California’s AB 5 has larger implications

Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “The larger question of California’s AB 5.”

Angela Chen, “This is one way Uber and Lyft want to get around making drivers employees,” MIT Technology Review, September 13, 2019, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614308/uber-lyft-ab5-gig-workers-labor-classification-third-category-tech-policy/

Noam Cohen, “How Tech Firms Like Uber Hide Behind the ‘Platform Defense,’” Wired, September 13, 2019, https://www.wired.com/story/how-tech-firms-like-uber-hide-behind-the-platform-defense/


Brexit

Tim Ross, Jess Shankleman, and Alex Morales, “Boris Johnson’s Nightmare on Downing Street,” Bloomberg, September 13, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-13/nightmare-on-downing-street-as-team-johnson-fears-brexit-mutiny


Iran

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed credit for a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities 500 miles away.[1]

Hours later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed Iran for “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Pompeo, however, offered no specific evidence.[2]

If the Trump administration is looking for an excuse to attack Iran, I suppose this will do. Even if Mike Pompeo is wrong about Iran launching the attack,[3] Iran backs the Houthi rebels and would likely have supplied the drones that would capable of hitting the target. It would almost be as if Donald Trump got rid of John Bolton[4] just in time (four days ago) to avoid him taking credit or blame for such a decision.

Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html


  1. [1]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  2. [2]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  3. [3]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  4. [4]Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html

The U.S. is now a little less likely to invade Iran

Guns

Lisa Marie Pane, “NRA sues San Francisco over terrorist declaration,” Washington Post, September 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/nra-sues-san-francisco-over-terrorist-declaration/2019/09/09/34f4fd3c-d360-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html

Jack Crowe, “NRA Sues San Francisco over ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’ Label,” National Review, September 10, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/nra-sues-san-francisco-over-domestic-terrorist-organization-label/


Homelessness

There is a new blog post entitled, “Crocodile tears for the homeless.”

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, “Sacramento wants to overturn this homeless ruling. Now it’s asking the Supreme Court for help,” Sacramento Bee, September 10, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article234894477.html


John Bolton

We are now a little less likely to invade Iran.[1]

Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html


Brexit

Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “A chaotic final night for Parliament leaves Johnson with bleak choices on the path to Brexit,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-chaotic-final-night-for-parliament-leaves-johnson-with-bleak-choices-on-the-path-to-brexit/2019/09/10/443a835a-d33a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html


Palestine

Palestinians would be left with nearly nothing under Binyamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise:[2]

In Israeli politics, however, annexation is a popular position. Israel has long stated it would want to keep the 2,400-sq km (926.65-sqmile) Jordan Valley to maintain control over the international border.[3]

Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump


  1. [1]Peter Beinart, “The Question the Iran Hawks Haven’t Answered,” Atlantic, June 24, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/iran-hawks-owe-americans-some-answers/592390/; Dexter Filkins, “John Bolton on the Warpath,” New Yorker, April 29, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/06/john-bolton-on-the-warpath; Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html;
  2. [2]Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump
  3. [3]Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump

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

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


It’s okay for Nancy Pelosi to scold progressives in public but not okay for progressives to scold so-called ‘centrists’ in public

Pacific Gas & Electric

Katherine Blunt, “Judge Orders PG&E to Respond to Journal Article,” Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-orders-pg-e-to-respond-to-journal-article-11562799414

Katherine Blunt and Russell Gold, “PG&E Knew for Years Its Lines Could Spark Wildfires, and Didn’t Fix Them,” Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-knew-for-years-its-lines-could-spark-wildfires-and-didnt-fix-them-11562768885


Brexit

Just about the entire British political class lined up in support of the British ambassador to the U.S., whose private cables critical of Donald Trump were leaked, except for one: The prime minister-apparent.[1]

Peter Walker et al., “Johnson has thrown US ambassador under the bus, say top Tories,” Guardian, July 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/10/kim-darroch-resigns-as-uk-ambassador-to-us-after-leaked-trump-comment


Nancy Pelosi

I have agreed with Nancy Pelosi on impeachment[2] and suspected she was the right person to take on Donald Trump on migration.[3]

But the simple fact is that neoliberal party leadership fucked up[4] on the bill funding concentration camps.[5] They have themselves, not progressives, but themselves, to blame for this.

So what’s Nancy Pelosi doing? First, she criticizes progressives in public and now she tells progressives not to criticize so-called ‘centrists’ in public.[6]

This is blatant hypocrisy. But hey, this is the neoliberal party we’re talking about. Hypocrisy is what they’re all about. And frankly, it recalls the Obama Administration’s “hippie punching” dumping on progressives that exposed the reality of the neoliberal party’s expectation that progressives should support neoconservative and neoliberal policies,[7] because defeating the evil Republicans is the only thing that matters. What’s pathetic is that even after all this, progressives still fall for it.

Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, “‘Outright disrespectful’: Four House women struggle as Pelosi isolates them,” Washington Post, July 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/outright-disrespectful-four-house-women-struggle-as-pelosi-isolates-them/2019/07/10/a33c63a8-a33f-11e9-b7b4-95e30869bd15_story.html

Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, “‘Do not tweet’: Pelosi scolds progressives in closed-door meeting,” Politico, July 10, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/10/pelosi-progressives-twitter-1405763


Iran

Richard Spencer and Lucy Fisher, “Royal Navy sees off Iranian attempt to intercept British tanker,” Times, July 11, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/iranian-boats-attempt-to-seize-british-tanker-in-the-gulf-9v5pq7kzl?region=global


Census

Matt Zapotosky, “Second federal judge blocks Justice Dept. bid to replace census attorneys,” Washington Post, July 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/second-federal-judge-blocks-justice-dept-bid-to-replace-census-attorneys/2019/07/10/4a82fb80-a35a-11e9-b732-41a79c2551bf_story.html

Seung Min Kim, Tara Bahrampour, and John Wagner, “Trump retreats on adding citizenship question to 2020 Census,” Washington Post, July 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-to-hold-news-conference-on-census-as-he-mulls-executive-action-to-add-a-citizenship-question/2019/07/11/c0eb7cb6-a3c8-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html


  1. [1]Peter Walker et al., “Johnson has thrown US ambassador under the bus, say top Tories,” Guardian, July 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/10/kim-darroch-resigns-as-uk-ambassador-to-us-after-leaked-trump-comment
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Why Nancy Pelosi is right about impeachment,” Not Housebroken, May 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/22/why-nancy-pelosi-is-right-about-impeachment/; David Benfell, “Calls for impeachment are the latest displays of the naturalistic fallacy and system justification,” Not Housebroken, May 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/23/calls-for-impeachment-are-the-latest-displays-of-the-naturalistic-fallacy-and-system-justification/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “It might actually be a good thing that Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House right now,” Not Housebroken, January 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/01/12/it-might-actually-be-a-good-thing-that-nancy-pelosi-is-speaker-of-the-house-right-now/
  4. [4]Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade, “‘A betrayal’: Inside the bitter rift between Pelosi and Schumer over border bill,” Washington Post, June 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/a-betrayal-inside-the-bitter-rift-between-pelosi-and-schumer-over-border-bill/2019/06/28/26fbb3b8-99bf-11e9-8d0a-5edd7e2025b1_story.html
  5. [5]Lauren Fox et al., “House passes border funding bill after Pelosi reversal outrages progressives,” CNN, June 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/politics/border-funding-migrant-crisis-nancy-pelosi-house-senate-bills/index.html
  6. [6]Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, “‘Outright disrespectful’: Four House women struggle as Pelosi isolates them,” Washington Post, July 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/outright-disrespectful-four-house-women-struggle-as-pelosi-isolates-them/2019/07/10/a33c63a8-a33f-11e9-b7b4-95e30869bd15_story.html; Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, “‘Do not tweet’: Pelosi scolds progressives in closed-door meeting,” Politico, July 10, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/10/pelosi-progressives-twitter-1405763; Amber Phillips, “Nancy Pelosi’s clumsy rebuke of the liberals in her party,” Washington Post, July 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/nancy-pelosis-clumsy-rebuke-liberals-her-party/
  7. [7]The Obama administration established a record for ‘hippie-punching’ early on, only appealing to the left-wing when it sought their votes. Blue Texan [pseud.], “Ed Rendell Tells Democratic Base to “Get Over It” on Rachel Maddow,” Firedoglake, September 23, 2010, http://firedoglake.com/2010/09/23/early-morning-swim-ed-rendell-tells-democratic-base-to-get-over-it-on-rachel-maddow/; Blue Texan [pseud.], “Stop Whining, Liberals!” Firedoglake, September 27, 2010, http://firedoglake.com/2010/09/27/late-night-stop-whining-liberals/; Michael Falcone, “Opposite Day On The Campaign Trail?” ABC News, September 21, 2010, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/09/election-2010-opposite-day-on-the-campaign-trail/; Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s view of liberal criticisms,” Salon, September 17, 2010, http://www.salon.com/2010/09/17/obama_139/; David Neiwert, “President Obama lashes out at his liberal critics: Choice is to ‘get things done’ or feel ‘sanctimonious’,” Crooks and Liars, December 7, 2010, http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/president-obama-lashes-out-his-liber; Heather Digby Parton, “‘It’s always the hippies’ fault’: Why the left treats its idealists all wrong,” Salon, February 5, 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/02/05/its_always_the_hippies_fault_why_the_left_treats_its_idealists_all_wrong/; Greg Sargent, “Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of ‘hippie punching’,” Washington Post, September 23, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/liberal_blogger_directly_confr.html; Stephen Stromberg, “Joe Biden scolds progressives — and he’s right,” Washington Post, September 16, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/09/joe_biden_scolds_progressives.html; Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” Hill, August 10, 2010, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/113431-white-house-unloads-on-professional-left

What? Are you trying to tell me that row Boris Johnson had with Carrie Symonds might reflect on his character? Really? Surely you jest.

