Democrats should be ashamed of themselves, but then maybe they have more in common with their opponents than either would like to admit

There is a new research journal entry, “Unethical research.” It directly relates to my employment situation.


Updates

  1. Originally published, November 7, 10:15 pm.
  2. November 8, 5:43 am:
    • Ick. I deeply distrust survey methodology these days.[1] And of course the Wall Street Journal thinks the Democrats are moving to the left, a characterization that should only be accepted when we see party leadership acting decisively—rhetoric is woefully insufficient—to repudiate their decades-long practice of embracing and extending neoliberal and neoconservative policy. But for all their profound flaws, surveys may be the only hint of what’s going on with Polarization in the 2018 midterm election results and the Journal, apart from its own ideological bias, offers a pretty good analysis of the available survey data, such as it is.[2]
  3. November 8, 1:45 pm:
    • Niall Stanage explains why Donald Trump’s imagination that he won the midterms isn’t completely off base.[3]
  4. November 8, 11:24 pm:
    • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration had been too hasty in cancelling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.[4] (Unauthorized Migrants)
    • Asylum seekers must present their claims at a legal port of entry under a new rule to be promulgated by the Trump administration.[5] (Unauthorized Migrants)
  5. November 9, 7:01 am:
    • I’m a little late picking this up: Lawfare has weighed in on Jeff Sessions’ firing—er, umm, and this is an important distinction: resignation—and replacement with Matt Whitaker.[6]
  6. November 10, 1:42 am:
    • You need some good news. I need some good news. So here’s Benjamin Wittes to reassure us that the Robert Mueller investigation will be just fine. He’s actually refuting a somewhat more pessimistic view, which is one way of pointing out that his view is not the only one on this topic. Time will tell, but he argues well.[7]
    • Back to bad news. I really haven’t been tracking the situation with U.S.-Cuba relations since Donald Trump came to power. In an avalanche of not merely bad but absolutely appalling news, it’s been one more thing than I can bear to focus on. But Pro Publica has just come out with an investigative report on mysterious sounds that apparently make diplomats and their dependents ill.[8]
    • Fucking hell. Click here for a video of somebody driving out of the Camp Fire in Butte County. I don’t care how you rationalize it: This took some nerve. Full stop.
  7. November 10, 12:23 pm:
  8. November 11, 7:46 am:
    • It’s Donald Trump being an ass again, tweeting an allegation that California wildlands fires are the result of forest mismanagement. Firefighters point out that not all such fires occur in forests, that most California forests are under federal management,[9] and that “[i]t is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”[10] The firefighters aren’t talking about climate change but the simple fact is that, in stark contrast to when I was a child, we are having many, many more dry years than wet ones. The smoke being produced from the Camp Fire in Butte County, quite a ways away from the San Francisco Bay Area, is blanketing the Bay Area (including where I live in the North Bay, figure 2), reducing air quality to unhealthy levels, and drastically reducing visibility; to have such a fire this late in the year is simply unheard of. (Wildfires)
  9. November 12, 10:11 am:
  10. November 12, 10:12 pm:
    • Added a pretty picture (figure 3) at the bottom of this post.
  11. November 13, 2:25 pm:
    • I have now had two conversations with folks at the Census Bureau about the concerns I express in my research journal entry, “Unethical research.” These conversations go some ways toward allaying my concerns. I am considering what has been said.
  12. November 13, 11:51 pm:
    • I have made my final decision about the Census Bureau job. I am resigning. For details, see the research journal entry, “Unethical research.”
    • There is news I have not yet archived. But for now, I’m going to bed. I’ll get to it tomorrow.
  13. November 15, 01:15 am:
    • I’m not sure how much a taxonomy actually helps, but Uber has come up with 21 categories of Sexual Misconduct[11]
    • Donald Trump’s idiocy on California Wildfires continues to reverberate.[12]
  14. November 15, 7:53 am:
    • Brexit is in a shambles, with Parliament unlikely to approve a deal[13] perceived (I think correctly) as “the worst of all worlds”[14] and also (again, I think correctly) as “the best deal Britain was ever going to get in the circumstances”[15] and as Theresa May faces a wave of cabinet resignations.[16] What has happened here is that neoliberals have prevailed despite the rebuke they should have received in the Brexit vote, as even Brexiteers want so-called “free” trade but want Britain “free” to negotiate its own “free” trade deals with the rest of the world at the same time that, politically, 1) the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland must remain open and 2) the United Kingdom must remain united.[17] If you look at the citations, here, you might notice some of them are months old. That’s because the problems really haven’t changed.
    • I should also point out, regarding claims that there was indeed a “blue wave” after all, that if you have to keep saying something is something, it probably isn’t that something. A number of races remain too close to call; that so many remained in dispute days after the election, ought to, but clearly does not, inspire more than a little humility in claims of “victory.”
  15. November 16, 01:16 am:
      Fintan O’Toole has a smart analysis of the unspoken conflicts that bedevil the politics of Brexit, in which politicians are betraying the people who voted for Brexit. First, there is an English nationalism that really doesn’t care how the problem of the Irish border is solved, whose loyalty is to England, rather than to the United Kingdom. Politicians, of course, like their “nation” united[18] because, to them, any break-up means a reduction in their power. Second, some politicians see Brexit as an opportunity not to duplicate let alone preserve European Union regulation, which is necessary for the proposed customs union, but rather as a continuation of the neoliberal project to reduce or eliminate regulation.[19] (This is a part I got at least partly wrong, at least in nuance: I had thought that the “remainers” were seeking to preserve so-called “free” trade as part of the neoliberal project of globalization.[20]) The public, it seems, isn’t nearly so keen on deregulation as these politicians.[21]
    • Six ministers have resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet over her Brexit agreement.[22]
    • U.S. authorities have filed a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, who has been holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy.[23]

