The west on fire

Fires

So here I was, stopped somewhere for lunch, checking my email. I got to a Washington Post newsletter and found this (figure 1):

Fig. 1. Map of fires out west since August, from the Washington Post, September 10, 2020.

I hadn’t realized just how much territory had burned. I’ve been focused on the Walbridge Fire, for which I received notifications the other day that the last evacuation warning zones had been cleared, because it’s closest to my mother’s house. As terrible as that fire was, others have covered much more territory. There are active major fires burning in California, Oregon, and Washington.


Donald Trump lied

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 10, 2020, at 4:58 am.
  2. September 10, 8:29 am:
  3. September 11, 9:44 am:
    • Rosa Brooks has a review of Bob Woodward’s book. She is blistering toward Donald Trump in all the expected ways—indeed, in all the ways she herself says should be expected—but when she turns to Trump’s enablers and sycophants, she includes Woodward himself, writing, “His scoops derive from his ability to convince people who should know better that he’s really on their side; it’s a journalistic technique that requires the reporter to flatter rather than challenge.”[1] In this book, we are, as I thought,[2] seeing documentation and confirmation of what has long been known.[3] Even if it indeed doesn’t make a difference in November, that’s still valuable in its own right.[4]

Donald Trump

The text originally here has been reworked into a new blog post entitled, “Bob Woodward’s book won’t matter in November.”

Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, “Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans,” Washington Post, September 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bob-woodward-rage-book-trump/2020/09/09/0368fe3c-efd2-11ea-b4bc-3a2098fc73d4_story.html

Rosa Brooks, “Woodward’s ‘Rage’ is a damning account of Trump’s cowering sycophants and enablers,” review of Rage, by Bob Woodward, Washington Post, September 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/woodwards-rage-is-a-damning-account-of-trumps-cowering-sycophants-and-enablers/2020/09/10/dab8917a-f2d6-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html


  1. [1]Rosa Brooks, “Woodward’s ‘Rage’ is a damning account of Trump’s cowering sycophants and enablers,” review of Rage, by Bob Woodward, Washington Post, September 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/woodwards-rage-is-a-damning-account-of-trumps-cowering-sycophants-and-enablers/2020/09/10/dab8917a-f2d6-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Bob Woodward’s book won’t matter in November,” Not Housebroken, September 10, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/10/bob-woodwards-book-wont-matter-in-november/
  3. [3]Rosa Brooks, “Woodward’s ‘Rage’ is a damning account of Trump’s cowering sycophants and enablers,” review of Rage, by Bob Woodward, Washington Post, September 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/woodwards-rage-is-a-damning-account-of-trumps-cowering-sycophants-and-enablers/2020/09/10/dab8917a-f2d6-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Bob Woodward’s book won’t matter in November,” Not Housebroken, September 10, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/10/bob-woodwards-book-wont-matter-in-november/

Trumpsters are jackasses, redux, plus the November scenario

In case you missed it, there were several updates to yesterday’s issue, including many that are unrelated to the Walbridge Fire.


Trumpsters

Trumpsters aren’t just sinking each other’s boats: Speaking of a capsized neighbor’s boat, which had been docked in River Falls, Wisconsin, at the time, Keith Smith said, “Boaters all know they’re responsible for their waves, but nobody cared. They just kept going and going and hooting and hollering.”[1] I swear, these are the same motherfuckers I see driving gigantic pickup trucks around Pittsburgh.

Matt Stieb, “Boats Keep Sinking at the Trump Boat Parades,” New York, September 7, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/boats-keep-sinking-and-capsizing-at-the-trump-boat-parades.html


Horse race

The picture of how November plays out, assuming Donald Trump is defeated, is beginning to come together. If a poll sponsored by a company founded by Michael Bloomberg is correct, Trump will appear to have won on election night, but only until a record number[2] of mailed-in ballots get counted.[3] Trump, whose lackey has been making the Postal Service worse,[4] will, of course, allege fraud,[5] giving Republicans the opening they need to challenge the composition of electoral college delegations, leading to a nightmare scenario described by the Transition Integrity Project.[6]

The caveat here has to be that the poll likely has a low response rate,[7] which means it cannot be trusted because the methodology is profoundly flawed.

