play may give clues to sexual orientation,” Science, March 10, 2017, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/toddler-play-may-give-clues-sexual-orientation
  25. [25]Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (New York: Henry Holt, 1997).
  26. [26]Scott Sernau, Worlds Apart: Social Inequalities in a Global Economy, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2006).
  27. [27]Scott Sernau, Worlds Apart: Social Inequalities in a Global Economy, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2006), 72.
  28. [28]Riane Eisler, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics (San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 2007).
  29. [29]Jeff Atwood, “Password Rules Are Bullshit,” Coding Horror, March 10, 2017, https://blog.codinghorror.com/password-rules-are-bullshit/
  30. [30]Jeff Atwood, “Password Rules Are Bullshit,” Coding Horror, March 10, 2017, https://blog.codinghorror.com/password-rules-are-bullshit/
  31. [31]David Benfell, “Obamacare, the neoliberal consensus, and a kid fighting cancer,” Not Housebroken, May 11, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8911
  32. [32]Chris Hedges, “The Dance of Death,” Truthdig, March 12, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_dance_of_death_20170312
  33. [33]Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “It is now two and a half minutes to midnight,” January 26, 2017, http://thebulletin.org/press-release/it-now-two-and-half-minutes-midnight10432; Edward “Rocky” Kolb et al., “Three minutes and counting,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 19, 2015, http://thebulletin.org/three-minutes-and-counting7938; Robert Socolow et al., “An open letter to President Obama: The time on the Doomsday Clock is five minutes to midnight,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 14, 2013, http://thebulletin.org/open-letter-president-obama-time-doomsday-clock-five-minutes-midnight
  34. [34]Laura Barron-Lopez, “Pentagon: Climate change a national security threat,” Hill, October 13, 2014, http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/220575-pentagon-unveils-plan-to-fight-climate-change
  35. [35]David Benfell, “On the possibility of human extinction,” Not Housebroken, July 23, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9218; David Benfell, “We have failed the test,” Not Housebroken, February 9, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9145
  36. [36]Andrew Learmonth, “Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum on Scottish independence,” National Scot, March 13, 2017, http://www.thenational.scot/news/15152259.Scotland_to_have_second_referendum_on_independence/; Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/; Reuters, “‘Politics is not a game,’ says May after Scottish referendum call,” March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-game-idUKKBN16K1XW
  37. [37]Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper, “Scotland pushes for independence post Brexit,” Politico, March 13, 2017, http://www.politico.eu/article/nicola-sturgeon-calls-for-second-scottish-independence-referendum/; Alastair Sloan, “If Scotland leaves, England will lose the Brexit game,” Al Jazeera, March, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/03/england-big-loser-brexit-170312092648577.html
  38. [38]David Benfell, “Scottish parliament to vote on Brexit,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, February 10, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/02/10/scotland-parliament-to-vote-on-brexit-daily-bullshit-february-7-2017/; David Benfell, “Probably not a possible way forward for Scotland,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, March 4, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/03/04/probably-not-a-possible-way-forward-for-scotland-daily-bullshit-march-4-2017/
  39. [39]Reuters, “‘Politics is not a game,’ says May after Scottish referendum call,” March 13, 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-scotland-game-idUKKBN16K1XW
  40. [40]Zack Beauchamp, “No easy answers: why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism,” Vox, March 13, 2017, http://www.vox.com/world/2017/3/13/14698812/bernie-trump-corbyn-left-wing-populism
  41. [41]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  42. [42]Max Fisher, “3 maps that explain America,” Vox, July 4, 2014, http://www.vox.com/2014/7/4/5868921/three-maps-that-explain-america
  43. [43]Chris Arnade, “Nostalgia: the yearning that will continue to carry the Trump message forward,” Guardian, March 14, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/14/trump-voters-michigan-iowa-jobs-economy
  44. [44]Zack Beauchamp, “No easy answers: why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism,” Vox, March 13, 2017, http://www.vox.com/world/2017/3/13/14698812/bernie-trump-corbyn-left-wing-populism
  45. [45]Chris Arnade, “Nostalgia: the yearning that will continue to carry the Trump message forward,” Guardian, March 14, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/14/trump-voters-michigan-iowa-jobs-economy
  46. [46]Chris Arnade, “Nostalgia: the yearning that will continue to carry the Trump message forward,” Guardian, March 14, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/14/trump-voters-michigan-iowa-jobs-economy

