Interesting times

It’s all really rather astonishing about now. I think y’all know I try to keep a grasp on the bigger picture with, well, just about everything. But this is weird.

I don’t think we’ve seen upheaval of this magnitude since the counterculture, antiwar, and liberation movements of the 1960s and early 1970s. The situation is completely different; I invoke that era only for the scale of upheaval, not for any analogy.

I am wondering how all this plays out.


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Department of Justice photograph of seized materials, reportedly partially redacted, via the Washington Post, August 31, 2022, public domain.[1]

Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/

Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, “Special master to Trump’s lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Politico, September 20, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/20/trump-special-master-judge-mar-a-lago-00057805

Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Shayna Jacobs, “Special master prods Trump lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/20/dearie-mar-a-lago-trump/

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers are Already Bickering With the Special Master, Whom They Picked,” Truthout, September 20, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-lawyers-are-already-bickering-with-the-special-master-whom-they-picked/

Devlin Barrett, “Appeals court sides with Justice Department in Mar-a-Lago case,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/mar-a-lago-appeal-court-ruling/

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump suffers setback as appeals panel rejects Cannon ruling,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/donald-trump-special-master-00058176

Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “That is, if I were a Judge and was overturned in this manner, I would find it hard to leave the house” Twitter, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/22/thorough-rebuke-judge-aileen-cannons-pro-trump-order/

Julian Mark, “Trump says presidents can declassify docs ‘even by thinking about it,’” Washington Post, September 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/22/trump-hannity-declassify-documents/

David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation

Perry Stein, “Dearie asks Trump lawyers whether they believe FBI lied about seized documents,” Washington Post, September 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/22/dearie-trump-order-declassify/

Finances


Fig. 1. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is no excerpt I can offer of Eugene Robinson’s column that does him justice. You’re just going to have go read him for yourself.

Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, “Donald Trump, 3 of his children sued for business fraud by New York AG,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/trump-sued-new-york-letitia-james/

Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang, and Martin Pengelly, “New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/trump-new-york-investigation-ivanka-donald-eric

Eugene Robinson, “Letitia James used Trump’s boasts against him. It was devastating,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/21/letitia-james-trump-marketing/

David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[2] fair use.

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/

Laurence Peter, “Ukraine war: Russian pop megastar Alla Pugacheva condemns conflict,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin’s push for a new USSR reawakens the bloody chaos of Soviet collapse,” Politico, September 19, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-fall-russia-empire-ukraine-war-armenia-azerbaijan/

Thomas Bolton, “Russian forces ‘palpably panicking’ in Kharkiv region, says Zelenskyy,” EuroNews, September 20, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/2022/09/20/russian-forces-palpably-panicking-in-kharkiv-region-says-zelenskyy

Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/

John Gambrell, “Ukraine, using captured Russian tanks, firms up its lines,” Associated Press, September 20, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-kharkiv-3351d15af41ddde4176cb7cf72e74ac4

Matthew Luxmoore and Mauro Orru, “Russia Moves to Annex Occupied Lands as Ukraine Presses Offensive,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-moves-to-tighten-grip-on-occupied-lands-as-ukraine-presses-offensive-11663675647

Barbara Kollmeyer, “Putin’s partial draft announcement appears to spark scramble to leave Russia as flights fill up,” MarketWatch, September 21, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/putins-partial-draft-announcement-appears-to-spark-scramble-to-leave-russia-as-flights-fill-up-11663769382

Pjotr Sauer, “Putin flirts again with grim prospect of nuclear war – this time he might mean it,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/21/putin-flirts-again-with-grim-prospect-of-nuclear-war-this-time-he-might-mean-it

Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Russia pushes the panic button and raises risk of nuclear war,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/21/russia-referendums-ukraine-occupied-nuclear/

Robert Mackey, “Russians Return to Streets to Protest Widening of Putin’s War on Ukraine,” Intercept, September 22, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/09/22/russia-ukraine-putin-war-protests/


  1. [1]Devlin Barrett, “Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-documents-removed-storage-room/
  2. [2]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

Of Donald Trump: ‘He’s done.’

Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Department of Justice photograph of seized materials, reportedly partially redacted, via the Washington Post, August 31, 2022, public domain.[1]

When I got home last night, my Twitter feed was dominated by a fair amount of triumphalism, including among lawyers, with a lot of screenshots from the Appeals Court stay of Aileen Cannon’s order regarding classified records that the Department of Justice won.

The lower court [Aileen Cannon] “abused its discretion in exercising jurisdiction … as it concerns the classified documents,” the [U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta] panel wrote in a 29-page opinion. Two of the judges on the panel were appointed by Trump; the third was an Obama appointee.[2]

The appeals court’s opinion was unsparing toward [Aileen] Cannon and replete with indications that the appeals judges took a vastly different approach to the document fight than she did.

[Donald] Trump’s legal team, Cannon and even a senior judge that she appointed as a special master have generally referred to the national-security documents at issue as “marked classified,” deferring at least to a degree to Trump’s claim that he declassified all the records found at Mar-a-Lago, despite a lack of evidence buttressing his assertion. But the appeals court panel took a different approach, often referring without qualification to the records as “classified.”

