So many reasons to worry and an absolute crackpot in charge

Recession

We’ve already got so many reasons to worry.[1] Add softening of capital requirements and stress test requirements that had been imposed on banks following the financial crisis.[2] Really, just add the less publicized theme of the Trump presidency: de jure and de facto deregulation.[3]

Jeanna Smialek, Peter Eavis, and Emily Flitter, “Banks Want Efficiency. Critics Warn of Backsliding,” New York Times, August 20, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/business/bank-regulation-federal-reserve.html


Greenland

Hopefully, this will be the last word here on Donald Trump’s fantasy of buying Greenland.[4] It’s an authoritative last word. And for legal as well as political reasons, Trump’s fantasy is almost certainly just that: a fantasy.[5] Oh, and by the way, neoconservative wet dreams notwithstanding, the Pentagon probably wouldn’t even know what to do with it.[6]

Scott R. Anderson, “Why Trump Can’t Buy Greenland,” Lawfare, August 16, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/why-trump-cant-buy-greenland

Kyle Mizokami, “Why The Pentagon Wouldn’t Even Want Greenland,” Jalopnik, August 21, 2019, https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/why-the-pentagon-wouldn-t-even-want-greenland-1837415427


  1. [1]Rebecca Ballhaus and Nick Timiraos, “Officials See Few Options if Slowdown Hits,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/options-dwindle-to-boost-u-s-economic-growth-11566431581; Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; David Scutt, “The ‘doom loop’ that could bring on a global recession,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-doom-loop-could-bring-on-a-global-recession-20190815-p52h9v.html; Jeff Stein and Jonnelle Marte, “With deficit rising, worries grow the U.S. may be out of tools if recession hits,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/21/us-deficit-expand-by-more-than-billion-over-years-than-previously-expected-cbo-says/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  2. [2]Jeanna Smialek, Peter Eavis, and Emily Flitter, “Banks Want Efficiency. Critics Warn of Backsliding,” New York Times, August 20, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/business/bank-regulation-federal-reserve.html
  3. [3]Alex Leary, “Trump Administration Pushes to Deregulate With Less Enforcement,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-pushes-to-deregulate-with-less-enforcement-11561291201
  4. [4]Alex Leary, “White House Cancels Trump’s Visit to Denmark After Greenland Flap,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-he-will-postpone-meeting-with-denmark-prime-minister-11566347264; Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html; Alexandra Petri, “The Emperor’s New Island, a tale of Trump buying Greenland,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/16/emperors-new-island-tale-trump-buying-greenland/; Vivian Salama et al., “President Trump Eyes a New Real-Estate Purchase: Greenland,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-eyes-a-new-real-estate-purchase-greenland-11565904223; Vivian Salama and Andrew Restuccia, “Greenland Tells Trump: ‘We’re Open for Business, Not for Sale,’” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/greenland-tells-trump-were-open-for-business-not-for-sale-11565960064
  5. [5]Scott R. Anderson, “Why Trump Can’t Buy Greenland,” Lawfare, August 16, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/why-trump-cant-buy-greenland
  6. [6]Kyle Mizokami, “Why The Pentagon Wouldn’t Even Want Greenland,” Jalopnik, August 21, 2019, https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/why-the-pentagon-wouldn-t-even-want-greenland-1837415427

Watch how it all comes together: Recession (probably), Uber’s demise (probably), and a hard Brexit (probably)

Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled “Proof of investor irrationality: The case of Uber (and Lyft).” Remember that my argument has been that a recession—see below—might provide the company a psychological push off the cliff.[1]

Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural

Shirin Ghaffary, “DoorDash is still pocketing workers’ tips, almost a month after it promised to stop,” Vox, August 20, 2019, https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/8/20/20825937/doordash-tipping-policy-still-not-changed-food-delivery-app-gig-economy

Stephen Wilmot, “Uber’s Long Road to Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-long-road-to-profits-11566471068


Recession

Murphy’s Law dictates that “If anything can go wrong, it will.” MacGillicuddy’s Corollary suggests that it will do so “[a]t the most inopportune time.”[2] Some might say that with an utterly incompetent president who is utterly unprepared for a recession and an utterly incompetent administration,[3] so many reasons to worry,[4] and this president’s and this administration’s only answer amounting to scapegoating the media and the Federal Reserve,[5] this might be the time.

I suppose that might be true if you support Donald Trump.[6] For the rest of us, it’d probably be after he’s re-elected (assuming that happens). On the other hand, even if the neoliberal party, which worries a lot—seemingly even more than the Republicans[7]—about deficits and the accumulated federal debt, wins the 2020 presidential election, it still might not be able to do much about a recession.[8]

Rebecca Ballhaus and Nick Timiraos, “Officials See Few Options if Slowdown Hits,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/options-dwindle-to-boost-u-s-economic-growth-11566431581

Jeff Stein and Jonnelle Marte, “With deficit rising, worries grow the U.S. may be out of tools if recession hits,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/21/us-deficit-expand-by-more-than-billion-over-years-than-previously-expected-cbo-says/


Brexit

One of the recession concerns I’ve listed among many[9] has been rather specifically about spillage from a hard Brexit.[10] That remains on track[11] as, really, Europeans remain unyielding on the Irish backstop. Angela Merkel is making sure it’s Boris Johnson who gets the blame[12] and Emmanuel Macron argues (correctly, and understating it[13]) that the backstop would preserve Irish stability.[14]

Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz

Henry Zeffman, “Brexit: Angela Merkel’s 30-day gambit piles pressure on Boris Johnson,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/angela-merkels-30-day-gambit-piles-pressure-on-boris-johnson-ch559t90r


