Mitch McConnell might not want a deal (Update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 29, 2020, 10:00 pm.

  2. December 30, 2020, 9:20 am, revised 11:50 am:

    • Mitch McConnell’s attempt to combine an increase in stimulus payments to $2,000 with a Section 230 repeal and election fraud commission has, according to Politico, “no chance of becoming law.” Some, apparently including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, see the effort as a move to kill the increase entirely,[1] as the payment increase cannot be split off from McConnell’s bill and the House of Representatives would have to come back into session—not impossible—to approve any changes.[2]

      There is still, evidently, a chance that $2,000 checks will become law. But it is also possible that neoliberals among the Democrats figured they could rely on McConnell to kill it.

  3. December 30, 2020, 10:00 pm:

    • David Wallace-Wells does not approve of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.[3] Actually, that’d be putting it mildly:

      Within hours of receiving WHO guidance on January 13, scientists in Thailand began deploying a COVID-19 test, as the Washington Post recently recounted; it took the CDC 46 days to produce one that worked. By March 1, South Korea was administering 11,000 tests per day, a rapidly growing figure; in the U.S., a country about seven times larger, the number was 183. Early, low-end estimates suggested 500,000 to 700,000 tests each day were necessary to slow the spread of the disease, and high-end estimates ran to 3 million per day; the U.S. didn’t reach 700,000 daily tests until mid-June, and still hasn’t reached that threshold of 3 million per day. As recently as August, lab delays caused by pent-up demand meant it was taking so long to deliver results that the tests themselves were effectively meaningless.

      That is just the story of testing, but contact tracing and isolation were bungled just as badly. Early estimates for the number of contact tracers needed ran between 100,000 and 300,000 people working, nationwide, to alert the contacts of positive cases to encourage them to isolate. As of May, the number was under 8,000. Today, it is still just 70,000, and those who are reached by those tracers are overwhelmingly not responding. There has also been hopelessly inadequate support for those hoping to isolate, or quarantine, during periods of risk — not to mention insufficient protections for those who had to miss work to do so.

      And now here we are, nearly a year into the pandemic, making precisely the same mistake with the vaccine.[4]

    • Mitch McConnell has made it clear he does not approve of the Democrats’ bill, passed by the House of Representatives, to raise the economic stimulus payout from $600 to $2,000.[5]

      [Mitch] McConnell said he opposed the House-passed measure out of a belief it would greatly inflate the U.S. debt and benefit some families who are not in need of financial assistance. Some of the people who would qualify for the payments belong to households earning up to $300,000, the GOP leader contended, adding that many of them had not been disadvantaged by the pandemic.[6]

      McConnell reiterated his intention to bundle it with a Section 230 repeal and the establishment of an election fraud commission. Even as the Democrats characterize these other provisions as ‘poison pills’ meant to kill the increase,[7] I continue to rather strongly suspect that this is precisely what they expected him to do, enabling them to pretend to care about people being pushed into poverty[8] and homelessness,[9] but breathing a sigh of relief as neoliberal dogma is upheld, yet again.


Depression

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented an immediate vote on a bill already passed by the House of Representatives to raise the stimulus payments to $2,000.[10]

As the legislative jockeying continued Tuesday, [Donald] Trump escalated his blistering attacks on GOP leaders for their inaction so far.

“WE NEED NEW & ENERGETIC REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP,” he wrote.

He also said there would be consequences for his political party if they didn’t act.

“Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP,” Trump wrote. “$600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough!”[11]

Democrats object but it appears McConnell is actually trying to give Trump all of these things:

[Mitch] McConnell’s moves on Tuesday appeared to mirror demands that [Donald] Trump laid out on Sunday. In a statement released after he signed the $900 billion stimulus bill into law, he said the Senate would “start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.” Those are the three provisions McConnell has attempted to package into one piece of legislation despite objections from Democrats.

“Section 230” is a reference to a 1996 federal law that broadly indemnifies tech platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google for the actions of their users. Trump has railed against the tech companies as they have started to crack down on his unfounded postings alleging voter fraud in the November election, as well as much more aggressive actions targeting postings made by his supporters containing threats and disinformation.[12]

Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html

Burgess Everett, “Trump leans on McConnell for $2,000 checks amid GOP resistance,” Politico, December 29, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/29/2-000-checks-sputter-mcconnell-blocks-dems-451918

Mike DeBonis, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, December 30, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1344103713741402112.html


Pandemic

David Wallace-Wells, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster,” New York, December 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/americas-vaccine-rollout-disaster.html


  1. [1]Burgess Everett, “Trump leans on McConnell for $2,000 checks amid GOP resistance,” Politico, December 29, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/29/2-000-checks-sputter-mcconnell-blocks-dems-451918
  2. [2]Mike DeBonis, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, December 30, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1344103713741402112.html
  3. [3]David Wallace-Wells, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster,” New York, December 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/americas-vaccine-rollout-disaster.html
  4. [4]David Wallace-Wells, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster,” New York, December 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/americas-vaccine-rollout-disaster.html
  5. [5]Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/
  6. [6]Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/
  7. [7]Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/,
  8. [8]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/
  9. [9]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/
  10. [10]Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
  11. [11]Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
  12. [12]Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html

Where the uncouth would determine who is worthy

Donald Trump

There is a new blog post entitled, “Who shall determine our fate?.”

Oh yeah, Mike Pence did not, as suggested,[1] remove Donald Trump from office on Sunday.

Kyle Cheney, “Gohmert suit may force Pence’s hand in effort to overturn Trump’s defeat,” Politico, December 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485


Pandemic


  1. [1]Paul Campos, “Pence Should Remove Trump From Office on Sunday,” New York, December 23, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/if-trump-uses-martial-law-pence-should-use-25th-amendment.html

The queue, Phase One

Pandemic

It’s not quite explicit, but I would expect that taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers would be included with “public transit workers” in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout.[1] Uber had earlier requested early access for its drivers.[2]

Ryan W. Miller, “How will you know when it’s your turn for a COVID vaccine? It’s complicated,” South Bend Tribune, December 28, 2020, https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/how-will-you-know-when-its-your-turn-for-a-covid-vaccine-its-complicated/article_12040b2e-460f-11eb-ac18-df7117a159f5.html


  1. [1]Ryan W. Miller, “How will you know when it’s your turn for a COVID vaccine? It’s complicated,” South Bend Tribune, December 28, 2020, https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/how-will-you-know-when-its-your-turn-for-a-covid-vaccine-its-complicated/article_12040b2e-460f-11eb-ac18-df7117a159f5.html
  2. [2]Reuters, “Uber asks U.S. CDC to consider ride-hail drivers essential for Covid vaccine distribution,” CNBC, December 4, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/04/uber-asks-us-cdc-to-consider-ride-hail-drivers-essential-for-covid-vaccine-distribution.html

