Wanted more evidence that capitalism is irredeemably evil, did you?

Pandemic

Restaurant and bar owners just keep on offering evidence that capitalism is irredeemably evil and must be abolished.[1] They get to pay their workers a mere $2.83 per hour (Pennsylvania tipped minimum wage).[2] They’re capitalists. They exploit their workers. They took a RISK. That’s all part of capitalism. And that RISK means when they lose, they lose.

They deserve to lose especially when they get to pay their workers nearly nothing. Put anybody who defies health orders out of business permanently. Throw them in prison and throw away the key.

Dillon Carr, “Restaurants and bars banding together to give Gov. Wolf an ultimatum,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 4, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-and-bars-banding-together-to-give-gov-wolf-an-ultimatum-thursday/


Recession

Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author


  1. [1]Dillon Carr, “Restaurants and bars banding together to give Gov. Wolf an ultimatum,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 4, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-and-bars-banding-together-to-give-gov-wolf-an-ultimatum-thursday/
  2. [2]Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh’s restaurant workers say they are bearing all the brunt of the region’s coronavirus spike, but are seeing little benefits,” Pittsburgh City Paper, July 29, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburghs-restaurant-workers-say-they-are-bearing-all-the-brunt-of-the-regions-coronavirus-spike-but-are-seeing-little-benefits/Content?oid=17722779

Reopening schools is asinine

Updates

  1. Originally published, July 31, 2020, 12:31 pm.
  2. July 31, 10:48 pm:
    • I hadn’t realized just how poorly paid restaurant workers are, on a tipped minimum wage. They say they’re bearing the brunt of the reopening[1] and I have to say, a couple times I ate at Burgatory, and I was seated at the bar, immediately across from where a worker washed dishes or prepared drinks. We weren’t even close to being properly socially distanced and it isn’t permitted under the present orders but do I believe the accounts in this story?[2] Hell, yes.

Pandemic

It’s still mostly bars and restaurants where most people are getting infected with the novel coronavirus in Allegheny County, but private parties are increasingly cropping up in contact tracing efforts.[3] From what I can see, driving by, people flatly are not social distancing at these events and are not wearing masks. Period. And hospitalizations, the count of which lags behind that of cases, seem to be spiking.[4]

And as for that insanity about opening schools?[5] Forget it. This is a really, really bad, asinine idea. Because whatever previous research says, you know the research I said to treat with caution,[6] it’s looking more and more like children might be able to spread the novel coronavirus[7] and it’s crucial to remember first, that we aren’t just talking about the kids themselves, but everyone they come into contact with, at home, at school, or anywhere else, inevitably including people who are vulnerable; and second, that if we can’t even get adults to wear masks[8] and socially distance, then we sure as hell aren’t going to be able to get kids to.

Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh’s restaurant workers say they are bearing all the brunt of the region’s coronavirus spike, but are seeing little benefits,” Pittsburgh City Paper, July 29, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburghs-restaurant-workers-say-they-are-bearing-all-the-brunt-of-the-regions-coronavirus-spike-but-are-seeing-little-benefits/Content?oid=17722779

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

Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County data shows parties becoming a growing source of coronavirus,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-data-shows-parties-becoming-a-growing-source-of-coronavirus/


Pennsylvania

Nice to see we have adults in the Pennsylvania legislature.

Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf, GOP critic spar over social media post parroting health secretary’s LGBQT comments,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-gop-critic-spar-over-social-media-post-parroting-health-secretarys-lgbqt-comments/


Recession

Heather Long, “This recession is already deep. If Congress fails to act, a lot of damage could be permanent,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/30/economists-favor-big-stimulus/