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Uber appears to be going down,” Not Housebroken, August 11, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/11/uber-appears-to-be-going-down/
  2. [2]Originally Sod’s Law, author unknown. Raanan Avidor, “Murphy’s laws,” Murphy’s laws site, n.d., http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-laws.html; Raanan Avidor, “Murphy’s laws origin,” Murphy’s laws site, n.d., http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html
  3. [3]Aaron Blake, “Maybe it’s time for Larry Kudlow to stop making predictions,” Washington Post, August 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/19/maybe-its-time-larry-kudlow-stop-making-predictions/; Catherine Rampell, “Trump has a dream team for mismanaging a recession,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-a-dream-team-for-mismanaging-a-recession/2019/08/15/0254451c-bf98-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html
  4. [4]Rebecca Ballhaus and Nick Timiraos, “Officials See Few Options if Slowdown Hits,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/options-dwindle-to-boost-u-s-economic-growth-11566431581; Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; David Scutt, “The ‘doom loop’ that could bring on a global recession,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-doom-loop-could-bring-on-a-global-recession-20190815-p52h9v.html; Jeff Stein and Jonnelle Marte, “With deficit rising, worries grow the U.S. may be out of tools if recession hits,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/21/us-deficit-expand-by-more-than-billion-over-years-than-previously-expected-cbo-says/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  5. [5]Stephen Collinson, “Fretful Trump goes on attack as economy fears cloud 2020 hopes,” CNN, August 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/19/politics/donald-trump-economy-2020-election-china-trade-war/index.html; Jeff Stein and Jonnelle Marte, “With deficit rising, worries grow the U.S. may be out of tools if recession hits,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/21/us-deficit-expand-by-more-than-billion-over-years-than-previously-expected-cbo-says/
  6. [6]Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073; Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  7. [7]Charles J. Sykes, “Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?” Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2017, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-sykes-gop-fiscal-20171110-story.html
  8. [8]Rebecca Ballhaus and Nick Timiraos, “Officials See Few Options if Slowdown Hits,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/options-dwindle-to-boost-u-s-economic-growth-11566431581; Jeff Stein and Jonnelle Marte, “With deficit rising, worries grow the U.S. may be out of tools if recession hits,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/21/us-deficit-expand-by-more-than-billion-over-years-than-previously-expected-cbo-says/
  9. [9]Rebecca Ballhaus and Nick Timiraos, “Officials See Few Options if Slowdown Hits,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/options-dwindle-to-boost-u-s-economic-growth-11566431581; Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; David Scutt, “The ‘doom loop’ that could bring on a global recession,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-doom-loop-could-bring-on-a-global-recession-20190815-p52h9v.html; Jeff Stein and Jonnelle Marte, “With deficit rising, worries grow the U.S. may be out of tools if recession hits,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/21/us-deficit-expand-by-more-than-billion-over-years-than-previously-expected-cbo-says/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  10. [10]Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/
  11. [11]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/18/could-parliaments-latest-amendment-stop-no-deal-brexit; Josh Wilson, “No-deal Brexit odds: Latest predictions on leaving the EU without a deal,” Telegraph, August 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/no-deal-brexit-odds-latest-predictions-leaving-eu-without-deal/
  12. [12]Henry Zeffman, “Brexit: Angela Merkel’s 30-day gambit piles pressure on Boris Johnson,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/angela-merkels-30-day-gambit-piles-pressure-on-boris-johnson-ch559t90r
  13. [13]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs
  14. [14]Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz

One way out of meeting that man

Greenland

I was hoping Denmark’s disinterest in selling Greenland was the end of the matter. And it was really rather petty that Donald Trump couldn’t think of anything worth meeting Denmark’s leader about other than buying Greenland.[1] And I figured being underappreciated[2] would have its benefits: Surely Mette Frederiksen was breathing a huge sigh of relief at not having to meet such a horrible man.

On Wednesday, Frederiksen joined a growing list of public figures — mostly women — whose words and deeds Trump has described as “nasty” since entering politics.[3]

But of course this is our racist, misogynist, delusional raging narcissist-in-chief we’re talking about. And Frederiksen had called the notion of selling Greenland to the U.S. “an absurd discussion.”[4] No matter that she was utterly diplomatic otherwise, even as other Danish lawmakers were outraged by Trump’s cancellation.[5] So Trump has created a diplomatic incident.[6]

Jim Townsend, who handled Arctic and Europe issues in the Pentagon under the Obama administration, said proposing to buy Greenland from Denmark at this point is “foolish and stupid.” But it is probably prompted in part by a growing realization across the U.S. government that more attention needs to be paid to the Arctic, in light of both climate change and Russia and China’s interest in the region, he said.[7]

In the meantime, call me paranoid, but I can’t help but wonder if Trump’s interest has something to do with the melting glaciers.[8] He denies climate change, let alone the crisis, so it’s a bit hard to imagine. But then we’re talking about insanity here and it’s best not to try to make any sense of it.

Seth Borenstein, “Greenland’s glaciers are melting. It’s as if Earth’s refrigerator door were left open,” Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2019-08-20/greenlands-glaciers-are-melting

Alex Leary, “White House Cancels Trump’s Visit to Denmark After Greenland Flap,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-he-will-postpone-meeting-with-denmark-prime-minister-11566347264

Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html


Wildlife

There is a new blog post entitled, “On feeding wildlife.”


Guns and racism

I’ve been pondering further my conflation of the gun rights movement with white supremacism.[9]

On the one hand, coming here to Pennsylvania from California, much is different. Racial divisions are much more apparent. It’s quite clear to me that many of the areas I travel on a near-daily area were redlined and that these are poorer, Blacker areas.

