The anti-Semitic Pennsylvania legislature

Privacy

Sebastian Meineck, “Five Reasons You Should Delete Telegram from Your Phone,” Vice, November 25, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en/article/jgqqv8/five-reasons-you-should-delete-telegram-from-your-phone


Pennsylvania


Fig. 1. An entrance to the Beth Abraham cemetery in Pittsburgh’s Carrick neighborhood. The Shaare Torah cemetery is very close by. Photograph by author, July 27, 2020.

One might think, in the wake of the Tree of Life shooting, wherein a white supremacist shot Jews in a Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh) synagogue,[1] that maybe, just maybe, stricter guns laws might be called for, as indeed Pittsburgh has called for[2] and even attempted to pass on its own.[3] One might even think that the lobbyists who claim to oppose anti-Semitism would support such moves.

The Pennsylvania state legislature, however, moves in an entirely different direction.[4] And supposedly anti-anti-Semitic lobbyists are, as far as I can tell, entirely silent.

The overlap between so-called “gun rights”[5] advocacy and white supremacy is hard to miss in southwestern Pennsylvania.[6] Support for one inescapably means support for the other.

Which is to say that the Pennsylvania legislature is anti-Semitic. And should be called out for it accordingly.

Associated Press, “Gov. Tom Wolf Vetoes Bills On Firearms During Emergencies And Gas Drilling Regulation,” KDKA, November 26, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/26/wolf-vetoes-three-bills/


  1. [1]Campbell Robertson, Christopher Mele, and Sabrina Tavernise, “11 Killed in Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts,” New York Times, October 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/us/active-shooter-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.html
  2. [2]Bob Bauder, “Pittsburgh mayor Peduto, state lawmakers call for vote on Pa. gun bills,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 9, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/peduto-state-lawmakers-call-for-vote-on-gun-bills/
  3. [3]Bob Bauder, “Judge strikes down Pittsburgh’s controversial gun bills,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 29, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/judge-strikes-down-pittsburghs-controversial-gun-bills/
  4. [4]Associated Press, “Gov. Tom Wolf Vetoes Bills On Firearms During Emergencies And Gas Drilling Regulation,” KDKA, November 26, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/26/wolf-vetoes-three-bills/; Stephen Caruso, “Pro 2nd Amendment lawmakers want to let you carry a gun during an emergency,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 7, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/pro-2nd-amendment-lawmakers-want-to-let-you-carry-a-gun-during-an-emergency/; Jon Delano, “Lawrence Co. Lawmaker Wants To Abolish Concealed Carry Gun Permits,” KDKA, May 7, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/05/07/aaron-bernstine-abolish-pennsylvania-concealed-carry-law/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Deconstructing the second amendment,” Not Housebroken, October 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/04/deconstructing-the-second-amendment/
  6. [6]Moriah Ella Mason, “Pittsburgh Doesn’t Need More Guns — We Need Less White Supremacy,” Forward, October 29, 2018, https://forward.com/scribe/413104/pittsburgh-doesnt-need-more-guns-we-need-less-white-supremacy/

Who’s the biggest super-spreader of them all? (Update #15)

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 2, 2020, at 10:00 pm.

  2. November 3, 2020, 8:10 am, revised at 8:30 am:

  3. November 3, 2020, 8:27 am, revised 11:50 am:

  4. November 3, 11:27 am:

    • Writing in the Atlantic, George Thomas diminishes the distinction between a republic and democracy, even as he amplifies[1] the evidence I cite[2] from Federalist no. 10.[3] He argues based on racial progress,[4] the end of slavery in the 13th amendment,[5] equal protection under law in the 14th,[6] and universal male suffrage in the 15th,[7] and civil and voting rights legislation of the 1960s.[8] The curious aspect to this argument is that it omits entirely the problem of class, which James Madison was unmistakably most concerned about in Federalist no. 10,[9] and which is the subject of my deconstruction.[10]

  5. November 3, 2020, 3:01 pm, revised 5:48 pm:

    • I guess I’d have to say that judges are really, really, really not trusting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s changes at the U.S. Postal Service,[11] which appear to have harmed service,[12] and come all too conveniently for the election.[13] The latest is a judge ordering postal inspectors to sweep some facilities for ballots and ensure their delivery.[14]

  6. November 3, 2020, 4:43 pm, revised 5:48 pm:

    • So there was this idea—it even appeared in a pediatrics journal—that children don’t catch or transmit the novel coronavirus or the disease it causes, COVID-19, to nearly the degree that adults do.[15] Of course, this flew in the face of everything parents and teachers know about children and their propensity for contagion. Then it turned out that maybe older kids do catch and transmit the disease[16] and that children might carry and transmit the disease pretty much like anyone else.[17] Now it seems kids are getting the disease, although this article does not itself differentiate by age groups or offer much perspective to suggest how much crow the proponents of that earlier idea should be eating.[18] If I follow up on this, I’ll have to chase down some of those links.

  7. November 3, 2020, 5:48 pm:

    • I’ve revised the previous two updates for a bunch of reasons, some having to do with citations, some to improve the explanations.