  1. [1]Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh’s restaurant workers say they are bearing all the brunt of the region’s coronavirus spike, but are seeing little benefits,” Pittsburgh City Paper, July 29, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburghs-restaurant-workers-say-they-are-bearing-all-the-brunt-of-the-regions-coronavirus-spike-but-are-seeing-little-benefits/Content?oid=17722779
  2. [2]Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh’s restaurant workers say they are bearing all the brunt of the region’s coronavirus spike, but are seeing little benefits,” Pittsburgh City Paper, July 29, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburghs-restaurant-workers-say-they-are-bearing-all-the-brunt-of-the-regions-coronavirus-spike-but-are-seeing-little-benefits/Content?oid=17722779
  3. [3]Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County data shows parties becoming a growing source of coronavirus,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-data-shows-parties-becoming-a-growing-source-of-coronavirus/
  4. [4]Steven Adams, “Allegheny County sets record for new coronavirus hospitalizations; sees triple-digit cases for 8th straight day,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-sees-triple-digit-coronavirus-growth-for-8th-straight-day-record-hospitalizations/
  5. [5]Justin Lahart, “Kids at Home Could Put the Economy in Detention,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kids-at-home-could-put-the-economy-in-detention-11595583001; Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Could alternative schools offer an answer?” Not Housebroken, July 24, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/24/could-alternative-schools-offer-an-answer/; 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; 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
  7. [7]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
  8. [8]Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity; Marc Fisher, Clarence Williams, and Lori Rozsa, “Will Americans wear masks to prevent coronavirus spread? Politics, history, race and crime factor into tough decision,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-masks-america/2020/04/18/bdb16bf2-7a85-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html; Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Likhitha Butchireddygari, “For Black Americans, Wearing A Mask Comes With Complicated Anxieties,” FiveThirtyEight, June 30, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/for-black-americans-wearing-a-mask-comes-with-complicated-anxieties/; Griff Witte, Ariana Eunjung Cha, and Josh Dawsey, “At the heart of dismal U.S. coronavirus response, a fraught relationship with masks,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-the-heart-of-dismal-us-coronavirus-response-a-fraught-relationship-with-masks/2020/07/28/f47eccd0-cde4-11ea-bc6a-6841b28d9093_story.html

Cold War, again?

China

There is a new blog post entitled, “A new ‘cold war’ with China as an election stunt?” This is the first of two, today.

Guardian, “Mike Pompeo says free world must change China or ‘China will change us,’” July 23, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/24/mike-pompeo-says-free-world-must-change-china-or-china-will-change-us


Education

There is a second new blog post entitled, “Could alternative schools offer an answer?

Justin Lahart, “Kids at Home Could Put the Economy in Detention,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kids-at-home-could-put-the-economy-in-detention-11595583001


Recession

Eli Rosenberg, “‘A Band-Aid on a bullet wound’: Workers are getting laid off anew as PPP runs out,” Washington Post, July 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/23/ppp-layoffs/


Authoritarian populist and capitalist libertarian madness, the recession, and the pandemic

There were updates on the previous issue through 5:18 this morning.


Recession

The nation currently has 5.4 million job openings, according to the Labor Department, which is not nearly enough for the roughly 18 million Americans who are officially unemployed and the 33 million who are currently receiving unemployment benefits.[1]

I can’t resist noting that I have continued to make all my payments on time throughout the novel coronavirus crisis. But my credit rating still sucks—it is only “fair,” according to the Credit Karma app. I have to wonder if credit ratings are really all they’re supposed to be, because the banks are bracing for a wave of defaults[2] from folks whose credit ratings will often be better than mine.

Ben Eisen and David Benoit, “‘This Is Not a Normal Recession’: Banks Ready for Wave of Coronavirus Defaults,” Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-is-not-a-normal-recession-banks-ready-for-wave-of-coronavirus-defaults-11594746008

Hamza Shaban, “White House tells 18 million unemployed workers to ‘Find Something New’ in ad campaign,” Washington Post, July 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/14/ivanka-trump-jobs-find-something-new/


Pennsylvania

Case counts are spiking around the country,[3] including in Allegheny County,[4] where according to notifications I’ve received from the Health Department, there were 331 new cases yesterday and 246 today, but the Pennsylvania legislature is still determined to try to strip the governor of emergency powers to try to stem the pandemic.[5]

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/


Trump family ethics

For the record:

Everything about this is just . . . unbelievably, atrociously wrong. But whoever it is going by the twitter handle “SkipperMeds” certainly captures some of it:


Psychopaths

1. How bad could Covid get in America? Let’s just say it’s not a good sign that Rush Limbaugh is praising cannibals as heroes.

2. Limbaugh’s praise of the Donner Party as heroic cannibals is not an outlier. He was in fact channelling earlier arguments made along this line by William Bennett & David Frum. As @jholbo1 noted long ago, this exaltation of the Donner flesh-eaters helps us understand the right

3. Earlier, Alex Jones laid out the logical endgame of the right: “I will eat my neighbors…I’m literally looking at my neighbors now and going, ‘I’m ready to hang ’em up and gut ’em and skin ’em.’”

