In an article I was having trouble archiving earlier, Feargus O’Sullivan points out a false dichotomy in the Catalan and Spanish government positions. (Catalonia)
John Cassidy makes the best of a near-total absence of specific information about the first charges Robert Mueller has filed in his investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election while John Bennett takes a dive into speculation about who might be charged for what. (James Comey)
October 29, 11:41 am:
A large number of people, who presumably didn’t turn out for the referendum on independence for Catalonia, now protest the outcome, effectively endorsing election violence waged by the Spanish government. So okay, children, repeat after me: STOCK-HOLM SYN-DROME!
October 30, 1:08 pm:
Robert Mueller has charged Paul Manafort and Richard Gates with several crimes. They were arrested and pled not guilty. (James Comey)
In addition to the charges against Manafort and Gates, it was revealed that a “Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his meetings with [a professor who had close ties to the Kremlin and claimed that Russian officials could provide the Trump campaign with ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton] and with a female Russian national he believed was related to President Vladimir Putin.” (Donald Trump’s aides)
One of my pet peeves is the—okay, it’s a word, but it’s disgusting—word pleaded. I don’t know when mass media decided that pled is not a word and to use the word pleaded instead, but pled is still in my copy of the Oxford Dictionary of English. Take your pleaded crap and shove it up your fucking ass.
My weather station is now partly up. Lightning is still occasionally spuriously detected. There is another piece to this station that has yet to arrive and which will need to be mounted ten feet above obstructions to measure wind (I’m not sure what all else it does, if anything). I’m still thinking about how to mount that—it will never be great because we have lots of tall trees nearby and, no, I’m not climbing to the top of one of the taller trees in Graton to mount this, let alone returning there every so often to change its batteries.
Originally published, October 25, 6:46 pm.
October 25, 11:08 pm:
Ezra Klein thinks that Republicans are privately pissed at Bob Corker because, in their view, his attacks on Donald Trump undermine their effort to pass so-called tax reform, which is to say that, for now, they have it completely backwards.
Plenty of high-profile conservatives still passionately denounce Donald Trump. But few still rely on conservative voters, conservative readers or conservative listeners for their livelihood. Anti-Trump conservatism has become a brain without a body. Intellectually, it remains alive; politically, it’s almost dead.
First, an idea is never truly dead politically as long as some elites hold it. The possibility for a return from the ashes remains and, while there are grounds for skepticism, it is occasionally the case that a retreat is successfully strategic. Second, Beinart effectively contrasts authoritarian populists (Trump’s base) with traditionalist conservatives, while overlooking other tendencies (the original #NeverTrump faction is neoconservative and when Beinart refers to “establishment” conservatives, he means functionalist conservatives). This is a pathetically simplistic way of viewing conservatism and it ignores that traditionalist conservatives have never, ever, relied on political power to sustain their ideas.
I do agree that this may be a pivotal moment for the Republican Party. Jeff Flake declared on the Senate floor that “[t]here may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate” and while I’ve been disinclined to entertain notions of a conservative crack-up (they were never a monolith in the first place), it’s clear that the party faces an identity crisis that has, arguably, been building since the fusionism of the 1970s. I do not know if it is yet a pivotal moment for Trump’s presidency.
But it certainly appears to be a historical moment:
Can you imagine Chris Dodd, Evan Bayh and Byron Dorgan saying in 2009 that Barack Obama was debasing the country? Or Fred Thompson, Phil Gramm and Jesse Helms saying in 2001 that George W. Bush needed adult day care? Or George Mitchell, Sam Nunn and David Boren going on CNN in 1993 to call Bill Clinton a congenital liar?
Of course not. In fact, it’s inconceivable. As Flake said yesterday, this is not normal. None of it: not Trump’s behavior, nor the reaction to it.
That’s why the mainstream media cannot cover the back-and-forth like a remake of “Mean Girls.” It’s so much more than just another Trump Twitter feud. Objectively, this is an extraordinary moment in our nation’s history.
President Trump finds himself at midweek facing blistering criticism from Capitol Hill for what he says and how he says it.
And that’s from Republicans.
So far, three GOP senators have this week done something unheard of in modern U.S. political history: a strong rebuke, and almost even ridicule, for the president from their own party.
