Bullies love bullies

Ukraine

More and more, the story of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has become what was, at its outset, dismissed as hopelessly delusional, about a Russian defeat and potential humiliation,[1] potentially leading Vladimir Putin to go nuclear.[2] The trouble isn’t just that a face-saving solution for Putin would, in effect, reward him, but that it will fail to convey the message that he and Russia must never do this again.[3] Humiliation will be the one and only thing that Putin understands.[4]

And this isn’t just about Putin, as serious as his case is. It is also about those toxically masculine right-wingers who celebrate Putin’s example, who elect the likes of Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán to high offices, who embrace the notion that “might makes right.” Bullying must be defeated by abjectly and undeniably humiliating force; it is the only thing that works.

An example of this can be seen with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s objections[5] to Finland and Sweden seeking to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in response to the invasion,[6] in which Sweden in particular has been insufficiently cooperative in Turkey’s efforts to repress separatist Kurds and both countries have restricted arms sales to Turkey in response to those efforts. Erdoğan likes his empire and wants to keep bullying Kurds to keep it. It follows that Erdoğan has also been much friendlier to Russia than much of the rest of NATO, resisting pressure, for example, and like his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Mihály Orbán, to join sanctions against Russia.[7] Bullies like bullies, which is also why India won’t even condemn the Russian invasion,[8] and they are intractable. There’s no way to persuade them to behave except through the one thing they respect: sheer, brute force.

Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/

Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b

Dominic Nicholls, Joe Barnes, and JohnJo Devlin, “Finland and Sweden joining Nato shows just how terribly Vladimir Putin has miscalculated,” Telegraph, May 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/11/finland-sweden-joining-nato-shows-just-terribly-vladimir-putin/

Sune Engel Rasmussen, “Finland Says It Will Apply to Join NATO in Response to Russia’s Ukraine Invasion,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/finlands-leaders-announce-intention-to-apply-for-nato-membership-11652340796

Pjotr Sauer, “‘They were furious’: the Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine,” Guardian, May 12, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/12/they-were-furious-the-russian-soldiers-refusing-to-fight-in-ukraine

Mark Trevelyan, “Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond,” Reuters, May 12, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/kremlin-says-finland-joining-nato-is-definitely-threat-russia-2022-05-12/

Lawrence Freedman, “When will Vladimir Putin realise it is time to cut his losses in Ukraine?” New Statesman, May 13, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/war-in-ukraine-putin-losses

Ross Douthat, “There Are Two Endgames in Ukraine. Both Carry Big Risks,” New York Times, May 14, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/opinion/ukraine-russia-putin-biden.html

Natalia Drozdiak, “NATO Expansion Could Finally Shore Up Alliance’s Weakest Flank,” Bloomberg, May 14, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-14/ukraine-war-nato-expansion-could-finally-shore-up-alliance-s-weakest-flank

Liz Sly, “Russia is furious that Finland is joining NATO but can’t do much about it,” Washington Post, May 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/14/finland-russia-nato-ukraine-retaliation/

Joe Barnes, “Sweden’s bid to join Nato ‘shows Vladimir Putin’s aggression doesn’t pay,’” Telegraph, May 15, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/15/sweden-set-follow-finland-joining-nato-despite-threats-vladimir/

Bloomberg, “Ukraine Latest: NATO Embraces Sweden, Finland; US Aid Vote Nears,” May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/ukraine-latest-nato-has-frank-talks-with-turkey-on-accession

Deutschewelle, “Finland officially announces support for NATO membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/finland-officially-announces-support-for-nato-membership/a-61803764

Deutschewelle, “NATO: Turkey outlines demands on Finland and Sweden membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/nato-turkey-outlines-demands-on-finland-and-sweden-membership/a-61806003

Kati Pohjanpalo and Niclas Rolander, “Finland, Sweden Set to Seek NATO Entry in Historic Shift,” Bloomberg, May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/finland-sweden-set-to-apply-for-nato-entry-in-historic-shift

Richard Spencer, “Third of Russian invaders destroyed,” Times, May 15, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/third-of-russian-invaders-destroyed-002xrvfsq

Guardian, “Russians and Ukrainians battle around Izium as Sweden joins Finland in Nato bid,” May 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/russians-and-ukrainians-battle-around-izium-as-sweden-joins-finland-in-nato-bid

Jon Henley, “Turkey says it will not approve Sweden and Finland joining Nato,” Guardian, May 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/russia-finland-sweden-nato-ukraine-war

Matthew Karnitschnig, “Europe’s leaders fall out of key on Ukraine,” Politico, May 16, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/europes-leaders-fall-out-of-key-on-ukraine/

Jared Malsin, “Turkey Lays Out Demands as Finland, Sweden Plan NATO Entry,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-lays-out-demands-as-finland-sweden-plan-nato-entry-11652722492

John Revill, “Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia,” Reuters, May 16, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/neutral-switzerland-leans-closer-nato-response-russia-2022-05-15/

Rozina Sabur and Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Wounded Ukrainian defenders rescued from Mariupol steelworks to be exchanged for captive Russians,” Telegraph, May 17, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/16/russia-says-willing-evacuate-wounded-ukrainian-troops-mariupol/


Democrats

Benjamin Hart, “The Democratic Party Is Extremely Unpopular Right Now,” New York, May 16, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/the-democratic-party-is-extremely-unpopular-right-now.html


Student loans

When I think about tuition increases, I think about the school where I obtained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, now, California State University, East Bay, previously, California State University, Hayward. That name change was controversial and, as I faintly recall, was a factor leading to a vote of no confidence by the faculty senate in the president of the institution who had driven the change.

The president, in due course, resigned and was replaced by another, whom I recall often parading around the campus with two aides, always in lock step, one slightly behind him to his right, the other slightly behind him to the left. Honestly, you couldn’t miss this: They were typically the only people you’d see the entire day in suits and ties.

The school embarked on a construction spree. Part of this was the old and unlikely to have been lamented Warren Hall, which was an old skyscraper type building much too close to the Hayward Fault, which runs through a ravine a few hundred feet west of the campus. A new administration building was constructed to replace it, along with a new business department building, along with a student union expansion, along with a new exercise facility, and along with several new dormitory buildings (the school had previously been principally what they call a “commuter campus” with not many students living on campus).

I’ll never forget how they took down a tree that was in the way of that new exercise facility. A large backhoe with a suitable attachment literally tore the trunk in two. It was bad enough the tree had to be removed; I was offended by the sheer disrespect.

All this happened while a number of academic programs were starved for funding. I suppose it’s possible to argue that the university needed to attract more students and that most of this (all except the administration building replacement) was a means towards that end. But I’m skeptical that the numbers ever came out; what I really suspect was presidential self-aggrandizement, which, of course, is a factor Lee Gardner does not talk about.[9]

Lee Gardner, “Why Does College Cost So Much?” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 16, 2022, https://www.chronicle.com/article/why-does-college-cost-so-much


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669; Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/; Ross Douthat, “There Are Two Endgames in Ukraine. Both Carry Big Risks,” New York Times, May 14, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/opinion/ukraine-russia-putin-biden.html; Lawrence Freedman, “When will Vladimir Putin realise it is time to cut his losses in Ukraine?” New Statesman, May 13, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/war-in-ukraine-putin-losses; Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b; Dominic Nicholls, Joe Barnes, and JohnJo Devlin, “Finland and Sweden joining Nato shows just how terribly Vladimir Putin has miscalculated,” Telegraph, May 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/11/finland-sweden-joining-nato-shows-just-terribly-vladimir-putin/
  2. [2]Ross Douthat, “There Are Two Endgames in Ukraine. Both Carry Big Risks,” New York Times, May 14, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/opinion/ukraine-russia-putin-biden.html
  3. [3]Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669; Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/; Ross Douthat, “There Are Two Endgames in Ukraine. Both Carry Big Risks,” New York Times, May 14, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/opinion/ukraine-russia-putin-biden.html; Lawrence Freedman, “When will Vladimir Putin realise it is time to cut his losses in Ukraine?” New Statesman, May 13, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/war-in-ukraine-putin-losses; Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b; Dominic Nicholls, Joe Barnes, and JohnJo Devlin, “Finland and Sweden joining Nato shows just how terribly Vladimir Putin has miscalculated,” Telegraph, May 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/11/finland-sweden-joining-nato-shows-just-terribly-vladimir-putin/
  4. [4]Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/
  5. [5]Deutschewelle, “NATO: Turkey outlines demands on Finland and Sweden membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/nato-turkey-outlines-demands-on-finland-and-sweden-membership/a-61806003; Jon Henley, “Turkey says it will not approve Sweden and Finland joining Nato,” Guardian, May 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/russia-finland-sweden-nato-ukraine-war; Jared Malsin, “Turkey Lays Out Demands as Finland, Sweden Plan NATO Entry,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-lays-out-demands-as-finland-sweden-plan-nato-entry-11652722492
  6. [6]Joe Barnes, “Sweden’s bid to join Nato ‘shows Vladimir Putin’s aggression doesn’t pay,’” Telegraph, May 15, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/15/sweden-set-follow-finland-joining-nato-despite-threats-vladimir/; Bloomberg, “Ukraine Latest: NATO Embraces Sweden, Finland; US Aid Vote Nears,” May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/ukraine-latest-nato-has-frank-talks-with-turkey-on-accession; Deutschewelle, “Finland officially announces support for NATO membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/finland-officially-announces-support-for-nato-membership/a-61803764; Natalia Drozdiak, “NATO Expansion Could Finally Shore Up Alliance’s Weakest Flank,” Bloomberg, May 14, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-14/ukraine-war-nato-expansion-could-finally-shore-up-alliance-s-weakest-flank; Guardian, “Russians and Ukrainians battle around Izium as Sweden joins Finland in Nato bid,” May 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/russians-and-ukrainians-battle-around-izium-as-sweden-joins-finland-in-nato-bid; Kati Pohjanpalo and Niclas Rolander, “Finland, Sweden Set to Seek NATO Entry in Historic Shift,” Bloomberg, May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/finland-sweden-set-to-apply-for-nato-entry-in-historic-shift; Liz Sly, “Russia is furious that Finland is joining NATO but can’t do much about it,” Washington Post, May 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/14/finland-russia-nato-ukraine-retaliation/
  7. [7]Deutschewelle, “NATO: Turkey outlines demands on Finland and Sweden membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/nato-turkey-outlines-demands-on-finland-and-sweden-membership/a-61806003; Jon Henley, “Turkey says it will not approve Sweden and Finland joining Nato,” Guardian, May 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/russia-finland-sweden-nato-ukraine-war; Jared Malsin, “Turkey Lays Out Demands as Finland, Sweden Plan NATO Entry,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-lays-out-demands-as-finland-sweden-plan-nato-entry-11652722492
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Tangled webs, already woven,” Not Housebroken, April 23, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/04/23/tangled-webs-already-woven/
  9. [9]Lee Gardner, “Why Does College Cost So Much?” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 16, 2022, https://www.chronicle.com/article/why-does-college-cost-so-much

