There are two new blog posts:
How many NRA spokesmen does it take to change a lightbulb? pic.twitter.com/yIm0efRO
— Jeffrey Levin (@jilevin) September 20, 2020
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.
— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) June 23, 2020
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
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/
Twelve years ago today, I drove up to a vegan sandwich shop in Oakland, California, ordered a sandwich made with fake meat, decided I could go vegan, and did. That shop is long gone as are, I’m sorry to say, a number of vegan restaurants that had been open as of about that time. But I remain vegan.
Fig. 1. Meme from Truthout, posted on Facebook on May 3, 2020, fair use.
Yet again, classified evidence. It was manipulated with Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist and therefore undermined assertions that the Russians had interfered with the U.S. election in 2016. Now the Trump administration is flogging a conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab. Relying on classified evidence.
Of course, no one serious will believe them. But Donald Trump’s base will. And those are the only people Trump thinks he needs to persuade.
Whatever the origin of the novel coronavirus, there is, apparently, a new, more contagious mutation now in the wild. “In addition to spreading faster, it may make people vulnerable to a second infection after a first bout with the disease, [a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory] warned.” Further, it is possible that people who have been infected with the earlier version may be susceptible to the mutated version. Yay, team.
Fig. 2. Cartoon by Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer, posted to Facebook by the Union of Concerned Scientists on May 1, 2020, fair use.
For every 10 minutes of coverage that is coalition of antivaxxers, Nazis, Suburban gun fetishes, Q devotees, and the other slime receive, we should get 90 minutes on unity and death. Mourn the victims. Tell each story.
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) May 5, 2020
there are also *other protests happening,* if you really must cover conflict first. there are nurses rallying to demand PPE. there are renters and workers and people demanding prisoners be released. https://t.co/mHYR1z2obH
— Sarah Jaffe (@sarahljaffe) May 5, 2020
Journalists have been downplaying leftist movements and the poor for decades. In fact, it is hard to recall a period when these have received their due from the mainstream press. https://t.co/3JZnscWGtH
— David Benfell, Ph.D. (@n4rky) May 5, 2020
Helen Davidson, “WHO says it has no evidence to support ‘speculative’ Covid-19 lab theory,” Guardian, May 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/05/who-says-it-has-no-evidence-to-support-speculative-covid-19-lab-theory-pushed-by-us
Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach, “Researchers hypothesize that a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading, but other experts remain skeptical,” Washington Post, May 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/researchers-hypothesize-that-a-highly-contagious-strain-of-the-coronavirus-is-spreading-but-other-experts-remain-skeptical/2020/05/05/db90d790-8ee7-11ea-9e23-6914ee410a5f_story.html
Ralph Vartabedian, “Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that appears to be more contagious,” Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-05/mutant-coronavirus-has-emerged-more-contagious-than-original
Emma Whitford, “Public Higher Ed Funding Still Has Not Recovered From 2008 Recession,” Inside Higher Ed, May 5, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/05/05/public-higher-education-worse-spot-ever-heading-recession
Today marks the completion of my 61st journey around the sun. There is, as there has been on numerous previous such milestones, absolutely nothing to celebrate.
Mitch McConnell continues to play the ‘bad guy,’ helping to defend neoliberal priorities. This enables Democrats to pretend to want much more spending—they don’t and would be sounding a very similar note to what we hear from McConnell if they controlled the presidency and the Senate—in the name of economic recovery, for which read, reasserting economic power relationships. This way, the Republicans continue to appeal to so-called “fiscal conservatives” (mostly capitalist libertarians and neoconservatives) while Donald Trump holds on to his authoritarian populist and social conservative base, the Democrats appeal to functionalist conservatives, neoconservatives, and progressives, and both parties are happy, at least through November, no matter who wins. But as usual, workers will get stiffed and the environment will get stiffed. In other words, politics as usual.
What remains to be seen is how well it all works and what happens when, as now seems almost certain, we plunge over what Ben White calls the ‘coronavirus cliff’ because neither party really wants the stimulus that is needed.
On May 8, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly unemployment report. Watch this report and the one in the following month, on June 5. These are the first reports that will fully reflect the ‘cliff’ we have in fact already fallen over and are still tumbling down. As these numbers sink in, watch the reaction. That will tell you much more than what we’re hearing right now.
There is a new blog post entitled, “On a baffling presumption of goodwill toward ‘essential’ workers.”
