Elon Musk might think driving on the right side of the road is for ‘pussies’

Neoliberalism

Self-driving cars


Fig. 1. Photograph by Mark Doliner, August 1, 2012, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

You might not be ready to open this article. I’m not sure I was ready to open it. There is a video, apparently from a Tesla, of it traveling the wrong way on what appears to be a freeway, right up top, and more videos of Teslas doing ghastly things throughout.[1]

Tesla maintains that it is not liable for the crashes because the driver is ultimately in control of the vehicle. But that contention is coming under increasing pressure, including from federal regulators. Late Thursday [April 25], the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a new review of Autopilot, signaling concern that a December recall failed to significantly improve misuse of the technology and that drivers are misled into thinking the “automation has greater capabilities than it does.” . . .

[In February 2024] in Sumner County, Tenn., Jose Roman Jaramillo Cortez drank two beers and three tequila shots after his shift at a local restaurant, and then hopped into his Tesla Model 3, court documents say. He plugged his address into the Tesla’s GPS and flicked on Autopilot, it said.

According to the lawsuit filed in June 2023 and dash-cam footage obtained by The Post, the car then pulled onto the wrong side of the road. After driving south in a northbound lane for several minutes, the Tesla rammed into a car driven by Christian Malone, 20, who died from the impact. In its response to the complaint, Tesla said “the crash was caused by the negligence and/or recklessness of the driver.”[2]

Trisha Thadani, “Lawsuits test Tesla claim that drivers are solely responsible for crashes,” Washington Post, April 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/04/28/tesla-trial-autopilot-lawsuit/


Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[3] fair use.

[Abdullah] Hammoud, a Democratic mayor of a city of just over 100,000 residents [Dearborn, Michigan], made a decision that sent an unmistakable message: He turned down the meeting [with Joe Biden’s campaign manager].

“That was a concept people couldn’t understand: ‘Why would you do that?’” Hammoud said in a recent interview while driving around Dearborn. “Immediately when I got the invitation, I felt like it was a disingenuous engagement. It was an engagement only for the worry of what’s going to happen in the upcoming election, and not for the worry of what’s actually happening to the people on the ground and to their friends and family and my residents.”[4]

Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel could still force an exodus into Egypt,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/26/gaza-egypt-exodus-rafah-invasion/

Rachel Siegel and Christian Davenport, “Campus arrests spread as students press on with pro-Palestinian protests,” Washington Post, April 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2024/04/27/protests-campus-arrest-northeastern-upenn/

Yasmeen Abutaleb, “5,000 miles away, a Michigan mayor at the center of the Gaza storm,” Washington Post, April 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/28/5000-miles-away-michigan-mayor-center-gaza-storm/


  1. [1]Trisha Thadani, “Lawsuits test Tesla claim that drivers are solely responsible for crashes,” Washington Post, April 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/04/28/tesla-trial-autopilot-lawsuit/
  2. [2]Trisha Thadani, “Lawsuits test Tesla claim that drivers are solely responsible for crashes,” Washington Post, April 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/04/28/tesla-trial-autopilot-lawsuit/
  3. [3]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  4. [4]Yasmeen Abutaleb, “5,000 miles away, a Michigan mayor at the center of the Gaza storm,” Washington Post, April 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/28/5000-miles-away-michigan-mayor-center-gaza-storm/

History may not repeat but rhymes as college administrators send ‘pigs’ in to break up student protests

Imperialism

Israel


Fig. 1. John Bolton and Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference. Office of U.S. National Security Advisor, August 20, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Adam Taylor, “The nuclear threats that loom over Iran and Israel,” Washington Post, April 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/25/iran-israel-nuclear-threat/

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 2. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

I am seeing lots of comparisons to the Vietnam War protests. I’d point to one difference: The kids in the 1960s didn’t have access to social media the way kids in the 2020s do. I suspect we’re going to find out—very much the hard way—what a difference that makes.

Something else I’d point to is that campus administrators, yet again on the wrong side of history, have evidently learned absolutely nothing from the unrest sixty years ago as they send in the “pigs” to disperse student protests violently.[2] Some of us, particularly in Ohio, should remember how that plays out.[3]

It’s been a while since I withdrew my prediction that Joe Biden would win the presidency, largely due to his complicity with Binyamin Netanyahu’s genocide and my expectation that this would crimp his support—which it has[4]—but even then, it is possible I underestimated support for the Palestinian cause, meaning there may be many more who refuse to vote for a war criminal than I expected.