It is time for Vladimir Putin to fall on his sword

Ukraine

For the Kremlin “it’s a really ironic moment,” said Lauren Speranza, director of Transatlantic Defense and Security at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Deterring NATO enlargement was one of Putin’s declared goals in attacking Ukraine, which had been seeking NATO membership. Finland and Sweden had not — until the Ukraine invasion, she noted.

“Not only does Putin have a huge failure on his hands in terms of his military objectives in Ukraine, but he’s also enlarged NATO, which was the exact opposite of what he wanted,” Speranza said. “It underscores what a huge strategic miscalculation this was.”[1]

Natalia Drozdiak, “NATO Expansion Could Finally Shore Up Alliance’s Weakest Flank,” Bloomberg, May 14, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-14/ukraine-war-nato-expansion-could-finally-shore-up-alliance-s-weakest-flank

Liz Sly, “Russia is furious that Finland is joining NATO but can’t do much about it,” Washington Post, May 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/14/finland-russia-nato-ukraine-retaliation/

Joe Barnes, “Sweden’s bid to join Nato ‘shows Vladimir Putin’s aggression doesn’t pay,’” Telegraph, May 15, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/15/sweden-set-follow-finland-joining-nato-despite-threats-vladimir/

Bloomberg, “Ukraine Latest: NATO Embraces Sweden, Finland; US Aid Vote Nears,” May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/ukraine-latest-nato-has-frank-talks-with-turkey-on-accession

Deutschewelle, “Finland officially announces support for NATO membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/finland-officially-announces-support-for-nato-membership/a-61803764

Deutschewelle, “NATO: Turkey outlines demands on Finland and Sweden membership,” May 15, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/nato-turkey-outlines-demands-on-finland-and-sweden-membership/a-61806003

Kati Pohjanpalo and Niclas Rolander, “Finland, Sweden Set to Seek NATO Entry in Historic Shift,” Bloomberg, May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/finland-sweden-set-to-apply-for-nato-entry-in-historic-shift

Richard Spencer, “Third of Russian invaders destroyed,” Times, May 15, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/third-of-russian-invaders-destroyed-002xrvfsq

Guardian, “Russians and Ukrainians battle around Izium as Sweden joins Finland in Nato bid,” May 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/russians-and-ukrainians-battle-around-izium-as-sweden-joins-finland-in-nato-bid

John Revill, “Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia,” Reuters, May 16, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/neutral-switzerland-leans-closer-nato-response-russia-2022-05-15/


John Fetterman

Julia Terruso and Sean Collins Walsh, “John Fetterman suffered a stroke just days before Pa. Senate primary but says he’s recovering well,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 15, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/john-fetterman-stroke-20220515.html


Recession

It’s probably a safe bet that Peter Schiff is not[2] a modern monetary theorist.[3] I tend to place a good deal of emphasis on psychological factors leading to a recession: If we think we’re going to have a recession, voilà! We shall have one. And there’s a lot of pessimism right now,[4] and certainly not just from Lloyd Blankfein.[5]

Jordan Yadoo, “US Consumer Sentiment Falls to Lowest In More Than a Decade,” Bloomberg, May 13, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-13/us-consumer-sentiment-falls-to-fresh-decade-low-on-inflation

William D. Cohan, “A Recession Projection That Might Make You Weep,” Puck News, May 15, 2022, https://puck.news/a-recession-projection-that-might-make-you-weep/

Ian Fisher, “Goldman’s Blankfein Says US at ‘Very, Very High Risk’ of Recession,” Bloomberg, May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/goldman-s-blankfein-says-companies-should-prepare-for-recession


  1. [1]Liz Sly, “Russia is furious that Finland is joining NATO but can’t do much about it,” Washington Post, May 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/14/finland-russia-nato-ukraine-retaliation/
  2. [2]William D. Cohan, “A Recession Projection That Might Make You Weep,” Puck News, May 15, 2022, https://puck.news/a-recession-projection-that-might-make-you-weep/
  3. [3]Stephanie Kelton, Deficit Myth (New York: PublicAffairs, 2021).
  4. [4]Jordan Yadoo, “US Consumer Sentiment Falls to Lowest In More Than a Decade,” Bloomberg, May 13, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-13/us-consumer-sentiment-falls-to-fresh-decade-low-on-inflation
  5. [5]Ian Fisher, “Goldman’s Blankfein Says US at ‘Very, Very High Risk’ of Recession,” Bloomberg, May 15, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/goldman-s-blankfein-says-companies-should-prepare-for-recession

The view from among the detritus alongside the ‘information superhighway’

Vegan

One reason I have given up hope for humanity is that despite an ongoing improvement, both in quality and availability, in plant-based substitute foods, so few people are vegan. A majority remain unconcerned with the cruelty they inflict, whether directly through fishing or hunting, or indirectly, through consumption; and unconcerned with the environmental impact. A majority choose to believe what they want to believe, that is, false information, about health and nutrition. As a species, we choose to kill ourselves, to go extinct, to take an untold number of species with us, to destroy our planet, rather than to change. If there is a more serious indictment of humanity, I can’t think of it.

Surveys, albeit with abysmal response rates,[1] continue to show that the proportion of vegans in the general population remains stuck at around two to three percent.[2] It doesn’t help that around Pittsburgh, already few in number, vegan restaurants are dropping like flies.[3]

Edouard Mathieu and Hannah Ritchie, “What share of people are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian?” Our World in Data, May 13, 2022, https://ourworldindata.org/vegetarian-vegan


Abortion

People very often forget about the naturalistic fallacy. This, simply, is the confusion of what should be for what is.

Colbert King wants people to vote in pro-choice politicians, vote in pro-voting rights politicians.[4] This is what should be. It is not what is.

The point of human rights is not to protect the rights of the majority, though they may sometimes do so. It is to protect the rights of members of stigmatized subaltern groups from zealous majorities. The simple fact is that a majority of reliable voters in a majority of states in the United States are white supremacist, interested in protecting their own rights at the expense of subaltern groups they despise. Were it otherwise, we would not be facing a right-wing dictatorship.

But King will have us keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result. Another reason to abandon hope for humanity is our penchant for clinging to clearly failed ideologies.

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/enforced-childbirth-is-slavery-margaret-atwood-on-the-right-to-abortion

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america

David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/abortion-roe-v-wade-overturned-20220509.html

Eriq Gardner, “Was Politico’s Supreme Court Leaker an Inside Man?” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/was-politicos-supreme-court-leaker-an-inside-man/

Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/the-dark-truth-behind-the-scotus-ruling/

Jill Elaine Hasday, “On Roe, Alito cites a judge who treated women as witches and property,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/alito-roe-sir-matthew-hale-misogynist/

Vanessa Williamson and John Hudak, “The War on Abortion Drugs will be just as racist and classist,” Brookings, May 9, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2022/05/09/the-war-on-abortion-drugs-will-be-just-as-racist-and-classist/

Jordain Carney, “Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation,” Hill, May 11, 2022, https://thehill.com/news/senate/3485010-senate-gop-manchin-block-abortion-rights-legislation/

Josh Gerstein, Alexander Ward, and Ryan Lizza, “Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe is still the only one circulated inside Supreme Court,” Politico, May 11, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/11/alito-abortion-draft-opinion-roe-00031648

Molly Jong-Fast, “It’s Mask Off for the Supreme Court,” Atlantic, May 12, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/627d0d9366d6b500218d7450/supreme-court-partisanship-roe-v-wade/

Colbert I. King, “Justice Thomas thinks he’s being ‘bullied’? He could use a history lesson,” Washington Post, May 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/13/attack-on-abortion-rights-voting-protections-connected/


[I]n Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas the courts will not grant a divorce to a married couple if the wife is pregnant. The courts prefer to wait until after the baby is born to address paternity. The court can then determine if appropriate child-related orders, such as child support, need to be included.[5]

Your tax dollars support . . .