  8. November 3, 2020, 7:50 pm:

    • I’ve previously observed that the patriarch—a brilliant chef and a not-so-brilliant Trumpster—in the Jewish family that runs the (plant-based) Fortuitea restaurant in North Strabane, a suburb of Pittsburgh in Washington County, Pennsylvania, seemed to be getting his information, particularly with regard to measures taken to try to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, from the same sources as white supremacists (paleoconservatives), including anti-Semitic white supremacists. It made me sufficiently uncomfortable that I’ve stopped going to that restaurant, though I very much miss the food.

      On Monday (November 2) morning, someone spray-painted “Trump” and “MAGA” on some Jewish headstones. From the description of this and another attack, I find it hard to imagine that anyone other than anti-Semitic white supremacists would commit these crimes, even if “David J.B. Krishef, the rabbi at Ahavas Israel, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it was unclear if the vandalism was an attack on the Jewish community.”[19] Meanwhile, settlers in the Occupied Territories are praying for Donald Trumps’s victory.[20]

      There are, of course, reasons for this. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and promoted a so-called ‘peace’ plan that the settlers like very much.[21] This, of course, was the ‘peace’ of conquest, far from that of justice, meant to humiliate Palestinians.[22]

      But I’m thinking of that restaurant and its patriarch. And I can’t help but feel there is a very weird and really rather sickening alliance between Zionists, anti-Semites, Donald Trump, and the Trump administration.

  9. November 4, 2020, 2:10 am:
    • At this writing, 90 percent of the vote is counted in Wisconsin and 67 percent in Michigan. Donald Trump leads in both states. Assuming FiveThirtyEight is correct, I think the “‘easy’ paths” are closed.

      I understand that Pennsylvania hasn’t even begun counting mail-in ballots. There was a significant campaign here for voters to vote by mail and I expect, especially in the cities, that many voters did so. Trump has the lead, this might well be a mirage, and only 64 percent of the vote is counted.

      I should qualify what I’m about to say with an earlier tweet:

      My reading at the present time has to be that Donald Trump may very well have won re-election.

  10. November 4, 2020, 3:26 am:

    • At this point, the Associated Press has not called the following states:[23]
      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 32 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 73 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 57 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 93 Donald Trump 10

      Of these states, the only one I think might still flip is Pennsylvania. That would combine with Nevada to add 26 votes to Joe Biden’s current total of 238, for a total of 264, falling short of 270. Donald Trump would add 60 votes to his current 213, for a total of 273, exceeding 270. It looks to me like Donald Trump has won re-election.

  11. November 4, 2020, 6:52 am:

    • Wisconsin, the land of Scott Walker, appears to have flipped in favor of Joe Biden:[24]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 43 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 87 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 67 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 95 Joe Biden 10

      This changes matters considerably. It also puts the FiveThirtyEight “‘easy’ paths” (see the tweet I quoted in the update at 2:10 am) back in play as I thought Wisconsin was less likely to flip than Michigan. Biden appears to have won Arizona.[25] Michigan has not flipped, however, and Donald Trump still leads there, as well as in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

      Returning to the scenario I outlined at 3:26 am, where Pennsylvania (but not Michigan) also flips, Biden would now net 274 electoral votes while Trump would win only 263.

  12. November 4, 7:51 am:

    • California’s Proposition 22 passed, enabling Uber and Lyft to continue to misclassify their drivers in California as “independent contractors.”[26]

  13. November 4, 9:49 am:

    • The Republicans seem likely to retain control of the Senate:[27]

      State Percent counted Leading Party
      Alaska 45 Republican
      Georgia 94 Republican
      Maine 85 Republican
      Michigan 93 Republican
      North Carolina 93 Republican

      I suppose Michigan might flip for the Senate like it might for the presidential race. But the rest of these are states I see as Republican and I really don’t see them flipping. As to the presidential race,[28]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 45 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 94 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 67 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 95 Joe Biden 10

      As more and more votes are counted, the margin for a flip diminishes considerably. By the time we get to the high 90-percentages—none of these states are quite there yet—that margin vanishes to near zero.

      Win or lose, it speaks volumes that the Democratic Party has done so poorly both in political practice and in the election against an incumbent who mishandled the pandemic for all the wrong reasons, as I previously put it,

      politically, economically (also enabling capitalist greed to compound the problem),[29] and medically,[30] with devastating consequences. In addition to all that, Donald Trump recklessly recommended absurdly dangerous non-remedies like hydroxychloroquine[31][32]

      This is not credible opposition and the Democrats’ record of complicity[33] suggests they are something else entirely.

  14. November 4, 2020, 10:17 am:

    • I had barely posted the last update when word came that the Associated Press now has Joe Biden in the lead in Michigan:[34]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 45 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 94 Joe Biden 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 67 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 95 Joe Biden 10

      Michigan would complete one of FiveThirtyEight’s “‘easy’ paths” for a Biden victory putting him right at 270 electoral votes.[35] But Pennsylvania is still in play. Here’s the mayor of Pittsburgh:

      Basically, he’s saying that Allegheny County will likely turn out for Biden. My understanding is that in combination with Philadelphia and suburbs, that probably means Biden gets Pennsylvania, bringing his electoral college margin to 290.