Donald Trump must supply evidence to support wiretapping claims: Daily Bullshit, March 5-7, 2017

Updates

  1. March 5, 3:54 pm:
    • The Citizen and Naturalization Services agency has announced it is “suspend[ing] premium processing for H-1B visa petitions for high-skilled workers” in order to “work through a large backlog of non-premium petitions.”[1] (H-1B Visas)
    • Uber is in damage-control mode.[2]
    • The Wall Street Journal[3] reports on Donald Trump’s claims that Barack Obama wiretapped him. (Donald Trump and Russia)
  2. March 6, 12:32 am
    • The ACLU[4] and an author at Lawfare[5] weigh in on Trump’s claimed wiretapping.
    • The New York Times[6] reports on Trump’s claims that Obama wiretapped him. (Donald Trump and Russia)
  3. March 6, 1:42 pm:
    • Jonathan Turley weighs in with what, on its own, is a not particularly helpful post on the Trump wiretapping allegation.[7] (Donald Trump and Russia)
    • In a must-read antidote to Turley’s piece, Chris Hedges refocuses on the failure of the liberal elite.[8] (Dumbocrats)
  4. March 7, 03:07 am:
    • Donald Trump has issued a new version of his Muslim ban.[9] (Muslim Ban)
    • The Christian Science Monitor analyzes Uber’s ‘greyball’ program.[10] (Uber)

So above, in the update announcement for March 6, 1:42 pm, I say that Jonathan Turley’s post isn’t particularly helpful. His main thrust is that “If this continues, the unitary executive will become the binary executive with the White House in uneasy relations with the rest of the executive branch.” He is worried about what all functionalist conservatives worry about: the orderly functioning of government.[11] I recently revisited my page entitled “If you want me to take you seriously….,” and noticed in hint #7 this quotation from Peggy Noonan:

President [Barack] Obama has been an unusually strong helper and supporter of Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton, and this is assumed to be linked to interest in his legacy. Successful presidents tend to be followed by presidents from their own party. But it is more than legacy, or loyalty. It is a desire to avoid humiliation. If Mr. [Donald] Trump wins, voters will be saying more than that Mr. Obama’s leadership didn’t quite work. They’ll be saying he was such a failure that they lurched desperately toward someone who’d blow the whole system up. Mr. Trump’s election would be a stinging rebuke, one for the history books. Mr. Obama will give everything he has to keep that from happening.[12]

Whatever you think of this Wall Street Journal columnist, Trump is delivering what Noonan predicted. And I’m just wondering, in a Taoist kind of way, if “blow[ing] the whole system up” might pave the way for a more enlightened consciousness. No promises.


Donald Trump and Russia

I’m just noticing that those who now demand that Donald Trump should support his claims that Barack Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump Tower[13] made no such demand on claims that Russia interfered with the U.S. election.[14] But there are two levels to this controversy. First, as with claims of Russian interference, those making the claims supply no actual evidence to support these claims and, in the absence of actual, publicly available evidence, these claims must be treated as extremely dubious.[15] Second, Obama probably could not have obtained legal authority for a wiretap. If such a wiretap was actually placed, it was likely illegal,[16] but:

First, they may have come upon Trump Tower phone calls if a targeted foreign agent was on the other end of the line — this method comes from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Or Trump Tower digital chatter might show up while digging through the vast quantities of data hoovered up via more sweeping foreign surveillance programs.

Second, the FBI could have also asked for a so-called “pen register” or “tap and trace device,” which only record the parties involved in a phone call. These requests have a lower bar for approval.

