Reading the tea leaves

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 22, 5:44 pm.
  2. September 22, 7:42 pm:
    • So-called “Arab” (for which, read “Palestinian”) parties have thrown their support behind Benny Gantz in an effort to stop Binyamin Netanyahu. A curious part is that Avigdor Liberman seems to have taken himself out of the game, refusing to endorse either Blue and White or Likud and instead insisting that the two major parties should form a unity government. Liberman doesn’t care whether Netanyahu or Gantz serves first.[1]

I’ve begun work on a new page entitled “Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated.“

My real purpose is to have something to point to when the Lyft safety team relays a complaint (which they never describe with any detail or specificity and which I suspect they sometimes pull out of thin air) about the difficulties of Pittsburgh driving. And of course they won’t actually read it because they don’t really give a damn, would be happy to just terminate me regardless, and in the meantime satisfy themselves with messing with my head. But it does show something of what I’m up against and what all Pittsburgh drivers are up against.


I’ve added photographs to my last blog post entitled, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh.


I’m not fond of the class of coverage I have here for both the Brexit and Israel headings and that nothing else had reached my very arbitrary and very ambiguous threshold for coverage here yesterday explains the absence of an issue. I’m less interested in speculation than in what actually happens. But sometimes the analysis is worth reading.

With both these issues very much up in the air—no one can predict these outcomes with confidence—I hope these analyses offer a little additional insight.


Brexit

Jamie Doward, “Supreme court poised to rule against Boris Johnson, say legal experts,” Guardian, September 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/22/supreme-court-verdict-boris-johnson-prorogation


Israel

Natan Sachs, “The End of Netanyahu’s Unchecked Reign,” Atlantic, September 19, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/israel-steps-back-two-brinks/598384/

David Horovitz, “Results aren’t even official, but already nightmare 3rd election scenario looms,” Times of Israel, September 20, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/results-arent-even-official-but-already-nightmare-3rd-election-scenario-looms/

Oliver Holmes, “Israel: Wounded Netanyahu in desperate battle for political survival after poll blow,” Guardian, September 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/21/netanyahu-battle-for-survival-after-israel-poll-shock-benny-gantz

Ruth Eglash, “Arab parties throw support behind Gantz as they seek to block Netanyahu,” Washington Post, September 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-second-stage-of-israels-election-process-president-could-be-kingmaker/2019/09/22/9cd4849c-dbce-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html


Gig economy

This[2] is not what I wanted to hear.

Diane Mulcahy, “California’s New Gig Economy Law Is All Bark, No Bite,” Forbes, September 20, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianemulcahy/2019/09/20/californias-new-gig-economy-law-is-all-bark-no-bite/


  1. [1]Ruth Eglash, “Arab parties throw support behind Gantz as they seek to block Netanyahu,” Washington Post, September 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-second-stage-of-israels-election-process-president-could-be-kingmaker/2019/09/22/9cd4849c-dbce-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html
  2. [2]Diane Mulcahy, “California’s New Gig Economy Law Is All Bark, No Bite,” Forbes, September 20, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianemulcahy/2019/09/20/californias-new-gig-economy-law-is-all-bark-no-bite/

Warmongering as the last refuge of a racist misogynist delusional raging narcissist-in-chief

Iran

There is a new blog post entitled, “The most very dangerous kind of bullshit.”

Saudi Arabia was dissatisfied with the evidence supporting U.S. claims that the attack on its oil facilities originated in Iran[1] but appears to be corroborating the claim on its own.[2]

Dion Nissenbaum, Summer Said, and Jared Malsin, “U.S. Tells Saudi Arabia Oil Attacks Were Launched From Iran,” Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-tells-saudi-arabia-oil-attacks-were-launched-from-iran-11568644126

Summer Said and Dion Nissenbaum, “Saudi Arabia Increasingly Confident Iran Launched Oil Attack,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-increasingly-confident-iran-launched-oil-attack-11568733861


Brexit

Owen Bowcott, “Government declines to rule out fresh prorogation if it loses case,” Guardian, September 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/17/government-declines-to-rule-out-fresh-prorogation-if-it-loses-case

Rowena Mason, “Jeremy Corbyn: I’ll stay neutral and let the people decide on Brexit,” Guardian, September 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/17/corbyn-vows-to-put-sensible-brexit-deal-to-voters-in-referendum