Look out below! It’s a pigeon, not a partridge, in a pear tree (update #4)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 20, 2020, at 10:44 pm.
  2. December 21, 2020, 7:34 am:
    • It is much too early to be certain of much, but a new variant of COVID-19 has appeared in England that seems to be significantly more transmissable and that the new vaccines might not be effective against. It does not appear to be more deadly for those who catch it,[1] but of course, the more people who catch COVID-19, the more will die. Accordingly, a number of countries are now blocking travel from the United Kingdom.[2]
    • Donald Trump is still at it, moving to sue again over Pennsylvania’s election rules—the Supreme Court has so far refused to hear the matter—and to challenge the electoral college tally in Congress. Still on the table is an effort to invoke the Insurrection Act to have the military re-run the election in contested states although several senior military officials affirmed that their oath is to the Constitution, not the president, and that they have no role in determining election results.[3] There is a weakness in the claim about that oath in that hardline Trumpsters continue to allege that the election has violated the Constitution even as these claims have gotten nowhere in court[4] and even Trump’s attorney general has denied that there was sufficient fraud to affect the result.[5] That doesn’t obviously provide a rationale for the military to legally intervene but I guess it’s enough to keep Trumpsters’ hope alive. And yesterday’s caution[6] remains.
  3. December 21, 2020, 12:55 pm:
  4. December 21, 2020, 9:51 pm:
    • I would not take it as consolation that the crazy, such as Rudy Giuliani, in Donald Trump’s orbit are turning on the crazier, such as Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. But if Trump appoints the conspiracy theorist Powell as special prosecutor to investigate election fraud,[8] take it as a sign that the crazier are prevailing. Trump is desperate,[9] so it just might happen (but probably not by outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr’s hand[10]), in which case, the prospect of an attempt to invoke the Insurrection Act might become very real.[11]

Gig economy

Steven Hill, “The broken business model of Uber and Lyft is taking a heavy toll on society,” Fortune, December 19, 2020, https://fortune.com/2020/12/19/uber-lyft-business-model-proposition-22-worker-benefits/


Depression

Congressional leaders announced a new stimulus package which is supposed to help relieve economic pain from the pandemic. Stimulus checks will be for up to $600.[12] The eviction moratorium that isn’t an eviction moratorium[13] will be extended through the end of January, though Joe Biden may be able to extend it further.[14] Millions of people, who have been unemployed for months, are an average of over $5,000 behind on rent,[15] and millions have sunk into poverty.[16] So it’s hard to see what good, really, $600 will do.

Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/


Pandemic

Natalie Grover, “What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/fast-spreading-covid-variant-in-england-uk

Jon Henley et al., “EU to hold crisis talks as countries block travel from UK over new Covid strain,” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/belgium-italy-and-netherlands-ban-flights-from-uk-over-new-covid-strain


Donald Trump

Jonathan Chait, “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified,” New York, December 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/trump-coup-sidney-powell-martial-law-michael-flynn-meltdown.html

Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903

Matt Zapotosky, “Undercutting Trump, Barr says there’s no basis for seizing voting machines, using special counsels for election fraud, Hunter Biden,” Washington Post, December 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/barr-trump-special-counsel-voter-fraud-hunter-biden/2020/12/21/4d85f060-439c-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html


  1. [1]Natalie Grover, “What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/fast-spreading-covid-variant-in-england-uk
  2. [2]Jon Henley et al., “EU to hold crisis talks as countries block travel from UK over new Covid strain,” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/belgium-italy-and-netherlands-ban-flights-from-uk-over-new-covid-strain
  3. [3]Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  4. [4]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Josh Gerstein, “Trump campaign revises Pennsylvania suit, again,” Politico, November 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/18/trump-pennsylvania-election-lawsuit-437996; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html; Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  5. [5]Sadie Gurman and Jacob Gershman, “Barr Says No Evidence Voter Fraud Changed Election Outcome,” Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-campaign-files-more-election-challenges-in-wisconsin-michigan-11606849219
  6. [6]David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 20, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/
  7. [7]Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903
  8. [8]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified,” New York, December 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/trump-coup-sidney-powell-martial-law-michael-flynn-meltdown.html
  9. [9]Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903
  10. [10]Matt Zapotosky, “Undercutting Trump, Barr says there’s no basis for seizing voting machines, using special counsels for election fraud, Hunter Biden,” Washington Post, December 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/barr-trump-special-counsel-voter-fraud-hunter-biden/2020/12/21/4d85f060-439c-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  11. [11]Tina Nguyen, “MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office,” Politico, December 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/18/trump-insurrection-act-presidency-447986; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  12. [12]Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/
  13. [13]Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban; Gretchen Morgenson, “Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September,” NBC News, October 26, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/large-corporate-landlords-have-filed-10-000-eviction-actions-five-n1244711; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  14. [14]Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/
  15. [15]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/
  16. [16]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/

The delusional raging narcissist-in-chief slush fund (Update #8)

This is really a nothing new issue. Sometimes, I’m just documenting shit.


Updates

  1. Originally published, December 3, 10:47 pm.
  2. December 4, 6:39 am:
    • Speaking of the utterly unsurprising, medical facilities are being slammed by the pandemic. Politicians are adopting a fatalistic approach in response to calls for statewide mask mandates: “At a media briefing Tuesday, [Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves] added, “I almost feel like there are those out there who really, truly believe if I were to write an executive order, a statewide prohibition against hurricanes in 2021, that we won’t have any hurricanes. It just doesn’t work that way.”[1] Pennsylvania does have a statewide mask mandate, which is widely ignored. Allegheny County reported a record-shattering 1,028 cases in the 24 hours ending yesterday (December 3).
  3. December 4, 8:08 am:
  4. December 5, 4:30 am:
    • Judges handed down a yet more defeats for Donald Trump’s legal team.[2] I tend to think that if you’re serious, you need a serious strategy, which Trump’s team seems not to have, with all these defeats,[3] but

      John Fetterman might be right, Trump certainly is delusional, and Trump certainly surrounds himself with sycophants who pursue frivolous claims, but I don’t know that Fetterman is right, and I don’t know how Fetterman can make that claim.