Polarization

FireShot-Capture-21-Midterms-2018-Live-Election-Night-Resu_-https___www.newyorker.com_news_new

Fig. 1. House of Representatives results, as of November 7, 9:54 pm. New Yorker, fair use.

The 2018 midterm election results do not support any partisan imaginations of the U.S. election—including my own. And because of high turnout from bases on both left and right, these results are, perhaps, a better indication of the larger electorate than we’ve seen for a while, which makes it difficult to dismiss the really rather muddled picture that emerges.

First, and most easily dispensed with, this is no victory for Donald Trump. He can spin to his heart’s content,[24] but he lost the House of Representatives on an election he himself characterized as a referendum on him.[25]

Second, this was not a good night for progressives. As Matt Stoller noted on Twitter,

I’m not optimistic here. These are the same Democrats who were elected to bicameral control of Congress in 2006 with a mandate to get us the fuck out of Iraq but who turned around and enabled a continuation of that war. And then there’s the great Democrat god Barack Obama, who not only did not prosecute George W. Bush administration figures for war crimes, did not prosecute the bankers who precipitated the 2008 Financial Crisis, but embraced and extended the policies that enabled these crimes.

Bush left us with two intractable wars. Obama left us with many more. For crying out loud, even Richard Nixon, whom I grew up thinking of as the epitome of evil, got us out of Vietnam.

These Democrats promise one thing, get elected, do the exact opposite, and I hope they burn in Hell.

Third, there was no “blue wave.” As somebody on CBS News put it, this was a “blue trickle.” There are other witty ways of putting it, but they’re really all getting at the same point: Against an amazingly repugnant president who draws us ever deeper than even the deepest pits of hell, Democrats performed amazingly poorly. Really, just as they had in 2016 when this thoroughly repugnant man was still only the Republican nominee.[26]

Dan Balz, “A split America reasserts its divisions in the midterm elections,” Washington Post, November 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-split-america-reassert-its-divisions-in-the-midterm-elections/2018/11/06/31475b7c-dfa9-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html

Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook, “What the Midterm Election Shows: America’s Two Parties Live In Divergent Worlds,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-the-midterm-election-shows-americas-two-parties-live-in-divergent-worlds-1541634743


James Comey

Natasha Bertrand, “What Sessions’s Resignation Means for Robert Mueller,” Atlantic, November 7, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/11/bob-mueller-jeff-sessions-firing-matthew-whitaker/575248/

Mikhaila Fogel et al., “Jeff Sessions’s Firing, Matthew Whitaker’s Rise and the Attorney General’s Role In the Mueller Investigation,” Lawfare, November 7, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/jeff-sessionss-firing-matthew-whitakers-rise-and-attorney-generals-role-mueller-investigation

Chris Megerian and Del Quentin Wilber, “Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump’s request, setting up likely clash over the Russia investigation,” Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-sessions-resigns-20181107-story.html

Benjamin Wittes, “It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller,” Atlantic, November 9, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/10-reasons-whitaker-might-not-foil-mueller/575467/


Donald Trump

Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein, “Defiant Trump declares victory, battles press in wake of midterms,” CNN, November 7, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/donald-trump-midterm-election-news-conference/index.html

Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms


Scott Walker

Tim Craig, “Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor and former GOP presidential candidate, loses reelection bid,” Washington Post, October 7, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-expected-to-pick-up-governorships-but-many-races-are-too-close-to-call/2018/11/06/ed07bf48-dfa7-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html


Palestine

In Binyamin Netanyahu’s eyes, the ability of a country to impose ethnic cleansing justifies that ethnic cleansing. Yes, he really said this.[27] I suppose this is completely consistent with the Israeli government’s notion that it’s unfair to uphold Israel to any kind of moral standard because 1) its neighbors are (allegedly) worse, and 2) other countries (allegedly) do worse.