Another difference from the 1960s: Joe Biden has not stepped aside as Lyndon Johnson did.

Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel could still force an exodus into Egypt,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/26/gaza-egypt-exodus-rafah-invasion/

Rachel Siegel and Christian Davenport, “Campus arrests spread as students press on with pro-Palestinian protests,” Washington Post, April 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2024/04/27/protests-campus-arrest-northeastern-upenn/


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Rachel Siegel and Christian Davenport, “Campus arrests spread as students press on with pro-Palestinian protests,” Washington Post, April 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2024/04/27/protests-campus-arrest-northeastern-upenn/
  3. [3]Joe Napsha, “The day ‘all hell broke loose’ – Local lives lost, forever changed in Kent State shooting 50 years ago,” Tribune-Review, May 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/the-day-all-hell-broke-loose-local-lives-lost-forever-changed-in-kent-state-shooting-50-years-ago/
  4. [4]Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/; Charles M. Blow, “Arab American Fury Toward Biden,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/28/opinion/voters-michigan-biden-gaza.html; Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html; John Cassidy, “Michigan’s “Uncommitted” Democrats Send a Message to Biden,” New Yorker, February 28, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/michigans-uncommitted-democrats-send-a-message-to-biden; Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/; Caleb Ecarma, “Why Michigan’s Protest Vote Could Change Joe Biden’s Calculus: ‘There Will Be Political Consequences,’” Vanity Fair, February 28, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/michigan-vote-change-joe-biden-calculus; Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799; Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary; Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign opposing Biden’s support for Israel makes a mark in 5 more states,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 6, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/03/06/politics/uncommitted-campaign-opposing-bidens-support-for-israel-makes-a-mark-in-5-more-states; Shia Kapos and Adam Cancryn, “Arab, Muslim and Palestinian leaders refuse to meet with White House aides in Chicago,” Politico, March 14, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/03/14/arab-muslim-and-palestinian-leaders-refuse-to-meet-with-white-house-aides-in-chicago-00147109; Rachel Leingang, “How the uncommitted movement rocked Biden over Gaza,” Guardian, March 17, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/mar/17/us-uncommitted-voters-biden-gaza; Ed Pilkington, “Pro-Palestinian protests hound Biden, casting shadow on his re-election effort,” Guardian, January 31, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/31/biden-pro-palestine-protest-israel; Hafiz Rashid, “‘Unacceptable’: White House Cancels Event as Biden Struggles on Gaza,” New Republic, April 3, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/180409/white-house-cancels-event-gaza-outcry

Grievance on steroids

There is a new blog entry entitled, “4:00 a.m. thoughts: The paradox of veganism.”


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump


Fig. 1. Donald Trump, depicted in an orange jumpsuit, reportedly by the Drudge, date unknown, via Mediaite,[1] fair use. Apparently, no mugshot was taken when he was actually arrested over hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.[2]

I’m quoting snippets here, which is an injustice. You really need to read the article (gift link, not by me, and I don’t know how long it will work).

[Donald] Trump is among the world’s most obvious political creatures, but the sheer constancy of his public communications, their assaultiveness and density, has sometimes made it hard to see clearly their evolutions, to trace changes in the signal through the formidable noise. His demands on the world’s attention make it paradoxically easy not to pay attention to the particulars. Most Americans, in any case, made up their minds about him one way or another long ago. This has made Trump appear more static than he actually is — made it harder to see how the Trump presidency, which profoundly changed America, also changed Trump. . . .

Like the fascists, [Juan] Perón redefined “the people” as an exclusive, not inclusive, category: an us defined against a them. Where he differed, crucially, was in claiming the mantle of democracy — and presenting himself as its perfection. In populism, the leader had arrived to beat back a threat to the will of the people that came from within the country’s democratic system — and that, absent the leader’s vigilant rule, would return to cause worse destruction. Perón’s enemies were not just Perón’s enemies; they were the enemies of democracy.[3]

Charles Homans compares Juan Perón to Donald Trump, a comparison he says holds through Trump’s 2017 inaugural speech. Homans observes that Trump’s rhetoric is now principally about “them,” those who he believes have done him wrong and to whom he promises retribution.[4] It’s grievance[5] on steroids—and terrifyingly so.