While it’s unknown if any of these scenarios occurred, it’s “very likely that the people in the Obama administration had access to the communication of senior Trump officials in the run-up to the election, because they have very, very broad authority,” said Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has advocated for revising surveillance laws.[17]

Obama—or his administration—may have used Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority.[18]

Diving deep into Roget’s Thesaurus, media outlets were quick to call the President’s charges “baseless,” “unfounded,” and “without evidence.” What they seem to mean is that he didn’t footnote his tweets. But any halfway decent reporter could have found the source of the President’s charge—a Breitbartarticle that built on earlier reports by the BBC and Heatstreet. These articles make quite specific claims that the Obama administration used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to investigate alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign. Most media outlets have been surprisingly incurious about those claims, or at least slow to investigate them, as though they were somehow beneath the dignity of real reporters already swamped with their Roget’s research.[19]

I am unfamiliar with Heatstreet, but Breitbart is hardly a reputable source. The BBC article, however, relies on sources who confirmed or denied possible elements of the story. What we can reasonably glean from it is that the Obama administration probably investigated reports that Trump might be vulnerable to blackmail.[20] We know absolutely nothing about the outcome of this investigation[21] and it would be that outcome that would rise to the level of actual evidence. A proper report should detail methods and it would be from this that we would know whether or not Obama (or his administration) “wiretapped” Trump and then, from this, whether or not such an investigation was lawful.

[S]enior law enforcement and intelligence officials who worked in the Obama administration have said there were no secret intelligence warrants regarding Trump. Asked whether such a warrant existed, James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, “I can deny it.”

“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time as a candidate or against his campaign,” he added.[22]

That actually fails to answer the question. As Lawfare’s Stewart Baker explains, the claim is “true enough, but more or less irrelevant. Under current law, the President doesn’t order surveillance, The Attorney General does. Who thinks that if Loretta Lynch and not President Obama ordered surveillance of the Trump campaign we could all kick back and stop worrying about politicization of national security?” And, apparently, a FISA investigation could have, at least on paper, targeted Russian banks, thus evading the prohibition on domestic spying.[23]

Which is all to say we still don’t know shit, either about whether or not “Mr Trump had been filmed with a group of prostitutes in the presidential suite of Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel,”[24] let alone whether such hijinks included “golden showers,”[25] or that the Obama administration acted improperly in investigating these reports.

Cory Bennett, “How the feds could have listened to Trump’s phone calls,” Politico, March 4, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-feds-phone-calls-obama-235690

Stewart Baker, “Eight Buckets of Cold Water for the Trump Wiretap Story,” Lawfare, March 5, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/eight-buckets-cold-water-trump-wiretap-story

Ashley Gorski and Patrick Toomey, “Trump’s Wiretapping Accusations: Here’s What the Government Can Actually Do,” American Civil Liberties Union, March 5, 2017, https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/trumps-wiretapping-accusations-heres-what-government-can-actually-do

Ted Mann, “FBI Asks Justice Department to Refute Trump’s Wiretap Claim,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-to-ask-congress-to-probe-potentially-politically-motivated-investigations-1488724467

Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear, “Comey asks Justice Dept. to reject Trump’s wiretapping claim,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, March 5, 2017, http://www.startribune.com/comey-asks-justice-dept-to-reject-trump-s-wiretapping-claim/415432234/

Jonathan Turley, “Report: Comey Asks Justice Department To Deny Trump Allegations As Untrue,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/report-comey-asks-justice-department-to-deny-trump-allegations-as-untrue/


H-1B Visas

U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS) announced it “will suspend premium processing for H-1B visa petitions for high-skilled workers” in order to “work through a large backlog of non-premium petitions.”[26] This appears not to be related to the fact that the entire H-1B system is a scam to substitute cheaper migrant workers for U.S. workers.[27]

Elliot Smilowitz, “US to slow processing of visas for high-skilled workers,” Hill, March 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/technology/322338-us-to-slow-processing-of-visas-for-high-skilled-workers


Uber

I overheard a conversation in which it was alleged that many, many Uber staff are waiting to resign until after bonuses are issued. If I heard right, the bonuses come out on the 15th.

Setting rumor aside, Uber’s future appears very much to depend on a successful implementation of self-driving cars and on venture capitalists continuing to fund them while they work out the bugs in self-driving cars.[28] I’m optimistic that somebody will succeed with this technology. But I’ve been around when venture capitalists fold up their checkbooks and this doesn’t have to be about anything rational. And with Uber’s mounting problems,[29] it could be that venture capitalists act sooner rather than later.

Could be. My experience with venture capitalists is that that industry suffers from many of the same ills that bedevil high technology. They also might fail to respond to these developments at all simply because they don’t even recognize them as problems.

