Dreamers may now sweat for several months longer

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 27, 5:16 pm, under the title, “Dreamers may now sweat for several months.”
  2. February 28, 2:09 pm:
    • I was regretting that title almost immediately. Changed to “Dreamers may now sweat for several months longer.”
    • Scotland and Wales embraced European Union law to protect their devolved powers, adding yet more complexity to Theresa May’s Brexit effort.[1]

Unauthorized migration

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court extends relief for ‘Dreamers,’ refuses to rule now on Trump immigration plan,” Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-daca-20180220-story.html

Lydia Wheeler and Rafael Bernal, “Supreme Court refuses to hear Trump challenge on DACA,” Hill, February 26, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/375575-supreme-court-refuses-to-hear-trump-challenge-on-daca


Academic job market

Leonard Cassuto, “The Grief of the Ex-Academic,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 26, 2018, https://chroniclevitae.com/news/2007-the-grief-of-the-ex-academic


Brexit

Peter O’Dwyer, “Good Friday agreement ‘can stop hard Brexit,’” Times, February 26, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/good-friday-agreement-can-stop-hard-brexit-khlw9gfrx

Andrew Sparrow and Peter Walker, “Corbyn to put May on spot by embracing EU customs union,” Guardian, February 26, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/26/jeremy-corbyn-to-confirm-labour-wants-a-customs-union-with-eu

Deutsche Welle, “Scotland, Wales defy London with laws to keep powers after Brexit,” Deutsche Welle, February 28, 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/scotland-wales-defy-london-with-laws-to-keep-powers-after-brexit/a-42764193


Academia

Margaret Spellings offers a defense of higher education[2] I mostly adore. The trouble is that it is also precisely the kind of argument that will fail to dissuade academia’s detractors.

Margaret Spellings, “The Perils of Trashing the Value of College,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Perils-of-Trashing-the/242614


  1. [1]Deutsche Welle, “Scotland, Wales defy London with laws to keep powers after Brexit,” Deutsche Welle, February 28, 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/scotland-wales-defy-london-with-laws-to-keep-powers-after-brexit/a-42764193
  2. [2]Margaret Spellings, “The Perils of Trashing the Value of College,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Perils-of-Trashing-the/242614

Democrats finally release response to Nunes memo

James Comey

Republicans defending Donald Trump have succeeded in a crucial aspect: The Nunes memo now seems like old news and with the Democratic response and Republican response to the Democratic response, it all sounds like “he said, she said.” I don’t think these characterizations are fair and I think that, at minimum, Devin Nunes dissembles. But I don’t see this particular issue gaining traction now.

Which I will say is unfortunate for a reason that goes far beyond the present controversy: What we are seeing is the problem with secret courts and secret trials. Even in the open, the present system of injustice has numerous failings, but secret proceedings can only exacerbate them.

Avery Anapol and John Bowden, “House Democrats release intelligence memo defending DOJ, FBI investigation,” Hill, February 24, 2018,

Jeremy Herb, “Democratic intelligence memo released with redactions,” Cable News Network, February 24, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/24/politics/democratic-memo-house-intelligence-released/index.html

Chris Megerian and Joseph Tanfani, “House panel releases Democratic rebuttal of Republican memo on surveillance of former Trump aide,” Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-dem-memo-20180209-story.html


‘Hard’ Brexiteers are still ‘hard,’ and not in the good way

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 22, 10:02 pm.
  2. February 23, 11:57 am:
    • The U.S. is no longer a “nation of immigrants” in the immigration agency’s mission statement.[1] (Unauthorized migration)
  3. February 24, 1:15 am:
    • A U.S. consulate in Jerusalem will serve as a makeshift embassy beginning May 14, to coincide with the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, but not on the actual holiday itself, which is marked on the Jewish (lunar) calendar.[2]
    • As expected,[3] Rick Gates has accepted a plea bargain from Robert Mueller.[4] (James Comey)

Brexit

Sam Coates, “Brexiteers issue their demands in letter to May,” Times, February 21, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexiteers-issue-their-demands-in-letter-to-may-w5dhjw9cn


Donald Trump

This[5] is the kind of concern I’m expecting to intensify as November draws nearer.

Jonathan Easley, “Controversies pile up for White House, alarming GOP,” Hill, February 21, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/374780-controversies-pile-up-for-white-house-alarming-gop


James Comey

The Paul Manafort and Rick Gates piece of Robert Mueller’s investigation is, to my mind, something of a sideshow. So far, at least, it has more to do with Ukraine than with Russia and none of it seems to implicate Donald Trump.[6] “So far” are the operative words in that last sentence. We simply do not know where Mueller’s work will end up, a point that is important to remember as mainstream Democrats and other folks on the Left assume collusion.

Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Spencer S. Hsu, “Special counsel Mueller files new charges against Manafort, Gates,” Washington Post, February 22, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/special-counsel-mueller-files-new-charges-in-manafort-gates-case/2018/02/22/7db99c9c-1716-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html

Andrew Prokop, “Robert Mueller just flipped his third former Trump aide,” Vox, February 23, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/2/23/17045226/robert-mueller-flip-rick-gates-russia


Unauthorized migration

Adam K. Raymond, “Immigration Agency Removes ‘Nation of Immigrants’ From Mission Statement,” New York, February 23, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/immigration-agency-u-s-no-longer-a-nation-of-immigrants.html


Jerusalem

Times of Israel, “US Embassy in Jerusalem to open in May — in time for Israel’s 70th anniversary,” February 23, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-to-move-embassy-to-jerusalem-on-may-14-day-of-independence-declaration/


Homelessness

If [tiny houses for the homeless] don’t have heating, plumbing and insulation, they’re a bad idea. I also don’t like the campground (model), the chain-link fence around a gravel lot, and 50 of them. I don’t think that’s sustainable. I wish we were putting more effort into the backyard-cottage stuff … (that) is integrating them into communities, because that’s how people will get up and out. The size of the house is not a big deal. To me, it’s more about segregating them. They look like internment camps.[7]

Jonathan Martin, “King County’s former homeless ‘czar’ on homelessness: ‘The causes … are far more complex than I even knew,’” Seattle Times, February 21, 2018, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/homeless/king-countys-former-homeless-czar-on-homelessness-the-causes-are-far-more-complex-than-i-even-knew/


  1. [1]Adam K. Raymond, “Immigration Agency Removes ‘Nation of Immigrants’ From Mission Statement,” New York, February 23, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/immigration-agency-u-s-no-longer-a-nation-of-immigrants.html
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “US Embassy in Jerusalem to open in May — in time for Israel’s 70th anniversary,” February 23, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-to-move-embassy-to-jerusalem-on-may-14-day-of-independence-declaration/
  3. [3]David Willman, “Former Trump aide Richard Gates to plead guilty; agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say,” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-rick-gates-plea-deal-20180218-story.html
  4. [4]Andrew Prokop, “Robert Mueller just flipped his third former Trump aide,” Vox, February 23, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/2/23/17045226/robert-mueller-flip-rick-gates-russia
  5. [5]Jonathan Easley, “Controversies pile up for White House, alarming GOP,” Hill, February 21, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/374780-controversies-pile-up-for-white-house-alarming-gop
  6. [6]Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Spencer S. Hsu, “Special counsel Mueller files new charges against Manafort, Gates,” Washington Post, February 22, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/special-counsel-mueller-files-new-charges-in-manafort-gates-case/2018/02/22/7db99c9c-1716-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html
  7. [7]Mark Putnam, quoted in Jonathan Martin, “King County’s former homeless ‘czar’ on homelessness: ‘The causes … are far more complex than I even knew,’” Seattle Times, February 21, 2018, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/homeless/king-countys-former-homeless-czar-on-homelessness-the-causes-are-far-more-complex-than-i-even-knew/

Robert Mueller charges Russians with 2016 election interference

February 14, 2018. My mother found this in the local paper and clipped it in honor of Patches. I hope it is also true for Admiral Janeway.
February 14, 2018. My mother found this in the local paper and clipped it in honor of Patches. I hope it is also true for Admiral Janeway.