They also characterized the public dispute over potential declassification of the documents as a “red herring,” contending that even if true, “that would not explain why [Trump] has a personal interest in them.”[3]

[A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit] repeatedly rejected not just the Trump legal team’s lack of arguments, but also [Aileen] Cannon’s acceptance of them. Indeed, they suggested it was inexplicable that Cannon ruled for Trump even by her own logic.

The ruling really kicks into gear when the judges address what a 1977 Supreme Court case considered the “foremost consideration” in deciding whether a court such as Cannon’s should exercise jurisdiction in such a case: whether the government “displayed a callous disregard for … constitutional rights” in its seizure.

The judges say Cannon conceded that it hadn’t displayed such disregard, but then disregarded that consideration all the same — and say she thus “abused” her “discretion.”[4]

My favorite response, though, would be this:


It recalls my mother’s comment that judges do care what their colleagues think of them. But I guess the only opinion Cannon cares about is Donald Trump’s.

Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/

Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, “Special master to Trump’s lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Politico, September 20, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/20/trump-special-master-judge-mar-a-lago-00057805

Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Shayna Jacobs, “Special master prods Trump lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/20/dearie-mar-a-lago-trump/

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers are Already Bickering With the Special Master, Whom They Picked,” Truthout, September 20, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-lawyers-are-already-bickering-with-the-special-master-whom-they-picked/

Devlin Barrett, “Appeals court sides with Justice Department in Mar-a-Lago case,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/mar-a-lago-appeal-court-ruling/

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump suffers setback as appeals panel rejects Cannon ruling,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/donald-trump-special-master-00058176

Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “That is, if I were a Judge and was overturned in this manner, I would find it hard to leave the housek” Twitter, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/22/thorough-rebuke-judge-aileen-cannons-pro-trump-order/

David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation

Finances


Fig. 2. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Though the New York suit is not a criminal prosecution, [Letitia] James’s referral to federal prosecutors at the southern district of New York threatens further serious legal peril for the former president and his three adult children.[5]

“He’s done,” said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, in Washington, who has accurately predicted every presidential election since 1984. “[Donald Trump has] got too many burdens, too much baggage to be able to run again even presuming he escapes jail, he escapes bankruptcy. I’m not sure he’s going to escape jail.” . . .

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, noted that the civil component “involves things of particular significance to [Donald] Trump and his family and his organisation, namely their ability to defraud the public, to defraud banks, to defraud insurance companies, and to continue to subsist through corruption. Without all of that corruption, the entire Trump empire is involved in something like meltdown.”

Tribe added: “Trump is probably more concerned with things of this kind than he is with having to wear an orange jumpsuit and maybe answer a criminal indictment … As a practical matter, this is probably going to cause more sleepless nights for Mr Trump than almost anything else.”[6]

Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, “Donald Trump, 3 of his children sued for business fraud by New York AG,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/trump-sued-new-york-letitia-james/

Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang, and Martin Pengelly, “New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/trump-new-york-investigation-ivanka-donald-eric

David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation


  1. [1]Devlin Barrett, “Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-documents-removed-storage-room/
  2. [2]Devlin Barrett, “Appeals court sides with Justice Department in Mar-a-Lago case,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/mar-a-lago-appeal-court-ruling/
  3. [3]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump suffers setback as appeals panel rejects Cannon ruling,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/donald-trump-special-master-00058176
  4. [4]Aaron Blake, “A thorough rebuke of Judge Aileen Cannon’s pro-Trump order,” Washington Post, September 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/22/thorough-rebuke-judge-aileen-cannons-pro-trump-order/
  5. [5]Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang, and Martin Pengelly, “New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/trump-new-york-investigation-ivanka-donald-eric
  6. [6]David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation

Vladimir Putin rattles his nuclear sabre

Ukraine


Fig. 1. “The atomic cloud over Nagasaki 1945.” Photograph from Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Overseas Operations Branch, New York Office, News and Features Bureau, (12/17/1942 – 09/15/1945), by Charles Levy, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the wake of stunning military setbacks for Russia in its war on Ukraine,[1] which call into question even Vladimir Putin’s hold on power,[2]

Prominent Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of [Russia Today], who is among the hawks cheerleading for a tougher approach to Ukraine, hinted Tuesday that the planned referendums [in regions which would be annexed to Russia] were a sign of more dramatic actions to come.

“Judging by what is happening and what is about to happen, this week marks either the eve of our imminent victory or the eve of nuclear war,” Simonyan wrote on Twitter. “I can’t see any third option.”

Russian officials and pundits on state television have asserted for months that the war it initiated against Ukraine is actually part of a larger existential fight against [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization].[3]

“Imminent victory” seems far more likely, which isn’t very, for Ukraine than it does for Russia and Margarita Simonyan warning of nuclear war, a warning more subtly echoed by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of the country’s Security Council,[4] and by Putin himself,[5] and a threat acknowledged by Joe Biden,[6] is what I have worried about all along.[7]

“To defend Russia and our people, we doubtlessly will use all resources at our disposal,” [Vladimir] Putin said. “This is not a bluff.”

