South Korea seizes Chinese ship that allegedly transferred oil to the North: Daily Bullshit, December 29-31, 2017

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 29, 9:49 am.
  2. December 29, 5:19 pm:
  3. December 30, 3:34 pm:
    • Russia is also accused of delivering oil to North Korea.[22]
    • Facebook is complying with U.S. and Israeli requests to censor activists.[23] Twitter is likely doing the same.[24] (Social networks)
  4. December 31, 4:20 pm:
    • Britain’s security minister threatened companies like Facebook with massive taxes unless they allow the government access to encrypted communication.[25] (Social networks)
    • Facebook is inconsistent in its application of rules limiting ‘hate’ speech.[26] (Social networks)
    • Iran is blocking access to some social networks as authorities seek to quell protests.[27] (Social networks)

North Korea

It’s worth remembering that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing the U.S. into World War II, partly in response to . . . wait for it . . . an oil embargo.

British Broadcasting Corporation, “North Korea: South seizes ship amid row over illegal oil transfer,” December 29, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42510783

Guy Faulconbridge, Jonathan Saul, and Polina Nikolskaya, “Russian tankers fueled North Korea via transfers at sea – sources,” Reuters, December 29, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/usthkorea-missiles-russia-oil-exclus/exclusive-russian-tankers-fueled-north-korea-via-transfers-at-sea-sources-idUSKBN1EN1OJ

Emily Rauhala, “Trump said China was caught ‘red handed’ selling oil to North Korea. Beijing denies it did anything wrong,” Washington Post, December 29, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/trump-said-china-was-caught-red-handed-selling-oil-toth-korea-beijing-denies-it-did-anything-wrong/2017/12/29/89bc3a22-ec73-11e7-891f-e7a3c60a93de_story.html


Fusionism

In my dissertation, I set out a taxonomy of conservative tendencies, which I warned could become obsolete at any time.[28] I also didn’t talk very much about fusionism, “the guiding ideology of the US political Right for the last half-century, fusing together social conservatives, pro-business factions, anti-statists, and national security hawks in a durable coalition,”[29] for a couple reasons: First, I was trying to identify what separates conservatives rather than what brings them together. Second, I saw it as a neoconservative project that seemed maybe a bit outdated. Here, we see a taxonomy with different—and fewer—labels but that is otherwise similar to my own[30] and an argument that ‘religious,’ that is, social and traditionalist conservatives (the missing labels), no longer figure.[31]

It’s possible that my view of traditionalist conservatism needs updating. I count Rod Dreher, one of the authors here, as traditionalist. But he publishes in the American Conservative, which I also count as traditionalist, but which identifies itself as ‘reform.’ At the time of my dissertation, I wasn’t seeing enough of a difference to accept ‘reform conservatism’ as a distinct tendency,[32] and I’m still not persuaded.

All of this is to say that the Religious Right — the so-called “values voters” — really don’t exist anymore as a discrete nationwide force. The two issues that have defined us politically — abortion and sexuality — don’t have the salience that they used to. We lost the sexuality argument, and continue to lose it. Though abortion continues to be a potent issue, and one in which we are not losing ground, I have my doubts as to how many people decide their votes based on it alone. I mean, I know personally lots of people who do, and I’d guess that a fair number of this blog’s readers do, but my sense is that it is not the make-or-break issue that it has been for most of my adult life. It’s not that abortion isn’t an important issue to conservative voters, but rather my sense that its power has declined relative to other issues. I still believe it would be hard to mount a successful GOP presidential primary campaign as a pro-choice Republican, but I think it would be a lot easier today than it once was. Trump proves that, not because he’s pro-choice (he says he is pro-life, and whether or not he means it, he’s going to govern that way), but because he has shown how little GOP post-Reagan orthodoxies matter.[33]

I’m definitely not ready to discard the social conservative label, for a tendency which includes evangelicals. Evangelicals are deeply split over Donald Trump and Roy Moore,[34] but that hardly means they have ceased to exist. Rather, I’m inclined to see this intramural fight as signifying that there is something very much alive to fight over. Indeed, Dreher’s essay drips with the very tendency he describes as no longer “exist[ing] anymore as a discrete nationwide force.”[35]

And if I were counting discrete nationwide forces, I might not have counted traditionalist conservatism either, which even then lacked a potent presence in the political arena.[36] Certainly the dirty deal that some evangelical leaders have made with the devil, that is, Donald Trump, undermines the legitimacy of their moral arguments.[37] But they’ve been around in more or less their present form since the reconstruction era, when they opposed efforts by middle and upper class white women to control their own fertility, almost certainly in an effort to preserve white male hegemony.[38] That was a dirty deal, too, and just as they in fact thrived as a result of that deal, I’m expecting they’ll survive this one.

One of the characteristics of traditionalist conservatism, however, is that it privileges what it sees as the stable over the transitory. This spills into its epistemology, trusting the ‘wise’ species over the ‘foolish’ individual, trusting the status quo over ‘social engineering.’ In this context, Dreher’s argument seems odd; he is responding to what is, at heart, a pragmatic political argument—what wins votes?[39]—which is all about the transitory. I would expect him to have a bit more faith.

All that said, “institutional conservatism” looks a lot like my functionalist conservatism; the “libertarian right” is capitalist libertarianism, except that capitalist libertarians nearly all see migrants as exploitable workers and therefore favor open borders; the “fusionist right” still looks neoconservative to me; and the “nationalist right” looks like authoritarian populism. This list omits paleoconservatism, social conservatism, and traditionalist conservatism. And paleoconservatism, often seen as the “alt right,” is very much alive.

Dan Scotto, “The Strange Death of Conservative Fusionism,” Ordinary Gentlemen, September 20, 2017, http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2017/09/20/the-strange-death-of-conservative-fusionism/

Rod Dreher, “Fusionism Is Dead! Long Live … What?” American Conservative, December 29, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/fusionism-is-dead-long-live-what/


Social networks

It’s catching my attention—and I don’t know what to make of it—that all these articles seem to be surfacing at once. Individually, they’re separate stories. Collectively, they show a pattern of government intimidation to censor and suppress dissent on social networks.