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 18, 1:19 am.
  2. February 18, 1:42 pm:
    • Todd Ruger fleshes out coverage of Robert Mueller’s indictment of Russians for 2016 election interference with examples.[1] (James Comey)
  3. February 19, 4:36 pm:
    • According to unnamed sources, Richard Gates will soon plead guilty to charges brought by Robert Mueller.[2] (James Comey)
  4. February 20, 12:09 am:
    • The Washington Times points out that, in investigating Jared Kushner’s financial dealings with foreign investors, Robert Mueller would be crossing a ‘red line’ declared a while ago by Donald Trump.[3] And to think: Trump could have avoided much of this trouble simply by not firing James Comey. As my Mom, a retired veteran reporter, would tell you, it’s the cover-up that gets ’em.
  5. February 20, 8:50 pm:
    • The Supreme Court has not (yet) decided to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal court ruling temporarily blocking its plan to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program.[4] (Unauthorized migration)

Muslim ban

The Supreme Court has previously allowed the full ban to take effect,[5] so apparently this ruling has little immediate effect.[6]

Ariane de Vogue, “Appeals court rules against latest Trump travel ban,” Cable News Network, February 15, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/travel-ban-ruling/index.html


James Comey

When the intelligence community has previously leveled that charge [that Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. election] in the past, it has offered only vague evidence, basically asking for the benefit of the doubt. That allowed skeptics of the intelligence agencies, as well as Trump and his allies, to cast doubt on the claims. Friday’s indictment contains far more detail, and while its contents are allegations, not claims proven in a court, they are bolstered by extensive documentary evidence, including emails and messages. Much of the material has been reported in various news outlets, but the indictment puts it all in one place for the first time.[7]

Spencer S. Hsu, “Judge lashes out at ‘unacceptable’ delays in setting trial of Manafort and Gates in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, February 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/judge-lashes-out-at-unacceptable-delays-in-setting-trial-of-manafort-and-gates-in-mueller-probe/2018/02/14/81cbc7c0-1102-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html

Morgan Chalfant and Olivia Beavers, “Five things to know about the Russian indictments,” Hill, February 16, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/374305-five-things-to-know-about-the-russian-indictments

David A. Graham, “What Mueller’s Indictment Reveals,” Atlantic, February 16, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/mueller-roadmap/553604/

Hill, “Mueller indicts 13 Russians for interfering in US election,” February 16, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/374233-russians-charged-with-interfering-in-us-elections

David Remnick, “Mueller’s Indictment Ends Trump’s Myth of the Russia ‘Hoax,’” New Yorker, February 16, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/sections/news/muellers-indictments-end-trumps-myth-of-the-russia-hoax

Del Quentin Wilber and Aruna Viswanatha, “Russians Charged With Interfering in U.S. Election,” Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russians-charged-with-interfering-in-u-s-election-1518804495

Katelyn Polantz and Sara Murray, “A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with Mueller,” Cable News Network, February 17, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/rick-gates-plea-deal-mueller-russia-investigation/index.html

Todd Ruger, “Revealing Tales from the Election Interference Indictment,”Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 17, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/revealing-tales-election-interference-indictment

David Willman, “Former Trump aide Richard Gates to plead guilty; agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say,” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-rick-gates-plea-deal-20180218-story.html

Victor Morton, “Mueller reportedly crossing Trump ‘red line,’ investigating Kushner’s business dealings,” Washington Times, February 19, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/19/robert-mueller-investigating-jared-kushner-busines/


Unauthorized migration

Alexander Bolton, “GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures,” Hill, February 16, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/374143-gop-looks-for-plan-b-after-failure-of-immigration-measures

Joseph P. Williams, “Supreme Court Doesn’t Act on DACA Appeal,” U.S. News and World Report, February 20, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-02-20/supreme-court-doesnt-act-on-daca-appeal


Rob Porter

John T. Bennett, “Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 16, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/kelly-admits-missteps-white-house-aides-clearances/


  1. [1]Todd Ruger, “Revealing Tales from the Election Interference Indictment,”Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 17, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/revealing-tales-election-interference-indictment
  2. [2]David Willman, “Former Trump aide Richard Gates to plead guilty; agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say,” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-rick-gates-plea-deal-20180218-story.html
  3. [3]Victor Morton, “Mueller reportedly crossing Trump ‘red line,’ investigating Kushner’s business dealings,” Washington Times, February 19, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/19/robert-mueller-investigating-jared-kushner-busines/
  4. [4]Joseph P. Williams, “Supreme Court Doesn’t Act on DACA Appeal,” U.S. News and World Report, February 20, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-02-20/supreme-court-doesnt-act-on-daca-appeal
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]Ariane de Vogue, “Appeals court rules against latest Trump travel ban,” Cable News Network, February 15, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/travel-ban-ruling/index.html
  7. [7]David A. Graham, “What Mueller’s Indictment Reveals,” Atlantic, February 16, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/mueller-roadmap/553604/

Bibi’s not gonna like this, by the sound of it

Welcome, Patches

Admiral Janeway was extraordinarily dear to me and, on Monday, February 12, it seemed to me that the best possible way to express my gratifude for her fifteen years with me was to share my home with another cat who needs it.

First, another look at Admiral Janeway:

She will always be precious to me.

And now, introducing Patches, who comes to me from Lake Pet Rescue, via the PetSmart store in Rohnert Park:

Patches grabbed onto me with all her claws. She is intensely affectionate and still learning about her new home.

And this is part of why it’s taken me a while to catch up on the news.

Outage

Internet service at the house and all my systems went down yesterday afternoon because the plug for my big uninterruptible power supply had become dislodged. So the UPS ran down its battery and then cut off power because it had none left to offer.