  5. December 5, 8:35 am:
    • Because it’s Pennsylvania, and it’s the Pennsylvania state legislature, Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania state legislature are sending a letter disputing the election results in the state to Congress.[4] Donald Trump can’t win in court,[5] the states do not seem to be appointing alternative electoral college delegations, and we do not have an electoral college tie, so the battle now shifts to getting Congress to reject state electoral college delegations.[6]
  6. December 5, 11:10 am:
    • The Allegheny County Health Department has just reported 1,197 new cases in the last twenty-four hours. This is high, but not a record.
    • Donald Trump’s effort to contest the election results has cost nearly $9 million,[7] but yielded over $207 million in campaign contributions.[8]
  7. December 6, 10:08 am:
  8. December 6, 10:25 am:

Donald Trump

You might have heard yet another explanation for Donald Trump’s insistence that the election was stolen from him, even as his claims of fraud get a cold reception in court.[9] He’s using those allegations to fundraise, with most of the money going to a slush fund that he can do pretty much whatever he wants to with.[10] I’ve actually been hearing about this for days, but this is the first article I’ve seen about it.

John Cassidy, “Donald Trump’s Latest Grift May Be His Most Cynical Yet,” New Yorker, December 3, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-latest-grift-may-be-his-most-cynical-yet

Simon Lewis, “Trump unveils $207 million fundraising haul after election in effort to overturn result,” Reuters, December 3, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-fundraising/trump-unveils-207-million-fundraising-haul-after-election-in-effort-to-overturn-result-idUSKBN28E012

Aram Roston and Brad Heath, “Trump campaign spent more than $2 million on election lawyers, including Jenna Ellis,” Reuters, December 4, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-election-trump-expenses/trump-campaign-spent-more-than-2-million-on-election-lawyers-including-jenna-ellis-idUSKBN28E2VG


Transition

So it’s already pretty well established that Joe Biden is picking a bunch of neoliberal assholes for his cabinet.[11] But even the New Republic is now saying that Biden’s picks are a disaster for the Left and indeed that the Left has no effective voice in the Democratic Party.[12]

Osita Nwanevu, “Joe Biden’s Cabinet Is a Lost Cause for the Left,” New Republic, December 3, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/160432/biden-cabinet-progressive-defeat-2020


Pandemic

Lenny Bernstein, “With hospitals slammed by covid-19, doctors and nurses plead for action by governors,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/doctors-demand-covid-restrictions/2020/12/03/88c1afc6-34e1-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html


  1. [1]Lenny Bernstein, “With hospitals slammed by covid-19, doctors and nurses plead for action by governors,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/doctors-demand-covid-restrictions/2020/12/03/88c1afc6-34e1-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html
  2. [2]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010
  3. [3]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  4. [4]Stephen Caruso, “GOP leaders — once again — say they can’t overturn election results, but send letter disputing results to Congress,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, December 4, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/election-2020/gop-leaders-once-again-say-they-cant-overturn-election-results-but-send-letter-disputing-results-to-congress/
  5. [5]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  6. [6]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/06/trump-legal-political-lawsuit-election-434786
  7. [7]Aram Roston and Brad Heath, “Trump campaign spent more than $2 million on election lawyers, including Jenna Ellis,” Reuters, December 4, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-election-trump-expenses/trump-campaign-spent-more-than-2-million-on-election-lawyers-including-jenna-ellis-idUSKBN28E2VG
  8. [8]Simon Lewis, “Trump unveils $207 million fundraising haul after election in effort to overturn result,” Reuters, December 3, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-fundraising/trump-unveils-207-million-fundraising-haul-after-election-in-effort-to-overturn-result-idUSKBN28E012
  9. [9]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  10. [10]John Cassidy, “Donald Trump’s Latest Grift May Be His Most Cynical Yet,” New Yorker, December 3, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-latest-grift-may-be-his-most-cynical-yet
  11. [11]Kate Aronoff, “The Obama Reunion Isn’t Nearly Enough to Stave Off Catastrophe,” New Republic, November 23, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/160358/obama-reunion-isnt-nearly-enough-stave-off-catastrophe; Jake Johnson, “Progressives Spurn Tanden’s Nomination to Office of Management and Budget,” Truthout, November 30, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/progressives-spurn-tandens-nomination-to-office-of-management-and-budget/; Holly Otterbein, “Bernieworld seethes over Tanden as OMB nominee,” Politico, November 30, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/30/bernie-supporters-seethes-neera-tanden-441603; Jeff Stein, Annie Linskey, and Seung Min Kim, “Biden’s pick to lead White House budget office emerges as lightning rod for GOP,” Washington Post, November 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/11/30/biden-omb-neera-tanden/; Sophia Tesfaye, “Has consummate insider Tony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for State, learned from his mistakes?” Salon, November 30, 2020, https://www.salon.com/2020/11/30/has-consummate-insider-tony-blinken-bidens-nominee-for-state-learned-from-his-mistakes/
  12. [12]Osita Nwanevu, “Joe Biden’s Cabinet Is a Lost Cause for the Left,” New Republic, December 3, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/160432/biden-cabinet-progressive-defeat-2020

Pennsylvania’s lunatic fringe legislature is at it again (Update #2)

There is a new blog post entitled, “Failing to answer the question: Why you should care about other people.”


Updates

  1. Originally published, November 28, 2020, 9:20 pm.
  2. November 29, 2020, 10:02 am:
    • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice a suit brought by Republicans in the state legislature seeking to throw out ballots cast by mail or the entire election saying they had waited too long to challenge a law enabling “no excuse vote-by-mail.”[1]

      That resolution is the one that would withdraw certification of the election results.

      With the Supreme Court decision,[2] I infer that the resolution can be reintroduced and voted on. But Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman does not seem concerned. Meanwhile,

      In a separate blow to [Donald] Trump, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit on Friday rejected his request for an emergency injunction to overturn the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. That lawsuit claimed Republicans were illegally disadvantaged because some Democratic-leaning counties in the state allowed voters to correct administrative errors on their mail ballots.[3]

      The Circuit Court said the case had “no merit.”[4]

    • Speaking of Donald Trump’s delusions,

      The facts were indisputable: President [Donald] Trump had lost.

      But Trump refused to see it that way. Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like “Mad King George, muttering, ‘I won. I won. I won.’ ”

      However cleareyed Trump’s aides may have been about his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, many of them nonetheless indulged their boss and encouraged him to keep fighting with legal appeals. They were “happy to scratch his itch,” this adviser said. “If he thinks he won, it’s like, ‘Shh . . . we won’t tell him.’ ”[5]

      The Washington Post has something of an inside account of Trump’s attempts to overturn the election result.[6] It’s still really like the title of my previous blog post, “When it’s over but it isn’t.” It’s not that I think Trump will succeed. It’s that unless Trump now abandons his challenges, the twisting and turning still has a ways to go. He can, for example, appeal adverse decisions in Pennsylvania[7] to the U.S. Supreme Court. Do I think he would succeed there? No. I just don’t think the story is quite yet over.

    • I’ve received notifications from the Allegheny County Health Department imploring people to stay home on much the same grounds as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf cites here.

