Okay, I believe it now. The dastardly Russians did it.

Migration

John Burnett, “Acquiring Private Land Is Slowing Trump’s Border Wall,” National Public Radio, December 20, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/20/789725311/acquiring-private-land-is-slowing-trumps-border-wall


Impeachment

There is a new blog post entitled, “The asterisk.”

On another note, Vladimir Putin is doing his best to convince me that he did in fact interfere in the 2016 election and Donald Trump is doing his best to convince me that he thinks that’s just great.[1]

So you know what? In the past, I’ve been skeptical, and in general, I am skeptical of classified evidence, but they’re giving me every reason to believe it’s all true. When guilty folks tell me they’re guilty and I have no reason to suspect a coerced confession, what else am I supposed to think?

Ron Elving, “Trump Is Impeached, But There’s No Endgame In Sight,” National Public Radio, December 21, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/21/790313280/trump-is-impeached-but-theres-no-endgame-in-sight

Colby Itkowitz and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Trump touts Putin speaking out against his impeachment,” Washington Post, December 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-touts-putin-speaking-out-against-his-impeachment/2019/12/21/7f23baf2-2404-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html


Pittsburgh

Assuming Keaira Booker’s claims[2] are correct—and I have every reason to suspect that they are—there is absolutely no excuse for this cop’s conduct. The right to film is well-established; the dropped disorderly conduct charge against her[3] appears to be a pretext.

Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” TribLive, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/


  1. [1]Colby Itkowitz and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Trump touts Putin speaking out against his impeachment,” Washington Post, December 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-touts-putin-speaking-out-against-his-impeachment/2019/12/21/7f23baf2-2404-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html
  2. [2]Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” TribLive, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/
  3. [3]Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” TribLive, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/

Impeachment: The bad, the ugly, and the ugly

Impeachment

There is are two new blog posts:

  1. December 15: “The whiteness of impeachment
  2. December 16: “The least violent solution

Jennifer Rubin, “How far can the House go to stop a sham trial?” Washington Post, December 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/16/how-far-can-house-go-stop-sham-trial/


Homelessness

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court lets stand ruling that protects homeless who sleep on sidewalk,” Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-16/supreme-court-lets-stand-ruling-that-protects-homeless-who-sleep-on-sidewalk


Redlining and guns

Redlining

I have mapped where I have found guns or other weaponry gratuitously displayed here. There are two locations, namely in South Park (the park) and North Oakland (Pittsburgh, near University of Pittsburgh, not far from Carnegie Mellon University), here that are not in or near economically distressed areas that appear to me to have high proportions of Blacks among their populations. The rest all are. Most are on the south or west side of the Monongahela River. Three are on the north or east side of that river. I have not yet found such weaponry on display in other locations, although I believe that more get wheeled out around Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

There is not, by any means, a one-to-one correspondence between gratuitous displays of weaponry and disadvantaged areas. I see many more, over a wider area, of the latter. But the proportion with which the former, nine out of eleven at this writing, are placed in or near the latter is what raises my suspicion.[1]

These are all locations I have observed while driving for Lyft so a bias exists in that I am more likely to notice these weapons in places I frequent.

The labels are the addresses (from Google Maps) from where I shot the photographs. I transcribed the geographic coordinates from the photographs to map the locations. They thus do not pinpoint the locations of the weapons themselves but rather vantage points (with slight variations if I used more than one) I used in taking the pictures. Clicking on a point will bring up the photograph and and address. The complete photograph album is publicly available and I have preserved the metadata in the photographs.

This is an ongoing project. More points may be added later.


Migration

Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, and Tami Luhby, “Three federal judges hit Trump on immigration policy changes,” CNN, October 11, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/11/politics/green-card-public-charge-rule-blocked/index.html


Kurdistan

When I first heard about U.S. forces coming under so-called “friendly fire” from Turkish forces invading Syria,[2] I remembered the U.S.S. Liberty, a reconnaisance ship that came under attack by Israel. The ship was well-marked and should have been identifiable as a U.S. ship at a considerable distance. Further, the Israelis deployed a form of electronic attack that took out U.S. military communication channels. But, in what’s widely believed to have been a cover-up, the U.S. and Israeli governments have said it was all a mistake and the sailors on the Liberty are under a permanent gag order. An Intercept story on the incident is a classic example of “he said, she said” journalism, and inclines toward the official account,[3] providing yet more evidence in support of J. Herbert Altschull’s thesis.[4]