Updates

  1. Originally published, February 12, 5:21 pm.
  2. February 14, 8:36 pm:
      • Raphael Ahren analyzes Binyamin Netanyahu’s mistaken claim that he had discussed any form of West Bank annexation with the Trump administration.[1] (Israel)
      • What we have here is yet another example[2] which presumes, utterly without justification, that the elite will reform and become more responsive.
      • I initially dismissed the Rob Porter scandal as yet more of the same. The real difference I see here lies in the strength of the evidence supporting his ex-wives’ claims—we have a photograph, a police report, and testimony to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[3] (In sexual assault cases, such as those that inspire the #MeToo movement, evidence is often weaker by the usual standards of the injustice system.) But everything else about this is the same sickening script.
      • I am not caught up.
    • February 15, 5:36 pm:
      • Apparently, “[a] Princeton University professor has canceled his course on hate speech, blasphemy, and pornography after his use of a racial slur during a class discussion sparked arguments with students that resulted in some walking out and another dropping the course.” He had, evidently, taught the course on a number of previous occasions and was trying to get his students to consider the question of whose sense of blasphemy, whose sense of hate speech should be protected.[4] (Political correctness)
      • Adam Schiff says that Democrats will consider redactions, not revisions, to their rebuttal to the Nunes Memo.[5] (James Comey)
      • Another federal judge has blocked Donald Trump’s order to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program.[6] (Unauthorized migrants)
      • John Cassidy examines John Kelly’s role in the Rob Porter scandal.[7]
      • Prospects for me catching up anytime soon currently seem remote.
    • February 15, 8:53 pm:
      • The Brookings Institute has posted a warning, authored by ex-Central Intelligence Agency analysts, against any so-called “bloody nose” attack on North Korea.[8]
      • Here’s another one from the Brookings Institute, this time something some—I thought most—of us have known for decades: For-profit institutions aren’t worth it.[9]
      • I guess I don’t see so much the infighting that the headline, “Porter saga exposes bare tensions in Trump’s White House,” might suggest as much as I do an administration at war with reality,[10] for example in its claim (later modified) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had not completed its check on Rob Porter.[11] And I guess it’ll be a neat post-modernist experiment to see how far they can play it out.
      • Apparently the Star-Spangled Banner has a horribly offensive and rarely played third verse, which led a high school in San Ramon to ban the entire anthem.[12] (Political correctness)
      • I am finally caught up to yesterday.
    • February 15, 11:37 pm: I am finally, unbelievably, caught up. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Israel

Becca Noy, “White House says West Bank annexation talks with Netanyahu never happened,” Jerusalem Online, February 12, 2018, http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/politics-and-military/politics/netanyahu-talking-with-washington-about-annexing-settlements-34550

Times of Israel, “Trump: Not sure Israel truly wants peace, settlements ‘complicate’ peacemaking,” February 11, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-unsure-israel-genuinely-wants-peace-with-palestinians/

Raphael Ahren, “With annexation gaffe, Netanyahu blunders into first real crisis with Trump,” Times of Israel, February 13, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/with-annexation-gaffe-netanyahu-blunders-into-first-real-crisis-with-trump/


Rob Porter

I’m really not into the personality parade aspect of White House coverage. But Rob Porter says something about misogyny at the White House.[13] And if John Cassidy’s inclination (he stops well short of a prediction) that Chief of Staff John Kelly will resign[14] proves true, then the man credited with bringing some order to the Trump White House will be gone. So, um, what happens then? And how much more chaos will Congressional Republicans tolerate?

Katherine Timpf, “The White House Response to Rob Porter’s Resignation Is Sickening,” National Review, February 12, 2018, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/456322/donald-trump-rob-porter-statement-trivializes-domestic-abuse

Michael C. Bender, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Peter Nicholas, “FBI Director’s Timeline of Porter Probe Contradicts White House,” Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-director-defends-handling-of-background-check-of-former-trump-aide-1518542822

Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak, “Porter was up for promotion despite abuse allegations,” Cable News Network, February 13, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/rob-porter-promotion-west-wing/index.html

Jordan Fabian, “White House plays defense after FBI testimony,” Hill, February 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373743-white-house-plays-defense-after-fbi-testimonyJordan Fabian, “White House plays defense after FBI testimony,” Hill, February 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373743-white-house-plays-defense-after-fbi-testimony;

Joseph Tanfani, “FBI finished Rob Porter’s background check last year, director says. That contradicts the White House account,” Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-fbi-handed-in-a-background-check-on-aide-1518541645-htmlstory.html

Rebecca Ballhaus, “Lawmakers Ask Kelly, Wray About Rob Porter Security Clearance,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-launches-probe-of-rob-porters-white-house-role-1518622438

John Cassidy, “Can the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, Survive the Testimony of the F.B.I. Director, Christopher Wray?” New Yorker, February 14, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/can-the-white-house-chief-of-staff-john-kelly-survive-the-testimony-of-the-fbi-director-christopher-wray


“Democracy”

Some of this is good:

To some degree, of course, the unresponsiveness of America’s political system is by design. The United States was founded as a republic, not a democracy. As Alexander Hamilton and James Madison made clear in the Federalist Papers, the essence of this republic would consist—their emphasis—“IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share” in the government. Instead, popular views would be translated into public policy through the election of representatives “whose wisdom may,” in Madison’s words, “best discern the true interest of their country.” That this radically curtailed the degree to which the people could directly influence the government was no accident.

Only over the course of the 19th century did a set of entrepreneurial thinkers begin to dress an ideologically self-conscious republic up in the unaccustomed robes of a democracy. Throughout America, the old social hierarchies were being upended by rapid industrialization, mass immigration, westward expansion, and civil war. Egalitarian sentiment was rising. The idea that the people should rule came to seem appealing and even natural. The same institutions that had once been designed to exclude the people from government were now commended for facilitating government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

The shifting justification for our political system inspired important reforms. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment stipulated that senators had to be elected directly by the people, not by state legislatures. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act, drawing on the Fifteenth Amendment, set out to protect the vote of black Americans. The once-peculiar claim that the United States was a democracy slowly came to have some basis in reality.

That basis is now crumbling, and the people have taken notice. In no small part that’s because the long era during which average Americans grew more wealthy has come to a sputtering stop. People who are asked how well they are doing economically frequently compare their own standard of living with that of their parents. Until recently, this comparison was heartening. At the age of 30, more than nine in 10 Americans born in 1940 were earning more than their parents had at the same stage of their lives. But according to eye-popping research led by the economist Raj Chetty and his co-authors, many Millennials do not share in this age-old American experience of improving fortunes. Among those Americans born in the early 1980s, only half earn more than their parents did at a similar age.[15]

But then there’s this:

America does have a democracy problem. If we want to address the root causes of populism, we need to start by taking an honest accounting of the ways in which power has slipped out of the people’s hands, and think more honestly about the ways in which we can—and cannot—put the people back in control.

It is true that to recover its citizens’ loyalty, our democracy needs to curb the power of unelected elites who seek only to pad their influence and line their pockets. But it is also true that to protect its citizens’ lives and promote their prosperity, our democracy needs institutions that are, by their nature, deeply elitist. This, to my mind, is the great dilemma that the United States—and other democracies around the world—will have to resolve if they wish to survive in the coming decades.