For [George W.] Bush and [John] McCain in particular to go against a president of their own party is unprecedented. That both men are not Trump fans is no surprise; that they continue to speak about what they perceive as drift in the party and the United States at large in a new president’s first term is stunning. It is yet another indication that they see Trump’s populism as a threat to change the very nature of the GOP.
Some Republicans—clearly not all—are finally starting to grapple with the fact that Donald Trump has become the story, and that that story is drowning out their agenda. Barack Obama was a bitter pill—and not just for authoritarian populists—and conservatives have been waiting eight long years to advance their agenda. Only it turns out that they haven’t actually agreed on the details of that agenda, that Republican control of government presently includes a catastrophe in the White House, and that they still cling to a delusion that that catastrophe can help to advance that agenda. These are all problems. Excising the catastrophe won’t, in itself, resolve differences over the agenda but these Republicans are slowly recognizing that they need to do this in order to even address those differences. “There are several GOP senators who feel the same way [Corker] does, but they won’t put their views on the record,” writes James Hohmann, but what, as far as I know, we don’t know is first, how many Republican politicians are coming to this view; and second, how the conflict within the party between those who support and those who oppose Trump will play out—or, more precisely, how it will play out, when. I still think Trump will be out of office within a year and I’m inclined to think that it is a necessary but not sufficient first step when the need to get him out has crystalized in his opponents’ minds. For the moment, however, it appears that many of them have it exactly backwards:
Establishment [functionalist] conservatives agree with virtually everything Corker is saying, but the devil’s bargain they’ve made is that debasing themselves to support Trump will be worth it if they can reform the tax code and unwind Obamacare. But if they support Trump and fail to pass their agenda — as has been the case thus far — then they will have mortgaged their souls for nothing, and that will truly be unforgivable.
Meanwhile, Corker will be remembered as one of the rare Republicans who spoke out against a president whom history will hold in abysmally low regard, and his example will make his colleagues’ cowardice look all the more craven. You can see why they’re pissed.
I’m hoping my weather station is now fixed. It’s been up since I went to bed last night. I’m guessing the lightning detections are spurious, possibly the result of my mother flipping a light switch, which probably means I need to reconsider the location.
The Catalan president rejects the Spanish Prime Minister’s plan.
Okay, I think a military coup d’etat might have been one of the thoughts on my mind as I contemplated how Donald Trump might be removed (or remove himself). I don’t think I envisioned it as preserving Trump as a figurehead. But ummmm, damn, this is chilling. I would caution, however, in the critical theorists’ emphasis on context, we need to consider how we might expect a general to speak of U.S. war dead.
I have previously commented on this situation here. While, allegedly, a majority of Catalans do not support independence, “[r]egional elections won’t necessarily herald greater stability. Separatist lawmakers could increase their representation in the regional assembly, some pollsters say.” I do not know if Spanish (or Catalan) polling is any more reliable than that in the U.S. or U.K., but I doubt it.
The number of Americans killed in all the wars this nation has ever fought is indeed equal to roughly one per cent of all Americans alive today. This makes for questionable math and disturbing logic.
Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, according to a survey, you know, the kind of “research” that typically boasts a nine percent response rate, may draw riders away from public transit and increase traffic overall. Which, if the methodology were trustworthy, would mean that the City of San Francisco might not, after all, be so far off base in partially (although The City has offered no such nuance) blaming Uber and Lyft for its traffic problems.
Yes, at long last, a new issue. There will be more news on the Fire, but for me, we seem now to have moved into the aftermath, with recriminations (the only cause for the fire I’ve seen suggested is that wind may have blown down Pacific Gas and Electric lines but apparently other possible causes are also still under investigation), victims combing the ruins of their lives and trying to pick up the pieces (law firms are rushing in), and questions about the future. Some of this will be interesting to me and might get relayed here. Probably a lot won’t be.
Originally published, October 18, 7:19 pm.
October 18, 10:09 pm:
A Santa Rosa couple has filed what may be the first lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric for the Fire.
[Judge Derrick] Watson said Trump’s third executive order “makes no finding that nationality alone renders entry of this broad class of individuals a heightened security risk to the United States.” He added that the order “plainly discriminates based on nationality” and contains “internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated ‘national security’ rationale.”
“Numerous countries fail to meet one or more of the global baseline criteria described in EO-3, yet are not included in the ban,” he said.