      People just aren’t doing it. Traffic on the roads continues to increase. A lot of people are out and about. I had a couple of passengers last night going to a bar on Pittsburgh’s South Side who said they were going before the next lockdown.


Donald Trump

A bunch of Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced a resolution that would withdraw the certification of the results of the November election.[8] Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has mocked the effort:

The thread continues, ultimately to four tweets, including what appears to be a video of Pinnochio.

The legislative session ends day after tomorrow (November 30) and all bills and resolutions that haven’t passed die on that date. There’s been no move to put this resolution to a vote.[9]

This is the same legislature that is stonewalling legalized recreational marijuana,[10] has desperately attempted and failed to undo Governor Tom Wolf’s orders meant to contain the pandemic,[11] and takes any excuse it can find to put more guns[12] in the hands of white supremacists.

Jan Murphy, “26 state House Republicans call for withdrawing certification of presidential electors,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/26-state-house-republicans-call-for-withdrawing-certification-of-presidential-electors/

Philip Rucker et al., “20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-overturn/2020/11/28/34f45226-2f47-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html

Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html


  1. [1]Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  2. [2]Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  3. [3]Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  4. [4]Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  5. [5]Philip Rucker et al., “20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-overturn/2020/11/28/34f45226-2f47-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  6. [6]Philip Rucker et al., “20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-overturn/2020/11/28/34f45226-2f47-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  7. [7]Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  8. [8]Jan Murphy, “26 state House Republicans call for withdrawing certification of presidential electors,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/26-state-house-republicans-call-for-withdrawing-certification-of-presidential-electors/
  9. [9]Jan Murphy, “26 state House Republicans call for withdrawing certification of presidential electors,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/26-state-house-republicans-call-for-withdrawing-certification-of-presidential-electors/
  10. [10]WTAE, “New bill to legalize recreational marijuana unveiled by state lawmaker from Pittsburgh,” February 20, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/recreational-marijuana-bill-pittsburgh-state-rep-jake-wheatley/31025380
  11. [11]Associated Press, “Pennsylvania GOP seeks to dismantle Wolf’s shutdown,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-gop-seeks-to-dismantle-wolfs-shutdown/; Associated Press, “Pennsylvania Republicans Mount New Challenge To Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pandemic Power,” KDKA, July 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/14/republicans-mount-new-challenge-to-governors-pandemic-power/; Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Supreme Court throws out GOP challenge to Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-supreme-court-throws-out-gop-challenge-to-wolfs-covid-19-emergency-order/; Nick Matoney, “‘We can’t do this for another 90 days’: Pa. General Assembly votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration,” WTAE, June 10, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/we-cant-do-this-for-another-90-days-pa-general-assembly-votes-to-end-covid-19-emergency-declaration/32821325; John L. Micek, “W. Pa. Rep. Metcalfe files impeachment articles to ‘remove dictator Wolf’ over pandemic response,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/w-pa-rep-metcalfe-files-impeachment-articles-to-remove-dictator-wolf-over-pandemic-response/
  12. [12]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/

The pandemic’s fall surge in Allegheny County (Update #4)

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 15, 2020, 11:55 am.

  2. November 15, 2020, 9:24 pm:

    • So I guess today was a howler. I had noticed a series of traffic lights along Greentree Road, west of the intersection with Cochran were out. Later, I was driving up Lime Hollow Road in Penn Hills and was grateful for my very, very bright LED high beams because that road had been plunged into utter darkness (the new moon was just after midnight this morning). Then I happened to be driving past the gas station I usually stop at at the end of my day to fill my tank and noticed all the lights were out. They close at 10 pm anyway, so I surmised, correctly as it turned out, that there’d been a power outage that had lasted long enough that they’d just decided to close early.

      So when I finished my day, I stopped at a different gas station and then drove home. After I parked my car in my garage, I walked across the street to the parking lot nearest my apartment and noticed that one of three evergreen trees near the street by that lot had toppled. I’d just been mourning the tree that got cut down for Pittsburgh’s city Christmas tree. Now here was another one, literally a lot closer to home.

      Of course when I got home, I had to turn back on various filters, fans, and heaters (I keep air moving). But it appears my uninterruptible power supply kept my desktop system up so the outage can’t have been that long.

    • The Allegheny County Health Department had stopped sending out daily updates on COVID-19 cases on Sunday. This evening, at 5:50 pm, they made an exception, as the daily case count climbed to “an all-time high of 527 cases.” They are warning that they will have to take action, quoting the Director of the Health Department, Debra Bogen, saying,

      Doing nothing is no longer an option as we must protect our healthcare workers, both at hospital and long-term care facilities, and our first responders during this health crisis. People are doing well in structured settings, but we continue to see more and more cases as a result of unmonitored, private social gatherings.

      The notice does not say what actions will be taken and given the apparent unwillingness of the public to comply with health measures, I’m expecting a spike about two weeks after each of the three major upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years). This looks like it could be really, really ugly.

  3. November 16, 2020, 9:38 am:

    • A few folks are worried about what’s going to happen nationally with the pandemic as we go through the holiday season (see previous update). The Wall Street Journal has a story that shows what happens when people succumb to “pandemic fatigue.”[1]

      “A lot of people just feel like I’m through with Covid, I’ve done all I can,” said Dr. [Bruce] Dennis, who recently suffered his own bout of the virus, along with his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and 6-month-old grandchild. “It’s now just really time to start.”

      For months after the pandemic began, Shawna Sero stayed cooped up at home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, refusing to go out with friends. With asthma and a weak immune system, the 40-year-old was terrified about getting infected, she said.

      But after watching the Iowa Hawkeyes’ first football game of the season with her parents and siblings at home a few weekends ago, she let her guard down and decided to go to a bar with a friend.

      “I just wanted to keep having fun,” she said. “It had been so long.”

      Last week, Ms. Sero lay in a bed in a converted pediatric unit of Mercy Medical Center texting with her sister several floors down. She had been admitted to the hospital a couple of days earlier, struggling to breathe after testing positive for Covid-19. Her 42-year-old sister, also Covid-19 positive, was now in the emergency room, seeking relief from a cough so intense it sometimes made her vomit.

      The rest of the family was showing symptoms too: her 37-year-old brother, Bobby Sero, who had tested positive and was texting the sisters from the master bedroom of his home where he was holed up to prevent his wife and five children from infection; their father, a 60-year-old diabetic, who hasn’t wanted to go to the hospital despite feeling sick; and their 59-year-old mother, who moved out at the end of October after a divorce and was awaiting test results at her new Illinois home.[2]

      I think there really are limits to what people can do. But some people are taking that inch and turning it into a mile, as with assholes going to the South Side in Pittsburgh (see original text below). Their selfishness makes it worse—lethally worse—for the rest of us.