We don’t need to abolish all technocratic institutions or merely save the ones that exist. We need to build a new set of political institutions that are both more responsive to the views and interests of ordinary people, and better able to solve the immense problems that our society will face in the decades to come.[16]

So, okay, this is a book excerpt and I suppose it is possible that Yascha Mounk gets to all this. But right away, how is it “also true that to protect its citizens’ lives and promote their prosperity, our democracy needs institutions that are, by their nature, deeply elitist?” And how is it, really, that an elitist, masquerading as meritocratic,[17] system can “curb the power of unelected elites who seek only to pad their influence and line their pockets” (or maybe even elected ones)? But the phrases I pose as questions, Mounk poses as (unsupported) conclusions. He has some explaining to do and it isn’t to be found in this excerpt.

Yascha Mounk, “America Is Not a Democracy,” Atlantic, March 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/


Political correctness

I avoid using the N-word because when uttered by an older white man, the word carries an entirely different connotation than when others use it. But “Lawrence Rosen, a professor of anthropology at Princeton, used the slur three times throughout a February 6 lecture on oppressive symbolism in the course, ‘Cultural Freedoms,’ according to a Daily Princetonian article that quoted multiple students in the class. He asked students whether it was worse for a white man to punch a black man, or a white man to call a black man the N-word.” In another example of an orthodoxy on the Left that may not be challenged even in a context where we are trying to weigh competing ethical claims, Rosen felt compelled to cancel the class.[18]

Emma Kerr, “Princeton Professor Cancels Course After His Use of a Racial Slur Angered Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Princeton-Professor-Cancels/242539

Victor Morton, “High school bans ‘outdated and racially offensive’ national anthem from rallies,” Washington Times, February 13, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/13/san-ramon-california-high-school-bans-racist-natio/


James Comey

Brett Samuels, “Schiff: We’re not going to revise Democratic memo,” Hill, February 13,2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/house/373742-schiff-were-not-going-to-revise-democratic-memo


Unauthorized migrants

Dan Levine, “Second U.S. judge blocks Trump administration from ending DACA program,” Reuters, February 13, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling/second-u-s-judge-blocks-trump-administration-from-ending-daca-program-idUSKCN1FX2TJ


North Korea

I guess, save this. Dredge it out after the Trump administration commits whatever foolishness it has in mind and North Korea foolishly lashes back.[19] Watch what happens.

I guess then we’ll know for sure what happens. But, on the other hand, if what they say is anywhere near on, I’m gonna be waiting for it. . . . Waiting. . . . Waiting. . . . Waiting. . . .

Because we know how the administration will defend itself. It’s a memorable phrase, now: “No one could have foreseen . . .” Right, you mother fuckers.

Jung H. Pak, Sue Mi Terry, and Bruce Klingner, “Ex-CIA analysts explain why a bloody nose policy on North Korea would backfire,” Brookings Institute, February 12, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/02/12/ex-cia-analysts-explain-why-a-bloody-nose-policy-onth-korea-would-backfire/


For-profit institutions

Stephanie Riegg Cellini, “Gainfully employed? New evidence on the earnings, employment, and debt of for-profit certificate students,” Brookings Institute, February 9, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2018/02/09/gainfully-employed-new-evidence-on-the-earnings-employment-and-debt-of-for-profit-certificate-students/


  1. [1]Raphael Ahren, “With annexation gaffe, Netanyahu blunders into first real crisis with Trump,” Times of Israel, February 13, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/with-annexation-gaffe-netanyahu-blunders-into-first-real-crisis-with-trump/
  2. [2]Yascha Mounk, “America Is Not a Democracy,” Atlantic, March 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/
  3. [3]Katherine Timpf, “The White House Response to Rob Porter’s Resignation Is Sickening,” National Review, February 12, 2018,
  4. [4]Emma Kerr, “Princeton Professor Cancels Course After His Use of a Racial Slur Angered Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Princeton-Professor-Cancels/242539
  5. [5]Brett Samuels, “Schiff: We’re not going to revise Democratic memo,” Hill, February 13,2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/house/373742-schiff-were-not-going-to-revise-democratic-memo
  6. [6]Dan Levine, “Second U.S. judge blocks Trump administration from ending DACA program,” Reuters, February 13, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling/second-u-s-judge-blocks-trump-administration-from-ending-daca-program-idUSKCN1FX2TJ
  7. [7]John Cassidy, “Can the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, Survive the Testimony of the F.B.I. Director, Christopher Wray?” New Yorker, February 14, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/can-the-white-house-chief-of-staff-john-kelly-survive-the-testimony-of-the-fbi-director-christopher-wray
  8. [8]Jung H. Pak, Sue Mi Terry, and Bruce Klingner, “Ex-CIA analysts explain why a bloody nose policy on North Korea would backfire,” Brookings Institute, February 12, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/02/12/ex-cia-analysts-explain-why-a-bloody-nose-policy-onth-korea-would-backfire/
  9. [9]Stephanie Riegg Cellini, “Gainfully employed? New evidence on the earnings, employment, and debt of for-profit certificate students,” Brookings Institute, February 9, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2018/02/09/gainfully-employed-new-evidence-on-the-earnings-employment-and-debt-of-for-profit-certificate-students/
  10. [10]Niall Stanage, “Porter saga exposes bare tensions in Trump’s White House,” Hill, February 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/373537-the-memo-porter-saga-exposes-bare-tensions-in-trumps-white-house
  11. [11]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Lawmakers Ask Kelly, Wray About Rob Porter Security Clearance,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-launches-probe-of-rob-porters-white-house-role-1518622438; Michael C. Bender, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Peter Nicholas, “FBI Director’s Timeline of Porter Probe Contradicts White House,” Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-director-defends-handling-of-background-check-of-former-trump-aide-1518542822; Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak, “Porter was up for promotion despite abuse allegations,” Cable News Network, February 13, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/rob-porter-promotion-west-wing/index.html; Jordan Fabian, “White House plays defense after FBI testimony,” Hill, February 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373743-white-house-plays-defense-after-fbi-testimony; Joseph Tanfani, “FBI finished Rob Porter’s background check last year, director says. That contradicts the White House account,” Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-fbi-handed-in-a-background-check-on-aide-1518541645-htmlstory.html
  12. [12]Victor Morton, “High school bans ‘outdated and racially offensive’ national anthem from rallies,” Washington Times, February 13, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/13/san-ramon-california-high-school-bans-racist-natio/
  13. [13]Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak, “Porter was up for promotion despite abuse allegations,” Cable News Network, February 13, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/rob-porter-promotion-west-wing/index.html; Katherine Timpf, “The White House Response to Rob Porter’s Resignation Is Sickening,” National Review, February 12, 2018,
  14. [14]John Cassidy, “Can the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, Survive the Testimony of the F.B.I. Director, Christopher Wray?” New Yorker, February 14, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/can-the-white-house-chief-of-staff-john-kelly-survive-the-testimony-of-the-fbi-director-christopher-wray
  15. [15]Yascha Mounk, “America Is Not a Democracy,” Atlantic, March 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/
  16. [16]Yascha Mounk, “America Is Not a Democracy,” Atlantic, March 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/
  17. [17]Christopher Hayes, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy (New York: Crown, 2012).
  18. [18]Emma Kerr, “Princeton Professor Cancels Course After His Use of a Racial Slur Angered Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Princeton-Professor-Cancels/242539
  19. [19]Jung H. Pak, Sue Mi Terry, and Bruce Klingner, “Ex-CIA analysts explain why a bloody nose policy on North Korea would backfire,” Brookings Institute, February 12, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/02/12/ex-cia-analysts-explain-why-a-bloody-nose-policy-onth-korea-would-backfire/

Israel strikes Syria

Admiral Janeway only became more dear with age.
My cat, Admiral Janeway, passed on yesterday. Given her health situation, this was probably the least traumatic way for her to go.