Just a reminder—I guess one I have to offer: Israel was founded as a response to ethnic cleansing, otherwise known as genocide. Might didn’t make right then but I guess it does now.

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu says ‘occupation is baloney’ if a country is powerful enough – reports,” November 6, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-occupation-is-baloney-if-a-country-is-powerful-enough-reports/


Unauthorized Migrants

Robert Barnes, “Trump can’t immediately end DACA, appeals court panel says, setting up Supreme Court fight,” Washington Post, November 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trump-cant-end-daca-appeals-court-says-setting-up-supreme-court-fight/2018/11/08/4a76f928-e386-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html

Jordan Fabian, “Trump moves to restrict asylum claims at border,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415800-trump-moves-to-restrict-asylum-claims-at-border


Cuba

Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella, “The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington,” Pro Publica, November 9, 2018, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-strange-case-of-american-diplomats-in-cuba-as-the-mystery-deepens-so-do-divisions-in-washington


Wildfires

IMG_20181109_114524-cropped
Fig. 2. From a parking lot in downtown Sebastopol, looking toward the Post Office, November 9, 11:45 am. This is smoke, not fog or water-laden cloudiness, from the Camp Fire, in Butte County, over 100 miles away. The smoke was worse the following day.

Cassie Dickman, “Firefighters call Trump tweet on California wildfires ‘reckless and insulting,’” Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221486490.html

Andrea Germanos, “California Wildfires Hit Grim Record Amid Trump’s Clueless Tweets,” Truthout, November 13, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/california-wildfires-hit-grim-record-amid-trumps-clueless-tweets/

Matthew Hurteau, “What Trump gets wrong about wildfires, by a fire scientist,” Guardian, November 14, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/13/donald-trump-wildfires-science-forest-management


Sexual Misconduct

Victoria Song, “Uber Releases a List of 21 Types of Sexual Misconduct Reported by Riders and Drivers,” Gizmodo, November 13, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/uber-releases-a-list-of-21-types-of-sexual-misconduct-r-1830405376


Brexit

Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Theresa May vows Brexit will happen despite a wave of resignations over her plan to exit the European Union,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/britains-brexit-secretary-resigns-over-theresa-mays-plan-to-exit-european-union/2018/11/15/7163f2a2-e859-11e8-8449-1ff263609a31_story.html

Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “U.K.’s Brexit Deal in Jeopardy as Senior Ministers Resign,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-officials-to-meet-to-approve-draft-brexit-deal-1542269504


Julian Assange

Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, “Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-has-been-charged-prosecutors-reveal-in-inadvertent-court-filing/2018/11/15/9902e6ba-98bd-48df-b447-3e2a4638f05a_story.html



Fig. 3. With all of Donald Trump’s bullshit generally, his bullshit about climate change in particular, and his bullshit about California Wildfires in particular, I was needing a reminder of what we’re actually talking about. I took this shot on November 12 at 4:32 pm from along Highway 20, between Willits and Fort Bragg.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “On a nine percent response rate,” May 28, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2017/05/28/nine-percent-response-rate
  2. [2]Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook, “What the Midterm Election Shows: America’s Two Parties Live In Divergent Worlds,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-the-midterm-election-shows-americas-two-parties-live-in-divergent-worlds-1541634743
  3. [3]Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms
  4. [4]Robert Barnes, “Trump can’t immediately end DACA, appeals court panel says, setting up Supreme Court fight,” Washington Post, November 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trump-cant-end-daca-appeals-court-says-setting-up-supreme-court-fight/2018/11/08/4a76f928-e386-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html
  5. [5]Jordan Fabian, “Trump moves to restrict asylum claims at border,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415800-trump-moves-to-restrict-asylum-claims-at-border
  6. [6]Mikhaila Fogel et al., “Jeff Sessions’s Firing, Matthew Whitaker’s Rise and the Attorney General’s Role In the Mueller Investigation,” Lawfare, November 7, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/jeff-sessionss-firing-matthew-whitakers-rise-and-attorney-generals-role-mueller-investigation
  7. [7]Benjamin Wittes, “It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller,” Atlantic, November 9, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/10-reasons-whitaker-might-not-foil-mueller/575467/
  8. [8]Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella, “The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington,” Pro Publica, November 9, 2018, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-strange-case-of-american-diplomats-in-cuba-as-the-mystery-deepens-so-do-divisions-in-washington
  9. [9]Cassie Dickman, “Firefighters call Trump tweet on California wildfires ‘reckless and insulting,’” Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221486490.html
  10. [10]Brian Rice, quoted in Cassie Dickman, “Firefighters call Trump tweet on California wildfires ‘reckless and insulting,’” Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221486490.html
  11. [11]Victoria Song, “Uber Releases a List of 21 Types of Sexual Misconduct Reported by Riders and Drivers,” Gizmodo, November 13, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/uber-releases-a-list-of-21-types-of-sexual-misconduct-r-1830405376
  12. [12]Andrea Germanos, “California Wildfires Hit Grim Record Amid Trump’s Clueless Tweets,” Truthout, November 13, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/california-wildfires-hit-grim-record-amid-trumps-clueless-tweets/; Matthew Hurteau, “What Trump gets wrong about wildfires, by a fire scientist,” Guardian, November 14, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/13/donald-trump-wildfires-science-forest-management
  13. [13]Daniel Capurro, “The Prime Minister faces the Commons this morning to begin the desperate fight to sell her Brexit deal,” Telegraph, November 15, 2018, http://m.email3.telegraph.co.uk/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40Gao0FLZOFXl4rGmIxTuTFTc4iOtJNEzyprtXMR8lqSc%3D&WT.mc_id=e_DM875719&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FrB_New&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FrB_New_2018_11_15&utm_campaign=DM875719
  14. [14]Steven Swinford, “DUP threatens to bring down Theresa May’s Government if it crosses Customs Union red line,” Telegraph, April 26, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/25/dup-threatens-bring-theresa-mays-government-climbs-brexit/
  15. [15]Daniel Capurro, “The Prime Minister faces the Commons this morning to begin the desperate fight to sell her Brexit deal,” Telegraph, November 15, 2018, http://m.email3.telegraph.co.uk/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40Gao0FLZOFXl4rGmIxTuTFTc4iOtJNEzyprtXMR8lqSc%3D&WT.mc_id=e_DM875719&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FrB_New&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FrB_New_2018_11_15&utm_campaign=DM875719
  16. [16]William Booth and Karla Adam, “Theresa May vows Brexit will happen despite a wave of resignations over her plan to exit the European Union,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/britains-brexit-secretary-resigns-over-theresa-mays-plan-to-exit-european-union/2018/11/15/7163f2a2-e859-11e8-8449-1ff263609a31_story.html
  17. [17]Michael R. Bloomberg, “A Brexit Choice Between Bad and Worse,” Bloomberg, April 27, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-27/brexit-michael-bloomberg-on-the-customs-union-choice; Gavin Cordon, “Brexit: Theresa May warns EU exit may not happen ‘at all’ if rebel Tories don’t play ball,” Independent, July 15, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-brexit-tory-rebels-trade-chequers-donald-trump-a8447776.html; Sam Knight, “Theresa May’s Impossible Choice,” New Yorker, July 23, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/30/theresa-mays-impossible-choice/amp
  18. [18]Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/
  19. [19]Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/
  20. [20]David Benfell, “The ‘Brexit’ vote may signify the end of the illusion of ‘progress,’” Not Housebroken, June 26, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/06/26/the-brexit-vote-may-signify-the-end-of-the-illusion-of-progress/
  21. [21]Fintan O’Toole, “How Brexit Broke Up Britain,” New York Review of Books, November 13, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/13/how-brexit-broke-up-britain/
  22. [22]Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “U.K.’s Brexit Deal in Jeopardy as Senior Ministers Resign,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-officials-to-meet-to-approve-draft-brexit-deal-1542269504
  23. [23]Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, “Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing,” Washington Post, November 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-has-been-charged-prosecutors-reveal-in-inadvertent-court-filing/2018/11/15/9902e6ba-98bd-48df-b447-3e2a4638f05a_story.html
  24. [24]Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms
  25. [25]Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein, “Defiant Trump declares victory, battles press in wake of midterms,” CNN, November 7, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/donald-trump-midterm-election-news-conference/index.html
  26. [26]Dan Balz, “A split America reasserts its divisions in the midterm elections,” Washington Post, November 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-split-america-reassert-its-divisions-in-the-midterm-elections/2018/11/06/31475b7c-dfa9-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html; Niall Stanage, “Why Trump thinks he won the midterms,” Hill, November 8, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/415632-the-memo-why-trump-think-he-won-the-midterms
  27. [27]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu says ‘occupation is baloney’ if a country is powerful enough – reports,” November 6, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-occupation-is-baloney-if-a-country-is-powerful-enough-reports/

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