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 23, 6:18 pm.
  2. June 23, 11:20 pm:
    • Joe Biden might not be the only candidate for the neoliberal party nomination tripped up by race.[1] The police in South Bend, Indiana, are tripping up Pete Buttigieg with—oh, gee, this should be a surprise—the shooting of a Black man.[2]

Boris Johnson

What’s this? Do the British take domestic arguments apparently verging on violence[3] seriously and possibly as a reflection on the prime minister-apparent’s character? It seems some of them might. Not Boris Johnson: He claimed that voters were entitled to know about his character but then refused to answer questions on the incident as if it had no relevance to his character whatsoever.[4] Neither the Telegraph: Their coverage emphasizes that the neighbor who recorded the fight and called police supports Jeremy Corbyn and is a remainer. The Telegraph also suggests that Carrie Symonds may have been distraught about a black cab rapist, whom she apparently had ridden with and been drugged by.[5]

Gotta tell you: The discrepancy in coverage here is jarring as the Telegraph, a conservative paper, appears to seek to deflect blame from Johnson onto anyone else: Symonds or the neighbor,[6] perhaps others yet to be determined (I blame both Symonds and Johnson[7]), while the Guardian, a neoliberal paper, reports that senior Tories are alarmed and that public support for Johnson is dropping.[8]

Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, and Steve Bird, “Left-wing neighbours admit to taping Boris Johnson row with partner Carrie Symonds,” Telegraph, June 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/22/left-wing-neighbours-admit-taping-boris-johnson-row-girlfriend/

Michael Savage, Toby Helm, and Simon Murphy, “Boris Johnson under fire over row with partner as top Tories raise fears,” Guardian, June 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/boris-johnson-under-fire-questions-hustings-late-night-argument


Social Conservatives

This is when I wish I had easier access to my old archive because M. Reza Behnam provides a center[9] for the articles I found on elements of social conservatism that deal with eschatology (“end times” ideology) and the link between Israel, armageddon, and the U.S. political class. To say this is an important article is much too cheap.

What isn’t here is much at all on the neoconservative angle, though Behnam points to George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric.[10] Bush named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea[11] even though al Qaeda’s leadership was based in Afghanistan[12] and the 9/11 hijackers were mostly (all but four of nineteen) Saudi nationals.[13] Rhetorically, Bush unified these countries to substitute for the old Soviet Union as an essential (to neoconservatives) monolithic enemy.

M. Reza Behnam, “Selling Israel Biblically,” Tikkun, June 20, 2019, https://www.tikkun.org/selling-israel-biblically


Dissertation

I have finally managed to get a copy of my dissertation on line. It’s also available in other places, some publicly, but here, I can find it and that, in turn, will make it easier to locate some of the sources I used in writing it.

My dissertation turned out to be much more of an opus magnum than dissertations are supposed to be; it came in at over 400 pages when they’re supposed be closer to 100. But it really was a culmination of my scholarly career to that point, which in turn had unintentionally become an exploration of why my life has turned out the way it has. It’s far from perfect; I think most scholars will tell you in hindsight that they have regrets about their dissertations. But it was the best I could do at the time.

This version is better than what I had managed to previously post on parts-unknown.org thanks to a really cool piece of software called pandoc, which is wonderful for converting between various text formats.


Turkey

While celebrating Mr. [Ekrem] Imamoglu’s victory, members of his Republican People’s Party, or CHP, cautioned that Mr. [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan had a track record of canceling the results of elections when he doesn’t like the outcome. Mr. Erdogan canceled a legislative vote in 2015 in which the AKP had failed to garner a majority. In recent months, his administration has annulled scores of municipal votes across Turkey, replacing opposition mayors by government-appointed caretakers.[14]

As was suspected when “Mr. Imamoglu had defeated the AKP [Justice and Development Party] candidate in the initial March municipal ballot, but electoral authorities had voided the results after Mr. Erdogan complained of fraud and called for a do-over.”[15]

Kareem Fahim, “Opposition candidate wins in do-over of Istanbul’s mayoral race, dealing setback to Erdogan’s ruling party,” Washington Post, June 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/opposition-candidate-wins-in-do-over-of-istanbuls-mayoral-race-dealing-setback-to-erdogans-ruling-party/2019/06/23/3a59c3cc-92d1-11e9-956a-88c291ab5c38_story.html

David Gauthier-Villars, “In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-setback-for-erdogan-opposition-candidate-wins-istanbul-mayor-seat-11561309654


Pete Buttigieg

Matt Pearce, “Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-pete-buttigieg-mayor-police-shooting-black-voters-20190624-story.html


  1. [1]Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden gets in his own way on race,” CNN, June 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/20/politics/joe-biden-race-2020-election/index.html; Scott Detrow, “Democrats Blast Biden For Recalling ‘Civil’ Relationship With Segregationists,” CNN, June 19, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/734103488/democrats-blast-biden-for-recalling-civil-relationship-with-segregationists; Greg Sargent, “Joe Biden is badly undermining his ability to challenge Trump,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/20/joe-biden-is-badly-undermining-his-case-against-trump/; Matt Viser and Annie Linskey, “Tensions ripple through Biden campaign as his past working relationship with a segregationist senator comes to the forefront,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tensions-ripple-through-biden-campaign-as-his-past-working-relationship-with-a-segregationist-senator-comes-to-the-forefront/2019/06/20/2518afe6-9394-11e9-b570-6416efdc0803_story.html; Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, “Biden faces backlash over comments about the ‘civility’ of his past work with racist senators,” Washington Post, June 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-faces-backlash-over-comments-about-the-civility-of-his-past-work-with-racist-senators/2019/06/19/c0375d2a-92a8-11e9-b58a-a6a9afaa0e3e_story.html
  2. [2]Matt Pearce, “Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-pete-buttigieg-mayor-police-shooting-black-voters-20190624-story.html
  3. [3]Gordon Rayner, “Police called to home of Boris Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds after reports of loud altercation,” Telegraph, June 21, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/21/police-called-home-boris-johnson-girlfriend-reports-altercation/; Jim Waterson, “Boris Johnson: police called to loud altercation at potential PM’s home,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/21/police-called-to-loud-altercation-at-boris-johnsons-home
  4. [4]Michael Savage, Toby Helm, and Simon Murphy, “Boris Johnson under fire over row with partner as top Tories raise fears,” Guardian, June 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/boris-johnson-under-fire-questions-hustings-late-night-argument
  5. [5]Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, and Steve Bird, “Left-wing neighbours admit to taping Boris Johnson row with partner Carrie Symonds,” Telegraph, June 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/22/left-wing-neighbours-admit-taping-boris-johnson-row-girlfriend/
  6. [6]Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, and Steve Bird, “Left-wing neighbours admit to taping Boris Johnson row with partner Carrie Symonds,” Telegraph, June 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/22/left-wing-neighbours-admit-taping-boris-johnson-row-girlfriend/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Police called for a relationship made in Hell,” Irregular Bullshit, June 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/06/22/police-called-for-a-relationship-made-in-hell/
  8. [8]Michael Savage, Toby Helm, and Simon Murphy, “Boris Johnson under fire over row with partner as top Tories raise fears,” Guardian, June 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/boris-johnson-under-fire-questions-hustings-late-night-argument
  9. [9]M. Reza Behnam, “Selling Israel Biblically,” Tikkun, June 20, 2019, https://www.tikkun.org/selling-israel-biblically
  10. [10]M. Reza Behnam, “Selling Israel Biblically,” Tikkun, June 20, 2019, https://www.tikkun.org/selling-israel-biblically
  11. [11]Andrew Glass, “President Bush cites ‘axis of evil,’ Jan. 29, 2002,” Politico, January 29, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/29/bush-axis-of-evil-2002-1127725
  12. [12]Public Broadcasting System, “Background: al Qaeda,” Frontline, n.d., https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/network/alqaeda/indictment.html
  13. [13]CNN, “September 11 Hijackers Fast Facts,” September 5, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11th-hijackers-fast-facts/index.html
  14. [14]David Gauthier-Villars, “In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-setback-for-erdogan-opposition-candidate-wins-istanbul-mayor-seat-11561309654
  15. [15]David Gauthier-Villars, “In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-setback-for-erdogan-opposition-candidate-wins-istanbul-mayor-seat-11561309654

Just substitute an ‘n’ for the ‘q’ in ‘Iraq’ and try it again, but (oh!) with a bigger, more populous, and (oh!) different country

Updates

  1. Originally published,June 18, 2019, 7:36 pm.
  2. June 18, 2019, 9:45 pm:
    • The U.S. Steel plant in Clairton suffered yet another fire affecting the same two control rooms that were damaged in the previous fire.[1]

Iran

Having failed to persuade[2] with its earlier blurry black and white video, purportedly of Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker,[3] the Pentagon now has a sharper, color video (available via Politico’s tweet above).[4]

The video still doesn’t show national identification, although “Justin Bronk, a combat technology specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, said the patrol boat shown in the US military’s video was known to be the kind used by the IRGC.”[5] I would advise waiting for independent expert analysis of the new video itself: The color balance seems way off to me, leading me to suspect the color is not in the original, and I don’t understand why the Pentagon would first release a blurry black and white video if it had this much sharper color version available.

This evidence seems post hoc to me—actually, I just think they’re fabricating it just as fast as they can—and I’m thinking about those headlines I’ve seen about “deep-faking,” where anybody can be made to appear to have said or done anything—this doesn’t strike me as even a particularly good example of that. I am now inclined toward number three in my earlier list of possibilities:

Some or all of it is bullshit:

[T]he Japanese operator of Kokuka Courageous said the crew saw “flying objects” just before the attack, suggesting the tanker was damaged by something other than mines. Yutaka Katada, the company president, said reports of a mine attack were “false”.[6]

Avenues of information from the region are limited. The U.S. can pretty much say what it wants, claim whatever it wants to claim, and not many folks are going to question it. Remember, John Bolton, who is now Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, has been lusting for war with Iran for decades and he has falsified claims in the past.[7] Further remember that journalists have a long history of falling into line even with dubious White House and Pentagon claims on international affairs.[8][9]

Actually, it turns out that lots of people are skeptical—just not enough of them being journalists, and Andrew Butters has a blistering critique in the Columbia Journalism Review of “the hysterical way America’s relationship with Iran is covered in the US press.”[10] Jeff Schogol wrote for Task and Purpose that “not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.”[11] An interview on National Public Radio yesterday illustrates the problems that 1) the Trump administration seems determined to sink the Iran nuclear deal that Europe would like to preserve, 2) the U.S. has a history of fabricating evidence in the Middle East (and elsewhere, as Butters points out[12]), and 3) the Trump administration has accumulated a reputation for falsehood.[13] This new video really doesn’t alleviate those doubts.

It’d be nice if our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief will finally realize that he needs to be credible with other people besides his base. I am not holding my breath.

Andrew Lee Butters, “What the press gets wrong on the US-Iran relationship,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 17, 2019, https://www.cjr.org/opinion/what-the-press-gets-wrong-on-the-us-iran-relationship.php

Jackie Northam, “White House Struggles To Convince Allies That Iran Is Responsible For Tanker Attacks,” National Public Radio, June 17, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/17/733497801/white-house-struggles-to-convince-allies-that-iran-is-responsible-for-tanker-att

Jeff Schogol, “As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm,” Task and Purpose, June 17, 2019, https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-adrift-iran

Al Jazeera, “US releases new images from suspected attacks on Gulf tankers,” June 18, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/pentagon-releases-images-gulf-oman-attack-190618055528966.html

Deutschewelle, “Germany says there is ‘strong evidence’ Iran behind tanker attacks,” June 18, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/germany-says-there-is-strong-evidence-iran-behind-tanker-attacks/a-49248524


Pittsburgh

Kris Maher, “U.S. Steel Suffers New Fire Knocking Out Pollution Controls in Plant Near Pittsburgh,” Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-steel-suffers-new-fire-knocking-out-pollution-controls-in-plant-near-pittsburgh-11560795102


  1. [1]Kris Maher, “U.S. Steel Suffers New Fire Knocking Out Pollution Controls in Plant Near Pittsburgh,” Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-steel-suffers-new-fire-knocking-out-pollution-controls-in-plant-near-pittsburgh-11560795102
  2. [2]Jackie Northam, “White House Struggles To Convince Allies That Iran Is Responsible For Tanker Attacks,” National Public Radio, June 17, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/17/733497801/white-house-struggles-to-convince-allies-that-iran-is-responsible-for-tanker-att; Jeff Schogol, “As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm,” Task and Purpose, June 17, 2019, https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-adrift-iran
  3. [3]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/; Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour, “US says video shows Iranian military removing mine from tanker,” Guardian, June 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/13/mike-pompeo-iran-gulf-oil-tanker-attacks
  4. [4]Al Jazeera, “US releases new images from suspected attacks on Gulf tankers,” June 18, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/pentagon-releases-images-gulf-oman-attack-190618055528966.html
  5. [5]Al Jazeera, “US releases new images from suspected attacks on Gulf tankers,” June 18, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/pentagon-releases-images-gulf-oman-attack-190618055528966.html
  6. [6]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/
  7. [7]Dexter Filkins, “John Bolton on the Warpath,” New Yorker, April 29, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/06/john-bolton-on-the-warpath
  8. [8]J. Herbert Altschull, Agents of Power: The Media and Public Policy, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: Longman, 1995); David Halberstam, The Powers That Be (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2000); Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 2002).
  9. [9]David Benfell, “John Bolton’s wet dream may turn real,” Irregular Bullshit, June 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/06/14/john-boltons-wet-dream-may-turn-real/
  10. [10]Andrew Lee Butters, “What the press gets wrong on the US-Iran relationship,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 17, 2019, https://www.cjr.org/opinion/what-the-press-gets-wrong-on-the-us-iran-relationship.php
  11. [11]Jeff Schogol, “As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm,” Task and Purpose, June 17, 2019, https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-adrift-iran
  12. [12]Andrew Lee Butters, “What the press gets wrong on the US-Iran relationship,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 17, 2019, https://www.cjr.org/opinion/what-the-press-gets-wrong-on-the-us-iran-relationship.php
  13. [13]Jackie Northam, “White House Struggles To Convince Allies That Iran Is Responsible For Tanker Attacks,” National Public Radio, June 17, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/17/733497801/white-house-struggles-to-convince-allies-that-iran-is-responsible-for-tanker-att

John Bolton’s wet dream may turn real

Iran

“I think Iran is showing that it has teeth,” said Charles Hollis, a former British diplomat in Tehran who is now managing director of the Falanx Assynt consultancy. “It’s a way of showing that if they are backed into a corner they are not without means of causing grief.”[1]

I see three additional possibilities, none of which I regard as particularly more likely than any of the others:

  1. Iran’s government has, or perhaps the Revolutionary Guards have, concluded that if war is to come, it’s better to get on with it sooner rather than later. Their assessment would be due to economic sanctions diminishing Iranian war capability (if they in fact do).
  2. A “false flag” operation by either the U.S. or its allies, including Israel.

    Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said “suspicious doesn’t begin to describe” the incident in Gulf of Oman. He previously suggested without evidence that Israel was staging the attacks to undermine Iran.[2]

    The video is blurry and black and white. Even if we accept Mike Pompeo’s claim that the attack required a certain level of expertise and weaponry,[3] such a video does not support attribution to any particular state actor.