I am remembering that morning that Admiral Janeway walked up to my face and we spent a few minutes just looking into each other’s eyes. Of course, I already miss her terribly, but even more, I am enormously grateful that she came to me and gave me over fifteen years of her life.


Updates

  1. Originally published, February 10, 2018, 2:24 pm. I was not caught up.
  2. February 10, 2018, 2:24 pm:
  3. February 10, 11:25 pm: I am caught up. There are no new additions at this time.
  4. February 11, 11:51 am: I need a simpler workflow. I am not caught up.
  5. February 11, 2:21 pm:
    • Added Uber. There is more to come, even here.
    • I am not caught up.
  6. February 12, 12:45 am:
    • You are entitled to be skeptical. I think I am now caught up.
    • Developed commentary on James Comey. It’s possible you’ll see a story here I didn’t note.
    • February 12, 1:58 am: Added the picture of Admiral Janeway.

Donald Trump

Michael Lewis, “Has Anyone Seen the President?” Bloomberg, February 9, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-09/has-anyone-seen-the-president


Unauthorized migration

This is really going to piss some folks off. It appears that some law enforcement agencies have failed to comprehend the distinction between civil and criminal charges as they apply to unauthorized migration. You cannot arrest someone on a civil complaint. And immigration offenses are civil. Which means, according to a federal judge, that local law enforcement cannot detain people on behalf of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).[1]

Joel Rubin, “L.A. federal judge rules that a key tool in Trump’s immigration crackdown effort is illegal,” Los Angeles Times, February 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ice-detainer-lawsuit-20180209-story.html


Syria

Israel reacted to a Iranian drone with a massive raid on Syria.[2]

Aron Heller and Sarah Al Deeb, “Israel downs Iranian drone and strikes Syria as F-16 crashes,” Associated Press, February 10, 2018, https://apnews.com/afe7e7c1bf534392a76c310178812f00/Israel-downs-Iranian-drone-and-strikes-Syria,-F-16-crashes

Times of Israel, “Israel launches ‘large-scale’ strikes in Syria after drone infiltration,” February 10, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-launches-large-scale-attack-in-syria-after-drone-infiltration/


James Comey

I’m not qute sure how to explain the headline and lede in John Bennett’s story,[3] because, fairly obviously, Donald Trump did not clear the memo.[4] And indeed, Bennett’s story includes the White House defense of that decision.[5] I think, overall, the Hill story, by Jonathan Easley and Avery Anapol[6] is a little better done.

Aaron Blake argues well, and narrowly, that the White House, contrary to its promises, did treat the Republican and Democratic memos differently.[7] Whether the broader implication that might be (over?)drawn from such an argument—that the rejection is motivated by partisan consideration—is fair is another question—the White House is probably justified in pointing out that the two memos are different, not quite comparable memos, memos.[8] I haven’t time to check just now, but I believe I saw something about detailed footnotes which would have to be redacted entirely.

John T. Bennett, “Trump Will Clear Dems’ Intel Memo for Release,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 9, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-will-clear-dems-intel-memo-release/

Jonathan Easley and Avery Anapol, “Trump declines to approve release of Dem countermemo,” Hill, February 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373229-trump-will-not-approve-release-of-dem-counter-to-nunes-memo-report

Aaron Blake, “The White House’s broken promise on the Democratic memo,” Washington Post, February 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/10/the-white-houses-broken-promise-on-the-democratic-memo/


Uber

Greg Bensinger, “Uber Agrees Not to Use Waymo Technology in Self-Driving Cars,” Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-reaches-settlement-with-waymo-over-trade-secrets-1518192710

Russ Mitchell and Tracey Lien, “Uber reaches settlement with Waymo in dispute over trade secrets,” Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-uber-waymo-settlement-20180209-story.html


  1. [1]Joel Rubin, “L.A. federal judge rules that a key tool in Trump’s immigration crackdown effort is illegal,” Los Angeles Times, February 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ice-detainer-lawsuit-20180209-story.html
  2. [2]Aron Heller and Sarah Al Deeb, “Israel downs Iranian drone and strikes Syria as F-16 crashes,” Associated Press, February 10, 2018, https://apnews.com/afe7e7c1bf534392a76c310178812f00/Israel-downs-Iranian-drone-and-strikes-Syria,-F-16-crashes; Times of Israel, “Israel launches ‘large-scale’ strikes in Syria after drone infiltration,” February 10, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-launches-large-scale-attack-in-syria-after-drone-infiltration/
  3. [3]John T. Bennett, “Trump Will Clear Dems’ Intel Memo for Release,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 9, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-will-clear-dems-intel-memo-release/
  4. [4]Aaron Blake, “The White House’s broken promise on the Democratic memo,” Washington Post, February 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/10/the-white-houses-broken-promise-on-the-democratic-memo/
  5. [5]John T. Bennett, “Trump Will Clear Dems’ Intel Memo for Release,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 9, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-will-clear-dems-intel-memo-release/
  6. [6]Jonathan Easley and Avery Anapol, “Trump declines to approve release of Dem countermemo,” Hill, February 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373229-trump-will-not-approve-release-of-dem-counter-to-nunes-memo-report
  7. [7]Aaron Blake, “The White House’s broken promise on the Democratic memo,” Washington Post, February 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/10/the-white-houses-broken-promise-on-the-democratic-memo/
  8. [8]John T. Bennett, “Trump Will Clear Dems’ Intel Memo for Release,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, February 9, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-will-clear-dems-intel-memo-release/; Jonathan Easley and Avery Anapol, “Trump declines to approve release of Dem countermemo,” Hill, February 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373229-trump-will-not-approve-release-of-dem-counter-to-nunes-memo-report

Some ‘Dreamers’ thought they had been reduced to pawns in political games. It looks like they were right.