So guess what happens? Now the soldiers who came under attack—the Turks knew damn well where they were—insist they were intentionally targeted.[5]

The Israelis might have been covering up a slaughter of Egyptian prisoners of war.[6] The Turks may have wider territorial aspirations than they claim.[7] But Donald Trump abandons the Kurds.[8]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Forces Come Under Turkish Fire As Ankara Presses On In Syria,” Global Security, October 12, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2019/10/mil-191012-rferl01.htm

  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/
  2. [2]Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Forces Come Under Turkish Fire As Ankara Presses On In Syria,” Global Security, October 12, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2019/10/mil-191012-rferl01.htm
  3. [3]Miriam Pensack, “Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret,” Intercept, June 6, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/
  4. [4]Herbert Altschull, Agents of Power: The Media and Public Policy, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: Longman, 1995)
  5. [5]Dan Lamothe, “U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria,” Washington Post, October 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/10/12/us-forces-say-turkey-was-deliberately-bracketing-american-forces-with-artillery-fire-syria/
  6. [6]Miriam Pensack, “Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret,” Intercept, June 6, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/
  7. [7]Dan Lamothe, “U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria,” Washington Post, October 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/10/12/us-forces-say-turkey-was-deliberately-bracketing-american-forces-with-artillery-fire-syria/
  8. [8]Kareem Fahim, Sarah Dadouch, and Asser Khattab, “Turkey launches offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria,” Washington Post, October 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/with-turkish-offensive-looming-syrian-kurds-mobilize-civilian-defense/2019/10/09/4efca794-ea02-11e9-a329-7378fbfa1b63_story.html; Bethan McKernan, Julian Borger, and Dan Sabbagh, “Turkish troops advance into Syria as Trump washes his hands of the Kurds,” Guardian, October 9, 2019,
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/09/turkey-syria-attack-latest-news-kurds-trump; Dion Nissenbaum and Gordon Lubold, “Trump’s Call to Leave Syria Draws Fire From GOP Allies,” Wall Street Journalhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-begins-pullback-from-northern-syria-clearing-way-for-turkish-offensive-11570439862; Richard Spencer, “Turkey steps up airstrikes on Kurds as 60,000 civilians flee,” Times, October 11, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/turkey-steps-up-bombing-of-kurdish-positions-in-northern-syria-g88fr0x5n; Robin Wright, “Defying the World, Turkey Launches a War Against a U.S. Ally in Syria,” New Yorker, October 9, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/defying-the-world-turkey-launches-a-war-against-a-united-states-ally-in-syria; Stephen Zunes, “This Isn’t the First Time the US Has Abandoned the Kurds,” Truthout, October 10, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/this-isnt-the-first-time-the-us-has-abandoned-the-kurds/

Boris Johnson doesn’t want a Brexit deal. He wants an election he foolishly thinks he can win.

Brexit

Joe Armitage, “How Henry VIII powers could allow the government to cut through the Surrender Act,” Telegraph, September 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/27/henry-viii-powers-could-allow-government-cut-surrender-act/

Kevin Rawlinson, “Language in Brexit debate ‘unacceptable’, warn C of E bishops,” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/c-of-e-bishops-call-for-amelioration-of-brexit-rhetoric

Danielle Sheridan, James Crisp, and Tony Diver, “Brexit latest news: Britain is approaching ‘moment of truth’, Stephen Barclay says as EU talks resume,” Telegraph, September 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/27/brexit-latest-newsboris-johnson-parliament-no-deal-barnier-conference/

Henry Zeffman and Steven Swinford, “Brexit row: Divisive language harms chance of a deal, Tories warn Johnson,” Times, September 27, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexit-row-divisive-language-harms-chance-of-a-deal-tories-warn-johnson-kw2mwjptf


Whistle blowing

There is a new blog post entitled, “The New York Times at least very nearly exposes a whistle blower.“

Maanvi Singh, “New York Times faces backlash after revealing details about whistleblower,” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/26/new-york-times-trump-ukraine-whistleblower-published


Migrants

Maria Sacchetti, “Federal judge blocks Trump administration from detaining migrant children for indefinite periods,” Washington Post, September 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/federal-judge-blocks-trump-administration-from-detaining-migrant-children-for-indefinite-periods/2019/09/27/49a39790-e15f-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html


The weather, it is a-changing

I know the weather has changed in California. The wildfires there now are unlike anything we had before. And to hear many people talk, a few recent years of relatively normal rainfall might as well have been Noah’s Flood. Their disorientation is understandable: California has suffered many more dry years than wet during my entire adult life.