Putin also said Russia would “do everything to provide a safe environment” for Kremlin-installed proxies in four Ukrainian regions that on Tuesday pledged to hold referendums this week to join the Russian Federation.[8]

This quite frankly is one place where my optimism of yesterday[9] could yet prove misplaced.

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/

Laurence Peter, “Ukraine war: Russian pop megastar Alla Pugacheva condemns conflict,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin’s push for a new USSR reawakens the bloody chaos of Soviet collapse,” Politico, September 19, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-fall-russia-empire-ukraine-war-armenia-azerbaijan/

Thomas Bolton, “Russian forces ‘palpably panicking’ in Kharkiv region, says Zelenskyy,” EuroNews, September 20, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/2022/09/20/russian-forces-palpably-panicking-in-kharkiv-region-says-zelenskyy

Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/

John Gambrell, “Ukraine, using captured Russian tanks, firms up its lines,” Associated Press, September 20, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-kharkiv-3351d15af41ddde4176cb7cf72e74ac4

Matthew Luxmoore and Mauro Orru, “Russia Moves to Annex Occupied Lands as Ukraine Presses Offensive,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-moves-to-tighten-grip-on-occupied-lands-as-ukraine-presses-offensive-11663675647

Barbara Kollmeyer, “Putin’s partial draft announcement appears to spark scramble to leave Russia as flights fill up,” MarketWatch, September 21, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/putins-partial-draft-announcement-appears-to-spark-scramble-to-leave-russia-as-flights-fill-up-11663769382

Pjotr Sauer, “Putin flirts again with grim prospect of nuclear war – this time he might mean it,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/21/putin-flirts-again-with-grim-prospect-of-nuclear-war-this-time-he-might-mean-it

Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Russia pushes the panic button and raises risk of nuclear war,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/21/russia-referendums-ukraine-occupied-nuclear/


Pittsburgh

Gentrification


Fig. 1. The old Hazelwood library branch. It has been replaced with a new branch on Second Avenue. Photograph by author, May 1, 2020.

Mark Belko, “Quicker conversions of Downtown Pittsburgh offices into apartments moving closer to reality,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 21, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2022/09/20/pittsburgh-planning-commission-zoning-apartments-condos-residential-downtown-partnership-larimer-twg-indianapolis/stories/202209200105


Gilead

Donald Trump

Finances

Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, “Donald Trump, 3 of his children sued for business fraud by New York AG,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/trump-sued-new-york-letitia-james/


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Ukraine pushes major counteroffensive as war marks 200 days,” September 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-moscow-kharkiv-9e5363cd199fd7f01cba14efa4678e5f; Hugo Bachega, “Ukraine’s rapid gains stun Russia,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 12, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62874557; Elena Becatoros and Hanna Arhirova, ““Ukraine claims to have reached Russian border as counteroffensive maintains momentum,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ukraine-claims-to-have-reached-russian-border-as-counteroffensive-maintains-momentum/; Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima, “Intelligence points to potential turning point in Ukraine war,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/ukraine-russia-retreat-us-intelligence/; Steve Hendrix, Serhii Korolchuk, and Robyn Dixon, “Amid Ukraine’s startling gains, liberated villages describe Russian troops dropping rifles and fleeing,” Washington Post, September 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/11/kharkiv-liberated-retreat-izyum-russia/; Isabelle Khurshudyan et al., “Ukraine extends battlefield gains as Kremlin reels from setback,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/12/ukraine-russia-war-retreat-kharkiv/; Mike Martin, “Putin is finished. The Ukrainians have him on the ropes with a stunning victory in their sights,” Telegraph, September 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/09/11/putin-finished-ukrainians-have-ropes-stunning-victory-sights/; Merlyn Thomas, “Ukraine war: Russians ‘outnumbered 8-1’ in counter-attack,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 12, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62874557
  2. [2]Insider, “Municipal deputies in 18 Moscow and St. Petersburg districts demand Putin’s resignation,” September 12, 2022, https://theins.ru/en/news/254943; Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/; Allison Quinn, “Moscow Officials Urge Putin to GTFO: ‘Everything Went Wrong,’” Daily Beast, September 10, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/moscow-officials-urge-vladimir-putin-to-give-up-power
  3. [3]Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/
  4. [4]Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/
  5. [5]Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/
  6. [6]CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, September 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/
  8. [8]Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Spring in November?” Not Housebroken, September 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/09/19/spring-in-november/

Come one! Come all! See the fabulous stalling of Donald Trump’s legal team!

Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

I am not a lawyer but I’m assuming this is just another stunt, utterly without legal merit, meant to prolong the proceedings:

In a court filing on Monday night, [Donald] Trump’s lawyers responded to a “draft management plan” written by [Raymond] Dearie. The plan asked Trump’s lawyers to provide details about documents that the former president has publicly claimed were declassified. Trump had previously claimed that the documents were his property.[1]

It seems the special master, Raymond Dearie, thinks, this being a civil suit filed by Donald Trump, that Trump bears the burden of proof for assertions that any documents the government claims are classified are in fact not classified.[2]

In their filing, lawyers for the ex-president refused to respond to the request, explaining it could hinder a future defense for Trump should he later be indicted over the mishandling of the government documents.[3]

[Raymond] Dearie bristled at the effort by [Donald] Trump’s lawyers to resist his request for proof that Trump actually attempted to declassify any of the 100 documents that the Justice Department recovered from his estate. Without evidence from Trump, Dearie said his only basis to judge the classification level of the records was the fact that they all bear markings designating them as highly sensitive national security secrets — including some that indicate they contain intelligence derived from human sources and foreign intercepts.[4]

Of course this allays my suspicions not in the least:

The former president’s legal team also took issue with [Raymond] Dearie’s proposed timeline for completing the assessment of the documents and their privilege claims. Though he has until the end of November to complete it, Dearie’s plan suggests he could complete the process by October 7.

“We respectfully suggest that all of the deadlines can be extended to allow for a more realistic and complete assessment of the areas of disagreement,” the lawyers said.[5]

Which is, of course, to say they intend to argue every last document. Even more pathetic is that they scarcely disguise this intention.

Notably, the delay [Donald] Trump’s lawyers want would push [Raymond] Dearie’s work past the midterm elections. The [Department of Justice] doesn’t appear to oppose most of the special master’s action plan.[6]

Donald Trump wanted a special master. A real judge would surely insist that he deal with that special master in good faith. But it’s clear Trump has himself a very friendly judge,[7] who I’m sure will bend over backwards, even do somersaults as his lawyers come running to mommy. So I’m guessing that, yet again, what happens will be almost anything other than what ordinarily should happen.

It’s certainly something to consider that if the white Christian nationalist plan to establish a competitive authoritarian regime succeeds—I increasingly think it won’t[8]—this will become the norm.

Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/

Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Shayna Jacobs, “Special master prods Trump lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/20/dearie-mar-a-lago-trump/

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers are Already Bickering With the Special Master, Whom They Picked,” Truthout, September 20, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-lawyers-are-already-bickering-with-the-special-master-whom-they-picked/


White Christian nationalist antibodies

Gilead

I’m thinking of Philip Slater today. He was a professor at California Institute of Integral Studies in the Transformative Studies program, the Ph.D. program that was the wrong program for me. But if you want to know why it took me a year and a half to decide it was the wrong program, Slater and his colleague, Connie Jones, deserve much of the credit.

Slater and Jones focused on social transformation, at least for one class that they taught (I took it from Jones). But based on a conclusion reached at the end of the anti-war, liberation, and counterculture movements of the 1960s, the Transformative Studies program embraced an approach of individual transformation on the idea that if you get enough individuals to transform, the larger society will reach a tipping point and follow. What actually happened instead is that capitalist marketers figured out how to exploit and exacerbate the individualism that this encouraged, leading to much of today’s calamity.[1] The Transformative Studies program failed to learn from the latter part of this experience even as it included it in the introductory class I took.

I don’t think we’re looking at a social system transformation today, but rather the opposite.[2] And I disagree with Philip Slater’s prognosis that—he uses a caterpillar metamorphosis to butterfly metaphor—that the present oppressive system will inevitably transform into a freer, more just one.[3] I would say instead, that due to emergent properties, we have no idea what the outcome of such a transformation will be.

There is always a risk in overthrowing a system that you will end up with something worse. And we need to consider this possibility with clear eyes rather than through rose-colored glasses.

Indeed, in the present context, white Christian nationalists are attempting a transformation. The outcome, should they succeed, would be the very opposite of what Slater forecast and fervently hoped for, and it would be immeasurably worse.

Still, I’m thinking of Slater’s description of a caterpillar about to cocoon, later to emerge as a butterfly. He wrote that the caterpillar’s antibodies resist the transformation mightily before the caterpillar succumbs and forms a cocoon. In his social transformation analogy, Slater warned that this reaction would terrify. It would appear overwhelming. And it would ultimately fail.[4]

I don’t know how accurate Slater’s description is biologically but the system I described yesterday, that I now think will fail to overturn the existing system,[5] might nonetheless produce such an antibody reaction as forces beyond its control threaten it.

It’s the news in this issue of the Irregular Bullshit that makes me think of Slater’s analogy. We might be seeing it here.

White Christian nationalism (Trumpism)


Fig. 1. A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Gainesville, Florida, Dec. 31, 1922, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Ron Kampeas, “Critics compare salutes at Trump and Mastriano rallies to Nazi ‘Sieg Heil,’” Times of Israel, September 20, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/critics-compare-salutes-at-trump-mastriano-rallies-to-nazi-sieg-heil/


Pennsylvania

2022 election


Fig. 2. There’s much too much of this kind of thing to be seen around Pittsburgh. Photograph taken by author through his windshield, May 17, 2022, just outside Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Ron Kampeas, “Critics compare salutes at Trump and Mastriano rallies to Nazi ‘Sieg Heil,’” Times of Israel, September 20, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/critics-compare-salutes-at-trump-mastriano-rallies-to-nazi-sieg-heil/


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[6] fair use.

