Betrayals

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 5, roughly 3:00 pm.
  2. February 6, 1:01 pm:
  3. February 6, 2:43 pm:
    • I’m a bit behind. Comcast went down at my house shortly after I got home last night. You ask why, in God’s name, am I using Comcast? It certainly isn’t that I don’t know better. It’s the only option where I am, in Graton, a small town (in the “blink and you’ll miss it” category) just north of Sebastopol. Sonic deserves public humiliation for still, after all these years, having been founded in Sonoma County, having expanded even to other states, and providing service to towns on both sides of Graton, simply bypassing Graton, where people have been clamoring for its service for years.
    • To be honest, I haven’t even been trying to keep track of all the various forms of trouble Donald Trump is in. Aaron Blake, however, apparently has a bit more patience than I do.[1] There can be no serious doubt this guy is going down—he will not be exonerated in all of these investigations. The question is when and how.
    • I’m not archiving the article in CityLab, but look at this picture of a restored 1930’s-era streetcar from London (which I found via a newsletter from the Atlantic). Now go get on your local public transit and tell me about how London doesn’t—and didn’t, even during the worldwide Great Depression that proximally led to the rise of Nazism in Germany—have the problems of any major city and then tell me how we’ve made progress.940While you’re at it, go check out Moscow subway stations. We cannot have nice things because they’re too labor-intensive for our present system of social organization;[2] this, while millions (including myself) cannot find gainful employment and are forced into the so-called “gig economy”[3] because the neoliberal imperative is to reduce labor costs at all cost.[4]
  4. February 6, 8:31 pm:
    • I’m not calling it round three, but Nancy Pelosi attracted attention for her improvisation of a “sarcastic clap” at Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.[5] Certainly any child who’s been caught doing something s/he shouldn’t will recognize the expression on Pelosi’s face in the photograph.
  5. February 7, 4:30 am:
    • There still isn’t anything really new with Brexit but the Telegraph has another ascerbic cartoon[6] on the matter.
    • Elizabeth Warren has apologized for calling herself Native American. The apology is belated and comes as she intends to run for president.[7] I remain skeptical that such an apology is warranted in the first place,[8] but now it’s all just icky and I can’t see how she’s helped herself. If the claim is really that bad, it will stick regardless of any apology.
    • Speculation that Robert Mueller is wrapping up his investigation may be premature.[9] (James Comey)
    • Okay, so it seems I read (see the update above for February 6, 8:31 pm) Nancy Pelosi’s expression correctly. I’ve quoted a tweet from her daughter below.
    • It’s 04 fucking 30 in the goddamned morning. It is long past my bedtime. Honestly, I haven’t had so much trouble keeping up in a while. But I just gotta stop for now.
  6. February 8, 3:00 am:
    • I guess, when it rains, it pours. I was already behind. Then I had server trouble (I’m hoping it’s resolved). Now I’m probably even farther behind.
    • Because this is what Democrats do: The Wall Street Journal reports that Democrats are preparing to compromise on the wall, you know, where they can call it a flood control project or something.[10] (Unauthorized migration)
    • Ew. Yuck. But I guess it pays to be as rich as Jeff Bezos, who is disclosing what he describes as the National Enquirer’s attempt to blackmail him over the Washington Post’s coverage of efforts to “catch and kill” stories.[11] This is a ballsy move, figuratively, but in a couple ways. And it confirms your darkest, sleaziest suspicions about the Enquirer. Also, there is a priceless “David Frum tweet that sums it up.
    • I have to pause here. The Los Angeles Times appears to be reporting that Amazon used driver tips to fill in their base pay. I haven’t read or archived the story. I’ve just hit my daily tolerance for evil. I will return.
  7. February 8, 2:05 pm:
    • I honestly don’t understand how people rationalize stealing workers’ tips. But that’s what Amazon has been doing with delivery drivers’ tips.[12] (Yes, this is the story that made me pause on February 8, 3:00 am).
  8. February 9, 1:13 am:
    • I’m finally caught up. Mainly because it’s Friday night/Saturday morning and the pace of news slows for the weekend.
  9. February 9, 5:45 pm:
    • In case you’re wondering why Jeff Bezos’ allegation against the National Enquirer is important, this Washington Post story pulls together the pieces. In essence, the Enquirer almost certainly, and consistent with its behavior toward other celebrities, paid significant sums of money to “catch and kill” stories that might harm Donald Trump’s election chances, but strenuously denies that its coverage was politically motivated. The Post, owned by Bezos, was investigating this motivation and the Enquirer, presumably fearing the outcome of this investigation, wanted it stopped. In pursuit of this objective, the Enquirer went after Bezos who, as far as anyone can tell, and very much to his credit, has pretty much kept his hands off the Post (the one thing I’ve seen is that there is now an option to pay for your subscription through Amazon). If indeed this amounts to blackmail, the Enquirer will have violated its cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors and could thus be charged with campaign finance violations.[13]