      But this is where we move to the next phase, where Donald Trump starts playing his games for real, attempting to contest the result.[36] It could also be where we start to see militia activity[37] such as I (and others[38]) have warned about.[39]

  15. November 4, 8:46 pm:

    • So at one point (see above), I thought Joe Biden had managed to lose both to the coronavirus (see above) and one of the worst U.S. presidents ever.[40] But the Associated Press has now called Michigan and Wisconsin for him,[41] which I had thought would stay in Donald Trump’s column (see above). Now I think Biden has it in the bag.

      This table of states the Associated Press has not called[42] is now shorter:

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 98 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 75 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 88 Donald Trump 20

      I would be surprised if Alaska, Georgia, or North Carolina wind up in Biden’s column, though obviously they’re still too close for the A.P. to call. With 98 percent counted, Georgia should be very close to being called. Biden, on the other hand, has held a lead in Nevada for as long as I’ve been watching the map[43] and with urban areas both taking longer to count and being more likely to support the Democrat, I think that’s Biden’s remaining six needed electoral votes right there. But I also think, though Trump for now retains a lead in the state,[44] Pennsylvania will also end up in Biden’s column.

      At the very least, Trump has a seriously difficult uphill climb to win.

  16. November 4, 2020, 10:00 pm:

    • So when a judge ordered a sweep of postal facilities for undelivered ballots,[45] I just sort of assumed that that would happen:

      Earlier Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia had ordered the Postal Service to sweep 12 postal processing facilities that cover 15 states for ballots. But the agency rebuffed that order and said it would stick to its own inspection schedule, which voting rights advocates worried was too late in the day for found ballots to make it to vote counters.[46]

      Um, wow. Disregarding a court order is not on my list of recommended behaviors but I guess that’s just what the Postal Service did. And this should surprise no one: The judge is pissed. Really pissed. Hinting at finding Louis DeJoy in contempt of court pissed.[47] Bad move, DeJoy. Really bad move.

    • Jeez. The A.P. still hasn’t called Georgia.[48]


Election Day

It’s election day tomorrow (November 3). Here are my recent relevant blog entries:

So if you get really bored while waiting days or weeks for the election results, you can see how well my shit stands the test of time.

Oh, and I guess that asteroid, that had a snowball’s chance in hell, but a chance nonetheless, of striking earth today (November 2),[49] didn’t.

The suffering continues.


Donald Trump

It’s almost as if our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief gazes in a mirror and recites,

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who’s the biggest super-spreader of them all?

Melissa Healy, “Super-spreading Trump rallies led to more than 700 COVID-19 deaths, study estimates,” Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-31/super-spreading-trump-rallies-led-to-more-than-700-covid-19-deaths-study

Associated Press, “Leaders of settlers in Israel pray for a Trump victory in the US Election,” Al Arabiya, November 4, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/04/Leaders-of-settlers-in-Israel-pray-for-a-Trump-victory-in-the-US-Election


Postal Service

Alvin Chang, “Judge orders US Postal Service to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to deliver ballots on time,” Guardian, November 2, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/02/us-postal-service-election-mail-ballots-delays-judge-extraordinary-measures

Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson, “Judge orders sweep of postal facilities for leftover ballots,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-03/judge-orders-sweep-of-postal-facilities-for-leftover-ballots

Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham, “USPS data shows thousands of mailed ballots missed Election Day deadlines,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/11/03/election-ballot-delays-usps/


Pandemic

Erika Edwards, “More than 61,000 children got Covid-19 last week, a record,” NBC News, November 2, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/more-61-000-children-got-covid-19-last-week-record-n1245851


Anti-Semitism

Teo Armus, “‘Trump’ and ‘MAGA’ spray-painted on gravestones in Michigan Jewish cemetery,” Washington Post, November 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/03/michigan-jewish-cemetery-trump-maga/


Gig economy

Jeong Park, “Uber, Lyft win approval of California gig worker measure,” Sacramento Bee, November 3, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/article246814727.html


