Surprise, surprise! Nazis in denial advocate reopening

Pandemic

I think I’ll be a little disappointed if anyone reading this really needs this explanation from the Auschwitz Museum, but it is phrased well:

I have previously noted that

In these protests, dangerous and delusional raging narcissistic bullshit[1] has become “truth,” dependence upon capitalism has become “independence,” and wage slavery has become “freedom.”[2]

I should have read Joe Lowndes’ article[3] sooner but I am not subscribed to the New Republic, owing to a conflict that led to mass resignations at that publication. He reaches many of the same conclusions I have.[4] This situation will be going from bad to worse for the very reasons we say. And there’s really no forgiving that.

Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america

Laura Newberry, “The pandemic has amplified ageism. ‘It’s open season for discrimination’ against older adults,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-01/coronavirus-pandemic-has-amplified-ageism


North Korea

It appears the South Koreans were correct[5] in pronouncing rumors of Kim Jong Un’s demise premature.[6]

Kim Byung-kee, a former intelligence official who is now a lawmaker and a member of the National Assembly’s intelligence committee, said on Sunday that groundless rumors about North Korea proliferated partly because few were held accountable for spreading false information.

“When it comes to North Korea, no matter what you say, you are not held responsible for the consequences and people soon forget,” Mr. Kim said on Facebook on Sunday [April 26].[7]

Timothy W. Martin and Andrew Jeong, “Kim Jong Un Appears at a Factory Opening, Ending Rumors of Ill Health,” Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-jong-un-is-said-to-have-attended-factory-opening-11588374281


  1. [1]Marilynn Marchione, “Heart woes spur partial stop of malaria drug study for virus,” Washington Post, April 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/heart-woes-spur-partial-stop-of-malaria-drug-study-for-virus/2020/04/13/c6460050-7db6-11ea-84c2-0792d8591911_story.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready,” Washington Post, April 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/21/trump-wants-lift-lockdowns-other-countries-attempts-show-why-us-isnt-ready/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “When confusion starts killing people, it is long past time to recognize it for what it is,” Not Housebroken, April 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/21/when-confusion-starts-killing-people-it-is-long-past-time-to-recognize-it-for-what-it-is/
  3. [3]Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, March 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/; David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/; David Benfell, “I fear for our world,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/09/i-fear-for-our-world/; David Benfell, “Don’t just say #COVIDIOTS,” Not Housebroken, April 19, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/19/dont-just-say-covidiots/; David Benfell, “When confusion starts killing people, it is long past time to recognize it for what it is,” Not Housebroken, April 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/21/when-confusion-starts-killing-people-it-is-long-past-time-to-recognize-it-for-what-it-is/; Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america
  5. [5]Timothy W. Martin and Andrew Jeong, “Kim Jong Un Appears at a Factory Opening, Ending Rumors of Ill Health,” Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-jong-un-is-said-to-have-attended-factory-opening-11588374281
  6. [6]Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korea Confident That Rumors of Kim Jong-un Illness Are Wrong,” New York Times, April 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/world/asia/kim-jong-un-health.html; Didi Tang, “South Korean officials say Kim Jong‑un is ‘alive and well,’” Times, April 27, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/kim-jong-uns-train-offers-clue-to-north-korean-despots-mystery-absence-q9g5h3fq2
  7. [7]Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korea Confident That Rumors of Kim Jong-un Illness Are Wrong,” New York Times, April 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/world/asia/kim-jong-un-health.html

What? Are you trying to tell me that row Boris Johnson had with Carrie Symonds might reflect on his character? Really? Surely you jest.

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 23, 6:18 pm.
  2. June 23, 11:20 pm:
    • Joe Biden might not be the only candidate for the neoliberal party nomination tripped up by race.[1] The police in South Bend, Indiana, are tripping up Pete Buttigieg with—oh, gee, this should be a surprise—the shooting of a Black man.[2]

Boris Johnson

What’s this? Do the British take domestic arguments apparently verging on violence[3] seriously and possibly as a reflection on the prime minister-apparent’s character? It seems some of them might. Not Boris Johnson: He claimed that voters were entitled to know about his character but then refused to answer questions on the incident as if it had no relevance to his character whatsoever.[4] Neither the Telegraph: Their coverage emphasizes that the neighbor who recorded the fight and called police supports Jeremy Corbyn and is a remainer. The Telegraph also suggests that Carrie Symonds may have been distraught about a black cab rapist, whom she apparently had ridden with and been drugged by.[5]

Gotta tell you: The discrepancy in coverage here is jarring as the Telegraph, a conservative paper, appears to seek to deflect blame from Johnson onto anyone else: Symonds or the neighbor,[6] perhaps others yet to be determined (I blame both Symonds and Johnson[7]), while the Guardian, a neoliberal paper, reports that senior Tories are alarmed and that public support for Johnson is dropping.[8]

Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, and Steve Bird, “Left-wing neighbours admit to taping Boris Johnson row with partner Carrie Symonds,” Telegraph, June 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/22/left-wing-neighbours-admit-taping-boris-johnson-row-girlfriend/

Michael Savage, Toby Helm, and Simon Murphy, “Boris Johnson under fire over row with partner as top Tories raise fears,” Guardian, June 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/boris-johnson-under-fire-questions-hustings-late-night-argument


Social Conservatives

This is when I wish I had easier access to my old archive because M. Reza Behnam provides a center[9] for the articles I found on elements of social conservatism that deal with eschatology (“end times” ideology) and the link between Israel, armageddon, and the U.S. political class. To say this is an important article is much too cheap.

What isn’t here is much at all on the neoconservative angle, though Behnam points to George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric.[10] Bush named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea[11] even though al Qaeda’s leadership was based in Afghanistan[12] and the 9/11 hijackers were mostly (all but four of nineteen) Saudi nationals.[13] Rhetorically, Bush unified these countries to substitute for the old Soviet Union as an essential (to neoconservatives) monolithic enemy.

M. Reza Behnam, “Selling Israel Biblically,” Tikkun, June 20, 2019, https://www.tikkun.org/selling-israel-biblically


Dissertation

I have finally managed to get a copy of my dissertation on line. It’s also available in other places, some publicly, but here, I can find it and that, in turn, will make it easier to locate some of the sources I used in writing it.

My dissertation turned out to be much more of an opus magnum than dissertations are supposed to be; it came in at over 400 pages when they’re supposed be closer to 100. But it really was a culmination of my scholarly career to that point, which in turn had unintentionally become an exploration of why my life has turned out the way it has. It’s far from perfect; I think most scholars will tell you in hindsight that they have regrets about their dissertations. But it was the best I could do at the time.

This version is better than what I had managed to previously post on parts-unknown.org thanks to a really cool piece of software called pandoc, which is wonderful for converting between various text formats.


Turkey

While celebrating Mr. [Ekrem] Imamoglu’s victory, members of his Republican People’s Party, or CHP, cautioned that Mr. [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan had a track record of canceling the results of elections when he doesn’t like the outcome. Mr. Erdogan canceled a legislative vote in 2015 in which the AKP had failed to garner a majority. In recent months, his administration has annulled scores of municipal votes across Turkey, replacing opposition mayors by government-appointed caretakers.[14]

As was suspected when “Mr. Imamoglu had defeated the AKP [Justice and Development Party] candidate in the initial March municipal ballot, but electoral authorities had voided the results after Mr. Erdogan complained of fraud and called for a do-over.”[15]

Kareem Fahim, “Opposition candidate wins in do-over of Istanbul’s mayoral race, dealing setback to Erdogan’s ruling party,” Washington Post, June 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/opposition-candidate-wins-in-do-over-of-istanbuls-mayoral-race-dealing-setback-to-erdogans-ruling-party/2019/06/23/3a59c3cc-92d1-11e9-956a-88c291ab5c38_story.html

David Gauthier-Villars, “In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-setback-for-erdogan-opposition-candidate-wins-istanbul-mayor-seat-11561309654


Pete Buttigieg

Matt Pearce, “Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-pete-buttigieg-mayor-police-shooting-black-voters-20190624-story.html