Henry Zeffman, “President Trump might appear to have won at first on election night, Democrat poll warns,” Times, September 9, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/president-trump-might-appear-to-have-won-at-first-on-election-night-democrat-poll-warns-2rv66dqxm


  1. [1]Keith Smith, quoted in Matt Stieb, “Boats Keep Sinking at the Trump Boat Parades,” New York, September 7, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/boats-keep-sinking-and-capsizing-at-the-trump-boat-parades.html
  2. [2]Henry Zeffman, “Flood of postal votes threatens US election chaos,” Times, July 20, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/flood-of-postal-votes-threatens-us-presidential-election-chaos-bzdvfb65h
  3. [3]Henry Zeffman, “President Trump might appear to have won at first on election night, Democrat poll warns,” Times, September 9, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/president-trump-might-appear-to-have-won-at-first-on-election-night-democrat-poll-warns-2rv66dqxm
  4. [4]Erin Cox et al., “Postal Service warns 46 states their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots,” Washington Post, August 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/usps-states-delayed-mail-in-ballots/2020/08/14/64bf3c3c-dcc7-11ea-8051-d5f887d73381_story.html; Jessica Dean, Jessica Schneider, and Caroline Kelly, “Postal Service says it has ‘ample capacity’ to handle election after Trump casts doubt,” CNN, August 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/03/politics/postal-service-ample-capacity-election-trump/index.html; Amy Gardner and Erin Cox, “At least 21 states plan to sue the Postal Service over service delays, threat to election,” Washington Post, August 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-least-20-states-plan-to-sue-the-us-postal-service-over-service-delays-threat-to-election/2020/08/18/c6ca2dc6-e166-11ea-b69b-64f7b0477ed4_story.html; Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Kane, “Trump opposes election aid for states and Postal Service bailout, threatening Nov. 3 vote,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-mail-voting/2020/08/13/3eb9ac62-dd70-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html; Kristen Holmes and Paul P. Murphy, “USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines,” CNN, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/usps-reconnect-sorting-machines/index.html; Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Jacob Bogage, “Postal Service backlog sparks worries that ballot delivery could be delayed in November,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/postal-service-backlog-sparks-worries-that-ballot-delivery-could-be-delayed-in-november/2020/07/30/cb19f1f4-d1d0-11ea-8d32-1ebf4e9d8e0d_story.html; Veronica Stracqualursi and Jessica Dean, “New postal policies that are slowing service may affect 2020 mail-in voting, union leader says,” CNN, July 31, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/politics/usps-mail-in-voting-2020-election/index.html; Paul Ziobro, Natalie Andrews, and Alexa Corse, “Postmaster to Suspend USPS Changes Until After Election,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/postmaster-general-dejoy-to-testify-before-senate-panel-friday-11597758378
  5. [5]Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, “Tracing Trump’s Postal Service obsession — from ‘loser’ to ‘scam’ to ‘rigged election,’” Washington Post, August 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-post-office-mail-vote/2020/08/15/27a2ffd4-de5f-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html
  6. [6]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/; Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html; Democracy Now!, “What If Trump Refuses to Accept a Biden Victory? A Look at How Electoral Chaos Could Divide Nation,” August 3, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/8/3/nils_gilman_2020_election_scenarios; Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and John Wagner, “Trump encounters broad pushback to his suggestion to delay the Nov. 3 election,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-floats-idea-of-delaying-the-november-election-as-he-ramps-up-attacks-on-voting-by-mail/2020/07/30/15fe7ac6-d264-11ea-9038-af089b63ac21_story.html; Eric Lach, “What Happens if Donald Trump Fights the Election Results?” New Yorker, August 21, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/campaign-chronicles/what-happens-if-donald-trump-fights-the-election-results; Peter Nicholas, “Trump Could Still Break Democracy’s Biggest Norm,” Atlantic, June 16, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/when-does-trump-leave-white-house/613060/; Douglas Perry, “How impeachment could lead to insurrection or even Dems backing Donald Trump,” Oregonian, May 17, 2019, https://www.oregonlive.com/today/2017/09/impeachment_is_coming_how_it_c.html; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  7. [7]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/

Walbridge Fire is back?