I’m starting to hear that the weather is indeed also different in Pittsburgh. Summers are wetter and winters are less cool, a passenger told me yesterday. She blamed climate change for Dutch Elm disease (trees are more vulnerable when stressed, including by climate change) and lightning (presumably from severe storms that could be more common as a result of climate change) that had killed some trees around her driveway. She is blind, but she could feel the difference in the pavement: It was cool before; now it is hot. She also conflated the issue of fracking-induced earthquakes. But she’s a believer in the climate crisis.

By the way, she identifies herself as a conservative—I couldn’t identify what tendenc[y|ies]. As I’ve mulled it over, my initial, so-preliminary-that-I-probably-shouldn’t-say-it guess would be traditionalist.

Solastalgia describes the feeling of distress caused by environmental change, and it was coined by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht. “It was important to give that feeling a name because it was missing from our language,” Albrecht says from his small farm in Australia’s Hunter Valley region in the eastern state of New South Wales.[1]

It’s hard for me to address the weather difference here in Pittsburgh from my own experience. I lived here for a couple years as a kid and my memories from fifty years ago are hazy.

But the pattern I don’t much remember but have seen a lot so far this year has been of a rapid increase in temperature and humidity, followed by rain or thunderstorms. The latter bring some relief, but the temperature rises again following them. This has been happening a lot, even on days when the forecast calls for a relatively low chance of rain.

I do remember walking to the Mount Lebanon swimming pool as a kid. I’m pretty sure I had a bicycle but with the hills around here, it’d have been easier just to walk. People still go to swimming pools, sometimes taking a Lyft to do so. And I see them in the Dormont pool which is visible from McFarland Road (between Beverly Road and Banksville Road).

But it’s kind of hard for me to imagine doing that now; the chance of thunderstorms seems much higher than the forecasts ever indicate. Though there are a number of massive antennae about that I’m pretty sure also serve as lightning rods, a swimming pool is not a wise place to be during such a storm.

I’ve taken to watching the cumulus clouds as I drive around. It seems like they’re here every day. When even only some turn dark, it seems I can be sure that some precipitation is coming, even if it’s only a few big fat drops on my windshield.


Trade

But Donald Trump is a “master of negotiation.” Brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant.

Stephen Bartholomeusz, “Trump is escalating a trade war he isn’t winning,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 5, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/trump-is-escalating-a-trade-war-he-isn-t-winning-20190805-p52dxf.html


Ridesharing

This[2] adds to the pile.[3]

Laura Bliss, “How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?” CityLab, August 5, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/uber-lyft-traffic-congestion-ride-hailing-cities-drivers-vmt/595393/


Migration

2019-8-5-libya-security-migrants
This is a refugee camp. Image by Ismail Zitouny on July 3, 2019, via Public Radio International.[4]

James Reinl, “Libya’s hellish refugee centers remain open despite calls for closure,” Public Radio International, August 6, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-08-06/libyas-hellish-refugee-centers-remain-open-despite-calls-closure


Kashmir

One has to take pronouncements, such as this one about the possibilities of war and ethnic cleansing,[5] by Pakistani politicians with a grain of salt. I have noticed a tendency towards hyperbole. But there is absolutely zero up-side to India’s move to revoke Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status.[6] Zero. None. Nada. The risks of a conflagration between these two nuclear-armed countries are considerable and it is entirely worthwhile to wonder what India’s intentions are.

Diaa Hadid, Scott Neuman, and Abdul Sattar, “Pakistan Warns Of War After India’s Move To End Kashmir’s Special Status,” National Public Radio, August 7, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/07/748957876/pakistan-warns-indias-move-to-end-kashmir-s-special-status-could-lead-to-war


Brexit

I’ve heard about the difficulties of re-erecting a hard Irish border, as would be required in a “no deal” scenario,[7] in the abstract. But here they are in a damning first person account.[8]

Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs


Royalty

I’m an anarchist, remember? Which probably should mean I would prefer a republic to a monarchy. Both are authoritarian, but the republic at least has some representation. Which isn’t real democracy and falls a long ways short of what’s actually needed but is at least something.

Here’s someone pointing out, with some considerable justification, however, that British royalty is making a hell of a lot more sense than British politicians.[9] This is the part I really like:

It is typical of the age that anyone allying themselves with an optimistic vision – what if we could avert climate catastrophe? What if we stamped out prejudice? – is immediately greeted with this kind of ire. The mean-spirited arguments are constructed on a foundation of bad faith. Only the underprivileged can talk about privilege; only the excluded can talk about bigotry; only the monk can talk about consumption. The ploy is quite clear: virtually nobody counts as quite deprived enough to have ambitions for a better world, so everybody should just pipe down.[10]

Ouch. There remains the issue of speaking for others, but if you read to the end of her chapter, which a certain professor emeritus I know of might never actually have done, Linda Alcott explains that those of us with some privilege should speak on behalf of others, but in consultation and cooperation with them.[11] Ouch anyway.

Zoe Williams, “I never thought I’d see the royal family as a beacon of hope,” August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/post-referendum-britain-royals-progressive-meghan-markle


Police

I wanted to put a line in my blog post yesterday, “Of course the cops don’t care about white supremacism,” about people of color being more likely to be shot by police.

A quick search indicated that might be wrong and it seems the story remains unclear. Brentin Mock goes into all this in some detail.[12]

Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/


  1. [1]Will Higginbotham, “Are You Climate Homesick? He’s Got a Word for That,” Ozy, July 26, 2019, https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/are-you-climate-homesick-hes-got-a-word-for-that/95504
  2. [2]Laura Bliss, “How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?” CityLab, August 5, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/uber-lyft-traffic-congestion-ride-hailing-cities-drivers-vmt/595393/
  3. [3]Emily Badger, “Is Uber Helping or Hurting Mass Transit?” New York Times, October 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/upshot/is-uber-helping-or-hurting-mass-transit.html; Katie Dowd, “Why is San Francisco traffic so bad? Uber and Lyft are to blame, says city,” SFGate, December 13, 2016, http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-traffic-Uber-Lyft-SFMTA-blame-10791265.php; Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, “SFPD: Uber, Lyft account for two-thirds of congestion-related traffic violations downtown,” San Francisco Examiner, September 25, 2017, http://www.sfexaminer.com/sfpd-uber-lyft-account-two-thirds-congestion-related-traffic-violations-downtown/; Nikil Saval, “Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life,” New Yorker, February 19, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/uber-and-the-ongoing-erasure-of-public-life; Faiz Siddiqui, “A new study says services like UberPool are making traffic worse,” Washington Post, July 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/07/25/a-new-study-says-services-like-uberpool-are-making-traffic-worse/; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco investigating whether Uber, Lyft are public nuisances,” Reuters, June 5, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-san-francisco-rideservices-idUSKBN18W2F3 See also David Benfell, “San Francisco’s war on Uber and Lyft drivers,” Not Housebroken, September 27, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/09/27/san-franciscos-war-on-uber-and-lyft-drivers/
  4. [4]James Reinl, “Libya’s hellish refugee centers remain open despite calls for closure,” Public Radio International, August 6, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-08-06/libyas-hellish-refugee-centers-remain-open-despite-calls-closure
  5. [5]Diaa Hadid, Scott Neuman, and Abdul Sattar, “Pakistan Warns Of War After India’s Move To End Kashmir’s Special Status,” National Public Radio, August 7, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/07/748957876/pakistan-warns-indias-move-to-end-kashmir-s-special-status-could-lead-to-war
  6. [6]Niha Masih, “India revokes special status of Kashmir, putting tense region on edge,” Washington Post, August 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/india-revokes-special-status-of-kashmir-putting-tense-region-on-edge/2019/08/05/2232fcd0-b740-11e9-8e83-4e6687e99814_story.html
  7. [7]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280
  8. [8]Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs
  9. [9]Zoe Williams, “I never thought I’d see the royal family as a beacon of hope,” August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/post-referendum-britain-royals-progressive-meghan-markle
  10. [10]Zoe Williams, “I never thought I’d see the royal family as a beacon of hope,” August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/post-referendum-britain-royals-progressive-meghan-markle
  11. [11]Linda Martín Alcott, “The Problem of Speaking for Others,” in Who Can Speak? Authority and Critical Identity, Judith Roof and Robyn Wiegman, eds. (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 1995), 97-119.
  12. [12]Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/
It might as well be the Nazis

It might as well be the Nazis

There is a new blog post entitled, “Heil Trump.”


I have to say, the weather here in Pittsburgh seems a bit extreme. There isn’t just rain, but flash flood warnings (and a lot of them). There aren’t just thunderstorms, but severe thunderstorm warnings. It isn’t just hot, but there’s an excessive heat warning. And so it goes. People don’t talk about it much so I don’t quite know what to make of this.

Last night, as I went to bed, the lightning and thunder started in earnest. Yesterday, as I was driving some folks to Monroeville, the downpour was so intense that 1) people actually slowed down, and 2) I ran the windshield wipers on very fast (it rarely does any good so I generally don’t do this) almost the whole way.

I don’t remember it being like this when I was here for a couple years as a kid, fifty years ago. But there are other differences: The alerts come on my phones now: I always know about the alerts and warnings today where I don’t know if there even was an alert system when I was a kid.


Brexit

The resignations have begun as Boris Johnson, the prime minister-apparent, prepares to take over 10 Downing Street.[1]

William James and Elizabeth Piper, “UK minister quits before Johnson becomes PM, decries ‘dark cloud’ of Brexit,” Reuters, July 22, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-idUSKCN1UH0UE


Migration

tenor.gif
Image attributed to alicejoy1248 on Tenor, January 6, 2017, fair use.

I am deeply suspicious, given the culture evident at Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement,[2] that no amount of proof will be sufficient for non-whites to avoid deportation:

Immigrants apprehended in Iowa, Nebraska or other inland states would have to prove to immigration officials that they have been in the United States continuously for the past two years, or they could end up in an immigration jail facing quick deportation. And it could be relatively low-level immigration officers — not officers of a court — making the decisions.[3]

This sounds more like it to me:

“This new directive flows directly from the racist rhetoric that the president has been using for the last week and indeed months, but this new rule is going to terrorize communities of color,” said [Vanita] Gupta, who was head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama. “It really reads as a send-them-all-back policy,” she added, referring to the audience’s “Send her back!” chants at a Trump rally last week in response to the president’s attacks on a Somali-born Muslim congresswoman, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

David Leopold, a Cleveland immigration lawyer and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said expanding the expedited-removal program shifts the decision-making to immigration officers who might not have much experience with such a policy and means that many immigrants who might have the right to remain in the country will not be given the opportunity to show it.[4]

But let’s be clear: The new policy flows from a law signed by Bill Clinton whose administration limited its enforcement. The George W. Bush administration expanded that enforcement along the southern border.[5] Donald Trump is just taking advantage.

Maria Sacchetti, “Trump administration to expand its power to deport undocumented immigrants,” Washington Post, July 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-administration-to-expand-its-power-to-deport-undocumented-immigrants/2019/07/22/76d09bc4-ac8e-11e9-bc5c-e73b603e7f38_story.html


  1. [1]William James and Elizabeth Piper, “UK minister quits before Johnson becomes PM, decries ‘dark cloud’ of Brexit,” Reuters, July 22, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-idUSKCN1UH0UE
  2. [2]Sam Levin, “‘Happy hunting!’ Immigration agents swapped cheery messages about raids, records reveal,” Guardian, July 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/03/ice-us-immigration-messages-raids; Geneva Sands and Nick Valencia, “2nd Customs and Border Protection-connected secret Facebook group shows mocking images,” CNN, July 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/05/politics/cbp-second-facebook-group-images/index.html; A. C. Thompson, “Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes,” ProPublica, July 1, 2019, https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-border-patrol-facebook-group-agents-joke-about-migrant-deaths-post-sexist-memes
  3. [3]Maria Sacchetti, “Trump administration to expand its power to deport undocumented immigrants,” Washington Post, July 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-administration-to-expand-its-power-to-deport-undocumented-immigrants/2019/07/22/76d09bc4-ac8e-11e9-bc5c-e73b603e7f38_story.html
  4. [4]Maria Sacchetti, “Trump administration to expand its power to deport undocumented immigrants,” Washington Post, July 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-administration-to-expand-its-power-to-deport-undocumented-immigrants/2019/07/22/76d09bc4-ac8e-11e9-bc5c-e73b603e7f38_story.html
  5. [5]Maria Sacchetti, “Trump administration to expand its power to deport undocumented immigrants,” Washington Post, July 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-administration-to-expand-its-power-to-deport-undocumented-immigrants/2019/07/22/76d09bc4-ac8e-11e9-bc5c-e73b603e7f38_story.html

Even Mike Pence can’t whitewash the concentration camps

Migration

Though he certainly tried, even Mike Pence couldn’t completely manage to whitewash[1] conditions in the concentration camps.[2]

The vice president’s office said it specifically instructed the Border Patrol agents not to clean up or sanitize the facility beyond what is routine so the American people could see the overcrowding and scarce resources, like lack of beds, and see how serious the crisis is at the border.[3]

But,

While CNN was told by a [Customs and Border Patrol] official at the Clint facility the environment was the same on Wednesday [June 26] as it was last week when legal monitors visited, a CBP source with firsthand knowledge of the facility said, “Typical. The agency prepped for you guys.” The source added, “It’s a never-ending cat and mouse game.”[4]

Of course they “prepped” the facilities for Pence’s visit. No assertion to the contrary can be considered even remotely credible. And even if they were spotless and even if everybody had a king-sized bed to sleep on and even if families were not separated and even if the toilets were made of gold and even if butlers were serving sparking water in silver chalices, they would still be concentration camps, as I wrote earlier:

Finally, I guess I need to dredge out that definition of a concentration camp again:

a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard —used especially in reference to camps created by the Nazis in World War II for the internment and persecution of Jews and other prisoners.[5]

Notice that it contains no reference to the conditions under which human beings are being held. These centers are concentration camps no matter how much money you throw at them.[6]

Associated Press, “Trump asks Supreme Court to unfreeze border wall money,” Washington Post, July 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trump-asks-supreme-court-to-unfreeze-border-wall-money/2019/07/12/d865c8ea-a4f6-11e9-a767-d7ab84aef3e9_story.html

Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, “‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds,” Washington Post, July 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-tours-detention-facilities-at-the-border-defends-administrations-treatment-of-migrants/2019/07/12/993f54e0-a4bc-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html


Nancy Pelosi

Eugene Scott, “The bad optics of Pelosi vs. the ‘newly elected women of color,’” Washington Post, July 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/11/demoralizing-disrespectful-ocasio-cortez-pressley-pelosi-singling-out-women-color/


Joe Biden

Branko Marcetic, “Joe Biden Didn’t Just Vote for the Iraq Invasion—He Helped Lead the March to War,” In These Times, July 8, 2019, http://inthesetimes.com/features/joe-biden-iraq-war-vote-democratic-primary-2020.html


Tropical Storm Barry

This 72-hour gif (allow plenty of time for these large, animated images to load) is as of about 8:00 am Eastern. You can see the storm organize itself.
gm
And here, as of about 10:00 pm Eastern:
gm-2019-07-13-22
Jason Samenow, “Barry heads inland with high risk of flash flooding in Louisiana,” Washington Post, July 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/07/13/barry-predicted-strike-louisiana-hurricane-saturday-with-excessive-rainfall-threat/


  1. [1]Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, “‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds,” Washington Post, July 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-tours-detention-facilities-at-the-border-defends-administrations-treatment-of-migrants/2019/07/12/993f54e0-a4bc-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html
  2. [2]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html; Caitlin Dickerson, “‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children,” New York Times, June 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/migrant-children-border-soap.html; Adam Harris, “An Astonishing Government Report on Conditions at the Border,” Atlantic, July 3, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/government-report-details-inhumane-conditions-migrant-facilities/593242/; Miriam Jordan, “Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas,” New York Times, June 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/migrant-children-detention-texas.html; Alejandro Lazo and Jacob Gershman, “Lawsuit Alleges Government Mistreatment of Migrant Children,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-alleges-government-mistreatment-of-migrant-children-11561608969; Sam Levin, “‘Happy hunting!’ Immigration agents swapped cheery messages about raids, records reveal,” Guardian, July 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/03/ice-us-immigration-messages-raids; Katie Mettler, Mike DeBonis, and Reis Thebault, “Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones. Joaquin Castro captured photo and video anyway,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/02/ocasio-cortez-says-dispute-with-border-patrol-agents-started-after-one-tried-take-stealth-selfie/; Geneva Sands and Nick Valencia, “2nd Customs and Border Protection-connected secret Facebook group shows mocking images,” CNN, July 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/05/politics/cbp-second-facebook-group-images/index.html; Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, “Migrant kids in overcrowded Arizona border station allege sex assault, retaliation from U.S. agents,” NBC News, July 9, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/migrant-kids-overcrowded-arizona-border-station-allege-sex-assault-retaliation-n1027886
  3. [3]Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, “‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds,” Washington Post, July 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-tours-detention-facilities-at-the-border-defends-administrations-treatment-of-migrants/2019/07/12/993f54e0-a4bc-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html
  4. [4]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html
  5. [5]Meriam-Webster, “https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/concentration%20camp,” n.d., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/concentration%20camp
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Neoliberals gotta be neoliberals,” Irregular Bullshit, June 29, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/06/29/neoliberals-gotta-be-neoliberals/

Migration and the 4th of July, even before the 4th of July

It’s not even July 4th yet and people around here are shooting off fireworks like there is no tomorrow. I can’t, for the life of me, understand the appeal. I hate the noise.


Migration

Department of Homeland Security investigators have now confirmed much of what has previously been reported but Trump administration and Customs and Border Patrol officials denied[1] about conditions in the concentration camps for migrants along the southern border.[2]

Katie Mettler, Mike DeBonis, and Reis Thebault, “Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones. Joaquin Castro captured photo and video anyway,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/02/ocasio-cortez-says-dispute-with-border-patrol-agents-started-after-one-tried-take-stealth-selfie/

Maura Dolan, “Trump may not use military money for border wall, federal appeals court decides,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-trump-border-wall-military-funds-9th-circuit-20190703-story.html

Adam Harris, “An Astonishing Government Report on Conditions at the Border,” Atlantic, July 3, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/government-report-details-inhumane-conditions-migrant-facilities/593242/


Nike

There is a new blog post entitled, “Colin Kaepernick is right.”

Eli Rosenberg and Michael Brice-Saddler, “A GOP governor wants to cancel a Nike contract after flag-shoe flap, but the city it’s headed for isn’t backing down,” Washington Post, July 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/03/gop-governor-wants-cancel-nike-contract-city-its-headed-isnt-backing-down/


Census

Noah Bierman and David G. Savage, “Citizen question may be back on 2020 census as Trump administration reverses course again,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-census-immigration-tweet-supreme-court-20190703-story.html


  1. [1]Adam Harris, “An Astonishing Government Report on Conditions at the Border,” Atlantic, July 3, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/government-report-details-inhumane-conditions-migrant-facilities/593242/
  2. [2]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html; Caitlin Dickerson, “‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children,” New York Times, June 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/migrant-children-border-soap.html; Miriam Jordan, “Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas,” New York Times, June 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/migrant-children-detention-texas.html; Alejandro Lazo and Jacob Gershman, “Lawsuit Alleges Government Mistreatment of Migrant Children,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-alleges-government-mistreatment-of-migrant-children-11561608969; Katie Mettler, Mike DeBonis, and Reis Thebault, “Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones. Joaquin Castro captured photo and video anyway,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/02/ocasio-cortez-says-dispute-with-border-patrol-agents-started-after-one-tried-take-stealth-selfie/;

Drink from a toilet, why don’t you?

Migration

Believe the worst. Believe the absolute worst, no matter how over the top it may seem. And remember, I didn’t tell you so, but Philip Zimbardo did.[1] And Brian Resnick, from whom I’ve still not seen a retraction, must be judged complicit.[2] As is the National Border Patrol Council (a union) attempting to dismiss members of an absolutely repugnant Facebook group as exceptions rather than the rule.[3] Zimbardo addressed that too.[4]

I have to tell you: For me, folks such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have infinitely more credibility than anyone working for the Department of Homeland Security, including the inspector-general who denies that detainees are forced to drink from toilets.[5] And there is so much more than what I present here, indeed, more than what I can bear to even look at.

“CNN and other media outlets toured the Clint facility last Wednesday [June 26] but were barred from taking any pictures or video.” They found relatively sane conditions and an apparently well-supplied facility,[6] but:

While CNN was told by a CBP [Customs and Border Protection] official at the Clint facility the environment was the same on Wednesday as it was last week when legal monitors visited, a CBP source with firsthand knowledge of the facility said, “Typical. The agency prepped for you guys.” The source added, “It’s a never-ending cat and mouse game.”[7]

As I have previously written,[8] this situation[9] looks precisely as Zimbardo might predict, only now, even more so.[10]

A. C. Thompson, “Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes,” ProPublica, July 1, 2019, https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-border-patrol-facebook-group-agents-joke-about-migrant-deaths-post-sexist-memes

Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html


San Francisco

Incredibly, some alleged ‘experts’ still try to deny[11] that San Francisco is becoming a place where only the really rich, not even techies earning six-figure incomes, can afford to live, while the realities of gentrification, homogenization, homelessness, and destitution set in for all.[12] Now the Guardian joins the fray saying pretty much what any ‘non-expert’ could and would tell you: It’s true and it sucks.[13] Those so-called ‘experts’ need to get the fuck over themselves.