      That said, it would help a lot if politicians would take the pandemic seriously enough to actually do something about the economic effects[3] of further restrictions rather than just refusing to impose those restrictions.[4] But of course, neoliberal dogma forbids it.

  4. November 16, 2020, 10:13 pm:

    • What is Donald Trump up to, really? Really, we don’t know. Fred Hiatt outlines three possibilities.[5] Personally, I just think Trump is batshit crazy, which most resembles Hiatt’s scenario #3, but I don’t know either. His scenario #1 is essentially the electoral college manipulation[6] I’ve been talking about, which I think could draw in armed militia groups.[7] At this point, scenario #1 is probably—only probably—the least likely, but Hiatt doesn’t rule it out,[8] and I think really, he’s right not to. Scenario #2 looks a lot like the parallel government idea that Jonathan Freedland put forth.[9] This, too, could draw in the militia groups.


Pandemic

I had a passenger yesterday who was going to Pittsburgh’s South Side—the principal neighborhood to get drunk, get tattoos, and do other stupid shit—he said, for the first time since March. He had decided, and indeed told his parents, that it was “worth it,” as if he were the only one at risk from his behavior. This, even as COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County are spiking to previously unseen heights following Halloween festivities.[10] I only occasionally see even this much caution.

The surge in Allegheny County echoes what’s happening around the country,[11] but the appearance here to me is that people are just ignoring it. Some wear masks; many do not. Social distancing is rarely observed. I hear many passengers talk about getting together with their families pretty much like any other year.

The pandemic is bad. It’s getting worse. And I have doubts that even if authorities were to impose another lockdown—for now, they seem to be sticking to[12] their earlier line that they won’t impose another lockdown[13]—that people would comply. It isn’t just young people and it isn’t even just people I would identify as conservative.[14] It’s everybody.

Shelby Cassesse, “Coronavirus In Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Seeing Substantial Transmission Rate,” KDKA, November 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/14/rising-coronavirus-cases-allegheny-county/

Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754


Uber

It seems Uber is trying to reduce its exposure to the costs of developing self-driving car technology, which is unlikely to be ready for prime time anytime soon, by selling at least a stake to other players.[15] This strikes me as a climb down from former CEO Travis Kalanick’s assertion that the technology was “existential” for Uber and current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s doubling down on the technology even as there were well-founded doubts that this could even remotely play as they hoped.[16]

What has to be remarkable here is the pass Uber and Lyft get. As I’ve previously noted, they hemorrhage money in a realm where profit is supposedly what matters and have no realistic prospect for making money, even if they succeed with self-driving technology.[17]

Now, any job I’ve ever had, I’ve actually had to show results. Even at Linuxcare, when I found myself spinning my wheels, I found my way into roles where I was productive. Even now, driving for Uber and Lyft, I actually have to pick passengers up, get them to where they’re going, and drop them off. I don’t get to just burn money.

But I guess these companies are special. Because now what we’re seeing is that even as Uber climbs down even from the one ill-founded hope that it could ever be profitable, there’s no talk whatsoever of shutting it down. Indeed, their executives make ludicrous amounts of money while I get less than minimum wage and live in continuous financial terror.[18] This discrepancy alone has to be proof that capitalism is theft.

Kirsten Korosec, “Uber in talks to sell ATG self-driving unit to Aurora,” TechCrunch, November 13, 2020, https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/13/uber-in-talks-to-sell-atg-self-driving-unit-to-aurora/


Worst president

There are a number of candidates for worst president in U.S. history,[19] but Joe Biden and James Buchanan both hail from Pennsylvania.[20]

It’s been my observation since Richard Nixon that each president is worse than his predecessor, largely due to the embrace of neoconservatism and especially, its moral imperative, neoliberalism. I wait with bated breath to see just how Joe Biden will manage to be worse than Donald Trump (probably by embracing and extending the latter’s policies, just as Barack Obama did with George W. Bush).

Paul Guggenheimer, “James Buchanan not a tough act to follow for Biden as 2nd president from Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 15, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/buchanan-not-a-tough-act-to-follow-for-biden-as-2nd-president-from-pennsylvania/


Transition

Marissa J. Lang et al., “After thousands of Trump supporters rally in D.C., violence erupts when night falls,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/11/14/million-maga-march-dc-protests/

Fred Hiatt, “Trump is putting this country through something unprecedented. Here are three scenarios,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-wants-to-overturn-the-results-of-a-free-and-fair-election-theres-a-word-for-that/2020/11/13/cb94b77e-25b6-11eb-952e-0c475972cfc0_story.html


  1. [1]Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754
  2. [2]Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The mysterious expectation that elites give a damn,” Not Housebroken, October 15, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/01/the-mysterious-expectation-that-elites-give-a-damn/
  4. [4]Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754
  5. [5]Fred Hiatt, “Trump is putting this country through something unprecedented. Here are three scenarios,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-wants-to-overturn-the-results-of-a-free-and-fair-election-theres-a-word-for-that/2020/11/13/cb94b77e-25b6-11eb-952e-0c475972cfc0_story.html
  6. [6]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Eric Lach, “What Happens if Donald Trump Fights the Election Results?” New Yorker, August 21, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/campaign-chronicles/what-happens-if-donald-trump-fights-the-election-results; Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/heres-one-way-trump-could-try-to-steal-the-election-voting-experts-say/2020/08/16/b5bf0c2a-de66-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Bloody November,” Not Housebroken, October 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/08/bloody-november/; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/; David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/; David Benfell, “Epistemology in the present U.S. political crisis,” Not Housebroken, November 14, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/12/epistemology-in-the-present-u-s-political-crisis/
  8. [8]Fred Hiatt, “Trump is putting this country through something unprecedented. Here are three scenarios,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-wants-to-overturn-the-results-of-a-free-and-fair-election-theres-a-word-for-that/2020/11/13/cb94b77e-25b6-11eb-952e-0c475972cfc0_story.html
  9. [9]Jonathan Freedland, “This is no conventional coup. Trump is paving the way for a ‘virtual Confederacy,'” Guardian, November 13, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/13/trump-coup-virtual-confederacy-race-legal-trumpian
  10. [10]Shelby Cassesse, “Coronavirus In Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Seeing Substantial Transmission Rate,” KDKA, November 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/14/rising-coronavirus-cases-allegheny-county/
  11. [11]Antonia Noori Farzan et al. “U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July,” Washington Post, October 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/16/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html; Karen Kaplan, “U.S. deaths are about 300,000 higher than expected since the coronavirus arrived,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-20/excess-deaths-in-united-states-since-coronavirus-arrived; Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/; Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754; Derek Thompson, “The COVID-19 Fall Surge Is Here. We Can Stop It,” Atlantic, October 12, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/how-keep-fall-surge-becoming-winter-catastrophe/616674/; William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/
  12. [12]Shelby Cassesse, “Coronavirus In Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Seeing Substantial Transmission Rate,” KDKA, November 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/14/rising-coronavirus-cases-allegheny-county/
  13. [13]Megan Guza, “Pa. health officials aim to avoid shutdown despite covid uptick,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-health-officials-aim-to-avoid-shutdown-despite-covid-uptick/
  14. [14]John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/
  15. [15]Kirsten Korosec, “Uber in talks to sell ATG self-driving unit to Aurora,” TechCrunch, November 13, 2020, https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/13/uber-in-talks-to-sell-atg-self-driving-unit-to-aurora/
  16. [16]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12; Eliot Brown, “Uber Wants to Be the Uber of Everything—But Can It Make a Profit?” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-wants-to-be-the-uber-of-everything-11556909866; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural; Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, https://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Christopher Mims, “In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-a-tight-labor-market-gig-workers-get-harder-to-please-11556942404
  17. [17]David Benfell, “Proof of investor irrationality: The case of Uber (and Lyft),” Not Housebroken, August 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/22/proof-of-investor-irrationality-the-case-of-uber-and-lyft/
  18. [18]David Benfell, “Tax time,” Not Housebroken, July 14, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/14/tax-time/
  19. [19]Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history
  20. [20]Paul Guggenheimer, “James Buchanan not a tough act to follow for Biden as 2nd president from Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 15, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/buchanan-not-a-tough-act-to-follow-for-biden-as-2nd-president-from-pennsylvania/