  3. Some or all of it is bullshit:

    [T]he Japanese operator of Kokuka Courageous said the crew saw “flying objects” just before the attack, suggesting the tanker was damaged by something other than mines. Yutaka Katada, the company president, said reports of a mine attack were “false”.[4]

    Avenues of information from the region are limited. The U.S. can pretty much say what it wants, claim whatever it wants to claim, and not many folks are going to question it. Remember, John Bolton, who is now Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, has been lusting for war with Iran for decades and he has falsified claims in the past.[5] Further remember that journalists have a long history of falling into line even with dubious White House and Pentagon claims on international affairs.[6]

The Telegraph has the video.[7] Trust nothing, especially appeals to “classified” evidence.[8]

Remember as well that Donald Trump 1) can use a distraction or two, 2) relies almost exclusively on various bullying tactics to “negotiate,” and 3) is stymied when bullying tactics fail. With number three on that list, and Bolton’s lust for war, the situation with Iran can only be described as extremely dangerous. This would not be a war the U.S. can win, any more than it won in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Many, possibly millions of, people will die all so Bolton can get a hard-on.

Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/

Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour, “US says video shows Iranian military removing mine from tanker,” Guardian, June 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/13/mike-pompeo-iran-gulf-oil-tanker-attacks


Donald Trump

Donald Trump “is historically unpopular for a President by many measures, but no matter what he does the allegiance of some forty per cent of the American public has so far remained unwavering.”[9] Presumably that’s based on nine percent response rate polling.

Susan B. Glasser, “Forget “No Collusion.” Trump Is Now Pro-Collusion,” New Yorker, June 13, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/forget-no-collusion-trump-is-now-pro-collusion


Ride sharing

Sarah Holder, “Uber and Lyft Really Don’t Want California to Pass This Worker Rights Bill,” Atlantic, June 13, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/06/gig-economy-employment-law-california-bill-ab-5-uber-lyft/591565/


  1. [1]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/
  2. [2]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/
  3. [3]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/; Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour, “US says video shows Iranian military removing mine from tanker,” Guardian, June 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/13/mike-pompeo-iran-gulf-oil-tanker-attacks
  4. [4]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/
  5. [5]Dexter Filkins, “John Bolton on the Warpath,” New Yorker, April 29, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/06/john-bolton-on-the-warpath
  6. [6]J. Herbert Altschull, Agents of Power: The Media and Public Policy, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: Longman, 1995); David Halberstam, The Powers That Be (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2000); Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 2002).
  7. [7]Nick Allen, Raf Sanchez, and Rozina Sabur, “US releases footage ‘showing Iran removing unexploded mine’ from stricken oil tanker,” Telegraph, June 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/14/us-releases-footage-showing-iran-removing-unexploded-mine-stricken/
  8. [8]The claim that evidence is “classified” is an excuse for not supplying that evidence. It is unacceptable in lieu of the actual evidence.
  9. [9]Susan B. Glasser, “Forget “No Collusion.” Trump Is Now Pro-Collusion,” New Yorker, June 13, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/forget-no-collusion-trump-is-now-pro-collusion

Environmental Injustice in Mon Valley

Memorial Day

Functionalist conservatism:

What’s most surprising isn’t that politicians start wars to consolidate their own power, but that the people don’t always simply assume that leaders choose war for that reason. Of course, the main calculation for politicians when making decisions is whether or not those decisions will help tighten their grip on the levers of society. From prime ministers to dictators, anyone who doesn’t think about that first and foremost will be, evolutionarily speaking, selected against, and quickly find themselves outside the palace walls.[1]

Happy Memorial Day.

Jon Schwarz, “We Need Memorial Day to Obscure the Unbearable Truth About War,” Intercept, May 29, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2017/05/29/we-need-memorial-day-to-obscure-the-unbearable-truth-about-war/


Pittsburgh

I think, if it occurs, my next move will be farther from the Monongahela River and Mon Valley and especially from the U.S. Steel plant. I’ve seen neighborhoods by the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers that seem quite nice.

Note the source of this report that U.S. Steel has repaired air pollution controls: the Wall Street Journal,[2] not a particularly environmentally friendly newspaper. What I see here is that repairs have been done. I do not know their effectiveness or even in absolute terms how safe the air now is—even the Journal headline only says “easier,” not “easy;” I picked someone up near that plant recently and it still stunk to high hell (the resuscitated air pollution controls might not yet have been switched on).

I also wonder about any decision to even allow the plant to continue operating. I don’t live in Mon Valley, but I’m close. I pick up a lot of people there. And I have to tell you, the very fact of that plant and the industrialization along the Monongahela River looks to me like an environmental justice issue, where the working class and poor, many of them Black, get to live with health and safety risks because that’s where they can afford to live or because that’s where they’ve always lived.

And lest we forget, much to my absolute horror, there are homeless people here. I can’t imagine how they survive winter. But for many, that would be the only alternative.

Kris Maher, “Pittsburgh Breathes Easier After Repairs at U.S. Steel Coke Plant,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-breathes-easier-after-repairs-at-u-s-steel-coke-plant-11558872000


Brexit

This tweet might not translate the way it should because it lacks the context where neoliberals and nationalists (authoritarian populists) have broken off from the main parties, Republicans and Democrats, to form separate parties. But that’s the context imagined in this tweet.

