I have been to hell, otherwise known as Southern California, and back (and no, it’s not that bad, but how could I pass up that joke?)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 27, 8:41 pm.
  2. October 28, 11:19 am:
    • Something I let pass below was the xenophobic and extreme right-wing violence—yet more violence—that has occurred recently. There have been three such incidents—bombs sent to some of Donald Trump’s prominent opponents, a shooting of two people (Blacks) at a Kroger store, and an attack on a synagogue that killed 11 people.[1] I generally let stories like this pass. The U.S. is an extraordinarily violent and vicious society, due to alienation, due to a style of entertainment that promotes violence and Hierarchically Invidious Monistic thinking, due to the identification of a significant part of the population with guns, due to empire and its legacy. I see such stories and I don’t really see them as news. You may deny that “this is who we are,” but the plain and simple fact is that it is. I don’t like it but I am powerless to change it. So I have to accept it. (Yet more violence)
  3. October 28, 2:15 pm:
  4. October 29, 7:47 am:
    • Finger-pointing blah over the recent violence[2] even though this does absolutely nothing about root causes.
  5. October 29, 12:18 pm:
    • Is it any wonder chronological children can't wait for fucking Christmas when retailer children put up Christmas decorations before Halloween?
      Is it any wonder chronological children can’t wait for fucking Christmas when retailer children put up Christmas decorations before Halloween?
  6. October 29, 2018, 7:26 pm:
    • Paul Waldman has another scathing review of Donald Trump’s and his followers’ ‘victimhood.’[3] (Yet more violence)
    • There’s been more fun on Wall Street.[4]
  7. October 30, 7:18 am:
    • Words fail me. I cannot even utter what Mike Pence did.[5] (Yet more violence)
    • Moved Jennifer Rubin’s column on Donald Trump’s and his supporters’ ‘victimhood’[6] from Donald Trump to Yet more violence. Also, this post had misclassified Paul Waldman’s column[7] under Donald Trump when it had actually been archived under Yet more violence.
    • I don’t know who is telling Donald Trump he can end birthright citizenship with an executive order[8] but I’m sure wondering how they manage to mangle the 14th amendment to reach that conclusion. The amendment begins, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”[9] The only weasel words I see there are about being “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” but if they’re here, they’re subject to that jurisdiction. Unless, that is, Trump wants to not enforce the law against unauthorized migrants. (Unauthorized migration)
  8. October 30, 2018, 11:10 am:
  9. October 30, 2:19 pm:
    • Aaron Blake thinks Donald Trump’s claimed intention to abolish birthright citizenship by executive order is a “cynical ploy that, even if it’s attempted, will likely fail. And it probably won’t even be attempted.” His logic boils down to that this is the kind of thing that idiot authoritarian populists, whom Trump wants to motivate to vote, slobber over.[12] My guess is that Blake is right. (Unauthorized migration)
    • Donald Trump is a black hole. There is no limit to the depths of his depravity. The latest? “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims [of sexual assault] about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.”[13] (James Comey)
  10. October 30, 3:40 pm:
    • I neglected to mention in the last update that I am still not caught up.
  11. October 30, 10:52 pm:
    • Now, I’m caught up.

It’s been a week. Just as my server was having a crisis, I had to leave to go to Southern California. Now that I’m back, I’ve almost got things back to a tolerable condition.

In the meantime, I have three new blog entries:

  1. On understanding the ‘other’
  2. Musings of a San Francisco kid
  3. This is not just extremist right-wing violence. It is our violence. And we must own it.

And my patience with my credit union is running very, very short.

I had a transaction declined for absolutely no good reason. It wasn’t that I had insufficient funds and, it turns out, it wasn’t that they had suspected my Southern California activity was fraudulent.

Though my patience with so-called “fraud protection” ran out a while ago. I do yell at customer service representatives on the phone these days and I have been no less scathing in my communication with the credit union (they close down their customer service phone lines at night and on weekends so I couldn’t actually yell at them). I have been hit with these holds numerous times, presumably because my life does not—nor would I ever in a million years want it to—fall into nice neat predictable patterns except over a relatively, but apparently long enough to fool their artificial idiocy, short periods of time.

I need to be clear here: Declines for scratching-their-scrotum reasons are absolutely unacceptable. They are intolerably rude. They are inexcusable. And don’t try to tell me they’re protecting me against fraud when all I see, and see way too often, are false positives, which means I have no evidence whatsoever of true positives, but considerable reason to doubt they can tell a false positive from a true positive. All they’re really doing is keeping me from money I have a right to access, just as I need to access it. What this really amounts to is another way of picking on the poor, who are less likely to have access to alternative payment methods.

Right now it looks like they just have an incredibly incompetent Information Technology department. Among other things, they hate Android. Their Android app simply sucks in so many ways that I’ve uninstalled it and refuse to use it. They failed to enable near field communication (NFC) payments on Google Pay for Android devices for years after it worked on Apple Pay and didn’t get on the ball for at least several months after claiming it worked (it does now work on my Wear OS smartwatch).

And again, these assholes are making huge salaries while I remain poor. I should dump them for their arrogance alone. As it is, I’m getting closer to making that decision simply because with their IT problems they simply aren’t a reliable place to keep what little money I have.


#MeToo

Kat Rosenfield, “Sarah Silverman Tweaks #MeToo,” Tablet, October 26, 2018, https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/273331/sarah-silverman-tweaks-metoo


Brett Kavanaugh

Seung Min Kim and Elise Viebeck, “Grassley refers Avenatti and Swetnick to Justice for a criminal probe,” Washington Post, October 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/grassley-refers-avenatti-and-swetnick-to-justice-for-a-criminal-probe/2018/10/25/75ef7a02-d879-11e8-9559-712cbf726d1c_story.html


Wall Street

Thomas Heath, “Dow plunges more than 600 points in another day of losses, officially wiping out its 2018 gains,” Washington Post, October 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/us-stocks-whipsawed-in-fresh-wave-of-volatility/2018/10/24/b9b75066-d7a2-11e8-a10f-b51546b10756_story.html

Amrith Ramkumar, “Markets Moving in Lockstep Are Latest Warning Sign,” October 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-moving-in-lockstep-are-latest-warning-sign-1540382401

Thomas Heath, “U.S. stocks skid deeper on tech sell-off,” Washington Post, October 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/us-stocks-skid-again-on-tech-sell-off/2018/10/26/cf9607f4-d920-11e8-aeb7-ddcad4a0a54e_story.html

Amrith Ramkumar, “U.S. Stocks Slump on Tech Worries,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-stocks-resume-declines-1540541081

Thomas Heath, “Embattled tech stocks drag down rest of market in late-day plunge,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/embattled-tech-stocks-drag-rest-of-market-down-too/2018/10/29/6dc8a230-dbae-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html


Unauthorized migration

Kevin Sieff and Joshua Partlow, “Why Mexico isn’t stopping the migrant caravan,” Washington Post, October 22, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/why-mexico-isnt-stopping-the-migrant-caravan/2018/10/22/0a10c886-d608-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html

Kevin Sieff and Joshua Partlow, “How the migrant caravan became so big and why it’s continuing to grow,” Washington Post, October 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/how-the-migrant-caravan-became-so-big-and-why-its-continuing-to-grow/2018/10/23/88abf1a6-d631-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html

Aaron Blake, “Trump’s transparent, frivolous ploy on birthright citizenship,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/30/trumps-transparent-frivolous-ploy-birthright-citizenship/

John Bowden, “Trump says he will sign executive order banning birthright citizenship,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/413770-trump-says-he-will-sign-executive-order-banning-birthright