Environment

Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, “Trump administration to revoke California’s power to set stricter auto emissions standards,” Washington Post, September 17, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/trump-administration-to-revoke-californias-power-to-set-stricter-auto-emissions-standards/2019/09/17/79af2ee0-d97b-11e9-a688-303693fb4b0b_story.html


  1. [1]Dion Nissenbaum, Summer Said, and Jared Malsin, “U.S. Tells Saudi Arabia Oil Attacks Were Launched From Iran,” Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-tells-saudi-arabia-oil-attacks-were-launched-from-iran-11568644126
  2. [2]Summer Said and Dion Nissenbaum, “Saudi Arabia Increasingly Confident Iran Launched Oil Attack,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-increasingly-confident-iran-launched-oil-attack-11568733861

California’s AB 5 has larger implications

Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “The larger question of California’s AB 5.”

Angela Chen, “This is one way Uber and Lyft want to get around making drivers employees,” MIT Technology Review, September 13, 2019, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614308/uber-lyft-ab5-gig-workers-labor-classification-third-category-tech-policy/

Noam Cohen, “How Tech Firms Like Uber Hide Behind the ‘Platform Defense,’” Wired, September 13, 2019, https://www.wired.com/story/how-tech-firms-like-uber-hide-behind-the-platform-defense/


Brexit

Tim Ross, Jess Shankleman, and Alex Morales, “Boris Johnson’s Nightmare on Downing Street,” Bloomberg, September 13, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-13/nightmare-on-downing-street-as-team-johnson-fears-brexit-mutiny


Iran

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed credit for a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities 500 miles away.[1]

Hours later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed Iran for “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Pompeo, however, offered no specific evidence.[2]

If the Trump administration is looking for an excuse to attack Iran, I suppose this will do. Even if Mike Pompeo is wrong about Iran launching the attack,[3] Iran backs the Houthi rebels and would likely have supplied the drones that would capable of hitting the target. It would almost be as if Donald Trump got rid of John Bolton[4] just in time (four days ago) to avoid him taking credit or blame for such a decision.

Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html


  1. [1]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  2. [2]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  3. [3]Kareem Fahim and Steven Mufson, “Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels,” Washington Post, September 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/drone-attacks-on-saudi-oil-facilities-spark-explosions-and-fires/2019/09/14/b6fab6d0-d6b9-11e9-ab26-e6dbebac45d3_story.html
  4. [4]Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html

Funny thing: Proroguing Parliament hasn’t stopped Brexit from being a mess

Brexit

Rowena Mason and Owen Bowcott, “John Bercow: I’ll stop Boris Johnson breaking the law on Brexit,” Guardian, September 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/12/bercow-warns-pm-not-to-defy-law-on-no-deal-brexit

Deutschewelle, “Brexit: Ireland doubts Boris Johnson can do a deal with EU,” September 13, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-ireland-doubts-boris-johnson-can-do-a-deal-with-eu/a-50418964


Uber and Lyft defiant

Gig economy

We already knew Uber was planning to defy California’s AB 5 requiring it to classify its drivers as employees.[1] Now we see Lyft will do the same.[2] It’s no surprise and the Vox article[3] otherwise adds nothing new to earlier coverage.[4] Nathan Heller’s article[5] is a bit more retrospective, with little new for those of us who’ve paid close attention, but possibly useful for those who haven’t.

I guess two things are remarkable to me here: First, how widely and generally accepted it is that Uber and Lyft drivers deserve better protection from neoliberal bullshit; and second, that Uber and Lyft really imagine they can prevail in a court system that handed down the Dynamex decision. Really, what they can do is stall, and I suspect that’s the real plan, to delay being busted for their bezzle.