Charles Homans, “Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This,” New York Times, April 27, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/27/magazine/trump-rallies-rhetoric.html

Coup attempt

2024

Fig. 1. Cartoon by Ben Jennings, January 24, 2024, via the Guardian,[6] fair use.

Charles Homans, “Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This,” New York Times, April 27, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/27/magazine/trump-rallies-rhetoric.html


  1. [1]Alex Griffing, “Drudge Puts Trump in an Orange Jumpsuit as Site Monitors His Potential Indictment,” Mediaite, August 29, 2022, https://www.mediaite.com/news/drudge-puts-trump-in-an-orange-jumpsuit-as-site-monitors-his-potential-indictment/
  2. [2]Sarah D. Wire and Alexandra E. Petri, “Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-04-04/donald-trump-alleged-hush-money-investigation-indictment-arraignment
  3. [3]Charles Homans, “Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This,” New York Times, April 27, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/27/magazine/trump-rallies-rhetoric.html
  4. [4]Charles Homans, “Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This,” New York Times, April 27, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/27/magazine/trump-rallies-rhetoric.html
  5. [5]James Kimmel, Jr., “What the Science of Addiction Tells Us About Trump,” Politico, December 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/12/trump-grievance-addiction-444570
  6. [6]Ben Jennings, “Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s progress along the Republican nomination trail – cartoon,” Guardian, January 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2024/jan/24/ben-jennings-on-donald-trumps-progress-along-the-republican-nomination-trail-cartoon

Elon Musk doesn’t want Tesla driver assistance fixed

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

An Israeli intelligence ‘concept paper’ proposed relocating Gazans to the Sinai desert—which is part of Egypt.[2] A lot of folks are worried that something like that is still the plan.[3]

Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel could still force an exodus into Egypt,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/26/gaza-egypt-exodus-rafah-invasion/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[4] fair use.

Michael Birnbaum and Christian Shepherd, “Blinken warns China to address its support for Russia or ‘we will,’” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/04/25/blinken-china-wang-yi-beijing/


Neoliberalism

Self-driving cars


Fig. 3. Photograph by Mark Doliner, August 1, 2012, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Elon Musk doesn’t want it fixed. The December recall[5] was criticized at the time for not really fixing anything.[6] And so the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is likely finding.[7]

Ian Duncan and Trisha Thadani, “Regulators launch review of whether Tesla did enough to fix Autopilot,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/04/26/tesla-nhtsa-autopilot-recall-investigation/

Neoliberalism

Banking

Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and Credit Suisse, 2023-2024


Fig. 4. “The monument sign in front of the parking lot of the Silicon Valley Bank headquarters at 3003 West Tasman Drive, Santa Clara, California.” Photograph by Minh Nguyen, March 13, 2023, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Felix Salmon, “Republic First Bank seized by regulators, sold to Fulton Bank,” Axios, April 26, 2024, https://www.axios.com/2024/04/27/republic-first-bank-failure


Electric vehicles


Fig. 5. “A Toyota bZ4X electric sport utility vehicle: EVs currently on the market are fitted with batteries that use liquid lithium-ion electrolytes.” Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota, n.d., via Financial Times, fair use.

[Hertz] said it plans to get rid of 10,000 more EVs than it initially planned this year. Now Hertz intends to sell off 30,000 EVs in 2024, after taking a $195 million charge last quarter because of the depreciation of its fleet. That hit, when combined with a $245 million write-down in the last quarter of 2024, means Hertz has lost $440 million on its failed bet on electric cars led by former CEO Stephen Sherr.

The new round of sell-offs leaves Hertz with just 30,000 EVs in its fleet.[8]

If folks are worried about a lack of enthusiasm for electric cars, then first, they need to get Elon Musk under control. Second, the very point of an electric car for anyone like me isn’t just that you save money on fuel costs, but that I’m getting rid of internal combustion maintenance issues. If electric vehicles are indeed less reliable,[9] that would be a complete fail for me.

I think the folks who wait for Toyota’s solid state batteries[10] are going to be looking a lot smarter than any Musk fanboy.

William Gavin, “Hertz is ditching even more electric cars,” Quartz, April 26, 2024, https://qz.com/hertz-ev-sales-tesla-rental-cars-1851438100


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Hush money


Fig. 6. Cartoon by Jesse Duquette, undated, via “Minneapple23” [pseud.] on Imgur, April 1, 2023, fair use.