  1. [1]George Thomas, “‘America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous—And Wrong—Argument,” Atlantic, November 2, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  3. [3]James Madison, “Federalist No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Garry Wills (New York: Bantam, 2003), 50-58.
  4. [4]George Thomas, “‘America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous—And Wrong—Argument,” Atlantic, November 2, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
  5. [5]U.S. Const., amend. XIII, § 1.
  6. [6]U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1
  7. [7]U.S. Const., amend. XV, § 1
  8. [8]George Thomas, “‘America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous—And Wrong—Argument,” Atlantic, November 2, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
  9. [9]James Madison, “Federalist No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Garry Wills (New York: Bantam, 2003), 50-58.
  10. [10]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  11. [11]Colby Bermel, “Judge orders USPS to reverse mail collection limits now,” Politico, October 27, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/27/postal-service-mail-collection-433112; Jacob Bogage, “DeJoy’s Postal Service policies delayed 7 percent of nation’s first-class mail, Senate Democrat’s report says,” Washington Post, September 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/16/dejoy-usps-delays-senate-report/; Alvin Chang, “Judge orders US Postal Service to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to deliver ballots on time,” Guardian, November 2, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/02/us-postal-service-election-mail-ballots-delays-judge-extraordinary-measures; Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/; 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; Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson, “Judge orders sweep of postal facilities for leftover ballots,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-03/judge-orders-sweep-of-postal-facilities-for-leftover-ballots; Elise Viebeck and Jacob Bogage, “Federal judge temporarily blocks USPS operational changes amid concerns about mail slowdowns, election,” Washington Post, September 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-issues-temporary-injunction-against-usps-operational-changes-amid-concerns-about-mail-slowdowns/2020/09/17/34fb85a0-f91e-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html
  12. [12]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
  13. [13]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; 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; 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
  14. [14]Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson, “Judge orders sweep of postal facilities for leftover ballots,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-03/judge-orders-sweep-of-postal-facilities-for-leftover-ballots
  15. [15]Benjamin Lee and William V. Raszka, “COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame,” Pediatrics 146, no. 1 (2020), doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-004879
  16. [16]Peter Dockrill, “Older Kids May Transmit COVID-19 as Much as Adults Do, New Evidence Shows,” Science Alert, July 20, 2020, https://www.sciencealert.com/older-children-transmit-covid-19-as-much-as-adults-do-new-evidence-suggests
  17. [17]Jacqueline Howard and Sandee LaMotte, “Kids can carry coronavirus in respiratory tract for weeks, study suggests,” CNN, August 28, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/28/health/kids-covid-19-nose-throat-wellness/index.html; Apoorva Mandavilli, “Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels, Study Finds,” New York Times, July 30, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/health/coronavirus-children.html
  18. [18]Erika Edwards, “More than 61,000 children got Covid-19 last week, a record,” NBC News, November 2, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/more-61-000-children-got-covid-19-last-week-record-n1245851
  19. [19]Teo Armus, “‘Trump’ and ‘MAGA’ spray-painted on gravestones in Michigan Jewish cemetery,” Washington Post, November 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/03/michigan-jewish-cemetery-trump-maga/
  20. [20]Associated Press, “Leaders of settlers in Israel pray for a Trump victory in the US Election,” Al Arabiya, November 4, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/04/Leaders-of-settlers-in-Israel-pray-for-a-Trump-victory-in-the-US-Election
  21. [21]Associated Press, “Leaders of settlers in Israel pray for a Trump victory in the US Election,” Al Arabiya, November 4, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/04/Leaders-of-settlers-in-Israel-pray-for-a-Trump-victory-in-the-US-Election
  22. [22]Sheena Anne Arackal, “The ‘Deal of the Century’ is Apartheid,” Mondoweiss, January 28, 2020, https://mondoweiss.net/2020/01/the-deal-of-the-century-is-apartheid/; Marwan Bishara, “The logic behind US humiliation of the Palestinians,” Al Jazeera, April 24, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/logic-humiliation-palestinians-190423123902553.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ is no deal at all,” Washington Post, January 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/01/28/trumps-deal-century-is-no-deal-all/
  23. [23]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 4, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  24. [24]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 4, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  25. [25]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 4, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  26. [26]Jeong Park, “Uber, Lyft win approval of California gig worker measure,” Sacramento Bee, November 3, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/article246814727.html
  27. [27]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 4, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
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Few Are Safe,” Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-second-round-of-coronavirus-layoffs-has-begun-no-one-is-safe-11586872387; New York Times, “There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill,” March 14, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/opinion/coronavirus-pelosi-sick-leave.html; Neil Paine and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “What Economists Fear Most During This Recovery,” FiveThirtyEight, June 23, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-economists-fear-most-during-this-recovery/; Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, “Will they ever get a deal?” Politico, August 3, 2020, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2020/08/03/will-they-ever-get-a-deal-489957; Mekhla Raina, “Uber says it will compensate drivers diagnosed with coronavirus,” Reuters, March 7, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-uber-idUSKBN20U105; Manu Raju et al., “White House, Senate reach historic $2 trillion stimulus deal amid growing coronavirus fears,” CNN, March 25, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/stimulus-senate-action-coronavirus/index.html; Preetika Rana, “U.S. Spending on Ride-Hailing With Uber, Lyft Falls as Coronavirus Spreads,” Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spending-on-ride-hailing-with-uber-lyft-falls-as-coronavirus-spreads-11584525600; Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/; Olivia Rockeman and Jill Ward, “Millions of Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent,” Bloomberg, June 14, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-14/millions-of-jobs-could-be-permanently-lost-in-reallocation-shock; Jonathan Roeder, Jordyn Holman, and Mary Schlangenstein, “‘People are suffering’: Corporate America lashes Trump after stimulus call,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 7, 2020, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/people-are-suffering-corporate-america-lashes-trump-after-stimulus-call-20201007-p562rj.html; Tony Romm, “Uber drivers and other gig economy workers were promised unemployment benefits. It may be a long wait,” Washington Post, April 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/02/uber-airbnb-lyft-unemployment-coronavirus/; Tony Romm, “3 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, pushing eight-week total to 36.5 million,” Washington Post, May 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/14/unemployment-jobless-claims-coronavirus/; Tony Romm, “Americans have filed more than 40 million jobless claims in past 10 weeks, as another 2.1 million filed for benefits last week,” Washington Post, May 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/28/unemployment-claims-coronavirus/; Eli Rosenberg, “Unemployment rate drops to 13 percent, as the economy picked up jobs as states reopened,” Washington Post, June 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/05/may-2020-jobs-report/; Eli Rosenberg, “‘A Band-Aid on a bullet wound’: Workers are getting laid off anew as PPP runs out,” Washington Post, July 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/23/ppp-layoffs/; Eli Rosenberg, Heather Long, and Jeff Stein, “The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, but fierce new headwinds have emerged,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/02/june-2020-jobs-report/; Eli Rosenberg, Erica Werner, and Jeff Stein, “30 million unemployed lose extra jobless benefits, as talks between Congress and the White House are at an impasse,” Washington Post, July 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/07/31/congress-bailout-unemployment-insurance/; Christopher Rugaber, “Gone for good? Evidence signals many jobs aren’t coming back,” Associated Press, August 5, 2020, copy in possession of author; Christopher Rugaber, “Rise in jobless claims reflects still-struggling US economy,” Associated Press, August 20, 2020, copy in possession of author; Marc Santia, “Lyft Driver Says He Was Attacked, Then Arrested After Refusing Rider Without Mask,” WNBC, July 24, 2020, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/lyft-driver-says-he-was-attacked-after-refusing-rider-without-mask-then-he-was-arrested/2529101/; Isabel V. Sawhill, “The middle class faces its greatest threat since the 1930s,” Brookings, March 20, 2020,https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-middle-class-faces-its-greatest-threat-since-the-1930s/; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/; Hamza Shaban, “White House tells 18 million unemployed workers to ‘Find Something New’ in ad campaign,” Washington Post, July 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/14/ivanka-trump-jobs-find-something-new/; Rachel Siegel, Thomas Heath, and Jeff Stein, “Dow slides more than 1,800 points on fears of coronavirus resurgence, more economic pain,” Washington Post, June 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/11/markets-today-fed-coronavirus/; Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam, “4.4 million Americans sought jobless benefits last week, as economic pain continued across the United States,” Washington Post, April 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/23/economy-coronavirus-unemployment/; Joshua Emerson Smith, “A COVID-19 death renews questions of Uber and Lyft’s responsibility to drivers,” San Diego Union-Tribune, July 24, 2020, https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/transportation/story/2020-07-24/uber-driver-dies-covid-19; Jeff Stein et al., “Senate Republicans release massive economic stimulus bill for coronavirus response,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/trump-coronavirus-economic-plan-stimulus/; Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/; Andy Sullivan, “Americans too scared to go to work risk losing unemployment aid, experts say,” Reuters, April 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-georgia-worker/americans-too-scared-to-go-to-work-risk-losing-unemployment-aid-experts-say-idUSKCN2251RD; Andy Sullivan and Brad Brooks, “‘The government is failing us’: Laid-off Americans struggle in coronavirus crisis,” Reuters, May 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-05-07/coronavirus-weekly-jobless-unemployment-numbers; Kyle Swenson, “Ten bucks left, no place to go: How the pandemic and a broken unemployment system are upending people’s lives,” Washington Post, August 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/coronavirus-unemployment-delays-dc/2020/08/01/50016264-c522-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html; Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman, “Washington Weighs Big Bailouts to Help U.S. Economy Survive Coronavirus,” New York Times, March 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/business/bailout-economy-coronavirus.html; Anneken Tappe, “30 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims since mid-March,” CNN, April 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/30/economy/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/index.html; Nitasha Tiku, “Gig workers face the spread of the new coronavirus with no safety net,” Washington Post, February 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/02/29/gig-workers-face-spread-new-coronavirus-with-no-safety-net/; Uber, “Supporting you during the Coronavirus,” March 15, 2020, https://www.uber.com/blog/supporting-you-during-coronavirus/; Funda Ustek-Spilda et al., “The untenable luxury of self-isolation,” New Internationalist, March 18, 2020, https://newint.org/features/2020/03/18/untenable-luxury-self-isolation; David Wallace-Wells, “America Is Broken,” New York, March 12, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-shows-us-america-is-broken.html; Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, and Paul Kane, “Senate passes $2 trillion bill to blunt coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact, as households and businesses gasp for relief,” Washington Post, March 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/26/senate-trump-coronavirus-economic-stimulus-2-trillion/; Erica Werner, Paul Kane, and Mike DeBonis, “Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain,” Washington Post, March 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/03/27/congress-coronavirus-house-vote/; Ben White, “Great Depression 2? Worries about a coronavirus-induced calamity pile up,” Politico, March 23, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/23/great-depression-coronavirus-induced-calamity-145304; Holly Yan, “5 common arguments for reopening the economy — and why experts say they are flawed,” CNN, May 11, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/11/us/reopening-the-economy-flawed-arguments-trnd/index.html
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  47. [47]Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham, “USPS data shows thousands of mailed ballots missed Election Day deadlines,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/11/03/election-ballot-delays-usps/
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  49. [49]Jay Croft and Melissa Alonso, “Oh, great: NASA says an asteroid is headed our way right before Election Day,” CNN, August 22, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/22/us/asteroid-earth-november-2020-scn-trnd/index.html