Student loans

Annie Nova, “These Americans fled the country to escape their giant student debt,” CNBC, October 27, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/26/he-moved-to-a-jungle-in-india-to-escape-his-student-debt–and-hes-not-alone-.html


Yet more violence

Jennifer Rubin, “President Trump, ever the victim,” Washington Post, October 26, 2018,https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/26/president-trump-ever-the-victim/

Ray Sanchez and Melissa Gray, “72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects,” CNN, October 28, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/28/us/72-hours-of-hate-in-america/index.html

Robert Costa and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump, GOP defiant amid allegations that incendiary rhetoric contributed to climate of violence,” Washington Post, October 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-gop-defiant-amid-allegations-that-incendiary-rhetoric-contributed-to-climate-of-violence/2018/10/28/eecd91f6-dae1-11e8-b732-3c72cbf131f2_story.html

Alana Newhouse, “American Yahrzeit,” Tablet, October 29, 2018, https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/273679/american-yahrzeit

Paul Waldman, “How Trump and Republicans wield the politics of victimhood,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/29/how-trump-and-republicans-wield-the-politics-of-victimhood

Moriah Balingit, Avi Selk, and Mark Berman, “Shooting victim’s family shuns President Trump in Pittsburgh as top officials decline to join him,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/despite-calls-stay-away-trump-heads-pittsburgh-after-synagogue-massacre/

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah,’” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/honoring-pittsburgh-synagogue-victims-mike-pence-appears-with-rabbi-who-preaches-jesus-is-messiah/


James Comey

Emily Birnbaum, “Special counsel asks FBI to investigate conspiracy against Mueller,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/413873-fbi-asked-to-investigate-claims-women-were-offered-money-to-allege


  1. [1]Ray Sanchez and Melissa Gray, “72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects,” CNN, October 28, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/28/us/72-hours-of-hate-in-america/index.html
  2. [2]Robert Costa and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump, GOP defiant amid allegations that incendiary rhetoric contributed to climate of violence,” Washington Post, October 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-gop-defiant-amid-allegations-that-incendiary-rhetoric-contributed-to-climate-of-violence/2018/10/28/eecd91f6-dae1-11e8-b732-3c72cbf131f2_story.html
  3. [3]Paul Waldman, “How Trump and Republicans wield the politics of victimhood,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/29/how-trump-and-republicans-wield-the-politics-of-victimhood
  4. [4]Thomas Heath, “Embattled tech stocks drag down rest of market in late-day plunge,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/embattled-tech-stocks-drag-rest-of-market-down-too/2018/10/29/6dc8a230-dbae-11e8-b3f0-62607289efee_story.html
  5. [5]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah,’” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/honoring-pittsburgh-synagogue-victims-mike-pence-appears-with-rabbi-who-preaches-jesus-is-messiah/
  6. [6]Jennifer Rubin, “President Trump, ever the victim,” Washington Post, October 26, 2018,https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/26/president-trump-ever-the-victim/
  7. [7]Paul Waldman, “How Trump and Republicans wield the politics of victimhood,” Washington Post, October 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/29/how-trump-and-republicans-wield-the-politics-of-victimhood
  8. [8]John Bowden, “Trump says he will sign executive order banning birthright citizenship,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/413770-trump-says-he-will-sign-executive-order-banning-birthright
  9. [9]U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1.
  10. [10]Alana Newhouse, “American Yahrzeit,” Tablet, October 29, 2018, https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/273679/american-yahrzeit
  11. [11]Moriah Balingit, Avi Selk, and Mark Berman, “Shooting victim’s family shuns President Trump in Pittsburgh as top officials decline to join him,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/despite-calls-stay-away-trump-heads-pittsburgh-after-synagogue-massacre/
  12. [12]Aaron Blake, “Trump’s transparent, frivolous ploy on birthright citizenship,” Washington Post, October 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/30/trumps-transparent-frivolous-ploy-birthright-citizenship/
  13. [13]Peter Carr, quoted in Emily Birnbaum, “Special counsel asks FBI to investigate conspiracy against Mueller,” Hill, October 30, 2018, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/413873-fbi-asked-to-investigate-claims-women-were-offered-money-to-allege

Idiocy: Why they get the big bucks

There are two new blog posts:


Twitter isn’t really the place for lengthy ranting. The post-length limitation and the fact that posts can’t be edited both make it dubious. So I don’t do it often. I did it Wednesday.

There are a few updates here:

  1. AAA took its own failures as a reason to shut off recurring payments. Which is simply a non sequitur, but to them, this is logic. My guess—I don’t know because they haven’t actually mentioned the expiration date like anybody else does in this situation—is that the card information is out of date. It’s my debit card; a little, but not very long before the expiration, they send me a new one. When I activate it, the old one immediately becomes invalid. If they’d simply include the expiration date with the notice of failure, it would help a lot. Instead, they offer a generic message: Their site is currently unable to process payments.
  2. Uber requires its “partners” (the euphemism for employees whom they’re trying not to acknowledge are employees[1]) to occasionally submit a selfie when they try to go on line or even while driving for verification. This supposedly happens at random and there is no alternative procedure. So now I’m supposed to drive 70 miles out of my way to the nearest “Greenlight” location on the slim hope that they’ll be able to sort out their malfunctioning app there. (Lyft does not do this.)
  3. Meanwhile, Lyft sends me a note informing me that someone gave me a low rating on cleanliness. Which is absurd. The car is spotless. I have it washed nearly every day and the interior cleaned about twice a week on monthly plans I have with not one, but two, car wash places.
  4. And when I composed the twitter rant, I forgot to mention $EX-EMPLOYER, who keeps wanting to know if I’ll come to work today, when I have repeatedly informed them that I can’t plug the piece of shit GPS tracker that they require into my OBD2 port because it wipes critical safety related settings on my car. We’re only talking about minor things here like braking and traction control. As the rainy season approaches. My mechanic and dealer have both informed me that plugging things into OBD2 ports is unsafe. The relevant regulation only requires GPS tracking, owned by the company, not the driver, that can promptly locate the vehicle and must be attached to the vehicle. It says nothing about the OBD2 port, but $EX-EMPLOYER insists this is the only solution.

Understand the people who make these decisions are pulling down six and seven figures, if not more. But I have to be poor.

My fury knows no limits.


  1. [1]City Attorney of San Francisco, “Herrera investigates Uber, Lyft over driver pay and benefits,” PR Newswire, May 29, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/herrera-investigates-uber-lyft-over-driver-pay-and-benefits-300655892.html; Lydia DePillis, “California ruling puts pressure on Uber, Lyft and other gig economy employers,” CNN, May 1, 2018,http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/01/news/economy/california-gig-employer-ruling/index.html; Bryan Menegus, “San Francisco Subpoenas Uber and Lyft for Proof Drivers Aren’t Employees,” Gizmodo, May 29, 2018, https://gizmodo.com/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-and-lyft-for-proof-drivers-1826398148; Sam Schechner, “Uber Suffers Setback as U.K. Court Rules Its Drivers Should Have Workers’ Rights,” Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-loses-appeal-against-u-k-ruling-on-drivers-rights-1510313218; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco subpoenas Uber, Lyft on driver classification,” Reuters, May 29, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ridehailing-sanfrancisco/san-francisco-subpoenas-uber-lyft-on-driver-classification-idUSKCN1IU2IX

Hurricane Michael

There are three new blog posts:


Updates

  1. Originally published, October 8, 6:45 pm.
  2. October 8, 7:33 pm:
    • A minor mystery is solved. (SpaceX)
  3. October 9, 1:27 am:
    • Here’s some quantitative analysis confirming what we already know: The Democratic Party is run by absolute fucking idiots who have no business being in politics and who do not deserve anyone’s faith, let alone that of progressives.[1] Or to spin it slightly differently, to vote for Democrats might be to vote for neoconservative and neoliberal ideas, as with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but it sure as hell isn’t to vote for progressive accomplishment.
    • I’m not hearing much from Cuba as Hurricane Michael brushes (to put it mildly) the west end of that island. But I suspect the Cubans know how to tell a hurricane how to get its act together, because Michael is looking a lot more organized now than when I first published this issue.
  4. October 10, 1:22 pm:
    • From Cuba (or at least the strait between it and the Yucatan peninsula) with love: Hurricane Michael has made landfall as a Category 4 storm.[2] In figure 1 (now here preserved as the 12:00 pm version), it indeed appears undiminished in fury.
  5. October 10, 10:00 pm:
    • I agree with the substance of Marlon Smith’s essay.[3] I worry about men—like Smith—telling women how to conduct feminism. That said, Smith’s essay, for me, captures again the failure of the Third Wave of Feminism[4] and the reason I’ve been expecting a fourth wave (the latter is likely under way, but still not authoritatively recognized).
  6. October 11, 6:12 am:
    • “[Hurricane Michael] was the most powerful tropical storm to hit the Florida Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851. Just two hurricanes have ever hit the United States with barometric pressure readings in the eye — a key metric of a storm’s effects — lower than the 919 millibars of Michael.”[5] As to the rest of it, there’s probably no substitute for actually being there—which sounds like a terrible idea.
    • Wall Street is throwing a temper tantrum.[6] But “[d]espite the selloff in stocks, financial markets overall didn’t exhibit a classic flight to safety. Two safe assets, gold and bonds, have had a horrible year and were essentially flat on Wednesday. . . Investors are starting to realize how dependent the longest bull market in history has been on cheap money.”[7] This latter bit may be a sign that yet another one of those “creative destruction” parties capitalists love so much, a recession, is in the offing. Mind you, I haven’t recovered from the one in 2001 so I’m just really low on sympathy for all these rich bastards.
  7. October 11, 3:55 pm:
    • The Dow Jones Industrials fell by over 500 points but “[t]he rise in bond yields paused”[8] and, allegedly, “All the leading indications that would point to a recession in the next year just aren’t there.”[9] I love these assholes who think there’s no sign of a recession. Until there is. And when it’s way too late to be a forecast.
    • Something I heard about yesterday but then failed to capture and archive at the time was a sense that Wall Street is concerned about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Justin Lahart discusses this concern.[10] Something else I’ve been hearing for a while but is not captured here is that the Fed desperately wants to rebuild the arsenal of weapons it expended in the financial crisis of 2008.
  8. October 12, 11:53 am:
  9. October 12, 2:57 pm:
    • I disagree that the markets are rational in the short or long term, except perhaps within an unsustainable frame, but Allan Sloan explains why Wall Street’s reaction to the Fed’s raising of short term interest rates is, well, short-sighted.[11]
  10. October 12, 11:15 pm:
    • A sleeper question has been, what happens when Robert Mueller finishes his investigation, specifically, what happens to his findings? The Department of Justice, within whose auspices Mueller operates, is an executive branch department. So there’s no guarantee that Mueller’s findings would ever see the light of day. It turns out the Watergate investigation encountered a similar problem, analysis was done, and some folks think that analysis might help Mueller.[12] So this judge’s ruling, seeking to release findings that have been kept confidential for decades, is hugely important.[13] (James Comey)
  11. October 13, 11:03 pm:

Hurricane Michael

Fig. 1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration infrared satellite imagery of the Gulf of Mexico (public domain), assembled into a 72-hour gif, as of 12:00 pm, October 10.

Arian Campo-Flores and Jon Kamp, “Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall in Florida, Threatening ‘Unimaginable Devastation,’” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-michael-expected-to-make-landfall-wednesday-1539171937

Kevin Begos et al., “‘We’re kind of getting crushed’: Record-breaking Hurricane Michael slams Florida,” Washington Post, October 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/were-kinda-getting-crushed-record-breaking-hurricane-michael-slams-florida/2018/10/10/3e7f376a-cca8-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html


Democratic Party

Aaron Blake, “Another big Democratic loss. And yet more complaints about a ‘rigged’ system,” Washington Post, October 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/08/another-big-democratic-loss-yet-more-complaints-about-rigged-system/


SpaceX

So I was driving in the Redwood Shores area of Redwood City last night and happened to see strange lights. They didn’t seem to be moving. I stopped the car, opened my window, heard no sound, and took a picture (figure 2). I thought maybe these lights were drones, hovering, shining their lights through some smoky skies.

Fig. 2. Photograph by David Benfell, October 7, 2018, apparently of SpaceX on ascent.

Apparently, it was Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, headed for space.[14]

Amy Graff, “Strange light moving slowly through the Bay Area sky was Elon Musk’s SpaceX,” SFGate, October 8, 2018, https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Falcon-rocket-SpaceX-strange-light-Elon-Musk-13290064.php


Third Wave of Feminism

Marlon Smith, “It’s time for Black women to stop caping a white feminist agenda,” Grio, October 8, 2018, https://thegrio.com/2018/10/08/time-for-black-women-to-stop-caping-a-white-feminist-agenda/


Wall Street

Fig. 3. A screenshot from the Wall Street Journal puts recent losses in perspective. (Fair use.)

Spencer Jakab, “Markets’ Scary Divergence Is Worrisome,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-scary-divergence-is-worrisome-1539205900

Michael Wursthorn, “U.S. Stocks Drop as Bond Yields Keep Climbing,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-stocks-pause-amid-doubts-over-growth-1539158283

Justin Lahart, “The Fed May Not Be Investors’ Friend,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fed-may-not-be-investors-friend-1539273524

Allan Sloan, “Yes, it was a $1 trillion wipeout in stocks — but let’s not all go crazy,” Washington Post, October 11, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/yes-it-was-a-1-trillion-wipeout-in-stocks–but-lets-not-all-go-crazy/2018/10/11/662202a0-cd77-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html

Christopher Whittall, Steven Russolillo, and Jessica Menton, “U.S. Stocks Extend Losses on Heels of Wednesday Rout,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-tumble-across-asia-led-by-tech-as-growth-worries-dominate-1539225820


James Comey

Josh Gerstein, “Judge orders partial release of Watergate ‘road map,’” Politico, October 11, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/11/watergate-report-donald-trump-896046