After the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer, CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to step up monitoring of posts celebrating “hate crimes or acts of terrorism.” Yet some activists for civil rights and women’s rights end up in “Facebook jail,” while pages run by groups listed as hateful by the Southern Poverty Law Center are decked out with verification checkmarks and donation buttons.[40]

The simple fact, as open source advocates have been arguing for a while, is that you may not agree with the censorship that any centralized network may impose, whether of its own volition or under pressure from outside forces. And whatever authorities you respect for whatever reason, you may not agree with all the authorities that act on such a network. See, for example, Iran.[41] Centralization makes any network a target for authoritarian or criminal control.

The only answer is decentralization, preferably massive decentralization. But in my explorations of decentralized networks, I have consistently encountered problems that require more technical expertise than I possess to resolve. Which means that less skilled users must rely on people who have those skills, enabling the same power relationship, albeit on a smaller scale, that bedevils the centralized networks.

It strikes me that this may be an appropriate use for blockchain technology, better known for underlying the Bitcoin scam, but fundamentally, a massively distributed register meant to preserve a record of transactions. Such transactions can include social network posts and I see that there have been a few attempts to develop such social networks. These networks have yet to gain traction because of the “everybody’s on Facebook” problem.

But the one thing capitalist libertarians get right is that centralization pretty nearly inevitably means authoritarianism.[42] (The trouble is that they fail to object to economic power, even when it is centralized in the same way they object to with political power.) And stupid kids on the Left are only now figuring that out.

Ariana Tobin, Madeleine Varner, and Julia Angwin, “Facebook’s Uneven Enforcement of Hate Speech Rules Allows Vile Posts to Stay Up,” Pro Publica, December 28, 2017, https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-enforcement-hate-speech-rules-mistakes

Glenn Greenwald, “Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments,” Intercept, December 30, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/12/30/facebook-says-it-is-deleting-accounts-at-the-direction-of-the-u-s-and-israeli-governments/

Jerusalem Online, “Twitter said to have shut down Palestinian teen’s account over hate speech,” December 28, 2017, http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/in-israel/local/did-twitter-shut-down-palestinian-teens-account-33342

Saeed Kamali Dehghan, “Rouhani acknowledges Iranian discontent as protests continue,” Guardian, December 31, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/31/protesters-who-spread-fear-and-violence-will-be-confronted-says-iran

Tim Shipman, “Facebook, Google and WhatsApp among tech titans told to join fight against terror or face tax blitz,” Times, December 31, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/facebook-google-and-whatsapp-among-tech-titans-told-to-join-fight-against-terror-or-face-tax-blitz-plv9778nv


  1. [22]Guy Faulconbridge, Jonathan Saul, and Polina Nikolskaya, “Russian tankers fueled North Korea via transfers at sea – sources,” Reuters, December 29, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/usthkorea-missiles-russia-oil-exclus/exclusive-russian-tankers-fueled-north-korea-via-transfers-at-sea-sources-idUSKBN1EN1OJ
  2. [23]Glenn Greenwald, “Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments,” Intercept, December 30, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/12/30/facebook-says-it-is-deleting-accounts-at-the-direction-of-the-u-s-and-israeli-governments/
  3. [24]Jerusalem Online, “Twitter said to have shut down Palestinian teen’s account over hate speech,” December 28, 2017, http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/in-israel/local/did-twitter-shut-down-palestinian-teens-account-33342
  4. [25]Tim Shipman, “Facebook, Google and WhatsApp among tech titans told to join fight against terror or face tax blitz,” Times, December 31, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/facebook-google-and-whatsapp-among-tech-titans-told-to-join-fight-against-terror-or-face-tax-blitz-plv9778nv
  5. [26]Ariana Tobin, Madeleine Varner, and Julia Angwin, “Facebook’s Uneven Enforcement of Hate Speech Rules Allows Vile Posts to Stay Up,” Pro Publica, December 28, 2017, https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-enforcement-hate-speech-rules-mistakes
  6. [27]Saeed Kamali Dehghan, “Rouhani acknowledges Iranian discontent as protests continue,” Guardian, December 31, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/31/protesters-who-spread-fear-and-violence-will-be-confronted-says-iran
  7. [28]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  8. [29]Rod Dreher, “Fusionism Is Dead! Long Live … What?” American Conservative, December 29, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/fusionism-is-dead-long-live-what/
  9. [30]Dan Scotto, “The Strange Death of Conservative Fusionism,” Ordinary Gentlemen, September 20, 2017, http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2017/09/20/the-strange-death-of-conservative-fusionism/
  10. [31]Rod Dreher, “Fusionism Is Dead! Long Live … What?” American Conservative, December 29, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/fusionism-is-dead-long-live-what/
  11. [32]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  12. [33]Rod Dreher, “Fusionism Is Dead! Long Live … What?” American Conservative, December 29, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/fusionism-is-dead-long-live-what/
  13. [34]Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/; Mark Galli, “The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election,” Christianity Today, December 12, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/roy-moore-doug-jones-alabama-editorial.htm; Sarah Jones, “What Roy Moore Did to the Pro-Life Movement,” New Republic, December 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/146274/roy-moore-pro-life-movement; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  14. [35]Rod Dreher, “Fusionism Is Dead! Long Live … What?” American Conservative, December 29, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/fusionism-is-dead-long-live-what/
  15. [36]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  16. [37]Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/; Mark Galli, “The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election,” Christianity Today, December 12, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/roy-moore-doug-jones-alabama-editorial.htm; Sarah Jones, “What Roy Moore Did to the Pro-Life Movement,” New Republic, December 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/146274/roy-moore-pro-life-movement; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  17. [38]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  18. [39]Rod Dreher, “Fusionism Is Dead! Long Live … What?” American Conservative, December 29, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/fusionism-is-dead-long-live-what/
  19. [40]Ariana Tobin, Madeleine Varner, and Julia Angwin, “Facebook’s Uneven Enforcement of Hate Speech Rules Allows Vile Posts to Stay Up,” Pro Publica, December 28, 2017, https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-enforcement-hate-speech-rules-mistakes
  20. [41]Saeed Kamali Dehghan, “Rouhani acknowledges Iranian discontent as protests continue,” Guardian, December 31, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/31/protesters-who-spread-fear-and-violence-will-be-confronted-says-iran
  21. [42]F. A. Hayek, The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, ed. Bruce Caldwell, vol. 2, The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents; The Definitive Edition (1944; repr., Chicago: University of Chicago, 2007).