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/

Laurence Peter, “Ukraine war: Russian pop megastar Alla Pugacheva condemns conflict,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin’s push for a new USSR reawakens the bloody chaos of Soviet collapse,” Politico, September 19, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-fall-russia-empire-ukraine-war-armenia-azerbaijan/

Thomas Bolton, “Russian forces ‘palpably panicking’ in Kharkiv region, says Zelenskyy,” EuroNews, September 20, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/2022/09/20/russian-forces-palpably-panicking-in-kharkiv-region-says-zelenskyy

John Gambrell, “Ukraine, using captured Russian tanks, firms up its lines,” Associated Press, September 20, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-kharkiv-3351d15af41ddde4176cb7cf72e74ac4

Matthew Luxmoore and Mauro Orru, “Russia Moves to Annex Occupied Lands as Ukraine Presses Offensive,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-moves-to-tighten-grip-on-occupied-lands-as-ukraine-presses-offensive-11663675647


  1. [1]Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self [DVD], BigD Productions.
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Spring in November?” Not Housebroken, September 19, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/09/19/spring-in-november/
  3. [3]Philip Slater, The Chrysalis Effect (Brighton, UK: Sussex, 2009).
  4. [4]Philip Slater, The Chrysalis Effect (Brighton, UK: Sussex, 2009).
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Spring in November?” Not Housebroken, September 19, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/09/19/spring-in-november/
  6. [6]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

The lie that demands Donald Trump’s prosecution

Pennsylvania

2022 election


Fig. 1. There’s much too much of this kind of thing to be seen around Pittsburgh. Photograph taken by author through his windshield, May 17, 2022, just outside Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Ryan Deto, “Pennsylvania’s high-stakes U.S. Senate race between Oz, Fetterman tightens,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 16, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvanias-high-stakes-u-s-senate-race-between-oz-fetterman-tightens/

Andrew Goldstein, “Analysis from Pa. teachers group shows ‘terrifying’ results from Mastriano education funding plan,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 16, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/09/16/analysis-pa-teachers-mastriano-education-funding-plan-results/stories/202209160136

Holly Otterbein, “He Could Be Our First Jewish President. But First He Needs to Beat a Christian Nationalist,” Politico, September 16, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/09/16/josh-shapiro-faith-campaign-00056846


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 2. Department of Justice photograph of seized materials, reportedly partially redacted, via the Washington Post, August 31, 2022, public domain.[1]

It says something that we have to ask the question in Jennifer Rubin’s headline, “If [Merrick] Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble.”[2] I do agree we need to ask it. And y’all know I want Donald Trump prosecuted, the sooner the better, and that I am deeply suspicious of the seemingly endless litany of excuses for “delaying” his prosecution.[3]

But Rubin’s column relies on a premise that there is one law, equally applicable regardless of a person’s socioeconomic status.[4] People of color knew this was a lie long before Donald Trump even ran for president. Poor people knew this was a lie long before Trump even ran for president. And Jeffrey Reiman documented that this was a lie long before Trump even ran for president.[5] Neither Rubin nor anybody else advances their argument by repeating that lie.

Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/

Evangelical Protestants


Fig. 3. “You shall have no other gods before me.”[6] Photograph posted to Twitter by Antonia Lee Donnelly, February 16, 2020,[7] fair use.


Pittsburgh

Unauthorized violence


Fig. 4. “A woman reacts at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue following Saturday’s shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Oct. 29, 2018,” photograph by Cathal McNaughton for Reuters, via ABC News, October 29, 2018,[8] fair use.

Nick Matoney, “Delivery driver shot during robbery and attempted carjacking in Pittsburgh,” WTAE, September 20, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/delivery-driver-shot-during-robbery-and-attempted-carjacking-in-pittsburgh/41288585


Ukraine


Fig. 5. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[9] fair use.

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/

Laurence Peter, “Ukraine war: Russian pop megastar Alla Pugacheva condemns conflict,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin’s push for a new USSR reawakens the bloody chaos of Soviet collapse,” Politico, September 19, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-fall-russia-empire-ukraine-war-armenia-azerbaijan/

Thomas Bolton, “Russian forces ‘palpably panicking’ in Kharkiv region, says Zelenskyy,” EuroNews, September 20, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/2022/09/20/russian-forces-palpably-panicking-in-kharkiv-region-says-zelenskyy

John Gambrell, “Ukraine, using captured Russian tanks, firms up its lines,” Associated Press, September 20, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-kharkiv-3351d15af41ddde4176cb7cf72e74ac4


  1. [1]Devlin Barrett, “Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-documents-removed-storage-room/
  2. [2]Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “It is now even more urgently orange jumpsuit time,” Not Housebroken, September 6, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/24/it-is-now-even-more-urgently-orange-jumpsuit-time/
  4. [4]Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/
  5. [5]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  6. [6]Exod. 20:3.
  7. [7]Antonia Lee Donnelly, “Now I've seen everything,” Twitter, February 17, 2020, https://twitter.com/DonnellyAntonia/status/1229227422836559873
  8. [8]Bill Hutchinson et al., “Pittsburgh synagogue-shooting suspect wheeled into courtroom; Trump to visit city Tuesday,” ABC News, October 29, 2019, https://abcnews.go.com/US/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-suspect-discharged-hospital-set-make/story?id=58825389
  9. [9]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

Is Vladimir Putin losing his grip?

There is a new blog post entitled, “On ‘intelligence,’” and another new blog post entitled, “Spring in November?


Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[1] fair use.

Russia isn’t the U.S. but if it were the U.S., I would say that Vladimir Putin is losing his grip and I really don’t know how else to interpret this:

Alla Pugacheva has been a musical megastar here for decades. First, in the Soviet Union, where she began her career in the 1960s; then, after the fall of the USSR, in Russia.

She is a hugely popular and well-respected artist, which makes her public comments about Russia’s offensive in Ukraine big news.

Her assertion that “our lads are dying for illusory aims that make our country a pariah and the lives of our citizens extremely difficult” is likely to infuriate the Kremlin. . . .

[Her husband Maxim] Galkin condemned Russian troops’ alleged atrocities and said there could be no justification for the Ukraine invasion.[2]

This follows several local Russian politicians’ call for Putin to resign[3] and what looks to me like a very canny analysis that there may be a regime change by the spring.[4] Due to the limitations of survey non-methodology, which are exacerbated in Russia by orders of magnitude,[5] we cannot know how much this is the tip of the iceberg.

But in the U.S., I would suspect that these celebrities and politicians might have a finger on the pulse of the population. I would suspect, at the very least, that support for Putin’s policies is far softer than we will see reported. But this is Russia, not the U.S. And I’m left to wonder just how wrong my suspicions really are.

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/

Laurence Peter, “Ukraine war: Russian pop megastar Alla Pugacheva condemns conflict,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin’s push for a new USSR reawakens the bloody chaos of Soviet collapse,” Politico, September 19, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-fall-russia-empire-ukraine-war-armenia-azerbaijan/


Gilead

Abortion


Fig. 1. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Lawrence Hurley, “Justices join debate on Supreme Court’s legitimacy after abortion ruling,” NBC News, September 18, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/justices-join-debate-supreme-courts-legitimacy-abortion-ruling-rcna47795

Sarah Gantz, Jasen Lo, and Jonathan Lai, “Thousands of out-of-state patients are coming to Pennsylvania for abortions they can’t get at home,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 19, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/inq2/abortion-ban-pennsylvania-clinics-access-patients-20220919.html

Competitive authoritarian regime project


Fig. 1. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Clarence Mitchell during signing ceremony of the voting rights act. Yoichi Okamoto, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Amy Gardner et al., “Republicans in key battleground races refuse to say they will accept results,” Washington Post, September 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/18/republicans-refuse-accept-results/


  1. [1]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  2. [2]Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146
  3. [3]Insider, “Municipal deputies in 18 Moscow and St. Petersburg districts demand Putin’s resignation,” September 12, 2022, https://theins.ru/en/news/254943; Allison Quinn, “Moscow Officials Urge Putin to GTFO: ‘Everything Went Wrong,’” Daily Beast, September 10, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/moscow-officials-urge-vladimir-putin-to-give-up-power
  4. [4]Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/
  5. [5]Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine

The shaming of a nuclear-armed Vladimir Putin

Gilead

Abortion


Fig. 1. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

There is a new blog post entitled, “The white Christian nationalist Supreme Court.”

Lawrence Hurley, “Justices join debate on Supreme Court’s legitimacy after abortion ruling,” NBC News, September 18, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/justices-join-debate-supreme-courts-legitimacy-abortion-ruling-rcna47795


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[1] fair use.

It’s starting to look a bit like overreach. Russia seems unable even to defend its own territory, raising more[2] questions about its leadership.[3] It’s quite a different picture, at least for the moment, from that when I originally asked where Vladimir Putin would stop.[4]

“As Ukraine succeeds on the battlefield, Vladimir Putin is becoming embarrassed and pushed into a corner,” [Scott] Pelley said to President [Joe] Biden. “And I wonder, Mr. President, what you would say to him if he is considering using chemical or tactical nuclear weapons.”

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II,” Mr. Biden said.

When Pelley asked what the consequences would be if Putin crossed that line, the president wouldn’t say.[5]

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/


Exoplanets

Luke Hurst, “Alien water world: Astronomers spot exoplanet that may be entirely covered by ocean,” EuroNews, September 14, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/09/14/alien-water-world-astronomers-spot-exoplanet-that-may-be-entirely-covered-by-ocean


  1. [1]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  2. [2]Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/; Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/
  3. [3]Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/; Insider, “Municipal deputies in 18 Moscow and St. Petersburg districts demand Putin’s resignation,” September 12, 2022, https://theins.ru/en/news/254943; Sergei Kuznetsov, “Putin’s problems aren’t just on the battlefield,” Politico, September 11, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putins-problems-arent-just-on-the-battlefield/; Mike Martin, “Putin is finished. The Ukrainians have him on the ropes with a stunning victory in their sights,” Telegraph, September 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/09/11/putin-finished-ukrainians-have-ropes-stunning-victory-sights/; Allison Quinn, “Moscow Officials Urge Putin to GTFO: ‘Everything Went Wrong,’” Daily Beast, September 10, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/moscow-officials-urge-vladimir-putin-to-give-up-power; Pjotr Sauer, “‘We have already lost’: far-right Russian bloggers slam Kremlin over army response,” Guardian, September 8, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/08/we-have-already-lost-far-right-russian-bloggers-slam-kremlin-over-army-response
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, September 11, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  5. [5]CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Doug Mastriano’s answer for the teacher shortage

Migration


Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated photograph, via the British Broadcasting Corporation, August 12, 2020,[1] fair use.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of a law that says, “We can criminally charge you for being a jerk to vulnerable people for your own political gain.” I wish we did.[2]

Baylee DeMuth, “An unnecessary hurdle? Erie Afghan refugees could face 14-hour trip for asylum interviews,” Erie Times-News, September 15, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2022/09/16/asylum-interviews-erie-pa-afghan-refugees-possibly-in-arlington-virginia-buffalo-new-york-pittsburgh/65554136007/

Lisa Kashinski, Sue Allan, and Gary Fineout, “GOP governors put focus on migrants with Martha’s Vineyard transport,” Politico, September 15, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/desantis-migrants-marthas-vineyard-immigration-florida-00056870

Alexander Thompson et al., “‘At first they were surprised, just like us.’ Martha’s Vineyard responds to surprise arrival of planeloads of migrants,” Boston Globe, September 15, 2022, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/09/15/metro/marthas-vineyard-responds-surprise-arrival-planeloads-migrants/

Aaron Blake, “What the law says about DeSantis and Abbott sending migrants to blue states,” Washington Post, September 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/15/desantis-abbott-migrants-legality/


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein, “Justice Dept. says it would accept Trump’s candidate for special master,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/trump-classified-special-master/

Greg Sargent, “Trump faces a new threat: Scrutiny of ‘stop the steal’ money scam,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/13/trump-doj-subpoenas-jan-6-save-america-pac/

Jennifer Rubin, “Trump’s legal problems multiply as his excuses disappear,” Washington Post, September 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/14/trump-unsealed-affidavit-doj-brief/

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Judge appoints special master, rejects DOJ bid to delay Mar-a-Lago ruling,” Politico, September 15, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/judge-rejects-doj-bid-to-delay-mar-a-lago-ruling-appoints-special-master-00057123

Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha, “Justice Department Appeals Parts of Judge’s Ruling on Documents Seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago,” Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-likely-to-appeal-parts-of-judges-ruling-on-documents-seized-at-trumps-mar-a-lago-11663354445


Take Ryan Deto’s story[3] with a grain of salt.

Surveys


Fig. 1. Graph showing the deterioration of response rates by the Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, fair use.[4]

When the response rate, which should be ninety percent of a representative sample or more,[5] is instead in the single digits,[6] pollsters have a self-selecting sample that cannot represent non-respondents, particularly when, due to non-response, we have no idea, none whatsoever, how members of that self-selecting sample differ from all those non-respondents. This completely invalidates the methodology and I don’t care what rhetoric pollsters deploy to excuse themselves—the claim that polling works regardless[7] is belied by all the instances in which it doesn’t[8]—or what statistical magic they think they can employ to get around this problem—an absence of data remains an absence of data. This is a non-methodology that persists because we are desperate for an imaginary certainty of numbers,[9] and because people have built entire careers around this non-methodology.

Look, I get that journalists have to report and that journalistic organizations have to conduct polls, all as part of that incredibly essential but utterly nonsubstantive “horse race” coverage. But we really should be more honest about the non-methodology.

Meanwhile, I guess we’re seeing Doug Mastriano’s answer for the teacher shortage. His very vague plan apparently would cut funding for school districts, forcing them to lay off teachers.[10] That might leave a surplus, both of unemployed teachers and undereducated kids.

Tell me again about how we love our teachers.

Ryan Deto, “Pennsylvania’s high-stakes U.S. Senate race between Oz, Fetterman tightens,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 16, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvanias-high-stakes-u-s-senate-race-between-oz-fetterman-tightens/

Andrew Goldstein, “Analysis from Pa. teachers group shows ‘terrifying’ results from Mastriano education funding plan,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 16, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/09/16/analysis-pa-teachers-mastriano-education-funding-plan-results/stories/202209160136


California

Additional tests lie ahead, for California and other states and nations. But after this round, California has a clear lesson for the world: Battery storage is a powerful tool for grids facing new strains from heat, cold, fire, flood or aging networks. And just as important, batteries are key to the zero-carbon future we need to avoid even greater stresses down the line.[11]

Mike Ferry, “California’s giant new batteries kept the lights on during the heat wave,” Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-13/california-electric-grid-batteries-heat-wave-september-2022


  1. [1]British Broadcasting Corporation, “English Channel migrants: Where they’re from and what they’re escaping,” August 12, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-53721146
  2. [2]Bridgette Carr, quoted in Aaron Blake, “What the law says about DeSantis and Abbott sending migrants to blue states,” Washington Post, September 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/15/desantis-abbott-migrants-legality/
  3. [3]Ryan Deto, “Pennsylvania’s high-stakes U.S. Senate race between Oz, Fetterman tightens,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 16, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvanias-high-stakes-u-s-senate-race-between-oz-fetterman-tightens/
  4. [4]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  5. [5]This according to Valerie Sue, the professor in my first research methods class, at California State University, Hayward (now East Bay), Fall 2003.
  6. [6]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409; Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  7. [7]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409; Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  8. [8]Dan Balz, “2020 presidential polls suffered worst performance in decades, report says,” Washington Post, July 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020-poll-errors/2021/07/18/8d6a9838-e7df-11eb-ba5d-55d3b5ffcaf1_story.html; David Byler, “Polling is broken. No one knows how to fix it,” Washington Post, July 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/22/polling-is-broken-no-one-knows-how-fix-it/; Mona Chalabi, “The pollsters were wrong – again. Here’s what we know so far,” Guardian, November 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/nov/04/the-pollsters-were-wrong-again-heres-what-we-know-so-far; David A. Graham, “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy,” Atlantic, November 4, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/polling-catastrophe/616986/; Steven Shepard, “Dem pollsters acknowledge ‘major errors’ in 2020 polling,” Politico, April 13, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/13/dems-polling-failure-481044
  9. [9]Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, John Wilkinson, trans. (New York: Vintage, 1964).; Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York: Vintage, 1993).
  10. [10]Andrew Goldstein, “Analysis from Pa. teachers group shows ‘terrifying’ results from Mastriano education funding plan,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 16, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/09/16/analysis-pa-teachers-mastriano-education-funding-plan-results/stories/202209160136
  11. [11]Mike Ferry, “California’s giant new batteries kept the lights on during the heat wave,” Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-13/california-electric-grid-batteries-heat-wave-september-2022

Cruelty with no moral basis whatsoever

Migration


Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated photograph, via the British Broadcasting Corporation, August 12, 2020,[1] fair use.

A lot is going wrong here and I’m covering a couple issues.

First, Afghan refugees who have settled in Erie, Pennsylvania, may have to travel—it’s 14 hours of driving time—to Arlington, Virginia, for asylum hearings. They may also need to supply interpreters who are not themselves applicants for asylum:[2]

The interpreter cannot be someone with an application in front of [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services]. I have to go and find another interpreter, which, as you can imagine, who’s a Dari interpreter in Erie, PA, who does not have an application in front USCIS?[3]

Second, as to the evil some Republican governors are committing, there is a new blog post entitled, “‘Pull’ and ‘Push’ factors in migration.”

Baylee DeMuth, “An unnecessary hurdle? Erie Afghan refugees could face 14-hour trip for asylum interviews,” Erie Times-News, September 15, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2022/09/16/asylum-interviews-erie-pa-afghan-refugees-possibly-in-arlington-virginia-buffalo-new-york-pittsburgh/65554136007/

Lisa Kashinski, Sue Allan, and Gary Fineout, “GOP governors put focus on migrants with Martha’s Vineyard transport,” Politico, September 15, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/desantis-migrants-marthas-vineyard-immigration-florida-00056870

Alexander Thompson et al., “‘At first they were surprised, just like us.’ Martha’s Vineyard responds to surprise arrival of planeloads of migrants,” Boston Globe, September 15, 2022, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/09/15/metro/marthas-vineyard-responds-surprise-arrival-planeloads-migrants/


Gig economy (neoliberal wet dream)

‘Rideshare’ driving


Fig. 1. Uber driver Boubacar Sow drives in New York. Photograph by Kevin Hagan via the Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019,[4] fair use.

Levi Sumagaysay, “FTC sends a warning to Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other ‘gig-work’ companies,” MarketWatch, September 16, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftc-sends-a-warning-to-uber-lyft-doordash-and-other-gig-work-companies-11663279622


Queen Elizabeth

Ryan Deto, “Carnegie Mellon professor speaks out after controversial tweet about Queen Elizabeth II,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 15, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/cmu-professor-speaks-out-after-controversial-tweet-about-queen-elizabeth-ii/

Stephen Reicher, “I’m an expert in crowd behaviour – don’t be fooled that everyone queueing in London is mourning the Queen,” Guardian, September 15, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/15/crowd-behaviour-london-mourning-queen


  1. [1]British Broadcasting Corporation, “English Channel migrants: Where they’re from and what they’re escaping,” August 12, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-53721146
  2. [2]Baylee DeMuth, “An unnecessary hurdle? Erie Afghan refugees could face 14-hour trip for asylum interviews,” Erie Times-News, September 15, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2022/09/16/asylum-interviews-erie-pa-afghan-refugees-possibly-in-arlington-virginia-buffalo-new-york-pittsburgh/65554136007/
  3. [3]Michael Barron, quoted in Baylee DeMuth, “An unnecessary hurdle? Erie Afghan refugees could face 14-hour trip for asylum interviews,” Erie Times-News, September 15, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2022/09/16/asylum-interviews-erie-pa-afghan-refugees-possibly-in-arlington-virginia-buffalo-new-york-pittsburgh/65554136007/
  4. [4]Eliot Brown, “Uber Wants to Be the Uber of Everything—But Can It Make a Profit?” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-wants-to-be-the-uber-of-everything-11556909866