So how are those human sacrifices to the capitalist god working out for you?

Pennsylvania

There is a new blog post entitled, “The capitalist libertarian solution to the COVID-19 pandemic: Kill the poor.”

Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe,’” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 12, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-lawmaker-its-not-governments-responsibility-to-try-to-keep-us-safe/


Pandemic

Denise Lu, “The True Coronavirus Toll in the U.S. Has Already Surpassed 200,000,” New York Times, August 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/12/us/covid-deaths-us.html


Aren’t you glad somebody’s keeping track of all the shit?

There is a new blog post entitled, “On police.”


Ridesharing

Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/


Donald Trump

No one should even want to keep track of all the shit Donald Trump utters. But I guess it’s good someone does.[1] And hell, I might need to find some of this someday.

George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/


Kamala Harris

Just a reminder.

Marjorie Cohn, “Kamala Harris Has a Distinguished Career of Serving Injustice,” Truthout, July 8, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/kamala-harris-has-a-distinguished-career-of-serving-injustice/

Emily Cadei and Bryan Anderson, “Fact check: Did Kamala Harris block evidence that would have freed death row inmates?” Sacramento Bee, July 31, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article233375207.html

Shikha Dalmia, “The real reason Kamala Harris is tanking,” Week, November 4, 2019, https://theweek.com/articles/875020/real-reason-kamala-harris-tanking


  1. [1]George T. Conway, III, “I believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/05/george-conway-trump-i-believe/; George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/

Donald Trump’s nothing-burger

Recession

Donald Trump’s executive actions, issued in the wake of failed negotiations with Congress, do not amount to another relief package:[1]

“The President cannot create new money with an executive order. These [executive orders] simply show the limitations of the President’s legal authority,” said Jack Smalligan, a former official at the Office of Management and Budget and now a senior policy fellow at the Urban Institute, a centrist think tank.[2]

Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/


  1. [1]Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/
  2. [2]Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/

Capitalists whine

Allegheny County

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Restaurant and Tavern Association has sort of—only sort of—backed off its threat to reopen bars and restaurants at full capacity. But man, they whine:

In an emotional speech directed to [Tom] Wolf during the rally, [Joe Tambellini] said he’s been in the restaurant business for 41 years.

“Forty-one years — that’s two life sentences, governor. What? You going to throw me in jail? We can’t do it. We can’t do this. So people are talking about opening up, governor, they’re talking about just opening up. You wanna have them open up on their own or you do want to tweak this mandate and let us do it responsibly?” he said.[1]

So there it is. Joe Tambellini compares running a restaurant to a prison sentence.[2] I’m just not even gonna start.

Dillon Carr, “Restaurants back down from ultimatum, request meeting with Gov. Wolf,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 6, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-back-down-from-ultimatum-request-meeting-with-gov-wolf/


  1. [1]Dillon Carr, “Restaurants back down from ultimatum, request meeting with Gov. Wolf,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 6, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-back-down-from-ultimatum-request-meeting-with-gov-wolf/
  2. [2]Dillon Carr, “Restaurants back down from ultimatum, request meeting with Gov. Wolf,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 6, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-back-down-from-ultimatum-request-meeting-with-gov-wolf/

New York Attorney General arranges a massive fundraising boost for the National Rifle Association

National Rifle Association

I predict a huge fundraising bonanza for the National Rifle Association. Because, yes, that’s exactly how this works.

As for the lawsuit[1] itself? We’ll see. There’s a gaming aspect to court proceedings that reduces to a contest to see who can get what rules applied that leads me not to trust that even well-founded cases (which it sounds like this is[2]) will prevail. And we haven’t seen the NRA’s defense yet.

Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html


Ridesharing

Preetika Rana, “Uber Ridership Fails to Recover as Pandemic Drives Another Big Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-ridership-fails-to-recover-as-pandemic-drives-another-big-loss-11596744389


  1. [1]Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html
  2. [2]Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html

Enough with the warnings

Allegheny County

There is a new blog post entitled, “Regarding the planned ultimatum by southwestern Pennsylvania bar and restaurant owners.”

Tom Wolf has not responded directly, but shortly afterwards, posted,

We have to do everything we can to keep our communities safe and healthy, including wearing a mask and following mitigation orders so our businesses operate safely.

We continue to work closely with commonwealth agencies and local officials to enforce public safety orders.

The following groups are authorized to enforce business closure orders and safety orders to the full extent of the law:

⚖️ Local officials and law enforcement
🚨 @PAStatePolice
🚑 @PAHealthDept
🍽 @PAAgriculture
💼 @PALaborIndustry
🍺 Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

Here’s how Pennsylvanians can report #COVID19 health and safety violations:

📱 Contact your local health department or law enforcement agency.
💻 Fill out this form: on.pa.gov/2A8GlK8
⛑ If in violation of OSHA guidance, file a complaint at OSHA.gov.[1]

I hope that enforcement will be vigorous. Enough with the warnings: These assholes know damned well what they’re doing.


Ridesharing

IMG_20190414_135906
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, April 14, 2019.