Ridesharing

It’s possible the California Legislature will enact the state supreme court ruling all but abolishing the “independent contractor” scam. It’s also possible the legislature will eviscerate the ruling entirely.[14]

Carolyn Said, “California to thrash out gig worker status in upcoming bills,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-to-thrash-out-gig-worker-status-in-13585979.php


Unauthorized migration

Some Democrats are talking about a “virtual wall.”[15]

David Lightman, “Democrats ready to deal on border barrier — just not a ‘wall,’” McClatchy, February 1, 2019, https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article225392700.html?rh=1

Natalie Andrews and Louise Radnofsky, “Democrats Could Back Some Funds for New Barriers on U.S.-Mexico Border,” Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-could-back-some-funds-for-new-barriers-on-mexico-border-11549494681


Donald Trump

Prosecutors at the Southern District of New York have issued a wide-ranging subpoena for documents from Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.[16] This is not the Robert Mueller investigation.

Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Kranish, “Federal prosecutors issue sweeping subpoena for documents from Trump inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal probe,” Washington Post, February 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-prosecutors-issue-sweeping-subpoena-for-documents-from-trump-inaugural-committee-a-sign-of-a-deepening-criminal-probe/2019/02/04/b6382642-28e5-11e9-8eef-0d74f4bf0295_story.html

Aaron Blake, “Virtually every organization Trump has run in recent years has been under investigation. Here’s where those probes stand,” Washington Post, February 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/05/big-investigations-trump-explained/


James Comey

I’ll say this for Robert Mueller: His team has done a mighty good job of maintaining what I used to hear called “radio silence.” So much so that I’m wondering about my mother’s advice on conspiracies that it would be impossible to expect all participants to keep their mouths shut, especially when they stopped in to a bar for a drink or two or three (too many). It wasn’t that long ago that a reporter happened to overhear a sensitive—and consequently embarrassing—conversation at the next table in a restaurant. The simple fact is that people talk and I’m pretty sure my mother repeated that for emphasis. But not Mueller’s team. How does that even fucking work? Really, now?

I’ve been inclined to go along with speculation that Mueller’s investigation is wrapping up, only because I’d seen so much of it. But the truth is, we don’t fucking know. Really we don’t.[17]

Morgan Chalfant, “Mueller probe filings raise prospect of more indictments,” Hill, February 6, 2019, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/428616-mueller-probe-filings-raise-prospect-of-more-indictments


Nancy Pelosi

Honestly, I came upon this Tweet, courtesy of a Hill newsletter after I’d updated (on February 6, 8:31 pm) for the story by Allyson Chiu.

So here’s a sample of what I receive daily in my ongoing research. I haven’t actually clicked the link and I’m not recommending that you do, but it’s there:

Notepad and pencil.
BEST OF THE WEB

Viewers, Pelosi Applaud Trump

A nonpartisan speech scores with voters across the political spectrum.
With a substantive address that was among the least partisan State of the Union messages in recent memory, President Donald Trump appears to have impressed a significant majority of Tuesday night’s sizable television audience. Meanwhile Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi offered a generally respectful welcome to America’s 45th President.

The photograph accompanying this column seems to capture the ambivalence of a Speaker who felt compelled by respect for his office and hers—or by the demands of politics—to welcome Mr. Trump to the House chamber, but wasn’t happy to see him. And yes, during the speech there were some frowns appearing over Mr. Trump’s left shoulder as he promoted ideas vigorously opposed by Mrs. Pelosi. But the Speaker was acting like a typical politician in our boisterous republic, not pretending to “resist” a tyrant. She clapped in response to some of his comments and even stood and applauded when early in the speech Mr. Trump said:

But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

Much later in the speech, Mrs. Pelosi sat and clapped without enthusiasm after the President offered these beautiful words:

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence–-not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

Whether one is appalled that such a declaration didn’t elicit more energetic applause from the Speaker or relieved that she offered a mild endorsement depends on individual judgments about how far her party has moved leftward in recent years.

See More Coverage ›

I copied and pasted the above from a Wall Street Journal newsletter.[18] I honestly don’t know what to say. Just about each and every inference this writer draws is wholly, flatly, and blatantly wrong, at least in the part we see in this newsletter. Honestly, now, you really think people believe this crap? Wow!

Allyson Chiu, “‘Queen of Condescending Applause’: Nancy Pelosi clapped at Trump, and the Internet lost it,” Washington Post, February 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/06/queen-condescending-applause-nancy-pelosi-clapped-trump-internet-lost-it/


Brexit

The shuttlecock is batted back and forth, seemingly unaffected by the aggression unleashed upon it.
Blower
Patrick Blower, February 6, 2019,[19] fair use.

The trouble in this, I think, is in that it depicts Theresa May as passive. Given that she and her government negotiated the agreement and she at least appears to be trying to find some tweak—which pretty clearly does not exist and cannot exist because, fundamentally, either you have a border or you do not have a border—to salvage that same agreement. You can call this any or all of a lot of things. But not passive.

Patrick Blower, “Shuttle Diplomacy” [cartoon], Telegraph, February 6, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/31/telegraph-cartoons-february-2019/blower-cartoon-february-6/


Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren now—to the extent she didn’t already—has an authenticity problem. First, she’s apologizing as she begins her presidential candidacy,[20] suggesting that what she’s really doing is kissing the requisite asses. But also, as a human scientist, I can see family traditions, even exaggerations, fibs, or outright lies, as a form of truth.

If we are simply to dismiss the tale, or the legend, or the myth as falsehood or even as nonsense, what about the experience of that tale, or that legend, or that myth? What do we learn, for example, when we study ancient gods? Is this really all false, even if it offers true or even merely interesting insights? And what about when we encounter people for whom this tale, or this legend, or this myth, have been a significant part of their social conditioning? What does this tale, or this legend, or this myth tell us about them—or even us? Really? All false?

Annie Linskey and Amy Gardner, “Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself Native American,” Washington Post, February 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/elizabeth-warren-apologizes-for-calling-herself-native-american/2019/02/05/1627df76-2962-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html


Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Medium, February 7, 2019, https://medium.com/@jeffreypbezos/no-thank-you-mr-pecker-146e3922310f

Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “Federal prosecutors reviewing Bezos’s extortion claim against National Enquirer, sources say,” Washington Post, February 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-prosecutors-reviewing-bezoss-extortion-claim-against-national-enquirer-sources-say/2019/02/08/def45464-2bc6-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html

Paul Farhi, Sarah Ellison, and Emily Yahr, “The National Enquirer’s tactics have been revealed. But they’re not new,” Washington Post, February 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-national-enquirers-tactics-have-been-revealed-but-theyre-not-new/2019/02/08/0f1354d8-2bc7-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html


Amazon

Johana Bhuiyan, “Where does a tip to an Amazon driver go? In some cases, toward the driver’s base pay,” Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-amazon-drivers-tips-20190207-story.html


  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “Virtually every organization Trump has run in recent years has been under investigation. Here’s where those probes stand,” Washington Post, February 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/05/big-investigations-trump-explained/
  2. [2]Peter Kropotkin, The State: Its Historic Role, Vernon Richards, trans. (1898; repr., London: Freedom Press, 1997).
  3. [3]Katie Benner, “A Secret of Uber’s Success: Struggling Workers,” Bloomberg, October 2, 2014, http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-10-02/a-secret-of-uber-s-success-struggling-workers; Lydia DePillis, “How Uber-type jobs are driving inequality, and what to do about it,” Washington Post, May 21, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/21/how-uber-type-jobs-are-driving-inequality-and-what-to-do-about-it/; Cyrus Farivar, “What’s Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage? $10 or lower, report finds,” Ars Tehnica, March 6, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/whats-uber-and-lyft-drivers-median-hourly-wage-under-4-report-finds/; Tara Golshan, “Uber just settled 2 major lawsuits, and its drivers still aren’t employees,” Vox, April 22, 2016, http://www.vox.com/2016/4/22/11486576/uber-lawsuit-settlement-drivers-contractors; Carla Green and Sam Levin, “Homeless, assaulted, broke: drivers left behind as Uber promises change at the top,” Guardian, June 17, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/17/uber-drivers-homeless-assault-travis-kalanick; New York Times, “The Gig Economy’s False Promise,” New York Times, April 10, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/10/opinion/the-gig-economys-false-promise.html; Danielle Paquette, “She was pregnant and broke. Signing up for Uber drove her into debt,” Washington Post, April 7, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-had-a-newborn-and-no-money-signing-up-for-uber-drove-her-into-debt/2017/04/07/b5ee9510-05d1-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html; Amber Petrovich, “The gig worker’s lament,” Washington Post, December 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gig-workers-lament/2018/12/26/085fce64-cd76-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html; Carolyn Said, “Lyft drivers to remain contractors in lawsuit settlement,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2016, http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Lyft-drivers-to-remain-contractors-in-lawsuit-6787390.php
  4. [4]Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012); George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, 30th anniversary ed. (Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006).
  5. [5]Allyson Chiu, “‘Queen of Condescending Applause’: Nancy Pelosi clapped at Trump, and the Internet lost it,” Washington Post, February 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/06/queen-condescending-applause-nancy-pelosi-clapped-trump-internet-lost-it/
  6. [6]Patrick Blower, “Shuttle Diplomacy” [cartoon], Telegraph, February 6, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/31/telegraph-cartoons-february-2019/blower-cartoon-february-6/
  7. [7]Annie Linskey and Amy Gardner, “Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself Native American,” Washington Post, February 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/elizabeth-warren-apologizes-for-calling-herself-native-american/2019/02/05/1627df76-2962-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Criticism of Elizabeth Warren for revealing her DNA test confuses the potential for the actual,” Not Housebroken, October 18, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/10/18/criticism-of-elizabeth-warren-for-revealing-her-dna-test-confuses-the-potential-for-the-actual/
  9. [9]Morgan Chalfant, “Mueller probe filings raise prospect of more indictments,” Hill, February 6, 2019, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/428616-mueller-probe-filings-raise-prospect-of-more-indictments
  10. [10]Natalie Andrews and Louise Radnofsky, “Democrats Could Back Some Funds for New Barriers on U.S.-Mexico Border,” Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-could-back-some-funds-for-new-barriers-on-mexico-border-11549494681
  11. [11]Jeff Bezos, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Medium, February 7, 2019, https://medium.com/@jeffreypbezos/no-thank-you-mr-pecker-146e3922310f
  12. [12]Johana Bhuiyan, “Where does a tip to an Amazon driver go? In some cases, toward the driver’s base pay,” Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-amazon-drivers-tips-20190207-story.html
  13. [13]Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “Federal prosecutors reviewing Bezos’s extortion claim against National Enquirer, sources say,” Washington Post, February 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-prosecutors-reviewing-bezoss-extortion-claim-against-national-enquirer-sources-say/2019/02/08/def45464-2bc6-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html; Paul Farhi, Sarah Ellison, and Emily Yahr, “The National Enquirer’s tactics have been revealed. But they’re not new,” Washington Post, February 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-national-enquirers-tactics-have-been-revealed-but-theyre-not-new/2019/02/08/0f1354d8-2bc7-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html
  14. [14]Carolyn Said, “California to thrash out gig worker status in upcoming bills,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-to-thrash-out-gig-worker-status-in-13585979.php
  15. [15]David Lightman, “Democrats ready to deal on border barrier — just not a ‘wall,’” McClatchy, February 1, 2019, https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article225392700.html?rh=1
  16. [16]Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Kranish, “Federal prosecutors issue sweeping subpoena for documents from Trump inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal probe,” Washington Post, February 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-prosecutors-issue-sweeping-subpoena-for-documents-from-trump-inaugural-committee-a-sign-of-a-deepening-criminal-probe/2019/02/04/b6382642-28e5-11e9-8eef-0d74f4bf0295_story.html
  17. [17]Morgan Chalfant, “Mueller probe filings raise prospect of more indictments,” Hill, February 6, 2019, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/428616-mueller-probe-filings-raise-prospect-of-more-indictments
  18. [18]Wall Street Journal to Best of the Web list, “Opinion: Best of the Web Today – Viewers, Pelosi Applaud Trump,” February 6, 2019, https://bestoftheweb.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/d/2E796E6C515A894B2540EF23F30FEDED/1767FC5ADE4552A0AF060D6555554232
  19. [19]Patrick Blower, “Shuttle Diplomacy” [cartoon], Telegraph, February 6, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/31/telegraph-cartoons-february-2019/blower-cartoon-february-6/
  20. [20]Annie Linskey and Amy Gardner, “Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself Native American,” Washington Post, February 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/elizabeth-warren-apologizes-for-calling-herself-native-american/2019/02/05/1627df76-2962-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html

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