The pandemic and universities, with a dose of psychopathy

Higher Education

Though my father earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Washington State University, in Pullman, the most I’d heard about the school, really, was seeing the diploma he always hung on a wall in the places we (and he) lived. It turns out that Pullman is now a COVID-19 hotspot, probably because of college students returning to the area, and that coincidentally, cases have spiked among nursing home residents in the area, though no direct relationship has been established.[1]

That ought to concern the Pittsburgh area, where a number of major universities and a bunch of smaller ones sit in the middle of an area with an aging population, and many, many, many senior facilities. And where cases at the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”) have recently spiked.[2] Indeed, according to notifications I receive daily on my phone, the Allegheny County case counts have risen dramatically, though again, I should caution that the causal relationship—especially its direction—here is unclear.

My connection to Stanford University, really, isn’t much less tenuous. But the story about the Hoover Institute[3] inspires a new blog post entitled, “Intellectual respectability for psychopaths.”

Francie Diep, “In This Rural College Town, Covid-19 Was Scarce. Then the Students Came Back,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 6, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/in-this-rural-college-town-covid-19-was-scarce-then-the-students-came-back

Tom Bartlett, “Why Some Stanford Professors Want the Hoover Institution Gone,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 9, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/why-some-stanford-professors-want-the-hoover-institution-gone


  1. [1]Francie Diep, “In This Rural College Town, Covid-19 Was Scarce. Then the Students Came Back,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 6, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/in-this-rural-college-town-covid-19-was-scarce-then-the-students-came-back
  2. [2]Paul Guggenheimer, “Pitt issues shelter-in-place order to students due to covid surge,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pitt-issues-shelter-in-place-order-to-students-due-to-covid-surge/
  3. [3]Tom Bartlett, “Why Some Stanford Professors Want the Hoover Institution Gone,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 9, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/why-some-stanford-professors-want-the-hoover-institution-gone

What way forward? (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 9, 2020, 2:15 pm.
  2. November 9, 2020, 6:34 pm:
    • Kimberly Holland explains that the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It doesn’t always follow precisely this pattern and there are other theories about stages of grief.[1] But I think we’re still in the denial stage and I guess I’m wondering what, with a delusional raging narcissist, the remaining stages will look like.
    • So you do remember those other options that Donald Trump might pursue as he desperately seeks to stave off defeat?[2]

      Republicans control both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature. Oh, and as for those right-wing militia groups I’ve been worried about?[3] I doubt we know how active, how deadly they may yet prove to be. But we are already seeing violence: “Already Trump’s unfounded accusations of fraud have inspired an attempted armed attack on the Philadelphia convention center and bomb threats against the mall next to the convention center, not to mention the plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan.”[4]

    • Meanwhile,

It turns out I’m down today. The car needs a rear brake job pretty badly.


Election

Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/


Higher Education

At one point, according to the notifications I receive daily, Allegheny County daily case counts had dropped below 50. Now they’re over 200. Only some of this is due to increased testing.

Paul Guggenheimer, “Pitt issues shelter-in-place order to students due to covid surge,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pitt-issues-shelter-in-place-order-to-students-due-to-covid-surge/



Discourse

There’s a lot of merit in N. K. Jemisin’s Twitter thread,[5] which I reproduce below and I’m mostly going to just leave it there. But I have some quibbles.

First, there are actually really serious problems with voting, apart even from arithmetic reality, when meaningful options are limited to anti-environmentalist, warmongering, criminal capitalists who are, it sometimes seems more often than not, also racists and rapists.[6] The bipartisan record is simply appalling and to try to suss out one party as better than the other when one serves to give cruel policies a “bipartisan” imprimatur, enabling the other to push ever more cruel policies, and then embracing and extending those policies itself, is simply disingenuous.[7]

Second, the differences that divide this country are not just about stories. There are profound differences in values that cannot be wished away, where there is contention even over what even constitutes that “better life” we allegedly all aspire to. Off the top of my head:

  • Individualism (“freedom”)[8] versus Community (“compassion” and “empathy”)
  • Human Rights for Some (social conservatives)[9] versus Human Rights for All
  • White Supremacism (sometimes cast as “culture”[10] or a perceived need for “others” to assimilate) versus diversity and inclusion
  • National Interest as world hegemony (neoconservatism) and capitalist exploitation (neoliberalism) versus National Interest as peace and justice for all[11]
  • Security as domination over others (authoritarianism) versus security in peace and justice for all[12]
  • A demand for unlimited capitalist economic growth versus the limits of a finite planet
  • Capitalism versus Human Rights (housing, health care, adequate food, self-actualization)[13], or even more fundamentally, a notion that human beings may serve only as means to rich and powerful ends against the categorical imperative that each person must be an end in themself.

“Moderation” can offer no answer to these differences because 1) it doesn’t actually have any coherence whatsoever anyway, and 2) these differences take binary form: You are either on one side or the other. There is no meaningful “middle ground” and the imagination that there is bears all the substance of magical thinking.