For anyone curious, I do not expect to benefit from this lawsuit, which relies on AB 5.[2] Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 18, 2019; it took effect on January 1, 2020.[3] I left the state on April 14, 2019 (figure 1).

Andrew J. Hawkins, “California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for alleged wage theft,” Verge, August 5, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/5/21356096/uber-lyft-california-labor-commissioner-lawsuit-driver-classification


Century III Mall

It’s really quite remarkable: Not far from my apartment is a nearly entirely shuttered shopping mall[4] that apparently was once “the place to go.” There is a neglected roadway, named “Century III Mall,” that is pockmarked with potholes and in fact unfit for traffic: It should be repaired or closed, not simply left to deteriorate as it is.

But to drive down that road is to gaze, carefully, while slowly dodging potholes, to one side and to see relatively modern buildings, certainly more modern than much to be found in surrounding neighborhoods (where many houses are probably something like 80 or 90 years old), left to rot, mostly fenced off. It seems, for now at least, the epitome of abandonment.

I said “nearly entirely shuttered.” One store, even in bankruptcy, remained, JCPenney.[5] Now, it too is closing.[6] It really is bizarre that they clung to this location for so long; I don’t think I ever took anyone there and I doubt I’ve had more than two pickups there.

Jacob Tierney, “Century III Mall’s JCPenney to close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 5, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-malls-jcpenney-to-close/


  1. [1]Tom Wolf, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, August 6, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1291345691936198657.html
  2. [2]Andrew J. Hawkins, “California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for alleged wage theft,” Verge, August 5, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/5/21356096/uber-lyft-california-labor-commissioner-lawsuit-driver-classification
  3. [3]John Myers, Johana Bhuiyan, and Margot Roosevelt, “Newsom signs bill rewriting California employment law, limiting use of independent contractors,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-18/gavin-newsom-signs-ab5-employees0independent-contractors-california
  4. [4]Sam Bojarski, “Century III Mall boarded up; only JCPenney remains,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-faces-uncertain-future-with-one-tenant-remaining/
  5. [5]Sam Bojarski, “Century III Mall boarded up; only JCPenney remains,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-faces-uncertain-future-with-one-tenant-remaining/
  6. [6]Jacob Tierney, “Century III Mall’s JCPenney to close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 5, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-malls-jcpenney-to-close/

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

Pandemic

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

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

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


Recession

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


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

If a civil war were to occur, it might be between neighborhoods

Horse race

I expressed my initial reaction to a suggestion that states might secede if the Democratic Party forbade Joe Biden from conceding defeat[1] in a tweet:

But in earlier thinking, first looking at county electoral results,[2] and later from Sonoma County, California, over at California’s own “bible belt” in the Central Valley, I’ve noted that dividing territory between ‘red’ and ‘blue’ would not be simple,[3] and this is a point Rod Dreher at The American Conservative makes, except he thinks the conflict would even be between neighborhoods.[4] That’s a point I’ll readily concede.

In any event, I still can’t imagine the Democratic Party refusing to concede. It’s clear that Barack Obama, who refused to prosecute Bush administration war crimes[5] and who refused to prosecute bankers for their acts of fraud leading to the financial crisis,[6] is calling the shots in the Democratic Party.[7] Even assuming that mantle passes to Biden, whose mental faculties should be in severe doubt for this even if no other reason, he imagines Republicans will be reasonable.[8] These are not people who would ever even in their wildest dreams contest an election result.

Rod Dreher, “Is A New Civil War Possible?” American Conservative, August 4, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/is-a-new-civil-war-possible/


Isaias

This morning it looked to me like the remnants of Isaias had passed through central Pennsylvania into New York, but this afternoon, we saw some rain, heavy at times and in some places.
ecan