  1. [1]Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden gets in his own way on race,” CNN, June 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/20/politics/joe-biden-race-2020-election/index.html; Scott Detrow, “Democrats Blast Biden For Recalling ‘Civil’ Relationship With Segregationists,” CNN, June 19, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/734103488/democrats-blast-biden-for-recalling-civil-relationship-with-segregationists; Greg Sargent, “Joe Biden is badly undermining his ability to challenge Trump,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/20/joe-biden-is-badly-undermining-his-case-against-trump/; Matt Viser and Annie Linskey, “Tensions ripple through Biden campaign as his past working relationship with a segregationist senator comes to the forefront,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tensions-ripple-through-biden-campaign-as-his-past-working-relationship-with-a-segregationist-senator-comes-to-the-forefront/2019/06/20/2518afe6-9394-11e9-b570-6416efdc0803_story.html; Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, “Biden faces backlash over comments about the ‘civility’ of his past work with racist senators,” Washington Post, June 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-faces-backlash-over-comments-about-the-civility-of-his-past-work-with-racist-senators/2019/06/19/c0375d2a-92a8-11e9-b58a-a6a9afaa0e3e_story.html
  2. [2]Matt Pearce, “Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-pete-buttigieg-mayor-police-shooting-black-voters-20190624-story.html
  3. [3]Gordon Rayner, “Police called to home of Boris Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds after reports of loud altercation,” Telegraph, June 21, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/21/police-called-home-boris-johnson-girlfriend-reports-altercation/; Jim Waterson, “Boris Johnson: police called to loud altercation at potential PM’s home,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/21/police-called-to-loud-altercation-at-boris-johnsons-home
  4. [4]Michael Savage, Toby Helm, and Simon Murphy, “Boris Johnson under fire over row with partner as top Tories raise fears,” Guardian, June 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/boris-johnson-under-fire-questions-hustings-late-night-argument
  5. [5]Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, and Steve Bird, “Left-wing neighbours admit to taping Boris Johnson row with partner Carrie Symonds,” Telegraph, June 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/22/left-wing-neighbours-admit-taping-boris-johnson-row-girlfriend/
  6. [6]Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, and Steve Bird, “Left-wing neighbours admit to taping Boris Johnson row with partner Carrie Symonds,” Telegraph, June 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/22/left-wing-neighbours-admit-taping-boris-johnson-row-girlfriend/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Police called for a relationship made in Hell,” Irregular Bullshit, June 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/06/22/police-called-for-a-relationship-made-in-hell/
  8. [8]Michael Savage, Toby Helm, and Simon Murphy, “Boris Johnson under fire over row with partner as top Tories raise fears,” Guardian, June 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/22/boris-johnson-under-fire-questions-hustings-late-night-argument
  9. [9]M. Reza Behnam, “Selling Israel Biblically,” Tikkun, June 20, 2019, https://www.tikkun.org/selling-israel-biblically
  10. [10]M. Reza Behnam, “Selling Israel Biblically,” Tikkun, June 20, 2019, https://www.tikkun.org/selling-israel-biblically
  11. [11]Andrew Glass, “President Bush cites ‘axis of evil,’ Jan. 29, 2002,” Politico, January 29, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/29/bush-axis-of-evil-2002-1127725
  12. [12]Public Broadcasting System, “Background: al Qaeda,” Frontline, n.d., https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/network/alqaeda/indictment.html
  13. [13]CNN, “September 11 Hijackers Fast Facts,” September 5, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11th-hijackers-fast-facts/index.html
  14. [14]David Gauthier-Villars, “In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-setback-for-erdogan-opposition-candidate-wins-istanbul-mayor-seat-11561309654
  15. [15]David Gauthier-Villars, “In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-setback-for-erdogan-opposition-candidate-wins-istanbul-mayor-seat-11561309654

Donald Trump hints at refusing to give up presidency

Updates

  1. Originally published, May 6, 7:02 pm.
  2. May 6, 8:11 pm:
    • The Washington Post has a story confirming details I wrote below on Donald Trump hinting at refusing to give up the presidency should he lose the election in 2020. The story also consults legal experts.[1]
  3. May 6, 10:52 pm:
    • Elizabeth de la Vega has an interesting take on the problem I and many others have pointed to about impeaching Donald Trump. I’ve added her tweet under Donald Trump.

I’m feeling strain every time I go anywhere, even to a fucking Whole Foods Market (the nearest is in Upper Saint Clair, out past Mt. Lebanon). I sorta kinda knew my way around Dormont and Mt. Lebanon once upon a time, but I’m living in Baldwin which is just far enough away that there’s really very little in common. There’s nothing like a grid system here. You take a wrong turn and there’s a strong possibility you’re going for a ride.

And, as I’ve previously noted, here and here, a lot of these intersections are confusing or obscured as you approach them. I have no choice but to rely on Google Maps for even short trips. The concentration required is wearying.

And I’m going to need to do this for Uber and Lyft because the job hunt here looks every bit as ridiculous as the one I left behind.

But the weather is nice today, after being cold (requiring I close the windows) and rainy yesterday. Scattered showers are due back tomorrow.


Uber

It is awfully curious how the Wall Street Journal headline claims that it is the drivers who are “harder to please” when it is in fact Uber and Lyft that have been cutting our pay.[2] That sounds like Uber and Lyft getting “harder to please,” not the drivers.

Christopher Mims, “In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-a-tight-labor-market-gig-workers-get-harder-to-please-11556942404


Donald Trump

Donald Trump is doing nothing to set minds at ease about Will Bunch’s fears.[3] He apparently retweeted this:[4]

And wrote this:[5]

Laurence Tribe is alarmed:

Chris Cillizza joins the fray, pointing out all the times Trump has complained that elections are “rigged,” not against states like California and New York which suffer from electoral college arithmetic, but against Republicans.[6] And there’s many more.[7]

So some people, including no less than Nancy Pelosi, whose concern Cillizza specifically defends, are worried now. Some people take the threat seriously. But the very reason the threat needs to be taken seriously, specifically that Donald Trump flouts anything remotely resembling political convention,[8] is the very reason it is impossible to know how this actually plays out.

There would, of course, be pushback. There would, of course, be lawsuits. But I have no idea how it all actually would play out in the end—and because of the number of variables involved, I’m inclined to say that anyone who claims to know is full of shit. Some stuff you just can’t game out.

As to impeachment, Elizabeth de la Vega has a suggestion:

Which is certainly interesting.

Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html

Damian Paletta, “Mnuchin rejects Democrats’ demand to hand over Trump’s tax returns, all but ensuring legal battle,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/mnuchin-rejects-democrats-demand-to-hand-over-trumps-tax-returns-all-but-ensuring-legal-battle/2019/05/06/5483f8ac-7022-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/

Matt Zapotosky, “Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not president, hundreds of former federal prosecutors assert,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-would-have-been-charged-with-obstruction-were-he-not-president-hundreds-of-former-federal-prosecutors-assert/2019/05/06/e4946a1a-7006-11e9-9f06-5fc2ee80027a_story.html


Brexit

Sam Coates and Kate Devlin, “Don’t cave in to Labour on Brexit, Tories tell Theresa May,” Times, May 6, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/dont-cave-in-to-labour-on-brexit-tories-tell-theresa-may-0t6rqstxt


Democrats. Absolutely stupid fucking worthless goddamn Democrats.

Elaine Godfrey, “The Democratic Party Just Ticked Off Its Youngest Organizers,” Atlantic, May 6, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/college-democrats-protest-new-dccc-vendor-policy/588715/


Venezuela

I’ve held my tongue on Venezuela. I don’t know who is right in the contest between Juan Guaidó, who has been refusing to recognize an allegedly rigged election result, and Nicolás Maduro, who claimed victory in that allegedly rigged election and currently holds the presidency.

My problem, frankly, is the same one I have in North Korea: Frankly, I’ve seen way too much demonization of Maduro, as I did of his predecessor Hugo Chávez, and I can’t help but suspect that the demonization comes at least partly from an ideological source. We demonized the Soviets and we continue to demonize Iranians this way, too.

On the other side, it’s previously been clear to me that some on the Left have simply adopted a view that since the United States is evil, which it is, then anyone who opposes the U.S. must be a saint. I’ve seen this with Iran and the Russian intervention in Ukraine. For such people, it is inconceivable that evil people might oppose each other.

So I don’t know. And I’ve been extremely uncomfortable adopting a position opposing the Venezuelan government (any more than I oppose all powerful people on anarchist general principle) on events in Venezuela since Chávez embarrassed the George W. Bush administration by subsidizing heating oil for the poor in the U.S. northeast. I thought Chávez deserved a lot of credit for doing that and I have also noticed an increase in his demonization since about that time. But heating oil for the poor in the U.S. says nothing about the situation in Venezuela, and certainly it says even less now, so I’m just keeping my mouth shut.