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 8, 2020, at 10:16 am.

  2. September 8, 2020, 10:52 pm:

    • Because my mother lives near the Walbridge Fire, I was discussing her situation with a friend via SMS. My friend finds the intensity of these fires surprising but is further irritated with our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief for denying climate change.

      The trouble always with this sort of talk is that Donald Trump is more a symptom of the problem than the problem itself. I explained (typos and capitalization failures are due to voice dictation):

      I think people often fail to understand why I oppose Joe Biden, a neoliberal, as vociferously as I do Donald Trump. But this is the very sort of neoliberal failure that enables the Republicans and an authoritarian populist backlash. It’s a huge—I think the largest—part of the story of why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and why Biden may well lose in 2020.

    • In broad strokes—I haven’t looked into the details—Uber is matching[1] Lyft’s earlier pledge that all ridesharing vehicles would be electric by 2030.[2]

      The way things are going,[3] I might well still be driving for Uber and Lyft in 2030—I’ll be 71 years old at that point, but I have no hope of retirement.

    • Meanwhile, both Uber and Lyft have now poured over $180 million dollars into their campaign for California’s Proposition 22, which would undo AB 5 and its mandate that drivers be treated as employees rather than continuing to misclassify them as “independent contractors.”[4]

    • I just updated my Pixel 4 XL to Android 11. I’d seen that accessing the screenshot function would be different and I was completely failing to understand how to do this. The secret is the open apps button—that’s the square button at bottom right. Tap it and towards the bottom of the screen, there are two options: Screenshot and Select. I haven’t tried it, but the latter apparently allows you to select the area covered by your screenshot. You can also get a screenshot by holding down the power and volume down buttons simultaneously but I’m really lousy at pushing two buttons simultaneously.

    • On a brighter note, the evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted for some areas threatened by the Walbridge Fire (figure 2).


Walbridge Fire

So it’s been a couple weeks since I last paid serious attention to the Walbridge Fire. The notifications on my phone have indicated a protracted diminishing of evacuation orders to evacuation warnings to less than that. It wasn’t quite an all-clear, but even with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office announcing a new evacuation order for an area southwest of Healdsburg this morning (figure 1), the fire had seemed mostly out.

Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, as of September 8, 2020, at 3:33 am EDT (12:33 am PDT).

The order covers some rugged terrain, but terrain that’s a lot more accessible than a lot that’s burned—you can see the perimeter as a line in red (figure 1). I gather it’s been really hot in California and I saw red flag warnings go up for the weekend, so I guess this isn’t really a surprise.

Fig. 2. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, as of September 8, 2020, at 10:44 pm EDT (7:44 pm PDT).


Donald Trump

There is a new blog post entitled, “Bloody November.”

Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/


Ridesharing

Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber pledges to shift to ‘100 percent’ electric vehicles by 2030,” Verge, September 8, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/8/21427196/uber-promise-100-percent-electric-vehicle-ev-2030

Michael Hiltzik, “Uber and Lyft just made their campaign to keep exploiting workers the costliest in history,” Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-09-08/uber-lyft-most-expensive-initiative


  1. [1]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber pledges to shift to ‘100 percent’ electric vehicles by 2030,” Verge, September 8, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/8/21427196/uber-promise-100-percent-electric-vehicle-ev-2030
  2. [2]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Lyft vows ‘100 percent’ of its vehicles will be electric by 2030,” Verge, June 17, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/17/21294040/lyft-electric-vehicle-ev-100-percent-2030
  3. [3]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  4. [4]Michael Hiltzik, “Uber and Lyft just made their campaign to keep exploiting workers the costliest in history,” Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-09-08/uber-lyft-most-expensive-initiative

Trumpster stupidity officially confirmed

Trumpsters

The local sheriff’s department has now officially confirmed that the boats were sunk or swamped on Lake Travis by fellow Trumpsters’ wakes.[1] Which is to say, they were indeed driving their boats like the idiots I see driving pickup trucks in Pittsburgh.

Paul P. Murphy, “The wake of other boats in a pro-Trump parade in Texas caused 5 boats to sink, sheriff’s office says,” CNN, September 7, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/07/us/trump-boat-parade-sink-trnd/index.html


  1. [1]Paul P. Murphy, “The wake of other boats in a pro-Trump parade in Texas caused 5 boats to sink, sheriff’s office says,” CNN, September 7, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/07/us/trump-boat-parade-sink-trnd/index.html

It’s Labor Day. Which is to say, if you have a fucking job, elites think you should be fucking grateful.

Faux News

There is a new blog post entitled “Doubting the ‘Fox News bubble.’


Labor Day

As news goes, it’s pretty fucking slow, at least in terms of something actually worth paying attention to. But in case you missed them:


Housekeeping

I’m pretty unhappy with WordPress right now. When I first signed up to host my blogs on it, it worked well. Now, it’s horrible. It’s slow—my god, it is slow—and it loses posts. The workflow has become atrocious. This has mostly been gradual, but recently they rammed a new interface down my throat, which might address issues I’d had pasting HTML, but has made everything else worse.

What I’m paying for is what it was when I first signed up for it. What I’m now getting is something else, something awful, entirely.


Reckless Trumpsters sink each others’ boats

Trumpsters

These Trumpsters on Lake Travis remind me of the dickheads driving recklessly on the roads around Pittsburgh.

It’s telling, awfully telling, that police do not profile their monster pickup trucks the way they do Blacks.

Matthew S. Schwartz, “5 Boats Sink At Trump Boat Parade In Texas,” National Public Radio, September 6, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/09/06/910322916/5-boats-sink-at-trump-boat-parade-in-texas


Anita Hill to support her oppressor

Joe Biden

I don’t know that there is a way for the saga of Joe Biden and Anita Hill[1] to end well. But I doubt supporting him for president[2] is it.

Hill is, obviously, recognizing the reality of the two-party system in which she perceives Donald Trump is worse. And in some ways he is. But in other, equally important ways, Joe Biden is worse. This is not a step even toward mitigating oppression, let alone relieving it.

Ann Colwell, “Anita Hill vows to vote for Joe Biden and work with him on gender issues,” CNN, September 5, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/05/politics/anita-hill-joe-biden-voting/index.html


  1. [1]Shia Kapos, “Chicago mayor-elect: Biden still has to answer for Anita Hill,” Politico, May 4, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/04/joe-biden-anita-hill-2020-1301449; Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Hulse, “Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough,” New York Times, April 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/politics/joe-biden-anita-hill.html; Elise Viebeck, “Joe Biden was in charge of the Anita Hill hearing. Even he says it wasn’t fair,” Washington Post, April 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-was-in-charge-of-the-anita-hill-hearing-even-he-says-it-wasnt-fair/2019/04/26/a9a6f384-6500-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html
  2. [2]Ann Colwell, “Anita Hill vows to vote for Joe Biden and work with him on gender issues,” CNN, September 5, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/05/politics/anita-hill-joe-biden-voting/index.html

Anarchism, libertarian socialism, capitalist libertarianism, and anarchocapitalism

David Benfell, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, September 5, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1302274314578821123


source on threadreaderapp.com

Archived at 2020-09-05 12:00:30

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David Benfell, Ph.D.

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5 Sep, 2 tweets, 2 min read

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1/2 #LibertarianSocialism, in contrast to #CapitalistLibertarianism, sees both economic and political authority as problematic. It does not necessary treat them as illegitimate, as #anarchism would.

2/2 #CapitalistLibertarianism, sees only political authority as problematic.
#Anarchocapitalism sees political authority as illegitimate.

Neither of these have any difficulty with *economic* authority whatsoever.