Last, but surely not least, among our reasons for abandoning hope for humanity is how we treat workers, who keep everything else afloat. We love to discard people, as I have learned to my everlasting detriment as I view all this from among the detritus alongside Bill Clinton’s “information superhighway.”[6]


  1. [1]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  2. [2]Edouard Mathieu and Hannah Ritchie, “What share of people are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian?” Our World in Data, May 13, 2022, https://ourworldindata.org/vegetarian-vegan; R. J. Reinhart, “Snapshot: Few Americans Vegetarian or Vegan,” Gallup, August 1, 2018, https://news.gallup.com/poll/238328/snapshot-few-americans-vegetarian-vegan.aspx
  3. [3]Dani Janae, “Pittsburgh vegan scene stumbles after losing multiple restaurants,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 27, 2022, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-vegan-scene-stumbles-after-losing-multiple-restaurants/Content?oid=21556088
  4. [4]Colbert I. King, “Justice Thomas thinks he’s being ‘bullied’? He could use a history lesson,” Washington Post, May 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/13/attack-on-abortion-rights-voting-protections-connected/
  5. [5]Kris Balekian Hayes, “Pregnancy and Divorce,” American Pregnancy Association, 2021, https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/general/pregnancy-and-divorce/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/

Starting to lose count of these fucking recessions since I last had a real job

Twitter


Gig economy (neoliberal wet dream)

Bezzle

When the dot-com era was going bust, I had a sense that I knew what was going on, at least at the company, Linuxcare, I worked for.

Linuxcare, a technology service company focusing on what is now called “free software,” had made a point of being Linux distribution-neutral: It didn’t matter if you were working with Red Hat, Suse, or something else. We were aiming to serve.

But all of a sudden, a merger was announced with Turbolinux, a poor quality distribution from Asia. The rationale for this merger was opaque, to say the least. It obviously compromised our distribution-neutrality and no one seemed to have even the beginning of an idea what Turbolinux would add to Linuxcare, except, perhaps—I’m not sure that anyone was clear on this either—cash, which Linuxcare had been burning. It was a merger that didn’t make any sense.

And it fell through. Then the layoffs began.

Linuxcare wasn’t laying off people like me who were marginally talented in the Linux space. Instead, Linuxcare was laying off its most talented (read, expensive) people. This really didn’t make any sense and so I jumped ship, unfortunately to another venture capital-funded startup that soon after laid off its entire information technology department, including me. That was in 2001. Though I returned to school and finished a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, and a Ph.D., I haven’t recovered since.[1] (Linuxcare had another layoff shortly after I changed jobs that might well have included me; the company has been defunct for most of the time since.)

So I’m watching Uber and Lyft go through their gyrations. I don’t have near the quality of job I had then:[2] I’m signed up to drive for both but actually drive almost exclusively for Uber these days. I don’t have near the sense of knowing what’s going on that I had with Linuxcare.

And I’m every bit as vulnerable now as I was then, if not more so.

When asked what he would say to someone about to lose their job or wasn’t seeing their pay increase, [Jerome] Powell said: “I would say that we fully understand and appreciate how painful inflation is, and that we have the tools and the resolve to get it down to 2%, and that we’re going to do that.[3]

It isn’t Jerome Powell who’s worried about losing his job.

In fact, if the Fed does all it is pledging to do, with higher rates and a shrinking balance sheet, the de facto tightening will come to around 400 basis points. This compares to 180 basis points in 2018 and 315 basis points for the entire 2015-2018 cycle—85 basis points more this time and all lumped into one year! This compares to 175 basis points of rate hikes in 1999-2000 (ahead of that recession), 300 basis points in 1994, and 313 basis points in 1988-89 (ahead of that recession). You have to go back to the early 1980s to see the last time the Fed got so aggressive in such a short timeframe.[4]

I am starting to see that that “‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment” that Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi refers to[5] might indeed be serious and that his reaction to it might not be so outsized at all.

Linuxcare’s business plan had never made much sense to me. Looking back, I think the idea was mostly to amass such a collection of talent and resources that it had to be useful somehow. And I don’t think anyone can question that it did indeed amass such a collection.

I would take Linuxcare’s business plan over Uber’s in a heartbeat. Uber doesn’t even have what I would call a business plan.[6]

Uber’s operations burned $445 million in 2021, but new term loans raised enough money to increase its end of year cash position by $400 million, to $7.8 billion. . . . Lyft’s operations remain cash negative, burning $100 million in 2021.[7]

Hubert Horan doesn’t say here how much cash Lyft has on hand.[8] One question will be how deeply these companies will be willing to dip into their cash reserves to keep afloat over what time period.

Another question will be of the impact a very deep recession, such as, if I understand David Rosenberg correctly,[9] we may very well be about to have, will have on my earnings.

Janet H. Cho, “Powell Warns Soft Landing Could Be ‘Quite Challenging,’” Barron’s, May 12, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/jerome-powell-confirmed-to-second-term-as-fed-chair-51652381402

Megumi Fujikawa and Eliot Brown, “SoftBank Lost $13.2 Billion on Tech Investments Amid Selloff,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-reports-13-billion-annual-loss-hit-by-tech-share-slump-11652339726

Jacky Wong, “SoftBank’s Tech Boom Goes Bust—Again,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbanks-tech-boom-goes-bustagain-11652357244

Max Chafkin, “Tech Companies Coddled Their Employees. Now They’re Firing Them,” Bloomberg, May 13, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-05-13/tech-companies-coddled-their-employees-now-they-re-firing-them

David Rosenberg, “The Bear Market Is Already In Its Third Inning. Stay Calm and Defensive,” Barron’s, May 13, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-bear-market-is-already-in-its-third-inning-stay-calm-and-defensive-51652454842


Ukraine

Christian Esch, Susanne Koelbl, and Fritz Schaap, “Putin’s Disaster and What Could Happen Next,” Spiegel, May 6, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/putin-s-disaster-and-what-could-happen-next-a-e8c89bfa-b7a3-4e32-908a-7642a301eda6

Anthony Faiola, “How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain,” Washington Post, May 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/06/russia-vpn-putin-censorship-disinformation/

Thomas Latschan, “Mysterious series of deaths among Russian oligarchs,” Deutschewelle, May 7, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/mysterious-series-of-deaths-among-russian-oligarchs/a-61719107

Jamie Seidel, “Russia-Ukraine War: Putin’s Plan B is failing as Russian troops ‘pushed out’ of Donbas,” New Zealand Herald, May 7, 2022, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/russia-ukraine-war-putins-plan-b-is-failing-as-russian-troops-pushed-out-of-donbas/H73PJNRK3TJDUIN7YUCMI4DNM4/

Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669

Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/

Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/

Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b

Dominic Nicholls, Joe Barnes, and JohnJo Devlin, “Finland and Sweden joining Nato shows just how terribly Vladimir Putin has miscalculated,” Telegraph, May 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/11/finland-sweden-joining-nato-shows-just-terribly-vladimir-putin/

Sune Engel Rasmussen, “Finland Says It Will Apply to Join NATO in Response to Russia’s Ukraine Invasion,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/finlands-leaders-announce-intention-to-apply-for-nato-membership-11652340796

Pjotr Sauer, “‘They were furious’: the Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine,” Guardian, May 12, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/12/they-were-furious-the-russian-soldiers-refusing-to-fight-in-ukraine

Mark Trevelyan, “Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond,” Reuters, May 12, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/kremlin-says-finland-joining-nato-is-definitely-threat-russia-2022-05-12/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  3. [3]Janet H. Cho, “Powell Warns Soft Landing Could Be ‘Quite Challenging,’” Barron’s, May 12, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/jerome-powell-confirmed-to-second-term-as-fed-chair-51652381402
  4. [4]David Rosenberg, “The Bear Market Is Already In Its Third Inning. Stay Calm and Defensive,” Barron’s, May 13, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-bear-market-is-already-in-its-third-inning-stay-calm-and-defensive-51652454842
  5. [5]Reuters, “Uber to cut costs, slow down hiring, CEO tells staff,” May 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/uber-cut-costs-slow-down-hiring-ceo-tells-staff-cnbc-2022-05-09/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “This is not a business plan,” Not Housebroken, May 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/06/20/this-is-not-a-business-plan/
  7. [7]Hubert Horan, “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Twenty-Nine: Despite Massive Price Increases Uber Losses Top $31 Billion,” Naked Capitalism, February 11, 2022, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/02/hubert-horan-can-uber-ever-deliver-part-twenty-nine-despite-massive-price-increases-uber-losses-top-31-billion.html
  8. [8]Hubert Horan, “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Twenty-Nine: Despite Massive Price Increases Uber Losses Top $31 Billion,” Naked Capitalism, February 11, 2022, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/02/hubert-horan-can-uber-ever-deliver-part-twenty-nine-despite-massive-price-increases-uber-losses-top-31-billion.html
  9. [9]David Rosenberg, “The Bear Market Is Already In Its Third Inning. Stay Calm and Defensive,” Barron’s, May 13, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-bear-market-is-already-in-its-third-inning-stay-calm-and-defensive-51652454842

Does a “‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment” really mean a ‘seismic shift’ in Softbank sentiment?