And the guns. My god, the guns. A local gun store, across from Allegheny County Airport, has a tank painted in a blue and white camouflage pattern out front. There’s no subtlety to it at all. Really no subtlety.

There’s no subtlety with the redlining either. Or that the guns seem concentrated around redlined areas. Along with all those oh-so-white Memorial Day banners commemorating war dead that are still nearly everywhere to be found.

It’s not the kind of argument I can put together as a syllogism. But in that tangled weave of braided cords we call culture, how can I separate them?

At the very least, there is something very sick here.

Now that school seems to be going back into session, I’ve actually seen a couple white people get pulled over in the last couple days. It’s a surprise, first, that there’s any traffic enforcement at all; and second, that whites are getting pulled over. Maybe the assholes in their testosterone trucks will have to behave themselves for a while.


Capitalism

There is another new blog post entitled, “Saving capitalism from itself. Again.

Stephen Bartholomeusz, “Listen up! Shareholder value no longer everything for big business,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 21, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/listen-up-shareholder-value-no-longer-everything-for-big-business-20190821-p52jau.html

David Ignatius, “Corporate panic about capitalism could be a turning point,” Washington Post, August 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/even-the-business-moguls-know-its-time-to-reform-capitalism/2019/08/20/95e4de74-c388-11e9-9986-1fb3e4397be4_story.html


Migration

The Flores rule has been troublesome for the Trump administration which has made clear its view that even having to provide bedding, showers, soap, and toothpaste to migrant children in concentration camps is an unacceptable imposition.[10] Now it moves to replace this rule, supposedly to allow children to be kept with their families longer,[11] but Marshall Fitz fears, really to remove any protection from migrant children in the camps whatsoever.[12]

Marshall Fitz, “The Trump administration’s new rule could prove devastating for migrant children at the border,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/08/21/trump-administrations-new-rule-could-prove-devastating-migrant-children-border/

Maria Sacchetti, “Trump administration moves to terminate court agreement, hold migrant children and parents longer,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-administration-moves-to-terminate-court-agreement-hold-migrant-children-and-parents-longer/2019/08/21/c268bb44-c28b-11e9-9986-1fb3e4397be4_story.html


Anti-Semitism

What does anti-Semitism even mean anymore?

Certainly Donald Trump’s remarks[13] were ignorant. Certainly they were stupid. Certainly they reflect a narcissistic self-image. None of that’s new.

But I think when the meaning of the term anti-Semitism expands to the extent it seems to have here,[14] it has lost all meaning.

Marcy Oster, “Jewish groups see Trump’s disloyalty remarks as ‘dangerous’ and ‘textbook anti-Semitism,’” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 21, 2019, https://www.jta.org/2019/08/21/united-states/jewish-groups-see-trumps-disloyalty-remarks-as-dangerous-and-textbook-anti-semitism


  1. [1]Alex Leary, “White House Cancels Trump’s Visit to Denmark After Greenland Flap,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-he-will-postpone-meeting-with-denmark-prime-minister-11566347264
  2. [2]Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html
  3. [3]Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html
  4. [4]Mette Frederiksen, quoted in Alex Leary, “White House Cancels Trump’s Visit to Denmark After Greenland Flap,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-he-will-postpone-meeting-with-denmark-prime-minister-11566347264
  5. [5]Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html
  6. [6]Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html
  7. [7]Rick Noack, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump attacks Danish prime minister for her ‘nasty’ comments about his interest in U.S. purchase of Greenland,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/danes-furious-over-postponement-of-trumps-visit-call-his-behavior-insulting/2019/08/21/82d0a5f4-c3b8-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html
  8. [8]Seth Borenstein, “Greenland’s glaciers are melting. It’s as if Earth’s refrigerator door were left open,” Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2019-08-20/greenlands-glaciers-are-melting
  9. [9]David Benfell, “‘Gun rights’ as white supremacism,” Not Housebroken, August 4, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/04/gun-rights-as-white-supremacism/
  10. [10]Maura Dolan, “Court upholds ruling that children held at border must have adequate food, bedding, sanitation,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-15/children-border-sanitary-conditions-flores-agreement-9th-circuit; Miriam Jordan, “Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas,” New York Times, June 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/migrant-children-detention-texas.html; Ken White, “Why a Government Lawyer Argued Against Giving Immigrant Kids Toothbrushes,” Atlantic, June 23, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/why-sarah-fabian-argued-against-giving-kids-toothbrushes/592366/
  11. [11]Maria Sacchetti, “Trump administration moves to terminate court agreement, hold migrant children and parents longer,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-administration-moves-to-terminate-court-agreement-hold-migrant-children-and-parents-longer/2019/08/21/c268bb44-c28b-11e9-9986-1fb3e4397be4_story.html
  12. [12]Marshall Fitz, “The Trump administration’s new rule could prove devastating for migrant children at the border,” Washington Post, August 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/08/21/trump-administrations-new-rule-could-prove-devastating-migrant-children-border/
  13. [13]Marcy Oster, “Jewish groups see Trump’s disloyalty remarks as ‘dangerous’ and ‘textbook anti-Semitism,’” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 21, 2019, https://www.jta.org/2019/08/21/united-states/jewish-groups-see-trumps-disloyalty-remarks-as-dangerous-and-textbook-anti-semitism
  14. [14]Marcy Oster, “Jewish groups see Trump’s disloyalty remarks as ‘dangerous’ and ‘textbook anti-Semitism,’” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 21, 2019, https://www.jta.org/2019/08/21/united-states/jewish-groups-see-trumps-disloyalty-remarks-as-dangerous-and-textbook-anti-semitism

Surprise! Surprise! Resistance in Kashmir

Kashmir

The Reuters story is about one neighborhood.[1] There’s no word on to what degree such resistance might also be occurring elsewhere in Kashmir or on what shape other forms of resistance might be taking.