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 8, 1:16 am.
  2. February 8, 12:02 pm:
    • The stock market is having another bad day.[1] (Wall Street)
  3. February 8, 3:02 pm:

Wall Street

Sylvan Lane, “Dow falls more than 1,000 in biggest daily point-drop ever,” Hill, February 5, 2018, http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/372403-dow-plunges-by-1179-points-shattering-record

James F. Peltz, “Dow plunges 1,175 points as stocks fall, wiping out all of this year’s gains,” Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-markets-20180205-story.html

Akane Otani and Lisa Beilfuss, “Dow Swings Sharply, Finishes 2.3% Higher,” Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2018,https://www.wsj.com/articles/stocks-in-asia-follow-the-dow-lower-1517876595

Associated Press, “Stocks drop further; Dow industrials slide 600 points,” Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-markets-20180208-story.html

Akane Otani and Jon Sindreu, “U.S. Stocks Dive as Investors Brace for More Volatility,” Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/asian-shares-lack-direction-1518051458

Jim Puzzanghera, “Dow dives more than 1,000 points despite attempts by Fed to calm investors,” , February 8, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-markets-20180208-story.html


James Comey

Even if you accept the argument in the Nunes Memo as valid, the premises that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had deceived a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court by omitting information about the source of the information, Christopher Steele’s dossier, used to obtain a warrant and that that dossier was anything more than “a key component” (even this might be exaggerated) in the application for that warrant are simply, flatly wrong[3]:

Devin Nunes said Monday the FBI had disclosed political backing for a Trump-Russia dossier in October 2016, but a controversial GOP memo released last week did not mention it. . . .

The debate revolves around an October 2016 FBI application to a federal judge for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Page. That FISA application — and whether the FBI was fully transparent with a federal court that approved it in October 2016 — is at the heart of mounting allegations by President Donald Trump and allies in Congress that the FBI abused its spying authority during the 2016 campaign.

But Friday’s memo also acknowledged that the Page warrant came only months after the FBI had already opened an investigation into Russian influence over the Trump campaign because of information it had received about another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadapoulos, whom The New York Times has reported learned in early 2016 that the Russians had stolen Clinton campaign emails.[4]

Which is all to say that the Republican argument here is simply fantasy.

Kyle Cheney, “Republicans concede key FBI ‘footnote’ in Carter Page warrant,” Politico, February 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/fbi-footnote-carter-page-warrant-390795

Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Barrett, “House panel clears release of Democrats’ rebuttal to GOP memo, forcing showdown with Trump,” Washington Post, February 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-attacks-schiff-ahead-of-vote-on-democrats-russia-probe-memo/2018/02/05/abf388fc-0a8c-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html

Byron Tau and Rebecca Ballhaus, “House Panel Agrees to Release Democratic Memo on Surveillance of Trump Associate,” Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-panel-agrees-to-release-democratic-memo-on-surveillance-of-trump-associate-1517872696

Katie Bo Williams, “House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo,” Hill, February 5, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/372421-house-intel-votes-to-release-dem-countermemo

Katie Bo Williams and Jordan Fabian, “Pressure builds on Trump to release Dem countermemo,” Hill, February 7, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372650-pressure-builds-on-trump-to-release-dem-countermemo


Donald Trump

Daily Cartoon, by Peter Kuper, February 6, 2018. New Yorker, fair use.

James Hohmann, with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, “Why Trump flippantly accusing Democrats of ‘treason’ is not a laughing matter,” Washington Post, February 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/02/06/daily-202-why-trump-flippantly-accusing-democrats-of-treason-is-not-a-laughing-matter/5a792a2130fb041c3c7d7657/


Census

Lydia Wheeler, “Citizenship question drives uncertainty over 2020 census,” Hill, February 6, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/372445-citizenship-question-drives-uncertainty-over-2020-census


Unauthorized migration

Democrats had previously tried to use their leverage on spending bills to secure legal protections for undocumented immigrants called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. at a young age. Mr. Trump in September ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that shielded them from deportation, but gave Congress until March 5 to pass its replacement.

In a testament to the complicated politics of the pact, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), one of the leaders who helped craft the spending agreement, took to the House floor for eight hours Wednesday to oppose it. Other House Democrats are expected to back the budget deal, but Mrs. Pelosi’s speech—breaking a record for the longest address in the chamber—aimed to show her support for the party’s liberal wing that has made immigration its top priority.[5]

Jordan Fabian and Rafael Bernal, “Trump: ‘I’d love to see a shutdown’ if Dems don’t meet immigration demands,” Hill, February 6, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372576-trump-id-love-to-see-a-shutdown

Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes, “Congressional Leaders Say They Agree on Budget Deal,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pelosi-wants-ryan-to-pledge-vote-on-dreamers-as-condition-for-budget-deal-1518019752


Polarization

I don’t agree with pointing the finger of blame for political polarization solely at Vietnam. And as a historical note, it was neoconservatism, including that of the #NeverTrump variety, that formed in significant part in response to the anti-war movement (and other 1960s-era social upheavals).[6] By contrast, authoritarian populism, including that of Donald Trump’s base[7] and that of many in the military, looks to me[8] an awful lot like how Colin Woodard describes the people he associates with what he calls ‘Greater Appalachia.’ The latter folks started arriving in what would become the United States well before the revolution that separated it from the United Kingdom and have always been disruptive in multiple ways, some of them violent.[9] Which is to say that they have been a source of polarization since before the country was even a country.

I would encourage you to read Gil Barndollar’s article[10] anyway. He highlights the difference between those who join the military and those who don’t,[11] which is important in itself, though he is, by no means, the first to do so.[12] His explanation, at minimum, nonetheless helps to enrich our understanding of polarization.

Avoiding Vietnam has been no bar to advancement in Washington, nor has it been an impediment to calling for other Americans to fight and die in other questionable interventions. It is one of history’s ironies that Vietnam veterans likely played an important role in electing the three recent presidents who avoided serving in Vietnam by various means.[13]

Gil Barndollar, “50 Years Later: What Tet Didn’t Destroy, Deferments Did,” American Conservative, February 6, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/50-years-later-what-tet-didnt-destroy-deferments-did/


Secession

Sam Levin, “Resisting the resistance: anti-liberal rage brews in California’s right wing,” Guardian, February 7, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/07/new-california-movement-rightwing-resistance-liberal-trump


Student loans

Adam Harris, “Federal Student-Loan Program Is Rapidly Losing Money, and Income-Based Repayment Is to Blame, Report Says,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Federal-Student-Loan-Program/242426


North Korea

David Nakamura, “Democratic senators: Trump lacks ‘legal authority’ for preemptive, ‘bloody nose’ strike on North Korea,” Washington Post, February 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/02/05/democratic-senators-trump-lacks-legal-authority-for-preemptive-bloody-nose-strike-onth-korea/

Daniel Larison, “Pence’s Misguided Asia Trip,” American Conservative, February 6, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/pences-misguided-asia-trip/


Same sex marriage

Apparently from a court ruling:

The State’s purpose to ensure an accessible public marketplace free from discrimination is laudable and necessary public goal. No vendor may refuse to sell their public goods, or services (not fundamentally founded upon speech) based upon their perception of the gender identification of their customer, even upon religious grounds. A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples. There is nothing sacred or expressive about a tire.

