Bombs under bridges

Ireland

I remember making Nic Robertson’s mistake. It is to look at violence and to see evil, without seriously considering the underlying cause:

The IRA [Irish Republican Army] was at the forefront of the conflict [“The Troubles”] – killing, bombing, shooting and intimidating their way to influence. They had grown out of a demand for equality in Northern Ireland’s deeply bigoted society that often gave advantages to Protestants over Catholics.[1]

First, this neglects that Ireland has been an English colonial project since at least the 17th century:

The mandate for extermination [of Native Americans] anticipated similar calls for ruthless wars against a dehumanised enemy that would be heard from land-hungry colonists in southern Africa, New Zealand and Australia. It was also a reminder that the first colonisation of North America was contemporaneous with the far larger settlement of Ireland, mainly by Presbyterian Scottish immigrants. Between 1620 and 1642 120,000 colonists arrived to help undertake what Sir Francis Bacon revealing called ‘the reduction to civility’ of the Gaelic-speaking Catholic Irish.[2]

Lawrence James’ description is brief—he goes on to describe The Troubles at greater length later in his book. But nonetheless, we see crucial commonalities: The hunger for land—Lebensraum if you will—masked as a “civilizing” project, as if English Catholics (Episcopalians) of Henry VIII’s church were somehow more civilized than Roman Catholics, and carried out by Scottish Presbyterians, as if even they were somehow more civilized than Roman Catholics.

It is in that historical context that we should see Boris Johnson’s likely implausible notion of a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.[3]

He called again for the link during the Conservative leadership campaign, despite engineers expressing scepticism at the idea of building such a link over waters more than 300 metres deep in places, parts of which were used by the Ministry of Defence to dump more than 1m tonnes of obsolete munitions.[4]

And it is in that historical context that we should see Ulsterist resistance to what is now being called a “frontstop,” the customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain necessary to avoid such a border between the North and South.[5]

There is no humane logic to such bigotry and the Irish, seen by the English as a “fickle, childlike race, unable to subdue their wilder passions,”[6] suffered it for centuries. It is little wonder that finally, early in the 20th century they rose up only to be lumped in with Communists and trade unions. The IRA resorted to violence to displace the colonizer and the conflict took a familiar pattern of asymmetric conflict culminating in partition and independence for the Republic of Ireland, excluding the North. But the fight for the North continued.[7]

Robertson foolishly treats Sinn Fein as a Northern Irish organization,[8] But it was in Dublin with the IRA at the beginning.[9] And the Ulster Protestants seek to perpetuate a vicious subjugation of Catholics.

Nic Robertson, “Sinn Fein surged in Ireland’s election. Here’s why that’s so controversial,” CNN, February 10, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/10/europe/ireland-election-sinn-fein-analysis-intl/index.html

Peter Walker, “Government ‘actively looking into’ Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge,” Guardian, February 10, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/10/boris-johnson-northern-ireland-scotland-bridge-plan-being-actively-looked-into-no-10


  1. [1]Nic Robertson, “Sinn Fein surged in Ireland’s election. Here’s why that’s so controversial,” CNN, February 10, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/10/europe/ireland-election-sinn-fein-analysis-intl/index.html
  2. [2]Lawrence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994), 14.
  3. [3]Peter Walker, “Government ‘actively looking into’ Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge,” Guardian, February 10, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/10/boris-johnson-northern-ireland-scotland-bridge-plan-being-actively-looked-into-no-10
  4. [4]Peter Walker, “Government ‘actively looking into’ Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge,” Guardian, February 10, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/10/boris-johnson-northern-ireland-scotland-bridge-plan-being-actively-looked-into-no-10
  5. [5]Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin, “Boris Johnson and EU reach Brexit deal without DUP backing,” Guardian, October 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/17/boris-johnson-and-eu-reach-brexit-deal-without-dup-backing; Daniel Boffey et al., “Boris Johnson ‘on brink of Brexit deal’ after border concessions,” Guardian, October 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/15/boris-johnson-close-to-brexit-deal-after-border-concessions; Rory Carroll and Lisa O’Carroll, “Rival unionists accuse DUP of catastrophic Brexit miscalculation,” Guardian, October 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/17/rival-unionists-accuse-dup-of-catastrophic-brexit-miscalculation; Peter Foster, “Brexit plan revealed: Telegraph obtains proposal Boris Johnson will send to Brussels,” Telegraph, October 1, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/01/brexit-plan-revealed-prime-minister-rolls-sleeves-send-brussels/; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Reuters, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Laurence Norman and Max Colchester, “U.K., EU Agree on Draft Brexit Deal, Paving Way for Key Vote,” Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/brexit-talks-are-dealt-a-blow-as-northern-irish-party-rejects-draft-11571294766; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues; James Rothwell, “DUP’s demand for a veto over deal brings talks to standstill as consent not customs becomes crucial issue,” Telegraph, October 16, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/16/dups-demand-veto-deal-brings-talks-standstill-consent-not-customs/
  6. [6]Lawrence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994), 377.
  7. [7]Lawrence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994).
  8. [8]Nic Robertson, “Sinn Fein surged in Ireland’s election. Here’s why that’s so controversial,” CNN, February 10, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/10/europe/ireland-election-sinn-fein-analysis-intl/index.html
  9. [9]Lawrence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994).