That Indian forces haven’t already crushed this resistance suggests to me 1) that India fears bad publicity, either internationally or domestically as its dubious claims of Kashmiri backing for its moves are unmasked, or 2) that the army is stretched thin, in part because of the face off with Pakistan at the Line of Control and in part because of resistance in other locations, or 3) some combination of more than one of these factors. But I just don’t know.

Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari, “Besieged Kashmiri neighborhood in test of wills with India’s Modi,” Reuters, August 19, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-hotbed-insight/besieged-kashmiri-neighborhood-in-test-of-wills-with-indias-modi-idUSKCN1V921T


Pacific Gas and Electric

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) had been cleared by the State of California of blame for the Tubbs fire that burned through large parts of Santa Rosa in 2017,[2] but a bankruptcy judge is allowing suits to proceed against the company,[3] which surely has far deeper pockets than the homeowner whose private equipment the state blames.[4]

PG&E stock and bonds “plunged” in response,[5] but it had “soared, closing up 75 percent on Thursday [January 24] at $13.95,” following the state’s decision.[6] “The stock ended the day [August 19] at $10.67, a drop of 25.3%.”[7] I’ll leave the arithmetic here to others but it sounds to me like investors should, in aggregate, still be ahead on the deal.

I’m no fan of PG&E and I couldn’t care less about its investors—they accepted a risk with their investments and if they don’t like that risk, they shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place. But presumably, the state’s conclusion will weigh heavily against the plaintiffs.

Joe Ryan and Mark Chediak, “PG&E stock craters after ruling Tubbs fire suit can proceed,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 19, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/9924652-181/pge-stock-craters-after-ruling


Brexit

Boris Johnson’s latest demand that the European Union drop the Irish backstop was just more of the same old bullshit and the E.U. is responding accordingly.[8]

France24, “EU rejects Johnson’s demand to scrap Irish backstop,” August 20, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190820-eu-rejects-johnson-s-demand-to-scrap-irish-backstop

Rebecca Staudenmaier, “Brexit: UK to end EU freedom of movement immediately in no-deal scenario,” Deutschewelle, August 20, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-uk-to-end-eu-freedom-of-movement-immediately-in-no-deal-scenario/a-50090564


Donald Trump

George Monbiot blamed Donald Trump’s election on the absence of a competing narrative to neoliberalism.[9] I still don’t really see that narrative. Even ideas such as the “green new deal” need to be fleshed out—and it seems like to the extent that they are, they lose credibility—it seems unlikely they could ever actually be enacted.

Monbiot’s point stands, even if it is an incomplete explanation. For a lot of people, including me, whom the neoliberal party (the so-called Democratic Party) ignores at its peril, neoliberalism is as evil and as fascist as Trump.


Guns

Just in case you thought this time might be different.

Jack Crowe, “Trump Assures NRA President That Universal Background Check Bill Is off the Table: Report,” National Review, August 20, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/trump-assures-nra-president-universal-background-check-bill-off-the-table/

Elaina Plott, “Trump’s Phone Calls With Wayne LaPierre Reveal NRA’s Influence,” Atlantic, August 20, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/trump-background-checks-nra/596413/


Climate change

The news on climate change keeps turning out to be worse than the predictions we had only just previously heard. Now we’re starting to see why. It’s phrased differently from how I have phrased it and in more detail, but the upshot is similar: scientists feel pressure not to appear to be exaggerating their findings.[10]

Naomi Oreskes, Michael Oppenheimer, and Dale Jamieson, “Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change,” Scientific American, August 19, 2019, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/


  1. [1]Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari, “Besieged Kashmiri neighborhood in test of wills with India’s Modi,” Reuters, August 19, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-hotbed-insight/besieged-kashmiri-neighborhood-in-test-of-wills-with-indias-modi-idUSKCN1V921T
  2. [2]Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, “PG&E Is Cleared in Deadly Tubbs Fire of 2017,” New York Times, January 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/business/energy-environment/pge-tubbs-fire.html
  3. [3]Joe Ryan and Mark Chediak, “PG&E stock craters after ruling Tubbs fire suit can proceed,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 19, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/9924652-181/pge-stock-craters-after-ruling
  4. [4]Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, “PG&E Is Cleared in Deadly Tubbs Fire of 2017,” New York Times, January 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/business/energy-environment/pge-tubbs-fire.html
  5. [5]Joe Ryan and Mark Chediak, “PG&E stock craters after ruling Tubbs fire suit can proceed,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 19, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/9924652-181/pge-stock-craters-after-ruling
  6. [6]Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, “PG&E Is Cleared in Deadly Tubbs Fire of 2017,” New York Times, January 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/business/energy-environment/pge-tubbs-fire.html
  7. [7]Joe Ryan and Mark Chediak, “PG&E stock craters after ruling Tubbs fire suit can proceed,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 19, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/9924652-181/pge-stock-craters-after-ruling
  8. [8]France24, “EU rejects Johnson’s demand to scrap Irish backstop,” August 20, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190820-eu-rejects-johnson-s-demand-to-scrap-irish-backstop
  9. [9]George Monbiot, “The Deep History Behind Trump’s Rise,” November 15, 2016, https://www.monbiot.com/2016/11/15/the-deep-history-behind-trumps-rise/
  10. [10]Naomi Oreskes, Michael Oppenheimer, and Dale Jamieson, “Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change,” Scientific American, August 19, 2019, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/

Lies, damned lies, and … economics

Recession

There is a new blog post entitled, “Lies, damned lies, and … economics. Oh, and Donald Trump.”

Aaron Blake, “Maybe it’s time for Larry Kudlow to stop making predictions,” Washington Post, August 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/19/maybe-its-time-larry-kudlow-stop-making-predictions/

Stephen Collinson, “Fretful Trump goes on attack as economy fears cloud 2020 hopes,” CNN, August 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/19/politics/donald-trump-economy-2020-election-china-trade-war/index.html


Jews as ‘the other’

Migrants

Jews who support Binyamin Netanyahu, his embrace of Donald Trump,[1] his government’s and his country’s treatment of “the other” as Palestinians,[2] his government’s treatment of “the other” as Jewish migrants of color,[3] and his government’s treatment of “the other” even as non-orthodox Jews,[4] should consider when Jews were fleeing the Holocaust, when they were “the other,” when they were turned away from U.S. shores on substantially the same grounds that Donald Trump’s government now turns away and seeks to turn away migrants today.[5]

Cathryn J. Prince, “Nearly turned back, a ship of Holocaust refugees got help from Eleanor Roosevelt,” Times of Israel, August 15, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/nearly-turned-back-a-ship-of-holocaust-refugees-got-help-from-eleanor-roosevelt/


Bernie Sanders

There is a new blog post entitled, “Bernie Sanders’ self-destruction.”


Brexit

I had already noted that a hard Brexit will be a calamity.[6] Subsequently, it became clear that British businesses were not buying Boris Johnson’s rose-colored bullshit, that they were already preparing for that calamity, and that economic activity was already suffering as a result.[7] Now we have confirmation from within the government[8] of the earlier Institute for Government report[9] warning of that calamity. Johnson’s apologists reply that the document was prepared while Theresa May was still prime minister and does not reflect Johnson’s government’s preparations.[10] Which still sounds like rose-colored bullshit.

Bobby Allyn and Frank Langfitt, “Leaked Brexit Document Depicts Government Fears Of Gridlock, Food Shortages, Unrest,” National Public Radio, August 18, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/18/752173091/leaked-brexit-document-depicts-government-fears-of-gridlock-food-shortages-unres


  1. [1]Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/
  2. [2]Mohamed Mohamed, “Right of return is the heart of Palestine’s struggle,” Electronic Intifada, September 6, 2016, https://electronicintifada.net/content/right-return-heart-palestines-struggle/17856
  3. [3]Oren Liebermann, “An off-duty police officer shot dead an unarmed black teen, sparking riots. But it didn’t happen where you think,” CNN, July 4, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/04/middleeast/ethiopia-israel-protests-analysis-oren-intl/index.html
  4. [4]i24 News, “Israeli lawmakers to demand official recognition of non-Orthodox movements,” November 5, 2018, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/187989-181105-israeli-lawmakers-to-demand-official-recognition-of-non-orthodox-movements
  5. [5]Cathryn J. Prince, “Nearly turned back, a ship of Holocaust refugees got help from Eleanor Roosevelt,” Times of Israel, August 15, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/nearly-turned-back-a-ship-of-holocaust-refugees-got-help-from-eleanor-roosevelt/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Boris Johnson might think he’s playing poker with the European Union, but he’s actually playing ‘chicken’—with a brick wall,” Not Housebroken, August 2, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/02/boris-johnson-might-think-hes-playing-poker-with-the-european-union-but-hes-actually-playing-chicken-with-a-brick-wall/
  7. [7]Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/
  8. [8]Bobby Allyn and Frank Langfitt, “Leaked Brexit Document Depicts Government Fears Of Gridlock, Food Shortages, Unrest,” National Public Radio, August 18, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/18/752173091/leaked-brexit-document-depicts-government-fears-of-gridlock-food-shortages-unres
  9. [9]Lisa O’Carroll and Rowena Mason, “Johnson told no-deal Brexit will crush domestic policy plans,” Guardian, July 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/28/boris-johnson-ifg-no-deal-brexit-crush-domestic-policy-plans
  10. [10]Bobby Allyn and Frank Langfitt, “Leaked Brexit Document Depicts Government Fears Of Gridlock, Food Shortages, Unrest,” National Public Radio, August 18, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/18/752173091/leaked-brexit-document-depicts-government-fears-of-gridlock-food-shortages-unres

Lunarchy?

The word I’m looking for, like anarchy is supposed to be “without a chief”[1] or oligarchy is supposed to be “a small group of people having control of a country or organization,”[2] is a word for rule by lunatics, as “extremely foolish or eccentric [people].”[3] Alas, a Google search on the term lunarchy turns up a project of the “Radical Anthropology Group,” which advocates “[r]ule by the moon hark[ing] back to an egalitarian lifestyle forged in a revolution.”[4] Not the same idea at all, and in fact, rather specifically, a worthy refutation to the word I would propose.


Well, not quite. There’s also Brexit and Kashmir. Israel doesn’t count as an exception because Binyamin Netanyahu is in love with Donald Trump.[5] But yeah, almost.


Brexit

I think I should have seen this one coming.

The parliament that cannot agree on anything Brexit[6] seems not to be coming together under Jeremy Corbyn’s plan for a unity government,[7] whether with Corbyn on top or anybody else, or even, it would seem, on the question of what a unity government should do when (and if) it assumes power.[8] Words fail me. I’m utterly flabbergasted.

Meanwhile, calamity[9] looms as the legal default.[10]

Jessica Elgot, “No-deal Brexit edges closer as key Tories refuse to back Corbyn,” Guardian, August 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/16/sadiq-khan-lib-dems-jo-swinson-corbyn-only-viable-pm-stop-no-deal-brexit


Elon Musk

I heard that Elon Musk wanted to nuke Mars but not in any media I deemed even remotely reliable.