Melanie Zanona and Ali Breland, “Uber shifts into damage control mode,” Hill, March 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/322317-uber-shifts-into-damage-control-mode

Ben Rosen, “Uber’s secret ‘Greyball’ program: a problem with the ride-hailer or with regulators?” Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 2017, http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2017/0305/Uber-s-secret-Greyball-program-a-problem-with-the-ride-hailer-or-with-regulators


Dumbocrats

Chris Hedges, “Donald Trump’s Greatest Allies Are the Liberal Elites,” Truthdig, March 5, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/donald_trumps_greatest_allies_are_the_liberal_elites_20170305


Muslim Ban

Bizarro, March 6, 2017, fair use.
Fig. 1. Bizarro, March 6, 2017, fair use.

Jonathan Turley notes that “this [new order] still distinguishes between people based on their nationality — the core of the challenge of the earlier litigation. Thus, it is likely that this will face new challenges — or attempts to amend earlier complaints.”[30]

But what’s worse is that there is absolutely no coherent linkage between affected countries and incidences of terrorism in the United States (figure 2).[31]:

Screenshot from the Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017, fair use.
Fig. 2. Screenshot from the Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017, fair use.

Turley believes that broad language in a 1952 immigration law, specifically section 1182(f), allows the president “by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, [to] suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,”[32] which does indeed sound just like what Trump has done. Subsequent legislation that appears to ban discrimination based on nationality “does not apply to refugees” and “does not ban discrimination based on religion.” Turley also cites an action by Jimmy Carter, arguing that this is among the precedents that would need to be overturned or found unconstitutional for challengers to the new order to prevail.[33]

[W]here does all of that leave us? It leaves us with a good-faith challenge to an executive order, but a challenge that will have to clear away a host of existing cases to prevail. Could it happen? Sure, but it is important not to overstate the authority in the area or allow passions to overcome analysis. At most the 1965 law would be relevant to part of the order and even for that portion (on the seven identified countries) the Administration has strong arguments on the basis of inherent plenary authority and statutory exemptions.[34]

The ACLU plans to sue regardless.

A more pressing legal question is whether the order amounts to religious discrimination by unconstitutionally singling out Muslims for unfavorable treatment. A federal judge in Virginia, Leonie Brinkema, concluded the original order likely violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from making religious preferences.

The new order removes a provision that gave preference to Christian refugees from Muslim counties. It also includes a paragraph that explicitly refutes claims that the travel ban discriminates based on religion.

But the judge found that the original ban was spurred by anti-Muslim animus, citing Mr. Trump’s previous campaign statements as well as recent statements by adviser Rudy Giuliani about Mr. Trump’s intent and motivations for the executive order. Nothing in the new order alters that history.[35]

The ACLU’s David Cole is crystal clear on that last point:

Donald Trump has repeatedly made crystal clear his intent to ban Muslims from entering the United States. As a candidate, he repeatedly stated that he intended, if elected, to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. He has never repudiated that commitment. When confronted with the fact that his proposal would violate the Constitution, President Trump said on “Meet the Press” on July 24, 2016, that he would use territory as a proxy for religion. And, when asked after his election victory whether he still intended to ban Muslim immigrants from the United States, President-elect Trump confirmed that was still the plan. Two days after the original executive order was issued, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an advisor to President Trump, stated that then-candidate Trump had asked him for help in “legally” creating a “Muslim ban”; that, in response, Mr. Giuliani and others decided to use territory as a proxy; and that this idea is reflected in the signed order. There is overwhelming evidence that the most recent executive order was likewise intended to discriminate against Muslims.[36]

Because the Constitution is the highest law in the land, one might suspect that the First Amendment should trump the law that Turley cites.

David Cole, “We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban,” Just Security, March 6, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/38410/court-2-0-muslim-ban-muslim-ban/

Laura Meckler and Brent Kendall, “Trump Signs New Travel Ban in Bid to Avoid Original Order’s Legal Pitfalls,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/president-trump-signs-revised-executive-order-restricting-travel-to-the-u-s-1488818000

Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/


  1. [1]Elliot Smilowitz, “US to slow processing of visas for high-skilled workers,” Hill, March 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/technology/322338-us-to-slow-processing-of-visas-for-high-skilled-workers
  2. [2]Melanie Zanona and Ali Breland, “Uber shifts into damage control mode,” Hill, March 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/322317-uber-shifts-into-damage-control-mode
  3. [3]Ted Mann, “FBI Asks Justice Department to Refute Trump’s Wiretap Claim,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-to-ask-congress-to-probe-potentially-politically-motivated-investigations-1488724467
  4. [4]Ashley Gorski and Patrick Toomey, “Trump’s Wiretapping Accusations: Here’s What the Government Can Actually Do,” American Civil Liberties Union, March 5, 2017, https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/trumps-wiretapping-accusations-heres-what-government-can-actually-do
  5. [5]Stewart Baker, “Eight Buckets of Cold Water for the Trump Wiretap Story,” Lawfare, March 5, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/eight-buckets-cold-water-trump-wiretap-story
  6. [6]Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear, “Comey asks Justice Dept. to reject Trump’s wiretapping claim,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, March 5, 2017, http://www.startribune.com/comey-asks-justice-dept-to-reject-trump-s-wiretapping-claim/415432234/
  7. [7]Jonathan Turley, “Report: Comey Asks Justice Department To Deny Trump Allegations As Untrue,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/report-comey-asks-justice-department-to-deny-trump-allegations-as-untrue/
  8. [8]Chris Hedges, “Donald Trump’s Greatest Allies Are the Liberal Elites,” Truthdig, March 5, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/donald_trumps_greatest_allies_are_the_liberal_elites_20170305
  9. [9]David Cole, “We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban,” Just Security, March 6, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/38410/court-2-0-muslim-ban-muslim-ban/; Laura Meckler and Brent Kendall, “Trump Signs New Travel Ban in Bid to Avoid Original Order’s Legal Pitfalls,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/president-trump-signs-revised-executive-order-restricting-travel-to-the-u-s-1488818000; Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/
  10. [10]Ben Rosen, “Uber’s secret ‘Greyball’ program: a problem with the ride-hailer or with regulators?” Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 2017, http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2017/0305/Uber-s-secret-Greyball-program-a-problem-with-the-ride-hailer-or-with-regulators
  11. [11]Jonathan Turley, “Report: Comey Asks Justice Department To Deny Trump Allegations As Untrue,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/report-comey-asks-justice-department-to-deny-trump-allegations-as-untrue/
  12. [12]Peggy Noonan, “A Disunited Party’s Successful Convention,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-disunited-partys-successful-convention-1469769130
  13. [13]Cory Bennett, “How the feds could have listened to Trump’s phone calls,” Politico, March 4, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-feds-phone-calls-obama-235690
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin’s motives,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9162; David Benfell, “Blaming the Russians,” Not Housebroken, December 17, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9151
  15. [15]David Benfell, “Blaming the Russians,” Not Housebroken, December 17, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9151
  16. [16]Cory Bennett, “How the feds could have listened to Trump’s phone calls,” Politico, March 4, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-feds-phone-calls-obama-235690; Ted Mann, “FBI Asks Justice Department to Refute Trump’s Wiretap Claim,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-to-ask-congress-to-probe-potentially-politically-motivated-investigations-1488724467
  17. [17]Cory Bennett, “How the feds could have listened to Trump’s phone calls,” Politico, March 4, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-feds-phone-calls-obama-235690