Elie Honig, “Donald Trump Is a Special Kind of Courtroom-Discipline Problem,” New York, April 26, 2024, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/what-does-donald-trump-gag-order-mean.html


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “Intelligence Ministry ‘concept paper’ proposes transferring Gazans to Egypt’s Sinai,” October 31, 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/intelligence-ministry-concept-paper-proposes-transferring-gazans-to-egypts-sinai/
  3. [3]Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel could still force an exodus into Egypt,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/26/gaza-egypt-exodus-rafah-invasion/
  4. [4]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  5. [5]Gareth Vipers, “Tesla to Recall More Than Two Million Vehicles Over Autopilot Safety Concerns,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2023, https://www.wsj.com/business/autos/tesla-recalls-more-than-two-million-vehicles-over-autopilot-safety-concerns-274eb6e6; Jeremy White, “Tesla Is Recalling Nearly All Vehicles Sold in US to Fix an Autopilot Fault,” Wired, December 13, 2023, https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-us-recall-autopilot-fault/
  6. [6]Faiz Siddiqui and Trisha Thadani, “Recalling almost every Tesla in America won’t fix safety issues, experts say,” Washington Post, December 16, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/12/16/tesla-autopilot-recall/
  7. [7]Ian Duncan and Trisha Thadani, “Regulators launch review of whether Tesla did enough to fix Autopilot,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/04/26/tesla-nhtsa-autopilot-recall-investigation/
  8. [8]William Gavin, “Hertz is ditching even more electric cars,” Quartz, April 26, 2024, https://qz.com/hertz-ev-sales-tesla-rental-cars-1851438100
  9. [9]William Gavin, “Hertz is ditching even more electric cars,” Quartz, April 26, 2024, https://qz.com/hertz-ev-sales-tesla-rental-cars-1851438100
  10. [10]Akito Tanaka et al., “Toyota bets on solid-state as CATL eyes Thailand,” Financial Times, June 15, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/09e23ac9-f73a-4104-aa2e-33ea48eba67a

Supreme Court expected to punt immunity case back to lower courts


Fig. 1. Robin’s nest perched atop the light by my front door. This is the last photograph I took of the nest before at least one egg hatched. Photograph by author, April 21, 2024.

At least one of the eggs in figure 1 has hatched. Actually, I think all of them have. The robin guarding the nest changed her (?) behavior a few days ago and it was at that point I stopped taking photographs because my mother warned me I might frighten the parent into abandoning the nest.

I try to remember to give the parent a bit of warning as I reach the top of the stairs leading to my front porch and am about to come into view, which always prompts the parent to fly off, sometimes to return to a nearby spot to try to distract me from the nest. I’m of course not a predator anyway—I’m vegan—but I have seen raccoons eyeing the nest. They haven’t a prayer of being able to reach it.

Tonight, when I came home, the parent flew off without protest and I saw one of the babies poking its head up, mouth open, obviously expecting to be fed. I was awfully tempted to take a photograph, but didn’t, for fear of causing the parent to abandon the nest.


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Coup attempt

2024

Fig. 2. Cartoon by Ben Jennings, January 24, 2024, via the Guardian,[1] fair use.

It appears there will be a delay, perhaps a long enough delay:

[T]he high court’s ruling is likely to require lower courts to separate out [Donald] Trump’s official acts from his private ones, as alleged in the indictment, before proceedings can restart in the election obstruction case. If the D.C. trial is stalled until after the election, and Trump returns to office, he could pressure his attorney general to drop the federal charges against him.[2]

If Donald Trump returns to office, we can blame the Democrats yet again,[3] this time for nominating a war criminal to run against him.

Yes, of course, Trump needs to be held accountable. But, frankly, so do the Democrats.

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, “Meadows, Giuliani and other Trump allies charged in Arizona 2020 election probe,” Washington Post, April 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/24/arizona-2020-election-charges-meadows-giuliani-ellis/

Ann E. Marimow, “Supreme Court seems poised to allow Trump Jan. 6 trial, but not immediately,” Washington Post, April 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/25/supreme-court-oral-arguments-trump-immunity/


Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 3. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[4] fair use.