[Judge Theodore] Chuang wrote that the president’s campaign trail comments about Muslims and his Twitter postings pointed to the ban being an unconstitutional example of discrimination against Muslims. . . .
Watson wrote that the ban goes against the Immigration and Nationality Act and “plainly discriminates based on nationality” in a way that is “antithetical” to American principles. He said the order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries” would harm U.S. interests.
Chuang’s block of the ban, which came in response to a suit by 23 U.S. residents and immigrant groups with ties to the nations, was more limited. It said the administration could not enforce the ban on any person with a “bona fide” connection to the U.S., such as close relatives who live in the country.
Catalonia’s president issued mixed messages on independence, signing a document declaring it, and asking the legislature to delay declaring it.
Earlier promised higher numbers on the Fire toll have begun to appear.
October 11, 3:42 pm:
The first part of my weather station has arrived and is now operational. I’ll be watching for siting issues for a while, so it probably shouldn’t be relied upon yet but you can see the observations I’ve got here.
Third wave Feminism has failed. A possible fourth wave might have failed even before it really got off the ground. The problem is the same problem it’s always been: white women who totalize oppression as based on gender (just like some folks who totalize oppression as based on race and a bunch of folks who totalize oppression as excluding class).
The Spanish government rejected the Catalan president’s offer of negotiation and mediation. (Catalonia)
We seem to be nowhere near out of the woods on the Fire.
The Utah cop who was simply, flatly wrong about getting a blood draw from an unconscious patient and assaulted and arrested a nurse when she refused to comply has been fired. (Police)
At this point, we have two choices: We can believe that Donald Trump is going down or we can believe it’s all “fake news.” Trump, of course, would have us believe the latter but James Hohmann has been doing a good job culling reports from a variety of sources. There’s a lot of smoke around this fire and I don’t mean the one near where I live.
Speaking of that Fire, so, okay, maybe my drive to check on my mechanic’s shop and my veterinary clinic wasn’t one of my smarter moves and maybe my mother’s decision to evacuate was one of her smarter moves.
The Fire continues to burn, essentially out of control.
The Tubbs Fire, which is the one of greatest concern here, is at ten percent containment.
Donald Trump will follow through on his longstanding threat to cut off cost sharing reduction payments to insurers in his crusade against Obamacare.
October 14, 2:10 am:
I spent most of today working on network infrastructure at the house (yeah, the same house I’m worried about having to evacuate). With this upgrade, my Mom’s television, telephone, and associated electronics are now on an uninterruptible power supply and I am adding three WiFi routers (all on new uninterruptible power supplies) to make a mesh wireless network with about four times the coverage we’re supposed to need. This enables me to move the weather station WiFi hub closer to the weather station. I’m hoping this will bring that station back on line but I also now have the allegedly ‘right’ batteries. Oh, and by the way, that’s why this update is so late in coming.
There’s more on that second shoe Donald Trump dropped in his crusade against Obamacare. A few people are pointing out that Trump seems to be giving a big push on something he alleges is collapsing on its own. James Hohman broke out the Pottery Barn analogy, warning that “it’s hard to blame your predecessor for problems two years after you take office. Especially when your party has unified control of the federal government.” James, you do a lot of good work, and I know you’re not alone, but do we really already have to be in horse race mode for 2018? Really?
As speculation swirls around a 25th amendment solution to the Trump presidency, and with North Korea and numerous other crises still swirling, Trump ‘decertifies’ the Iran nuclear deal.
18 states and the District of Columbia are suing over Donald Trump’s decision to scrap those Obamacare “cost sharing reduction payments.” I should probably note here that a federal judge had already “ruled the payments were being made illegally, but the Obama administration appealed” and the Trump administration is presumably and reportedly dropping the appeal.
The toll continues to rise in the Fire. From what I could see, the day in Graton started off fairly clear, but then we were back downwind of the fires.
October 14, 10:57 am:
There is a new evacuation map (figure 5) for Santa Rosa as new evacuation orders have been issued for eastern parts of the city. Also, I’ve taken a screenshot of a map of active fire perimeters (figure 11).
I am facing a few extreme frustrations at the moment:
My job hunt, of course, but I’ve now gotten my analysis of this problem on its own page.