  18. [18]Stewart Baker, “Eight Buckets of Cold Water for the Trump Wiretap Story,” Lawfare, March 5, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/eight-buckets-cold-water-trump-wiretap-story; Ashley Gorski and Patrick Toomey, “Trump’s Wiretapping Accusations: Here’s What the Government Can Actually Do,” American Civil Liberties Union, March 5, 2017, https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/trumps-wiretapping-accusations-heres-what-government-can-actually-do; Paul Wood, “Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?” British Broadcasting Corporation, January 12, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427
  19. [19]Stewart Baker, “Eight Buckets of Cold Water for the Trump Wiretap Story,” Lawfare, March 5, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/eight-buckets-cold-water-trump-wiretap-story
  20. [20]Paul Wood, “Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?” British Broadcasting Corporation, January 12, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427
  21. [21]Stewart Baker, “Eight Buckets of Cold Water for the Trump Wiretap Story,” Lawfare, March 5, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/eight-buckets-cold-water-trump-wiretap-story
  22. [22]Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear, “Comey asks Justice Dept. to reject Trump’s wiretapping claim,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, March 5, 2017, http://www.startribune.com/comey-asks-justice-dept-to-reject-trump-s-wiretapping-claim/415432234/
  23. [23]Stewart Baker, “Eight Buckets of Cold Water for the Trump Wiretap Story,” Lawfare, March 5, 2017, https://www.lawfareblog.com/eight-buckets-cold-water-trump-wiretap-story
  24. [24]Paul Wood, “Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?” British Broadcasting Corporation, January 12, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427
  25. [25]Juan Cole, “For Russian hold on Trump, follow the Money, not the Sex tapes,” Informed Comment, January 11, 2017, http://www.juancole.com/2017/01/russian-trump-follow.html; Greg Price, “Penthouse may have proof of Trump’s ‘golden shower’ tryst at Moscow hotel,” Raw Story, January 13, 2017, http://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/penthouse-may-have-proof-of-trumps-golden-shower-tryst-at-moscow-hotel/; Jeff Stein, “Trump, Russian Spies and the Infamous ‘Golden Shower Memos,’” Newsweek, January 10, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russian-spies-infamous-golden-shower-memos-541315
  26. [26]Elliot Smilowitz, “US to slow processing of visas for high-skilled workers,” Hill, March 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/technology/322338-us-to-slow-processing-of-visas-for-high-skilled-workers
  27. [27]Josh Eidelson, “The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn’t Really Exist,” Business Week, November 24, 2014, http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-11-24/the-tech-worker-shortage-doesnt-really-exist; Karin Klein, “The truth about the great American science shortfall,” Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2014, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-stem-science-math-shortage-20140224,0,6706502.story; Kyung M. Song and Janet I. Tu, “Do visas for skilled foreigners shut out U.S. tech workers?” Seattle Times, May 5, 2013, http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020924182_h1bworkersxml.html; Jordan Weissmann, “The Myth of America’s Tech-Talent Shortage,” Atlantic, April 29, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/the-myth-of-americas-tech-talent-shortage/275319/
  28. [28]Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, http://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203
  29. [29]Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, http://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Melanie Zanona and Ali Breland, “Uber shifts into damage control mode,” Hill, March 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/322317-uber-shifts-into-damage-control-mode
  30. [30]Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/
  31. [31]Laura Meckler and Brent Kendall, “Trump Signs New Travel Ban in Bid to Avoid Original Order’s Legal Pitfalls,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/president-trump-signs-revised-executive-order-restricting-travel-to-the-u-s-1488818000
  32. [32]quoted in Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/
  33. [33]Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/
  34. [34]Jonathan Turley, “Trump signs new immigration executive order,” March 6, 2017, https://jonathanturley.org/2017/03/06/trump-signs-new-immigration-executive-order/
  35. [35]Laura Meckler and Brent Kendall, “Trump Signs New Travel Ban in Bid to Avoid Original Order’s Legal Pitfalls,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/president-trump-signs-revised-executive-order-restricting-travel-to-the-u-s-1488818000
  36. [36]David Cole, “We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban,” Just Security, March 6, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/38410/court-2-0-muslim-ban-muslim-ban/