Roy Moore’s last (I hope) stand: Daily Bullshit, December 28, 2017

Roy Moore

Would I be far wrong in suggesting that, for most of us outside of Alabama, this story seems to be ending as bizarrely as it began? Or is it that my threshold for mind-boggling weirdness is just set far too low?

David Weigel, “Alabama certifies Doug Jones’s victory over Roy Moore in Senate election,” Washington Post, December 28, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/12/28/roy-moore-asks-alabama-court-for-a-new-election/


James Comey

Not much to see here, really. Just know to expect attacks on Michael Flynn as a potential witness against Donald Trump, his administration, or his campaign. This is coming. And that video of Trump praising Flynn?[1] Here we go.

Carol D. Leonnig, “Trump legal team readies attack on Flynn’s credibility,” Washington Post, December 27, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-legal-team-readies-attack-on-flynns-credibility/2017/12/27/bc601324-ea78-11e7-b698-91d4e35920a3_story.html


  1. [1]Carol D. Leonnig, “Trump legal team readies attack on Flynn’s credibility,” Washington Post, December 27, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-legal-team-readies-attack-on-flynns-credibility/2017/12/27/bc601324-ea78-11e7-b698-91d4e35920a3_story.html

Catalonia is still occupied territory, Daily Bullshit, December 22, 2017

Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy loses an election he forced, after violently disrupting an election and deposing the duly elected government in Catalonia, to try to quell the secession movement. But he continues to insist on “the constitution,”[1] which probably means he is unwilling to consider revising that constitution to allow for secession.

Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, “Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll,” Guardian, December 22, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/21/catalonia-election-set-to-give-victory-to-pro-independence-parties


Taxes

Yesterday, it was Masha Gessen on a cabinet meeting following passage of the tax bill.[2] But it seems there was more to come.[3] Both are writing for the New Yorker, a publication I treated as functionalist conservative in my dissertation.[4] So while I have no argument with their criticism and indeed share their disquiet, I would point out that it is part of an ongoing functionalist conservative critique of an authoritarian populist president.

John Cassidy, “The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018,” New Yorker, December 22, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-republican-grovelling-at-the-white-house-was-an-alarm-call-for-2018


Katharine Graham

I don’t expect to point to a neoconservative movie review very often. This one[5] is completely unexpected for me. It’s worth a read.

Amy Henderson, “In ‘The Post’ Katharine Graham Finally Gets Her Due,” Weekly Standard, December 22, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/in-the-post-katharine-graham-finally-gets-her-due/article/2010932


  1. [1]Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, “Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll,” Guardian, December 22, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/21/catalonia-election-set-to-give-victory-to-pro-independence-parties
  2. [2]Masha Gessen, “The Most Frightening Aspect of Trump’s Tax Triumph,” New Yorker, December 21, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-frightening-aspect-of-trumps-tax-triumph
  3. [3]John Cassidy, “The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018,” New Yorker, December 22, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-republican-grovelling-at-the-white-house-was-an-alarm-call-for-2018
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  5. [5]Amy Henderson, “In ‘The Post’ Katharine Graham Finally Gets Her Due,” Weekly Standard, December 22, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/in-the-post-katharine-graham-finally-gets-her-due/article/2010932

I’m not sure the Washington Post’s conservative columnist is really conservative: Daily Bullshit, December 18-21, 2017

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 19, 11:43 am.
  2. December 20, 2:50 am (not caught up):
    • There is a new blog entry, entitled “Road rage.”
  3. December 21, 12:51 am (caught up):
    • The United States cast the sole dissenting vote, vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital[1] and is attempting to strong-arm allies into supporting the U.S. position.[2]
    • Republican senators are resisting pressure to end probes into possible collusion between Donald Trump or his team and Russia.[3] (James Comey)
    • The European Court of Justice has ruled against Uber, saying it is a transport company.[4]
    • Congress passed so-called tax “reform,” sending it to the White House for Donald Trump’s signature.[5] (Tax bill)
    • Cliven Bundy, who led a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada, won a mistrial in the federal government’s case against him. He might win a dismissal with prejudice.[6] (White Supremacism)
  4. December 21, 12:21 pm:
    • Aaron Blake, also at the Washington Post, thinks Donald Trump effectively admitted that at least part of Jennifer Rubin’s assessment[7] of the Tax bill is correct.[8]
    • The United States’s attempt to strong-arm its allies[9] failed as the United Nations General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, in an emergency session to condemn Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.[10]
  5. December 21, 6:11 pm:
    • In taking up the dishonesty of the Tax bill, Masha Gessen identifies a different kind of political lie, “a Trumpian lie, which is distinct from other kinds of political lying. It might be called a power lie: its purpose is not to convince the audience of something that isn’t true but to demonstrate the power of the speaker.”[11]

Tax bill

Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s most prominent conservative columnist, blasts the tax bill and its advocates for “snake-oil salesmanship, the debt creation, the procedural sleights of hands, the heightened income inequality, the secret deals and the contempt for voters.”[12] A worried Masha Gessen goes a step beyond:

Political speeches are rarely occasions for truth-telling. But the good ones combine a description of shared reality with the expression of a vision, or with words of celebration. The mediocre ones consist of platitudes—well-intentioned but lacking the force of inspiration or recognition. And then there is the genre of the thoroughly insincere pronouncement that is all empty ritual. This is not normally observed in countries with functioning democratic institutions, because hollow words are the very opposite of accountability. These kinds of speeches are usually given in dictatorships: their intended audience is not the public but the tyrant. This is what we observed in Washington on Wednesday, and it’s the scariest part of Trump’s big tax triumph.[13]

Jennifer Rubin, “The most infuriating falsehoods about the tax bill and those who told them,” Washington Post, December 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/12/18/the-most-infuriating-falsehoods-about-the-tax-bill-and-those-who-told-them/

Aaron Blake, “Trump just admitted the GOP’s tax cuts were deceptively sold,” Washington Post, December 20, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/12/20/trump-just-admitted-the-gops-tax-cuts-were-deceptively-sold/

Lisa Mascaro, “House gives final OK to GOP tax plan, sending it to Trump,” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-house-gives-final-ok-to-gop-tax-plan-1513775499-htmlstory.html

Masha Gessen, “The Most Frightening Aspect of Trump’s Tax Triumph,” New Yorker, December 21, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-frightening-aspect-of-trumps-tax-triumph


Sexual assault and harassment

Now that the Democrats have offed Roy Moore,[14] they want Al Franken back.[15]