No artist, having placed their work for public sale, may refuse to sell for an unlawful discriminatory purpose. No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification. The difference here is that the cake in question is not yet baked. The State is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell cake. The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create a cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of a marital union her religion forbids. For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment.[14]

Leonardo Blair, “Calif. Court Rules Christian Baker Cannot Be Forced to Make Cake for Same-Sex Wedding,” Christian Post, February 6, 2018, https://www.christianpost.com/news/california-court-rules-christian-baker-cannot-forced-make-cake-gay-same-sex-wedding-216575/


#MeToo

Dennis Prager, “A Defense of Evangelicals Who Support Trump,” National Review, February 6, 2018, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/456140/evangelicals-trump-defense-of-support


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Stocks drop further; Dow industrials slide 600 points,” Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-markets-20180208-story.html; Akane Otani and Jon Sindreu, “U.S. Stocks Dive as Investors Brace for More Volatility,” Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/asian-shares-lack-direction-1518051458
  2. [2]Jim Puzzanghera, “Dow dives more than 1,000 points despite attempts by Fed to calm investors,” , February 8, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-markets-20180208-story.html
  3. [3]Kyle Cheney, “Republicans concede key FBI ‘footnote’ in Carter Page warrant,” Politico, February 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/fbi-footnote-carter-page-warrant-390795
  4. [4]Kyle Cheney, “Republicans concede key FBI ‘footnote’ in Carter Page warrant,” Politico, February 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/fbi-footnote-carter-page-warrant-390795
  5. [5]Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes, “Congressional Leaders Say They Agree on Budget Deal,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pelosi-wants-ryan-to-pledge-vote-on-dreamers-as-condition-for-budget-deal-1518019752
  6. [6]George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, 30th anniversary ed. (Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006).
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Authoritarian populism in the age of Donald Trump,” Not Housebroken, January 30, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/01/30/authoritarian-populism-in-the-age-of-donald-trump/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  9. [9]Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (New York: Penguin, 2011).
  10. [10]Gil Barndollar, “50 Years Later: What Tet Didn’t Destroy, Deferments Did,” American Conservative, February 6, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/50-years-later-what-tet-didnt-destroy-deferments-did/
  11. [11]Gil Barndollar, “50 Years Later: What Tet Didn’t Destroy, Deferments Did,” American Conservative, February 6, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/50-years-later-what-tet-didnt-destroy-deferments-did/
  12. [12]James Fallows, “The Tragedy of the American Military,” Atlantic, January/February 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/; Jennie Haskamp, “I’m a veteran, and I hate ‘Happy Memorial Day.’ Here’s why,” Washington Post, May 22, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/05/22/im-a-veteran-and-i-hate-happy-memorial-day-heres-why/; David Zucchino and David S. Cloud, “U.S. military and civilians are increasingly divided,” Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-warrior-main-20150524-story.html
  13. [13]Gil Barndollar, “50 Years Later: What Tet Didn’t Destroy, Deferments Did,” American Conservative, February 6, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/50-years-later-what-tet-didnt-destroy-deferments-did/
  14. [14]David Lampe, quoted in Leonardo Blair, “Calif. Court Rules Christian Baker Cannot Be Forced to Make Cake for Same-Sex Wedding,” Christian Post, February 6, 2018, https://www.christianpost.com/news/california-court-rules-christian-baker-cannot-forced-make-cake-gay-same-sex-wedding-216575/

Julian Assange’s deeply disturbing tweet

Tweet by Julian Assange, February 2, 2018, 9:16 pm.
This is forcing me to re-evaluate:

My immediate response was:

I hated Hillary Clinton, too, but that Julian Assange can so explicitly support the raging, delusional, narcissistic racist and misogynist Donald Trump only lends credibility to the Swedish charges of sexual assault and rape against Assange, the very charges I’ve dismissed in the past.[1]


Edward VIII

Robert Philpot, “Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ paints Edward VIII as Nazi sympathizer — but was he?” Times of Israel, January 29, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netflix-series-the-crown-paints-edward-viii-as-nazi-sympathizer-but-was-he/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “The Great Feminist Smackdown: Rape Allegations against Julian Assange,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2010, https://disunitedstates.org/2010/12/21/the-great-feminist-smackdown-rape-allegations-against-julian-assange/; David Benfell, “Misconstruing Moore and Amnesty International: The case against Assange,” Not Housebroken, December 27, 2010, https://disunitedstates.org/2010/12/27/misconstruing-moore-and-amnesty-international-the-case-against-assange/

The enemy is still us

There is a new blog post up, entitled, “Authoritarian populism in the age of Donald Trump.”


Updates

  1. Originally published, February 1, 10:43 pm.
  2. February 2, 6:21 am:
    • Darren Samuelsohn, at Politico, reports on lawyerly speculation as to what Robert Mueller might do and when he might do it.[1] Spoiler: Nobody really knows. (James Comey)
  3. February 2, 12:10 pm:
    • As expected, Donald Trump declassified the Nunes Memo[2] and it looks like he’s angling to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.[3] (James Comey)
  4. February 3, 10:48 am:
    • My apologies. I was in a rush yesterday and didn’t have time even to remember that I had some stuff to catch up on: The full District of Columbia appeals court upheld the Consumer Financial Protection Board’s administrative structure as constitutional.[4]
    • It doesn’t help much, but the Washington Times published its own take on the Nunes Memo.[5] The Hill does significantly better.[6] (James Comey)
    • Wall Street affirmed its belief that wage increases, but not, apparently, increases in the costs that workers face (especially including rent) or “Corporate America’s record profit margins,” cause inflation.[7]
    • I think I’m caught up.

Climate change

It appears there has been some parallel work[8] to my own[9] on sustainability and climate change.

George Monbiot, “Stepping Back from the Brink,” January 31, 2018, http://www.monbiot.com/2018/01/31/stepping-back-from-the-brink/


Higher education

Scott Carlson interviews Bryan Caplan, a capitalist libertarian economics professor who argues that higher education is failing to meet the needs of students. Some of this is the usual capitalist libertarian drivel. But only some. Caplan also makes some valid points,[10] including:

People say things, and often believe things, that sound good, but if you look closely at their behavior, you’ll see that either they are being dishonest or they don’t believe it all the way down. When employers say they want people who are well-rounded, you can see who they actually reward when they hire. I don’t see any signs of rewarding the well-rounded people. They’re rewarding people who do the job well and make the employers money. Employers want to sound like nice, open-minded people. They don’t want to say, “I don’t care if you’re a troglodyte as long as you bring in money.” Ultimately, that is what they’re thinking.[11]

Caplan points out that many students only want the diploma (it’s pretty clear to me he’s right on this); that they are uninterested in classes required for general education (sadly also true); that they won’t retain, let alone use what they aren’t really learning in those classes (this pretty much follows from the previous point); and that more students should be steered toward vocational education at an earlier age.[12] The problem with his argument does not lie within the syllogism itself, but rather in what a democracy or republic needs—and does not acknowledge needing: an educated population capable of responding intelligently to issues in a wide range of fields. Which is to say that society needs kids to get a liberal education and it needs to stop pretending that education reduces to job training.

Scott Carlson, “An Economist Argues That Our Education System Is Largely Useless,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/An-Economist-Argues-That-Our/242348


James Comey

Democrats and some law enforcement officials fear Trump might use the memo as basis to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises the Mueller probe.

