Twelve years vegan

Updates

  1. Originally published, May 5, 10:50 am.
  2. May 6, 10:02 pm:
    • I should have emphasized that a study led by Los Alamos scientists identifying a potentially more contagious mutation of the novel coronavirus has not yet been peer-reviewed.[1]

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.


Pandemic

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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[2] and therefore undermined assertions that the Russians had interfered with the U.S. election in 2016.[3] Now the Trump administration is flogging[4] a conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab.[5] Relying on classified evidence.[6]

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,[7] 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.[8] Yay, team.
95567354_10157219184608027_5486718380159270912_n
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.

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


Academia

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


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]Greg Palast, “The Downing Street Memos, Manipulation of Prewar Intelligence, and Knowingly Withholding Vital Information from a Grand Jury Investigation,” in Impeach the President, eds. Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips (New York: Seven Stories, 2006), 131-142; Nancy Snow, “Propaganda, Lies, and Patriotic Jingoism,” in Impeach the President, eds. Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips (New York: Seven Stories, 2006), 143-160.
  3. [3]David A. Graham, “What Mueller’s Indictment Reveals,” Atlantic, February 16, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/mueller-roadmap/553604/
  4. [4]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
  5. [5]Joby Warrick et al., “Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release,” Washington Post, April 30 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/chinese-lab-conducted-extensive-research-on-deadly-bat-viruses-but-there-is-no-evidence-of-accidental-release/2020/04/30/3e5d12a0-8b0d-11ea-9dfd-990f9dcc71fc_story.html
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]Joby Warrick et al., “Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release,” Washington Post, April 30 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/chinese-lab-conducted-extensive-research-on-deadly-bat-viruses-but-there-is-no-evidence-of-accidental-release/2020/04/30/3e5d12a0-8b0d-11ea-9dfd-990f9dcc71fc_story.html
  8. [8]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

The new geography of economics: ‘Coronavirus cliffs’

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.


Recession

Mitch McConnell continues to play the ‘bad guy,’ helping to defend neoliberal priorities.[1] 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.[2] 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’[3] because neither party really wants the stimulus that is needed.[4]

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.[5] These are the first reports that will fully reflect the ‘cliff’ we have in fact already fallen over and are still tumbling down.[6] 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/


Pandemic

I’m guessing there is going to be a run on four-ply microfiber cloth.[7]

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/


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, March 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]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/; David Benfell, “Elite priorities: Why social, animal, and environmental justice remains essential with COVID-19,” Not Housebroken, April 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/26/elite-priorities-why-social-animal-and-environmental-justice-remains-essential-with-covid-19/; David Blanchflower, “Pandemic Economics: ‘Much Worse, Very Quickly,” New York Review of Books, March 26, 2020, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/03/26/pandemic-economics-much-worse-very-quickly/; Kim Hart, “The coronavirus economy will devastate those who can least afford it,” Axios, March 23, 2020, https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-economy-layoffs-children-families-bad-d588cc93-ff26-4031-8be8-5654cce05a15.html; Zoë Hu, “A New Age of Destructive Austerity After the Coronavirus,” New Republic, April 23, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157417/new-age-destructive-austerity-coronavirus; Sarah Jones, “Dear Rich People: Please Stop Hoarding Things,” New York, March 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/things-are-bad-and-rich-people-arent-helping.html; 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/; Eric Levitz, “In the Age of the Coronavirus, Biden’s ‘Results’ Require Bernie’s ‘Revolution,’” New York, March 16, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/who-won-the-democratic-debate-between-biden-and-bernie-coronavirus.html; Tony Romm, “Uber drivers and other gig economy workers were promised unemployment benefits. It may be a long wait,” Washington Post, April 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/02/uber-airbnb-lyft-unemployment-coronavirus/; 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/; Luke Taylor, “When coronavirus is behind us, will you still think of restaurant and bar workers?” Vox, March 21, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/3/21/21188210/coronavirus-restaurant-bar-workers-economy-service-industry; Reis Thebault, Andrew Ba Tran, and Vanessa Williams, “The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/07/coronavirus-is-infecting-killing-black-americans-an-alarmingly-high-rate-post-analysis-shows/; Funda Ustek-Spilda et al., “The untenable luxury of self-isolation,” New Internationalist, March 18, 2020, https://newint.org/features/2020/03/18/untenable-luxury-self-isolation; Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Denise Lu, and Gabriel J.X. Dance, “Location Data Says It All: Staying at Home During Coronavirus Is a Luxury,” New York Times, April 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/03/us/coronavirus-stay-home-rich-poor.html
  5. [5]Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Schedule of Releases for the Employment Situation,” n.d., https://www.bls.gov/schedule/news_release/empsit.htm
  6. [6]David Blanchflower, “Pandemic Economics: ‘Much Worse, Very Quickly,” New York Review of Books, March 26, 2020, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/03/26/pandemic-economics-much-worse-very-quickly/; Justin Lahart, “Washington’s Trillions Alone Can’t Stop the Jobpocalypse,” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/washingtons-trillions-alone-cant-stop-the-jobpocalypse-11585235110; 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/; Derek Thompson, “All the Coronavirus Statistics Are Flawed,” Atlantic, March 26, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/fog-pandemic/608764/
  7. [7]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

Whose economy is the Federal Reserve protecting?

Coronavirus

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,[1] at the same time you’re essentially shutting it down, telling everyone to stay home, shutting businesses, and telling people to “socially distance themselves.”[2] 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.[3]

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,” TribLive, 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,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/states-begin-imposing-harsher-measures-to-contain-coronavirus-as-us-cases-rise-sharply/2020/03/15/267577a6-65b3-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html

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


  1. [1]Heather Long, “Federal Reserve slashes interest rates to zero as part of wide-ranging emergency intervention,” Washington Post, March 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/15/federal-reserve-slashes-interest-rates-zero-part-wide-ranging-emergency-intervention/
  2. [2]Associated Press, “U.S. moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears,” TribLive, March 15, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/world/u-s-moves-nearer-to-shutdown-amid-coronavirus-fears/; Bloomberg, “CDC says U.S. gatherings of over 50 people should not be held for eight weeks,” Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-15/cdc-us-gatherings-over-50-people-should-not-be-held-for-eight-weeks; Brent Kendall, Chad Day, and Alex Leary, “U.S. Officials Urge More Action to Combat Coronavirus,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fauci-urges-americans-to-stay-home-amid-coronavirus-11584284229Nick Miroff et al., “States begin imposing harsher measures to contain coronavirus as U.S. cases rise sharply,” Washington Post, March 16, 2020,
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/states-begin-imposing-harsher-measures-to-contain-coronavirus-as-us-cases-rise-sharply/2020/03/15/267577a6-65b3-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html; 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; 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
  3. [3]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/; 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/

By all means, let’s elect yet another fucking neoliberal

Neoliberalism

John Feffer traces the betrayal of workers from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Donald Trump’s election.[1] This dovetails with Melvin Leffler’s account of how the U.S. political mainstream drew the wrong message from that fall.[2] 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/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]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

The Sword of Damocles

Brexit

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/


Academia

Sheila Liming, “My University is Dying,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20190925-my-university-is-dying


Environmental Injustice in Mon Valley

Memorial Day

Functionalist conservatism:

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.[1]

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/


Pittsburgh

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,[2] 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


Brexit

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.

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.[3]

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.[4] 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


Abortion

No student of women’s history should even remotely be surprised that women will network to ensure access to reproductive health.[5] 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


Elon Musk

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[6] 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


Greece

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.[7] The austerity killed people[8] 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


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]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
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]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
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]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
  8. [8]Nikolia Apostolou, “Athens suicide: a cry for dignity from downtrodden,” Christian Science Monitor, April 5, 2012, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0405/Athens-suicide-a-cry-for-dignity-from-downtrodden-video; Democracy Now! “General Strike Sweeps Europe as Millions Reject Austerity as Solution to Economic Crisis,” November 14, 2012, http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/14/general_strike_sweeps_europe_as_millions; Deutschewelle, “Pensioner’s suicide triggers Greek austerity protests,” April 5, 2012, http://www.dw.de/pensioners-suicide-triggers-greek-austerity-protests/a-15860196; Teo Kermeliotis, “Austerity drives up suicide rate in debt-ridden Greece,” CNN, April 6, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/06/world/europe/greece-austerity-suicide/index.html?_s=PM:EUROPE; Nigel Morris, “Spike in suicide rate in Europe and US linked to financial crisis,” Independent, September 18, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/spike-in-suicide-rate-in-europe-and-us-linked-to-financial-crisis-8822729.html

The pro-Israeli scorpion is only part of this story

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 18, 2:59 pm.
  2. February 19, 12:52 am:
    • Oh wow. I forgot to give this post a title. It has one now, “The pro-Israeli scorpion is only part of this story.”
    • Several states have sued over Donald Trump’s border wall ’emergency.’[1] (Unauthorized migration)
    • British businesses want Theresa May to rule out a hard Brexit.[2] (Brexit)
  3. February 19, 2:29 pm:
    • To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to summarize this New Yorker article on so-called Ridesharing services. It covers a lot of ground, rambles a bit, and, I suspect, just might be the pre-runner to a book.[3]
    • Jeff Sparrow writes of Australia, but his comments regarding the politics of Climate Change[4] apply more broadly.
    • One thing I can promise is that the Census Bureau’s claim to be able to overcome the problem of an incompletely estimated 630,000 people failing to respond to the 2020 Census questionnaire due to the citizenship question will not work out the way the Bureau now—in stark contrast to earlier opposition to the question—claims it will.[5] And I’m pretty confident that, while they will likely remain silent, most Census Bureau workers, certainly those above the level of field representative, are quite well aware of this. (Unauthorized migration)
  4. February 20, 1:08 am:
    • Originally, I wasn’t going to archive this story,[6] but it neatly encapsulates the ideology that lends weight to my conviction that traffic engineers are actually malicious.[7] It’s about Cambridge, Massachusetts, where officials decided a while ago to reduce the rate of car ownership in their town. They have not been as successful as they hoped,[8] which should be an object lesson on the topic of “getting people out of their cars,” a planning mantra, that Sebastopol implemented with its “Cittaslow” (I’ll call it “ShitAssSlow“) program that took away car lanes on a state highway in favor of (so far) lightly used bike lanes.[9] Unfortunately, this article is entirely too optimistic about the Cambridge project,[10] offering other strategies that Sebastopol officials might emulate. I just can’t wait.
  5. February 20, 3:26 am:
    • So the latest developments in a story I’ve mostly been rolling my eyes about and not archiving because some things are just too much, are that newly-inaugurated California Governor Gavin Newsom temporarily scaled back now-former Governor Jerry Brown’s pet California High-Speed Rail project to something that might actually be achievable, even unambitious, and certainly not sexy, while the rest is to be reconsidered. So now Donald Trump has gotten involved, demanding California refund federal contributions for the project. The article includes a lot of background (and yeah, as if you had to ask, of course, Trump is full of shit).[11]
  6. February 21, 1:41 am:
    • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against state Civil Asset Forfeiture abuses.[12]
    • After Jeremy Corbyn suffered from seven[13] eight defections from the U.K. Labour Party, Theresa May suffered from three defections from her Conservatives.[14] I’m definitely counting this as a Brexit sideshow for now.
  7. February 21, 4:23 pm:
  8. February 22, 2:30 am:
    • “Theresa May has been warned by a group of 100 moderate Tory MPs that they are prepared to rebel against the Government to force her to delay Brexit if she cannot reach a deal.” They want her to rule out a hard Brexit.[15] I would suggest that there needs to be some evidence that delay can solve anything. All I can see is that it would shield some delusions.

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.”


Brexit

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.

Blower.png
There’s a point here, too. Cartoon by Patrick Blower, February 19, 2019, fair use.[16]

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.[17] 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,[18] 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/


Unauthorized migration

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


Ridesharing

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


Climate Change


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.[19]

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


ShitAssSlow

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


California High-Speed Rail

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


Civil Asset Forfeiture

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/


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]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
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]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
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]I’ve spent an unfortunate number of decades of my life driving for work, and I see far too many traffic restrictions that make absolutely no sense, either from a traffic or a safety standpoint. At the heart of nearly every traffic jam in San Francisco, for example, I’ll wager there’s at least one driver absolutely baffled by how they’re to do what they need to do with ubiquitous “No Left Turn” signs, a seemingly infinite number of never-ticketed and even self-righteous jaywalkers, a dire shortage of parking, and other traffic control strategies that essentially require drivers to have expert-level knowledge of every street and intersection they need to traverse in order to correctly navigate. My view of such controls is that far from “calming,” they are far more likely to make drivers desperate, and therefore dangerous.
  8. [8]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
  9. [9]E. I. Hillin, “Bike lane baffler,” Sonoma West Times and News, September 14, 2018, http://www.sonomawest.com/sonoma_west_times_and_news/news/bike-lane-baffler/article_82f34016-b87c-11e8-94a0-6fa4f923792f.html
  10. [10]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
  11. [11]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
  12. [12]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/
  13. [13]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
  14. [14]William Booth, “Disgusted by Brexit hard-liners, three lawmakers abandon Theresa May’s Conservative Party,” Washington Post, February 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/disgusted-by-brexit-hard-liners-three-lawmakers-abandon-theresa-mays-conservative-party/2019/02/20/20f77b30-3503-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html
  15. [15]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/
  16. [16]Patrick Blower, [cartoon], Telegraph, February 19, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/31/telegraph-cartoons-february-2019/
  17. [17]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
  18. [18]Richard Alford, “Why Economists Have No Shame – Undue Confidence, False Precision, Risk and Monetary Policy,” Naked Capitalism, July 19, 2012, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/richard-alford-why-economists-have-no-shame-undue-confidence-false-precision-risk-and-monetary-policy.html; Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind, “Econ 101 is killing America,” Salon, July 8, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/07/08/how_%e2%80%9cecon_101%e2%80%9d_is_killing_america/; Dean Baker, “Discredited Harvard Austerity-Pushers Reinhart and Rogoff Keep Lying to Protect Themselves,” Alternet, April 26, 2013, http://www.alternet.org/economy/discredited-harvard-austerity-pushers-reinhart-and-rogoff-keep-lying-protect-themselves; Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Ha-Joon Chang and Jonathan Aldred, “After the crash, we need a revolution in the way we teach economics,” Guardian, May 10, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/11/after-crash-need-revolution-in-economics-teaching-chang-aldred; Jefferson Cowie, “Why Are Economists So Small-Minded?” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 7, 2016, http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Are-Economists-So/235159; Barry Eichengreen, “Economists, Remove Your Blinders,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2015, http://chronicle.com/article/Economists-Remove-Your/151057/; Ross Gittins, “Rescue economics from the folly of neoliberalism,” Sydney Morning Herald, December 10, 2017, http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/rescue-economics-from-the-folly-of-neoliberalism-20171209-h01sq4.html; Mike Konczal, “Reinhart/Rogoff-gate isn’t the first time austerians have used bad data,” Washington Post, April 20, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/20/reinhartrogoff-gate-isnt-the-first-time-austerians-have-used-bad-data/; Paul Krugman, “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” New York Times, September 2, 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html; Simon Kennedy, “Krugman Wishes He Were Wrong Amid EU Austerity Backlash,” Bloomberg, October 12, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-02/krugman-wishes-he-was-wrong-amid-eu-austerity-backlash.html; Paul Krugman, “Myths of Austerity,” New York Times, July 1, 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/opinion/02krugman.html; Paul Krugman, “Economics in the Crisis,” New York Times, March 5, 2012, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/economics-in-the-crisis/; Paul Krugman, “The Austerity Agenda,” New York Times, May 31, 2012, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-agenda.html; Paul Krugman, “1937,” New York Times, June 3, 2012, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/1937-2/; Paul Krugman, “The Austerity Debacle,” New York Times, January 29, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html; Paul Krugman, “How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled,” review of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, by Neil Irwin, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, by Mark Blyth, and The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, by David A. Stockman, New York Review of Books, June 6, 2013, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jun/06/how-case-austerity-has-crumbled/; Paul Krugman, “The Depressed Economy Is All About Austerity,” New York Times, September 24, 2013, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/the-depressed-economy-is-all-about-austerity/; 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/; Matt O’Brien, “Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid,” Washington Post, October 10, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/10/why-is-the-recovery-so-weak-its-the-austerity-stupid/; Lynn Stuart Parramore, “Meet the 28-year-old Student Who Exposed Two Harvard Professors Whose Shoddy Research Drove Global Austerity,” Alternet, April 18, 2013, http://www.alternet.org/economy/meet-28-year-old-student-who-exposed-two-harvard-professors-whose-shoddy-research-drove; 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/; Dani Rodrik, “Free-Trade Blinders,” Project Syndicate, March 9, 2012,  http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/free-trade-blinders; Robert B. Reich, “Economics Is Too Important to Be Left to Economists,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2015, http://chronicle.com/article/Economics-Is-Too-Important-to/233335/; John Paul Rollert, “Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea,” Atlantic, April 7, 2014, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/04/greed-is-good-a-300-year-history-of-a-dangerous-idea/360265/; Howard Schneider, “An amazing mea culpa from the IMF’s chief economist on austerity,” Washington Post, January 3, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/03/an-amazing-mea-culpa-from-the-imfs-chief-economist-on-austerity/; Matthew Schofield, “Europe elections aside, experts say austerity is far from dead,” McClatchy, May 14, 2012, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/05/07/148037/europe-elections-aside-experts.html; Andreas Whittam Smith, “The age of austerity is over. Why? It doesn’t work,” Independent, April 25, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-age-of-austerity-is-over-why-it-doesnt-work-8586201.html; Noah Smith, “Most of What You Learned in Econ 101 Is Wrong,” Bloomberg, November 24, 2015, http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-11-24/most-of-what-you-learned-in-econ-101-is-wrong; Mark Thoma, “Are Economists Driven by Ideology or Evidence?” Fiscal Times, November 3, 2015, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2015/11/03/Are-Economists-Driven-Ideology-or-Evidence
  19. [19]Tom Toles, “Climate deniers finally change their tune” [cartoon], Washington Post, February 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/18/climate-deniers-finally-change-their-tune/

Donald Trump looks unwelcome in Britain

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 12, 9:36 am.
  2. January 12, 2:38 pm:
    • The Guardian has the first analysis I’ve seen of Trump’s decision not to attend the opening of the new London embassy.[1]
    • Donald Trump created a shitstorm by allegedly (he now denies it, two Republican senators who were present apparently found the remarks unmemorable and say they don’t remember them, but Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat who was also present, confirms them[2] and the reporter who broke the story,[3] which was apparently confirmed by several outlets, is standing by his work.[4]) using the word ‘shithole’ in reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries.[5] (Shithole)
  3. January 12, 4:57 pm:
    • A piece of some sort in the Coos Bay World suggests that human beings have expiration dates and points employers to a workshop on terminating them.[6] (Expiration dates)
  4. January 12, 5:43 pm:
    • Added a spot-on tweet by Julian Sanchez under Shithole.
  5. January 12, 6:46 pm:
    • Among numerous other failings, the Washington Post story on Donald Trump deciding not to attend the opening of the new London embassy labeled the embassy’s Twitter account as its official web site.[7] I finally stumbled across the correct web site: uk.usembassy.gov. At this writing, the error remains uncorrected.
    • Since Donald Trump didn’t go to the opening of the new London embassy, Madame Tussauds sent along its wax figure of him.[8]
  6. January 13, 11:53 am:
    • Donald Trump likely took offense at criticism from British politicians in deciding not to attend the opening of the new embassy in London.[9]
  7. January 13, 3:57 pm:
    • Those of us on the mainland may fail to appreciate how much more visceral some threats are in Hawaii: Today (January 13) there was a false alarm of a ballistic missile headed towards the state; it took 40 minutes to withdraw the alert.[10] (North Korea)
  8. January 13, 4:58 pm:
    • Created a ‘miscellaneous’ section for a tweet I really like.
    • Politico begins assessing the fallout, both inside and outside the White House, from Donald Trump’s Shithole comment.[11]
  9. January 13, 6:45 pm:
    • Oh, look here! Here’s more blowback for Donald Trump’s Shithole remark.[12]

Miscellaneous


London embassy

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.[13] 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,[14] 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.[15]

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.”[16]

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[17] 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.[18]

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[19]). 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


Shithole

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:

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.”[20]

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


Unauthorized migration


Expiration dates

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.[21]

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


North Korea

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.[22] 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


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]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/
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]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
  5. [5]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; 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
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]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/
  8. [8]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/
  9. [9]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
  10. [10]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
  11. [11]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
  12. [12]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
  13. [13]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/; 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
  14. [14]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
  15. [15]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
  16. [16]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
  17. [17]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/; 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
  18. [18]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
  19. [19]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013).
  20. [20]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
  21. [21]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
  22. [22]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

The desperate quest to ‘repeal’ Obamacare: Daily Bullshit, July 26-28, 2017

Updates

  1. July 27, 9:04 am:
    • Mr. Fish captures much of my feeling about Donald Trump’s decision to exclude transgender folks from military service (figure 1).
      Mr. Fish, July 26, 2017, Truthdig, fair use.
      Fig. 1. Mr. Fish, July 26, 2017, Truthdig, fair use.

      Which is all to say, I couldn’t care less: Warmongerers, transgender or otherwise, can go fuck themselves.

    • I have seen mention of a supposed “Better Deal” that Democrats will be running on. I have not seen anything of substance. Until I do, I will assume that this alleged “Better Deal” is more hot air, symptomatic of a Democratic Party focus on an “economic message” rather than economic substance. “Messages” don’t pay rent. Democrats, too, can go fuck themselves and, no, I still don’t think they’re any better than Republicans, who should also go fuck themselves.
    • The Judge in Waymo’s intellectual property suit against Uber has warned that Waymo has yet to show that Uber has actually used Waymo’s technology in its self-driving cars.[1]
  2. July 27, 11:49 am:
    • The so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare will include defunding Planned Parenthood, which may violate the Senate rules that would allow the measure to bypass a Democratic Party filibuster.[2]
  3. July 28, 3:17 am:
    • Perhaps you recall Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan law professor, telling Vox’s Sean Illing, “The fact that we’re even talking about [the possibility of Donald Trump pardoning himself] is a measure of how far we’ve fallen.”[3] No, not quite. This is how low we’ve sunk: The Boy Scouts are apologizing for Trump’s behavior at a Jamboree.[4]
    • Until the mother-fuckers threw defunding Planned Parenthood into their so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare,[5] I thought maybe the “skinny repeal” had a chance. I don’t think Planned Parenthood did the effort in—this was more a matter that the very fact they would throw something like that in despite a significant possibility if wouldn’t comply with Senate rules signaled that Republicans were working on ideology rather than engaging in a pragmatic exercise. And, in the event, they failed.[6] Idiots.
    • So this part is weird: A Republican opposed to single-payer introduced a Medicare-for-All amendment. Bernie Sanders called it a sham. Democrats said they wanted to see a final bill. It didn’t get a single vote in favor.[7] I think Democrats were making excuses: Obamacare was a means of bailing out the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.[8] Single-payer isn’t, so I think Democrats will never actually pass it even if they come to power.

Austerity

Carol Graham, Sergio Pinto, and John Juneau, II, “The geography of desperation in America,” Brookings Institute, July 24, 2017, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-geography-of-desperation-in-america/


Obamacare

Stephanie Armour, Kristina Peterson, and Michelle Hackman, “Senate Health Debate Rolls On After First Option Fails,” Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-votes-to-begin-debate-on-health-care-bill-1501009650

Joe Williams, “Senate Rejects First Obamacare Repeal Proposal,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, July 25, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/senate-rejects-first-health-care-repeal-proposal/

Jordain Carney, “Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan,” Hill, July 26, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/343887-senate-rejects-repeal-only-obamacare-amendment

Peter Sullivan and Nathaniel Weixel, “Bare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate,” Hill, July 26, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/344013-bare-bones-repeal-plan-gains-steam-in-senate

Peter Sullivan, “Senate Republicans plan to defund Planned Parenthood in ‘skinny’ repeal,” Hill, July 27, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/344133-senate-republicans-plan-to-defund-planned-parenthood-in-skinny-repeal

British Broadcasting Corporation, “US healthcare: Senate ‘skinny repeal’ bill fails,” July 28, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40750071


A new Cold War

“The American political elite has become unhinged,” [Russian senator Konstantin] Kosachyov went on. “It has chosen our country as a target or, more precisely, as a training wall.”[9]

Now Russians are calling it a Cold War.[10] This is not something I’d like to agree with them on. But it’s apparent that mainstream U.S. politicians in both major parties aren’t interested in being responsible and actually solving problems when they can just blame Russia instead. And it’s equally apparent they aren’t the least bit concerned about a renewal of the nuclear MADness that was a fixture during my childhood—maybe they’re confident that 1) they can all get in their bunkers in time and 2) they can outlast the ensuing devastation.

Lena Smirnova, “Moscow Hears Political Saber Rattling in Fresh U.S. Sanctions Vote,” Moscow Times, July 26, 2017, https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/russia-hears-political-saber-rattling-in-fresh-sanctions-vote-title-58509


Uber

Cyrus Farivar, “Judge: Waymo may be in “a world of trouble” if it can’t prove actual harm by Uber,” Ars Technica, July 26, 2017, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/07/ubers-ex-ceo-may-defend-levandowski-against-waymos-theft-allegations/


Boy Scouts

Ella Nilsen, “The Boy Scouts just apologized for the president’s behavior,” Vox, July 27, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/27/16051646/boy-scouts-apology-trump


  1. [1]Cyrus Farivar, “Judge: Waymo may be in “a world of trouble” if it can’t prove actual harm by Uber,” Ars Technica, July 26, 2017, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/07/ubers-ex-ceo-may-defend-levandowski-against-waymos-theft-allegations/
  2. [2]Peter Sullivan, “Senate Republicans plan to defund Planned Parenthood in ‘skinny’ repeal,” Hill, July 27, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/344133-senate-republicans-plan-to-defund-planned-parenthood-in-skinny-repeal
  3. [3]Samuel Gross, quoted in Jeff Stein, “The White House denies reports that Trump is looking into pardons,” Vox, July 23, 2017, https://www.vox.com/2017/7/23/16016704/white-house-trump-pardons
  4. [4]Ella Nilsen, “The Boy Scouts just apologized for the president’s behavior,” Vox, July 27, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/27/16051646/boy-scouts-apology-trump
  5. [5]Peter Sullivan, “Senate Republicans plan to defund Planned Parenthood in ‘skinny’ repeal,” Hill, July 27, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/344133-senate-republicans-plan-to-defund-planned-parenthood-in-skinny-repeal
  6. [6]British Broadcasting Corporation, “US healthcare: Senate ‘skinny repeal’ bill fails,” July 28, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40750071
  7. [7]Lydia Ramsey, “The Senate voted down a single-payer healthcare system — and there’s a specific reason Bernie Sanders opposed it,” Business Insider, July 27, 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/senate-health-care-single-payer-vote-daines-amendment-2017-7
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Obamacare, the neoliberal consensus, and a kid fighting cancer,” Not Housebroken, May 11, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/05/11/obamacare-the-neoliberal-consensus-and-a-kid-fighting-cancer/; my argument is based on Neil Barofsky, Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street (New York: Free Press, 2012); Brad Jacobson, “Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign,” Raw Story, January 12, 2010, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/01/12/obama-received-20-million-healthcare-industry-money-2008/; Gaius Publius [pseud.], “Obama Got $20 Million from Healthcare Industry in 2008. Was Killing Single-Payer Part of the Deal?” Naked Capitalism, February 5, 2014, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/gaius-publius-obama-got-20-million-healthcare-industry-2008-killing-single-payer-part-deal.html
  9. [9]Lena Smirnova, “Moscow Hears Political Saber Rattling in Fresh U.S. Sanctions Vote,” Moscow Times, July 26, 2017, https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/russia-hears-political-saber-rattling-in-fresh-sanctions-vote-title-58509
  10. [10]Lena Smirnova, “Moscow Hears Political Saber Rattling in Fresh U.S. Sanctions Vote,” Moscow Times, July 26, 2017, https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/russia-hears-political-saber-rattling-in-fresh-sanctions-vote-title-58509

Not just whites. Humans need real jobs. And tragedy follows when they can’t get them: Daily Bullshit, April 3, 2017

Austerity and suicide

Noelle Sullivan, “Neoliberalism Is Killing Us: Economic Stress as a Driver of Global Depression and Suicide,” Truthout, April 2, 2017, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40064-neoliberalism-is-killing-us-economic-stress-as-a-driver-of-global-depression-and-suicide


Uber

Update, April 4, 2017: I have moved and refined my response to Noam Scheiber’s article here.

Noam Scheiber, “How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons,” New York Times, April 2, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/04/02/technology/uber-drivers-psychological-tricks.html