Edward-Isaac Dovere, “Franken urged to reverse his resignation,” Politico, December 18, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/18/manchin-franken-senate-resign-300843


Jerusalem

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us,” [Donald] Trump said. “Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”[16]

Oren Liebermann, “US stands alone, defiant at UN Security Council over Jerusalem,” CNN, December 18, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/18/middleeast/us-un-security-council-jerusalem/index.html

Kambiz Foroohar, “Haley Warns UN That Trump Is Watching Jerusalem Votes,” Bloomberg, December 20, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-20/haley-is-said-to-warn-un-that-trump-is-watching-jerusalem-votes

Raphael Ahren, “UN defies Trump, rejects US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital by 128-9,” Times of Israel, December 21, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-nations-defy-trump-and-pass-jerusalem-resolution-with-large-majority/

Max Greenwood, “UN votes to condemn Trump’s Jerusalem decision,” Hill, December 21, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/international/366001-un-votes-to-condemn-us-jerusalem-decision

Jewish Telegraph Agency, “UN General Assembly rejects US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” December 21, 2017, https://www.jta.org/2017/12/21/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/un-general-assembly-passes-resolution-rejecting-recognition-of-jerusalem-as-israels-capital


James Comey

Alexander Bolton, “Senate GOP wary of ending Russia probes, despite pressure,” Hill, December 18, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/365532-senate-gop-wary-of-ending-russia-probes-despite-pressure


Uber

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Uber is officially a cab firm, says European court,” December 20, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42423627


White Supremacism

David Montero, “Judge declares mistrial in case of Nevada rancher’s standoff with federal government,” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bundy-trial-20171220-story.html


  1. [1]Oren Liebermann, “US stands alone, defiant at UN Security Council over Jerusalem,” CNN, December 18, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/18/middleeast/us-un-security-council-jerusalem/index.html
  2. [2]Kambiz Foroohar, “Haley Warns UN That Trump Is Watching Jerusalem Votes,” Bloomberg, December 20, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-20/haley-is-said-to-warn-un-that-trump-is-watching-jerusalem-votes
  3. [3]Alexander Bolton, “Senate GOP wary of ending Russia probes, despite pressure,” Hill, December 18, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/365532-senate-gop-wary-of-ending-russia-probes-despite-pressure
  4. [4]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Uber is officially a cab firm, says European court,” December 20, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42423627
  5. [5]Lisa Mascaro, “House gives final OK to GOP tax plan, sending it to Trump,” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-house-gives-final-ok-to-gop-tax-plan-1513775499-htmlstory.html
  6. [6]David Montero, “Judge declares mistrial in case of Nevada rancher’s standoff with federal government,” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bundy-trial-20171220-story.html
  7. [7]Jennifer Rubin, “The most infuriating falsehoods about the tax bill and those who told them,” Washington Post, December 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/12/18/the-most-infuriating-falsehoods-about-the-tax-bill-and-those-who-told-them/
  8. [8]Aaron Blake, “Trump just admitted the GOP’s tax cuts were deceptively sold,” Washington Post, December 20, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/12/20/trump-just-admitted-the-gops-tax-cuts-were-deceptively-sold/
  9. [9]Kambiz Foroohar, “Haley Warns UN That Trump Is Watching Jerusalem Votes,” Bloomberg, December 20, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-20/haley-is-said-to-warn-un-that-trump-is-watching-jerusalem-votes
  10. [10]Raphael Ahren, “UN defies Trump, rejects US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital by 128-9,” Times of Israel, December 21, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-nations-defy-trump-and-pass-jerusalem-resolution-with-large-majority/; Max Greenwood, “UN votes to condemn Trump’s Jerusalem decision,” Hill, December 21, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/international/366001-un-votes-to-condemn-us-jerusalem-decision; Jewish Telegraph Agency, “UN General Assembly rejects US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” December 21, 2017, https://www.jta.org/2017/12/21/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/un-general-assembly-passes-resolution-rejecting-recognition-of-jerusalem-as-israels-capital
  11. [11]Masha Gessen, “The Most Frightening Aspect of Trump’s Tax Triumph,” New Yorker, December 21, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-frightening-aspect-of-trumps-tax-triumph
  12. [12]Jennifer Rubin, “The most infuriating falsehoods about the tax bill and those who told them,” Washington Post, December 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/12/18/the-most-infuriating-falsehoods-about-the-tax-bill-and-those-who-told-them/
  13. [13]Masha Gessen, “The Most Frightening Aspect of Trump’s Tax Triumph,” New Yorker, December 21, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-frightening-aspect-of-trumps-tax-triumph
  14. [14]Gerald F. Seib, “With Alabama Loss, Trump and GOP Face Political Reckoning,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-alabama-loss-trump-and-gop-face-political-reckoning-1513141779
  15. [15]Edward-Isaac Dovere, “Franken urged to reverse his resignation,” Politico, December 18, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/18/manchin-franken-senate-resign-300843
  16. [16]Max Greenwood, “UN votes to condemn Trump’s Jerusalem decision,” Hill, December 21, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/international/366001-un-votes-to-condemn-us-jerusalem-decision

Yes, Cornel West is right. But I fear what comes next: Daily Bullshit, December 17, 2017

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 17, 10:30 am.
  2. December 17, 2:03 pm.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

I am sorry to see that this seems likely to turn ugly and fear that Cornel West will take the worst of this. I have revered both West and Ta-Nehisi Coates for their intelligence, their hearts, their passion, and their writing. But on the topic of Barack Obama, Cornel West, who initially praised Obama,[1] has come around to my view.[2] Coates clearly hasn’t and I have a serious grievance with those who are willing to address race or gender but remain silent on class and with those who are complicit with neoconservatism and its war crimes or with neoliberalism.

I notice also that at least here, West drops the honorific “Brother,” in referring to Coates. I don’t know what’s going on here. Maybe the Guardian wouldn’t permit it with its style requirements. But in the absence of that or a similarly anodyne explanation, I fear that this is more than a fundamental disagreement about the nature of power relations in the U.S. (where I would join Coates in pessimism). I fear that it is personal.

And I fear that it is about more than just the issues presented here. When West accuses Coates of a “preoccupation with white acceptance,” he alludes to ‘respectability,’ a movement exemplified by Bill Cosby among better off Blacks to assimilate into hegemonic white mainstream culture while blaming poorer Blacks for their own problems.[3] Coates might do well to ask American Indians how assimilation worked out for them.