Third, Jemisin is flatly wrong to diminish the importance of economics. Yes, a lot of assholes were assholes to start with. But when it comes to what increases the toxicity,

The grievances have their roots in the industrialization of this valley—and the mistrust of authority figures is a direct result of the big bargain people here [in southwest Pennsylvania] made—a deal that turned out to be a lie.

During most of the 20th Century, if you worked for our major industrial employers—companies such as US Steel, Jones & Laughlin, Westinghouse Electric or Union Switch & Signal—you knew they were poisoning our air and water, and you knew that you stood a decent chance of being injured or maimed on the job.

The bargain was that, with the protection of industrial trade unions, you were paid well, and when you retired, you had a pension waiting.

In the 1980s, we kept up our side, but US Steel diversified into oil refining and closed down much of its steel production, Westinghouse Electric merged with CBS and exited manufacturing altogether, Union Switch & Signal went overseas, and Jones & Laughlin (by then known as LTV) imploded after two bankruptcies. Pension plans were liquidated for pennies on the dollar or bailed out by the federal government.

Corporate America left Western Pennsylvania a toxic mess, both literally and figuratively, and stripped away our livelihoods and identities. Of course we’re bitter.

When that crash hit, those who could moved away. Those who couldn’t tended to be mid-career Baby Boomers with mortgaged houses that suddenly couldn’t be sold at any price. Those folks are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, and many of them still very, very aggrieved.[14]

Sure, it’s tempting to just label the other side bigots, particularly when your side, being complicit with that other side in a so-called “Washington Consensus,”[15] has been promoting the neoconservatism and neoliberalism that shipped a lot of well-paying jobs overseas and fucked over everybody who wasn’t wealthy, white, and preferably male.[16] When judging people, as Jemisin does, you should be prepared to walk a mile in their shoes.

While I don’t buy into the authoritarian populist bigotry, I know my response to anyone who judges my own fury harshly is simple: Try going over nineteen years without being able to find a real job, even having in that time returned to school, finished a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D.[17] Until they’ve done that, their arrogance is beyond breathtaking; it sucks all the air out of the room. My experience, albeit not so much in southwestern Pennsylvania, is what leads me to acknowledge that yes, damn it, on this point, authoritarian populists have a point.[18]

Fourth, I think there’s real insight in the “snacks” versus “wholesome meals” metaphor for “sound bites” versus nuanced portrayals of situations, but it’s curious that Jemisin then treats this superficially as a “marketing/PR” problem because, to me, it points to something deeper.

But then, his treatment of class issues is similarly superficial—no, not all Trump supporters are well off whites by a very long shot. I see those Confederate flags and those Trump flags and those thin blue line flags at least as often outside working class homes. All that said . . .

source on threadreaderapp.com
Archived at 2020-11-09 08:44:51

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N. K. Jemisin

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8 Nov, 27 tweets, 5 min read

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OK. Now that the dust is clearing on the election, there’s a thing us liberals, leftists, not-centrists, whateverthefuck we call ourselves, are going to have to work on: our storytelling. (Thread.)

It’s not that the right is better at storytelling. It’s that their stories are simpler, more viscerally satisfying. “A Black woman stole your job!” “They want your guns!” Easy, reductive us vs them, you in danger girl level stuff. Even when it’s not true, it provokes a reaction.

These stories are like snacks. They satisfy a (forbidden?) craving. They have good mouth-feel. They make you want more. Thing is, try to *live* on snacks and you’ll die of malnutrition.

The left’s story is a meal. Some crave-able comfort food, but also stuff that’s good for you.

But “eat your veggies” is always going to be a harder sell than “have another snack.” (Vegetarians sit down, I’m making a point. :P) So the problem isn’t that the left doesn’t understand the right. It’s that we learned to like (or at least eat) veggies too, and they… didn’t.

A lot of left analysis I’m seeing rt now disregards this. “We need to understand why these people love salt.” Bitch, no, everybody loves salt, some of us just moderate. “We need to sell snacks, too!” That’s an uphill climb – and it elides the fact that snacks are *bad for you.*

Leftist points *can* be distilled into simple visceral stories, sure. “Eat the rich.” “Defund police.” But they don’t hit as hard bc they’re shorthand for complex topics. Like kale chips – superficially snacky, actually good for you, offputting to ppl who prefer potato chips.

Also? Ppl who choose to live on snacks aren’t doing so for any rational reason. It’s literally killing them. They’re doing it anyway because it satisfies some other impulse: in-group approval, a sense of power over a complex and changing world. Snacks are soothing that way.

You cannot reason with folks who’ve chosen to do something against their interest, because their interest isn’t what *you* think it is. They probably know America is better off unified and equal… but ooh, it feels so good to hurt others.

Some folks just got raised wrong.

So I’m not concerned about them, personally. Folks like that might fix themselves, but *you’re* not gonna do it. What concerns me is *leftists* falling for snack-style stories. Way too many of y’all buy into the right’s “both sides” nonsense, or “white working class” rhetoric.

(As a reminder, both sides are *not* equally bad, and Trump’s base is actually wealthy white people. About half the working class is BIPoC and they are disproportionately disabled, queer, immigrant – groups the right hates. “It’s about the white working class” framing is a lie.)

And here is where the failure of storytelling kicks in. Why do leftists – people who ostensibly believe in a balanced diet – continually fall for this malnourished bullshit logic?

Same reason right-wingers do: bc on some level these leftists prefer snacks to good nutrition.

We see it again and again – reductive class analysis that ignores the impact of race and other intersections. White pundits who empathize with racists but find BIPoC equality terrifying (“cancel culture!!!1!”). Black male hip hop stars who throw their own people under the bus.

Some of this is human nature. We often draw causal connections that don’t have much to do with logic (e.g. superstition). Some of it is culture. Capitalism is a doctrine of selfishness, after all, and most of us have been indoctrinated with it from childhood.

But a lot of it is that many leftists have chosen false simplicity over the complex, often bitter flavors of truth. “Whiteness is the core of America’s problems? That can’t be true*. I’d rather believe [salty snack #1].”

*It can be. But it’s more complex than “white ppl bad.”

Somehow we have to get these folks to swallow “it’s the racism, stupid” pills without choking on them and vomiting back Trumpian talking points.

I have no solution for this, btw. I’m trying to tell good stories, but mine are kind of long and chewy. Not very snackable.

End of day, this is probably a question for marketing/PR people to answer, since their specialty is very short stories. But it’s important to target those stories at the right audience. Not everybody likes everything, after all. My books aren’t super-popular in the Western aisle.

So, know your audience. Stop trying to sell wholesome meals to ppl who’ve chosen to live on chips – hell, half the reason they’re doing that is to spite you. Focus on folks who claim to want good food but are eating a lot of crap. Remind them that salt is not a food group.