Martina Hund-Mejean and Marcela Escobari, “Our employment system has failed low-wage workers. How can we rebuild?” Brookings, April 28, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/04/28/our-employment-system-is-failing-low-wage-workers-how-do-we-make-it-more-resilient/
Ben White, “Trump faces the risk of a coronavirus cliff,” Politico, April 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/28/trump-reopening-coronavirus-213535
Justin Lahart, “Why the Economy Was Even Worse than the GDP Report,” Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-economy-was-even-worse-than-the-gdp-report-11588176851
Heather Long, “U.S. economy shrank 4.8 percent in first quarter, biggest decline since the Great Recession,” April 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/29/gdp-coronavirus/
I’m guessing there is going to be a run on four-ply microfiber cloth.
Matthew Cox, “Army Says It Has Found the Best Fabric for DIY Face Masks,” Military.com, April 28, 2020, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/04/28/army-says-it-has-found-best-fabric-face-masks.html
Taylor Telford and Kimberly Kindy, “Trump to order meat plants to stay open in pandemic, person familiar with action says,” Washington Post, April 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/28/trump-meat-plants-dpa/
I think I’m not quite clear on how it is of value to try to protect the U.S. economy from a recession, slashing interest rates, at the same time you’re essentially shutting it down, telling everyone to stay home, shutting businesses, and telling people to “socially distance themselves.” Perhaps I should be asking whose economy is the Federal Reserve propping up? Because it sure as hell isn’t the one I’m in.
Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/
Anne Applebaum, “The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff,” Atlantic, March 15, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-showed-america-wasnt-task/608023/
Associated Press, “U.S. moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 15, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/world/u-s-moves-nearer-to-shutdown-amid-coronavirus-fears/
Hanna Kozlowska, “Coronavirus is revealing ugly truths about social structure in the US,” Quartz, March 14, 2020, https://qz.com/1818548/coronavirus-is-revealing-ugly-truths-about-social-structure-in-the-us/
Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Valerie Bauerlein, “How Coronavirus Remade American Life in One Weekend,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-remakes-american-life-in-a-weekend-11584293065
Kara Seymour, “Restaurants, Bars In 5 PA Counties Ordered Closed By Governor,” Patch, March 15, 2020, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/h1utv/restaurants-bars-in-5-pa-counties-ordered-closed-by-governor
Olivia Goldhill, “Coronavirus prevention is far more accessible for the rich,” Quartz, March 16, 2020, https://qz.com/1818862/coronavirus-prevention-is-far-more-accessible-for-the-rich/
Nick Miroff et al., “States begin imposing harsher measures to contain coronavirus as U.S. cases rise sharply,” Washington Post, March 16, 2020,
WTAE, “Allegheny County officials call on all nonessential businesses to close,” March 16, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-calls-on-all-non-essential-businesses-to-close/31648999
John Feffer traces the betrayal of workers from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Donald Trump’s election. This dovetails with Melvin Leffler’s account of how the U.S. political mainstream drew the wrong message from that fall. But by all means, let’s elect yet another fucking neoliberal. I am remembering what I wrote in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat. It still applies. The difference now is that the Republicans have caught the disease as well.
John Feffer, “Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce the Trump Presidency?” Foreign Policy in Focus, November 13, 2019, https://fpif.org/did-the-fall-of-the-berlin-wall-produce-the-trump-presidency/
Peter Walker and Owen Bowcott, “Brexit forecast: what will happen between now and 31 October?” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/brexit-forecast-what-will-happen-between-now-31-october
Lisa O’Carroll and Heather Stewart, “Boris Johnson’s ‘secret Irish border plans’ dismissed as non-starter,” Guardian, September 30, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/30/hardline-conservative-brexiters-open-door-to-support-for-deal
Peter Foster, “Boris Johnson to reveal his final Brexit plan to EU leaders within 24 hours,” Telegraph, October 1, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/30/boris-johnson-reveal-final-brexit-plan-eu-leaders-within-24/
Sheila Liming, “My University is Dying,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20190925-my-university-is-dying
What’s most surprising isn’t that politicians start wars to consolidate their own power, but that the people don’t always simply assume that leaders choose war for that reason. Of course, the main calculation for politicians when making decisions is whether or not those decisions will help tighten their grip on the levers of society. From prime ministers to dictators, anyone who doesn’t think about that first and foremost will be, evolutionarily speaking, selected against, and quickly find themselves outside the palace walls.