4. Cannibalism is, I’d argue, one of the logical endgames of a certain type of libertarian individualism (incest is the other endgame). After all, if it’s survival of the fittest and dog eat dog, why wouldn’t you put your neighbor on the grill?

5. Is cannibalism a good solution for Covid? Spoiler alert: I don’t think so but I explore why cannibalism does provide a model for what is happening: thenation.com/article/politi…[6]


  1. [1]Hamza Shaban, “White House tells 18 million unemployed workers to ‘Find Something New’ in ad campaign,” Washington Post, July 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/14/ivanka-trump-jobs-find-something-new/
  2. [2]Ben Eisen and David Benoit, “‘This Is Not a Normal Recession’: Banks Ready for Wave of Coronavirus Defaults,” Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-is-not-a-normal-recession-banks-ready-for-wave-of-coronavirus-defaults-11594746008
  3. [3]Agence France-Presse, “Fauci warns U.S. is “knee-deep” in coronavirus first wave,” CBS News, July 7, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-warns-us-knee-deep-coronavirus-first-wave/; Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, July 9, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1281071726596521984.html; Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  4. [4]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/; Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; 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/; Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/; Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “83 new cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, no new deaths,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/83-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-allegheny-county-no-new-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/; Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/; WTAE, “Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania,” July 1, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/masks-are-now-mandatory-in-all-public-spaces-in-pennsylvania/33026253; WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  5. [5]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/
  6. [6]Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, July 15, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1283451171634479104.html

You know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless

Evictions

I wonder if that plan to help renters[1] is bottled up in committee for the same stupid-ass reason as the recreational marijuana bill.[2] Meanwhile, time is running out[3] and you know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless.[4]

Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/


Higher education

The Chronicle of Higher Education article[5] fleshes out my comments in the last issue. I hadn’t seen it before I published that issue, but I’ve added a citation and listed the article there as well.

Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142


Pandemic


  1. [1]John L. Micek, “Pa. is facing a wave of evictions. Two state House lawmakers have a plan to help,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/commentary/pa-is-facing-a-wave-of-evictions-two-state-house-lawmakers-have-a-plan-to-help-tuesday-morning-coffee/
  2. [2]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  3. [3]Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/
  5. [5]Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142

‘They’re Screwing Around in Congress’

There is a new blog post entitled, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases.”

It’s been a hot and dry few days. But as I’m about to hit publish here, look what just appeared to our west (in eastern Ohio):
ecan
Don’t know that it will come our way and suspect it won’t change the pattern much, but there it is.


Fascism

George Monbiot conflates the situations of the U.S. and the U.K., declines to call that conflation fascism, and distinguishes this conflation from fascism on specious grounds.[1] I’m beginning to sense a pattern: It is not intellectually fashionable to invoke the f-word (“fascism”), so people bend over backwards to explain how our situation is different so they can still style themselves ‘intellectuals.’

I call what is happening in the U.S. fascism because, crucially, it seeks to build political support through violence, whether structural or physical, against subaltern groups, especially nonwhites and the poor, that enables further violence against those groups.[2] That’s different from what Monbiot says is happening in the U.K., but Monbiot is criticizing anti-intellectualism in both countries and this is how he grounds his conflation.

I’m not prepared to call intellectuals a subaltern group in either country, though I certainly feel a temptation. Whether I would call the U.K. fascist depends on its treatment of subaltern groups and, while I’m not prepared to excuse that treatment, I’m also not prepared to say that that treatment is part of a feedback loop. Here is my previous definition of fascism from the previous update on May 16:

Fascism is an ideology that seeks to institutionalize structural and physical violence against some or many subaltern groups on the grounds of bigotry and to increase its own public support through the exploitation of such violence and bigotry. This bigotry may take several forms including nationalism, scapegoating, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. To the extent that it succeeds, it acts as a self-reinforcing feedback as public support enables further and more extreme violence.[3]

If, on the other hand, I am to consider intellectuals a subaltern group, it cannot be all intellectuals. Some, like economists who enable an intellectually utterly discredited neoliberalism[4] and those who support the political class in other ways, are often richly rewarded. Professors who cling to tenure hardly seem subaltern to me. So I would need a way to distinguish between outcast intellectuals, those who are not sycophants for the ruling class, and those who are.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. It can’t simply be that intellectuals who agree with me are subaltern, but ideological sycophancy might be one distinguishing feature of non-subaltern intellectuals. There are books on my shelf I haven’t gotten to that might help with this and Sergio Caldarella criticizes ideological conformity.[5] There may also be economic considerations: What if the surplus of Ph.D. holders functions, intentionally or not, to undermine intellectuals’ leverage in the marketplace, and therefore intellectualism at large?