So now, here it is. Musk has gone off the deep end. He’s completely bonkers. Right up there with Donald Trump.[11] But then, I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise.[12] That Tesla turnover rate is kinda high, too,[13] albeit not as high as in Trump’s White House executive office.[14]

There’s a reason you need to get enough sleep at night.[15]

Tristan Greene, “Here’s the stupid reason Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars,” Next Web, August 16, 2019, https://thenextweb.com/distract/2019/08/16/heres-the-stupid-reason-elon-musk-wants-to-nuke-mars/


Pittsburgh

So this was Donald Trump’s trip to a Shell plant in Beaver County,[16] where he took credit for a plant being constructed that had been approved well before he took office.[17] Apparently he got a large crowd. And apparently workers who didn’t show up might lose $700 for the day’s pay. Also, they didn’t get a lunch break. And apparently the union leadership was okay with all this.[18]

Anya Litvak, “Trump’s large union crowd at Shell was given the option of not showing up — and not getting paid,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 16, 2019, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2019/08/16/Trump-speech-union-crowd-Shell-ethane-plant-natural-gas-beaver-county-pennsylvania-attendance-pay-overtime/stories/201908160113


Social conservatives

Evangelical Protestants who support Donald Trump are not the whole of evangelical Protestantism. Those who do often do so because he is carving out a space for them to live according to their faith and because he is getting results where previous presidents who professed their flavor of piety failed to deliver.[19] This is pretty much consistent with what I’ve seen previously.[20] It’s unlikely to change in 2020 and because evangelical Protestants are pleased with what Trump has delivered, his support among social conservatives may in fact increase.[21]

There is a real problem in that enabling evangelical Protestants to live—and proselytize—according to their beliefs is fundamentally incompatible with a secular society.[22] In essence, they demand that society conform to their beliefs and be receptive to their message, even when their beliefs contradict other beliefs and even when their messages contradict other messages. The result is, inevitably, the hierarchically invidious monistic “us” versus “them” perspective that Trump exploits and enables[23] in a fascist feedback.[24]

Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/


Kashmir

I disagree with Chidanand Rajghatta’s analysis. It’s not, as Rajghatta suggests, that the United Nations Security Council agree to discuss Kashmir at all, albeit behind closed doors and informally, or that China and Pakistan are isolated in pushing for a formal meeting,[25] but rather that the rest of the world doesn’t care about Kashmir.

Which is very bad news for Muslims in Kashmir.

Chidanand Rajghatta, “Did India take down Pakistan 14-1 at United Nations Security Council?” Times of India, August 17, 2019, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/did-india-take-down-pakistan-14-1-at-united-nations-security-council/articleshow/70717268.cms


  1. [1]Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd ed., s.v. “anarchy.”
  2. [2]Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd ed., s.v. “oligarchy.”
  3. [3]Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd ed., s.v. “lunatic.”
  4. [4]Radical Anthropology Group, “Lunarchy,” n.d., http://lunarchy.weebly.com/
  5. [5]Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/
  6. [6]Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/01/brexit-deadlock-continues-as-mps-fail-to-find-compromise
  7. [7]Al Jazeera, “UK’s Labour vows to oust Johnson, delay Brexit and call election,” August 14, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/uk-labour-vows-oust-johnson-delay-brexit-call-election-190814163557439.html; Camilla Tominey, “Jeremy Corbyn writes to MPs in bid to oust Boris Johnson over Brexit,” Telegraph, August 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/14/jeremy-corbyn-writes-mps-say-make-pm-stop-no-deal-brexit-cross/
  8. [8]Jessica Elgot, “No-deal Brexit edges closer as key Tories refuse to back Corbyn,” Guardian, August 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/16/sadiq-khan-lib-dems-jo-swinson-corbyn-only-viable-pm-stop-no-deal-brexit
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Boris Johnson might think he’s playing poker with the European Union, but he’s actually playing ‘chicken’—with a brick wall,” Not Housebroken, August 2, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/02/boris-johnson-might-think-hes-playing-poker-with-the-european-union-but-hes-actually-playing-chicken-with-a-brick-wall/
  10. [10]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/18/could-parliaments-latest-amendment-stop-no-deal-brexit; Josh Wilson, “No-deal Brexit odds: Latest predictions on leaving the EU without a deal,” Telegraph, August 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/no-deal-brexit-odds-latest-predictions-leaving-eu-without-deal/
  11. [11]Tristan Greene, “Here’s the stupid reason Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars,” Next Web, August 16, 2019, https://thenextweb.com/distract/2019/08/16/heres-the-stupid-reason-elon-musk-wants-to-nuke-mars/
  12. [12]Alistair Walsh, “Elon Musk won’t stop calling diver a pedophile,” Deutschewelle, September 5, 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/elon-musk-wont-stop-calling-diver-a-pedophile/a-45372611
  13. [13]Russ Mitchell, “If Elon Musk is your boss, get your resume ready,” Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-15/elon-musk-tesla-executive-turnover
  14. [14]Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, “Tracking turnover in the Trump administration,” Brookings, August 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/
  15. [15]Nathan Crooks, “Elon Musk Says You Can Change the World Working 80 Hours a Week,” Bloomberg, November 26, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-26/elon-musk-says-you-can-change-the-world-working-80-hours-a-week
  16. [16]Eric Heyl, “Trump To Tour Shell Cracker Plant, Protesters Anticipated,” Patch, August 13, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gt595/trump-to-tour-shell-cracker-plant-protesters-anticipated
  17. [17]Eric Heyl, “Trump Takes Credit For Plant Announced 5 Years Before Presidency,” Patch, August 13, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gt5wi/trump-takes-credit-for-plant-announced-5-years-before-presidency
  18. [18]Anya Litvak, “Trump’s large union crowd at Shell was given the option of not showing up — and not getting paid,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 16, 2019, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2019/08/16/Trump-speech-union-crowd-Shell-ethane-plant-natural-gas-beaver-county-pennsylvania-attendance-pay-overtime/stories/201908160113
  19. [19]Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/
  20. [20]Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/; Mark Galli, “The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election,” Christianity Today, December 12, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/roy-moore-doug-jones-alabama-editorial.htm; Sarah Jones, “What Roy Moore Did to the Pro-Life Movement,” New Republic, December 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/146274/roy-moore-pro-life-movement; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  21. [21]Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/
  22. [22]Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  23. [23]Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/
  24. [24]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/
  25. [25]Chidanand Rajghatta, “Did India take down Pakistan 14-1 at United Nations Security Council?” Times of India, August 17, 2019, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/did-india-take-down-pakistan-14-1-at-united-nations-security-council/articleshow/70717268.cms