Gig economy (neoliberal wet dream)

Bezzle

No investment firm has been as talked about in Silicon Valley as SoftBank — the mere utterance of which can send tremors down the spines of rival firms or the competitors to SoftBank’s portfolio companies. It is behind the (unprofitable) tech companies familiar to so many of us: Uber. Slack. WeWork. DoorDash.[1]

Historically—I don’t know if this remains the case—Softbank has been Uber’s biggest investor.[2] So now I’m wondering if, when Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi referred to a “‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment,”[3] he might actually have been referring to Softbank, which, with high tech industry stocks falling, seems headed for some investor pain.[4]

Jacky Wong, “SoftBank’s Tech Boom Goes Bust—Again,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbanks-tech-boom-goes-bustagain-11652357244


Police White supremacist gangs

Andy Sheehan, “Police traffic stops decreasing in Pittsburgh’s communities of color,” KDKA-TV, May 11, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/pittsburgh/news/police-traffic-stops-decreasing-in-pittsburghs-communities-of-color/


Residential schools

Mark Walker, “Report Catalogs Abuse of Native American Children at Former Government Schools,” New York Times, May 11, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/11/us/politics/native-american-children-schools-abuse.html


John Fetterman

Jonathan Tamari, “Trump just warned Republicans that Kathy Barnette ‘will never be able to win’ the Pa. Senate race,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 12, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/donald-trump-kathy-barnette-pa-senate-20220512.html

Jonathan Tamari, Julia Terruso, and Ryan W. Briggs, “The ‘knives are coming out’ for Kathy Barnette as Republicans, and Trump, scramble to stop her,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 12, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/kathy-barnette-oz-mccormick-attack-pa-senate-20220512.html


Abortion

Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/

Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

Martin Pengelly, “Louisiana Republicans advance bill to make abortion a crime of murder,” Guardian, May 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/05/louisiana-abortion-bill-murder-republicans

William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/enforced-childbirth-is-slavery-margaret-atwood-on-the-right-to-abortion

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america

David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/abortion-roe-v-wade-overturned-20220509.html

Eriq Gardner, “Was Politico’s Supreme Court Leaker an Inside Man?” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/was-politicos-supreme-court-leaker-an-inside-man/

Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/the-dark-truth-behind-the-scotus-ruling/

Jill Elaine Hasday, “On Roe, Alito cites a judge who treated women as witches and property,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/alito-roe-sir-matthew-hale-misogynist/

Vanessa Williamson and John Hudak, “The War on Abortion Drugs will be just as racist and classist,” Brookings, May 9, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2022/05/09/the-war-on-abortion-drugs-will-be-just-as-racist-and-classist/

Jordain Carney, “Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation,” Hill, May 11, 2022, https://thehill.com/news/senate/3485010-senate-gop-manchin-block-abortion-rights-legislation/

Josh Gerstein, Alexander Ward, and Ryan Lizza, “Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe is still the only one circulated inside Supreme Court,” Politico, May 11, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/11/alito-abortion-draft-opinion-roe-00031648

Molly Jong-Fast, “It’s Mask Off for the Supreme Court,” Atlantic, May 12, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/627d0d9366d6b500218d7450/supreme-court-partisanship-roe-v-wade/


Ukraine

Times of Israel, “Putin apologizes for Russian FM’s ‘Jewish Hitler’ remarks, Bennett’s office says,” May 5, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/putin-apologizes-for-russian-envoys-hitler-comments-bennetts-office-says/

Christian Esch, Susanne Koelbl, and Fritz Schaap, “Putin’s Disaster and What Could Happen Next,” Spiegel, May 6, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/putin-s-disaster-and-what-could-happen-next-a-e8c89bfa-b7a3-4e32-908a-7642a301eda6

Anthony Faiola, “How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain,” Washington Post, May 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/06/russia-vpn-putin-censorship-disinformation/

Thomas Latschan, “Mysterious series of deaths among Russian oligarchs,” Deutschewelle, May 7, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/mysterious-series-of-deaths-among-russian-oligarchs/a-61719107

Jamie Seidel, “Russia-Ukraine War: Putin’s Plan B is failing as Russian troops ‘pushed out’ of Donbas,” New Zealand Herald, May 7, 2022, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/russia-ukraine-war-putins-plan-b-is-failing-as-russian-troops-pushed-out-of-donbas/H73PJNRK3TJDUIN7YUCMI4DNM4/

Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669

Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/

Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/

Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b

Dominic Nicholls, Joe Barnes, and JohnJo Devlin, “Finland and Sweden joining Nato shows just how terribly Vladimir Putin has miscalculated,” Telegraph, May 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/11/finland-sweden-joining-nato-shows-just-terribly-vladimir-putin/

Sune Engel Rasmussen, “Finland Says It Will Apply to Join NATO in Response to Russia’s Ukraine Invasion,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/finlands-leaders-announce-intention-to-apply-for-nato-membership-11652340796

Mark Trevelyan, “Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond,” Reuters, May 12, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/kremlin-says-finland-joining-nato-is-definitely-threat-russia-2022-05-12/


  1. [1]Theodore Schleifer, “SoftBank, the most powerful — and controversial — tech investor in Silicon Valley, explained,” Vox, May 10, 2019, https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/5/10/18563267/softbank-vision-fund-explainer-uber-wework-slack-ipo
  2. [2]Theodore Schleifer, “SoftBank, the most powerful — and controversial — tech investor in Silicon Valley, explained,” Vox, May 10, 2019, https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/5/10/18563267/softbank-vision-fund-explainer-uber-wework-slack-ipo
  3. [3]Reuters, “Uber to cut costs, slow down hiring, CEO tells staff,” May 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/uber-cut-costs-slow-down-hiring-ceo-tells-staff-cnbc-2022-05-09/
  4. [4]Jacky Wong, “SoftBank’s Tech Boom Goes Bust—Again,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbanks-tech-boom-goes-bustagain-11652357244

Once again, the Democrats prove what we already knew

Abortion

The Democrats continue to be absolutely and contemptibly worthless.[1] It shouldn’t even be news at this point because it’s just the same old thing,[2] but of course the Hill covered it[3] anyway because that’s what the Hill does. But, oh yeah, vote blue no matter who.

And this should be completely unsurprising:

The Supreme Court is set to gather Thursday [May 12] for the first time since the disclosure that it voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, and there’s no sign that the court is changing course from issuing that ruling by the end of June.[4]

Irin Carmon, “Can Republicans Stop Patients From Leaving the State for an Abortion? Some Are Willing to Try,” New York, May 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/can-republicans-stop-out-of-state-abortion-patients.html

Erin McCarthy, “Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf vows to protect abortion rights, but can only do so for the next eight months,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/abortion-rights-pennsylvania-governor-wolf-20220504.html

Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022

Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/

Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

Martin Pengelly, “Louisiana Republicans advance bill to make abortion a crime of murder,” Guardian, May 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/05/louisiana-abortion-bill-murder-republicans

William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/enforced-childbirth-is-slavery-margaret-atwood-on-the-right-to-abortion

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america

David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/abortion-roe-v-wade-overturned-20220509.html

Eriq Gardner, “Was Politico’s Supreme Court Leaker an Inside Man?” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/was-politicos-supreme-court-leaker-an-inside-man/

Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/the-dark-truth-behind-the-scotus-ruling/

Jill Elaine Hasday, “On Roe, Alito cites a judge who treated women as witches and property,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/alito-roe-sir-matthew-hale-misogynist/

Vanessa Williamson and John Hudak, “The War on Abortion Drugs will be just as racist and classist,” Brookings, May 9, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2022/05/09/the-war-on-abortion-drugs-will-be-just-as-racist-and-classist/

Jordain Carney, “Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation,” Hill, May 11, 2022, https://thehill.com/news/senate/3485010-senate-gop-manchin-block-abortion-rights-legislation/

Josh Gerstein, Alexander Ward, and Ryan Lizza, “Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe is still the only one circulated inside Supreme Court,” Politico, May 11, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/11/alito-abortion-draft-opinion-roe-00031648


Twitter

Spencer Jakab and Dan Gallagher, “Musk’s Twitter Deal Is No Sure Thing,” Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/musks-twitter-deal-is-no-sure-thing-11652287373


Work

Emma Ockerman, “Fed official says he doesn’t buy the ‘Great Resignation’ — suggests employers play up labor shortage to avoid paying higher wages,” MarketWatch, May 10, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-official-doesnt-really-buy-the-great-resignation-suggests-businesses-play-up-worker-shortages-to-avoid-paying-higher-wages-11652117795


Recession

William D. Cohan, “The Big One Is Here,” Puck News, May 11, 2022, https://puck.news/the-big-one-is-here/