What I will say is that any U.S. intervention on any side in this is likely to be unwelcome to many in Venezuela. And Twitter is being awfully arrogant if the company thinks it understands the situation in Venezuela any better than I do.

Ellery Roberts Biddle, “Private: Why is Twitter blocking state accounts in Venezuela?” Global Voices, May 3, 2019, https://globalvoices.org/2019/05/03/why-is-twitter-blocking-state-accounts-in-venezuela/


  1. [1]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/
  2. [2]Christopher Mims, “In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-a-tight-labor-market-gig-workers-get-harder-to-please-11556942404
  3. [3]Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019, https://www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/trump-wants-impeachment-2020-reelection-strategy-blame-democrats-ignore-subpoenas-20190505.html
  4. [4]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/
  5. [5]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/
  6. [6]Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html
  7. [7]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/
  8. [8]Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019, https://www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/trump-wants-impeachment-2020-reelection-strategy-blame-democrats-ignore-subpoenas-20190505.html; Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/

Plan B: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Since I began this adventure, my mother has been urging me towards Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I still have relatives and where, apparently, the cost of living is lower. I have explained to her (and she should already know because she’s read the book) that Pittsburgh is on the frontier between Colin Woodard’s Midlands and Greater Appalachia, the latter likely being the source of authoritarian populism. I think either she doesn’t really buy Colin Woodard’s sociocultural analysis of Yankeedom as being more civically engaged and scholarly-oriented[1] or that she doesn’t think the difference between Yankeedom and the Midlands will be that great (figure 1).

upinarms-map-large
Fig. 1. Colin Woodard’s sociocultural regions.[2]

And, to be honest, she may have a point: While Woodard’s history is—to say the very least—illuminating, he may essentialize geographic areas in his description of sociocultural regions; his regional archetypes and sharply drawn boundaries (apparently along county lines) all lack nuance. His description of Yankeedom covers an area mainly from New England to the eastern edge of the Dakotas,[3] some of which has looked rather authoritarian populist lately. Authoritarian populism is probably the most anti-intellectual conservative tendency—even more so than social conservatism or paleoconservatism (the other tendencies in Donald Trump’s oh so very precious base).

So now that I’ve fallen flat on my face in western Massachusetts, she’s gotten involved with the apartment hunt and things are distinctly looking up. I already have two appointments for Wednesday in the Pittsburgh area (with a third expected to contact me Monday).

Understand that the point I made yesterday about barriers to housing that affect the poor, especially the homeless, still applies.[4] But my Mom is not poor—to the extent our lives can be compared, she successfully changed careers while I never really found one I both wanted and could succeed in. She succeeded in developing that career, and though she was a newspaper reporter to the end of her career, she managed to buy a house, save some money, and maximize her pensions. Her involvement in my apartment search quite literally makes all the difference and if I didn’t have her, I’d probably have been homeless for the last ten years (I moved back in with her in December 2008 while I was finishing my M.A. and stayed there throughout my Ph.D. work and since).


I am still not yet caught up on the news. But my eyes are glazing over. Good night.


The Megalithic

Michael Price, “Were Europe’s megalithic societies patrilineal?” Science, April 15, 2019, https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/were-europe-s-megalithic-societies-patrilineal


Prison Guards

Philip Zimbardo might be feeling a bit of vindication about now.

Allyson Chiu, “‘Feeling cute, might just gas some inmates today’: Corrections officers face backlash over social media challenge,” Washington Post, April 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/17/feeling-cute-might-just-gas-some-inmates-today-corrections-officers-face-backlash-over-social-media-challenge/


Subprime Lending

Ben Lane, “No-income, no-asset mortgages are back (at one lender, at least),” Housing Wire, April 16, 2019, https://www.housingwire.com/articles/48810-no-income-no-asset-mortgages-are-back-at-one-lender-at-least


North Korea

Timothy W. Martin and Dasl Yoon, “North Korea Says It Test-Fired New Tactical Guided Weapon,” Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-jong-un-sends-message-to-trump-with-military-visit-11555497814


Yemen

Simon Tisdall, “Trump’s veto over Yemen is a scandalous abuse of presidential power,” Guardian, April 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/17/donald-trump-yemen-veto-war-saudi-arabia-scandalous-abuse


San Francisco

Dan Kopf, “San Francisco’s Diversity Numbers Are Looking More and More Like a Tech Company’s,” Atlantic, April 19, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/04/san-francisco-city-apps-built-or-destroyed/587389/


Julian Assange

Kevin Gosztola, “FBI affidavit in Assange case Shows government is criminalizing publication of Afghanistan war logs,” Shadowproof, April 16, 2019, https://shadowproof.com/2019/04/16/fbi-affidavit-in-assange-case-shows-government-is-criminalizing-publication-of-afghanistan-war-logs/


  1. [1]Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (New York: Penguin, 2011).
  2. [2]I regret that due to my move, at this writing, I do not have access to track down where I found this map. I believe it was in an online article that pointed me to the book by Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (New York: Penguin, 2011) wherein, as I recall, a similar map appears.
  3. [3]Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (New York: Penguin, 2011).
  4. [4]David Benfell, “If you don’t like homelessness, here’s an idea: Make it possible to rent an apartment,” Not Housebroken, April 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/04/19/if-you-dont-like-homelessness-heres-an-idea-make-it-possible-to-rent-an-apartment/

Robert Mueller’s spokesperson speaks!

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 20, 1:09 am.
  2. January 20, 6:53 am:
    • Harbin Hot Springs has re-opened. Some, anyway. And as long as we’re badly misappropriating tired clichés for headlines,[1] let’s try “Rick and Ilsa might always have Paris. California has Harbin.” No?
  3. January 21, 12:39 am:
    • Nothing really, yet. I just finished looking at my Twitter feed; even it’s relatively quiet. I’m wondering if it is the calm before the storm and thinking almost certainly, it must be. Between Brexit and the Robert Mueller investigation, there is much that is pending. I’m adding some analysis to the commentary under the latter.
  4. January 21, 2:26 pm:
    • Iran’s PressTV reports that the U.S. Army has concluded that Iran was the only victor in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[2] PressTV is subject to Iranian government control.
    • Ilya Somin visits Donald Trump’s eminent domain problem with the border wall.[3] (Unauthorized migration)
  5. January 21, 8:10 pm:
    • Amid local resentment at the latest regulations permitting Marijuana delivery to any address in California, the California Highway Patrol has been exploiting arcane regulation to increase its seizures.[4]
    • I worried about the PressTV story about the Army saying Iran was the only winner of the Iraq war.[5] It turns out the Wall Street Journal had the story a few days ago, though it does not repeat the specific claim about Iran being the sole victor.[6]
  6. January 22, 12:29 am:
    • Theresa May’s Brexit Plan B looks a lot like her Plan A. And underwhelms accordingly.[7] Meanwhile, the Telegraph has a report on ways forward, including that Jeremy Corbyn has backed down from his opposition to a second referendum.[8]
  7. January 22, 1:58 pm:
    • Is it really news that Kim Jong Un pulled the wool over Donald Trump’s eyes? Of course not. This wasn’t even news during the summit. Which is why I’ve held back on what I viewed as “I told you so” stories. But an occasional reckoning is nonetheless in order. Yes, we know Trump is a delusional raging narcissist, an easy mark for any foreign leader worth his or her salt. But twenty undisclosed nuclear missile sites? Twenty? In North Korea?[9] Are you fucking kidding me?
  8. January 23, 11:00 pm:
    • Round one to Nancy Pelosi as Donald Trump abandons effort to give State of the Union Address at the regularly scheduled bat-channel, at the regularly scheduled bat-location, at the regularly scheduled bat-time, or even one or two of the three.[10]
  9. January 24, 5:17 pm:
    • An appeals court has ruled that legislation that protects against Ageism bias does not cover job applicants.[11]
    • Take this with more than a grain of salt, but allegedly, Republican senators’ patience is wearing thin with the shutdown.[12] Meanwhile, Donald Trump is apparently returning to his idea to declare a national emergency on the border.[13] (Unauthorized migration)
    • So, um, here’s a fire Pacific Gas and Electric actually might not be liable for. The Tubbs Fire, one of three that devastated Sonoma County in 2017. The folks who are suing PG&E over the fire are still suing and the utility is still planning to file for bankruptcy.[14] (Sonoma County Wildfires)
  10. January 25, 3:40 pm:
    • Donald Trump historically blinks and gets revenge—sometimes even petty revenge—later.[15]
    • And Donald Trump blinked and appears to be staggering.[16] The government will reopen for at least three weeks and there is no money for the border wall. Round two to Nancy Pelosi. She’s having an easier time of this than I expected.
    • The Doomsday Clock remains at two minutes before midnight.[17]
  11. January 25, 11:19 pm:
    • Donald Trump’s capitulation to Nancy Pelosi is now official. He has signed the bill ending a record government shutdown. It is unclear when or if he will give his State of the Union Address. He denies capitulating and still threatens to attempt to use emergency authority,[18] but he now has zero leverage for his fucking wall.

