White Supremacist militia takes an incoherent jumble as endorsement.

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 30, 2020, at 11:27 am.
  2. September 30, 6:46 pm:
    • At New York Magazine, Zak Cheney-Rice adds his own take on Donald Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacism, laying out the reasoning for seeing Trump as having effectively confirmed he is a white supremacist.[1] Steve Bannon, for example, would be an entirely different story, but I guess I’m still inclined to view Trump as too much an idiot and as too much a delusional raging narcissist to attribute even the repugnant quality of thinking that I think most observers, including Cheney-Rice, do. I just don’t think he’s that bright: He just sees the Proud Boys as his supporters; I think that’s where it begins and ends with him.

Horse race

Following a televised debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden last night, it is now even more difficult to dismiss the fear of violence should Trump appear to lose the election:[2]

President Donald Trump thrilled members of the violent far-right gang known as the Proud Boys on Tuesday when he responded to a question from debate moderator Chris Wallace, about whether he would be willing to tell white supremacists and militia groups that support him to stand down, by instead telling that group to “stand back and stand by.”

Read more

  1. [1]Zak Cheney-Rice, “We Can Probably Stop Asking Trump If He’s a White Supremacist,” New York, September 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/trump-tells-proud-boys-to-stand-by-still-white-supremacist.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/

‘Things that are more selfish, stupid and privileged than voting third party in America.’

Horse race

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Archived at 2020-09-29 09:43:09

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ Profile picture

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳

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28 Sep, 21 tweets, 3 min read

Things that are more selfish, stupid and privileged than voting third party in America.

1. Supporting a two-headed one-party system in the most powerful government on earth which has plagued our planet with endless war and ecocide and marched humanity to the brink of extinction.

2. Continuing to support a political system which is wholly owned and operated by the wealthy, leaving zero effective influence over US policy in the hands of ordinary Americans and immense influence in the hands of the very rich.

3. Continuing to support a system which consistently deceives the American people into consenting to oppressive neoliberal exploitation at home and bloodthirsty neoconservative warmongering abroad, both of which always impact the most impoverished and disadvantaged groups worst.

4. Continuing to support a two-headed one-party system where one head always pushes as far to the right as possible when in power and the other head never moves things back leftward even one iota when it is.

5. Continuing to support a political establishment which rehabilitates war criminals like George W Bush, Bill Kristol, David Frum and John Bolton while demonizing anyone who refused to vote for a warmonger.

6. Supporting a political party which has been consistently attacking Donald Trump from the right on foreign policy, pushing him to escalate cold war tensions with Russia further and further and shrieking hysterically if he makes the slightest move toward deescalation anywhere.

7. Supporting a political party which is designed to co-opt all leftward populism and railroad it into support for an establishment which promotes war and oligarchy while depriving Americans of the same social safety nets afforded to everyone in every other major country on earth

8. Supporting a party which claims to support press freedoms while cheerleading Trump’s extradition of Julian Assange, a move which if successful will cripple press freedoms around the world and make it impossible to hold the world’s most powerful government to account.

9. Supporting a political party which has spent Trump’s term galvanizing its base around the psychopathic CIA and J Edgar Hoover’s minority-oppressing, left-punching FBI while doing everything it can to stamp out any leftist zeitgeist within its ranks.

10. Continuing to support a mass media structure which works every day to deceive Americans into supporting their own impoverishment while weapons of war are spread across the planet at massive expense.

11. Supporting a political establishment which promises slow, incremental change and actually delivers no change whatsoever while our species slides off the cliff of extinction, taking out the most impoverished and marginalized first.

12. Pretending foreign policy just doesn’t exist, or if it does exist pretending Joe Biden isn’t a lifelong warmonger who has spent his entire campaign attacking Trump for being insufficiently hawkish in most spheres of international conflict.

13. Ignoring the fact that both parties are working in support of world-threatening cold war escalations against both Russia and China, a multifront campaign whose complexity increases the probability of something going cataclysmically wrong even more than the last cold war.