  1. [1]Jordain Carney, “Manchin joins with Senate GOP to block bill guaranteeing abortion access,” Hill, February 28, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/596223-manchin-joins-with-senate-gop-to-block-bill-guaranteeing-abortion-access/; Jordain Carney, “Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation,” Hill, May 11, 2022, https://thehill.com/news/senate/3485010-senate-gop-manchin-block-abortion-rights-legislation/; Carl Hulse, “Republicans Block Abortion Rights Measure in Senate,” Washington Post, February 28, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/28/us/politics/abortion-rights-measure-senate.html; Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade; William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/; Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022
  2. [2]Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade; William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/; Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022
  3. [3]Jordain Carney, “Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation,” Hill, May 11, 2022, https://thehill.com/news/senate/3485010-senate-gop-manchin-block-abortion-rights-legislation/
  4. [4]Josh Gerstein, Alexander Ward, and Ryan Lizza, “Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe is still the only one circulated inside Supreme Court,” Politico, May 11, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/11/alito-abortion-draft-opinion-roe-00031648

The ‘jungle rules-based order’

Pennsylvania

Speed limit enforcement

Thomas Fitzgerald, “Speeding tickets and crashes fell after enforcement cameras came to Roosevelt Blvd,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 10, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/roosevelt-boulevard-speeding-enforcement-cameras-crashes-deaths-20220510.html


John Fetterman

By all accounts, Mr. [John] Fetterman is leading the race. In a poll by Franklin & Marshall College conducted in late April, his lead over Mr. [Conor] Lamb was registered at 53% to 14% among registered Democrats, with Mr. [Malcolm] Kenyatta coming in third at 4%.[1]

Around Pittsburgh, Conor Lamb is overwhelmingly winning the yard sign race. Usually, I don’t care much about local results in statewide or national races, but this will be a time to watch how John Fetterman does in Allegheny County. As I have understood the electoral imbalance in Pennsylvania, Democrats need to do well in both the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia metropolitan areas to prevail against a viciously deep red Trumpist remainder of the state. But I really can’t argue with this:

Mr. [John] Fetterman, the front-runner who is running against U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in next Tuesday’s Democratic primary, said it’s not about turning the reddest counties blue, but about trimming into the margins here and halting the enthusiasm behind the eventual GOP nominee.[2]

The trick is that Pittsburgh suburbs seem to be turning redder; at the very least, it would be a mistake to describe signs and flags declaring support for Donald Trump merely as “lingering.” These signs and flags are numerous and are continually being refreshed with new slogans, including those explicitly offering profane epithets against Joe Biden, who will not be back on the ballot for at least two more years.

Julian Routh, “John Fetterman, Democratic front-runner for Senate, makes blitz through southwestern Pa. ahead of primary,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/10/us-senate-candidate-john-fetterman-southwestern-pennsylvania-counties-ahead-of-primary/stories/202205100137


Ukraine

“To be honest, we are still not talking about the endgame,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis lamented to the The Associated Press in an interview on Monday. He said any territorial concessions in Ukraine would usher in a world where the “rules-based order” has been replaced by a “jungle rules-based order.”[3]

I hope this will not be understood as a criticism of Gabrielius Landsbergis; on the contrary, I agree with him. The trouble is that that “jungle rules-based order” may be the only order that Vladimir Putin really understands:

The dvor taught Putin many things, lessons that shape his thinking and actions to this day: that might makes right, that existing hierarchies can only be changed through violence, that force is the only language that matters, that power is always a zero-sum game. There are no win-win outcomes in the dvor. [4]

From this, Landsbergis’ other point, that ultimately Putin must go, even if it is seen as escalatory to call for “regime change,” follows.[5] In truth, Joe Biden has seen this, even if only in moral outrage, and even if his aides had to walk back his exclamation.[6]

At the same time, [Ian] Kelly said that no matter how many miscalculations Putin has made about the strength and will of Ukraine to resist or the unity and resolve of the NATO allies, Putin cannot accept defeat or anything short of a scenario that he can claim has achieved success.

“It would be political suicide for Putin to withdraw,” Kelly said. “It’s very difficult to see how you could get a negotiated solution at this point. Neither side is willing to stop fighting and probably the likeliest outcome is a war that lasts a couple of years. Ukraine would be a festering sore in the middle of Europe.”

U.S. officials, starting with President Joe Biden, seem to agree, even after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raised eyebrows by saying after a visit to Kyiv last month that Washington’s goal is not only to help Ukraine defend itself but to “weaken” Russia to the point where it does not pose a threat.

[Vladimir] Putin “doesn’t have a way out right now, and I’m trying to figure out what we do about that,” Biden said on Monday even after he signed legislation designed to reboot the World War II-era “lend-lease” program and appealed to Congress to approve a $40 billion package of military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

So what to do? French President Emmanuel Macron has placed a premium on a negotiated settlement that saves face for both Russia and Ukraine.

“We will have a peace to build tomorrow, let us never forget that,” Macron said on Monday. “We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table. The end of the discussion and the negotiation will be set by Ukraine and Russia. But it will not be done in denial, nor in exclusion of each other, nor even in humiliation.”[7]

I think humiliation is a necessary part of the solution. It is what Putin will understand.

I am, by no means, doing justice to Lawrence Freedman’s article[8] with this passage:

Using nuclear weapons in these circumstances would not solve any military or political problems for Russia in its war against Ukraine and would create many new ones. It would turn the world into an even more hazardous place, including for Russia. Against this is the objection that this analysis is too rational. Putin appears unhinged and capable of anything (although he would still need underlings to carry out the orders to launch). He certainly does not want us to forget that Russia is a great nuclear power and has had missile tests to prove the point.[9]

Freedman offers substantial insight into escalation. Frankly, I’m still thinking about this article, but he juxtaposes two possibilities, the first being escalation as a calculated, rational decision that wins an advantage for the escalating side, even if it compels their opponent to escalate further, and the second being that U.S. strategic theorist Herman Kahn’s “escalation ladder,” which Freedman is exploring in the context of the Ukraine war, is “too mechanistic and too optimistic about the rationality of the decision-makers.”[10]

Those possibilities might be taken in binary, mutually exclusive form, as rational or not rational, with no gradation between the two, no possibility that the two might occur simultaneously. This would surely be a mistake. Remember instead what I’ve said about social theories: While you might find one that offers post hoc explanatory value, they usually do not offer predictive value.

Lawrence Freedman, “A ‘strategic nuclear exchange’ would offer Putin zero military gains,” New Statesman, May 4, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/a-strategic-nuclear-exchange-would-offer-putin-zero-military-gains

Delia Gallagher, “Pope Francis warns pro-war Russian patriarch not to be ‘Putin’s altar boy,’” CNN, May 4, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/04/europe/pope-francis-patriarch-kirill-ukraine-invasion-intl/index.html

Times of Israel, “Putin apologizes for Russian FM’s ‘Jewish Hitler’ remarks, Bennett’s office says,” May 5, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/putin-apologizes-for-russian-envoys-hitler-comments-bennetts-office-says/

Christian Esch, Susanne Koelbl, and Fritz Schaap, “Putin’s Disaster and What Could Happen Next,” Spiegel, May 6, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/putin-s-disaster-and-what-could-happen-next-a-e8c89bfa-b7a3-4e32-908a-7642a301eda6

Anthony Faiola, “How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain,” Washington Post, May 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/06/russia-vpn-putin-censorship-disinformation/

Thomas Latschan, “Mysterious series of deaths among Russian oligarchs,” Deutschewelle, May 7, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/mysterious-series-of-deaths-among-russian-oligarchs/a-61719107

Jamie Seidel, “Russia-Ukraine War: Putin’s Plan B is failing as Russian troops ‘pushed out’ of Donbas,” New Zealand Herald, May 7, 2022, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/russia-ukraine-war-putins-plan-b-is-failing-as-russian-troops-pushed-out-of-donbas/H73PJNRK3TJDUIN7YUCMI4DNM4/

Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669

Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/

Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/

Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b


  1. [1]Julian Routh, “John Fetterman, Democratic front-runner for Senate, makes blitz through southwestern Pa. ahead of primary,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/10/us-senate-candidate-john-fetterman-southwestern-pennsylvania-counties-ahead-of-primary/stories/202205100137
  2. [2]Julian Routh, “John Fetterman, Democratic front-runner for Senate, makes blitz through southwestern Pa. ahead of primary,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/10/us-senate-candidate-john-fetterman-southwestern-pennsylvania-counties-ahead-of-primary/stories/202205100137
  3. [3]Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b
  4. [4]Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/
  5. [5]Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b
  6. [6]Tarini Parti and and Drew Hinshaw, “Biden Says Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-polands-leader-look-to-boost-support-for-ukraine-11648304117
  7. [7]Matthew Lee, “US, Western Europe fret over uncertain Ukraine war endgame,” Associated Press, May 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-western-nato-a990adcad47a34764d64b03bdcd69f7b
  8. [8]Lawrence Freedman, “A ‘strategic nuclear exchange’ would offer Putin zero military gains,” New Statesman, May 4, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/a-strategic-nuclear-exchange-would-offer-putin-zero-military-gains
  9. [9]Lawrence Freedman, “A ‘strategic nuclear exchange’ would offer Putin zero military gains,” New Statesman, May 4, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/a-strategic-nuclear-exchange-would-offer-putin-zero-military-gains
  10. [10]Lawrence Freedman, “A ‘strategic nuclear exchange’ would offer Putin zero military gains,” New Statesman, May 4, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/a-strategic-nuclear-exchange-would-offer-putin-zero-military-gains

Donald Trump will be welcome on Twitter again

Supply chain

Bob Tita, “Truckers Want More Trucks Than Industry Can Build,” Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/truckers-want-more-trucks-than-industry-can-build-at-the-moment-11652094004


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Rebecca Elliott, “Elon Musk Says He Would Reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban,” Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-would-reverse-twitters-donald-trump-ban-11652204279


Abortion

As we consider the potential implications of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, one open question is how states will enforce the abortion bans that are expected in at least twenty-six states. History suggests that the prospective anti-abortion laws are likely to echo the “War on Drugs;” they will not eliminate the behavior that is outlawed, but will, through biased, targeted enforcement, disproportionately harm poor people and people of color.[1]

Democrats are now left empty-handed and heartbroken. California Governor Gavin Newsom summoned the rage on Wednesday at an event in Los Angeles. “Where the hell is my party?” Newsom said. “This is a concerted, coordinated effort and yes, they’re winning. They are. They have been. Let’s acknowledge that. Where’s the counter-offensive?”