My cat, Admiral Janeway, doesn’t like eating the food the veterinarian wants her to eat. This is a really good veterinarian, but a really stubborn cat who seemingly only wants mercury-laced tuna for humans—and it’s killing her.
Apparently the WeatherFlow WiFi hub is still too far away from the weather station. Allegedly, “AIR & SKY communicate with HUB via powerful sub-gHz telemetry radios. We have tested the radio signal over 300 meters (1000 ft+) in a clear line-of-sight. All situations differ with local obstructions like walls and power interference.” The distance is far less than that, but through a couple walls, which seems to mean my initial idea for siting won’t work. I am trying to devise another plan—and wondering if any siting scheme will work with the walls in this house (which are unremarkable for a manufactured home) or if the damned thing is simply defective.
October 15, 3:34 am:
I appear to have struck out with the weather station. I am attempting to contact support.
Apparently there is “a new stage of acceptance setting in across the country, even among [Donald Trump’s] supporters, that he is unfit and incapable.”
The Fire still burns. I have a new screenshot of the Sonoma County Complex map (figure 13).
October 16, 4:30 am:
Jonathan Easley’s analysis concludes that Donald Trump really only cares about his (authoritarian populist and, probably, paleoconservative) base.
If James Hohmann invoked the Pottery Barn analogy,Obamacare’s backers now say Trump will bear the blame for wrecking the Affordable Care Act.
My mother will be returning home today. The smoke was much better today although the latest Fire map (figure 13) shows that the fires continue to claim more territory and a massive chunk of Sonoma County remains on alert (figure 7) with many evacuations still in force. That said, “fire officials said on Sunday [October 15] they had apparently ‘turned a corner’ against wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week. Thousands got the all-clear to return home.” To be honest, I’m not finding such assurances compelling. The maps don’t offer me cause for optimism except that so many perimeters remain little changed. And the changes seem small enough and far enough away that I’m weighing the danger of complacency against the unsustainability of remaining prepared to evacuate and, for now, I’m starting to bring stuff back in from my car.
October 16, 6:43 pm:
Donald Trump is apparently having some success in blaming Congress for inaction. Ummm…..
Well, actually, how about this? Some judge Donald Trump‘s attacks on his own party as placing the Republican majority in the House of Representatives at risk in next year’s elections. And, these folks intone, if Democrats gain control, impeachment of Trump will surely follow.
Evacuation orders and advisories in the Fire are beginning to fall like dominoes. And somebody—it won’t be me—might say they would have told her so, but now that my mother’s back, so is the smoke. It isn’t horrible, but certainly worse than the last couple days. I have a new screenshot from the Sonoma County Fire Complex Map up (figure 14).
October 16, 9:33 pm:
Took a screenshot of the CalFire Statewide Fire Map (figure 10).
October 17, 12:12 pm:
This is probably now the longest-running issue of the (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit. It includes all the Sonoma Fire Complex coverage that I’ve archived. But today, I’m finally seeing some actual containment numbers. Firefighters have actually made good progress, which is something I really wasn’t seeing documented before, which raises another question: Why couldn’t they offer these numbers earlier? There was, it must be said, an increasing dissonance between the fire maps, news coverage that understandably but perhaps misleadingly focuses on the scale of the tragedy and the personal stories of those affected, and a sense of returning normalcy that Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano had earlier warned against too seriously but which has become pervasive as businesses reopen (my mechanic, whose shop I checked on, is changing my oil while I write this). So this will probably be the final day for this issue.
Fire is affecting areas on the north and east of Santa Rosa (evacuation map, figures 1 through 7, and official information), including Windsor, and on the east of Rohnert Park. We are not in that area, but rather well to the west, so I have little to add to widespread reporting. The sky is smoky. When I went out to my car Monday (October 9) and Tuesday (October 10), it—and everything—was covered in ash. Otherwise, we have mostly just been worried.
At least 13 people are dead, at least 100 injured and at least 1,500 homes and businesses destroyed, authorities said. All three figures are expected to surge in coming days as more information is reported. Many homes and businesses were evacuated — some just in the nick of time as flames approached.
Of the numbers above, the 1500 number had been constant since Monday night (October 9) but started to climb by Tuesday night (October 10).
A power outage, beginning with a brown-out, struck our area Tuesday morning (October 10). It was of sufficient duration that I was forced to shut down my servers—they are now back up. My uninterruptible power supplies weren’t uninterruptible enough for this one and I’m hoping, only hoping, that’s the last of the power disruptions.