And more importantly, focus on those who already know the complex stories, but don’t trust the storytellers. The BIPoC who don’t vote completely get that it’s the racism – but they don’t think leftist politicians do. Because the best-known leftist politicians *don’t* get it.

That’s the danger of class reductionists & white liberal pundits who sound straight out of MLK’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail – more devoted to “order” than justice, constantly cautioning BIPoC to put their needs off for the greater good. Nobody likes a story with a bad ending.

The great non-voting masses of America have fallen prey not only to voter suppression, but also the stories told by GOP/billionaire think tanks: voting is meaningless, both sides are bad, doesn’t matter who’s in charge, life will always suck. This is a narrative we must counter.

And the way to do it is NOT with messages of conciliation toward fascists, or unity with bigots. Not by handwaving consequences because trials and equality are too hard. The way to do it is to SHOW people (don’t tell!) that who they vote for matters. That justice is possible.

We all want life to be better. But we have a chance right now to achieve the positive peace which is the presence of justice, to paraphrase MLK, and not just negative peace which is the absence of conflict. Elevate the powerless, not the powerful. Focus on justice, not “unity.”

Put some fucking Republicans in jail. (Prob the biggest reason I can’t commit to prison abolition; I want these mfs to die in prison.) Put ICE officers in jail if they raped or abused immigrants. Put bad cops in jail.

When we lack stories to tell, actions speak loudest.

And a big, important story we need to be telling right now is just how terrifying the vote is, to fascists. Fortunately they’ve helped tell that story themselves, by repeatedly attacking people’s ability to vote. It’s clearly important. Leftists need to double down on that.

So that’s all I got, from one storyteller to the many others out there. Hope it helps.

Belated add, since some are tossing around lefty snack stories now: again, those are a hard sell bc nuance reduces poorly & capitalism indocs the opposite. But my suggestion: “You’re better off if your neighbor is, too.” Doesn’t rhyme, not very snacky. But that’s the gist.

Welp, too many replies, so muting the thread. But since I’m seeing it already – beware people in the comments doing the exact fucking thing I said not to: insisting that voting is meaningless, “we need to focus on the WWC,” etc. Some folks just wanna be hardheaded.

N. K. Jemisin, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, November 8, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1325545838500843524.html


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Archived at 2020-11-09 09:52:39

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9 Nov, 4 tweets, 1 min read

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1/4 A difference on the Left between those who could hold their nose and vote for @JoeBiden and those who could not may lie in the @DemoSocialists’ substitution of the movement (think “means”) for achievement (the “end” as social and environmental justice).

2/4 If you see the movement itself as an achievement, you’re likely to settle for an incremental approach that may take decades or centuries to achieve a desired end.

3/4 If, on the other hand, you’re concerned about people dying, people being killed, through elite indifference, fecklessness, greed, or outright malice, that might not be good enough.

4/4 If you would like to see social and environmental justice now, rather than hoping that *maybe*, just *maybe*, your great grandchildren *might* win it (spoiler alert: they won’t, because we’re already seeing diminishing returns with nonviolence), that might not be good enough.


  1. [1]Kimberly Holland, “What You Should Know About the Stages of Grief,” Healthline, September 25, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-of-grief
  2. [2]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/; Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/; Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019, https://www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/trump-wants-impeachment-2020-reelection-strategy-blame-democrats-ignore-subpoenas-20190505.html; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/06/trump-legal-political-lawsuit-election-434786; Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html; Democracy Now!, “What If Trump Refuses to Accept a Biden Victory? A Look at How Electoral Chaos Could Divide Nation,” August 3, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/8/3/nils_gilman_2020_election_scenarios; Barton Gellman, “The Election That Could Break America,” Atlantic, September 23, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/; Mehdi Hasan, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Donald Trump. But What If He Refuses to Leave the White House?” Intercept, March 6, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/03/06/donald-trump-impeachment-2020/; Colby Itkowitz, “Trump won’t commit to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses,” Washington Post, September 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-transfer-of-power/2020/09/23/be6954d0-fdf0-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html; Ed Kilgore, “How Trump Is Trying to Ensure an Early Election Night Lead,” New York, August 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/trump-voters-could-vote-in-person-and-give-him-early-lead.html; Eric Lach, “What Happens if Donald Trump Fights the Election Results?” New Yorker, August 21, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/campaign-chronicles/what-happens-if-donald-trump-fights-the-election-results; Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/heres-one-way-trump-could-try-to-steal-the-election-voting-experts-say/2020/08/16/b5bf0c2a-de66-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html; Peter Nicholas, “Trump Could Still Break Democracy’s Biggest Norm,” Atlantic, June 16, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/when-does-trump-leave-white-house/613060/; Greg Sargent, “On Hannity’s show, Trump reveals his corrupt, panicky endgame,” Washington Post, October 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/09/hannity-trump-reveals-his-corrupt-panicky-endgame/; Felicia Sonmez, “Trump declines to say whether he will accept November election results,” Washington Post, July 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-declines-to-say-whether-he-will-accept-november-election-results/2020/07/19/40009804-c9c7-11ea-91f1-28aca4d833a0_story.html; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Bloody November,” Not Housebroken, October 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/08/bloody-november/; David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/
  4. [4]Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/
  5. [5]N. K. Jemisin, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, November 8, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1325545838500843524.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Why I do not vote,” Not Housebroken, February 25, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/02/23/why-i-do-not-vote/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “On ‘freedom,’” Not Housebroken, September 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/13/on-freedom/
  9. [9]Katherine Stewart and Caroline Fredrickson, “Bill Barr Thinks America Is Going to Hell,” New York Times, December 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/opinion/william-barr-trump.html
  10. [10]Richard M. Weaver, Visions of Order (Louisiana State University, 1964; Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1995).
  11. [11]David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).
  12. [12]David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).
  13. [13]David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).
  14. [14]Jason Togyer, “Fear and Loathing in the Time of Coronavirus,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 25, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/mckeesport-year-of-fear-covid-19-pandemic.php
  15. [15]Melvyn P. Leffler, “The Free Market Did Not Bring Down the Berlin Wall,” Foreign Policy, November 7, 2014, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/11/07/berlin_wall_fall_25_anniversary_reagan_bush_germany_merkel_cold_war_free_market_capitalism
  16. [16]Chip Berlet, “Taking Tea Parties Seriously: Corporate Globalization, Populism, and Resentment,” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 10, no. 1 (2011), 11-29, doi: 10.1163/156914911X555071; Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Metropolitan, 2005); Scott Sernau, Worlds Apart, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2006).
  17. [17]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  18. [18]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).

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
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