The answer, governor, is that there is none. The pro-choice left now has to brace for a long chapter in the darkness, and I’m not sure the Democrats who became politically sentient in the Trump era can fully grasp how arduous it will be. Pundits immediately leapt to the question of what the ruling might mean for November’s midterms, whether it might animate suburban women or core Democratic voters. Who knows? But deflated Democrats are probably asking themselves something else right now: What the hell does my vote for Adam Schiff or Maggie Hassan or Raphael Warnock this November have to do with saving Roe? Chipping in $15 bucks to the D.N.C., or posting a stylized explainer graphic about reproductive rights on Instagram—that’s not going to do the trick.[2]

How indeed does one sensibly argue that Democrats offer substantive rather than merely rhetorical support for abortion rights?[3] It’s clear rather that Democrats cannot even unify themselves behind this issue.[4] And now a wide range of rights will be under threat, even in states that have explicitly legalized abortion.[5] Because, you know, other things, like fundraising, are always more pressing.[6]

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows,” Politico, May 2, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473

Caroline Kitchener, “The next frontier for the antiabortion movement: A nationwide ban,” Washington Post, May 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/02/abortion-ban-roe-supreme-court-mississippi/

Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, “Roberts directs investigation into leaked draft of abortion opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/supreme-court-leak-investigation-abortion-roe-wade/

Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, “Collins and Murkowski on the defensive after leaked Roe draft opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/murkowski-collins-roe-abortion-opinion/

Josh Gerstein, “What falls after Roe? Liberals warn of a privacy rights nightmare,” Politico, May 3, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/03/supreme-court-abortion-privacy-rights-00029871

Oriana Gonzalez, “Collins says Kavanaugh and Gorsuch possibly broke promise on Roe v. Wade,” Axios, May 3, 2022, https://www.axios.com/susan-collins-kavanaugh-gorsuch-abortion-court-leak-d6d1dad3-15d4-4269-b2ee-b5b5b2a4ea94.html

Molly Jong-Fast, “My Mother Was Wrong,” Atlantic, May 3, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/supreme-court-overturn-abortion-peaceful-protest/629746/

Irin Carmon, “Can Republicans Stop Patients From Leaving the State for an Abortion? Some Are Willing to Try,” New York, May 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/can-republicans-stop-out-of-state-abortion-patients.html

Erin McCarthy, “Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf vows to protect abortion rights, but can only do so for the next eight months,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/abortion-rights-pennsylvania-governor-wolf-20220504.html

Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022

Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/

Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

Martin Pengelly, “Louisiana Republicans advance bill to make abortion a crime of murder,” Guardian, May 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/05/louisiana-abortion-bill-murder-republicans

William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/enforced-childbirth-is-slavery-margaret-atwood-on-the-right-to-abortion

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america

David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/abortion-roe-v-wade-overturned-20220509.html

Eriq Gardner, “Was Politico’s Supreme Court Leaker an Inside Man?” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/was-politicos-supreme-court-leaker-an-inside-man/

Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/the-dark-truth-behind-the-scotus-ruling/

Jill Elaine Hasday, “On Roe, Alito cites a judge who treated women as witches and property,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/alito-roe-sir-matthew-hale-misogynist/

Vanessa Williamson and John Hudak, “The War on Abortion Drugs will be just as racist and classist,” Brookings, May 9, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2022/05/09/the-war-on-abortion-drugs-will-be-just-as-racist-and-classist/


Ukraine

A while ago, I wrote,

Molly Jong-Fast points to an ideological compatibility between Vladimir Putin and some Trumpists.[7] This would entail homophobia, transphobia, and conservative Christianity. But I think Trumpists also see Putin as strong—everybody else might mock photographs of a bare-chested Putin riding horseback but Trumpists are also deeply into toxic masculinity. Between these two factors, Putin is, for many Trumpists, irresistible.[8]

It turns out there’s something to this in the sick way that, as C. J. Pascoe described it, the ‘fag’ epithet is a means to enforce conformity among high school boys.[9] In Vladimir Putin’s case, however, the setting is not a high school, but rather the dvor:

[Vladimir] Putin’s was a generation of latchkey kids. If girls were drafted into household work after school and were subject to strict behavioral limits, the boys grew like wild grass in the dvor. The dvor, literally, was the yard, the open spaces between blocks of newly built apartment complexes or, as in Putin’s neighborhood, in the cavernous courtyards, built like wells, of the old Leningrad buildings. But it was also a social Serengeti, a school of life that shaped the boys who graduated from it. The curriculum included everything from chasing soccer balls to fighting over turf, and learning to live according to an exacting code of conduct, one founded on physical force, strict hierarchies (which could only be changed through violence), and a warped, cartoonish idea of male honor. And because the dvor was small and intimate, it stripped its inhabitants of the anonymity afforded to them by the big city outside, making it easy to enforce this code. There was no hiding in the dvor. Reputation was destiny here, and image had to be meticulously tended to, because its staining was nearly impossible to undo.[10]

Will Dunn, “‘He has embarked on a war he can’t stop’: Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Putin’s next move,” New Statesman, May 3, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/he-has-embarked-on-a-war-he-cant-stop-mikhail-khodorkovsky-on-putins-next-move

Mary Ilyushina, Miriam Berger, and Timothy Bella, “Russian TV shows simulation of Britain and Ireland wiped out by a nuke,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/03/russia-ireland-nuclear-weapons-video-ukraine/

Richard Kemp, “Vladimir Putin’s military cupboard is bare,” Telegraph, May 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/05/03/vladimir-putins-military-cupboard-bare/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin vs. His Oligarchs,” Puck News, May 3, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-vs-his-oligarchs/

Delia Gallagher, “Pope Francis warns pro-war Russian patriarch not to be ‘Putin’s altar boy,’” CNN, May 4, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/04/europe/pope-francis-patriarch-kirill-ukraine-invasion-intl/index.html

Times of Israel, “Putin apologizes for Russian FM’s ‘Jewish Hitler’ remarks, Bennett’s office says,” May 5, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/putin-apologizes-for-russian-envoys-hitler-comments-bennetts-office-says/

Christian Esch, Susanne Koelbl, and Fritz Schaap, “Putin’s Disaster and What Could Happen Next,” Spiegel, May 6, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/putin-s-disaster-and-what-could-happen-next-a-e8c89bfa-b7a3-4e32-908a-7642a301eda6

Anthony Faiola, “How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain,” Washington Post, May 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/06/russia-vpn-putin-censorship-disinformation/

Thomas Latschan, “Mysterious series of deaths among Russian oligarchs,” Deutschewelle, May 7, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/mysterious-series-of-deaths-among-russian-oligarchs/a-61719107

Jamie Seidel, “Russia-Ukraine War: Putin’s Plan B is failing as Russian troops ‘pushed out’ of Donbas,” New Zealand Herald, May 7, 2022, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/russia-ukraine-war-putins-plan-b-is-failing-as-russian-troops-pushed-out-of-donbas/H73PJNRK3TJDUIN7YUCMI4DNM4/

Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669

Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/

Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/


  1. [1]Vanessa Williamson and John Hudak, “The War on Abortion Drugs will be just as racist and classist,” Brookings, May 9, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2022/05/09/the-war-on-abortion-drugs-will-be-just-as-racist-and-classist/
  2. [2]Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/the-dark-truth-behind-the-scotus-ruling/
  3. [3]Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade; William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/; Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022
  4. [4]Jordain Carney, “Manchin joins with Senate GOP to block bill guaranteeing abortion access,” Hill, February 28, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/596223-manchin-joins-with-senate-gop-to-block-bill-guaranteeing-abortion-access/; Carl Hulse, “Republicans Block Abortion Rights Measure in Senate,” Washington Post, February 28, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/28/us/politics/abortion-rights-measure-senate.html
  5. [5]Irin Carmon, “Can Republicans Stop Patients From Leaving the State for an Abortion? Some Are Willing to Try,” New York, May 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/can-republicans-stop-out-of-state-abortion-patients.html; David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f; Josh Gerstein, “What falls after Roe? Liberals warn of a privacy rights nightmare,” Politico, May 3, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/03/supreme-court-abortion-privacy-rights-00029871; Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground; Caroline Kitchener, “The next frontier for the antiabortion movement: A nationwide ban,” Washington Post, May 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/02/abortion-ban-roe-supreme-court-mississippi/; Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/
  6. [6]Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/the-dark-truth-behind-the-scotus-ruling/; Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade; William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/; Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022
  7. [7]Molly Jong-Fast, “The Far Right Is Now Anti–anti-Putin,” Atlantic, March 16, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/62323220199fdd002140baa5/gop-tucker-carlson-putin-propaganda/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “What will Omicron subvariant BA.2 do in the U.S.?” Irregular Bullshit, March 17, 2022, https://disunitedstates.com/2022/03/17/what-will-omicron-subvariant-ba-2-do-in-the-u-s/
  9. [9]C. J. Pascoe, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (Berkeley: University of California, 2007).
  10. [10]Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/

The (selective) evidence for Vladimir Putin’s sanity

Gig economy (neoliberal wet dream)

Bezzle

Remembering, as I do, all too well, the dot-com crash, that “‘seismic shift’ in investor sentiment” that Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi refers to[1] reminds me of when, seemingly all at once, venture capitalists folded up their checkbooks. More fundamentally, Uber’s CEO is admitting that he continues to rely on investors for operating funds, which is to admit that his company continues to lose money.

When the dot-com boom bust, it took out a lot of companies, some with actual business plans, many without, some good companies, like the one where I had the only good job of my entire life, and a lot of not so good companies. Uber is known to be hemorrhaging vast quantities of money with no real plan for ever being profitable.[2] While it’s unclear whether what Khosrowshahi calls a “seismic shift” is temporary or longer-lasting,[3] what gets my attention is his outsized reaction to it,[4] which has to suggest a vulnerability.

Reuters, “Uber to cut costs, slow down hiring, CEO tells staff,” May 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/uber-cut-costs-slow-down-hiring-ceo-tells-staff-cnbc-2022-05-09/


COVID-19 Pandemic

Katie Shepherd and Niha Masih, “Nearly 15 million deaths related to covid-19, WHO estimates,” Washington Post, May 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/05/05/covid-excess-global-deaths-nearly-15-million/

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Joel Achenbach, “Coronavirus wave this fall could infect 100 million, administration warns,” Washington Post, May 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/05/06/fall-winter-coronavirus-wave/

Marc Fisher et al., “After 1 million deaths, covid leaves millions more forever changed,” Washington Post, May 7, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/07/one-million-covid-deaths-families/


Abortion

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows,” Politico, May 2, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473

Caroline Kitchener, “The next frontier for the antiabortion movement: A nationwide ban,” Washington Post, May 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/02/abortion-ban-roe-supreme-court-mississippi/

Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, “Roberts directs investigation into leaked draft of abortion opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/supreme-court-leak-investigation-abortion-roe-wade/

Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, “Collins and Murkowski on the defensive after leaked Roe draft opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/murkowski-collins-roe-abortion-opinion/

Josh Gerstein, “What falls after Roe? Liberals warn of a privacy rights nightmare,” Politico, May 3, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/03/supreme-court-abortion-privacy-rights-00029871

Oriana Gonzalez, “Collins says Kavanaugh and Gorsuch possibly broke promise on Roe v. Wade,” Axios, May 3, 2022, https://www.axios.com/susan-collins-kavanaugh-gorsuch-abortion-court-leak-d6d1dad3-15d4-4269-b2ee-b5b5b2a4ea94.html

Molly Jong-Fast, “My Mother Was Wrong,” Atlantic, May 3, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/supreme-court-overturn-abortion-peaceful-protest/629746/

Irin Carmon, “Can Republicans Stop Patients From Leaving the State for an Abortion? Some Are Willing to Try,” New York, May 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/can-republicans-stop-out-of-state-abortion-patients.html

Erin McCarthy, “Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf vows to protect abortion rights, but can only do so for the next eight months,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/abortion-rights-pennsylvania-governor-wolf-20220504.html

Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022

Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/

Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

Martin Pengelly, “Louisiana Republicans advance bill to make abortion a crime of murder,” Guardian, May 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/05/louisiana-abortion-bill-murder-republicans

William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/enforced-childbirth-is-slavery-margaret-atwood-on-the-right-to-abortion

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america

David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/abortion-roe-v-wade-overturned-20220509.html

Eriq Gardner, “Was Politico’s Supreme Court Leaker an Inside Man?” Puck News, May 9, 2022, https://puck.news/was-politicos-supreme-court-leaker-an-inside-man/

Jill Elaine Hasday, “On Roe, Alito cites a judge who treated women as witches and property,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/alito-roe-sir-matthew-hale-misogynist/


Ukraine

I had associated Max Boot with neoconservatism, so it’s more than a little surprising to me that he wrote this:

[Vladimir] Putin is now in a strategic quandary that should be familiar to Americans after our misbegotten wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq — only many times worse. Russia has launched a “war of choice” based on bad intelligence (such as the assumption that Ukrainians would welcome the Russians as liberators). The war is going badly, but once troops are committed, emotions run high and national prestige is on the line. Both escalation and withdrawal are too painful to contemplate. The easiest thing to do is to continue doing what you’ve been doing, even if there is scant hope that the results will get any better.[5]

Afghanistan and Iraq were, or are, flatly, wars of neoconservative ambition, imperialism, if you will; neoconservatism arose as a reaction to, among other things, the antiwar movement that sought to get the U.S. out of southeast Asia.[6] Boot’s argument is that it required a change of U.S. leadership to get the country out of each of those wars (it took Richard Nixon more than one term to extract us from Vietnam, so I think I’m unlikely to be alone in doubting this example) and that the same is required, even if unlikely, in Russia.[7]

Boot doubts that Vladimir Putin will use nuclear weapons because “that would be the action of a madman who fears that the end is near. Putin’s troops are carrying out unspeakable war crimes, but he is far from Hitler-in-the-bunker territory.” And Boot sees in a relatively subdued (read, less bellicose) Victory Day celebration, where Putin did not escalate the war on Ukraine, signs of recognition of reality rather than insanity, as Boot puts it, that “while Putin is isolated [but apparently not in Hitler-in-the-bunker territory] and prone to miscalculation, he is not insane.” Boot’s claim that Putin “far from Hitler-in-the-bunker territory” must stand against evidence, evidence that Boot recognizes,[8] that the Kremlin sees or at least portrays the war in Ukraine hysterically in existential terms.[9] We can certainly hope that Boot is right at the same time we recognize that this chain of reasoning seems tenuous.

Boot’s assessment of Putin rests on Putin’s apparent recognition that a general “mobilization [with a declaration of war rather than a ‘special military operation’] would bring more problems than it would solve” and that “the war is not going his way.”[10] That’s two data points against a boatload (the Moskva, perhaps?) of delusional crap[11] that Putin continues to justify his war with,[12] even if we set aside Putin’s simultaneously ludicrous and terrifying hubris of a “historic mission.”[13] Again, we can certainly hope Boot is right, even if we think his evidence is selective.

Cnaan Liphshiz, “Speaking about Zelensky, Russian foreign minister says Hitler also had Jewish ancestry,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 2, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/05/02/global/speaking-about-zelensky-russian-foreign-minister-says-hitler-also-had-jewish-ancestry

Missy Ryan et al., “Russia planning to annex new areas of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence finds,” Washington Post, May 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/05/02/russian-annex-territory-invasion/

Will Dunn, “‘He has embarked on a war he can’t stop’: Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Putin’s next move,” New Statesman, May 3, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/05/he-has-embarked-on-a-war-he-cant-stop-mikhail-khodorkovsky-on-putins-next-move

Mary Ilyushina, Miriam Berger, and Timothy Bella, “Russian TV shows simulation of Britain and Ireland wiped out by a nuke,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/03/russia-ireland-nuclear-weapons-video-ukraine/

Richard Kemp, “Vladimir Putin’s military cupboard is bare,” Telegraph, May 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/05/03/vladimir-putins-military-cupboard-bare/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin vs. His Oligarchs,” Puck News, May 3, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-vs-his-oligarchs/

Delia Gallagher, “Pope Francis warns pro-war Russian patriarch not to be ‘Putin’s altar boy,’” CNN, May 4, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/04/europe/pope-francis-patriarch-kirill-ukraine-invasion-intl/index.html

Times of Israel, “Putin apologizes for Russian FM’s ‘Jewish Hitler’ remarks, Bennett’s office says,” May 5, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/putin-apologizes-for-russian-envoys-hitler-comments-bennetts-office-says/

Christian Esch, Susanne Koelbl, and Fritz Schaap, “Putin’s Disaster and What Could Happen Next,” Spiegel, May 6, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/putin-s-disaster-and-what-could-happen-next-a-e8c89bfa-b7a3-4e32-908a-7642a301eda6

Anthony Faiola, “How millions of Russians are tearing holes in the Digital Iron Curtain,” Washington Post, May 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/06/russia-vpn-putin-censorship-disinformation/

Thomas Latschan, “Mysterious series of deaths among Russian oligarchs,” Deutschewelle, May 7, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/mysterious-series-of-deaths-among-russian-oligarchs/a-61719107

Jamie Seidel, “Russia-Ukraine War: Putin’s Plan B is failing as Russian troops ‘pushed out’ of Donbas,” New Zealand Herald, May 7, 2022, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/russia-ukraine-war-putins-plan-b-is-failing-as-russian-troops-pushed-out-of-donbas/H73PJNRK3TJDUIN7YUCMI4DNM4/

Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669

Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/


  1. [1]Reuters, “Uber to cut costs, slow down hiring, CEO tells staff,” May 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/uber-cut-costs-slow-down-hiring-ceo-tells-staff-cnbc-2022-05-09/
  2. [2]Matthew Beedham, “Uber: Is this the beginning of the end for the ride-hailing Goliath?” Next Web, March 2, 2021, https://thenextweb.com/shift/2021/03/02/uber-is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-the-ride-hailing-goliath/; Cory Doctorow, “End of the line for Uber,” Pluralistic, August 10, 2021, https://pluralistic.net/2021/08/10/unter/#bezzle-no-more; Cory Doctorow, “The Big Lie that keeps the Uber bezzle alive,” Pluralistic, February 11, 2022, https://pluralistic.net/2022/02/11/bezzlers-gonna-bezzle/; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural; Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, https://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Hubert Horan, “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Twenty-Two: Profits and Cash Flow Keep Deteriorating as Uber’s GAAP Losses Hit $8.5 Billion,” Naked Capitalism, February 7, 2020, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/02/hubert-horan-can-uber-ever-deliver-part-twenty-two-profits-and-cash-flow-keep-deteriorating-as-ubers-gaap-losses-hit-8-5-billion.html; Hubert Horan, “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Twenty-Nine: Despite Massive Price Increases Uber Losses Top $31 Billion,” Naked Capitalism, February 11, 2022, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/02/hubert-horan-can-uber-ever-deliver-part-twenty-nine-despite-massive-price-increases-uber-losses-top-31-billion.html; George Maier, “Will Uber still exist by the end of the decade?” London School of Economics, October 29, 2021, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2021/10/29/will-uber-still-exist-by-the-end-of-the-decade/; Tom McKay, “Uber Says It’s on Track to Maybe Make a Fake Profit,” Gizmodo, September 21, 2021, https://gizmodo.com/uber-says-its-on-track-to-maybe-make-a-fake-profit-1847716786; Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html; Trading Places Research, “Uber And Lyft: The Limits Of The Amazon Model,” Seeking Alpha, August 15, 2021, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4449578-uber-and-lyft-the-limits-of-the-amazon-model
  3. [3]Sebastian Herrera and Akane Otani, “The Tech Industry’s Epic Two-Year Run Sputters,” Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-tech-industrys-epic-two-year-run-sputters-11652002382
  4. [4]Reuters, “Uber to cut costs, slow down hiring, CEO tells staff,” May 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/uber-cut-costs-slow-down-hiring-ceo-tells-staff-cnbc-2022-05-09/
  5. [5]Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  7. [7]Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/
  8. [8]Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, April 26, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  10. [10]Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, March 29, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  12. [12]Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669; Max Boot, “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/09/putin-victory-day-russia-ukraine-quagmire/
  13. [13]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, April 26, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/

If I had to guess, Republicans will take full control of Pennsylvania state government, and my election forecast for 2022 and 2024 remains unchanged

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Carter Walker, “Audit the Vote gave us its canvassing data to check the results. It was riddled with errors,” LNP, May 8, 2022, https://lancasteronline.com/news/politics/audit-the-vote-gave-us-its-canvassing-data-to-check-the-results-it-was-riddled/article_8f0a6c2a-cd6e-11ec-9f73-b3e07fd7b64b.html


John Fetterman

Somebody will win the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, but no present candidate, even with Donald Trump’s endorsement, is pulling ahead to meet[1] likely Democratic nominee John Fetterman.[2] As I drive around Pittsburgh, 1) I still see few signs for Mehmet Oz, Trump’s favorite;[3] 2) it now looks generally like Conor Lamb is winning the yard sign race (I frankly saw many more signs for Fetterman around Erie); and 3) arch-Trumpist Doug Mastriano has yard signs all over the fucking place. Josh Shapiro, the likely Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania governor, definitely is not generating enthusiasm around southwestern Pennsylvania.

Gillian McGoldrick, “Trump supporters still unsure about Oz in Pa.’s U.S. Senate GOP race, despite former president’s endorsement,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/09/donald-trump-dr-oz-senate-run-endorsement-greensburg-rally-dave-mccormick-pa-republican-primary-polling/stories/202205080176


Abortion

Even if you oppose Roe v. Wade, which Samuel Alito’s leaked draft decision would overturn,[4] the decision’s implications for privacy and freedom of movement[5] ought to be supremely troubling. But I’m still just not seeing the sort of movement, that Amy Davidson Sorkin calls for,[6] that would be likely to alter electoral outcomes in 2022 and 2024. My forecast,[7] therefore, remains, for now, unchanged.

Though apparently genuine, the draft is, of course, just a draft.[8] But my impression is that judges like to show themselves unimpressed by public opinion; I think the justices will simply dig in their heels, no matter how vociferous the outcry. And so we will be left with an utterly and contemptibly worthless Democratic Party[9] the same Democratic Party that has failed to codify abortion rights for decades,[10] and that will likely soon lose power, quite possibly forever,[11] to try to restore sanity.

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows,” Politico, May 2, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473

Caroline Kitchener, “The next frontier for the antiabortion movement: A nationwide ban,” Washington Post, May 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/02/abortion-ban-roe-supreme-court-mississippi/

Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, “Roberts directs investigation into leaked draft of abortion opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/supreme-court-leak-investigation-abortion-roe-wade/

Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, “Collins and Murkowski on the defensive after leaked Roe draft opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/murkowski-collins-roe-abortion-opinion/

Josh Gerstein, “What falls after Roe? Liberals warn of a privacy rights nightmare,” Politico, May 3, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/03/supreme-court-abortion-privacy-rights-00029871

Oriana Gonzalez, “Collins says Kavanaugh and Gorsuch possibly broke promise on Roe v. Wade,” Axios, May 3, 2022, https://www.axios.com/susan-collins-kavanaugh-gorsuch-abortion-court-leak-d6d1dad3-15d4-4269-b2ee-b5b5b2a4ea94.html

Molly Jong-Fast, “My Mother Was Wrong,” Atlantic, May 3, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/supreme-court-overturn-abortion-peaceful-protest/629746/

Irin Carmon, “Can Republicans Stop Patients From Leaving the State for an Abortion? Some Are Willing to Try,” New York, May 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/can-republicans-stop-out-of-state-abortion-patients.html

Erin McCarthy, “Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf vows to protect abortion rights, but can only do so for the next eight months,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/abortion-rights-pennsylvania-governor-wolf-20220504.html

Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022

Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/

Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

Martin Pengelly, “Louisiana Republicans advance bill to make abortion a crime of murder,” Guardian, May 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/05/louisiana-abortion-bill-murder-republicans

William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/enforced-childbirth-is-slavery-margaret-atwood-on-the-right-to-abortion

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-05-05/medication-abortion-safety-net-battleground

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/abortion-roe-v-wade-overturned-20220509.html


Ukraine

Associated Press, “Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine,” May 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-world-war-ii-2d4f0f3a1e59cdad92b26c521ed08669


  1. [1]Gillian McGoldrick, “Trump supporters still unsure about Oz in Pa.’s U.S. Senate GOP race, despite former president’s endorsement,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/09/donald-trump-dr-oz-senate-run-endorsement-greensburg-rally-dave-mccormick-pa-republican-primary-polling/stories/202205080176
  2. [2]Gillian McGoldrick, “New Pa. U.S. Senate poll: John Fetterman pulling ahead as Democratic favorite, GOP race still wide open,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 14, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/04/14/fetterman-pulls-ahead-as-democratic-favorite-gop-pa-senate-race-still-wide-open-in-april-f-m-poll/stories/202204130138; Daniel Strauss, “Is Conor Lamb Collapsing Against John Fetterman in Pennsylvania?” New Republic, April 21, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166164/conor-lamb-collapsing-john-fetterman-pennsylvania
  3. [3]Gillian McGoldrick, “Trump supporters still unsure about Oz in Pa.’s U.S. Senate GOP race, despite former president’s endorsement,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/09/donald-trump-dr-oz-senate-run-endorsement-greensburg-rally-dave-mccormick-pa-republican-primary-polling/stories/202205080176
  4. [4]Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows,” Politico, May 2, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473
  5. [5]Irin Carmon, “Can Republicans Stop Patients From Leaving the State for an Abortion? Some Are Willing to Try,” New York, May 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/can-republicans-stop-out-of-state-abortion-patients.html; Josh Gerstein, “What falls after Roe? Liberals warn of a privacy rights nightmare,” Politico, May 3, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/03/supreme-court-abortion-privacy-rights-00029871; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america
  6. [6]Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/how-alitos-draft-opinion-on-abortion-rights-would-change-america
  7. [7]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  8. [8]Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, “Roberts directs investigation into leaked draft of abortion opinion,” Washington Post, May 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/03/supreme-court-leak-investigation-abortion-roe-wade/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Democrats and contradiction,” Not Housebroken, January 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/11/18/democrats-and-contradiction/
  10. [10]Anna North, “Abortion has been treated as a fringe issue by Democrats for decades. This is the result,” Vox, May 5, 2022, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/5/5/23057317/abortion-supreme-court-roe-v-wade; William Rivers Pitt, “Democrats Had 50 Years to Save and Protect ‘Roe.’ They Failed,” Truthout, May 6, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/democrats-had-50-years-to-save-and-protect-roe-they-failed/; Meredith Shiner, “Democrats Can Go Scorched Earth on Abortion Rights, or Go Home,” New Republic, May 4, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166293/democrats-abortion-rights-roe-2022
  11. [11]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/