Happy Memorial Day.
Jon Schwarz, “We Need Memorial Day to Obscure the Unbearable Truth About War,” Intercept, May 29, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2017/05/29/we-need-memorial-day-to-obscure-the-unbearable-truth-about-war/
I think, if it occurs, my next move will be farther from the Monongahela River and Mon Valley and especially from the U.S. Steel plant. I’ve seen neighborhoods by the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers that seem quite nice.
Note the source of this report that U.S. Steel has repaired air pollution controls: the Wall Street Journal, not a particularly environmentally friendly newspaper. What I see here is that repairs have been done. I do not know their effectiveness or even in absolute terms how safe the air now is—even the Journal headline only says “easier,” not “easy;” I picked someone up near that plant recently and it still stunk to high hell (the resuscitated air pollution controls might not yet have been switched on).
I also wonder about any decision to even allow the plant to continue operating. I don’t live in Mon Valley, but I’m close. I pick up a lot of people there. And I have to tell you, the very fact of that plant and the industrialization along the Monongahela River looks to me like an environmental justice issue, where the working class and poor, many of them Black, get to live with health and safety risks because that’s where they can afford to live or because that’s where they’ve always lived.
And lest we forget, much to my absolute horror, there are homeless people here. I can’t imagine how they survive winter. But for many, that would be the only alternative.
Kris Maher, “Pittsburgh Breathes Easier After Repairs at U.S. Steel Coke Plant,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-breathes-easier-after-repairs-at-u-s-steel-coke-plant-11558872000
This tweet might not translate the way it should because it lacks the context where neoliberals and nationalists (authoritarian populists) have broken off from the main parties, Republicans and Democrats, to form separate parties. But that’s the context imagined in this tweet.
These are jarring results. Imagine seeing US election returns that read:
Republicans/Democrats: 23.2% https://t.co/8qlkeOOQws
— Ben Ritz (@BudgetBen) May 27, 2019
At the time I looked at British Broadcasting Corporation coverage, returns were not complete. Counting had not even begun in some areas. But it seems worth noting that though Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was the winning single party, the total tally of Remainer parties, including the (neo)Liberal Democrats and the Greens exceeded Brexit by double digits. Meanwhile, both Tories and Labour took a drubbing, with the former winning a historically low portion of the vote.
Take that with a grain of salt: Final results might, but now seem unlikely to, reveal a different story. And these results have limited applicability to, for many Britons, a far more important general election. On Twitter, at least, Jeremy Corbyn has been calling for just that and Labour is now more loudly calling for a second referendum. This has seemed to me foolish: I am sad to say that, just as in the U.S., it appears many Britons still subscribe to a so-called “centrist” neoliberal view on the idea that this ideology—just as hateful, really, as anything the far right can muster—constitutes a “middle road.”
British Broadcasting Corporation, “European elections 2019: Brexit Party dominates as Tories and Labour suffer,” May 27, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48417228
No student of women’s history should even remotely be surprised that women will network to ensure access to reproductive health. Some will do so even in the face of legal impediments and the men who would control their bodies should know that the latter efforts are doomed to failure. Just as they always have been.
It should also be noted that as always, the effects of abortion bans will fall hardest on those without the wherewithal to travel. The rich can always get abortions, often even close to home. It will be the poor who are least able to travel and who will most need to travel. Class cannot be separated from gender here.
Monica Hesse, “Abortion bans have some women preparing for the worst. It involves ‘auntie networks,’” Washington Post, May 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/abortion-bans-have-some-women-preparing-for-the-worst-it-involves-auntie-networks/2019/05/24/4af2dcce-7d77-11e9-a5b3-34f3edf1351e_story.html
Sometimes I need to say, pay no attention. The headline is misleading: There is a disagreement over tactics here but there wasn’t really a “fight” between the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and Elon Musk and I have to strongly doubt that this is one of Musk’s visions that will come to fruition.
To give an idea how Musk’s vision might fall short, I was noticing with a passenger how many roads here have been reduced to one lane in sections due to subsidence.
This happens a lot in California too and the cause of this is clear: Lots of rain and unstable mountainside and cliff geology due to erosion. My passenger pointed out that here, there are many old mining tunnels: Though this has been a wet spring here, subsidence can be a problem even without it.
In California, the rock is largely, in various forms, metamorphic. Here, it’s largely sedimentary. We don’t have the massive and dramatic geologic forces that forge California rock; sedimentation happens slowly, over time. California rock is inherently a lot stronger, structurally, than Pennsylvania rock.
That doesn’t mean tunnels can’t be built. Pittsburgh has many, many more of them than I had remembered from my limited childhood experience with the area. But I wouldn’t count on technology developed in southern California working here.
Eric Ting, “BART picks a fight with Elon Musk on Twitter over tunnels,” SFGate, May 25, 2019, https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/BART-Elon-Musk-Twitter-tunnel-Bay-Boring-Company-13896393.php
Alexis Tsipras sold out to the European Union’s austerity demands and settled a dispute with (North) Macedonia over its name so the latter country could join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. He did everything the E.U. wanted, grudgingly at first, totally capitulating later. The austerity killed people and there is no better evidence of neoliberalism’s prioritization of money even over human life. The E.U. offered Tsipras no reciprocity. Functionalist Conservatives, take note and beware.
Michele Kambas, “Greek PM comes unstuck over Macedonia, austerity in European vote,” Reuters, May 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-greece-idUSKCN1SX0YI
I’ve lived on the west coast almost my entire life. Almost.
But one of the things I remember from a couple years back east is a change in the wind.
It’s really just a slight gust of wind that comes from a different direction. You hear it in the leaves of the trees and you feel it not only for the gust but because it heralds a different air mass that literally feels different. Back east, it portends a change in the weather. If it’s sunny, hot, and humid, and you feel that gust, you know that in a little bit, the weather will be very different, possibly pouring down rain, with lightning and thunder.
People back east get attuned to this. They notice it and react; I remember retreating to a veranda to watch the show, maybe with a glass of lemonade.
I’m still attuned, but out here, that little gust doesn’t mean as much. Our weather grows warmer during the day, the fog may burn off, but we don’t often go from sunny, hot, and humid to pouring down rain, lightning, and thunder. I notice the gust in the fall, when it tells me the season has arrived.
As I stepped out of the house this morning (February 20), I felt that gust of wind. The clouds are weird—one of the ways the weather has changed around here since I was a child—but when I looked at the satellite photo, it appears we’re sheltered from rain by high pressure for now.
I know, you’re expecting some dramatic point to all of this. But this isn’t back east. Like that gust of wind I felt this morning, it probably means nothing at all. Probably.
The text formerly here has been edited and posted in a new research journal entry, “The tragedy of the roads.”
The anti-Semitism issue has been doing a bit more than simmering for a while. At least part of it—I don’t know the whole of it—is that anything less than full support for Israeli ethnic cleansing amounts to, in some eyes, especially the eyes of those who support Israeli policies in the occupied territories, anti-Semitism.
There’s a point here, too. Cartoon by Patrick Blower, February 19, 2019, fair use.
There is a parallel between turmoil in the Labour Party in Britain and the U.S. Democratic Party in that both parties suffer a split between progressive and mainstream factions, with the mainstream utterly convinced of neoconservative and neoliberal righteousness and progressives increasingly saying no more. Look at who resigned: The politics of this split figures prominently as some of the newly self-styled “independents” have even lost confidence votes in their erstwhile local parties. That said, the emphasis is different. In Britain, even conservatives admit that austerity needs to end and of course the huge issue is Brexit. The argument is not nearly so well developed in the U.S., where neoliberalism, despite its intellectual bankruptcy, is simply seen as pragmatic even as it destroys millions of lives.
I’m treating all this as a Brexit sideshow for now. That may change.
Jessica Elgot and Daniel Boffey, “Cabinet ministers tell May: stop using no-deal threat to negotiate,” Guardian, February 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/18/ministers-tell-may-stop-using-no-deal-threat-as-negotiating-tactic
Eliza Mackintosh, “Turmoil in British politics as Labour MPs quit over Brexit and anti-Semitism,” CNN, February 18, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/18/uk/labour-mps-resign-gbr-intl/index.html
Oliver Wright, “Labour Party split: who are the seven MPs who quit to form the Independent Group?” Times, February 18, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/profiles-labour-party-split-who-are-the-seven-mps-who-quit-nfwnjpsvl
Anna Mikhailova and Steven Swinford, “Group of 100 Conservative MPs ready to force Brexit delay if May’s deal fails,” Telegraph, February 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/21/brexit-latest-news-labour-tories-brace-walkouts-defectors-reshape/
It is almost as if authoritarian populists believe—almost by definition, they lack coherence, so it is impossible to be sure—that the reason they’re losing the culture wars is because of unauthorized migration.
Amy Goldstein, “Coalition of states sues Trump over national emergency to build border wall,” Washington Post, February 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/coalition-of-states-sues-trump-over-national-emergency-to-build-border-wall/2019/02/18/9da8019c-33a8-11e9-854a-7a14d7fec96a_story.html
Gregory Wallace, “Census Bureau: 630,000 expected to not complete survey due to citizenship ,” CNN, February 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/politics/census-citizenship-question/index.html
Nikil Saval, “Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life,” New Yorker, February 19, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/uber-and-the-ongoing-erasure-of-public-life
Certainly, climate change denial is a problem. But so, too, are those who think action can wait. Cartoon by Tom Toles, Washington Post, February 18, 2019, fair use.
Jeff Sparrow, “Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in,” Guardian, February 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/19/centrism-isnt-the-solution-out-of-the-mess-were-in
David L. Ryan, “Cambridge wanted a big drop in car ownership by 2020. That hasn’t exactly happened,” Boston Globe, February 18, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/18/cambridge-wanted-big-drop-car-ownership-that-hasn-exactly-happened/sBu3TbWIBQLi5Nlo00L6AM/story.html
Ralph Vartabedian and Matthew Ormseth, “Trump administration to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funding,” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-high-speed-rail-20190219-story.html
Richard Wolf, “Supreme Court strikes blow against states that raise revenue by hefty fines, forfeitures,” USA Today, February 20, 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/20/supreme-court-states-cant-impose-excessive-fees-fines-forfeitures/2919411002/
Men make fun of women for believing in tarot or crystals or astrology but think that things like trickle-down economics are real
— Anne Thériault (@anne_theriault) January 13, 2018
The Washington Post story is pathetic; skip it and read the other stories instead. What emerges from all of these articles, however, is that many Britons, both politicians and, allegedly but probably, ordinary subjects, objected to Donald Trump’s visit. Official insistence that Trump remains welcome looks thin. One of the Guardian stories carries a headline warning against reading too much into Trump’s ‘non-visit;’ the analysis itself is chock full of disagreements between the United Kingdom and the U.S. president but frames Trump as capricious, which looks like an ever more increasingly discredited suspicion that there might actually be a method to his madness.
[H]owever much the UK insists the relationship has always been based on a respect for the office of the president, not the president himself, these are not the easiest times. [Theresa] May recently famously warned the Russian president, Vladimir Putin: “We know what you are doing.” She probably fervently wishes she could say the same about President Trump.
The Times (of London) carries an analysis pointing to remarks from May and from London mayor Sadiq Khan but, towards the bottom of the article, points to delusions of grandeur:
David Frum, a former speechwriter to George W Bush and the author of Trumpocracy, said: “I think he feels slighted by the British nation. He had been looking forward to the rapturous crowds lining the streets on the way to Buckingham Palace. Something like Winston Churchill’s funeral, something like that was what he had in mind. I think the British government has been gently trying to communicate to him that while a visit from our great ally is always very welcome, Glasgow is actually quite nice at this time of the year, and the Hebrides even better.”
My guess is that Frum has it right.
Also, all of the early reporting notes that Barack Obama, contrary to Trump’s animus, did not make the deal that moves the embassy; that, rather, was George W. Bush, as one move to tighten embassy security in the wake of 9/11. The new embassy has some features of a fortress and the new location spares residents near the old location the fear that they might be caught up in an attack.
That analysis aside, the possibility that Trump even might be unwelcome in Britain should come as a wake-up call to Republicans. The United Kingdom has been a stalwart ally in a number of dubious U.S. adventures, not only militarily, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, but economically, as in neoliberal policy and the so-called “Washington Consensus,” favoring austerity as some sort of magical cure-all (which doesn’t actually work, never has, and invariably leads to catastrophe). But there have been a few of these wake-up calls now and we’re still waiting for them to do what I think they’ll do, probably by August, which is to some way, somehow, get the shithole out of the presidency.
Guy Faulconbridge and Costas Pitas, “Trump cancels Britain trip, blames Obama for ‘peanuts’ London embassy deal,” Reuters, January 11, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-britain/trump-cancels-britain-trip-blames-obama-for-peanuts-london-embassy-deal-idUSKBN1F10H6
Anne Gearan, “Trump ‘cancels’ London visit to dedicate new U.S. Embassy, citing ‘bad deal’ to sell and relocate building,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/01/12/trump-cancels-london-visit-to-dedicate-new-u-s-embassy-citing-bad-deal-to-sell-and-relocate-building/
Rick Noack and Jennifer Hassan, “Trump canceled his trip to the U.S. Embassy in London, but his Madame Tussauds waxwork made it,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/12/trump-canceled-his-trip-to-the-us-embassy-in-london-but-his-waxwork-made-it/
Heather Stewart and David Smith, “Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests
Patrick Wintour, “Why reading too much into Trump’s cancelled UK trip is unwise,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/why-reading-too-much-into-trumps-cancelled-uk-trip-is-unwise
Catherine Philp et al, “Donald Trump ‘took offence at slights from the British,’” Times, January 13, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/donald-trump-london-visit-row-president-took-offence-at-slights-from-the-british-qhgl2v80s
Alas, Donald Trump’s middle initial is J, not S, because you know what I want to put there. Oh, and by the way, this tweet by Julian Sanchez gets it exactly right:
As with “grab em by the pussy,” there’s a bit too much middle-school tee-heeing over a crude term. The offensive thing isn’t the word “shithole.” It’s the idea being born in a poor place makes you a lesser human. Tainted. Unworthy. That’s offensive however delicately you say it.
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) January 12, 2018
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on Twitter that Trump’s remarks “are further proof that his Make America Great Again Agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda.”
Some Republicans also raised objections. Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), whose family is from Haiti, said in a statement that Trump’s remarks were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.”
“My grandmother used to say, ‘Digame con quién caminas, y te diré quién eres.’ ‘Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are,’ ” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who represents most of Harlem and is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. “If he’s walking around with white supremacists and supporting them, this kind of talk doesn’t surprise me.”
Lisa Mascaro, “Trump complains about allowing immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-congress-dreamers-20180111-story.html
Josh Dawsey, “Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html
John Bowden, “Reporter who broke ’s—-hole’ story: ‘We stand by our reporting 100 percent,’” Hill, January 12, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/media/368684-reporter-who-broke-s-hole-story-we-stand-by-our-reporting-100-percent
Annie Karni and Ben White, “Demoralized Trump aides grapple with ‘shithole’-gate,” Politico, January 12, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/12/trump-shithole-comment-aides-react-337961
Niels Lesniewski, “Durbin Confirms Trump’s ‘Hate-Filled, Vile and Racist’ Talk,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 12, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/durbin-confirms-condemns-trumps-hate-filled-vile-racist-talk/
Becca Noy, “Trump denies ‘shithole’ comment: ‘This was not the language used,’” Jerusalem Online, January 12, 2018, http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/world-news/around-the-globe/trump-denies-using-phrase-shithole-countries-33643
Deutschewelle, “Donald Trump should apologize for remarks: African states,” January 13, 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-should-apologize-for-remarks-african-states/a-42134327
The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process. It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
I’ve served with “The Democrats” for 17 years, and not one has ever been intent on “having people and drugs pour into our country”. https://t.co/8yyRogju3Y
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 12, 2018
I’ve long noticed that employers absolutely revel in their ability to treat workers as disposable and infinitely replaceable. I guess some find that harder than others, so Jennifer Bouman-Steagall is in Coos Bay to help them become the properly merciless shitholes they have always aspired to be.
Coos Bay World, “Learn how to terminate under performing employees at workshop,” January 11, 2018, http://theworldlink.com/news/local/business/learn-how-to-terminate-under-performing-employees-at-workshop/article_06a62783-2929-582c-a4ca-cf33577a1e61.html
Preceding the Pearl Harbor attack, there was an oil embargo and a lot of hubris. On one side, the hubris led to a decision to attack. On the other, it led the military to ignore radar (a very new technology) warnings of approaching aircraft.
Today, there is an broad economic embargo, including on oil, and, I think probably it is safe to say, even more hubris, on both sides. So don’t bother wondering why Hawaiians panicked in response to a false alarm; they would have all of twelve minutes to seek shelter. Get the shitholes who escalate rather than de-escalate crises away from control of nuclear weapons. Because while politicians in Washington, D.C., have access to underground shelters, there are a great many more people—who have little or no say in the matter—all around the country and all around the world who do not.
Max Greenwood, “Hawaii false alarm sparks panic, confusion,” Hill, January 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368922-hawaii-false-alarm-sparks-panic-confusion