At the time I looked at British Broadcasting Corporation coverage, returns were not complete. Counting had not even begun in some areas. But it seems worth noting that though Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was the winning single party, the total tally of Remainer parties, including the (neo)Liberal Democrats and the Greens exceeded Brexit by double digits. Meanwhile, both Tories and Labour took a drubbing, with the former winning a historically low portion of the vote.[3]

Take that with a grain of salt: Final results might, but now seem unlikely to, reveal a different story. And these results have limited applicability to, for many Britons, a far more important general election. On Twitter, at least, Jeremy Corbyn has been calling for just that and Labour is now more loudly calling for a second referendum.[4] This has seemed to me foolish: I am sad to say that, just as in the U.S., it appears many Britons still subscribe to a so-called “centrist” neoliberal view on the idea that this ideology—just as hateful, really, as anything the far right can muster—constitutes a “middle road.”

British Broadcasting Corporation, “European elections 2019: Brexit Party dominates as Tories and Labour suffer,” May 27, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48417228


Abortion

No student of women’s history should even remotely be surprised that women will network to ensure access to reproductive health.[5] Some will do so even in the face of legal impediments and the men who would control their bodies should know that the latter efforts are doomed to failure. Just as they always have been.

It should also be noted that as always, the effects of abortion bans will fall hardest on those without the wherewithal to travel. The rich can always get abortions, often even close to home. It will be the poor who are least able to travel and who will most need to travel. Class cannot be separated from gender here.

Monica Hesse, “Abortion bans have some women preparing for the worst. It involves ‘auntie networks,’” Washington Post, May 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/abortion-bans-have-some-women-preparing-for-the-worst-it-involves-auntie-networks/2019/05/24/4af2dcce-7d77-11e9-a5b3-34f3edf1351e_story.html


Elon Musk

Sometimes I need to say, pay no attention. The headline is misleading: There is a disagreement over tactics here but there wasn’t really a “fight” between the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and Elon Musk[6] and I have to strongly doubt that this is one of Musk’s visions that will come to fruition.

To give an idea how Musk’s vision might fall short, I was noticing with a passenger how many roads here have been reduced to one lane in sections due to subsidence.

This happens a lot in California too and the cause of this is clear: Lots of rain and unstable mountainside and cliff geology due to erosion. My passenger pointed out that here, there are many old mining tunnels: Though this has been a wet spring here, subsidence can be a problem even without it.

In California, the rock is largely, in various forms, metamorphic. Here, it’s largely sedimentary. We don’t have the massive and dramatic geologic forces that forge California rock; sedimentation happens slowly, over time. California rock is inherently a lot stronger, structurally, than Pennsylvania rock.

That doesn’t mean tunnels can’t be built. Pittsburgh has many, many more of them than I had remembered from my limited childhood experience with the area. But I wouldn’t count on technology developed in southern California working here.

Eric Ting, “BART picks a fight with Elon Musk on Twitter over tunnels,” SFGate, May 25, 2019, https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/BART-Elon-Musk-Twitter-tunnel-Bay-Boring-Company-13896393.php


Greece

Alexis Tsipras sold out to the European Union’s austerity demands and settled a dispute with (North) Macedonia over its name so the latter country could join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. He did everything the E.U. wanted, grudgingly at first, totally capitulating later.[7] The austerity killed people[8] and there is no better evidence of neoliberalism’s prioritization of money even over human life. The E.U. offered Tsipras no reciprocity. Functionalist Conservatives, take note and beware.

Michele Kambas, “Greek PM comes unstuck over Macedonia, austerity in European vote,” Reuters, May 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-greece-idUSKCN1SX0YI


  1. [1]Jon Schwarz, “We Need Memorial Day to Obscure the Unbearable Truth About War,” Intercept, May 29, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2017/05/29/we-need-memorial-day-to-obscure-the-unbearable-truth-about-war/
  2. [2]Kris Maher, “Pittsburgh Breathes Easier After Repairs at U.S. Steel Coke Plant,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-breathes-easier-after-repairs-at-u-s-steel-coke-plant-11558872000
  3. [3]British Broadcasting Corporation, “European elections 2019: Brexit Party dominates as Tories and Labour suffer,” May 27, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48417228
  4. [4]British Broadcasting Corporation, “European elections 2019: Brexit Party dominates as Tories and Labour suffer,” May 27, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48417228
  5. [5]Monica Hesse, “Abortion bans have some women preparing for the worst. It involves ‘auntie networks,’” Washington Post, May 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/abortion-bans-have-some-women-preparing-for-the-worst-it-involves-auntie-networks/2019/05/24/4af2dcce-7d77-11e9-a5b3-34f3edf1351e_story.html
  6. [6]Eric Ting, “BART picks a fight with Elon Musk on Twitter over tunnels,” SFGate, May 25, 2019, https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/BART-Elon-Musk-Twitter-tunnel-Bay-Boring-Company-13896393.php
  7. [7]Michele Kambas, “Greek PM comes unstuck over Macedonia, austerity in European vote,” Reuters, May 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-greece-idUSKCN1SX0YI
  8. [8]Nikolia Apostolou, “Athens suicide: a cry for dignity from downtrodden,” Christian Science Monitor, April 5, 2012, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0405/Athens-suicide-a-cry-for-dignity-from-downtrodden-video; Democracy Now! “General Strike Sweeps Europe as Millions Reject Austerity as Solution to Economic Crisis,” November 14, 2012, http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/14/general_strike_sweeps_europe_as_millions; Deutschewelle, “Pensioner’s suicide triggers Greek austerity protests,” April 5, 2012, http://www.dw.de/pensioners-suicide-triggers-greek-austerity-protests/a-15860196; Teo Kermeliotis, “Austerity drives up suicide rate in debt-ridden Greece,” CNN, April 6, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/06/world/europe/greece-austerity-suicide/index.html?_s=PM:EUROPE; Nigel Morris, “Spike in suicide rate in Europe and US linked to financial crisis,” Independent, September 18, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/spike-in-suicide-rate-in-europe-and-us-linked-to-financial-crisis-8822729.html