For now, I just don’t know. A group I might more easily include as subaltern is that of dissidents. Monbiot criticizes the elite response to intellectual dissent in the U.S. and the U.K.,[6] but what if the real objection authoritarian populists and elites have with those Monbiot calls intellectuals isn’t to their intellectualism but rather to their ideas?

So here is how I am further refining my definition:

Fascism is an ideology that seeks to institutionalize structural and physical violence against some or many subaltern groups on the grounds of bigotry and to increase its own public support through the exploitation of such violence and bigotry. This bigotry may take several forms including the repression of dissent or the promotion of nationalism, scapegoating, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. To the extent that it succeeds, it acts as a self-reinforcing feedback as public support enables further and more extreme violence.[7]

George Monbiot, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” July 6, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/07/07/something-wicked-this-way-comes/


Pennsylvania

Keeping Pennsylvania safe for white supremacy.

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/


  1. [1]George Monbiot, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” July 6, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/07/07/something-wicked-this-way-comes/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/
  4. [4]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Amir Fleischmann, “The Myth of the Fiscal Conservative,” Jacobin, March 5, 2017, https://jacobinmag.com/2017/03/fiscal-conservative-social-services-austerity-save-money; Jason Hickel, “Progress and its discontents,” New Internationalist, August 7, 2019, https://newint.org/features/2019/07/01/long-read-progress-and-its-discontents; Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012); Robert Kuttner, “Austerity never works: Deficit hawks are amoral — and wrong,” Salon, May 5, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/05/austerity_never_works_deficit_hawks_are_amoral_and_wrong/; Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead, 2011); Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis, “Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel,” Nation, July 6, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/article/austerity-has-failed-an-open-letter-from-thomas-piketty-to-angela-merkel/; John Quiggin, “Austerity Has Been Tested, and It Failed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/Austerity-Has-Been-Tested-and/139255/; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “How Austerity Kills,” New York Times, May 12, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/opinion/how-austerity-kills.html; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “Paul Krugman’s right: Austerity kills,” Salon, May 19, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/19/paul_krugmans_right_austerity_kills/
  5. [5]Sergio Caldarella, The Dark Campus (Princeton, NJ: Dark Age, 2016).
  6. [6]George Monbiot, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” July 6, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/07/07/something-wicked-this-way-comes/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/

#MAGAt Kanye West running for president

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


Horse race

I don’t know if this constitutes a formal announcement, but

I think Nina Turner might be missing a point here that Donald Trump himself may have put Kanye West up to this.

Amid a dizzying array of—I’m failing to find an adequate word—bullshit emanating from the White House since Trump took office, there was that visit. Yes, Kanye West visited the White House, gave a speech, appeared with the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief.

[Kanye] West spoke to reporters for nearly 10 minutes in the Oval Office. Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, he repeatedly complimented [Donald] Trump, who nodded in agreement. . . .

Trump was asked whether he thought West could be a future presidential candidate, and responded “could very well be.”[1]

And we know that Trump may well be planning to retain office even if he loses the election,[2] which is to very strongly suggest that even in his demented condition, Trump realizes he could lose.

Turner’s tweet is righteous and Debra Messing’s tweet might be partisan, but there is an obvious practical consideration here in which West might siphon enough votes that might otherwise go to Joe Biden to deprive the latter of victory. Much depends on the relative popularity of the two men—and, though the ploy is pretty fucking obvious, not just among Blacks. That’s something I honestly can’t assess. Because popular culture just ain’t my thing.

I do wonder what my old formerly favorite professor, the one who had no answer for and resented being asked the question of whether a political system that depends on war crimes should survive, thinks.


  1. [1]Ayesha Rascoe and Brian Naylor, “‘Quite Something’: Kanye West Makes A Statement In The Oval Office,” National Public Radio, October 11, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/656561471/quite-something-kanye-west-makes-a-statement-in-the-oval-office
  2. [2]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

I hate the criminal injustice system. But there are folks out there right now who deserve to be prosecuted.

Pandemic

I want to say I don’t know what people were expecting. The trouble is, that wouldn’t be accurate. This is absolute, and absolutely inexcusable, reckless disregard.