Cornel West, “Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle,” review of We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Guardian, December 17, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/17/ta-nehisi-coates-neoliberal-black-struggle-cornel-west


Jerusalem

The polite fiction that the U.S. would serve as an honest broker in the ‘dispute’ (much too mild a word) between Palestine and Israel is now, hopefully, dead. But with this comes a price.

The Trump administration, having allegedly anticipated the Palestinian response, now blames the Palestinians for the failure of the peace process, promises to continue to pursue it,[4] but has a scapegoat for any failure of the process, and thus frees itself to pursue an even more pro-Israeli approach.

Dov Lieber, “Palestinians won’t meet with Kushner, Greenblatt or any US officials on peace,” Times of Israel, December 17, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-aide-we-wont-meet-with-kushner-greenblatt-or-any-us-officials-on-peace/


  1. [1]Cornel West, with David Ritz, Living and Loving Out Loud (Carlsbad, CA: Smiley, 2009).
  2. [2]Democracy Now!, “Cornel West: Obama’s Response to Trayvon Martin Case Belies Failure to Challenge ‘New Jim Crow’,” July 22, 2013, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/22/cornel_west_obamas_response_to_trayvo; Democracy Now! “Cornel West: Unlike Bernie Sanders, I’m Not Convinced the Democratic Party Can Be Reformed,” December 1, 2016, https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/1/cornel_west_bernie_sanders_is_wrong; Thomas Frank, “Cornel West: ‘He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency’,” Salon, August 24, 2014, http://www.salon.com/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/; Ahiza Garcia, “Cornel West: Obama ‘Facilitates The Killing Of Innocent Palestinians’,” Talking Points Memo, August 4, 2014, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cornel-west-obama-war-criminal; Cornel West, “Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama,” Guardian, January 9, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidenc; Cornel West, “The Democrats delivered one thing in the past 100 days: disappointment,” Guardian, April 24, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/24/democrats-delivered-one-thing-100-days-disappointment; Cornel West, “Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle,” review of We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Guardian, December 17, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/17/ta-nehisi-coates-neoliberal-black-struggle-cornel-west
  3. [3]Associated Press, “Cosby berates blacks for abuse, failure as parents,” NBC News, July 2, 2004, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5345290/ns/us_news-life/t/cosby-berates-blacks-abuse-failure-parents/; Jesse J. Holland, “Cosby’s criticisms of poor blacks come back to haunt him,” Grio, December 23, 2014, http://thegrio.com/2014/12/23/bill-cosby-black-community/
  4. [4]Dov Lieber, “Palestinians won’t meet with Kushner, Greenblatt or any US officials on peace,” Times of Israel, December 17, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-aide-we-wont-meet-with-kushner-greenblatt-or-any-us-officials-on-peace/

Will #MeToo bring down Donald Trump? Daily Bullshit, December 11-16, 2017

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 13, 8:13 pm.
  2. December 14, 3:19 am:
    • Just so we don’t forget who the Wall Street Journal opinion writers are, Daniel Henninger accuses Democrats of adopting a “by any means necessary” (my apologies to Malcolm X) approach to politics to exploit Sexual harassment and assault claims.[1] If memory serves, the appropriate descriptor for Henninger is ‘absolute slime,’ and his article prioritizes politics over criminality, but we also need to understand how Republicans will frame their defense and this is a particularly boorish clue.
  3. December 14, 11:51 am:
    • James Hohmann sees Roy Moore’s loss in terms of a suburban rebellion against Donald Trump.[2]
    • And what about those social conservatives who stood with Roy Moore?[3]
  4. December 15, 4:24 pm:
    • Net Neutrality is dead, unless lawsuits that seem to me like a stretch succeed or a bipartisan effort to restore it that also seems like a stretch succeeds.[4]
    • The war between authoritarian populists and functionalist conservatives over Roy Moore’s loss is on but it in fact dates back (at least) to 2010.[5]
  5. December 15, 5:50 pm:
  6. December 14, 8:04 pm:
    • I was bothered by the way I initially wrote my commentary on Roy Moore. I was counting on the word ‘risk’ to evade an accusation of libel. But really, my language wasn’t strong enough or clear enough. So I tweaked it. I think this is much better.
  7. December 15, 6:41 am:
    • Citing Ed Rendell, James Hohmann thinks Democrats risk overplaying their hand in asking Donald Trump to resign as attention returns to “all the accusations of sexual assault against him [that] were out in the open before the 2016 election.”[6] “The American people knew this, and they voted for him anyway,” said Rendell.[7] Trump wouldn’t resign because Democrats asked him to anyway. But I do think that Republican functionalist conservatives do ultimately have the upper hand and that they will eventually realize they’d be better off with a President Pence. And, don’t hold your breath, but I think that Trump might resign in a still unlikely event he loses the support of his authoritarian populist and paleoconservative base (and understands that he has lost that support). Otherwise, I think Tim Kaine probably gets this one right: He said, “Look, he’s not going to resign. So let’s not play games.”[8] (Sexual harassment and assault)
  8. December 16, 11:53 am:
    • And what about those evangelicals supporting pedophiles, philanderers, sexual assailants, and rapists for political reasons? It turns out some, but clearly not all, of them have a problem with the hypocrisy while others suddenly remember about redemption (when it suits their political interests).[9] (Sexual harassment and assault)

Roy Moore

I thought I tweeted (but have failed to locate) something to the effect that Democrats should consider that a significant portion of Alabama’s voting population is more willing to risk voting for an accused pedophile than a known Democrat. As we can see in these articles, we can read a lot of stuff into Doug Jones’s victory,[10] but that remains the case.