  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “Another big Democratic loss. And yet more complaints about a ‘rigged’ system,” Washington Post, October 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/08/another-big-democratic-loss-yet-more-complaints-about-rigged-system/
  2. [2]Arian Campo-Flores and Jon Kamp, “Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall in Florida, Threatening ‘Unimaginable Devastation,’” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-michael-expected-to-make-landfall-wednesday-1539171937
  3. [3]Marlon Smith, “It’s time for Black women to stop caping a white feminist agenda,” Grio, October 8, 2018, https://thegrio.com/2018/10/08/time-for-black-women-to-stop-caping-a-white-feminist-agenda/
  4. [4]See also Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings, ed. Charles Lemert, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010), 449-451.
  5. [5]Kevin Begos et al., “‘We’re kind of getting crushed’: Record-breaking Hurricane Michael slams Florida,” Washington Post, October 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/were-kinda-getting-crushed-record-breaking-hurricane-michael-slams-florida/2018/10/10/3e7f376a-cca8-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html
  6. [6]Michael Wursthorn, “U.S. Stocks Drop as Bond Yields Keep Climbing,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-stocks-pause-amid-doubts-over-growth-1539158283
  7. [7]Spencer Jakab, “Markets’ Scary Divergence Is Worrisome,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-scary-divergence-is-worrisome-1539205900
  8. [8]Christopher Whittall, Steven Russolillo, and Jessica Menton, “U.S. Stocks Extend Losses on Heels of Wednesday Rout,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-tumble-across-asia-led-by-tech-as-growth-worries-dominate-1539225820
  9. [9]Patrick Kaser, quoted in Christopher Whittall, Steven Russolillo, and Jessica Menton, “U.S. Stocks Extend Losses on Heels of Wednesday Rout,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/markets-tumble-across-asia-led-by-tech-as-growth-worries-dominate-1539225820
  10. [10]Justin Lahart, “The Fed May Not Be Investors’ Friend,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fed-may-not-be-investors-friend-1539273524
  11. [11]Allan Sloan, “Yes, it was a $1 trillion wipeout in stocks — but let’s not all go crazy,” Washington Post, October 11, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/yes-it-was-a-1-trillion-wipeout-in-stocks–but-lets-not-all-go-crazy/2018/10/11/662202a0-cd77-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html
  12. [12]Charlie Savage, “Legal Experts Urge Release of Watergate Report to Offer Mueller a Road Map,” New York Times, September 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/us/politics/mueller-report-grand-jury-watergate.html
  13. [13]Josh Gerstein, “Judge orders partial release of Watergate ‘road map,’” Politico, October 11, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/11/watergate-report-donald-trump-896046
  14. [14]Amy Graff, “Strange light moving slowly through the Bay Area sky was Elon Musk’s SpaceX,” SFGate, October 8, 2018, https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Falcon-rocket-SpaceX-strange-light-Elon-Musk-13290064.php

A sexual harasser on the Supreme Court is not enough; let’s add an accused rapist

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 23, 8:18 am.
  2. September 23, 3:17 pm:
    • A problem that Christine Blasey Ford faces as she confronts Brett Kavanaugh in the latter’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is that the rich and well-connected protect each other. They do this even when, as with Judith Butler (a renowned critical theorist), they clearly should know better, and at the expense of “lesser” people.[1]
  3. September 24, 1:01 am:
    • A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has come forward with allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, specifically that he “exposed himself to Ramirez during a party. She acknowledged lapses in her memory of the episode but said she remembered Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing while he pulled up his pants, according to the [New Yorker] magazine.”[2]
  4. September 24, 9:49 am:
    • Government of the bullies, for the bullies, by the bullies: Donald Trump stands by Brett Kavanaugh.[3]
    • White House officials say Rod Rosenstein has offered to resign.[4] (James Comey)
  5. September 24, 12:43 pm:
  6. September 24, 7:54 pm:
    • Rod Rosenstein has not resigned or been fired after all. This might happen Thursday. Or it might happen after the midterm elections.[5] (James Comey)
    • I am not caught up.
  7. September 25, 1:37 am:
    • Apparently Deborah Ramirez’ accusation of sexual harassment against Brett Kavanaugh is on weaker legal ground than Christine Blasey Ford’s.[6]
    • An as-yet-unnamed third woman, represented by Michael Avenatti, apparently has credible information against Brett Kavanaugh.[7]
  8. September 25, 11:24 am:
    • A judge has labeled Bill Cosby a “sexually violent predator,” meaning he “must undergo counselling for life and appear on the sex offenders’ registry.”[8]
  9. September 25, 2:52 pm:
    • Bill Cosby has been sentenced to at least three years in a Pennsylvania state prison.[9]
  10. September 26, 12:37 am:
    • Added a photograph of Bill Cosby being helped to a police car to be taken to jail.
  11. September 26, 7:15 am:
    • In our system of so-called “justice,” we very often focus on inconsistencies in the victim‘s story as a way of discrediting the victim and turning a proceeding into an attack upon her, all in the name of course, of allowing the accused to confront his accuser, but it seems Brett Kavanaugh has a few of his own.[10]
  12. September 26, 12:01 pm:
    • Michael Avenatti’s “third accuser” against Brett Kavanaugh has come forward. Her name is Julie Swetnick.[11]
  13. September 27, 11:24 pm:
    • There’s a lot to catch up on with the Brett Kavanaugh nomination:
      1. I don’t believe I’ve noticed Paul Waldman’s work at the Washington Post before. But he effectively dismantles the Republican case for ramming through the nomination.[12]
      2. Apparently Kavanaugh might not just have been a drunken asshole would-be rapist while in high school. According to an anonymous allegation, he was still a drunken asshole would-be rapist when he was 33 years old.[13]
      3. I was specifically not reacting to early reports of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was waiting for the picture that includes Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony. The bottom line seems to be that both did what they needed to do, while the committee’s chairman, Charles Grassley, seems defensive about his and his committee’s handling of the confirmation and the appointment of a prosecutor from Arizona to handle questioning seemed to backfire on the Republicans who (probably correctly) figured they didn’t know how not to be bastards in questioning Ford.[14]
  14. September 28, 6:03 am:
    • Are Republicans so partisan that they will put a possible sex offender on the Supreme Court? Maybe. The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote today (September 28).[15]
  15. September 28, 1:57 pm:
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate[16] but a final vote will be delayed pending an FBI investigation.[17]
  16. September 28, 4:20 pm:
  17. September 30, 12:59 am:
    • Donald Trump claims the FBI is free to pursue the investigation of Brett Kavanaugh wherever it leads, but the White House has in fact sharply limited the scope of the investigation to the claims of the first two women, Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Julie Swetnick’s claims will not be investigated. Furthermore, the White House has limited the witnesses who may be interviewed.[18] I’m just going to say it: Somebody at the White House is very afraid of Swetnick.
  18. October 1, 12:49 am:
    • Jerry Brown signed Net neutrality into California law and the U.S. Department of Justice promptly sued.[19]
    • Apparently, we still do not know the scope of the FBI investigation for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. But the part about omitting Julie Swetnick’s claims seems to be holding.[20]
  19. October 1, 7:34 pm:
  20. October 1, 11:15 pm:
  21. October 2, 10:56 am:
    • When Christine Blasey Ford appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, senators had a prosecutor from Maricopa County (Joe Arpaio territory) question her. This prosecutor wrote a report essentially saying Ford’s testimony was insufficient and Republican senators used this to claim Ford’s testimony was uncorroborated. Experts from both major parties say more investigation is necessary and that the prosecutor’s report looks like a political hack.[25] (Brett Kavanaugh)
    • Brett Kavanaugh was a mean drunk in college, too.[26]
  22. October 2, 11:42 am:
    • Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony may have been deceptive, in that he withheld truth, but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of lying.[27]
  23. October 3, 1:12 am:
    • Benjamin Wittes has a comprehensive assessment that tilts against confirming Brett Kavanaugh. My differences with Wittes are that 1) he cares much more about the integrity and credibility of the nomination and confirmation process than I do; 2) he cares much more about the possibility that Kavanaugh may be being treated unfairly than I do; and 3) I think it fair to say, I care much more about the prospect of a possible sex offender participating in decisions affecting hundreds of millions of people, especially women, than he does. But he cares enough about what I do enough that it is one of a number of reasons he gives for opposing Kavanaugh.[28]
    • Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has a story to tell about a younger Brett Kavanaugh, then part of Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater investigation; Vince Foster; and the intimidation of a witness.[29]
  24. October 4, 1:19 am:
    • Jeet Heer argues that Republicans are attempting to salvage Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination in essence by asserting that it’s normal for boys to commit sexual assault.[30]
  25. October 4, 8:31 am:
    • Women cite a few reasons for not reporting rapes and sexual assaults. These boil down to 1) that their stories will be discounted, and 2) that they will be attacked. So look what we have here:
      1. There are a number of witnesses the FBI did not talk to in its so-called investigation of Brett Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez perceived no effort to corroborate her story.[31] “White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the FBI agents had reached out to 10 witnesses — nine of whom were interviewed — and that no one had corroborated the account of Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault.”[32] In general, the supposedly apolitical or even allegedly anti-Trump FBI appears to have adopted a “see no evil” approach with regard to Kavanaugh.
      2. Senate Republicans are embracing an ad hominem approach toward Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers.[33]
  26. October 4, 4:52 pm:
    • Ben Sasse, uncharacteristically for Republicans in the present polarization, acknowledged that women’s experience of rape is a thing.[34] To give a speech such as he gave on the Senate floor and then to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh would be paradoxical. But right now, it seems like none of it makes any difference: At least some powerful Republicans don’t care and continue to press forward[35] while at least two of those whose votes seemed in doubt expressed satisfaction with what can only be considered a rather dubious FBI report.[36]
  27. October 4, 6:49 pm:
  28. October 7, 1:19 am:
    • Mostly for the record here, Brett Kavanaugh was indeed confirmed to the Supreme Court. I’m really not that much interested in the political blow-by-blow of how this will affect the midterm elections next month,[37] but I will point out that if voting—as some recommend in response to this confirmation[38]—actually was a functional strategy, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. And as for November, we’ll see that soon enough. The rest is bullshit, piled up by those who need to pile up bullshit.
  29. October 7, 1:58 pm:

For those who do not recall, Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Senators on the Judiciary Committee, two of whom are still there, offered a brutal example of “gaslighting” before “gaslighting” was a term. Needless to say, Thomas now sits on the Supreme Court, where he participates in some of its more ignoble decisions.[39]


There are six new blog postings:


I am no longer on Google Plus. Their artificial intelligence bot censored two of my comments on Saturday, September 22, claiming they were spam. These were political comments, not commercial speech. Since rape is an issue of the day, and I was discussing that issue, I suspect that the use of the word ‘rape’ is what triggered the bot. Google Plus offers no means to appeal its bot’s decisions; I can only send “feedback,” which I have no reason to believe is even read, let alone by a human.

Unfortunately, my relationship with Google will continue. As things stand, I continue to face homelessness, likely in about ten years (I will be about 70 years old at this time), plus or minus a few years. Among other things, this means I need to get out of the business of hosting my own sites at home, since I may no longer have a home. At $20 a month, the G Suite deal, which hosts my email, contacts, and calendar, and offers unlimited cloud storage, is simply far too good to pass up.


Brett Kavanaugh

Fig. 1. Brett Kavanaugh. Photograph by Tom Williams of Getty Images, via National Public Radio, fair use.

I address this in two new blog posts entitled, “Clarity on Brett Kavanaugh” and “Innocent until proven guilty.” But of course the controversy rages on as a third, as-yet-unidentified woman represented by Michael Avenatti has something to say,[40] and meanwhile:

Emma Brown, “California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault,” Washington Post, September 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/california-professor-writer-of-confidential-brett-kavanaugh-letter-speaks-out-about-her-allegation-of-sexual-assault/2018/09/16/46982194-b846-11e8-94eb-3bd52dfe917b_story.html

Deanna Paul, “A former sex-crimes prosecutor analyzed Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh. Here’s her take,” Washington Post, September 18, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/18/former-sex-crimes-prosecutor-analyzed-fords-allegations-against-kavanaugh-heres-her-take/

Emily Witt, “The Boys’ Club That Protects Brett Kavanaugh,” New Yorker, September 22, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-boys-club-that-protects-brett-kavanaugh

Eliot A. Cohen, “The Crisis of the American Elites,” Atlantic, September 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/the-crisis-of-the-american-elites/571060/

Karoun Demirjian, Amy Gardner, and Seung Min Kim, “Senate Judiciary panel’s top Democrat calls for delay in Kavanaugh hearing after new allegation,” Washington Post, September 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/as-hearing-on-kavanaugh-assault-allegations-loom-senators-seem-unwilling-to-budge/2018/09/23/99f3fd3e-bf37-11e8-90c9-23f963eea204_story.html

David Smith, “Anita Hill and the Senate ‘sham trial’ that echoes down to Kavanaugh,” Guardian, September 23, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/sep/22/brett-kavanaugh-christine-blasey-ford-anita-hill-clarence-thomas-senate-judiciary-committee

Alexander Bolton, “Trump calls Kavanaugh accusations ‘totally political,’” Hill, September 24, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/408056-trump-doubles-down-calls-kavanaugh-accusations-totally-political

Deanna Paul, “The new Kavanaugh allegation is on precarious legal ground, former sex-crimes prosecutors say,” Washington Post, September 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/24/new-kavanaugh-allegation-is-precarious-legal-ground-former-sex-crimes-prosecutors-say/

Joanna Walters, “Brett Kavanaugh: third woman expected to make accusations of sexual misconduct,” Guardian, September 24, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/24/brett-kavanaugh-third-woman-expected-to-make-accusations-of-sexual-misconduct

Aaron C. Davis, Emma Brown, and Joe Heim, “Kavanaugh’s ‘choir boy’ image on Fox interview rankles former Yale classmates,” Washington Post, September 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2018/09/25/ea5e50d4-c0eb-11e8-9005-5104e9616c21_story.html

Kathryn Rubino, “Brett Kavanaugh Seems Like He Was A Real Jerk In High School,” Above the Law, September 25, 2018, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/09/brett-kavanaugh-seems-like-he-was-a-real-jerk-in-high-school/

David Von Drehle, “Kavanaugh says he never blacked out from drinking. Can he swear to it?” Washington Post, September 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kavanaugh-says-he-never-blacked-out-from-drinking-yeah-right/2018/09/25/60bba4d4-c0f1-11e8-be77-516336a26305_story.html

Maeve Reston and Sara Sidner, “New allegations against Kavanaugh submitted to Senate committee,” CNN, September 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/26/politics/julie-swetnick-allegation-kavanaugh/index.html

Paul Waldman, “Explosive new allegations against Kavanaugh demand a full investigation — now,” Washington Post, September 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/09/26/explosive-new-allegations-against-kavanaugh-demand-a-full-investigation-now/

Dan Balz, “A day of explosive testimony results in a partisan brawl,” Washington Post, September 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-day-of-explosive-testimony-results-in-a-partisan-brawl/2018/09/27/3be77b18-c297-11e8-97a5-ab1e46bb3bc7_story.html

Jordain Carney and Emily Birnbaum, “Five takeaways on Kavanaugh and Ford’s testimony,” Hill, September 27, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/408876-five-takeaways-on-kavanaugh-and-fords-testimony

Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, “Kavanaugh vote: Flake, Murkowski back FBI investigation; Senate committee advances nominee,” Washington Post, September 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-committee-prepares-to-vote-on-kavanaughination-as-key-senators-remain-silent/2018/09/28/0b143292-c305-11e8-b338-a3289f6cb742_story.html

Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, “Kavanaugh vote: Senate Republican leaders agree to new FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh,” Washington Post, September 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-committee-prepares-to-vote-on-kavanaughination-as-key-senators-remain-silent/2018/09/28/0b143292-c305-11e8-b338-a3289f6cb742_story.html

Ken Dilanian, Geoff Bennett, and Kristen Welker, “Trump: No limits on FBI’s investigation into allegations against Brett Kavanaugh,” NBC News, September 29, 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/white-house-limits-scope-fbi-s-investigation-allegations-against-brett-n915061