Guillotines are seeming rather attractive right now

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 15, 2020, at 9:03 am.
  2. August 15, 10:59 am:

Pittsburgh

The text originally here has been reworked into a new blog entry entitled, “Blaming the victims, capitalist-style.”

I generally oppose violence but my god, with mother-fuckers like these capitalists, and a system that actively enables rather than restrains them, what are you supposed to do?

Nick Matoney, “Restaurant revolution: Some owners in Pennsylvania plan to expand capacity despite mandate,” WTAE, August 14, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/restaurant-revolution-some-owners-in-pennsylvania-plan-to-expand-capacity-despite-mandate/33602662

Teghan Simonton, “Braddock restaurant owner apologizes for comparing Gov. Wolf, Levine to Nazis,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/braddock-restaurant-owner-apologizes-for-comparing-gov-wolf-levine-to-nazis/


Donald Trump

Salvador Rizzo, “Trump promotes false claim that Harris might not be a natural-born U.S. citizen,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/13/trump-falsely-claims-harris-might-not-be-us-citizen/


I have been insufficiently pessimistic

Pandemic

Since coming to Pittsburgh, I’ve come to suspect that the over-the-top displays of patriotism, the flags, the guns, the ubiquitous memorials for veterans and war dead, which have made me wonder what folks are compensating for, are in fact white supremacist displays.[1] Here it is again, albeit outside Pittsburgh, as authoritarian populists again blur the distinction with paleoconservatism, protesting lockdowns and attacking Jews.[2] I have to wonder what the father in that Jewish family that runs my favorite vegan restaurant—it really is good—around here thinks now.[3]

Meanwhile, reading David Wallace-Wells,[4] it seems to me the headline attached to his article misleads: Though we might—I find this unduly optimistic—indeed be approaching a point where the lockdowns might ease, we are likely not even the tenth of the way the headline, but not the article, claims. And the capitalist god demands human sacrifice[5] and right-wingers are all too anxious to appease.[6]

This keeps being a story that keeps getting worse than I imagine. It’s not uncommon for me to be overly pessimistic. It’s unusual, but not rare, that I might be insufficiently pessimistic or cynical. But this pandemic has exposed me as insufficiently pessimistic repeatedly and that is truly something to behold.

Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/

David Wallace-Wells, “We Are Probably Only One-Tenth of the Way Through This Pandemic,” New York, April 17, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/we-are-probably-only-a-tenth-of-the-way-through-the-pandemic.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, October 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/; David Benfell, “Militia territory,” Not Housebroken, November 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/11/22/militia-territory/; David Benfell, “An unhealthy relationship with guns,” Not Housebroken, January 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/01/an-unhealthy-relationship-with-guns/
  2. [2]Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/
  4. [4]David Wallace-Wells, “We Are Probably Only One-Tenth of the Way Through This Pandemic,” New York, April 17, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/we-are-probably-only-a-tenth-of-the-way-through-the-pandemic.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/
  6. [6]Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/

The morality of polarization makes an appearance in Israel

Israel

While the United Kingdom’s Balfour declaration, calling for creation of a Jewish homeland predates the Holocaust, little action, apart from mass Zionist purchases—they seem to have made generous offers—of Palestinian land, was taken until after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.[1] Accordingly, I hadn’t even questioned that Israel was founded in response to the Holocaust as the latest and most horrific in a series of pogroms that occurred over a period of centuries.[2]

Apparently, however, Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo, given in 2009, connecting the Holocaust with the founding of Israel caused outrage because it was understood to have undermined the Zionist claim to indigenous status in Palestine,[3] a claim which is ridiculous given that nearly all residents of the region for thousands of years, at least, have had somewhat darker skin than the Ashkenazi Jews[4] who dominate Israeli politics, often discriminate even against darker-skinned Jews, and are often the most vocal Zionists. (Spare me your white Jesus bullshit. Just spare me.) This truly belongs in the same category with Rachel Dolezal, a white former college instructor who claimed to be Black.[5]

But now that U.S. Republicans are saying it rather than Obama, guess what? It’s all okay,[6] offering yet further evidence for my theory of the morality of polarization.[7]

Gotta tell you: It’s bad enough that a country founded as a political response to the Holocaust engages in genocide against Palestinians. Hypocrisy such as this is its own reason for the obliteration of Israel.

Ron Kampeas, “Linking Israel’s founding to Holocaust, once cause for outrage, is now accepted,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/linking-israels-founding-to-holocaust-once-cause-for-outrage-is-now-accepted/


  1. [1]David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace (New York: Owl, 1989).
  2. [2]Avigail Abarbanel, “A change needs to come,” Electronic Intifada, May 26, 2008, http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9567.shtml; Albert Memmi, Portrait of a Jew, trans. Elisabeth Abbott (1962; repr., New York: Viking, 1971).
  3. [3]Ron Kampeas, “Linking Israel’s founding to Holocaust, once cause for outrage, is now accepted,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/linking-israels-founding-to-holocaust-once-cause-for-outrage-is-now-accepted/
  4. [4]Masha Kisel, “How does it feel to be white?” Times of Israel, November 29, 2019, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/how-does-it-feel-to-be-white/
  5. [5]David A. Love, “Can Rachel Dolezal redeem herself as an ally?” Grio, June 14, 2015, http://thegrio.com/2015/06/14/can-rachel-dolezal-redeem-herself-as-an-ally/
  6. [6]Ron Kampeas, “Linking Israel’s founding to Holocaust, once cause for outrage, is now accepted,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/linking-israels-founding-to-holocaust-once-cause-for-outrage-is-now-accepted/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “The morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, December 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/09/21/the-morality-of-polarization/; David Benfell, “The theory of the morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, December 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/23/the-theory-of-the-morality-of-polarization/

Dementius, J.D.