Stephen Collinson, “Trump tries to minimize stinging defeat,” CNN, December 13, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/13/politics/donald-trump-senate-race/index.html

James Hohmann, “Six takeaways from Doug Jones’s stunning win in Alabama’s Senate race,” Washington Post, December 13, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/13/daily-202-six-takeaways-from-doug-jones-s-stunning-win-in-alabama-s-senate-race/5a30733c30fb0469e883fb64/

Sarah Jones, “What Roy Moore Did to the Pro-Life Movement,” New Republic, December 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/146274/roy-moore-pro-life-movement

Joseph Lowndes, “Roy Moore lost the battle, but he’s winning the war,” Washington Post, December 13, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/12/13/roy-moore-lost-the-battle-but-hes-winning-the-war/

S. A. Miller and Dave Boyer, “Republicans turn wrath against Steve Bannon after Roy Moore’s loss,” Washington Times, December 13, 2017, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/13/steve-bannon-blamed-roy-moores-loss-alabama-senate/

Gerald F. Seib, “With Alabama Loss, Trump and GOP Face Political Reckoning,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-alabama-loss-trump-and-gop-face-political-reckoning-1513141779

Nate Silver, “Republicans Shouldn’t Assume Roy Moore Was An Outlier,” FiveThirtyEight, December 13, 2017, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/republicans-shouldnt-assume-roy-moore-was-an-outlier/

James Hohmann, “The suburban revolt against Trump continued in Alabama,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/14/daily-202-the-suburban-revolt-against-trump-continued-in-alabama/5a31b01430fb0469e883fba4/

Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html

Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/


Brexit

Philip Jenkins, “How Brexit is Turning into a Disaster for Ireland,” American Conservative, December 13, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-brexit-is-turning-into-a-disaster-for-ireland/

Bruno Waterfield and Oliver Wright, “Make exit deal the law before we talk trade, EU chiefs insist,” Times, December 12, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/a4ca5698-debb-11e7-872d-4b5e82b139be

Oliver Wright, “Davis rows back on claim that Ireland deal is ‘unenforceable,’” Times, December 11, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/ireland-warns-may-over-brexit-deal-wkkspj78x


Harbin Hot Springs

Elizabeth Larson, “Supervisors to consider letter from Harbin Hot Springs about rebuilding obstacles,” Lake County News, December 11, 2017, http://lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53528:supervisors-to-consider-letter-from-harbin-hot-springs-about-rebuilding-obstacles

Elizabeth Larson, “Supervisors consider issues with Harbin Hot Springs rebuild,” Lake County News, December 13, 2017, http://lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53562:supervisors-consider-issues-with-harbin-hot-springs-rebuild&catid=70:news


Jerusalem

Karin Laub and Zeynep Bilginsoy, “Abbas says UN should replace US as Mideast mediator,” Associated Press, December 12, 2017, https://apnews.com/73dd147b8c3246748211783baf502ebe/Palestinian-president-says-no-role-for-US-in-peace-process


Sexual harassment and assault

I’m thinking #MeToo might be what brings down Donald Trump. With Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama, Republicans may finally recognize that Trump is, if not an impediment to their agenda, an embarrassment who does not advance it.[11]

Martin Pengelly, “Nikki Haley: women who accuse Trump of sexual misconduct ‘should be heard,'” Guardian, December 10, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/10/nikki-haley-donald-trump-accusers-should-be-heard

Melissa Quinn, “3 Trump accusers recount sexual misconduct claims: ‘I wanted people to know’ what a ‘pervert’ Trump is,” Washington Examiner, December 11, 2017, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/3-trump-accusers-recount-sexual-misconduct-claims-i-wanted-people-to-know-what-a-pervert-trump-is/article/2643105

Griffin Connolly, “Fifty-Plus Female Democratic Lawmakers Urge Investigation Into Trump Allegations,” Hill, December 12, 2017, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/female-democratic-lawmakers-trump/

Mark Galli, “The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election,” Christianity Today, December 12, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/roy-moore-doug-jones-alabama-editorial.html

Jonathan Lemire, “#MeToo spotlight increasingly pointed at past Trump conduct,” Associated Press, December 12, 2017, https://apnews.com/e3b50b28fa73426799e6ac63839057fb

Ashley Parker, John Wagner, and Ed O’Keefe, “Trump attacks Gillibrand in tweet critics say is sexually suggestive and demeaning,” Washington Post, December 12, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/12/12/trump-sends-sexually-suggestive-and-demeaning-tweet-about-gillibrand/

Daniel Henninger, “When Donald Met Kirsten,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-donald-met-kirsten-1513210449

Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/

James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “Democrats risk overplaying their hand by pushing for Trump’s resignation,” Washington Post, December 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/15/daily-202-democrats-risk-overplaying-their-hand-by-pushing-for-trump-s-resignation/5a3343ee30fb0469e883fbd6/


Net Neutrality

“[FCC Chairperson Ajit] Pai and other opponents of the net neutrality rules said they have led to reduced investment in broadband networks — a point supporters dispute.”[12] I am still waiting for the opponents’ claim to be properly explained.

All I see here is that Internet service providers want additional power to throttle my content. The claim that net neutrality regulations reduced investment sounds too much like a tautology: Providers choose not to invest. They blame their choice on regulations. But we have no proof of what they would have done absent those regulations and no proof that those regulations impede investment or competition.

Instead we have a claim that they are not investing as much as they would have. And neoliberals, who rank fairness far below any other economic value, and who also see corporations, even monopolies, as virtuous while seeing unions as evil, adopt this claim as consistent with their mantra that regulation is bad.

But it all reduces to a categorical premise, which is, ‘regulation is evil,’ and which is supported, at best, by anecdotal evidence woefully inadequate for a categorical claim; and a categorical conclusion, which is, ‘regulation is evil.’ All this masquerades as an argument but it is in fact the simplest form of circular reasoning. I guess that’s too simple for many politicians to see.

Jim Puzzanghera, “FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules, a milestone for Republican deregulation push,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-net-neutrality-fcc-20171214-story.html