Shirin Ghaffary, “Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees,” Vox, September 11, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/9/11/20861599/ab-5-uber-lyft-drivers-contractors-reclassify-employees

Nathan Heller, “A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft,” New Yorker, September 12, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-silicon-valley/a-new-california-law-takes-aim-at-uber-and-lyft


Brexit

Boris Johnson has repeated the lie[6] that everyone, including the Scottish Court of Session, knows is a lie.[7]

Francis Elliott, “I didn’t lie to the Queen, says Boris Johnson,” Times, September 12, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/i-didnt-lie-to-the-queen-says-johnson-q875lrxzk


Palestine

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu: I tried to annex Jordan Valley before election but AG said I couldn’t,” September 11, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-tried-to-annex-jordan-valley-before-election-but-was-told-to-wait/

Jacob Magid, “PM’s Jordan Valley map was error-strewn, but is his vow worth taking seriously?” Times of Israel, September 12, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/pms-jordan-valley-map-was-error-strewn-but-is-his-vow-worth-taking-seriously/


  1. [1]Kate Conger, “Uber Says It Will Not Change Driver Status Under California Gig-Worker Law,” New York Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/business/economy/uber-california-bill.html; Aaron Gordon, “Uber To California: Make Us,” Jalopnik, September 11, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-drivers-shouldnt-expect-to-be-employees-a-1838048966
  2. [2]Shirin Ghaffary, “Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees,” Vox, September 11, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/9/11/20861599/ab-5-uber-lyft-drivers-contractors-reclassify-employees
  3. [3]Shirin Ghaffary, “Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees,” Vox, September 11, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/9/11/20861599/ab-5-uber-lyft-drivers-contractors-reclassify-employees
  4. [4]Kate Conger, “Uber Says It Will Not Change Driver Status Under California Gig-Worker Law,” New York Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/business/economy/uber-california-bill.html; Aaron Gordon, “Uber To California: Make Us,” Jalopnik, September 11, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-drivers-shouldnt-expect-to-be-employees-a-1838048966
  5. [5]Nathan Heller, “A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft,” New Yorker, September 12, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-silicon-valley/a-new-california-law-takes-aim-at-uber-and-lyft
  6. [6]Francis Elliott, “I didn’t lie to the Queen, says Boris Johnson,” Times, September 12, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/i-didnt-lie-to-the-queen-says-johnson-q875lrxzk
  7. [7]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html; Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “Scottish court rules Johnson’s suspension of Britain’s Parliament was illegal,” Washington Post, September 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/scottish-court-rules-johnsons-suspension-of-britains-parliament-was-illegal/2019/09/11/84265a36-d40a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html; Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “Scottish court rules Johnson’s suspension of Britain’s Parliament was illegal,” Washington Post, September 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/scottish-court-rules-johnsons-suspension-of-britains-parliament-was-illegal/2019/09/11/84265a36-d40a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html

Uber. Toilet. Flush.

Gig economy

Bullshit:

“Our hope with these changes is to reset and improve how we work day to day — ruthlessly prioritizing, and always holding ourselves accountable to a high bar of performance and agility,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. “While certainly painful in the moment, especially for those directly affected, we believe that this will result in a much stronger technical organization, which going forward will continue to hire some of the very best talent around the world.”[1]

For crying out loud, it even sounds like bullshit. And that’s exactly what it is.

What’s worse, it’s neoliberal bullshit, the bullshit that, among other things, asserts the problem of profitability is never with the company itself, never with its business plan, and certainly never with management, but always with the workers. Efficiency here is always defined in terms of cutting labor costs. Drivers have borne the brunt of this from the beginning (and California, at least, is finally calling bullshit[2]); that failed (and still fails), so now Uber lays off employees.

Megan Rose Dickey, “Uber lays off 435 people across engineering and product teams,” TechCrunch, September 10, 2019, https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/10/uber-lays-off-435-people-across-engineering-and-product-teams/

Heather Somerville and Mark Maurer, “Uber Cuts More Than 400 Technical Jobs,” Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-cuts-more-than-400-technical-jobs-11568144111

Sophia Bollag, “California Uber, Lyft drivers to become employees under measure Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’ll sign,” Sacramento Bee, September 11, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article234973107.html

Kate Conger, “Uber Says It Will Not Change Driver Status Under California Gig-Worker Law,” New York Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/business/economy/uber-california-bill.html

Alejandro Lazo, “California Passes Landmark Bill Requiring Contract Workers to Be Labeled as Employees,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-still-in-talks-with-uber-lyft-over-gig-workers-law-11568212014


Brexit

This is what Boris Johnson’s government has denied,[3] cannot admit, and why:

The Court of Session said that the decision was invalid because it was “motivated by the improper purpose of stymieing parliament” in an excoriating judgment that effectively accused the prime minister of misleading the Queen to make her act unlawfully.[4]