14. Pretending a party that’s done exactly nothing for America’s disempowered communities isn’t directly responsible for the poverty, police brutality, mass incarceration, exploitation and oppression those communities face today.

15. Pretending a return to how things were before Trump’s presidency wouldn’t just be a return to the conditions which created Trump’s presidency.

16. Pretending Obama, who destroyed Libya, tried to destroy Syria, facilitated the rape of Yemen, intervened in Ukraine, expanded all of Bush’s most depraved policies, and did nothing whatsoever for the people who elected him, was a good president.

17. Continuing to support a political system where everything keeps getting worse no matter which oligarchic puppet Americans elect.

18. Putting your head in the sand and pretending everything will be fine once a Democrat is in charge, again.

19. Supporting a novelty joke party with fake primaries which are always rigged to ensure victory for the safest oligarchic puppet instead of pushing for something resembling actual democracy.

20. Promoting the lie that if you just keep doing something that has never, ever worked, this time it might produce different results.

21. Lulling people back to sleep when the only thing that can help ordinary people is for them to wake up and use the power of their numbers to force drastic, revolutionary change.


Racial justice


At the races

Horse races

It’s more than a little dismaying to see the campaign literature I get in my mailbox. I guess I realize that expecting them to do even the slightest bit of constituent research is far too much to ask. But if you’re going to address something to me, you should be addressing my concerns.

First, it’s not like I don’t know something about conservatism.[1] I would never ever vote for a Republican. Let alone a racist authoritarian populist rapist. Or a conservative under the guise of a Democrat.

Second, I would never ever vote for a neoliberal. Let alone a racist neoliberal rapist.

Third, I’m vegan, and even more than that, a vegetarian ecofeminist.[2] So why are you telling me about how you’re a great sportsman and an advocate for gun nuttery and hunting?

My god.


Aliquippa

I don’t get out to Beaver County a whole lot. I hadn’t even been there since I was a kid before the lockdown. Since the lockdown, I’m covering a broader territory. I don’t do any of this on purpose: I just go where the calls take me.

One day I picked up a passenger in Aliquippa. This passenger told me that the Aliquippa police department had been accused of corruption and essentially confined to barracks, with the Pennsylvania State Police taking over policing in the city.

So I was puzzled when more recently, I saw Aliquippa police cruisers on the streets. I also saw state troopers.

The story appears tangled. It looks like Aliquippa cops were at least running a gambling operation. The assistant police chief started investigating, indeed was even in contact with the local district attorney and the state attorney general about the matter, and then got busted for “allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl.”[3]

I suppose that’s one way to try to shut down a corruption investigation. Another is to shoot a local teacher who is cooperating with the investigation.[4] It seems she was shot by “somebody who was comfortable with a gun … somebody that … did not waiver, did not have emotion involved in this.”[5] Uh huh. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only considering these mother fuckers guilty until proven innocent.

I don’t know if they were ever actually taken off the streets. That simply doesn’t appear in anything I’ve found.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  2. [2]Greta Gaard, “Vegetarian Ecofeminism: A Review Essay,” Frontiers 23, no. 3 (2002): 117-146.
  3. [3]Amy Marcinkiewicz, “Channel 11 uncovers new details about alleged corruption in Aliquippa Police Department,” WPXI, May 10, 2019, https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/channel-11-uncovers-new-details-about-alleged-corruption-in-aliquippa-police-department/948295649/
  4. [4]Erin Moriarty, “Rachael DelTondo Murder: Did a Secret Lead to the Killing of the Aliquippa, Pa., teacher?” CBS News, September 7, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rachael-deltondo-murder-did-a-secret-lead-to-the-killing-of-aliquippa-pennsylvania-teacher/
  5. [5]Michael Santicola, quoted in Erin Moriarty, “Rachael DelTondo Murder: Did a Secret Lead to the Killing of the Aliquippa, Pa., teacher?” CBS News, September 7, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rachael-deltondo-murder-did-a-secret-lead-to-the-killing-of-aliquippa-pennsylvania-teacher/