Nothing new here: Donald Trump is an idiot

Updates

  1. Originally published, May 11, 9:47 pm.
  2. May 12, 8:40 am:
    • Jim Dennis (@AnswrGuy) responded to the below on Donald Trump. His point is largely correct but I explore it and I think the exploration is important.
  3. May 12, 9:05 am:

The less-awful news is that Lyft didn’t require a background check for moving to Pennsylvania. There were some pesky details, but as of yesterday, I’m driving for Lyft in the Pittsburgh area.

I’m noticing the earnings are not as high as in California, probably mostly because so few of the trips involve freeway miles. Other factors that might be involved are that I’m driving earlier and quitting earlier here than I did in California, it is a different area and I haven’t adjusted to the cultural patterns here yet, I’m presently driving for Lyft rather than Uber (Uber hasn’t completed my background check yet and even in California, I made more with Uber than I did with Lyft), and, of course, Lyft might (and I would expect probably does) pay a little less here than in Marin County, California, where I focused when I was there.

On the other hand, I’m driving fewer miles, at least so far. When I’m ready to go to work, I just go up to my car, go on line, and sit for a few minutes. An order, so far, has always arrived within a few minutes.

In the category of are you fucking kidding me?

But I stopped at home for lunch and a neighbor had a BB gun out with his kids. (Last I saw, the kids had gotten bored and wandered off.) It looks enough like a real gun that maybe—only maybe—the idiot will manage to get himself shot by the police. This is less likely since he and his kids are all white. In the meantime, I’m hoping he doesn’t manage to shoot one of my windows.IMG_20190511_162311No marksmanship here: At left is his target. But he’s so cool, lying prone, shooting a BB gun.


Donald Trump

Those inclined to view Donald Trump as the mastermind of some sort of diabolical threat would do well to read Anna Phillips’ article. The Trump administration is in such a hurry to roll back environmental (and other) regulation that it’s not following the required procedures for doing so. Which invites successful court challenges, notably from California.[1] Which just ain’t terribly bright.

Stupider, my guess is that the Trump administration is counting on being able to appeal these losses to the Supreme Court. My second guess is that the Supreme Court will, at some point, just stop accepting these cases, letting lower court rulings stand.

In a way, that’s bad news: Supreme Court rulings slapping the Trump administration down will have greater impact. But this is really basic shit. We’re talking Regulation 101 level stuff.

Update:

(Re-reading this after the Twitter post, I should have put scare quotes around ‘reformed’ in the above. As I was composing this, I was actually thinking of Traditionalist Conservatives, who in ‘reforming’ (still in scare quotes), have moved towards leaving racism, but not misogyny, behind.)

Anna M. Phillips, “In Trump vs. California, the state is winning nearly all its environmental cases,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-california-trump-environmental-lawsuits-20190507-story.html


Uber

The Uber initial public offering (IPO) is a flop. I suggest reading the article by Faiz Siddiqui and Greg Bensinger anyway. We’re seeing the differences between venture capital, as enamored with anything high tech, and Wall Street, as somewhat less enamored with indefinite losses.[2] But also read the article by Dan Primack: There were other factors involved as well.[3]

Faiz Siddiqui and Greg Bensinger, “Uber’s first day of trading ended deep in the red over gig-economy fears,” Washington Post, May 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/10/uber-ipo/

Dan Primack, “Uber’s IPO got caught in a perfect storm,” Axios, May 11, 2019, https://www.axios.com/ubers-ipo-perfect-storm-2a75a55a-adec-496b-bc23-02d99d02920f.html


  1. [1]Anna M. Phillips, “In Trump vs. California, the state is winning nearly all its environmental cases,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-california-trump-environmental-lawsuits-20190507-story.html
  2. [2]Faiz Siddiqui and Greg Bensinger, “Uber’s first day of trading ended deep in the red over gig-economy fears,” Washington Post, May 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/10/uber-ipo/
  3. [3]Dan Primack, “Uber’s IPO got caught in a perfect storm,” Axios, May 11, 2019, https://www.axios.com/ubers-ipo-perfect-storm-2a75a55a-adec-496b-bc23-02d99d02920f.html