Chris Smyth, Kieran Andrews, and Jonathan Ames, “Parliament suspension ‘unlawful,’” Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/scottish-court-rules-parliament-suspension-unlawful-xdzj2c6kk

Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “Scottish court rules Johnson’s suspension of Britain’s Parliament was illegal,” Washington Post, September 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/scottish-court-rules-johnsons-suspension-of-britains-parliament-was-illegal/2019/09/11/84265a36-d40a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html


Palestine

In a previous installment,[5] Binyamin Netanyahu had promised to annex almost all of the West Bank.[6] He might not be getting the reaction he hoped for:

Yamina, a coalition of right-wing religious parties, also dismissed Netanyahu’s statement as “spin” and said only it would ensure that large swaths of the West Bank currently under Israeli control are retained.

“With regards to the Jordan Valley, we call on Netanyahu to pass a cabinet decision already this evening as was done when sovereignty was applied over Jerusalem. There is no need for legislation. We will stand behind him immediately,” it said in a statement.

“Otherwise, the entire nation of Israel will know that this was a cheap political spin meant to snarf up votes and nothing more,” the statement added. . . .

On the left-side of the political map, Labor MK Itzik Shmuli linked the announcement to Netanyahu’s efforts to avoid prosecution in a series of graft probes.

“In order to obtain enough mandates for immunity from prison Netanyahu will even promise to annex the moon,” Shmuli tweeted.[7]

I have little doubt Binyamin Netanyahu is desperately attempting to avoid prosecution, but I fear Ayman Odeh gets it right:

However, Ayman Odeh, who heads the Joint List alliance of Arab majority parties, warned Netanyahu’s vow was no mere campaign promise.

“This isn’t only election spin,” Odeh wrote on Twitter, claiming the annexation of areas of the West Bank was part of the Israel right’s “vision of apartheid.

“They don’t want to make the [West] Bank part of Israel, they want to make Israel an extension of the West Bank. A minority of Jewish citizens ruling a majority of Palestinian subjects without rights,” Odeh added.[8]

Israel already engages in ethnic cleansing and operates an apartheid system, preferring Jews to those it calls “Arabs,” seeking to erase Palestinian identity (a genocidal act).

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley sovereignty vow widely panned by politicians as ‘spin,’” Times of Israel, September 11, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahus-jordan-valley-vow-widely-panned-by-politicians-as-spin/


  1. [1]Megan Rose Dickey, “Uber lays off 435 people across engineering and product teams,” TechCrunch, September 10, 2019, https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/10/uber-lays-off-435-people-across-engineering-and-product-teams/
  2. [2]Sophia Bollag, “California Uber, Lyft drivers to become employees under measure Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’ll sign,” Sacramento Bee, September 11, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article234973107.html; Alejandro Lazo, “California Passes Landmark Bill Requiring Contract Workers to Be Labeled as Employees,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-still-in-talks-with-uber-lyft-over-gig-workers-law-11568212014
  3. [3]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html
  4. [4]Chris Smyth, Kieran Andrews, and Jonathan Ames, “Parliament suspension ‘unlawful,’” Times, September 11, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/scottish-court-rules-parliament-suspension-unlawful-xdzj2c6kk
  5. [5]David Benfell, “The U.S. is now a little less likely to invade Iran,” Irregular Bullshit, September 10, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/09/10/the-u-s-is-now-a-little-less-likely-to-invade-iran/
  6. [6]Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump
  7. [7]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley sovereignty vow widely panned by politicians as ‘spin,’” Times of Israel, September 11, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahus-jordan-valley-vow-widely-panned-by-politicians-as-spin/
  8. [8]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley sovereignty vow widely panned by politicians as ‘spin,’” Times of Israel, September 11, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahus-jordan-valley-vow-widely-panned-by-politicians-as-spin/

The U.S. is now a little less likely to invade Iran

Guns

Lisa Marie Pane, “NRA sues San Francisco over terrorist declaration,” Washington Post, September 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/nra-sues-san-francisco-over-terrorist-declaration/2019/09/09/34f4fd3c-d360-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html

Jack Crowe, “NRA Sues San Francisco over ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’ Label,” National Review, September 10, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/nra-sues-san-francisco-over-domestic-terrorist-organization-label/


Homelessness

There is a new blog post entitled, “Crocodile tears for the homeless.”

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, “Sacramento wants to overturn this homeless ruling. Now it’s asking the Supreme Court for help,” Sacramento Bee, September 10, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article234894477.html


John Bolton

We are now a little less likely to invade Iran.[1]

Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html


Brexit

Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “A chaotic final night for Parliament leaves Johnson with bleak choices on the path to Brexit,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-chaotic-final-night-for-parliament-leaves-johnson-with-bleak-choices-on-the-path-to-brexit/2019/09/10/443a835a-d33a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html


Palestine

Palestinians would be left with nearly nothing under Binyamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise:[2]

In Israeli politics, however, annexation is a popular position. Israel has long stated it would want to keep the 2,400-sq km (926.65-sqmile) Jordan Valley to maintain control over the international border.[3]

Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump


  1. [1]Peter Beinart, “The Question the Iran Hawks Haven’t Answered,” Atlantic, June 24, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/iran-hawks-owe-americans-some-answers/592390/; Dexter Filkins, “John Bolton on the Warpath,” New Yorker, April 29, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/06/john-bolton-on-the-warpath; Anne Gearan, John Wagner, and Robert Costa, “Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fires-bolton-as-national-security-adviser-saying-he-disagreed-strongly-with-many-of-his-suggestions/2019/09/10/13409e2c-d3b9-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html;
  2. [2]Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump
  3. [3]Oliver Holmes, “Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank,” Guardian, September 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/10/netanyahu-vows-annex-large-parts-occupied-west-bank-trump

See? It’s all legal now!

Brexit

It was a huge day for Brexit. Early on, I wrote a new blog post entitled, “What if Boris Johnson’s goal isn’t what we’ve presumed it is?

Now for all that’s happened since:

And I’ve been noticing what Jane Martinson has been noticing.[1] If Reuters hadn’t highlighted[2] the Telegraph scoop on plans to “sabotage” legislation requiring Boris Johnson to seek an extension,[3] I’d have missed it entirely because even though I subscribe to the Telegraph, I’ve really been turned off of it lately. Martinson makes of it a broader and arguably more important point though, that deserves consideration.[4] There’s a lot here that’s troubling, only some of which builds on criticisms of journalism that have been leveled for a while, and that I still don’t have answers for. Which puts it in the category of things that make me grumpy.

In the meantime, the plan to send an accompanying letter denying the request at the same time sending the letter requesting the extension[5] would be in “contempt of court,” according to several British lawyers and former judges. The reaction to this seems to have been fast and furious.[6] And Boris Johnson has indeed prorogued Parliament, but not before it heaped yet more humiliation upon him.[7]

Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin, “France threatens to veto further Brexit extension,” Guardian, September 8, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/08/france-threatens-to-veto-further-brexit-extension

Jane Martinson, “Like the Tories, the Telegraph has turned radical,” Guardian, September 8, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/media/commentisfree/2019/sep/08/telegraph-boris-johnson

Harry Yorke, “Boris Johnson draws up plan to legally stop Brexit extension if MPs vote against general election,” Telegraph, September 8, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/08/boris-johnson-draws-plan-legally-stop-brexit-extension-mps-vote/

Reuters, “Johnson prepares plan to legally stop Brexit extension – The Telegraph,” September 8, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-parliament-johnson-idUSKCN1VT0SK

Aamna Mohdin, “Boris Johnson ‘sabotage’ letter to EU ‘would break law,’” Guardian, September 9, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/09/boris-johnson-sabotage-letter-to-eu-would-break-law

Peter Walker, “Six ways Boris Johnson could evade block on no-deal Brexit,” Guardian, September 9, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/09/six-ways-boris-johnson-could-evade-block-on-no-deal-brexit

Griff Witte, Karla Adam and Amanda Ferguson, “House of Commons Speaker John Bercow says he will step down, as lawmakers prepare for critical Brexit vote,” Washington Post, September 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/irelands-leader-does-johnson-no-favors-as-the-british-prime-minister-seeks-to-unblock-brexit/2019/09/09/de680eaa-d0e4-11e9-a620-0a91656d7db6_story.html

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “Boris Johnson sends British MPs home until October 14 after confirming Parliament prorogue,” September 10, 2019, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-09/boris-johnson-suspends-parliament-until-october-14/11494108


A criminal in 10 Downing Street

Brexit

Boris Johnson has threatened to refuse to comply with the law requiring he seek an extension to Brexit.[1] Sound like someone else we know? I mean, this is more explicit—with Donald Trump, on the other hand, it’s more like a denial the law even applies to him.

Heather Stewart and Severin Carrell, “Boris Johnson short of options as rebels vow to secure Brexit delay,” Guardian, September 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/06/boris-johnson-short-of-options-as-rebels-vow-to-secure-brexit-delay


Hong Kong

Steven Lee Myers, Chris Buckley, and Keith Bradsher, “Is Xi Mishandling Hong Kong Crisis? Hints of Unease in China’s Leadership,” New York Times, September 7, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/world/asia/china-hong-kong-xi-jinping.html


Veganism

There is a new blog post entitled, “The question of methodology and that allegedly higher risk of stroke for vegans.”

Nina Avramova, “Vegetarians might have higher risk of stroke than meat eaters, study says,” CNN, September 4, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/04/health/vegetarian-vegan-diet-stroke-heart-disease-risk-intl/index.html


  1. [1]Heather Stewart and Severin Carrell, “Boris Johnson short of options as rebels vow to secure Brexit delay,” Guardian, September 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/06/boris-johnson-short-of-options-as-rebels-vow-to-secure-brexit-delay

Reboot and reinstall

All I wanted was to get my music collection onto my new iPhone. Talk about opening a can of worms.

Apple has done its level best to make it impossible to access the file structure on the iPhone through a USB connection and if there’s a way to do it via Bluetooth, I haven’t found it. And Google Drive doesn’t allow folder downloads via the web.

With Android and on Linux, I had programs or apps that got around this. They don’t seem to be available for the iPhone and those that are claimed to get around this either no longer exist or do not work.

So I tried booting into Windows to try to find out what my options are there. This was a huge mistake.

First, there didn’t seem to be any working options for downloading folders from my Google Drive to the iPhone.

But second, while I knew Windows would change the boot configuration so I’d have to go back into it at what used to be called the BIOS level and reconfigure it to get back into Linux, I wasn’t expecting it to make the Linux installations on the machine unbootable.

And when I tried going back in with a bootable USB drive, even though I’d chosen UEFI options, the Linux kernel wasn’t configured properly for UEFI.

No more. It’s time to cut the bullshit. I simply don’t have patience for this shit anymore.

So the Windows installation is blown away, the Sabayon Linux installation which had gotten increasingly problematic is blown away, the old Ubuntu installation is blown away.

I have a fresh Ubuntu installation and I’m restoring files from backup. I may go have a chat with the folks at the Apple Store about how to do what I need to do.

What all this means for this newsletter is that I won’t have up to date satellite images for a while. I still have the scripts—they’re backed up. But I don’t have them running on the new installation yet. Not only do I need to restore from backups, but I have to get scripts that had been tailored for Sabayon working under Ubuntu.

None of this is impossible. Ubuntu generally has more options than Sabayon. It’s just work.


Dorian

KRBAMS5E5FE3HA2OOQAAARGROA
Satellite photo of Dorian on the North Carolina coast, via the Washington Post, September 6, 2019.

Since nearly making landfall (I thought it actually had[1]) on the southern extent of the North Carolina coast, then as a category 2 storm,[2] Dorian basically followed the coast, weakening to category 1,[3] but certainly retaining strength longer than it would have had it gone inland.

As to landfall, it sure looked like the eye passed over the Outer Banks to me:
Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR
As of 8:00 am.

And I guess I was right this time (you know what they say about throwing darts).[4]

This is when I need to remember that the human rats (politicians) in Washington, D.C., are likely on high ground anyway:

While the storm could bring tropical-storm conditions to the tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island, it is not forecast to send a storm surge riding up the Potomac River toward Washington, D.C.[5]

So apart from a self-inflicted wound about Alabama[6] and barring a change in path, Donald Trump emerges from Dorian unscathed.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the Bahamas is now at least thirty.[7]

Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, spoke about her thoughts on Dorian’s links to the climate crisis. She did not pull her punches.

“We are on the frontline of the consequences of climate change but we don’t cause it,” she said. “And the vulnerability that attaches therefore to us is a matter we’re trying to get the international community to deal with consistently.”

She added: “People say the words and hear you, but they don’t follow through so that I have every confidence. Now that the last few years are beginning to show others that frontline states, whether it’s an island in the Caribbean or states in the US or cities, all of us who are continuously being affected, have to recognise that this doesn’t happen out of the blue.

“The warmer waters do what? They fuel the growth and the strength of hurricanes.”[8]

Valerie Bauerlein and Jon Kamp, “Weakened Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall on North Carolina Coast,” Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-makes-landfall-over-cape-hatteras-n-c-11567775699
210138_5day_cone_no_line_and_win
Matthew Cappucci and Andrew Freedman, “President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart. Was it to cover up for ‘Alabama’ Twitter flub?” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/04/president-trump-shows-doctored-hurricane-chart-was-it-cover-up-alabama-twitter-flub/

Oliver Laughland and Adam Gabbatt, “’Everything is destroyed’: 30 dead in Bahamas as Dorian lashes North Carolina,” Guardian, September 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/hurricane-dorian-latest-us-strength-path

Jamie Pietruska, “Why President Trump’s Sharpied weather map was likely a crime — and should be,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/06/why-president-trumps-sharpied-weather-map-was-likely-crime-should-be/

Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/


Recession

Add this[9] to the pile of reasons for worry:[10]

Hiring in August was also boosted heavily by the U.S. government adding 25,000 temporary workers to its payrolls for the 2020 Census.

“Hiring in the U.S. is slowing, not stopping,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, although he called it “somewhat concerning” that setting aside government hiring, private sector job gains fell to 96,000.[11]

And remember that the psychology is a major factor.[12]

Heather Long, “U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/06/us-economy-adds-just-jobs-august-amid-worries-that-trade-war-has-sunk-its-teeth-into-hiring/


Gig economy

Aaron Gordon, “The Bill That Would Make Uber And Lyft Drivers Employees Isn’t Just Making Uber And Lyft Nervous,” Jalopnik, September 6, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/the-bill-that-would-make-uber-and-lyft-drivers-employee-1837909962


Brexit

There is a new blog post entitled, “Voters still need to decide on Brexit.”

Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-house-of-lords-approves-bill-to-block-no-deal/a-50331382


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Dorian (sort of) comes ashore in North Carolina,” Irregular Bullshit, September 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/09/06/dorian-comes-ashore-in-north-carolina/
  2. [2]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “‘Life-threatening’ storm surge, torrential rains and hurricane force winds pound the Carolinas as Hurricane Dorian grinds north,” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/05/life-threatening-storm-surge-torrential-rains-hurricane-force-winds-pound-carolinas-hurricane-dorian-grinds-north/
  3. [3]Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/
  4. [4]Valerie Bauerlein and Jon Kamp, “Weakened Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall on North Carolina Coast,” Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-makes-landfall-over-cape-hatteras-n-c-11567775699
  5. [5]Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/
  6. [6]Nancy Benac, “Trump clings to idea Alabama faced big threat from Dorian,” Associated Press, September 4, 2019, https://www.apnews.com/416144d854fb4302a9f34cccae81b0e0; Matthew Cappucci and Andrew Freedman, “President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart. Was it to cover up for ‘Alabama’ Twitter flub?” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/04/president-trump-shows-doctored-hurricane-chart-was-it-cover-up-alabama-twitter-flub/; Jamie Pietruska, “Why President Trump’s Sharpied weather map was likely a crime — and should be,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/06/why-president-trumps-sharpied-weather-map-was-likely-crime-should-be/
  7. [7]Oliver Laughland and Adam Gabbatt, “’Everything is destroyed’: 30 dead in Bahamas as Dorian lashes North Carolina,” Guardian, September 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/hurricane-dorian-latest-us-strength-path
  8. [8]Oliver Laughland and Adam Gabbatt, “’Everything is destroyed’: 30 dead in Bahamas as Dorian lashes North Carolina,” Guardian, September 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/hurricane-dorian-latest-us-strength-path
  9. [9]Heather Long, “U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/06/us-economy-adds-just-jobs-august-amid-worries-that-trade-war-has-sunk-its-teeth-into-hiring/
  10. [10]Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  11. [11]Heather Long, “U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/06/us-economy-adds-just-jobs-august-amid-worries-that-trade-war-has-sunk-its-teeth-into-hiring/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “As a possible or probable recession looms, neoliberalism evades challenge. Yet again,” Not Housebroken, August 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/14/as-a-possible-or-probable-recession-looms-neoliberalism-evades-challenge-yet-again/