Dustin Volz and Peter Nicholas, “White House Directs FBI to Interview First Two Kavanaugh Accusers, But Not the Third,” Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-directs-fbi-to-interview-first-two-kavanaugh-accusers-but-not-the-third-1538256505

Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey, “Fight over Kavanaugh intensifies amid confusion over limits of FBI sexual assault investigation,” Washington Post, September 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/administration-says-white-house-is-not-limiting-fbi-probe-of-kavanaugh-but-is-against-fishing-expedition/2018/09/30/aa7b796e-c4bb-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html

Peter Baker and Michael S. Schmidt, “White House Tells F.B.I. to Interview Anyone Necessary for Kavanaugh Inquiry,” New York Times, October 1, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/us/politics/trump-fbi-kavanaugh.html

Emma Brown and Seung Min Kim, “Experts question GOP prosecutor’s memo on Christine Blasey Ford,” Washington Post, October 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/experts-question-gop-prosecutors-memo-on-christine-blasey-ford/2018/10/01/85a454c0-c5a2-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html

Aaron Blake, “More half-truths in Brett Kavanaugh’s denials?” Washington Post, October 2, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/02/more-half-truths-brett-kavanaughs-denials/

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “My sinister battle with Brett Kavanaugh over the truth,” Telegraph, October 2, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/my-battle-brett-kavanaugh-over-truth-ambrose-evans-pritchard/

Sabrina Siddiqui and Sarah Betancourt, “Brett Kavanaugh faced police questioning over 1985 bar brawl – report,” Guardian, October 2, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/01/kavanaugh-police-questioning-report-deborah-ramirez

Jeet Heer, “The New Face of Men’s Rights,” New Republic, October 3, 2018, https://newrepublic.com/article/151509/brett-kavanaugh-new-face-mens-rights

Bryan Logan, “Republican Sen. Ben Sasse drops a bombshell on the debate over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Business Insider, October 3, 2018, https://amp.businessinsider.com/republican-ben-sasse-on-brett-kavanaugh-trump-shouldinate-someone-else-2018-10

Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, “The F.B.I. Probe Ignored Testimonies from Former Classmates of Kavanaugh,” New Yorker, October 3, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/will-the-fbi-ignore-testimonies-from-kavanaughs-former-classmates

Sean Sullivan and Gabriel Pogrund, “Adopting Trumpian strategy, Republicans level personal attacks against Kavanaugh accusers,” Washington Post, October 3, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/republicans-level-personal-attacks-against-kavanaugh-accusers/2018/10/03/6a8a250a-c739-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html

Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, “Kavanaugh moves closer to Senate confirmation as GOP argues FBI report exonerates the judge,” Washington Post, October 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-prepare-to-review-fbi-report-on-kavanaugh-after-early-morning-arrival/2018/10/04/394dbaf8-c7be-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html

John Wagner and Seung Min Kim, “Grassley, White House stand by Kavanaugh as Senate reviews FBI report,” Washington Post, October 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-prepare-to-review-fbi-report-on-kavanaugh-after-early-morning-arrival/2018/10/04/394dbaf8-c7be-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html

John Wagner and Seung Min Kim, “Key Republicans signal satisfaction with FBI report, increasing confirmation odds for Kavanaugh,” Washington Post, October 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-prepare-to-review-fbi-report-on-kavanaugh-after-early-morning-arrival/2018/10/04/394dbaf8-c7be-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Senate narrowly approves Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, cementing conservative majority,” Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-kavanaugh-confirmed-20181006-story.html


Donald Trump

Nomi Prins, “The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With President Trump,” TomDispatch, September 16, 2018, http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176468/tomgram%3A_nomi_prins%2C_cooking_the_books_in_the_trump_universe/

Peter Van Buren, “What Ohio’s ‘Deplorables’ Really Want,” American Conservative, September 19, 2018, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-ohios-deplorables-really-want/

David Smith, “Mommy dearest: a psychiatrist puts Donald Trump on the couch,” Guardian, September 30, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/29/trump-on-the-couch-justin-frank


James Comey

Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “McCabe memos say Rosenstein considered secretly recording Trump,” Washington Post, September 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mccabe-memos-say-rosenstein-considered-secretly-recording-trump/2018/09/21/f4aa9a62-bdca-11e8-8792-78719177250f_story.html

Devlin Barrett et al., “Rod Rosenstein to stay in job for now, will meet with Trump on Thursday, White House says,” Washington Post, September 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-rosenstein-who-had-been-overseeing-russia-probe-has-offered-to-resign/2018/09/24/d350477c-aad8-11e8-8a0c-70b618c98d3c_story.html

Devlin Barrett et al., “Rod Rosenstein, who has been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign, according to White House officials,” Washington Post, September 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-rosenstein-who-had-been-overseeing-russia-probe-has-offered-to-resign/2018/09/24/d350477c-aad8-11e8-8a0c-70b618c98d3c_story.html


Brexit

James Crisp, Kate McCann, and James Rothwell, “‘It will not work’ – EU leaders reject Theresa May’s Chequers proposal for Brexit,” Telegraph, September 20, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/09/20/brexit-eu-leaders-almost-unanimous-support-second-uk-referendum/


Bill Cosby

Fig. 2. Photographer unidentified, via the Seattle Times in a newsletter for an article that was unavailable when I clicked on the link, fair use.

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Bill Cosby is a ‘sexually violent predator’, judge rules,” September 25, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45644374

Manuel Roig-Franzia, “Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years in state prison,” Washington Post, September 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bill-cosby-sentenced-to-3-to-10-years-in-state-prison/2018/09/25/9aa620aa-c00d-11e8-90c9-23f963eea204_story.html


Net neutrality

Jazmine Ulloa, “California enacts strongest net neutrality protections in the nation — and the Trump administration sues,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-net-neutrality-california-signed-governor-jerry-brown-20180930-story.html


North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Anne Applebaum, “Trump’s new NAFTA is pretty much the same as the old one — but at what cost?” Washington Post, October 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/10/01/trumps-new-nafta-is-pretty-much-the-same-as-the-old-one-but-at-what-cost/

David Fickling, “Globalists Will Love Trump’s New Nafta Deal,” Bloomberg, October 1, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-10-01/globalists-will-love-trump-s-new-nafta-deal

Vicki Needham and Sylvan Lane, “Five things to know about Trump’s new NAFTA,” Hill, October 1, 2018, https://thehill.com/policy/finance/409344-five-things-to-know-about-trumps-new-nafta