Government

There is a new blog post entitled, “Encouraging the good.”

George Monbiot, “Rewilding Politics,” Guardian, December 23, 2019, https://www.monbiot.com/2019/12/23/rewilding-politics/


Donald Trump

Ain’t Rudy Giuliani a piece of work? It gets even richer if you read the New York story by Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,”[1] that the Washington Post story is largely based on.[2]

I suppose that Amerikkkans deserve to know who is representing them and in what capacity, but it seems to me Nuzzi’s reporting approaches an ethical boundary. Details such as the saliva dripping from the corner of Rudy Giuliani’s mouth onto his sweater, the unzipped fly, the stumble against the wall,[3] and his claim to be “more of a Jew than [George] Soros [a Holocaust survivor] is”[4] combine to paint an unflattering portrait of a man not in command of his faculties. As I see more in life, I begin to associate paranoid rambling, as with Giuliani’s ranting about George Soros (a favorite authoritarian populist bogeyman),[5] in older people with dementia.

My mother would undoubtedly remind me that it’s an old tradition among reporters, of whom a very old archetype is scarcely better, to let their subjects get drunk and spill their beans. But is an obviously drunk and possibly demented Giuliani really competent to consent to such an interview on the record?

Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html

Michael Brice-Saddler, “Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic, says he is ‘more of a Jew’ than George Soros, who survived the Holocaust,” Washington Post, December 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/23/rudy-giuliani-says-he-is-more-jew-than-george-soros-who-survived-holocaust/

Jerusalem Online, “Rudy Giuliani: I’m More of A Jew than Holocaust Survivor,” December 24, 2019, https://www.jerusalemonline.com/rudy-giuliani-im-more-of-a-jew-than-holocaust-survivor/


  1. [1]Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html
  2. [2]Michael Brice-Saddler, “Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic, says he is ‘more of a Jew’ than George Soros, who survived the Holocaust,” Washington Post, December 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/23/rudy-giuliani-says-he-is-more-jew-than-george-soros-who-survived-holocaust/
  3. [3]Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html
  4. [4]Rudy Giuliani, quoted in Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html
  5. [5]Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html

Gavin Newsom might not think what you think he thinks

Pacific Gas and Electric

My guess is that this is not what Gavin Newsom, who has, on balance, been governing as a progressive, means:

PG&E had been on the defensive for months after a group of bondholders made their own alliance with wildfire victims and mounted a hostile takeover bid for the utility. The bondholders, led by Wall Street hedge fund Elliott Management, insisted their takeover plan is still better for California and said PG&E’s proposal would burden the company with billions in new debt.

With Newsom rejecting PG&E’s plan, the bondholders’ effort gets new life.[1]

I’m thinking more along the lines of,

“Nothing I can think of says, ‘screw the public interest’ like a hedge fund-owned public utility,” [Dave] King said.[2]

Dale Kasler, “Gavin Newsom rejects PG&E bankruptcy plan, demands ‘radically restructured’ CA utility,” Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238350708.html


Cenk Uygur

There is a new blog post entitled, “Bernie Sanders should not have endorsed Cenk Uygur in the first place.” This is the first of two new posts today.

Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks


Anti-Semitism

A self-identifying Zionist affirms a right to criticize Zionism, criticizing the order that Donald Trump issued[3] earlier this week.[4]

Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect


The Left

There is another new blog post entitled, “On lessons to be learned.”

David Adler, “What the U.S. Left Can Learn From the Labour Party’s Epic Loss,” In These Times, December 13, 2019, http://inthesetimes.com/article/22220/labour-party-jeremy-corbyn-boris-johnson-uk-brexit-bernie-sanders-left

John Cassidy, “What Are the Real Lessons of the U.K. Election for 2020?” New Yorker, December 14, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-are-the-real-lessons-of-the-uk-election-for-2020


Donald Trump

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court will take up Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation,” Washington Post, December 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-will-take-up-trumps-broad-claims-of-protection-from-investigation/2019/12/13/1de84cd6-1d19-11ea-8d58-5ac3600967a1_story.html


  1. [1]Dale Kasler, “Gavin Newsom rejects PG&E bankruptcy plan, demands ‘radically restructured’ CA utility,” Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238350708.html
  2. [2]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  3. [3]Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect
  4. [4]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html

Don’t you dare call Israel racist! Or the Burmese genocidal!

Anti-Semitism

So a White House official confirmed to CNN that Donald Trump was about to sign an order declaring Judaism a nationality. That appears to be inaccurate,[1] but it sure kicked off a fuss.