James Comey

We still don’t know—really—what specifically was so exceptional about this Buzzfeed story that Robert Mueller’s team felt it necessary to comment when they’ve let so much speculation, some of which has to have been erroneous, go by before.[19]

I see a couple ways to interpret this. I embrace neither of them:

  1. To some degree, and not necessarily in the sense of factuality of reporting, the story may have been more wrong than others that preceded it. The Washington Post reports that “[i]nside the Justice Department, the statement [denying the Buzzfeed story] was viewed as a huge step, and one that would have been taken only if the special counsel’s office viewed the story as almost entirely incorrect.”[20] Notice the structure of the implication in that quotation. Other stories might have been as incorrect but the decision-making process may have relied on contingencies that are different now.
  2. This story, uniquely of all the coverage to date, somehow threatens the Mueller investigation. Well, um, Donald Trump does think he can fire Mueller. I suppose there might be other problems as well, like that the report might prejudice potential jurors. Or that it is somehow impacting an active area of the investigation. I don’t know.
  3. Some combination of the above.

Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Karoun Demirjian, “In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project,” Washington Post, January 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2019/01/18/b9c40d34-1b85-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html

Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, “Inside the Mueller team’s decision to dispute BuzzFeed’s explosive story on Trump and Cohen,” Washington Post, January 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/inside-the-mueller-teams-decision-to-dispute-buzzfeeds-explosive-story-on-trump-and-cohen/2019/01/19/d89dba5b-fa0f-445b-9fd3-72f0e911e28d_story.html


Brexit

unnamed
Via the Telegraph, January 21, 2019, fair use.

Christopher Hope, “Second Brexit referendum: Official Government guidance says it will take a year to organise, Telegraph, January 18, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/17/revealed-official-government-guidance-saying-will-take-year/

Karla Adam and William Booth, “Theresa May’s Brexit Plan B leaves Parliament underwhelmed,” Washington Post, January 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/theresa-mays-brexit-plan-b-leaves-parliament-underwhelmed/2019/01/21/1b7e43bc-1b5b-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html

Steven Swinford and Jack Maidment, “Where next: With Theresa May losing control of Brexit which rival plans have a chance of success?” Telegraph, January 21, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/21/next-theresa-may-losing-control-brexit-rival-plans-have-chance/


Harbin Hot Springs

Kurtis Alexander, “New Age nudist retreat Harbin Hot Springs rises from embers in Lake County,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/New-Age-retreat-rises-from-embers-13546291.php


Sonoma County Wildfires

Joseph Serna and Taryn Luna, “Private power lines, not PG&E, caused wine country fire that killed 22, investigation finds,” Los Angeles Times, January 24, 2019, Private power lines, not PG&E, caused wine country fire that killed 22, investigation finds


Iraq

PressTV, “US Army study of its Iraq invasion concludes Iran was ‘the only victor,'” Global Security, January 20, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2019/iraq-190120-presstv01.htm


Unauthorized migration

Ilya Somin, “To build the wall, Trump might make thousands of Americans suffer,” Washington Post, January 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/to-build-the-wall-trump-might-make-thousands-of-americans-suffer/2019/01/19/fd39abe6-150e-11e9-b6ad-9cfd62dbb0a8_story.html

Priscilla Alvarez and Tammy Kupperman, “White House preparing draft national emergency order, has identified $7 billion for wall,” CNN, January 24, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/24/politics/trump-border-wall-emergency-draft/index.html

Alexander Bolton, “GOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes,” Hill, January 24, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/426896-gop-senators-read-pence-riot-act-before-shutdown-votes


Nancy Pelosi

Jeremy Diamond, Sarah Westwood, and Kevin Liptak, “Trump denies Pelosi military aircraft for war zone trip,” January 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/17/politics/donald-trump-nancy-pelosi-trip-cancel/index.html

Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez, “Pelosi tells Trump: No State of the Union address in the House until government is reopened,” Washington Post, January 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-says-hell-deliver-state-of-the-union-at-the-capitol-despite-pelosis-request-to-postpone/2019/01/23/d171dfae-1f33-11e9-8e21-59a09ff1e2a1_story.html

Kevin Liptak, “Pelosi denies Trump use of House chamber for State of the Union,” CNN, January 23, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/politics/donald-trump-nancy-pelosi-state-of-the-union/index.html

Jennifer Haberkorn and Noah Bierman, “Trump agrees to temporarily end government shutdown without any border wall money,” Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-shutdown-talks-20190125-story.html

Rebecca Ballhaus, Kristina Peterson, and Vivian Salama, “Trump Signs Spending Bill, Ending Longest Government Shutdown in U.S. History,” Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-considering-agreeing-to-sign-three-week-spending-bill-as-early-as-friday-11548439078


Donald Trump

Marc Fisher, “Bluster, bombast, backing down: What happens when someone says no to Trump?” Washington Post, January 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bluster-bombast-backing-down-what-happens-when-someone-says-no-to-trump/2019/01/24/359df148-1f66-11e9-8b59-0a28f2191131_story.html


Marijuana

Andrew Sheeler, “Marijuana is legal in California. So why is the CHP arresting delivery drivers?” Sacramento Bee, January 21, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article224079655.html


North Korea

Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee, “Report finds another undisclosed North Korea missile site, says there are 19 more,” NBC News, January 21, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/north-korea/report-finds-another-undisclosedth-korea-missile-site-says-there-n958801


Donald Trump

Marc Fisher, “Bluster, bombast, backing down: What happens when someone says no to Trump?” Washington Post, January 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bluster-bombast-backing-down-what-happens-when-someone-says-no-to-trump/2019/01/24/359df148-1f66-11e9-8b59-0a28f2191131_story.html


Ageism

Jonathan Stempel, “Age bias law does not cover job applicants: U.S. appeals court,” Reuters, January 23, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-labor-age-bias/age-bias-law-does-not-cover-job-applicants-u-s-appeals-court-idUSKCN1PI02N


Doomsday Clock

Julian Borger, “Doomsday clock stays at two minutes to midnight as crisis now ‘new abnormal,’” Guardian, January 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/doomsday-clock-2019-two-minutes-midnight-nuclear-war-new-abnormal


 