  1. [1]Daniel Henninger, “When Donald Met Kirsten,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-donald-met-kirsten-1513210449
  2. [2]James Hohmann, “The suburban revolt against Trump continued in Alabama,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/14/daily-202-the-suburban-revolt-against-trump-continued-in-alabama/5a31b01430fb0469e883fba4/
  3. [3]Sarah Jones, “What Roy Moore Did to the Pro-Life Movement,” New Republic, December 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/146274/roy-moore-pro-life-movement
  4. [4]Jim Puzzanghera, “FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules, a milestone for Republican deregulation push,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-net-neutrality-fcc-20171214-story.html
  5. [5]S. A. Miller and Dave Boyer, “Republicans turn wrath against Steve Bannon after Roy Moore’s loss,” Washington Times, December 13, 2017, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/13/steve-bannon-blamed-roy-moores-loss-alabama-senate/
  6. [6]James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “Democrats risk overplaying their hand by pushing for Trump’s resignation,” Washington Post, December 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/15/daily-202-democrats-risk-overplaying-their-hand-by-pushing-for-trump-s-resignation/5a3343ee30fb0469e883fbd6/
  7. [7]Ed Rendell, quoted in James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “Democrats risk overplaying their hand by pushing for Trump’s resignation,” Washington Post, December 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/15/daily-202-democrats-risk-overplaying-their-hand-by-pushing-for-trump-s-resignation/5a3343ee30fb0469e883fbd6/
  8. [8]Tim Kaine, quoted in James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “Democrats risk overplaying their hand by pushing for Trump’s resignation,” Washington Post, December 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/15/daily-202-democrats-risk-overplaying-their-hand-by-pushing-for-trump-s-resignation/5a3343ee30fb0469e883fbd6/
  9. [9]Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/; Mark Galli, “The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election,” Christianity Today, December 12, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/roy-moore-doug-jones-alabama-editorial.html; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  10. [10]Stephen Collinson, “Trump tries to minimize stinging defeat,” CNN, December 13, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/13/politics/donald-trump-senate-race/index.html; James Hohmann, “Six takeaways from Doug Jones’s stunning win in Alabama’s Senate race,” Washington Post, December 13, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/13/daily-202-six-takeaways-from-doug-jones-s-stunning-win-in-alabama-s-senate-race/5a30733c30fb0469e883fb64/; James Hohmann, “The suburban revolt against Trump continued in Alabama,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/14/daily-202-the-suburban-revolt-against-trump-continued-in-alabama/5a31b01430fb0469e883fba4/; Gerald F. Seib, “With Alabama Loss, Trump and GOP Face Political Reckoning,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-alabama-loss-trump-and-gop-face-political-reckoning-1513141779; Nate Silver, “Republicans Shouldn’t Assume Roy Moore Was An Outlier,” FiveThirtyEight, December 13, 2017, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/republicans-shouldnt-assume-roy-moore-was-an-outlier/
  11. [11]James Hohmann, “Six takeaways from Doug Jones’s stunning win in Alabama’s Senate race,” Washington Post, December 13, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/13/daily-202-six-takeaways-from-doug-jones-s-stunning-win-in-alabama-s-senate-race/5a30733c30fb0469e883fb64/; Gerald F. Seib, “With Alabama Loss, Trump and GOP Face Political Reckoning,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-alabama-loss-trump-and-gop-face-political-reckoning-1513141779
  12. [12]Jim Puzzanghera, “FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules, a milestone for Republican deregulation push,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-net-neutrality-fcc-20171214-story.html

Fiddling while the world burns: Daily Bullshit, December 4-8, 2017

So I’m finally catching up on the last few days, which have been extraordinarily busy for me. But it’s all nuts and the world seems like it is falling apart.


James Comey

The emerging difference of view between authoritarian populists and just about everyone else on Robert Mueller’s investigation is one example that makes it harder—much harder—to understand how the divisions in the U.S. can possibly be healed.

Sari Horwitz and Philip Rucker, “A bold new legal defense for Trump: Presidents cannot obstruct justice,” Washington Post, December 4, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-bold-new-legal-defense-for-trump-presidents-cannot-obstruct-justice/2017/12/04/b95cb262-d91c-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html

Kara Scannell, “WH lawyer told Trump that Flynn misled FBI and Pence,” CNN, December 4, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/wh-lawyer-told-trump-flynn-misled-fbi-pence/index.html

Stephen Collinson and Maegan Vazquez, “White House turns to above-the-law political defense,” CNN, December 5, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/trump-john-dowd-obstruct-justice/index.html

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, “Trump’s personal banking information handed over to Robert Mueller,” Guardian, December 5, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/05/donald-trump-bank-records-handed-over-robert-mueller

Peter Nicholas, Aruna Viswanatha, and Erica Orden, “Trump’s Allies Urge Harder Line as Mueller Probe Heats Up,” Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-allies-urge-harder-line-as-mueller-probe-drags-on-1512748299


Muslim ban

Ariane de Vogue, “Supreme Court lets full Trump travel ban take effect,” CNN, December 4, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/supreme-court-travel-ban/index.html

Lydia Wheeler, “Supreme Court allows full Trump travel ban to take effect,” Hill, December 4, 2017, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/363183-supreme-court-allows-full-trump-travel-ban-to-take-effect


Brexit

Oliver Wright et al., “May fights to save Brexit deal after DUP veto,” Times, December 5, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/may-fights-to-save-brexit-deal-after-dup-veto-d5q9623wn

Laurence Norman, “U.K., EU Reach Deal on Brexit Divorce Terms,” Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-european-union-reach-deal-on-brexit-divorce-terms-1512716442


Ageism

Ruth Ray Karpen, “Anti-Ageism: The Next Big Social Movement,” review of Ending Ageism or How Not to Shoot Old People, by Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Tikkun, December 7, 2017, http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/anti-ageism-the-next-big-social-movement


Jerusalem

Michael Lerner, “Trump’s Arrogant Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel,” Tikkun, December 6, 2017, http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/32783

Felicia Schwartz, Dion Nissenbaum, and Rory Jones, “Trump Tells Arab Leaders U.S. Will Move Embassy to Jerusalem,” Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-tells-arab-leaders-u-s-will-move-embassy-to-jerusalem-1512497840

Times of Israel, “Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, starts embassy move,” December 6, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-recognizes-jerusalem-as-israels-capital-starts-embassy-move/

Jewish Telegraph Agency, “Palestinians burn US and Israeli flags in riots over Jerusalem,” December 7, 2017, https://www.jta.org/2017/12/07/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/palestinians-protest-jerusalem-recognition-as-hamas-leader-calls-for-new-intifada


Clintons

Even in defeat, these assholes can’t stay out of trouble.

John Solomon and Alison Spann, “Clintons understated support from firm hired by Russian nuclear company,” Hill, November 28, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/news/362234-clintons-understated-support-from-firm-hired-by-russian-nuclear-company


Move along, nothing to see here: Daily Bullshit, December 2-3, 2017

So you clicked on this despite the headline. Sorry, this really is just catching up on bullshit I’ve been archiving that’s hardly worth mention. At least for now.


Updates

  1. Originally published, December 2, 11:48 am.
  2. December 3, 11:10 am:
      • Donald Trump may have just confessed to obstruction of justice.[1] And yeah, it’s time to acknowledge those many who thought Trump would do himself in with Twitter. (James Comey)
    • December 3, 10:33 pm:
      • The Guardian assembles more reaction to Donald Trump’s tweet. It’s more of the same, except with the wrinkle that one of Trump’s lawyers took responsibility for the tweet, which seems to unanimously strike observers as not credible.[2] (It only gets worse on Twitter.) It looks to me like the lawyer was simply trying to introduce reasonable doubt about any ‘confession’ but I don’t know how much protection that might really offer Trump. (James Comey)

Tax cut for the rich

Nonpartisan analyses show tax benefits flow mainly to the wealthy with reductions of $34,000 a year for the top 1% while lower-income households see $50 tax breaks.

And while the corporate cuts are permanent, the individual rates — under the Senate version — expire in 2025, meaning most middle-income taxpayers would face tax hikes in eight years.[3]

And, oh yeah, the bill is still expected to add $1 trillion to the deficit.[4]

Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, announced yesterday [November 30] that the Senate GOP tax plan would add $1 trillion to the deficit — even after accounting for the positive impact from economic growth. “The tax committee projected the bill would raise economic growth by only 0.8 percent over a decade, a small fraction of what Republicans had projected,” Heather Long reports. “Some Republicans argued that the tax committee’s report just couldn’t be correct. Yet outside experts were not surprised by the results, which align with the view of many mainstream economists and several independent analyses.”[5]

Because trickle-down, which hasn’t ever—not even once—worked.

To me, this is barely even news. Of course the rich are taking care of themselves and of course they are doing so at everyone else’s expense. That’s what they do. That’s functionalist conservatism. That’s why we have capitalism and neoliberalism. And it’s shameless because they really believe they’re entitled to it.

James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “In pursuit of a tax bill, Trump’s GOP keeps violating more governing norms,” Washington Post, December 1, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/01/daily-202-in-pursuit-of-a-tax-bill-trump-s-gop-keeps-violating-more-governingms/5a20305e30fb0469e883f945/

Lisa Mascaro and Jim Puzzanghera, “After last-minute deals, the Senate narrowly passes Republican tax plan,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-gop-tax-plan-20171201-story.html


James Comey

Jared Kushner looks like the next to fall.[6] But even this isn’t really news. Because the real target looks like Donald Trump himself,[7] which is almost certainly why core authoritarian populists are so mad.[8] And yeah, that forecast that he’ll be out of office within a year (that’d be up in August) is still on track:

President Trump’s tweet suggesting that he knew former national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time of his firing has prompted ethics experts and political observers to question whether Mueller could probe the president for obstruction of justice.

Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, said Saturday that Trump’s tweet would have been enough to end past administrations.

And Richard Painter, the top ethics lawyer during former President George W. Bush’s administration, said that Trump “could be Tweeting himself into an obstruction of justice conviction.”

Trump implied that he knew about Flynn’s false statements in a tweet Saturday.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted.[9]

And that’s just what was pathetically easy—I suppose I could have just reproduced the entire fucking article—to copy and paste. The article has more experts saying essentially the same thing. And, um, not one saying anything else.[10]

Jonathan Easley, “Anger at Mueller burns hot on the right,” Hill, November 25, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/361610-anger-at-mueller-burns-hot-on-the-right

Dana Bash, Jim Sciutto, Gloria Borger, and Daniella Diaz, “Sources: Kushner was the ‘very senior’ transition member mentioned in court filing,” CNN, December 2, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/01/politics/jared-kushner-michael-flynn-russia/index.html

Jacqueline Thomsen, “Legal experts: Trump’s tweet could lead to obstruction of justice charges,” Hill, December 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/362964-ethics-experts-trumps-tweet-could-lead-to-obstruction-of-justice

Guardian, “‘Doesn’t make sense’: incredulity as Trump’s lawyer seeks to take blame for Flynn tweet,” December 3, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/04/doesnt-make-sense-incredulity-trumps-lawyer-john-dowd-take-blame-for-flynn-tweet

Jeffrey Toobin, “Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Sends Donald Trump’s Lawyers Scrambling,” New Yorker, December 11, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/michael-flynns-guilty-plea-sends-donald-trumps-lawyers-scrambling


  1. [1]Jacqueline Thomsen, “Legal experts: Trump’s tweet could lead to obstruction of justice charges,” Hill, December 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/362964-ethics-experts-trumps-tweet-could-lead-to-obstruction-of-justice
  2. [2]Guardian, “‘Doesn’t make sense’: incredulity as Trump’s lawyer seeks to take blame for Flynn tweet,” December 3, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/04/doesnt-make-sense-incredulity-trumps-lawyer-john-dowd-take-blame-for-flynn-tweet
  3. [3]Lisa Mascaro and Jim Puzzanghera, “After last-minute deals, the Senate narrowly passes Republican tax plan,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-gop-tax-plan-20171201-story.html
  4. [4]Lisa Mascaro and Jim Puzzanghera, “After last-minute deals, the Senate narrowly passes Republican tax plan,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-gop-tax-plan-20171201-story.html
  5. [5]James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “In pursuit of a tax bill, Trump’s GOP keeps violating more governing norms,” Washington Post, December 1, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/12/01/daily-202-in-pursuit-of-a-tax-bill-trump-s-gop-keeps-violating-more-governingms/5a20305e30fb0469e883f945/
  6. [6]Dana Bash, Jim Sciutto, Gloria Borger, and Daniella Diaz, “Sources: Kushner was the ‘very senior’ transition member mentioned in court filing,” CNN, December 2, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/01/politics/jared-kushner-michael-flynn-russia/index.html
  7. [7]Jeffrey Toobin, “Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Sends Donald Trump’s Lawyers Scrambling,” New Yorker, December 11, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/michael-flynns-guilty-plea-sends-donald-trumps-lawyers-scrambling
  8. [8]Jonathan Easley, “Anger at Mueller burns hot on the right,” Hill, November 25, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/361610-anger-at-mueller-burns-hot-on-the-right
  9. [9]Jacqueline Thomsen, “Legal experts: Trump’s tweet could lead to obstruction of justice charges,” Hill, December 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/362964-ethics-experts-trumps-tweet-could-lead-to-obstruction-of-justice
  10. [10]Jacqueline Thomsen, “Legal experts: Trump’s tweet could lead to obstruction of justice charges,” Hill, December 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/362964-ethics-experts-trumps-tweet-could-lead-to-obstruction-of-justice