That said, the order relies on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”[4] Which is to say that Israel may engage in ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians, but we can’t call it racist.

Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/

Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html


Israel

Ruth Eglash, “Israel heading for third election in less than a year after politicians fail to form government,” Washington Post, December 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/israel-heading-for-third-election-in-less-than-a-year-after-politicians-fail-to-form-government/2019/12/11/d9d4818a-1ac6-11ea-977a-15a6710ed6da_story.html


Amazon

Danny Fortson, “Is Jeff Bezos’s Amazon now the ‘evil face of capitalism’?” Times, December 8, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-jeff-bezoss-amazon-now-the-evil-face-of-capitalism-3lxjs0k0n


Rohingya

Aung San Suu Kyi will need to do better than this. Even if she is correct in blaming “the separatist Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” for “forc[ing] Myanmar [Burmese] forces to respond,” “mass executions, sexual violence and arson”[5] are war crimes. Executed on the scale Burma is accused of and especially at a largely noncombatant population, they amount to genocide.

The one point that she might have is that international courts do indeed try claims almost exclusively against small, poor countries.[6] But “selective prosecution” is a weak defense against crimes against humanity.

Note that until a relatively legitimate government, which has not existed there in a very long time,[7] exists to assert the name “Myanmar,” I will continue to refer to the country by its admittedly colonial name, “Burma.”

As to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Rohingya generally, they appear not to be separatist at all but rather, according to C. Christine Fair, seek only “to return to Myanmar with citizenship and, problematically, with government recognition as a distinct ethnic group.” Crimes against the Rohingya, including land confiscation, concentration camps, forced labor, and arbitrary taxation, appear to precede the ARSA by decades,[8] entirely undermining Aung San Suu Kyi’s argument.

So my message to the Nobel laureate is this: Get over yourself, you lying bitch.

Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/

Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html


  1. [1]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html
  2. [2]Jamal Dajani (@JamalDajani), Twitter, December 10, 2019, 8:49 pm, https://twitter.com/JamalDajani/status/1204578922702069760
  3. [3]Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA), Twitter, December 11, 2019, 9:20 pm, https://twitter.com/RWPUSA/status/1204586619057115136
  4. [4]International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, quoted in Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/
  5. [5]Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/
  6. [6]Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html
  7. [7]Lawrence James seems not to specify when, precisely, Burma fell under sway of the British empire in The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994) but notes campaigns were fought there in 1824 and 1853.
  8. [8]C. Christine Fair, “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army: Not the Jihadis You Might Expect,” Lawfare, December 9, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/arakan-rohingya-salvation-army-not-jihadis-you-might-expect

Anti-Semites for Israel

Donald Trump

Donald Trump again used a trope of Jews and money, suggesting that they’d have no choice but to vote for him because Elizabeth Warren would take their money away.[1]

Eric Cortellessa, “Trump tells pro-Israel conference that some US Jews don’t love Israel enough,” Times of Israel, December 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-tells-jewish-group-theyll-vote-for-him-to-protect-their-wealth/


  1. [1]Eric Cortellessa, “Trump tells pro-Israel conference that some US Jews don’t love Israel enough,” Times of Israel, December 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-tells-jewish-group-theyll-vote-for-him-to-protect-their-wealth/

The anti-Semitism lie against the Labour Party in the United Kingdom

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 27, 6:32 pm.
  2. November 27, 9:49 pm:
    • Donald Trump signed the bill supporting Hong Kong protesters[1] that had passed both houses of Congress with “veto-proof” majorities, but which he had nonetheless threatened to veto.[2] In a signing statement, Trump threatened to pick and choose which parts of the law he will comply with.[3]

Anti-semitism

The British general election campaign is proving very, very ugly, pretty much no matter what side you’re on. Among the ugliness is the resurrection of allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, notably in an op-ed published in the Times.[4]

As near as I can determine, these allegations are utterly unsubstantiated, and likely result from the Labour Party’s occasional sympathy with the Palestinian cause.[5] Honestly, if libel laws in the U.K. weren’t so lax, I’d say there should be some lawsuits. And yeah, Ephraim Mirvis’ op-ed is more of the same fucking bullshit.[6] Read it and see for yourself, because—it’s amazing—this is as much substance as we ever see to these allegations.

Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk


Koalas

Natasha Daly, “No, koalas aren’t ‘functionally extinct’—yet,” National Geographic, November 25, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/11/koalas-near-extinction-myth-australia-fires/


Bolivia

Marjorie Cohn keeps being right. I expect she is this time, too.[7]

Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/


Hong Kong

Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html


  1. [1]Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html
  2. [2]David J. Lynch, “Trump says he might veto legislation that aims to protect human rights in Hong Kong because bill could affect China trade talks,” Washington Post, November 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/22/trump-says-he-might-veto-legislation-that-aims-protect-human-rights-hong-kong-because-bill-would-impact-china-trade-talks/
  3. [3]Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html
  4. [4]Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk
  5. [5]Wikipedia, s.v. “Antisemitism in the UK Labour Party,” last modified November 27, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_UK_Labour_Party
  6. [6]Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk
  7. [7]Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/