How the hell?

Kashmir

I don’t doubt the seriousness of the situation in Kashmir,[1] but there are some seriously unanswered questions in the Wall Street Journal’s report.[2]

Allegedly, “[s]ecurity personnel in the area said they had orders to make sure no one left their homes unless it was a medical emergency” and allegedly there is a near-total communications and Internet blackout.[3] So how does anyone visit anyone to conduct interviews? How are people not starving in their houses? What about utility services? This makes no sense.

Niharika Mandhana, “Kashmir Seethes Under Indian Security Clampdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kashmir-seethes-under-indian-security-clampdown-11565899945


Criminal injustice

Jarryd Bartle, “We know that prison doesn’t work. So what are the alternatives?” Guardian, August 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/16/we-know-that-prison-doesnt-work-so-what-are-the-alternatives


Recession

The Trump administration is treating the possibility or probability of a recession as a psychological problem,[4] which it is,[5] but as if there were no actual causes to to worry about, which there are.[6] Utterly in denial, the Trump administration is failing to respond to the risk, instead blaming the news media and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.[7] None of this will help Trump’s re-election prospects if there is indeed a downturn.[8] Nor will it help us.[9]

Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073

Catherine Rampell, “Trump has a dream team for mismanaging a recession,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-a-dream-team-for-mismanaging-a-recession/2019/08/15/0254451c-bf98-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html

Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html


Jeffrey Epstein

There is a new blog post entitled, “What the hell is going on with the prison video from around the time of Jeffrey Epstein’s death?” This originally got published in the wrong place. That error has now been rectified.

The coroner has ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide by hanging. Epstein’s lawyers aren’t satisfied and I think they’re right to demand the video evidence[10] that seems to have gone missing.[11]

Evan Perez and Mark Morales, “Basic facts about Epstein’s suicide elude investigators 5 days later,” CNN, August 15, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/15/politics/jeffrey-epstein-prison-suicide-questions/index.html

Devlin Barrett, “Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy concludes his death was a suicide by hanging,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/jeffrey-epsteins-autopsy-concludes-his-death-was-a-suicide-by-hanging/2019/08/16/bb670d58-c053-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html


Israel

It has certainly been reasonable to accuse U.S. politicians of putting support for Israel, presumably to attract favor from Jewish voters, above the interests of the country.[12] Now Binyamin Netanyahu, whose government has apparently repudiated a two-state solution,[13] is accused of putting allegiance to Donald Trump ahead of Israeli interests.[14]

Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/


Migration

Brent Kendall and Louise Radnofsky, “Appeals Court Narrows Injunction Barring Trump Asylum Restrictions,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/appeals-court-narrows-injunction-barring-trump-asylum-restrictions-11565972193


Greenland

main_1500
Not for sale.[15] Undated photograph by Felipe Dana, Associated Press, via the Atlantic.

Alexandra Petri, “The Emperor’s New Island, a tale of Trump buying Greenland,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/16/emperors-new-island-tale-trump-buying-greenland/

Vivian Salama et al., “President Trump Eyes a New Real-Estate Purchase: Greenland,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-eyes-a-new-real-estate-purchase-greenland-11565904223

Vivian Salama and Andrew Restuccia, “Greenland Tells Trump: ‘We’re Open for Business, Not for Sale,’” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/greenland-tells-trump-were-open-for-business-not-for-sale-11565960064


  1. [1]Niha Masih, “India revokes special status of Kashmir, putting tense region on edge,” Washington Post, August 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/india-revokes-special-status-of-kashmir-putting-tense-region-on-edge/2019/08/05/2232fcd0-b740-11e9-8e83-4e6687e99814_story.html
  2. [2]Niharika Mandhana, “Kashmir Seethes Under Indian Security Clampdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kashmir-seethes-under-indian-security-clampdown-11565899945
  3. [3]Niharika Mandhana, “Kashmir Seethes Under Indian Security Clampdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kashmir-seethes-under-indian-security-clampdown-11565899945
  4. [4]Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “As a possible or probable recession looms, neoliberalism evades challenge. Yet again,” Not Housebroken, August 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/14/as-a-possible-or-probable-recession-looms-neoliberalism-evades-challenge-yet-again/
  6. [6]Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  7. [7]Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073; Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  8. [8]Aaron Blake, “How a recession could doom Trump’s 2020 reelection,” Washington Post, August 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/12/how-recession-could-doom-trumps-reelection/; Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073; Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  9. [9]Catherine Rampell, “Trump has a dream team for mismanaging a recession,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-a-dream-team-for-mismanaging-a-recession/2019/08/15/0254451c-bf98-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html
  10. [10]Devlin Barrett, “Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy concludes his death was a suicide by hanging,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/jeffrey-epsteins-autopsy-concludes-his-death-was-a-suicide-by-hanging/2019/08/16/bb670d58-c053-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html
  11. [11]Evan Perez and Mark Morales, “Basic facts about Epstein’s suicide elude investigators 5 days later,” CNN, August 15, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/15/politics/jeffrey-epstein-prison-suicide-questions/index.html
  12. [12]Thaddeus Russell, “Does U.S. Support for Israel Threaten American Safety?” Daily Beast, July 14, 2017, https://www.thedailybeast.com/thaddeus-russell-does-us-support-for-israel-threaten-american-safety
  13. [13]Michael Arria, “Israeli lawmakers to Congress: two-state solution far more dangerous to Israel than BDS,” Mondoweiss, August 13, 2019, https://mondoweiss.net/2019/08/lawmakers-congress-dangerous/; Gil Hoffman, “Israeli MKs to Congress: Thanks, but BDS bill ‘dangerous for
    Israel,’” Jerusalem Post, August 12, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Israeli-MKs-to-Congress-Thanks-but-BDS-bill-dangerous-for-Israel-598392
  14. [14]Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/
  15. [15]Vivian Salama and Andrew Restuccia, “Greenland Tells Trump: ‘We’re Open for Business, Not for Sale,’” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/greenland-tells-trump-were-open-for-business-not-for-sale-11565960064