  1. [1]Eliot A. Cohen, “The Crisis of the American Elites,” Atlantic, September 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/the-crisis-of-the-american-elites/571060/; Emily Witt, “The Boys’ Club That Protects Brett Kavanaugh,” New Yorker, September 22, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-boys-club-that-protects-brett-kavanaugh
  2. [2]Karoun Demirjian, Amy Gardner, and Seung Min Kim, “Senate Judiciary panel’s top Democrat calls for delay in Kavanaugh hearing after new allegation,” Washington Post, September 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/as-hearing-on-kavanaugh-assault-allegations-loom-senators-seem-unwilling-to-budge/2018/09/23/99f3fd3e-bf37-11e8-90c9-23f963eea204_story.html
  3. [3]Alexander Bolton, “Trump calls Kavanaugh accusations ‘totally political,’” Hill, September 24, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/408056-trump-doubles-down-calls-kavanaugh-accusations-totally-political
  4. [4]Devlin Barrett et al., “Rod Rosenstein, who has been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign, according to White House officials,” Washington Post, September 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-rosenstein-who-had-been-overseeing-russia-probe-has-offered-to-resign/2018/09/24/d350477c-aad8-11e8-8a0c-70b618c98d3c_story.html
  5. [5]Devlin Barrett et al., “Rod Rosenstein to stay in job for now, will meet with Trump on Thursday, White House says,” Washington Post, September 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-rosenstein-who-had-been-overseeing-russia-probe-has-offered-to-resign/2018/09/24/d350477c-aad8-11e8-8a0c-70b618c98d3c_story.html
  6. [6]Deanna Paul, “The new Kavanaugh allegation is on precarious legal ground, former sex-crimes prosecutors say,” Washington Post, September 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/24/new-kavanaugh-allegation-is-precarious-legal-ground-former-sex-crimes-prosecutors-say/
  7. [7]Joanna Walters, “Brett Kavanaugh: third woman expected to make accusations of sexual misconduct,” Guardian, September 24, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/24/brett-kavanaugh-third-woman-expected-to-make-accusations-of-sexual-misconduct
  8. [8]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Bill Cosby is a ‘sexually violent predator’, judge rules,” September 25, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45644374
  9. [9]Manuel Roig-Franzia, “Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years in state prison,” Washington Post, September 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bill-cosby-sentenced-to-3-to-10-years-in-state-prison/2018/09/25/9aa620aa-c00d-11e8-90c9-23f963eea204_story.html
  10. [10]Aaron C. Davis, Emma Brown, and Joe Heim, “Kavanaugh’s ‘choir boy’ image on Fox interview rankles former Yale classmates,” Washington Post, September 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2018/09/25/ea5e50d4-c0eb-11e8-9005-5104e9616c21_story.html; Kathryn Rubino, “Brett Kavanaugh Seems Like He Was A Real Jerk In High School,” Above the Law, September 25, 2018, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/09/brett-kavanaugh-seems-like-he-was-a-real-jerk-in-high-school/; David Von Drehle, “Kavanaugh says he never blacked out from drinking. Can he swear to it?” Washington Post, September 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kavanaugh-says-he-never-blacked-out-from-drinking-yeah-right/2018/09/25/60bba4d4-c0f1-11e8-be77-516336a26305_story.html
  11. [11]Maeve Reston and Sara Sidner, “New allegations against Kavanaugh submitted to Senate committee,” CNN, September 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/26/politics/julie-swetnick-allegation-kavanaugh/index.html
  12. [12]Paul Waldman, “Explosive new allegations against Kavanaugh demand a full investigation — now,” Washington Post, September 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/09/26/explosive-new-allegations-against-kavanaugh-demand-a-full-investigation-now/
  13. [13]Elie Mystal, “And Now We’ve Moved To The Adult Assault Stage Of The Kavanaugh Accusations,” Above the Law, September 26, 2018, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/09/and-now-weve-moved-to-the-physical-assault-stage-of-the-kavanaugh-accusations/
  14. [14]Dan Balz, “A day of explosive testimony results in a partisan brawl,” Washington Post, September 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-day-of-explosive-testimony-results-in-a-partisan-brawl/2018/09/27/3be77b18-c297-11e8-97a5-ab1e46bb3bc7_story.html; Jordain Carney and Emily Birnbaum, “Five takeaways on Kavanaugh and Ford’s testimony,” Hill, September 27, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/408876-five-takeaways-on-kavanaugh-and-fords-testimony
  15. [15]Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan, “GOP barrels toward Kavanaugh vote with key Republicans undecided,” Politico, September 27, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/27/senators-expect-judiciary-committee-will-hold-kavanaugh-vote-friday-850293
  16. [16]Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, “Kavanaugh vote: Flake, Murkowski back FBI investigation; Senate committee advances nominee,” Washington Post, September 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-committee-prepares-to-vote-on-kavanaughination-as-key-senators-remain-silent/2018/09/28/0b143292-c305-11e8-b338-a3289f6cb742_story.html
  17. [17]Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, “Kavanaugh vote: Senate Republican leaders agree to new FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh,” Washington Post, September 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-committee-prepares-to-vote-on-kavanaughination-as-key-senators-remain-silent/2018/09/28/0b143292-c305-11e8-b338-a3289f6cb742_story.html
  18. [18]Ken Dilanian, Geoff Bennett, and Kristen Welker, “Trump: No limits on FBI’s investigation into allegations against Brett Kavanaugh,” NBC News, September 29, 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/white-house-limits-scope-fbi-s-investigation-allegations-against-brett-n915061; Dustin Volz and Peter Nicholas, “White House Directs FBI to Interview First Two Kavanaugh Accusers, But Not the Third,” Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-directs-fbi-to-interview-first-two-kavanaugh-accusers-but-not-the-third-1538256505
  19. [19]Jazmine Ulloa, “California enacts strongest net neutrality protections in the nation — and the Trump administration sues,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-net-neutrality-california-signed-governor-jerry-brown-20180930-story.html
  20. [20]Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey, “Fight over Kavanaugh intensifies amid confusion over limits of FBI sexual assault investigation,” Washington Post, September 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/administration-says-white-house-is-not-limiting-fbi-probe-of-kavanaugh-but-is-against-fishing-expedition/2018/09/30/aa7b796e-c4bb-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html
  21. [21]David Smith, “Mommy dearest: a psychiatrist puts Donald Trump on the couch,” Guardian, September 30, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/29/trump-on-the-couch-justin-frank
  22. [22]Vicki Needham and Sylvan Lane, “Five things to know about Trump’s new NAFTA,” Hill, October 1, 2018, https://thehill.com/policy/finance/409344-five-things-to-know-about-trumps-new-nafta
  23. [23]Peter Baker and Michael S. Schmidt, “White House Tells F.B.I. to Interview Anyone Necessary for Kavanaugh Inquiry,” New York Times, October 1, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/us/politics/trump-fbi-kavanaugh.html
  24. [24]Anne Applebaum, “Trump’s new NAFTA is pretty much the same as the old one — but at what cost?” Washington Post, October 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/10/01/trumps-new-nafta-is-pretty-much-the-same-as-the-old-one-but-at-what-cost/; David Fickling, “Globalists Will Love Trump’s New Nafta Deal,” Bloomberg, October 1, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-10-01/globalists-will-love-trump-s-new-nafta-deal
  25. [25]Emma Brown and Seung Min Kim, “Experts question GOP prosecutor’s memo on Christine Blasey Ford,” Washington Post, October 1, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/experts-question-gop-prosecutors-memo-on-christine-blasey-ford/2018/10/01/85a454c0-c5a2-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html
  26. [26]Sabrina Siddiqui and Sarah Betancourt, “Brett Kavanaugh faced police questioning over 1985 bar brawl – report,” Guardian, October 2, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/01/kavanaugh-police-questioning-report-deborah-ramirez
  27. [27]Aaron Blake, “More half-truths in Brett Kavanaugh’s denials?” Washington Post, October 2, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/02/more-half-truths-brett-kavanaughs-denials/; the distinction between deception and lying is from Sissela Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York: Vintage, 1999).
  28. [28]Benjamin Wittes, “I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him,” Atlantic, October 2, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/why-i-wouldnt-confirm-brett-kavanaugh/571936/
  29. [29]Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “My sinister battle with Brett Kavanaugh over the truth,” Telegraph, October 2, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/my-battle-brett-kavanaugh-over-truth-ambrose-evans-pritchard/
  30. [30]Jeet Heer, “The New Face of Men’s Rights,” New Republic, October 3, 2018, https://newrepublic.com/article/151509/brett-kavanaugh-new-face-mens-rights
  31. [31]Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, “The F.B.I. Probe Ignored Testimonies from Former Classmates of Kavanaugh,” New Yorker, October 3, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/will-the-fbi-ignore-testimonies-from-kavanaughs-former-classmates
  32. [32]John Wagner and Seung Min Kim, “Grassley, White House stand by Kavanaugh as Senate reviews FBI report,” Washington Post, October 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-prepare-to-review-fbi-report-on-kavanaugh-after-early-morning-arrival/2018/10/04/394dbaf8-c7be-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html
  33. [33]Sean Sullivan and Gabriel Pogrund, “Adopting Trumpian strategy, Republicans level personal attacks against Kavanaugh accusers,” Washington Post, October 3, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/republicans-level-personal-attacks-against-kavanaugh-accusers/2018/10/03/6a8a250a-c739-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html
  34. [34]Bryan Logan, “Republican Sen. Ben Sasse drops a bombshell on the debate over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Business Insider, October 3, 2018, https://amp.businessinsider.com/republican-ben-sasse-on-brett-kavanaugh-trump-shouldinate-someone-else-2018-10
  35. [35]John Wagner and Seung Min Kim, “Key Republicans signal satisfaction with FBI report, increasing confirmation odds for Kavanaugh,” Washington Post, October 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-prepare-to-review-fbi-report-on-kavanaugh-after-early-morning-arrival/2018/10/04/394dbaf8-c7be-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html
  36. [36]Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, “Kavanaugh moves closer to Senate confirmation as GOP argues FBI report exonerates the judge,” Washington Post, October 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-prepare-to-review-fbi-report-on-kavanaugh-after-early-morning-arrival/2018/10/04/394dbaf8-c7be-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html
  37. [37]Jennifer Haberkorn, “Senate narrowly approves Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, cementing conservative majority,” Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-kavanaugh-confirmed-20181006-story.html
  38. [38]Jennifer Haberkorn, “Senate narrowly approves Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, cementing conservative majority,” Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-kavanaugh-confirmed-20181006-story.html
  39. [39]David Smith, “Anita Hill and the Senate ‘sham trial’ that echoes down to Kavanaugh,” Guardian, September 23, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/sep/22/brett-kavanaugh-christine-blasey-ford-anita-hill-clarence-thomas-senate-judiciary-committee
  40. [40]Joanna Walters, “Brett Kavanaugh: third woman expected to make accusations of sexual misconduct,” Guardian, September 24, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/24/brett-kavanaugh-third-woman-expected-to-make-accusations-of-sexual-misconduct