Bernie Sanders’ mistake

Scotland

Kieran Andrews, “Nicola Sturgeon ‘would resort to court battle to secure referendum,’” Times, January 31, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/past-six-days/2020-01-31/news/nicola-sturgeon-would-resort-to-court-battle-to-secure-referendum-jglmr7d3n


Palestine

Contrary to an initial appearance of some Arab backing for Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,”[1] the Arab League unanimously rejected it.[2]

Times of Israel, “Backing Abbas, Arab League rejects Trump’s Middle East peace plan,” February 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/backing-abbas-arab-league-rejects-trumps-middle-east-peace-plan/

Times of Israel, “Gantz vows to advance US peace plan immediately if elected prime minister,” February 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gantz-vows-to-advance-us-peace-plan-immediately-if-he-becomes-prime-minister/


Bernie Sanders

The move to restore superdelegates to the first ballot, pretty obviously to stop Bernie Sanders, enjoys only minority support.[3] But some of us have not forgotten 2016.[4]

I understand why Sanders trusts the Democratic Party. In a bipartisan system, he has little choice. I still think it’s a mistake.

David Siders, “DNC members discuss rules change to stop Sanders at convention,” Politico, January 31, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/31/dnc-superdelegates-110083

Eoin Higgins, “DNC Insiders Plot Return of Superdelegates to Stop Sanders at Convention,” Truthout, February 1, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/dnc-insiders-plot-return-of-superdelegates-to-stop-sanders-at-convention/


  1. [1]Felicia Schwartz and Michael R. Gordon, “Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan Charts Two-State Course for Israelis, Palestinians,” Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-set-to-release-middle-east-peace-plan-11580221616
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “Backing Abbas, Arab League rejects Trump’s Middle East peace plan,” February 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/backing-abbas-arab-league-rejects-trumps-middle-east-peace-plan/
  3. [3]Eoin Higgins, “DNC Insiders Plot Return of Superdelegates to Stop Sanders at Convention,” Truthout, February 1, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/dnc-insiders-plot-return-of-superdelegates-to-stop-sanders-at-convention/; David Siders, “DNC members discuss rules change to stop Sanders at convention,” Politico, January 31, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/31/dnc-superdelegates-110083
  4. [4]Donna Brazile, “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC,” Politico, November 2, 2017, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/02/clinton-brazile-hacks-2016-215774

Free Scotland

As I wonder how in the world I’m going to pay my taxes this year, I see one of my neighbors may have a more pressing dilemma.

There’s a bright pink notice taped to her door informing her of an arrest warrant. Assuming its veracity, she was busted for speeding and not having had her vehicle inspected (Pennsylvania has an annual vehicle inspection scheme to help keep local mechanics afloat).

From what I gather, such violations are how the local cops harass Blacks. Whites rarely face such tickets.

And it’s not like I’m the only white noticing this. Sure, I talk about all this with Blacks, but I also talk about it with whites. And a few of them have noticed at least some of what I’ve noticed. Those that grew up here are less likely to have noticed, but when I inform them of my observations, I don’t even have to explain my logic—they, too, are often horrified.


Scotland

As this issue goes online, the hour for Brexit has now passed.

Kieran Andrews, “Brexit is a boost for independence,” Times, January 31, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/brexit-is-a-boost-for-independence-njdh6zmfc

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon calls for patience over indyref2,” January 31, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-51311288


Palestine

Jerusalem Online, “Bibi Steps Back from ‘Immediate’ Annexation Promise,” January 31, 2020, https://www.jerusalemonline.com/bibi-steps-back-from-immediate-annexation-promise/


Scottish independence redux

Scotland

In the abstract, I absolutely favor Scottish independence. But in fairness, there are reasons for skepticism: First, while Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party may indeed be able to bend the U.K. establishment into allowing another referendum, it might well, once again, fail to pass.[1] Even if it passes, there are doubts about Scotland’s ability to support itself,[2] which I think exceed those in the earlier referendum.

We are just about to find out how well Boris Johnson’s humbug about Brexit will play. I fear that Sturgeon’s is little better.

Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks, “SNP turns focus back to independence after election boost,” Guardian, December 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/16/snp-turns-focus-back-to-independence-after-election-boost

Philip Sim, “Scottish independence: Could Scotland leave the UK and stay in the EU?” British Broadcasting Corporation December 18, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50813510


Buddhism

There is a new blog entry entitled, “Solipsism as intellectualism and as spiritualism.”

Alexander Wynne, “Who was the Buddha?” Aeon, December 17, 2019, https://aeon.co/essays/was-the-buddha-an-awakened-prince-or-a-humble-itinerant


  1. [1]Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks, “SNP turns focus back to independence after election boost,” Guardian, December 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/16/snp-turns-focus-back-to-independence-after-election-boost; Philip Sim, “Scottish independence: Could Scotland leave the UK and stay in the EU?” British Broadcasting Corporation December 18, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50813510
  2. [2]Philip Sim, “Scottish independence: Could Scotland leave the UK and stay in the EU?” British Broadcasting Corporation December 18, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50813510

Tory triumph: Let the madness begin

Brexit

It’s a historic defeat for Labour,[1] not only because of the new margin in Parliament,[2] but because so many voted.[3]

I’m not sure how much attention I’ll pay to the analysis. But it appears that Labour’s manifesto was not more attractive to voters than the Tories’ certainty on Brexit.[4]

Having studied conservatism exhaustively for my dissertation,[5] if I had to boil it all down to a single word it would be this: hateful. In its various forms, conservatism hates the “other” and identifies with the powerful, utterly disdaining the weak. And this is what Britons have voted for.

William Booth, Karla Adam, and James McAuley, “U.K. election: Boris Johnson wins majority, while Jeremy Corbyn says he won’t lead another general election campaign,” Washington Post, December 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/uk-general-election-2019/2019/12/12/cc5ecb98-17ae-11ea-80d6-d0ca7007273f_story.html

Kieran Andrews, “UK election results: SNP landslide heralds battle over Scottish independence,” Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/uk-election-results-snp-sweep-to-landslide-victory-in-scotland-qxxjk3ss3

Jason Douglas and James Hookway, “Vote Raises New Questions About U.K.’s Future,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/vote-raises-new-questions-about-u-k-s-future-11576270316

Ian Graham, “In a first, Irish nationalists overtake unionists at UK election,” Reuters, December 13, 2019, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-election-nireland-nationalist-idUKKBN1YH0LK

Sam Knight, “Boris Johnson Wins, and Britain Chooses the Devil It Knows,” New Yorker, December 13, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/boris-johnson-wins-and-britain-chooses-the-devil-it-knows

Haroon Siddique, Andrew Sparrow, and Kevin Rawlinson, “UK general election 2019: Tories secure majority as Corbyn says he won’t lead Labour into next election – live news,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/dec/12/general-election-2019-uk-live-labour-tories-corbyn-boris-johnson-results-exit-poll


Armenia

As near as I have been able to determine, the resolution passed by the Senate[6] is correct. As David Fromkin puts it,

There are historians today who continue to support the claim of Enver and Talaat that the Ottoman rulers acted only after Armenia had risen against them. But observers at the time who were by no means anti-Turk reported that such was not the case. German officers stationed there agreed that the area was quiet until the deportations began.[7][8]

Zachary Basu, “Senate passes Armenian genocide bill in move likely to infuriate Turkey,” Axios, December 12, 2019, https://www.axios.com/armenian-genocide-resolution-senate-turkey-1931783f-88e2-41c8-a488-91d9049be529.html


 

  1. [1]Haroon Siddique, Andrew Sparrow, and Kevin Rawlinson, “UK general election 2019: Tories secure majority as Corbyn says he won’t lead Labour into next election – live news,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/dec/12/general-election-2019-uk-live-labour-tories-corbyn-boris-johnson-results-exit-poll
  2. [2]William Booth, Karla Adam, and James McAuley, “U.K. election: Boris Johnson wins majority, while Jeremy Corbyn says he won’t lead another general election campaign,” Washington Post, December 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/uk-general-election-2019/2019/12/12/cc5ecb98-17ae-11ea-80d6-d0ca7007273f_story.html
  3. [3]Verity Bowman, Henry Bodkin, and Tony Diver, “General election 2019 live: Result ‘too close to call’ as voting continues – latest news,” Telegraph, December 12, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/12/12/general-election-2019-vote-news-exit-polls-results-live-latest/; Joe Roberts, “‘Longest queues ever’ as people stand in line around the block to vote,” Metro, December 12, 2019, https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/12/longest-queues-ever-people-stand-line-around-block-vote-11771760/
  4. [4]Haroon Siddique, Andrew Sparrow, and Kevin Rawlinson, “UK general election 2019: Tories secure majority as Corbyn says he won’t lead Labour into next election – live news,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/dec/12/general-election-2019-uk-live-labour-tories-corbyn-boris-johnson-results-exit-poll
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  6. [6]Zachary Basu, “Senate passes Armenian genocide bill in move likely to infuriate Turkey,” Axios, December 12, 2019, https://www.axios.com/armenian-genocide-resolution-senate-turkey-1931783f-88e2-41c8-a488-91d9049be529.html
  7. [7]Ulrich Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire 1914-1918 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), p. 203.
  8. [8]David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace (New York: Owl, 1989).

Boris Johnson, the black marketeer

Brexit

We still don’t really know what Boris Johnson’s allegedly generous offer to the European Union was. But what we’re seeing now[1] certainly fits a pattern of seeking to blame the EU for any failure to reach a deal. But the Europeans have every reason to suspect that what Johnson seeks would create a pathway for a black market, which is precisely why the Irish backstop is so contentious.[2] And as we learned with Saddam Hussein, black markets can be incredibly lucrative for those who facilitate them, which leads to me to suspect that this is in fact Johnson’s plan.

Owen Bennett and James Crisp, “Fury as EU demands more Brexit concessions,” Telegraph, October 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/13/fury-eu-demands-brexit-concessions/


Catalonia

Pamela Rolfe and James McAuley, “Spanish Supreme Court sentences Catalan separatists to prison, sparking protests,” Washington Post, October 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/spanish-supreme-court-sentences-catalan-separatists-to-jail/2019/10/14/a0590366-ee59-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html


Jeff Bezos

Charles Duhigg, “Is Amazon Unstoppable?” New Yorker, October 10, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/21/is-amazon-unstoppable

Franklin Foer, “Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan,” Atlantic, November 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/what-jeff-bezos-wants/598363/


Kurdistan

I guess Donald Trump did an oopsie.

Tobias Hoonhout, “U.S. Set to Impose New Sanctions on Turkey in Response to Syria Incursion: Report,” National Review, October 14, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/u-s-set-to-impose-new-sanctions-on-turkey-in-response-to-syria-incursion-report/

Saleha Mohsin, Jennifer Jacobs, and Ryan Beene, “U.S. Urges Immediate Cease-Fire in Syria as It Sanctions Turkey,” Bloomberg, October 14, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-14/u-s-sanctions-turkey-after-trump-opened-way-for-move-into-syria


  1. [1]Owen Bennett and James Crisp, “Fury as EU demands more Brexit concessions,” Telegraph, October 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/13/fury-eu-demands-brexit-concessions/
  2. [2]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues; Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz

Catalonia is still occupied territory, Daily Bullshit, December 22, 2017

Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy loses an election he forced, after violently disrupting an election and deposing the duly elected government in Catalonia, to try to quell the secession movement. But he continues to insist on “the constitution,”[1] which probably means he is unwilling to consider revising that constitution to allow for secession.

Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, “Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll,” Guardian, December 22, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/21/catalonia-election-set-to-give-victory-to-pro-independence-parties


Taxes

Yesterday, it was Masha Gessen on a cabinet meeting following passage of the tax bill.[2] But it seems there was more to come.[3] Both are writing for the New Yorker, a publication I treated as functionalist conservative in my dissertation.[4] So while I have no argument with their criticism and indeed share their disquiet, I would point out that it is part of an ongoing functionalist conservative critique of an authoritarian populist president.

John Cassidy, “The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018,” New Yorker, December 22, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-republican-grovelling-at-the-white-house-was-an-alarm-call-for-2018


Katharine Graham

I don’t expect to point to a neoconservative movie review very often. This one[5] is completely unexpected for me. It’s worth a read.

Amy Henderson, “In ‘The Post’ Katharine Graham Finally Gets Her Due,” Weekly Standard, December 22, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/in-the-post-katharine-graham-finally-gets-her-due/article/2010932


  1. [1]Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, “Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll,” Guardian, December 22, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/21/catalonia-election-set-to-give-victory-to-pro-independence-parties
  2. [2]Masha Gessen, “The Most Frightening Aspect of Trump’s Tax Triumph,” New Yorker, December 21, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-frightening-aspect-of-trumps-tax-triumph
  3. [3]John Cassidy, “The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018,” New Yorker, December 22, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-republican-grovelling-at-the-white-house-was-an-alarm-call-for-2018
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  5. [5]Amy Henderson, “In ‘The Post’ Katharine Graham Finally Gets Her Due,” Weekly Standard, December 22, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/in-the-post-katharine-graham-finally-gets-her-due/article/2010932

A horror in Catalonia is about to begin: Daily Bullshit, October 27-30, 2017

There are two new blog postings, here and here.


Updates

  1. Originally published, October 28, 12:02 pm.
  2. October 29, 4:39 am:
    • In an article I was having trouble archiving earlier, Feargus O’Sullivan points out a false dichotomy in the Catalan and Spanish government positions.[1] (Catalonia)
    • John Cassidy makes the best of a near-total absence of specific information about the first charges Robert Mueller has filed in his investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election[2] while John Bennett takes a dive into speculation about who might be charged for what.[3] (James Comey)
  3. October 29, 11:41 am:
    • A large number of people, who presumably didn’t turn out for the referendum on independence for Catalonia, now protest the outcome, effectively endorsing election violence waged by the Spanish government.[4] So okay, children, repeat after me: STOCK-HOLM SYN-DROME!
  4. October 30, 1:08 pm:
    • Robert Mueller has charged Paul Manafort and Richard Gates with several crimes.[5] They were arrested[6] and pled not guilty.[7] (James Comey)
    • In addition to the charges against Manafort and Gates, it was revealed that a “Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his meetings with [a professor who had close ties to the Kremlin and claimed that Russian officials could provide the Trump campaign with ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton] and with a female Russian national he believed was related to President Vladimir Putin.”[8] (Donald Trump’s aides)
    • One of my pet peeves is the—okay, it’s a word, but it’s disgusting—word pleaded. I don’t know when mass media decided that pled is not a word and to use the word pleaded instead, but pled is still in my copy of the Oxford Dictionary of English. Take your pleaded crap and shove it up your fucking ass.

Catalonia

I comment on this situation here.

William Booth and Pamela Rolfe, “Catalonia finally declared independence — but Spain vows it won’t last long,” Washington Post, October 27, 2017,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/a-day-of-fireworks-in-catalonia-both-spanish-and-catalan-parliaments-are-scheduled-to-convene/2017/10/27/09685d34-ba90-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html

Feargus O’Sullivan, “Catalonia Just Declared Independence,” CityLab, October 27, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/10/catalonia-just-declared-independence/544207/

Laura Smith-Spark and Claudia Rebaza, “Catalonia government dissolved after declaring independence from Spain,” CNN, October 27, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/27/europe/catalonia-independence-spain/index.html


James Comey

John T. Bennett, “Analysis: 5 Possible Outcomes of First Mueller Indictments,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, October 28, 2017, https://www.rollcall.com/news//analysis-5-possible-outcomes-first-mueller-indictments/

John Cassidy, “Robert Mueller Sends a Message: He’s Deadly Serious,” New Yorker, October 28, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/robert-mueller-sends-a-message-hes-deadly-serious

Associated Press, “Ex-Trump chairman Paul Manafort and his aide, Rick Gates, plead not guilty in Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-paul-manafort-and-business-associate-1509365548-htmlstory.html

Joseph Tanfani, “Trump campaign manager Manafort, ex-aide charged in Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-paul-manafort-and-business-associate-1509365548-htmlstory.html

Aruna Viswanatha and Del Quentin Wilber, “Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Charged in Russia Probe,” Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-trump-campaign-chairman-paul-manafort-charged-in-russia-probe-1509365767


Donald Trump’s aides

Shane Harris, “Former Trump Adviser Contacted Russian Who Promised ‘Dirt’ on Hillary: Plea,” Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-trump-foreign-policy-adviser-to-plead-guilty-to-lying-to-fbi-1509374354

Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Carol D. Leonnig, “Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel,” Washington Post, October 30, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/manafort-and-former-business-partner-asked-to-surrender-in-connection-with-special-counsel-probe/2017/10/30/6fe051f0-bd67-11e7-959c-fe2b598d8c00_story.html


  1. [1]Feargus O’Sullivan, “Catalonia Just Declared Independence,” CityLab, October 27, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/10/catalonia-just-declared-independence/544207/
  2. [2]John Cassidy, “Robert Mueller Sends a Message: He’s Deadly Serious,” New Yorker, October 28, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/robert-mueller-sends-a-message-hes-deadly-serious
  3. [3]John T. Bennett, “Analysis: 5 Possible Outcomes of First Mueller Indictments,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, October 28, 2017, https://www.rollcall.com/news//analysis-5-possible-outcomes-first-mueller-indictments/
  4. [4]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Catalonia independence: Huge Barcelona pro-Spain rally,” October 29, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41794087
  5. [5]Aruna Viswanatha and Del Quentin Wilber, “Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Charged in Russia Probe,” Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-trump-campaign-chairman-paul-manafort-charged-in-russia-probe-1509365767
  6. [6]Joseph Tanfani, “Trump campaign manager Manafort, ex-aide charged in Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-paul-manafort-and-business-associate-1509365548-htmlstory.html
  7. [7]Associated Press, “Ex-Trump chairman Paul Manafort and his aide, Rick Gates, plead not guilty in Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-paul-manafort-and-business-associate-1509365548-htmlstory.html
  8. [8]Shane Harris, “Former Trump Adviser Contacted Russian Who Promised ‘Dirt’ on Hillary: Plea,” Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-trump-foreign-policy-adviser-to-plead-guilty-to-lying-to-fbi-1509374354; Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Carol D. Leonnig, “Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel,” Washington Post, October 30, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/manafort-and-former-business-partner-asked-to-surrender-in-connection-with-special-counsel-probe/2017/10/30/6fe051f0-bd67-11e7-959c-fe2b598d8c00_story.html

Spanish Prime Minister moves to formally occupy Catalonia: Daily Bullshit, October 21, 2017

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 21, 11:38 am.
  2. October 21, 5:20 pm:
    • The Catalan president rejects the Spanish Prime Minister’s plan.[1]
    • Okay, I think a military coup d’etat might have been one of the thoughts on my mind as I contemplated how Donald Trump might be removed (or remove himself). I don’t think I envisioned it as preserving Trump as a figurehead. But ummmm, damn, this is chilling.[2] I would caution, however, in the critical theorists’ emphasis on context, we need to consider how we might expect a general to speak of U.S. war dead.

Catalonia

I have previously commented on this situation here. While, allegedly, a majority of Catalans do not support independence, “[r]egional elections won’t necessarily herald greater stability. Separatist lawmakers could increase their representation in the regional assembly, some pollsters say.”[3] I do not know if Spanish (or Catalan) polling is any more reliable than that in the U.S. or U.K.,[4] but I doubt it.

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Catalonia independence: Puigdemont ‘will not accept’ Rajoy plan,” October 21, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41710873

Deutschewelle, “Spain announces intent to sack Catalonia’s government,” October 21, 2017, http://www.dw.com/en/spain-announces-intent-to-sack-catalonias-government/a-41059612

Jeannette Neumann and Giovanni Legorano, “Spain Moves to Seize Control of Catalan Government, Call Regional Elections,” Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/spain-moves-to-seize-control-of-catalan-government-call-regional-elections-1508587975


Donald Trump

The number of Americans killed in all the wars this nation has ever fought is indeed equal to roughly one per cent of all Americans alive today. This makes for questionable math and disturbing logic.[5]

Masha Gessen, “John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup,” New Yorker, October 20, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/john-kelly-and-the-language-of-the-military-coup


  1. [1]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Catalonia independence: Puigdemont ‘will not accept’ Rajoy plan,” October 21, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41710873; Deutschewelle, “Spain announces intent to sack Catalonia’s government,” October 21, 2017, http://www.dw.com/en/spain-announces-intent-to-sack-catalonias-government/a-41059612
  2. [2]Masha Gessen, “John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup,” New Yorker, October 20, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/john-kelly-and-the-language-of-the-military-coup
  3. [3]Jeannette Neumann and Giovanni Legorano, “Spain Moves to Seize Control of Catalan Government, Call Regional Elections,” Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/spain-moves-to-seize-control-of-catalan-government-call-regional-elections-1508587975
  4. [4]David Benfell, “On a nine percent response rate,” May 28, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2017/05/28/nine-percent-response-rate
  5. [5]Masha Gessen, “John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup,” New Yorker, October 20, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/john-kelly-and-the-language-of-the-military-coup

Catalonia is occupied territory: Daily Bullshit, September 29-October 2, 2017

Updates

  1. Originally published October 1, 12:53 pm.
  2. A new blog entry, entitled “On the naked display of sovereignty,” is up.
  3. October 1, 8:30 pm:
    • Catalans who voted and whose votes weren’t seized by police supported the referendum calling for independence and the Catalonian government made noises indicating it “would set in motion a potential secession based on the results.”[1] (Catalonia)
  4. October 1, 11:39 pm:
    • The margin in support of independence for Catalonia was apparently 90 percent.[2]
  5. October 2, 10:53 pm:
    • “The Catalan parliament in Barcelona had been due to debate tomorrow whether it should leave Spain. Last night, however, it emerged that the parliament would not meet and would merely set a date for its next session.”[3] (Catalonia)
    • There is a new blog entry, entitled “What’s the end game?

Catalonia

Questions that shall not be asked are a critical theorist’s bread and butter. As promised earlier, there is a new blog entry, entitled “On the naked display of sovereignty.”

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Catalan referendum: ‘Hundreds hurt’ as police try to stop voters,” October 1, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-4146103

Guardian, “Catalan referendum: preliminary results show 90% in favour of independence,” October 1, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/01/dozens-injured-as-riot-police-storm-catalan-ref-polling-stations

Peter Geoghegan, “Catalonia votes amid violent clashes,” Deutschewelle, October 1, 2017, http://www.dw.com/en/catalonia-votes-amid-violent-clashes/a-40770357

Jeannette Neumann, Jon Sindreu, and Pietro Lombardi, “Catalans Support Secession From Spain in Vote Boycotted by Opponents,” Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/voters-turn-out-in-catalonia-for-independence-referendum-1506838287

Jon Sindreu, Pietro Lombardi, and Marina Force, “Hundreds Hurt as Catalans, Spanish Police Clash Amid Independence Referendum,” Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/voters-turn-out-in-catalonia-for-independence-referendum-1506838287

Graham Keeley, “Catalans press pause on drive to declare full independence,” Times, October 3, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/catalans-press-pause-on-drive-to-declare-full-independence-v5nvqqm7t


Hugh Hefner

Okay, children. Can you say “Cre-ee-e-p-y?”

Laurel Wamsley, “Hugh Hefner’s Final Resting Place? The Plot He Bought Next To Marilyn Monroe,” National Public Radio, September 29, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/29/554574570/hugh-hefner-s-final-resting-place-the-plot-he-bought-next-to-marilyn-monroe


Adjuncts

Alastair Gee, “Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars,” Guardian, September 28, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/28/adjunct-professors-homeless-sex-work-academia-poverty


  1. [1]Jeannette Neumann, Jon Sindreu, and Pietro Lombardi, “Catalans Support Secession From Spain in Vote Boycotted by Opponents,” Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/voters-turn-out-in-catalonia-for-independence-referendum-1506838287
  2. [2]Guardian, “Catalan referendum: preliminary results show 90% in favour of independence,” October 1, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/01/dozens-injured-as-riot-police-storm-catalan-ref-polling-stations
  3. [3]Graham Keeley, “Catalans press pause on drive to declare full independence,” Times, October 3, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/catalans-press-pause-on-drive-to-declare-full-independence-v5nvqqm7t