Jeremy Corbyn has a plan.

Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn has a plan. It’s not clear that it will work. It would likely go to court. But he has a plan.[1]

Al Jazeera, “UK’s Labour vows to oust Johnson, delay Brexit and call election,” August 14, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/uk-labour-vows-oust-johnson-delay-brexit-call-election-190814163557439.html

Camilla Tominey, “Jeremy Corbyn writes to MPs in bid to oust Boris Johnson over Brexit,” Telegraph, August 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/14/jeremy-corbyn-writes-mps-say-make-pm-stop-no-deal-brexit-cross/


My old high school

There is a new blog post entitled, “A non-conformist mural and a non-conformist kid: Why the mural still must be covered up.

Carol Pogash, “San Francisco School Board Votes to Hide, but Not Destroy, Disputed Murals,” New York Times, August 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/arts/san-francisco-murals-george-washington.html


Recession

Pretty much[2] as I said yesterday.[3] To me, and I don’t think this is quite true, it’s as if the numbers are following the psychology. It might be that reporting on the numbers[4] follows the psychology, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.[5]

Josh Mitchell and Jon Hilsenrath, “Warning Signs Point to a Global Slowdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/warning-signs-point-to-a-global-slowdown-11565814494

David Scutt, “The ‘doom loop’ that could bring on a global recession,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-doom-loop-could-bring-on-a-global-recession-20190815-p52h9v.html


Jeffrey Epstein

There is another new blog entry entitled, “Wait, what? Jeffrey Epstein strangled? Probably not. Only probably.

Carol D. Leonnig and Aaron C. Davis, “Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/autopsy-finds-broken-bones-in-jeffrey-epsteins-neck-deepening-questions-around-his-death/2019/08/14/d09ac934-bdd9-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html


Migration

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it took so long for this ruling to come out. This is the case in which a Department of Justice lawyer was trying to argue that enumerated items, that is, “adequate food, water, bedding, toothbrushes and soap,”[6] amounted to a modification of the Flores agreement requiring safe and sanitary conditions for detained migrant children. It was not a persuasive argument, but it was apparently the only way the government even could appeal, and it was pretty clear that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would do[7] just what it did today,[8] upholding Judge Dolly Gee’s order for an rapid improvement in conditions. The government was whining that it couldn’t comply given a surge of migrants[9] and no doubt, the Trump administration will try to find a way to appeal this ruling nonetheless.

Maura Dolan, “Court upholds ruling that children held at border must have adequate food, bedding, sanitation,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-15/children-border-sanitary-conditions-flores-agreement-9th-circuit


  1. [1]Al Jazeera, “UK’s Labour vows to oust Johnson, delay Brexit and call election,” August 14, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/uk-labour-vows-oust-johnson-delay-brexit-call-election-190814163557439.html; Camilla Tominey, “Jeremy Corbyn writes to MPs in bid to oust Boris Johnson over Brexit,” Telegraph, August 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/14/jeremy-corbyn-writes-mps-say-make-pm-stop-no-deal-brexit-cross/
  2. [2]David Scutt, “The ‘doom loop’ that could bring on a global recession,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-doom-loop-could-bring-on-a-global-recession-20190815-p52h9v.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “As a possible or probable recession looms, neoliberalism evades challenge. Yet again,” Not Housebroken, August 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/14/as-a-possible-or-probable-recession-looms-neoliberalism-evades-challenge-yet-again/
  4. [4]Josh Mitchell and Jon Hilsenrath, “Warning Signs Point to a Global Slowdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/warning-signs-point-to-a-global-slowdown-11565814494
  5. [5]David Scutt, “The ‘doom loop’ that could bring on a global recession,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-doom-loop-could-bring-on-a-global-recession-20190815-p52h9v.html
  6. [6]Maura Dolan, “Court upholds ruling that children held at border must have adequate food, bedding, sanitation,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-15/children-border-sanitary-conditions-flores-agreement-9th-circuit
  7. [7]Ken White, “Why a Government Lawyer Argued Against Giving Immigrant Kids Toothbrushes,” Atlantic, June 23, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/why-sarah-fabian-argued-against-giving-kids-toothbrushes/592366/
  8. [8]Maura Dolan, “Court upholds ruling that children held at border must have adequate food, bedding, sanitation,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-15/children-border-sanitary-conditions-flores-agreement-9th-circuit
  9. [9]Miriam Jordan, “Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas,” New York Times, June 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/migrant-children-detention-texas.html