But also, the techie whiners who don’t have it even remotely so bad as the folks they shoved aside so they could move in to San Francisco.[14] Because there’s an obvious at least partial solution to affordable housing there: They stole the city from people who had lived there all their lives, even for generations. They can easily live elsewhere. They could all move the fuck out.

Julia Carrie Wong, “‘We all suffer’: why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed,” Guardian, July 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry


Donald Trump

Given the letter of the law as previously reported,[15] I do not see how the administration has a defense on withholding Donald Trump’s tax returns. I would think a summary judgment would be in order. But I guess it’s harder than that.[16]

Jeff Stein and Rachael Bade, “House Democrats sue Trump administration over president’s tax returns,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/07/02/house-democrats-sue-trump-administration-over-presidents-tax-returns/


Census

Noah Bierman and David G. Savage, “Trump administration abruptly gives up fight over citizenship question on the census,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-census-trump-citizenship-20190702-story.html

Ann E. Marimow, Matt Zapotosky, and Tara Bahrampour, “2020 Census will not include citizenship question, Justice Department confirms,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/2020-census-will-not-include-citizenship-question-doj-confirms/2019/07/02/0067be4a-9c44-11e9-9ed4-c9089972ad5a_story.html


  1. [1]Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (New York: Random House, 2008).
  2. [2]Brian Resnick, “The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud,” Vox, June 13, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/6/13/17449118/stanford-prison-experiment-fraud-psychology-replication; Brian Resnick, “Philip Zimbardo defends the Stanford Prison Experiment, his most famous work,” Vox, June 28, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/28/17509470/stanford-prison-experiment-zimbardo-interview
  3. [3]National Border Patrol Council, “National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Issues Statement on ProPublica News Article Regarding Facebook Group ‘I’m 10-15,’” July 1, 2019, https://bpunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/July-1-2019-Press-Release-Facebook-Group.pdf
  4. [4]Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (New York: Random House, 2008).
  5. [5]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html
  6. [6]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html
  7. [7]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html
  8. [8]David Benfell, “It’s time to be clear: Migrant children are being held in concentration camps and the Trump administration is fascist,” Not Housebroken, June 24, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/06/24/its-time-to-be-clear-migrant-children-are-being-held-in-concentration-camps-and-the-trump-administration-is-fascist/
  9. [9]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html; Caitlin Dickerson, “‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children,” New York Times, June 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/migrant-children-border-soap.html; A. C. Thompson, “Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes,” ProPublica, July 1, 2019, https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-border-patrol-facebook-group-agents-joke-about-migrant-deaths-post-sexist-memes
  10. [10]Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (New York: Random House, 2008).
  11. [11]Melissa Caen, “Experts Say Article Claiming San Francisco ‘Broke America’s Heart’ Is Misleading,” KPIX, May 22, 2019, https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/05/22/experts-say-article-claiming-san-francisco-broke-americas-heart-is-misleading/
  12. [12]Karen Heller, “How San Francisco broke America’s heart,” Washington Post, May 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-san-francisco-broke-americas-heart/2019/05/21/ef9a0ac0-70ea-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html; Dan Kopf, “San Francisco’s Diversity Numbers Are Looking More and More Like a Tech Company’s,” Atlantic, May 9, 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/05/san-francisco-diversity-migration/481668/; Alexis C. Madrigal, “Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?” Atlantic, April 19, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/04/san-francisco-city-apps-built-or-destroyed/587389/; Julia Carrie Wong, “‘We all suffer’: why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed,” Guardian, July 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry
  13. [13]Julia Carrie Wong, “‘We all suffer’: why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed,” Guardian, July 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry
  14. [14]Julia Carrie Wong, “‘We all suffer’: why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed,” Guardian, July 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry
  15. [15]Brian Faler, “Treasury misses congressional deadline for turning over Trump’s tax returns,” Politico, April 10, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/10/trump-tax-returns-congress-1342027
  16. [16]Brian Faler, “Treasury misses congressional deadline for turning over Trump’s tax returns,” Politico, April 10, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/10/trump-tax-returns-congress-1342027