Asked if he still has confidence in Rosenstein, the president told reporters, “You figure that one out.”[13]

Trump thinks the memo will allow him to argue that the Justice Department, and by proxy the Mueller investigation, is out to get him. It’s a very convenient line of attack given Trump has backed off actually firing Mueller (for now), so the next logical step to get out from under Mueller’s investigation is to fire the guy who set it up.[14]

The memo is available here.[15] I dunno. I’m probably reading it too quickly and I’m definitely not chasing down the details (I don’t have time right now), but to me, it looks like an ad hominem attack. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee don’t like Christopher Steele, Hillary Clinton, or the Democratic National Committee; therefore the “dubious dossier”  should be discounted.

The trouble is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had independently corroborated many of Steele’s claims. Republicans can call the dossier ‘discredited’ to their hearts’ content, but it just isn’t quite so dubious.[16] Which means that yeah, Trump is likely a misogynist pervert.[17]

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Majority Staff to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Majority Members, “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” January 18, 2018, https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/memo_and_white_house_letter.pdf

Perry Bacon, Jr., “What To Make Of Republicans’ Decision To Release The ‘Nunes Memo,’” FiveThirtyEight, January 30, 2018, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-to-make-of-republicans-decision-to-release-the-nunes-memo/

Sean Illing, “‘Unprecedented’: 9 historians on why Trump’s war with the FBI is so stunning,” Vox, February 1, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/2/1/16956422/numes-memo-release-fbi-trump

Jennifer Rubin, “The Nunes fiasco grows more preposterous by the hour,” Washington Post, February 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/02/01/the-nunes-fiasco-grows-more-outrageous-by-the-hour/

Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Furor grows over Nunes intel memo,” Hill, February 1, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/371891-furor-grows-over-nunes-intel-memo

Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Nunes surveillance memo,” Hill, February 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/372100-five-takeaways-from-the-nunes-memo

Jordan Fabian, “Trump: Allegations in memo ‘a disgrace,’” Hill, February 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372011-trump-approves-memo-release

Amber Phillips, “Did Trump just reveal the real reason this memo was written?” Washington Post, February 2, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/02/did-trump-just-reveal-the-real-reason-this-memo-was-written/

Darren Samuelsohn, “Russia probe lawyers think Mueller could indict Trump,” Politico, February 2, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/02/trump-russia-indictment-mueller-probe-384969

Rowan Scarborough, “Seven takeaways from the House memo detailing FBI’s surveillance abuses,” Washington Times, February 2, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/2/six-takeaways-from-the-house-memo-detailing-fbis-s/


Consumer Financial Protection Board

Brent Kendall and Yuka Hayashi, “Appeals Court Rules CFPB Structure Is Constitutional,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/appeals-court-rules-cfpb-structure-is-constitutional-1517415363

Sylvan Lane, “Appeals court rules consumer bureau’s structure is constitutional,” Hill, January 31, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/finance/371603-dc-circuit-consumer-bureaus-structure-is-constiutional


Wall Street

Matt Egan, “Dow plunges 666 points — worst day since Brexit,” Cable News Network, February 2, 2018, http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/02/investing/stock-market-today-dow/index.html[/ref]


  1. [1]Darren Samuelsohn, “Russia probe lawyers think Mueller could indict Trump,” Politico, February 2, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/02/trump-russia-indictment-mueller-probe-384969
  2. [2]House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Majority Staff to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Majority Members, “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” January 18, 2018, https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/memo_and_white_house_letter.pdf
  3. [3]Jordan Fabian, “Trump: Allegations in memo ‘a disgrace,’” Hill, February 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372011-trump-approves-memo-release; Amber Phillips, “Did Trump just reveal the real reason this memo was written?” Washington Post, February 2, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/02/did-trump-just-reveal-the-real-reason-this-memo-was-written/
  4. [4]Brent Kendall and Yuka Hayashi, “Appeals Court Rules CFPB Structure Is Constitutional,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/appeals-court-rules-cfpb-structure-is-constitutional-1517415363; Sylvan Lane, “Appeals court rules consumer bureau’s structure is constitutional,” Hill, January 31, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/finance/371603-dc-circuit-consumer-bureaus-structure-is-constiutional
  5. [5]Rowan Scarborough, “Seven takeaways from the House memo detailing FBI’s surveillance abuses,” Washington Times, February 2, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/2/six-takeaways-from-the-house-memo-detailing-fbis-s/
  6. [6]Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Nunes surveillance memo,” Hill, February 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/372100-five-takeaways-from-the-nunes-memo
  7. [7]Matt Egan, “Dow plunges 666 points — worst day since Brexit,” Cable News Network, February 2, 2018, http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/02/investing/stock-market-today-dow/index.html
  8. [8]George Monbiot, “Stepping Back from the Brink,” January 31, 2018, http://www.monbiot.com/2018/01/31/stepping-back-from-the-brink/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “The Inevitability of Speciesism,” December 7, 2012, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2012/12/07/inevitability-speciesism; David Benfell, “‘We have found the enemy, and he is us’ — and our system of social organization,” March 6, 2013, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2013/03/06/we-have-found-enemy-and-he-us-and-our-system-social-organization
  10. [10]Scott Carlson, “An Economist Argues That Our Education System Is Largely Useless,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/An-Economist-Argues-That-Our/242348
  11. [11]Bryan Caplan, quoted in Scott Carlson, “An Economist Argues That Our Education System Is Largely Useless,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/An-Economist-Argues-That-Our/242348
  12. [12]Scott Carlson, “An Economist Argues That Our Education System Is Largely Useless,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/An-Economist-Argues-That-Our/242348
  13. [13]Jordan Fabian, “Trump: Allegations in memo ‘a disgrace,’” Hill, February 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372011-trump-approves-memo-release
  14. [14]Amber Phillips, “Did Trump just reveal the real reason this memo was written?” Washington Post, February 2, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/02/did-trump-just-reveal-the-real-reason-this-memo-was-written/
  15. [15]House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Majority Staff to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Majority Members, “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” January 18, 2018, https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/memo_and_white_house_letter.pdf
  16. [16]John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/; Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Nunes surveillance memo,” Hill, February 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/372100-five-takeaways-from-the-nunes-memo; Philip Ewing, “How The Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony Fits In The Russia Saga,” National Public Radio, January 10, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/10/576899194/how-the-fusion-gps-founders-testimony-fits-in-the-russia-saga; “Feinstein: American People Deserve Opportunity to Read Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS Transcript,” United States Senate, January 9, 2018, https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=B708D3CB-A945-4436-8FB8-9D85978C5EEF; Chris Megerian, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript, escalating dispute with Republicans over Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sen-dianne-feinstein-releases-fusion-1515522979-htmlstory.html; Jennifer Rubin, “Fusion GPS transcript undercuts GOP attack on Steele and FBI,” Washington Post, January 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/10/fusion-gps-transcript-undercuts-gop-attack-on-steele-and-fbi/; Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Fusion GPS testimony,” Hill, January 10, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368210-five-takeaways-from-the-fusion-gps-testimony; Jacqueline Thomsen, “Feinstein posts testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder,” Hill, January 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/368119-feinstein-posts-testimony-of-fusion-gps-co-founder
  17. [17]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