I’m not on a college campus any more to gauge for myself how serious the protests against the war on Gaza have become. It sounds like they’ve become pretty intense,[5] bringing to my mind the Vietnam War protests of my youth (I was much too young to attend).

Alas, it appears the authorities learned absolutely nothing from the protests that occurred during my childhood.

Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438


  1. [1]Ben Jennings, “Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s progress along the Republican nomination trail – cartoon,” Guardian, January 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2024/jan/24/ben-jennings-on-donald-trumps-progress-along-the-republican-nomination-trail-cartoon
  2. [2]Ann E. Marimow, “Supreme Court seems poised to allow Trump Jan. 6 trial, but not immediately,” Washington Post, April 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/25/supreme-court-oral-arguments-trump-immunity/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Democrats must own Donald Trump,” Not Housebroken, November 13, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/11/13/democrats-must-own-donald-trump/
  4. [4]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  5. [5]Carla Bleiker, &lquo;Pro-Palestinian protests spread at US universities,” Deutsche Welle, April 23, 2024, https://www.dw.com/en/pro-palestinian-protests-spread-at-us-universities/a-68902360

The best offer Israel is likely to get

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

It’s the best offer Israel is likely to get:

A top Hamas political official told The Associated Press the Islamic militant group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders.

The comments by Khalil al-Hayya in an interview Wednesday came amid a stalemate in months of talks for a cease-fire in Gaza. The suggestion that Hamas would disarm appeared to be a significant concession by the militant group officially committed to Israel’s destruction.[2]

The trouble will be that it’s a big step in a negotiation that still needs confidence-building steps.

Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438

The pro-Palestine movement appears to be growing

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Jared Malsin and Nancy A. Youssef, “Biden Weighs More Than $1 Billion in New Arms for Israel,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/AYrD2jUG7Td29aUfmEPUWSw

Danielle Paquette et al., “House approves Ukraine, Israel aid bills,” Washington Post, April 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/

Barak Ravid, “U.S. expected to sanction IDF unit for human rights violations in West Bank,” Axios, April 20, 2024, https://www.axios.com/2024/04/20/us-israel-sanctions-idf-west-bank

Times of Israel, “Israel aghast as US said poised to sanction IDF unit with history of abuses,” April 21, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-aghast-as-us-said-poised-to-sanction-notorious-idf-unit-netanyahu-a-moral-low/

Emanuel Fabian, “‘I will always carry the pain’: IDF intel chief Aharon Haliva resigns over Oct. 7 failure,” Times of Israel, April 22, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-intel-chief-aharon-haliva-announces-resignation-over-october-7-failures/

Claire Parker, “Report says Israel has not provided evidence of widespread militancy among UNRWA staff,” Washington Post, April 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/04/22/unrwa-israel-hamas-report-palestinians/

Carla Bleiker, &lquo;Pro-Palestinian protests spread at US universities,” Deutsche Welle, April 23, 2024, https://www.dw.com/en/pro-palestinian-protests-spread-at-us-universities/a-68902360


Illiberalism

Gilead

Donald Trump
Coup attempt

2024

Fig. 1. Cartoon by Ben Jennings, January 24, 2024, via the Guardian,[2] fair use.

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, “Meadows, Giuliani and other Trump allies charged in Arizona 2020 election probe,” Washington Post, April 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/04/24/arizona-2020-election-charges-meadows-giuliani-ellis/


Neoliberalism

Work


Fig. 1. The spectre of Death, in the form of a large skeleton, rises with the smoke and flames of the burning Asch Building during the Triangle fire, as people jump and fall to their death. Artist unknown, from International Ladies Garment Workers Union Photographs (1885-1985) at The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

I think my question is how this rule banning noncompete agreements[3] survives a U.S. Supreme Court bent on at least rolling back, if not dismantling entirely, the “administrative state.”