  1. [1]Kurtis Alexander, “New Age nudist retreat Harbin Hot Springs rises from embers in Lake County,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/New-Age-retreat-rises-from-embers-13546291.php
  2. [2]PressTV, “US Army study of its Iraq invasion concludes Iran was ‘the only victor,'” Global Security, January 20, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2019/iraq-190120-presstv01.htm
  3. [3]Ilya Somin, “To build the wall, Trump might make thousands of Americans suffer,” Washington Post, January 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/to-build-the-wall-trump-might-make-thousands-of-americans-suffer/2019/01/19/fd39abe6-150e-11e9-b6ad-9cfd62dbb0a8_story.html
  4. [4]Andrew Sheeler, “Marijuana is legal in California. So why is the CHP arresting delivery drivers?” Sacramento Bee, January 21, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article224079655.html
  5. [5]PressTV, “US Army study of its Iraq invasion concludes Iran was ‘the only victor,'” Global Security, January 20, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2019/iraq-190120-presstv01.htm
  6. [6]Michael R. Gordon, “Army Releases a Critical History of the War in Iraq,” Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/army-releases-a-critical-history-of-the-war-in-iraq-11547768863
  7. [7]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Theresa May’s Brexit Plan B leaves Parliament underwhelmed,” Washington Post, January 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/theresa-mays-brexit-plan-b-leaves-parliament-underwhelmed/2019/01/21/1b7e43bc-1b5b-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html
  8. [8]Steven Swinford and Jack Maidment, “Where next: With Theresa May losing control of Brexit which rival plans have a chance of success?” Telegraph, January 21, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/21/next-theresa-may-losing-control-brexit-rival-plans-have-chance/
  9. [9]Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee, “Report finds another undisclosed North Korea missile site, says there are 19 more,” NBC News, January 21, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/north-korea/report-finds-another-undisclosedth-korea-missile-site-says-there-n958801
  10. [10]Jeremy Diamond, Sarah Westwood, and Kevin Liptak, “Trump denies Pelosi military aircraft for war zone trip,” January 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/17/politics/donald-trump-nancy-pelosi-trip-cancel/index.html<; Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez, "Pelosi tells Trump: No State of the Union address in the House until government is reopened," Washington Post, January 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-says-hell-deliver-state-of-the-union-at-the-capitol-despite-pelosis-request-to-postpone/2019/01/23/d171dfae-1f33-11e9-8e21-59a09ff1e2a1_story.html; Kevin Liptak, “Pelosi denies Trump use of House chamber for State of the Union,” CNN, January 23, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/politics/donald-trump-nancy-pelosi-state-of-the-union/index.html
  11. [11]Jonathan Stempel, “Age bias law does not cover job applicants: U.S. appeals court,” Reuters, January 23, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-labor-age-bias/age-bias-law-does-not-cover-job-applicants-u-s-appeals-court-idUSKCN1PI02N
  12. [12]Alexander Bolton, “GOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes,” Hill, January 24, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/426896-gop-senators-read-pence-riot-act-before-shutdown-votes
  13. [13]Priscilla Alvarez and Tammy Kupperman, “White House preparing draft national emergency order, has identified $7 billion for wall,” CNN, January 24, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/24/politics/trump-border-wall-emergency-draft/index.html
  14. [14]Joseph Serna and Taryn Luna, “Private power lines, not PG&E, caused wine country fire that killed 22, investigation finds,” Los Angeles Times, January 24, 2019, Private power lines, not PG&E, caused wine country fire that killed 22, investigation finds
  15. [15]Marc Fisher, “Bluster, bombast, backing down: What happens when someone says no to Trump?” Washington Post, January 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bluster-bombast-backing-down-what-happens-when-someone-says-no-to-trump/2019/01/24/359df148-1f66-11e9-8b59-0a28f2191131_story.html
  16. [16]Jennifer Haberkorn and Noah Bierman, “Trump agrees to temporarily end government shutdown without any border wall money,” Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-shutdown-talks-20190125-story.html
  17. [17]Julian Borger, “Doomsday clock stays at two minutes to midnight as crisis now ‘new abnormal,’” Guardian, January 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/doomsday-clock-2019-two-minutes-midnight-nuclear-war-new-abnormal
  18. [18]Rebecca Ballhaus, Kristina Peterson, and Vivian Salama, “Trump Signs Spending Bill, Ending Longest Government Shutdown in U.S. History,” Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-considering-agreeing-to-sign-three-week-spending-bill-as-early-as-friday-11548439078
  19. [19]Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Karoun Demirjian, “In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project,” Washington Post, January 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2019/01/18/b9c40d34-1b85-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html; Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, “Inside the Mueller team’s decision to dispute BuzzFeed’s explosive story on Trump and Cohen,” Washington Post, January 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/inside-the-mueller-teams-decision-to-dispute-buzzfeeds-explosive-story-on-trump-and-cohen/2019/01/19/d89dba5b-fa0f-445b-9fd3-72f0e911e28d_story.html
  20. [20]Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Karoun Demirjian, “In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project,” Washington Post, January 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2019/01/18/b9c40d34-1b85-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html

Judges just don’t like Donald Trump’s policies on unauthorized migration

Unauthorized migration

Avery Anapol, “Judge does not give Trump admin more time to reunite all separated families,” Hill, July 7, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/395916-judge-will-not-give-trump-admin-more-time-to-reunite-all-separated

Victoria Kim, “Judge rejects Trump administration’s effort to change rules for detaining immigrant children,” Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-flores-ruling-20180709-story.html

Taryn Luna, “Federal judge rejects Trump lawsuit against California’s sanctuary state law,” Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214595375.html


Brexit

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Boris Johnson and ‘Brexit minister’ resign, leaving Theresa May’s government in disarray,” Washington Post, July 9, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/theresa-mays-government-in-disarray-after-shock-resignation-by-brexit-minister/2018/07/09/b86533da-8357-11e8-8f6c-46cb43e3f306_story.html

Heather Stewart, “Brexit secretary David Davis resigns plunging government into crisis,” Guardian, July 9, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/08/david-davis-resigns-as-brexit-secretary-reports-say


Donald Trump

What makes this all so galling, and perhaps not only to Michigan graduates like me, is that Trump has presided over a comprehensive assault on intellectual standards in public life. Trump is a stupid man surrounded by other stupid people, who appeals to the dumbest instincts in the polity with a vocabulary of relentless idiocy. His administration systematically disregards science and expertise; its officials statements frequently contain misspellings; his entire persona is based on insulting the intelligence of the American public in the belief that even the crudest lies will go undetected by his infinitely credulous tribal fan base.[1]

Jonathan Chait, “‘Populist’ Trump Turns Up Nose at Public University Graduates,” New York, July 9, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/amp/2018/07/trumps-supreme-court-pick-cant-be-public-school-graduate.html


North Korea

Jessica Donati and Andrew Jeong, “North Korean Nuclear Talks Are Thrown Off Balance as Accounts by U.S. and Pyongyang Clash,” Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pompeo-cites-progress-inth-korea-nuclear-talks-1530967772

John Hudson and Carol Morello, “North Korea calls U.S. attitude toward talks ‘gangster-like’ and ‘cancerous,’ rejecting Pompeo’s assessment,” Washington Post, July 7, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korean-negotiator-teases-and-flatters-as-pompeo-enters-second-day-of-talks/2018/07/07/d2a06324-8175-4589-bf08-def6e56aa962_story.html

John Hudson and Adam Taylor, “Pompeo pushes back against North Korea’s ‘gangster-like’ criticism,” Washington Post, July 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pompeo-pushes-back-againstth-koreas-gangster-like-criticism/2018/07/08/a6261b3e-825e-11e8-9200-b4dee4fb4e28_story.html


Andy Lopez

The civil suit for the shooting of Andy Lopez has gotten much further than I ever would have thought.[2]

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court clears the way for Sonoma County deputy to be tried in shooting of boy holding a pellet gun,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-police-pelletgun-20180625-story.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Chait, “‘Populist’ Trump Turns Up Nose at Public University Graduates,” New York, July 9, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/amp/2018/07/trumps-supreme-court-pick-cant-be-public-school-graduate.html
  2. [2]David G. Savage, “Supreme Court clears the way for Sonoma County deputy to be tried in shooting of boy holding a pellet gun,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-police-pelletgun-20180625-story.html

Donald Trump is an idiot, North Korea edition

There is a new blog post, “How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party.” See also in particular an update below published on July 3 at 9:04 am.


About fireworks in Graton

I expect to be home on July 4th. Graton residents should know that while I have never liked the noise and object to the celebration of war that they entail, in the wake of the Sonoma County wildfires, I will no longer be tolerating the fireworks that are routinely set off to commemorate the holiday. This is not a negotiation. I will call 911. All fireworks—including allegedly “safe and sane” fireworks—are illegal in unincorporated Sonoma County and the risk is unacceptable. Period.