  1. [1]Henry Zeffman, “US election war game sees states ready to secede if Trump is sworn in,” Times, August 4, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/us-election-war-game-sees-states-ready-to-secede-if-trump-is-sworn-in-zmzddmf9k
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A national divorce,” Not Housebroken, September 8, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/09/08/a-national-divorce/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Endorsing Cascadia secession,” Not Housebroken, August 22, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/08/22/endorsing-cascadia-secession/; David Benfell, “The morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, September 21, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/09/21/the-morality-of-polarization/
  4. [4]Rod Dreher, “Is A New Civil War Possible?” American Conservative, August 4, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/is-a-new-civil-war-possible/
  5. [5]Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s justice department grants final immunity to Bush’s CIA torturers,” Guardian, August 31, 2012, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/31/obama-justice-department-immunity-bush-cia-torturer; Elizabeth Holtzman, “Statutes of Limitations Are Expiring on Some Bush Crimes,” Nation, March 20, 2013, https://www.thenation.com/article/statutes-limitations-are-expiring-some-bush-crimes/; David Johnston and Charlie Savage, “Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs,” New York Times, January 11, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/politics/12inquire.html
  6. [6]Jason M. Breslow, “As Deadlines Loom for Financial Crisis Cases, Prosecutors Weigh Their Options,” Public Broadcasting System, January 22, 2013, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/untouchables/as-deadlines-loom-for-financial-crisis-cases-prosecutors-weigh-their-options/; Jason M. Breslow, “Too Big To Jail? The Top 10 Civil Cases Against the Banks,” Frontline, January 22, 2013, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/untouchables/too-big-to-jail-the-top-10-civil-cases-against-the-banks/; Jason M. Breslow, “Were Bankers Jailed In Past Financial Crises?” Public Broadcasting System, January 22, 2013, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/untouchables/were-bankers-jailed-in-past-financial-crises/; David Dayen, “Wall Street wins again,” Salon, February 13, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/02/13/wall_street_wins_again/; Frontline, “Phil Angelides: Enforcement of Wall St. is ‘Woefully Broken’,” Public Broadcasting System, January 22, 2013, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/untouchables/phil-angelides-enforcement-of-wall-st-is-woefully-broken/; Frontline, “Ted Kaufman: Wall Street Prosecutions Never Made a Priority,” Public Broadcasting System, January 22, 2013, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/untouchables/ted-kaufman-wall-street-prosecutions-never-made-a-priority/; Office of the Inspector General Audit Division, “Audit of the Department of Justice’s Efforts to Address Mortgage Fraud,” U. S. Department of Justice, March 2014, http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/2014/a1412.pdf; Barry Ritholz, “Why Prosecutors Whiffed on Subprime Crime,” Bloomberg View, March 14, 2014, http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-14/why-prosecutors-whiffed-on-subprime-crime; David Sirota, “Are banks too big to jail?” Salon, January 23, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/01/23/are_banks_too_big_to_jail/; David Sirota, “Barack Obama, Wall Street co-conspirator,” Salon, January 29, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/01/29/barack_obama_wall_street_co_conspirator/
  7. [7]Glenn Thrush, “Accelerate the Endgame’: Obama’s Role in Wrapping Up the Primary,” New York Times, August 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/us/politics/obama-biden-democratic-primary.html
  8. [8]Moira Donegan, “What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/joe-biden-trump-sexism-delusional-nostalgia; Matt Ford, “Someone Please Tell Joe Biden That Bipartisanship Is Dead,” New Republic, June 12, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/154183/someone-please-tell-joe-biden-bipartisanship-dead; Paul Waldman, “Joe Biden still hasn’t learned the lessons of the Obama presidency,” Washington Post, December 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/06/joe-biden-still-hasnt-learned-lessons-obama-presidency/

‘Efficiency,’ at the U.S. Postal Service, is defined almost exclusively in terms of labor costs

U.S. Postal Service

I’m catching up here, but there is a new blog post entitled, “A neoliberal crackdown at the Postal Service should support all our suspicions about the November election.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Jacob Bogage, “Postal Service backlog sparks worries that ballot delivery could be delayed in November,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/postal-service-backlog-sparks-worries-that-ballot-delivery-could-be-delayed-in-november/2020/07/30/cb19f1f4-d1d0-11ea-8d32-1ebf4e9d8e0d_story.html

Veronica Stracqualursi and Jessica Dean, “New postal policies that are slowing service may affect 2020 mail-in voting, union leader says,” CNN, July 31, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/politics/usps-mail-in-voting-2020-election/index.html

Jessica Dean, Jessica Schneider, and Caroline Kelly, “Postal Service says it has ‘ample capacity’ to handle election after Trump casts doubt,” CNN, August 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/03/politics/postal-service-ample-capacity-election-trump/index.html


Being a man means making everyone around you sick

Horse race

Henry Zeffman, “US election war game sees states ready to secede if Trump is sworn in,” Times, August 4, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/us-election-war-game-sees-states-ready-to-secede-if-trump-is-sworn-in-zmzddmf9k

Pandemic

So my mother sent me a New York Times article reporting that there was opposition to wearing masks in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic[1] similar to what we’re seeing today.[2] There’s still no real explanation for the phenomenon. Which means we’re left with Priya Elan’s claim that somehow masks seem to threaten masculinity: “It seems that in certain circles,” Elan writes, “wearing a mask has been conflated with the kind of archaic, knuckle-dragging rhetoric that casts wearing pink or having a cat on a dating app as effeminate.”[3] Which is to say that being a man somehow means making everyone around you sick. Spare me.

Christine Hauser, “The Mask Slackers of 1918,” New York Times, August 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/us/mask-protests-1918.html


Isaias

It’s just remnants now.
eusgm


  1. [1]Christine Hauser, “The Mask Slackers of 1918,” New York Times, August 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/us/mask-protests-1918.html
  2. [2]Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity; Griff Witte, Ariana Eunjung Cha, and Josh Dawsey, “At the heart of dismal U.S. coronavirus response, a fraught relationship with masks,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-the-heart-of-dismal-us-coronavirus-response-a-fraught-relationship-with-masks/2020/07/28/f47eccd0-cde4-11ea-bc6a-6841b28d9093_story.html
  3. [3]Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity