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