Updates

  1. Originally published, July 1, 9:00 am.
  2. July 2, 5:35 pm:
    • North Korea is also expanding a missile plant.[1]
    • Michael Cohen sounds like he’s ‘flipping’ and will cooperate with state, as well as federal, prosecutors, meaning Donald Trump can’t pardon his way out of this one.[2]
    • Republicans may be ducking, but they can’t hide from the Unauthorized migration issue.[3]
    • Philip Zimbardo has defended his Stanford Prison Experiment findings in an interview. The interviewer is unconvinced, but, this being Vox, places excessive faith in scientific method and, through aggressive—even hostile—questioning, doesn’t allow Zimbardo to express himself well. It might be better to do what I have not done, which is to read Zimbardo’s full written response.[4] (Replication)
  3. July 3, 9:04 am:
    • A federal judge has ordered an end to detention for asylum seekers who have passed a “credible fear” test.[5] (Unauthorized migration)
    • It is, apparently by design, all but impossible to reunify separated families.[6] (Unauthorized migration)
    • Somewhat related to the new blog post mentioned above, when presented with the opportunity to offer soothing words to unify the country, Donald Trump instead praised his base.[7] Which is to say that when he looks at the country, he sees only his base and that he is president not for the entire country as it actually is but only that base. This should not be a surprise.
    • Added the notice about fireworks in Graton above.
  4. July 3, 4:49 pm:
    • In a bipartisan report, the Senate Intelligence Committee accepts the deep state’s conclusions that Russia meddled in the U.S. 2016 election and did so at Vladimir Putin’s direction.[8] (Golden showers)
  5. July 3, 8:40 pm:
    • A judge suspects the Trump administration of bad faith in adding a citizenship question to the U.S. census questionnaire and has ordered the administration to explain itself.[9] (Alleged voter fraud)
    • Added a tweet from Laurence Tribe under Golden showers. Tribe seems convinced there was collusion.[10] I don’t have the impression the Senate report goes that far.[11]
  6. July 4, 1:05 am:
    • Functionalist conservatives—specifically, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and so-called ‘free’ traders in Congress are trying to limit Donald Trump’s ability to wage a trade war.[12] (So-called ‘free’ trade)
  7. July 4, 11:51 am:
    • I think Jonathan Chait maybe goes a little too far here, but he thinks that the reason Scott Pruitt hasn’t been fired is that Donald Trump is keeping him on tap to replace Jeff Sessions in a plan to fire Robert Mueller.[13] I guess I’m more interested in why, when he so readily castigates nearly anyone else on Twitter, Trump is relatively silent about or even obsequious toward 1) Russia and Vladimir Putin, 2) Stormy Daniels, and 3) Pruitt. Chait seems close to a common thread here as Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney, did seek to intervene in the case involving Mueller’s raid on Michael Cohen, Trump’s “fixer.” But, for me, the pieces aren’t quite in place.
  8. July 4, 1:45 pm:
    • Added tweet from Michael Avenatti floating the possibility of a run for president against Donald Trump in 2020.

North Korea

So much for Donald Trump’s summit.

Ellen Mitchell, “Satellite images raise alarms about North Korean nukes,” Hill, June 30, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/394896-satellite-images-raise-alarms-aboutth-korean-nukes

Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick, “North Korea working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear program, U.S. officials say,” Washington Post, June 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-working-to-conceal-key-aspects-of-its-nuclear-program-us-officials-say/2018/06/30/deba64fa-7c82-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html


So-called ‘free’ trade

David J. Lynch and Philip Rucker, “To Trump, Harley’s tariff decision is a personal — and unexpected — betrayal,” Washington Post, June 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/to-trump-harleys-tariff-decision-is-a-personal–and-unexpected–betrayal/2018/06/26/a662c718-796d-11e8-aeee-4d04c8ac6158_story.html

Patti Waldmeir, “Harley-Davidson workers back Trump despite jobs shift,” CNBC, June 27, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/27/harley-davidson-workers-back-trump-despite-jobs-shift.html

Jordain Carney, “Appeals court nominees languish in Senate as Flake demands tariff vote,” Hill, June 30, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/394921-appeals-courtinees-languish-in-senate-as-flake-demands-tariff-vote


Unauthorized migration

Reuters, “Migrant children and families now face indefinite detention by US,” Guardian, June 29, 2018, https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/30/migrant-children-and-families-now-face-indefinite-detention-by-us

Rachael Bade, “Immigration storm bears down on Republicans,” Politico, July 2, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/02/immigration-republicans-border-fallout-687895

Isaac Chotiner, “‘This Entire System Is Designed to Make Things Impossible for Immigrants,'” Slate, July 2, 2018, https://amp.slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/child-separation-now-why-its-still-so-difficult-for-immigrant-families-to-be-reunited.html

Richard Gonzales, “Federal Judge Orders Administration To End Arbitrary Detention Of Asylum-Seekers,” National Public Radio, July 2, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/02/625504723/federal-judge-orders-administration-to-end-arbitrary-detention-of-asylum-seekers


Donald Trump

Jonathan Chait, “Interviewer Asks Trump to Bring Country Together. He Praises His Base,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/asked-to-bring-country-together-trump-praises-my-base.html

Jonathan Chait, “Michael Cohen Apparently Flipping Is Extremely Bad News for Trump,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/michael-cohen-apparent-flip-is-extremely-bad-news-for-trump.html


Replication

Brian Resnick, “Philip Zimbardo defends the Stanford Prison Experiment, his most famous work,” Vox, June 28, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/28/17509470/stanford-prison-experiment-zimbardo-interview


Golden showers

Chris Megerian, “Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-russia-intel-20180703-story.html


Alleged voter fraud

Avery Anapol, “Judge orders Trump admin to explain how it decided to add citizenship question to census,” Hill, July 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/395400-federal-judge-says-trump-admin-acted-in-bad-faith-with-citizenship


So-called ‘free’ trade

Zeeshan Aleem, “Big business and the GOP are declaring war on Trump’s trade agenda,” Vox, July 3, 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/7/3/17530516/chamber-commerce-trump-tariffs-trade-war-china


Scott Pruitt

Jonathan Chait, “Why Hasn’t Trump Fired Scott Pruitt? Because Pruitt Can Fire Robert Mueller,” New York, July 3, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-scott-pruitt-scandals-attorney-general-can-fire-mueller.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Cheng, “North Korea Expands Key Missile-Manufacturing Plant,” Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-expands-key-missile-manufacturing-plant-1530486907
  2. [2]Jonathan Chait, “Michael Cohen Apparently Flipping Is Extremely Bad News for Trump,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/michael-cohen-apparent-flip-is-extremely-bad-news-for-trump.html
  3. [3]Rachael Bade, “Immigration storm bears down on Republicans,” Politico, July 2, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/02/immigration-republicans-border-fallout-687895
  4. [4]Brian Resnick, “Philip Zimbardo defends the Stanford Prison Experiment, his most famous work,” Vox, June 28, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/28/17509470/stanford-prison-experiment-zimbardo-interview
  5. [5]Richard Gonzales, “Federal Judge Orders Administration To End Arbitrary Detention Of Asylum-Seekers,” National Public Radio, July 2, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/02/625504723/federal-judge-orders-administration-to-end-arbitrary-detention-of-asylum-seekers
  6. [6]Isaac Chotiner, “‘This Entire System Is Designed to Make Things Impossible for Immigrants,'” Slate, July 2, 2018, https://amp.slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/child-separation-now-why-its-still-so-difficult-for-immigrant-families-to-be-reunited.html
  7. [7]Jonathan Chait, “Interviewer Asks Trump to Bring Country Together. He Praises His Base,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/asked-to-bring-country-together-trump-praises-my-base.html
  8. [8]Chris Megerian, “Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-russia-intel-20180703-story.html
  9. [9]Avery Anapol, “Judge orders Trump admin to explain how it decided to add citizenship question to census,” Hill, July 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/395400-federal-judge-says-trump-admin-acted-in-bad-faith-with-citizenship
  10. [10]Laurence Tribe, [microblog post], Twitter, July 3, 2018, https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/1014296363453026305?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
  11. [11]Chris Megerian, “Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-russia-intel-20180703-story.html
  12. [12]Zeeshan Aleem, “Big business and the GOP are declaring war on Trump’s trade agenda,” Vox, July 3, 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/7/3/17530516/chamber-commerce-trump-tariffs-trade-war-china
  13. [13]Jonathan Chait, “Why Hasn’t Trump Fired Scott Pruitt? Because Pruitt Can Fire Robert Mueller,” New York, July 3, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-scott-pruitt-scandals-attorney-general-can-fire-mueller.html

You want proof that most U.S. politicians abhor their constituents? Here it is.

North Korea

I have not found a satisfactory answer to Ryan Lizza’s question. It is, by the way, the same question I was asking, and it just doesn’t seem to matter where you turn: Every analyst is saying pretty much the same thing about this agreement.

Jonathan Freedland, “Trump really has achieved a historic breakthrough – for the Kim dynasty,” Guardian, June 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/12/trump-nuclearth-korea-kim-jong-un

Jennifer Rubin, “How Trump lost the summit before the photographers even left the room,” Washington Post, June 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/06/12/how-trump-lost-the-summit-before-the-photographers-even-left-the-room/

John Wagner, “Trump says North Korea ‘no longer’ a nuclear threat as he returns to Washington,” Washington Post, June 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-says-korth-korea-no-longer-a-nuclear-threat-as-he-returns-to-washington/2018/06/13/b1d69566-6ef0-11e8-bf86-a2351b5ece99_story.html


NAFTA

George Monbiot argues that the way free trade agreements are negotiated is anti-democratic,[1] probably precisely because the people know they’re getting a raw deal.