Taylor Telford, “The FTC banned noncompetes. What that means for workers and companies,” Washington Post, April 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/04/24/non-compete-ban-workers-ftc-employers/


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Ben Jennings, “Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s progress along the Republican nomination trail – cartoon,” Guardian, January 24, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2024/jan/24/ben-jennings-on-donald-trumps-progress-along-the-republican-nomination-trail-cartoon
  3. [3]Taylor Telford, “The FTC banned noncompetes. What that means for workers and companies,” Washington Post, April 24, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/04/24/non-compete-ban-workers-ftc-employers/

Don’t hold your breath but it looks like Joe Biden may, after all, sanction one notorious unit of the Israel Defense Forces

Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

The reported US plan [to sanction a unit of the Israel Defense Forces notorious for human rights abuses] drew a scathing response from Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The IDF must not be sanctioned!” he wrote on X. “I’ve been working in recent weeks against the sanctioning of Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with the American administration.[2]

Oh, yeah, and Israel lies, lies, lies, and then lies again. In this case about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),[3] but surely we must assume more generally.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Jared Malsin and Nancy A. Youssef, “Biden Weighs More Than $1 Billion in New Arms for Israel,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/AYrD2jUG7Td29aUfmEPUWSw

Danielle Paquette et al., “House approves Ukraine, Israel aid bills,” Washington Post, April 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/

Barak Ravid, “U.S. expected to sanction IDF unit for human rights violations in West Bank,” Axios, April 20, 2024, https://www.axios.com/2024/04/20/us-israel-sanctions-idf-west-bank

Times of Israel, “Israel aghast as US said poised to sanction IDF unit with history of abuses,” April 21, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-aghast-as-us-said-poised-to-sanction-notorious-idf-unit-netanyahu-a-moral-low/

Emanuel Fabian, “‘I will always carry the pain’: IDF intel chief Aharon Haliva resigns over Oct. 7 failure,” Times of Israel, April 22, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-intel-chief-aharon-haliva-announces-resignation-over-october-7-failures/

Claire Parker, “Report says Israel has not provided evidence of widespread militancy among UNRWA staff,” Washington Post, April 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/04/22/unrwa-israel-hamas-report-palestinians/


Illiberalism

Gilead

Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2023-2024


Fig. 2. Photograph credited to Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, date inconsistent with title but given as November 9, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I suppose I’ll be hearing howls of “minority rule” from the Republicans now.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer with Tobi Raji, “The House has a bipartisan governing coalition,” Washington Post, April 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/22/house-has-bipartisan-governing-coalition/


Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh


Fig. 3. The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the “Golden Triangle” and downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph by author, October 15, 2023.

The old San Francisco taxi driver in me was absolutely proof positive certain he smelled corruption in Pittsburgh:[4]

In an interview last week, [City Council Solicitor Dan] Friedson said he “can’t think of a single reason” why a March 27 [city council] meeting on deer management, for example, should have been held away from the public eye. Similarly, he raised concerns about the lack of openness for a recent off-limits gathering concerning the city budget, a hot-button issue lately as the city’s controller has warned of looming fiscal turmoil for Pittsburgh.

“There’s nothing in the Sunshine Act that says you can take the public out of the budget (discussions),” he said. “That’s a problem.”[5]

It starts at the very top. They say they like to hash things out in private before making them public. They say there’s nothing untoward happening. They admit that many of these meetings should be public.[6] And that’s what they always say. Every single fucking time.

See if this report leads to a change in behavior. If it doesn’t, you can know—take it to the bank—that something very untoward is happening.

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh City Council’s private meetings raise questions about Sunshine Law compliance,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 22, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-city-councils-private-meetings-raise-questions-about-sunshine-law-compliance/


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “Israel aghast as US said poised to sanction IDF unit with history of abuses,” April 21, 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-aghast-as-us-said-poised-to-sanction-notorious-idf-unit-netanyahu-a-moral-low/
  3. [3]Claire Parker, “Report says Israel has not provided evidence of widespread militancy among UNRWA staff,” Washington Post, April 22, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/04/22/unrwa-israel-hamas-report-palestinians/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “It is what it is,” Not Housebroken, March 4, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/31/it-is-what-it-is/
  5. [5]Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh City Council’s private meetings raise questions about Sunshine Law compliance,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 22, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-city-councils-private-meetings-raise-questions-about-sunshine-law-compliance/
  6. [6]Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh City Council’s private meetings raise questions about Sunshine Law compliance,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 22, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-city-councils-private-meetings-raise-questions-about-sunshine-law-compliance/

House of Representatives finally passes aid for Ukraine (and Israel and Taiwan); the Speaker’s head may roll next

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Christopher Columbus statue


Fig. 1. Christopher Columbus statue in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park. Photograph by Darrell Sapp, apparently June 12, 2020, via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,[1] fair use.

Michael DiVittorio, “Commonwealth Court sends Christopher Columbus statue removal debate back to Allegheny County Court,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 19, 2024, https://triblive.com/local/commonwealth-court-sends-christopher-columbus-statue-removal-debate-back-to-allegheny-county-courts/


Imperialism

Israel

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 2. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[2] fair use.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Jared Malsin and Nancy A. Youssef, “Biden Weighs More Than $1 Billion in New Arms for Israel,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/AYrD2jUG7Td29aUfmEPUWSw

Danielle Paquette et al., “House approves Ukraine, Israel aid bills,” Washington Post, April 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 3. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[3] fair use.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Danielle Paquette et al., “House approves Ukraine, Israel aid bills,” Washington Post, April 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/

China

Taiwan

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Danielle Paquette et al., “House approves Ukraine, Israel aid bills,” Washington Post, April 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/


Illiberalism

Gilead

Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2023-2024


Fig. 4. Photograph credited to Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, date inconsistent with title but given as November 9, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Danielle Paquette et al., “House approves Ukraine, Israel aid bills,” Washington Post, April 20, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/


  1. [1]Jade Campos, “Columbus statue in Schenley Park vandalized,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 12, 2020, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2020/06/12/christopher-columbus-statue-vandalized-pittsburgh-phipps-schenley-park/stories/202006120120
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  3. [3]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

Tit for tat

Neoliberalism

Banking

Commercial real estate


Fig. 1. The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the “Golden Triangle” and downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph by author, October 15, 2023.

Telis Demos, “Banks Believe They Are Well-Prepared for Commercial Real Estate Fallout,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/Auxy455EZT2yG3JIzeZCrfQ


Imperialism

Israel


Fig. 2. John Bolton and Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference. Office of U.S. National Security Advisor, August 20, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I just don’t know what to make of all this tit-for-tat crap. Psychologically, it strikes me as schoolyard bullshit, but of course, weapons are being deployed, lives and property are at risk. I’m wondering if this is really about people who never really graduated high school.

Peter Beaumont and Julian Borger, “Israel has mounted airstrikes on Iran, US confirms, as Tehran plays down attack,” Guardian, April 19, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/19/israel-iran-airtstrikes-ifsahan-tabriz-drones-explosions

Dov Lieber et al., “Israel Strikes Iran in Narrow Attack Amid Escalation Fears,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/Af7SpZCIPSruOkyuqlBp8gw

Palestine

07_09:10:47-2
Fig. 3. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

We will continue to fund genocide:

A second bill would provide about $17 billion in offensive and defensive weapons for Israel, as well as just over $9 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and elsewhere.[2]

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Jared Malsin and Nancy A. Youssef, “Biden Weighs More Than $1 Billion in New Arms for Israel,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2024, https://apple.news/AYrD2jUG7Td29aUfmEPUWSw

China

Taiwan

The third bill would provide $8.1 billion for the Indo-Pacific region to deter China, and a fourth bill is full of Republican priorities, including banning TikTok and seizing Russian assets.[3]

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/

Russia

Ukraine


Fig. 4. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[4] fair use.

One bill provides $60 billion for Ukraine. Most of the money goes to U.S. weapons manufacturers to build back depleted U.S. weapons supplies, and about 20 percent of that goes directly to the country in the form of a loan. The president can cancel Ukraine’s debt, however, after Nov. 15.[5]

It’s awfully strange to me that Mike Johnson set the date that Joe Biden can cancel Ukraine’s debt to November 15.[6] It’s after election day but before inauguration. If I were Johnson, I’d have set if for after the inauguration, so that Donald Trump could make the decision.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/


Illiberalism

Gilead

Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2023-2024


Fig. 5. Photograph credited to Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, date inconsistent with title but given as November 9, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

It is still unclear if or when such a vote [on a motion to vacate] would be triggered, but the effort [initiated by Marjorie Taylor Greene] picked up a critical third ally Friday. Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), who was huddling with Greene on the floor, formally backed the motion after the House passed the foreign aid rule. With Republicans’ two-seat House margin, Gosar’s signature means the speaker could be ousted unless Democrats decide to rescue Johnson.[7]

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/
  3. [3]Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/
  4. [4]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  5. [5]Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/
  6. [6]Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/
  7. [7]Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor, “Bipartisan House coalition advances Ukraine aid,” Washington Post, April 19, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/04/19/israel-ukraine-aid-house-speaker-mike-johnson/