Probably not a possible way forward for Scotland: Daily Bullshit, March 4, 2017

Scotland

In my last comment on another possible Scottish referendum on independence, I wrote

I’m unclear on the point. We already know that Scotland’s electorate opposed Brexit[1] and we have little reason to suspect that’s changed. But we also know that most Scots oppose another referendum on independence at this time,[2] which suggests rather strongly to me that one would not pass. And finally, we know that, as an entity, Scotland is effectively invisible to the European Union, that it is entirely subject to whatever Article 50 deal Britain negotiates with the Union.[3] So the only way that Scotland can negotiate access to the EU is to be independent, which its voters apparently do not want. I’m really not seeing the way forward here.[4]

Stewart Patrick answers that and more, arguing that Theresa May’s decision to pursue a “hard” Brexit may itself swing voters to support independence as negotiations proceed. He seems to think the real trick would be getting the U.K. parliament to approve the vote.[5] I am not saying he’s wrong. Let me repeat that: I am not saying he’s wrong. I don’t know that he’s right in his judgment of Scottish voters, but he makes an interesting argument.

I do think Patrick is right in his assessment that the U.K. Parliament would likely veto another referendum.[6] I’m just not seeing where British politicians have an interest in enabling Scottish independence. If Patrick has an answer to this, he isn’t saying.

Stewart M. Patrick, “The Scottish Play: Will Brexit Spell the End of a United Kingdom?” Council on Foreign Relations, March 2, 2017, http://blogs.cfr.org/patrick/2017/03/02/the-scottish-play-will-brexit-spell-the-end-of-a-united-kingdom/


Uber

Associated Press, “Uber deploys secret weapon against undercover regulators,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, March 3, 2017, http://www.startribune.com/uber-deploys-secret-weapon-against-undercover-regulators/415356184/


Muslim Ban

Josh Gerstein, “Judge: Trump and government lawyers seem at odds over new travel ban,” Politico, March 3, 2017, http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/03/trump-lawyers-travel-ban-235675


  1. [1]Peter Geoghegan, “Scots against Brexit,” Deutschewelle, June 18, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/scotland-plays-it-cool-over-brexit-debate/a-19326241; Peter Geoghegan, “Scotland eyes British exit,” Politico, October 12, 2016, http://www.politico.eu/article/all-eyes-on-scotland-scottish-national-party-conference-nicola-sturgeon/; Peter Geoghegan, “Scottish nationalists huddle to talk Brexit, independence,” Deutschewelle, October 12, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/scottish-nationalists-huddle-to-talk-brexit-independence/a-36015386; Rowena Lindsay, “Scotland revives independence bid in wake of Brexit vote,” Christian Science Monitor, September 2, 2016, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2016/0902/Scotland-revives-independence-bid-in-wake-of-Brexit-vote; MercoPress, “Scotland ‘undoubtedly’ closer to an independence referendum,” January 18, 2017, http://en.mercopress.com/2017/01/18/scotland-undoubtedly-closer-to-an-independence-referendum; Nicholas Winning, “Scotland to Consider New Independence Referendum Bill,” Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/scotland-to-consider-new-independence-referendum-bill-1476363221
  2. [2]Elisabeth O’Leary, “Scottish independence vote may be decided ‘within weeks’: Sturgeon ally,” Reuters, February 5, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-scotland-idUSKBN15K0UA
  3. [3]Gabriela Baczynska, “European Commission says after Brexit vote: Scotland part of UK,” Reuters, June 25, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-scotland-commission-idUSKCN0ZB0LQ; Telegraph, “Spain rejects Nicola Sturgeon Brexit plan for Scotland in seemingly fatal blow,” December 22, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/22/spain-rejects-nicola-sturgeon-brexit-plan-scotland-seemingly/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Scottish parliament to vote on Brexit,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, February 10, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2017/02/10/scotland-parliament-to-vote-on-brexit-daily-bullshit-february-7-2017/
  5. [5]Stewart M. Patrick, “The Scottish Play: Will Brexit Spell the End of a United Kingdom?” Council on Foreign Relations, March 2, 2017, http://blogs.cfr.org/patrick/2017/03/02/the-scottish-play-will-brexit-spell-the-end-of-a-united-kingdom/
  6. [6]Stewart M. Patrick, “The Scottish Play: Will Brexit Spell the End of a United Kingdom?” Council on Foreign Relations, March 2, 2017, http://blogs.cfr.org/patrick/2017/03/02/the-scottish-play-will-brexit-spell-the-end-of-a-united-kingdom/

Beware of gods bearing gifts? Daily Bullshit, March 3, 2017

There is a new blog post, “While I wasn’t paying attention….


Child-freedom

Brooks Hays, “Adults who choose not to have children inspire moral outrage in study participants,” United Press International, March 1, 2017, http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/03/01/Adults-who-choose-not-to-have-children-inspire-moral-outrage-in-study-participants/1031488403755/


Rachel Dolezal

Fig. 1. Dan Wasserman, June 17, 2015, fair use.
Grio, “Rachel Dolezal changes name to West African moniker meaning ‘gift of god,’” March 2, 2017, http://thegrio.com/2017/03/02/rachel-dolezal-changes-name-to-west-african-moniker-meaning-gift-of-god/