Always, always, when encountering an emotion-laden word like “free,” to which we are expected to patriotically stand up and salute, ask, “Free for whom? To do what? To whom?” With so-called “free trade” agreements, the answer isn’t any prettier than it is for so-called “free markets.”

George Monbiot, “Donald Trump was right. The rest of the G7 were wrong,” Guardian, June 13, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/trump-nafta-g7-sunset-clause-trade-agreement


James Comey

Erwin Chemerinsky, “Trump’s lawyers say Mueller can’t touch him. Is the president really above the law?” Sacramento Bee, June 12, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article212989114.html


California

I’m still not fond of how Tim Draper would break up the state. A specific plan that would draw my support would recognize, for example, that California’s Bible Belt, that is, the Central Valley, should not be lumped in with the likes of San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. But if you don’t like the conservative bias of the electoral college or if you don’t like the conservatism of the U.S. Senate, breaking up high-population states is the thing to do. What strikes me as interesting here is how consistently mainstream politicians reject such a solution claiming it doesn’t solve any problems—actually it helps to mitigate a huge problem of representation—which is to suggest that they don’t want people to be better represented.

Taryn Luna, “Californians to vote on splitting state three ways,” Sacramento Bee, June 12, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article213068964.html


  1. [1]George Monbiot, “Donald Trump was right. The rest of the G7 were wrong,” Guardian, June 13, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/trump-nafta-g7-sunset-clause-trade-agreement

Most of those 1500 kids are probably okay. Please don’t try to find them.

Updates

    1. Originally published, May 28, 4:05 pm.
    2. May 29, 9:40 am:
      • California Republicans who think the ‘sanctuary state’ is a winning issue may be in for a disappointment.[1] (Unauthorized migrants)
    3. May 30, 12:07 pm:
      • Pursuant to California Supreme Court ruling imposing strict limits on companies’ use of “independent contractor” status to avoid labor protections, notably including minimum wage,[2] San Francisco has subpoenaed Uber and Lyft for proof that drivers who picked up or dropped off in the city were not employees.[3] I am in the class of drivers City Attorney Dennis Herrera is seeking information on. I do not know if he is similarly pursuing the city’s taxi companies who also rely on the “independent contractor” scam. (Ridesharing)
      • CNN has a story on the allegedly missing Unauthorized migrants children.[4]
    4. May 30, 4:25 pm:
      • I think I’ve said this here before, but a long time ago my mother, a now-retired journalist, explained to me that it’s the obstruction that gets them, referring to powerful miscreants who might escape prosecution for underlying crimes but fall prey to prosecutors on obstruction of justice charges. She was right when she said it and her admonition sure as hell looks to be right in reference to the Robert Mueller investigation as it emerges that Donald Trump tried to persuade Jeff Sessions to “unrecuse” himself.[5] (James Comey)
    5. May 31, 8:08 am:
      • Donald Trump now claims he did not fire James Comey over the Russia investigation.[6] I am reminded of Muhammad Ali’s line, “Float like a butterfly sting like a bee – his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”[7] Why? Because this is so transparently an effort to do just that, and so ridiculously and pathetically a failure to do it.
    6. May 31, 10:28 am:
      • I was hoping the Washington Post might have more detail than the Hill story in the earlier update[8] on Donald Trump today denying that the Russia investigation was the reason he fired James Comey. I was disappointed.[9]
    7. June 1, 12:35 am:
      • Higher education advocates delivered burrito bowls in protest[10] of California Governor Jerry Brown’s suggestion that universities should be more like Chipotle Mexican food restaurants.[11] (California universities)
      • I’ve been saying for years that the single most effective thing one can do for the environment is to go vegan. A new, comprehensive study confirms this to be the case.[12] (Plant-based lifestyles)

Unauthorized migrants

One of the more truly sickening stories that’s just been too much for me to bear has been on the Trump administration’s decision to separate parents from children when they cross the border in violation of the law.[13] This story became especially horrifying when it emerged that the Department of Homeland Security had lost track of something like 1500 children.[14] Rumors spread like wildfire—and were accepted as truth—that these children had been sold to human traffickers, a fear that presumably stems from an incident that occurred during the Obama presidency.[15] I am reproducing here a long Twitter thread that I would prefer were in the form of a sanely citable article:

Please note, in the following, Josie Rice means ‘alone’ not ‘alien.’ She blames autocorrect.

For background on the following tweet, see this story from the Washington Post.

From here the thread goes into conversation, where Rice’s admonition “that at least 50 percent of people on twitter refuse to learn basic reading comprehension” applies. Typographical errors in the above are hers—the only way to correct these on Twitter is by deleting and reposting the tweet, which fucks up a thread.

Leila Miller, “HHS Official Says Agency Lost Track of Nearly 1,500 Unaccompanied Minors,” Public Broadcasting System, April 26, 2018, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/hhs-official-says-agency-lost-track-of-nearly-1500-unaccompanied-minors/

Tal Kopan, “New DHS policy could separate families caught crossing the border illegally,” CNN, May 7, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/07/politics/illegal-immigration-border-prosecutions-families-separated/index.html

Tal Kopan, “DHS secretary defends separating families at the border,” CNN, May 15, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/15/politics/dhs-separating-families-secretary-nielsen-hearing/index.html

Dakin Andone, “US lost track of 1,500 immigrant children, but says it’s not ‘legally responsible,'” CNN, May 27, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/26/politics/hhs-lost-track-1500-immigrant-children/index.html

Taryn Luna, “Is ‘sanctuary state’ the best political issue for the GOP in years? Not in California, experts warn,” Sacramento Bee, May 29, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article211445449.html

A. J. Willingham, “Here’s what’s really happening with the 1,500 ‘missing’ immigrant children,” CNN, May 29, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/us/immigration-refugee-child-missing-hhs-obama-photo-trnd/index.html


Sonoma County wildfires

It’s important to point out that CalFire’s findings are not about the Sonoma County wildfires but rather about other Northern California wildfires.[16] Similar allegations have been made against PG&E in the Sonoma County wildfires[17] and I continue to see advertising for legal help for victims that targets the company.

Taryn Luna, “PG&E responsible for three Northern California wildfires, Cal Fire alleges,” Sacramento Bee, May 25, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article211958659.html


Julian Assange

Jim Sciutto and Jenna McLaughlin, “Assange’s refuge in Ecuadorian embassy ‘in jeopardy,'” CNN, May 25, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/24/politics/julian-assange-ecuador-embassy-jeopardy/index.html


North Korea

As I keep saying, follow deeds, not words.

Zack Beauchamp, “The real reason Trump’s North Korea summit failed,” Vox, May 24, 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/5/24/17389896/trump-cancelsth-korea-summit-kim-jong-un


California universities

Jerry Brown is a disgusting idiotic hypocrite who certainly got better than the education he advocates here.[18]

Alexei Koseff, “Be more like Chipotle, Jerry Brown tells California universities,” Sacramento Bee, May 24, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article211828544.html


Ridesharing

City Attorney of San Francisco, “Herrera investigates Uber, Lyft over driver pay and benefits,” PR Newswire, May 29, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/herrera-investigates-uber-lyft-over-driver-pay-and-benefits-300655892.html

Bryan Menegus, “San Francisco Subpoenas Uber and Lyft for Proof Drivers Aren’t Employees,” Gizmodo, May 29, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-and-lyft-for-proof-drivers-1826398148

Heather Somerville, “San Francisco subpoenas Uber, Lyft on driver classification,” Reuters, May 29, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ridehailing-sanfrancisco/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-lyft-on-driver-classification-idUSKCN1IU2IX


James Comey

Aaron Blake, “Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice probe is bigger than we realized,” Washington Post, May 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/05/30/the-trump-obstruction-of-justice-probe-is-bigger-than-we-realized/

Jordan Fabian, “Trump claims he did not fire Comey over Russia,” Hill, May 31, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/390015-trump-claims-he-did-not-fire-comey-over-russia

John Wagner, “Trump again insists Russia probe was not the reason he fired Comey, despite previous comments to the contrary,” Washington Post, May 31, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-again-insists-russia-probe-was-not-the-reason-he-fired-comey-despite-previous-comments-to-the-contrary/2018/05/31/03ae6444-64ca-11e8-a768-ed043e33f1dc_story.html


Plant-based lifestyles

Damian Carrington, “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth,” Guardian, May 31, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth


  1. [1]Taryn Luna, “Is ‘sanctuary state’ the best political issue for the GOP in years? Not in California, experts warn,” Sacramento Bee, May 29, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article211445449.html
  2. [2]Lydia DePillis, “California ruling puts pressure on Uber, Lyft and other gig economy employers,” CNN, May 1, 2018,http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/01/news/economy/california-gig-employer-ruling/index.html
  3. [3]City Attorney of San Francisco, “Herrera investigates Uber, Lyft over driver pay and benefits,” PR Newswire, May 29, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/herrera-investigates-uber-lyft-over-driver-pay-and-benefits-300655892.html; Bryan Menegus, “San Francisco Subpoenas Uber and Lyft for Proof Drivers Aren’t Employees,” Gizmodo, May 29, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-and-lyft-for-proof-drivers-1826398148; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco subpoenas Uber, Lyft on driver classification,” Reuters, May 29, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ridehailing-sanfrancisco/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-lyft-on-driver-classification-idUSKCN1IU2IX
  4. [4]A. J. Willingham, “Here’s what’s really happening with the 1,500 ‘missing’ immigrant children,” CNN, May 29, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/us/immigration-refugee-child-missing-hhs-obama-photo-trnd/index.html
  5. [5]Aaron Blake, “Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice probe is bigger than we realized,” Washington Post, May 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/05/30/the-trump-obstruction-of-justice-probe-is-bigger-than-we-realized/
  6. [6]Jordan Fabian, “Trump claims he did not fire Comey over Russia,” Hill, May 31, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/390015-trump-claims-he-did-not-fire-comey-over-russia
  7. [7]Muhammad Ali, quoted in Chris Johnston, “Muhammad Ali’s best quotes: ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,'” Guardian, June 4, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jun/04/muhammad-ali-greatest-quotes-sting-butterfly-louisville-lip
  8. [8]Jordan Fabian, “Trump claims he did not fire Comey over Russia,” Hill, May 31, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/390015-trump-claims-he-did-not-fire-comey-over-russia
  9. [9]John Wagner, “Trump again insists Russia probe was not the reason he fired Comey, despite previous comments to the contrary,” Washington Post, May 31, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-again-insists-russia-probe-was-not-the-reason-he-fired-comey-despite-previous-comments-to-the-contrary/2018/05/31/03ae6444-64ca-11e8-a768-ed043e33f1dc_story.html
  10. [10]Alexei Koseff, “Burrito bowls for Jerry Brown: ‘It’s insulting’ to compare UC to Chipotle, advocates say,” Sacramento Bee, May 31, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article212284659.html
  11. [11]Alexei Koseff, “Be more like Chipotle, Jerry Brown tells California universities,” Sacramento Bee, May 24, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article211828544.html
  12. [12]Damian Carrington, “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth,” Guardian, May 31, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth
  13. [13]Tal Kopan, “New DHS policy could separate families caught crossing the border illegally,” CNN, May 7, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/07/politics/illegal-immigration-border-prosecutions-families-separated/index.html; Tal Kopan, “DHS secretary defends separating families at the border,” CNN, May 15, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/15/politics/dhs-separating-families-secretary-nielsen-hearing/index.html
  14. [14]Dakin Andone, “US lost track of 1,500 immigrant children, but says it’s not ‘legally responsible,'” CNN, May 27, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/26/politics/hhs-lost-track-1500-immigrant-children/index.html; Leila Miller, “HHS Official Says Agency Lost Track of Nearly 1,500 Unaccompanied Minors,” Public Broadcasting System, April 26, 2018, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/hhs-official-says-agency-lost-track-of-nearly-1500-unaccompanied-minors/
  15. [15]Abbie VanSickle, “Obama administration placed children with human traffickers, report says,” Washington Post, January 28, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/obama-administration-placed-children-with-human-traffickers-report-says/2016/01/28/39465050-c542-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html
  16. [16]Taryn Luna, “PG&E responsible for three Northern California wildfires, Cal Fire alleges,” Sacramento Bee, May 25, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article211958659.html
  17. [17]Paul Payne and Mary Callahan, “Santa Rosa couple sues PG&E over Sonoma County fires,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, October 18, 2017, http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/7535529-181/santa-rosa-couple-sues-pge
  18. [18]Alexei Koseff, “Be more like Chipotle, Jerry Brown tells California universities,” Sacramento Bee, May 24, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article211828544.html

Overwhelming evil

During the tenure of the Trump administration, this newsletter has become ever less ‘daily’ and so I have dropped any pretense that it is or is even meant to be. It’s not that things aren’t happening. It’s that the evil is painfully predictable evil of a most mean-spirited authoritarian populist kind with a president who certainly verges on the racist aspects of paleoconservatism (authoritarian populists are racist but deny that they are) while celebrating the destruction of our environment; leading the U.S. toward war with Iran and, still possibly, North Korea; and prosecuting even more viciously a war on the poor. Meanwhile, too many Democrats imagine that Trump can be dealt with ‘normally,’ that this is somehow politics as usual, even if a little more offensive than usual.

There’s nothing really new here except an unimaginable degree of sleaze and that somehow Donald Trump’s penis size became an issue[1] and that rather than a special prosecutor being a primary threat to his presidency,[2] that threat might come from an adult film star or a number of other pending lawsuits.[3] This that is new is only of peripheral interest to me (even if I’ll openly snicker about Trump’s penis size where, I figure, others are too embarrassed to do so). And the rest is just really, really tragic with very little hope of improvement. I knew there would be evil.[4] I am sure I underestimated it. But as this country became much too large, it was probably inevitable (which is the subject of my work in progress).


Updates

  1. May 17, 6:22 pm:
    • Exceptions to the proposed work requirement for Medicaid would disproportionately benefit whites.[5]
    • It’s difficult to keep track of all of Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s scandals. They are legion, but “[t]he president, and most congressional Republicans, have stuck with Pruitt, presumably because he has proven skilled at dismantling the EPA.”[6]

Donald Trump

Warren Richey, “Mueller aside, Trump now faces legal peril from a host of sources,” Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2018, https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2018/0511/Mueller-aside-Trump-now-faces-legal-peril-from-a-host-of-sources


James Comey

Dana Bash, “Giuliani: Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers they can’t indict a president,” CNN, May 16, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/politics/rudy-giuliani-robert-mueller-indictment/index.html


Polarization

Neil Gross, “Is the United States Too Big to Govern?” New York Times, May 11, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/opinion/sunday/united-states-too-big.html


Medicaid

Christine Emba, “The GOP is quietly crafting work requirement waivers — for white people,” Washington Post, May 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-is-quietly-crafting-work-requirement-waivers–for-white-people/2018/05/16/fcef4eb8-5928-11e8-8836-a4a123c359ab_story.html


Scott Pruitt

Dana Milbank, “Scott Pruitt has an emergency,” Washington Post, May 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/at-the-epa-lights-sirens-and-lots-of-smoke/2018/05/16/9d4e885e-594e-11e8-858f-12becb4d6067_story.html


  1. [1]Marlow Stern, “Stormy Daniels’ Penthouse Revelations: On Trump’s Hair, Penis and More,” Daily Beast, May 7, 2018, https://www.thedailybeast.com/stormy-daniels-penthouse-revelations-on-trumps-hair-penis-and-more
  2. [2]Dana Bash, “Giuliani: Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers they can’t indict a president,” CNN, May 16, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/politics/rudy-giuliani-robert-mueller-indictment/index.html
  3. [3]Warren Richey, “Mueller aside, Trump now faces legal peril from a host of sources,” Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2018, https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2018/0511/Mueller-aside-Trump-now-faces-legal-peril-from-a-host-of-sources
  4. [4]David Benfell, “An apology,” Not Housebroken, January 13, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/01/13/an-apology/
  5. [5]Christine Emba, “The GOP is quietly crafting work requirement waivers — for white people,” Washington Post, May 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-is-quietly-crafting-work-requirement-waivers–for-white-people/2018/05/16/fcef4eb8-5928-11e8-8836-a4a123c359ab_story.html
  6. [6]Dana Milbank, “Scott Pruitt has an emergency,” Washington Post, May 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/at-the-epa-lights-sirens-and-lots-of-smoke/2018/05/16/9d4e885e-594e-11e8-858f-12becb4d6067_story.html