And here I’ve been, waiting for word on Trump’s alleged participation in ‘golden showers’ with Russian prostitutes

Donald Trump

Despite this, Donald Trump, whom authoritarian populists insist is such a great businessman,[1] is going broke again. He is personally responsible for some $421 million in debt, “most of it coming due within four years,” and faces the possibility of having to return a tax refund to the Internal Revenue Service, which could cost him $100 million. The report does not say to whom he owes the former,[2] but some will surely suspect the Russians.[3]

Ah, gee. And here I’ve been, waiting for word on Trump’s alleged participation in “golden showers” with Russian prostitutes.[4] Make of that what you will. I sure as hell don’t know, but I can’t even wrap my head around my own finances.

So I was wondering what the National Review would have to say about the New York Times story on Trump’s taxes. Well, um, it seems they’re all about the “golden showers,” too, or more precisely the “Russian investigation” into Trump, which Republicans insist was unjustified and possibly illegal.[5] Make of that what you will, too.

Brittany Bernstein, “Lindsey Graham Hints There is ‘More Damning’ Information about the Russia Investigation to be Released,” National Review, September 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/lindsey-graham-hints-there-is-more-damning-information-about-the-russia-investigation-to-be-released/

Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html


Fire

Napa Valley in California is on fire and the fire spread west through mountainous terrain north of the Valley of the Moon, also wine country, in Sonoma County toward Santa Rosa, where evacuation orders are taking effect (figure 1) in areas that previously burned in 2017 with the Tubbs Fire. I keep saying it: In California, if it hasn’t burned, it will. And is.

Fig. 1. Screenshot taken by author of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, September 28, 2020, at 9:44 am EDT (6:44 am PDT).


  1. [1]Bess Levin, “G.O.P. Voters Think Losing $1 Billion Makes Someone (Trump) a Good Businessman,” Vanity Fair, May 15, 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/05/republicans-still-think-trump-was-a-successful-businessman
  2. [2]Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html
  3. [3]Craig Unger, “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” New Republic, July 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/143586/trumps-russian-laundromat-trump-tower-luxury-high-rises-dirty-money-international-crime-syndicate
  4. [4]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
  5. [5]Brittany Bernstein, “Lindsey Graham Hints There is ‘More Damning’ Information about the Russia Investigation to be Released,” National Review, September 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/lindsey-graham-hints-there-is-more-damning-information-about-the-russia-investigation-to-be-released/

A ‘vote shaming’ argument rendered moot

Supreme Court

“Vote shamers” who argue for voting for their presumed “lesser of two evils,” that is, Joe Biden, based on the opening on the Supreme Court created by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death,[1] are having their argument rendered moot as the Republicans appear able and willing to ram through Donald Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, before election day.[2]

Anne Gearan, Seung Min Kim, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett is his pick for the Supreme Court,” Washington Post, September 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-barrett-supreme-court/2020/09/26/4a417d60-000e-11eb-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html


Admiral Janeway

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dearest cat, Admiral Janeway (figure 1), who, as they put it, crossed over the rainbow bridge, on February 9, 2018.[3]

Fig. 1. Admiral Janeway, photograph by author, October 30, 2017.

I remember waking up that morning, seeing that she was watching me. We gazed into each other’s eyes for the longest time, which was unusual and should have tipped me off. It didn’t of course, and I also didn’t think anything of her seeming unusually spry as we got up. Again, this was a clue I missed entirely. I went about my usual routine, I think her tail might have brushed my calf as I sat at my desk catching up on email and the day’s events, and then I went off to work.

My mother called sometime that evening. She had found Admiral Janeway in the yard, seemingly asleep but somehow slightly awry (I assume rigor mortis). My cat had likely found a sunny spot and gone to sleep there. I have been told since that this is how kidney failure gets you.

I have her ashes. They are to be spread with my own, assuming I manage to finish paying for it, at a redwood tree near Point Arena, California.

But damn, I miss her.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “On ‘vote shaming,’” Not Housebroken, September 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/21/on-vote-shaming/
  2. [2]Anne Gearan, Seung Min Kim, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett is his pick for the Supreme Court,” Washington Post, September 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-barrett-supreme-court/2020/09/26/4a417d60-000e-11eb-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html; Paul Kane and Rachael Bade, “Democrats largely powerless to stop GOP from confirming Trump’s court choice,” Washington Post, September 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-trump-court-democrats/2020/09/21/12295b82-fc1c-11ea-9ceb-061d646d9c67_story.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Admiral Janeway, rest in peace,” Not Housebroken, February 9, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/02/09/admiral-janeway-rest-in-peace/

Your self-fulfilling prophesy of the day: ‘Face masks don’t work’

Pandemic

Just what you wanted: Something else to thank Donald Trump for. By downplaying the virus in the U.S., Trump and Trumpsters have likely given the novel coronavirus an opportunity to develop a mutation, D614G,[1] previously reported,[2] and now found in 99.9 percent of cases. The mutation is suspected of making it easier for the virus to bypass precautions such as mask wearing and hand washing.[3]

It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. That vegan restaurant owner in North Strabane, a distant suburb of Pittsburgh, and my passenger in Greensburg, another distant suburb of Pittsburgh, both protested that “masks don’t work,” as the former refused to wear one and made me pull mine down, and the latter covered her mouth but not her nose while her friend refused to wear one at all. Well, now they work less well.[4] Thanks, assholes.

This latest study has not yet been peer reviewed.[5] But if there was ever an excuse for shooting people on sight, this would have to be it.

Josie Ensor, “New coronavirus mutation could be evolving to get around mask-wearing and hand-washing,” Telegraph, September 24, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/24/new-coronavirus-mutation-could-evolving-get-around-mask-wearing/


The neoliberal party

A Raw Story article cites a number of ways that the Democrats aren’t really resisting the Republicans,[6] a point I have also made.[7] It did not, so far as I could find, refer specifically to Elizabeth Warren. It does mention the other senator from Massachusetts, Ed Markey.[8] That said,

When you hear the word comity, especially in reference to the U.S. Senate, think of this privileged, legalistic view.

The absence of an actual stake is a serious barrier to Congressional action on problems affecting the poor and working class.[9] It also means we have further reason to expect that the neoliberal party to acquiesce to Donald Trump’s attempt to steal the election.[10]

Sophia Tesfaye, “Democrats’ actions this week suggest they have no real intention to save our democracy,” Raw Story, September 25, 2020, https://www.rawstory.com/2020/09/democrats-actions-this-week-suggest-they-have-no-real-intention-to-pull-them-out-to-save-our-democracy/


Polarization

I am remembering a passage from Kim Messick in Salon that I quoted in my dissertation:

In two earlier articles (here and here), I argued that the Republican Party’s extremism can be traced to its increased dependence on an electorate that is largely rural, Southern and white. These voters, who figure prominently in the Tea Party, often decline to interpret political conflict as a struggle among interest groups or a good-faith clash of opinion. Instead, they tend to identify the country as a whole with an idealized version of themselves, and to equate any dissent from their values with disloyalty by alien, “un-American” forces. This paranoid vision of politics, I argued, makes them seek out opportunities for dramatic conflict and to shun negotiation and compromise.[11]

It’s crucial to understanding our dilemma because what it means is that Trumpsters do not even recognize their views as partisan. They equate, not merely conflate or confound, but equate being not merely conservative but, as we now see,[12] white supremacist with being Amerikkkan.

We thus can see, even more than before, how referring to the United States as ‘America’ is incorrect: ‘America’ refers broadly to a hemisphere, composed of numerous countries. But the U.S. is Amerikkka, white supremacist in its history and to the core, enabled by those who call themselves ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ and imagine they think better. Even more than Israel, because of its sheer size and might, this is a country that should dissolve.


  1. [1]Ralph Vartabedian, “Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that appears to be more contagious,” Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-05/mutant-coronavirus-has-emerged-more-contagious-than-original
  2. [2]Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach, “Researchers hypothesize that a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading, but other experts remain skeptical,” Washington Post, May 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/researchers-hypothesize-that-a-highly-contagious-strain-of-the-coronavirus-is-spreading-but-other-experts-remain-skeptical/2020/05/05/db90d790-8ee7-11ea-9e23-6914ee410a5f_story.html; Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach, “This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why,” Washington Post, June 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2020/06/29/coronavirus-mutation-science/; Ralph Vartabedian, “Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that appears to be more contagious,” Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-05/mutant-coronavirus-has-emerged-more-contagious-than-original
  3. [3]Josie Ensor, “New coronavirus mutation could be evolving to get around mask-wearing and hand-washing,” Telegraph, September 24, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/24/new-coronavirus-mutation-could-evolving-get-around-mask-wearing/
  4. [4]Josie Ensor, “New coronavirus mutation could be evolving to get around mask-wearing and hand-washing,” Telegraph, September 24, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/24/new-coronavirus-mutation-could-evolving-get-around-mask-wearing/
  5. [5]Josie Ensor, “New coronavirus mutation could be evolving to get around mask-wearing and hand-washing,” Telegraph, September 24, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/24/new-coronavirus-mutation-could-evolving-get-around-mask-wearing/
  6. [6]Sophia Tesfaye, “Democrats’ actions this week suggest they have no real intention to save our democracy,” Raw Story, September 25, 2020, https://www.rawstory.com/2020/09/democrats-actions-this-week-suggest-they-have-no-real-intention-to-pull-them-out-to-save-our-democracy/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, September 22, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/
  8. [8]Sophia Tesfaye, “Democrats’ actions this week suggest they have no real intention to save our democracy,” Raw Story, September 25, 2020, https://www.rawstory.com/2020/09/democrats-actions-this-week-suggest-they-have-no-real-intention-to-pull-them-out-to-save-our-democracy/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “The mysterious expectation that elites give a damn,” Not Housebroken, August 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/01/the-mysterious-expectation-that-elites-give-a-damn/
  10. [10]David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, September 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/
  11. [11]Kim Messick, “Modern GOP is still the party of Dixie,” Salon, October 12, 2013, https://www.salon.com/2013/10/12/modern_gop_is_still_the_party_of_dixie/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, September 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/

Imagine now, for we might not need to imagine very much longer, the prospect of white supremacist militia that perceive they have nothing to lose

Horse race

There is a new blog post entitled, “The very scary way to four more years.”

Barton Gellman, “The Election That Could Break America,” Atlantic, September 23, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/


Supreme Court

One reason I wasn’t much interested in Mitch McConnell’s attempts to rationalize the hypocrisy of filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat after obstructing Barack Obama’s nominee four years ago[1] is that I was already pretty clear it was bogus. Well, guess what? It is bogus.[2]

Russell Wheeler, “McConnell’s fabricated history to justify a 2020 Supreme Court vote,” Brookings, September 24, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/09/24/mcconnells-fabricated-history-to-justify-a-2020-supreme-court-vote/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Take those Amerikkkan flag pins off your lapels,” Not Housebroken, September 19, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/19/take-those-amerikkkan-flag-pins-off-your-lapels/
  2. [2]Russell Wheeler, “McConnell’s fabricated history to justify a 2020 Supreme Court vote,” Brookings, September 24, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/09/24/mcconnells-fabricated-history-to-justify-a-2020-supreme-court-vote/

Bigotry is bigotry

Allegheny County

Megan Guza, “Allegheny County lifts covid restrictions in favor of state mitigation orders,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 24, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/allegheny-county-lifts-covid-restrictions-in-favor-of-state-mitigation-orders/


Social media

source on threadreaderapp.com
Archived at 2020-09-25 06:07:11

1/2 When I was a kid, ethnic jokes were seen as being in poor taste. But they were popular, even as they reproduced unjust stereotypes and normalized white Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) at the direct expense of those other ethnicities.

2/2 ‘cishet’ jokes rely on precisely the same syllogism and are in every bit [as] poor taste.

If the only way you can raise yourself up is knocking other people down based on what you assert to be a biological phenomenon, then hell yes, I’m blocking your bigoted ass.

‘Cishet’ is a term referring to non-transgender heterosexuals.

While in general, social science has a strong bias in favor of treating behaviors as based on ‘nurture,’ rather than on ‘nature,’ it’s becoming increasingly clear that there is some poorly-understood but nonetheless biological basis for diverse sexual orientations and identifications. People really do seem to be “wired that way.”

But if LGBTQ+ identities and sexualities are indeed biological, then so too must be ‘cishet’ identities and sexualities. Bigotry is bigotry, regardless of the direction in which it is expressed.


Covidiots may have more problems getting an Uber ride

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf made a few COVID-19-related announcments today, including of a COVID Alert PA app.[1] I have installed it and set it up.

There are some obvious concerns: Not everyone, especially the numerous COVIDiots in Allegheny County and surrounding areas, will install it. The app uses Bluetooth to determine if users have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.[2] This obviously depends upon cooperation and it is clear to me that not everyone is cooperative. (continues under Ridesharing)

Ridesharing

At least Uber seems to be cracking down. My previous bad experience with reporting riders who failed to wear masks[3] was not repeated when I reported some mask-refusing riders in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, who I thought were likely to give me a bad rating anyway because I gave them a lecture (see below) about properly wearing masks—one was not covering her nose, the other wasn’t wearing one at all. And Uber has sent an email to both riders and drivers promising that riders who are reported for failing to wear masks will be required to take selfies showing that they’re wearing masks in the future. The threat I had directed at me now clearly applies to them.

My suspicion—Uber has not confirmed this—is that riders had the opportunity to report me for not wearing a mask, when in fact I was, in retaliation because they have longer to rate a driver than the driver has to rate them. Drivers have an opportunity to rate riders at the end of the ride and must do so before they can continue on to another ride. Riders have somewhat longer and I’m guessing that Uber sent notifications that they had been reported for not wearing masks right away, allowing riders who hadn’t already rated their drivers to retaliate. I’m guessing this bug has now been fixed.

One of the challenges I face as a driver who happens to have a Ph.D. in Human Science is of maintaining my academic and intellectual integrity even when it is impolitic to do so. When asked, I must tell the truth as best I can, even when my riders might not approve of my answers. To do otherwise would be to compromise my integrity in the one area of my life where I can point to an actual accomplishment and this is something I cannot do.

This does not mean I say something when I am not asked, although I might, and sometimes do. But if asked, I cannot knowingly misinform.

Speaking of misinformation, contrary to industry-supportive claims, drivers may actually get a pay cut if Proposition 22 passes in California. Believe the worst. There are too many ways to exclude costs from the rosier estimates.[4]

Jeong Park, “Fact check: Will Uber, Lyft drivers get paid less than minimum wage under Proposition 22?” Sacramento Bee, September 24, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/article245931545.html


  1. [1]Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “COVID Alert PA,” 2020, https://www.pa.gov/covid/covid-alert-pa/
  2. [2]Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “COVID Alert PA,” 2020, https://www.pa.gov/covid/covid-alert-pa/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  4. [4]Jeong Park, “Fact check: Will Uber, Lyft drivers get paid less than minimum wage under Proposition 22?” Sacramento Bee, September 24, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/article245931545.html

The police get away with murder, again

Police impunity

In the case of Breonna Taylor, police have gotten away with murder, again.[1] “Stand Your Ground”[2] obviously does not apply when Blacks defend their homes against people (who turn out to be police but likely did not announce themselves) barging into their homes. And hell yes, I’m second-guessing the grand jury and a collaborationist Kentucky attorney general.[3] ’Cause this impunity for police thing was old a long fucking time ago.[4]

The case stands somewhat in contrast to those of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, where charges have at least been brought.[5]

Kevin Williams, Tim Craig, and Marisa Iati, “Kentucky grand jury declines to file homicide charges in death of Breonna Taylor,” Washington Post, September 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/kentucky-grand-jury-declines-to-file-homicide-charges-in-death-of-breonna-taylor/2020/09/23/2472392a-fdb7-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html


Horse race

For all the considerable and well-founded hue and cry,[6] the truth is that I don’t think I could trust the Democrats to insist on a peaceful transfer of power even if they do win. Because I really just don’t see them as an opposition party.[7]

Colby Itkowitz, “Trump won’t commit to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses,” Washington Post, September 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-transfer-of-power/2020/09/23/be6954d0-fdf0-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html


  1. [1]Kevin Williams, Tim Craig, and Marisa Iati, “Kentucky grand jury declines to file homicide charges in death of Breonna Taylor,” Washington Post, September 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/kentucky-grand-jury-declines-to-file-homicide-charges-in-death-of-breonna-taylor/2020/09/23/2472392a-fdb7-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html
  2. [2]Findlaw, “States That Have Stand Your Ground Laws,” June 2, 2020, https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/states-that-have-stand-your-ground-laws.html
  3. [3]Kevin Williams, Tim Craig, and Marisa Iati, “Kentucky grand jury declines to file homicide charges in death of Breonna Taylor,” Washington Post, September 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/kentucky-grand-jury-declines-to-file-homicide-charges-in-death-of-breonna-taylor/2020/09/23/2472392a-fdb7-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “If only they were so harmless,” Not Housebroken, September 3, 2011, https://disunitedstates.org/2011/09/03/if-only-they-were-so-harmless/; David Benfell, “Big Brother wants you to be afraid,” Not Housebroken, August 19, 2013, https://disunitedstates.org/2013/08/19/big-brother-wants-you-to-be-afraid/; David Benfell, “Time to take the guns away,” Not Housebroken, January 4, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/01/04/time-to-take-the-guns-away/
  5. [5]Associated Press, “Officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck arrested on murder charge,” Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-05-29/minnesota-george-floyd-officer-arrested; Josh Campbell, Sara Sidner, and Eric Levenson, “All four former officers involved in George Floyd’s killing now face charges,” Cable News Network, June 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/03/us/george-floyd-officers-charges/index.html; Will Pavia, “Atlanta police stage sick leave protest over murder charge,” Times, June 19, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/angry-police-in-sick-leave-protest-over-murder-charge-trf6btshv
  6. [6]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/; Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” Cable News Network, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html; Democracy Now!, “What If Trump Refuses to Accept a Biden Victory? A Look at How Electoral Chaos Could Divide Nation,” August 3, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/8/3/nils_gilman_2020_election_scenarios; Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and John Wagner, “Trump encounters broad pushback to his suggestion to delay the Nov. 3 election,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-floats-idea-of-delaying-the-november-election-as-he-ramps-up-attacks-on-voting-by-mail/2020/07/30/15fe7ac6-d264-11ea-9038-af089b63ac21_story.html; Colby Itkowitz, “Trump won’t commit to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses,” Washington Post, September 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-transfer-of-power/2020/09/23/be6954d0-fdf0-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html; Ed Kilgore, “How Trump Is Trying to Ensure an Early Election Night Lead,” New York, August 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/trump-voters-could-vote-in-person-and-give-him-early-lead.html; Eric Lach, “What Happens if Donald Trump Fights the Election Results?” New Yorker, August 21, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/campaign-chronicles/what-happens-if-donald-trump-fights-the-election-results; Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein, “Trump floats delaying election despite lack of authority to do so,” Cable News Network, July 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/30/politics/trump-delay-election-no-authority/index.html; Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/heres-one-way-trump-could-try-to-steal-the-election-voting-experts-say/2020/08/16/b5bf0c2a-de66-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html; Peter Nicholas, “Trump Could Still Break Democracy’s Biggest Norm,” Atlantic, June 16, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/when-does-trump-leave-white-house/613060/; Felicia Sonmez, “Trump declines to say whether he will accept November election results,” Washington Post, July 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-declines-to-say-whether-he-will-accept-november-election-results/2020/07/19/40009804-c9c7-11ea-91f1-28aca4d833a0_story.html; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, September 22, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/