In an attempt to quell the surge in new cases, Allegheny County officials ordered all bars, restaurants and casinos to halt on-premises dining, expanding an order earlier this week that banned the on-site consumption of alcohol. Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday expanded an order to make masks mandatory in outdoor situations where social distancing can’t be maintained.[1]

Don’t believe me?

“I know that people were angry and frustrated with recent developments including the surge in cases, the prior order and recommendations, as well as the state mask order,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the county health department.[2]

She actually had to say that. The behavior that leads to this increase in cases is criminal. They are psychopaths but lock ’em up anyway and throw away the fucking key.

We are not talking about essential expendable workers here. We are not talking about the unemployed. We are talking about young adults, old enough to know better, who have the funds to go to bars and who just don’t give a damn.[3]

Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/

Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/

Recession

Actually, it’s not one but two “fiscal time bombs” as enhanced unemployment benefits run out and local and state governments run out of money and are forced to lay off more people than they already have.[4]

But due to the same sort of absolute reckless disregard that’s leading Allegheny County to clamp down on bars and restaurants,[5] Catherine Rampell’s plea for more economic relief[6] will likely go unheeded.

Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/


  1. [1]Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/
  2. [2]Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/
  3. [3]Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; 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/
  4. [4]Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/
  5. [5]KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/
  6. [6]Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/

Recession, depression, my car has broken down

There’s no commentary in this issue. I had to take my car into the dealer because the dreaded “Check Hybrid System” indication came on. It looked to me, from what I could see, that the system is in fact still working. I can only hope that that means the battery has not gone bad.

It’d probably cost something like $4,000 to replace that battery. I don’t have it and, frankly, the car isn’t worth it. As of last night, the cost per mile clocked in at 34¢ per mile; this’d likely double that, putting it well past the IRS mileage allowance, even without depreciation.

I’m terrified. And I’m unlikely to hear before the end of the week because it’ll take that long before they even get to it.


Donald Trump


History

Bess Connolly, “Climate change, the rise of the Roman Empire, and the fall of the Ptolemies,” Yale University, June 22, 2020, https://news.yale.edu/2020/06/22/climate-change-rise-roman-empire-and-fall-ptolemies


Recession

Annie Lowrey, “The Second Great Depression,” Atlantic, June 23, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/second-great-depression/613360/

Neil Paine and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “What Economists Fear Most During This Recovery,” FiveThirtyEight, June 23, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-economists-fear-most-during-this-recovery/


Donald Trump, the petulant raging narcissist-in-chief, must do his homework

Racism

There is a new blog post entitled, “Be careful what you ask for.”

Jason Okundaye, “Abolish Whiteness,” London Review of Books, June 16, 2020, https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/june/abolish-whiteness


Unauthorized migrants

The Supreme Court has, in essence, informed the Trump administration that it must do its homework.[1]

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court rules against Trump’s attempt to end DACA, a win for undocumented ‘Dreamers’ brought to U.S. as children,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-rules-against-trump-administration-attempt-to-end-daca-a-win-for-undocumented-immigrants-brought-to-us-as-children/2020/06/18/4f0b6c74-b163-11ea-8758-bfd1d045525a_story.html


Pandemic

Though the data is “proprietary” (really? for a government health agency?), it appears that Pennsylvania is making some progress against the pandemic.[2] The trouble here is that nobody has hermetically sealed borders. The rise in other states[3] remains a serious threat.

KDKA, “Gov. Tom Wolf: CDC Says Pa. Is 1 Of 3 States Where Coronavirus Cases Have Declined For More Than 42 Days,” June 17, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/17/gov-tom-wolf-pennsylvania-coronavirus-cases-decline/


Recession

AnnaMaria Andriotis, “Americans Skip Millions of Loan Payments as Coronavirus Takes Economic Toll,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/americans-skip-millions-of-loan-payments-as-coronavirus-takes-economic-toll-11592472601


  1. [1]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court rules against Trump’s attempt to end DACA, a win for undocumented ‘Dreamers’ brought to U.S. as children,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-rules-against-trump-administration-attempt-to-end-daca-a-win-for-undocumented-immigrants-brought-to-us-as-children/2020/06/18/4f0b6c74-b163-11ea-8758-bfd1d045525a_story.html
  2. [2]KDKA, “Gov. Tom Wolf: CDC Says Pa. Is 1 Of 3 States Where Coronavirus Cases Have Declined For More Than 42 Days,” June 17, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/17/gov-tom-wolf-pennsylvania-coronavirus-cases-decline/
  3. [3]Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O