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,” CNN, 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,” CNN, 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.