I managed to get into the afflicted areas on Tuesday to check on my auto mechanic and my veterinarian. My mechanic is located close to Coffey Park and appeared to be in the burned area (official map) but, fortunately, as it turns out, both my mechanic’s shop and the veterinary clinic appear undamaged.
Driving in the Santa Rosa area was an adventure. For one thing, the smoke is really thick. But also, power is out, affecting traffic signals at multi-lane intersections. Because I’m so disgusted with traffic engineering in Santa Rosa, I’m awfully tempted to say traffic was only a little worse, but my Google Maps timeline doesn’t bear me out: My exploration took an hour and a half; normally I’d be able to swing past both locations within a half hour. I might have seen one burned area, a field that appeared to be maybe a couple blocks north of Piner Road that I saw looking down a street that doesn’t actually connect with Piner. Otherwise, just lots of smoke, some pretty slow going, and I’m guessing an hour’s worth of awe.
My mother evacuated due to the smoke. She said she hoped to return on Sunday (October 15) and in fact returned Monday (October 16). The fires are still burning but she says the smoke is not too bad.
“One of the things that’s almost working against us is that the city is coming back to life everywhere,” [Sonoma County Sheriff Rob] Giordano said [apparently on Friday, October 13], emphasizing that the community is not out of the woods yet. “People think it’s over. It’s not over. These fires are still blazing.”
Just a few days ago, I was thinking the weather was cooling and that the fire danger was receding. I guess I was wrong (figures 9 and 10).
I have previously argued that Republicans will turn on Donald Trump when they decide he is an obstacle to their agenda. Trump’s feud with Bob Corker is important not so much because it represents particularly new actual attitudes—we’re talking about functionalist conservatives—but because Republican politicians are now effectively admitting that this is the case.
I’m seeing nonsense about how tensions between Catalonia and Spain are easing as a consequence of the Catalan president’s move even as the move itself is more ambiguous than advertised. People who say these things are failing to understand what is immediately apparent to me: That the tone and pace of Spanish and Catalan politics is different from what we’re used to at least in the U.S. if not the English-speaking world generally. I don’t know what happens next. Neither, probably, does anyone else.
Not so long ago, I wrote a blog entry, entitled “The corruption of the Left,” in which I noted that “[t]here are some stories being left out.” Think of Ruby Hamad and Celeste Liddle’s article as one of those stories.
Representation and diversity, for instance, can be important indicators of social progress. In feminist discourse however, they are increasingly served as substitutes for such progress. The giddiness surrounding Hillary Clinton as almost First Female President™ and the silliness over Wonder Woman as First Female Superhero™ both fostered an atmosphere of hostility to any women who had the audacity not to feel “represented” by either.
You weren’t “With Her”? No, it’s not because you’re an Arab woman who balks at Clinton’s fondness for bombing the Middle East; you just have internalised misogyny. Think Wonder Woman was average and kinda sexist? Too bad; she empowers ALL women. And don’t even consider bringing up Gal Gadot’s pro-IDF sentiments, that makes you a “racist.”
For all its talk of intersectionality, mainstream feminism still cannot comprehend that racism and sexism are not experienced separately but simultaneously.
And no, I wouldn’t specifically have forecast that we’d see a return to a theme in Audre Lorde’s essay, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” And that’s really the point—and the point that these mainstream feminists are missing—in standpoint theory. I don’t see it because, in my social location, I’m not there. And neither are these white feminists.
Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings, ed. Charles Lemert, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010), 449-451.↩
Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings, ed. Charles Lemert, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010), 449-451.↩
Catalans who voted and whose votes weren’t seized by police supported the referendum calling for independence and the Catalonian government made noises indicating it “would set in motion a potential secession based on the results.” (Catalonia)
October 1, 11:39 pm:
The margin in support of independence for Catalonia was apparently 90 percent.
October 2, 10:53 pm:
“The Catalan parliament in Barcelona had been due to debate tomorrow whether it should leave Spain. Last night, however, it emerged that the parliament would not meet and would merely set a date for its next session.” (Catalonia)
Alastair Gee, “Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars,” Guardian, September 28, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/28/adjunct-professors-homeless-sex-work-academia-poverty