Hurricane Florence

This page will load slowly, due to satellite imagery.


There are two new blog posts:


Updates

  1. Originally published, September 12, 1:23 am.
  2. September 12, 6:02 pm:
    • It seems that Donald Trump thinks his administration did a great job with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. He said this at a briefing in anticipation of Hurricane Florence which appears to be taking direct aim at North Carolina.[1]
  3. September 13, 4:41 am:
    • How do you know that the Philippines are one of those “other” places, where human lives and property don’t matter as much? I’m only now finding out about Super Typhoon Mangkhut.
  4. September 13, 12:54 pm:
    • CNN stopped just short of calling Donald Trump a liar for denying that about 3,000 people died in Hurricane Maria.[2] But apparently, this is how Trump deals with failure.[3]
    • Hurricane Florence has begun already moving onshore in North Carolina. But it will only make landfall in the next few hours. The New York Times explains some hurricane-related terminology.[4]
    • Jennifer Rubin utters the I-word.[5] (Hurricane Maria)
  5. September 14, 4:04 pm:
    • After making a beeline that seemed directly aimed at my friend’s house, Florence made a hard left turn, skimming the North Carolina coast, finally making landfall very near to Wilmington (figure 1).
    • Paul Manafort is “flipping”[6] and Jennifer Rubin thinks she already knows what he knows,[7] but then, so does everybody else. And who knows? Maybe they’re all right. But I’m beginning to suspect we’re all getting way ahead of the evidence. (James Comey)
  6. September 14, 9:55 pm:
    • So Robert Mueller is going to a lot of effort, all to write a report that Rudy Giuliani says the Trump administration will likely seek to bury. Some legal experts want to offer Mueller a road map from the Watergate era for getting his report out.[8] (James Comey)
  7. September 15, 4:51 am:
    • Florence isn’t done yet (figure 2). The center of the storm has nudged over into South Carolina and back toward shore. It looks to me like it might head back to sea where, I guess, it could regain strength.
  8. September 15, 5:21 am:
    • Saved an image of Mangkhut crossing the Philippines (figure 3). I’m still hearing a lot less about this storm but, for now, I’m keeping the latest available immediately below figure 3.
    • Niall Stanage is a little better on the significance of Paul Manafort “flipping.”[9] I just think we need to slow down here and wait to see what Robert Mueller actually gets, that is, assuming we can.[10] (James Comey)
  9. September 16, 12:38 am:
    • The latest imagery seems to show Florence has now, after a feint toward the South Carolina coast, moved a bit inland. It looks to me like it is still drenching North Carolina.
    • Deanna Paul is a reporter for the Washington Post. But apparently before she was a reporter, she was a prosecutor in New York City. She thinks Paul Manafort flipped because he was facing a “functional life sentence.” She doesn’t appear to take into account that Donald Trump was dangling a pardon.[11] (James Comey)
  10. September 16, 6:54 am:
    • While this probably says at least as much about my own coverage (which has rarely focused on ‘natural’ disasters and relies heavily on English sources) as it does the mainstream media, Typhoon Mangkhut finally hit my news radar as it reached China (figure 4). The Washington Post story includes mention of the damage and casualties in the Philippines and mention of it reaching mainland China[12] (where it looks to me is where the eye is) but focuses Hong Kong. The Guardian does a little better, giving the Philippines its own story[13] in addition to including mention in its story on the impact on Hong Kong.[14]

Florence

You won’t find this link on my Weather Satellite Photos page because I haven’t updated that page. But I finally went through and tried to refresh some of the stale links I’d been using to download weather satellite photos. In fact the one for the U.S. East Coast is still live, but the photographs uniformly have roughly the rightmost third blacked out. So I started a new series for the east coast.

In fact, I have a childhood friend who now lives directly in the path the hurricane now seems to be taking (which now seems unusually straight). She and her husband have evacuated, but of course, they couldn’t take their house with them.

Fig. 1. From the run on September 14 at 7:00 am: After making a beeline that seemed directly aimed at my friend’s house, Florence made a hard left turn, skimming the North Carolina coast before making landfall at or very near to Wilmington.

Fig. 2. From the run on September 15 at 4:00 am: Florence has edged over into South Carolina and back toward the coast. It looks to me like it might be headed back out to sea, where, presumably, it might regain at least some strength. In the meantime, North Carolina continues to feel the effects.

Karen Zraick and Christina Caron, “Landfall, Storm Surge and the Waffle House Index: Hurricane Terms and What They Mean,” New York Times, September 13, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/us/hurricane-season-terms.html


Hurricane Maria

The Whiner-In-Chief, also known as the delusional, raging Narcissist-In-Chief, is at it again. As if he ever stops.

Trump’s outburst should remind us of several troubling facts. First, whether he is lying (or is simply a victim of his own self-delusion that he is incapable of error) is beside the point. He’s not functioning as a president or any other officeholder should. He cannot comprehend facts, process them and take appropriate action. He is, in a word, non-functional.[15]

And yes, I’m wondering what to make of a so-called leader who, instead of emphasizing a need to do better than Puerto Rico, focuses on, not merely defending, but actually implausibly praising an indefensible past performance,[16] even as catastrophe looms in the Carolinas.

Josh Dawsey, “‘Never give an inch’: Trump keeps touting perceived failures as successes,” Washington Post, September 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/never-give-an-inch-trump-keeps-touting-perceived-failures-as-successes/2018/09/12/12801b80-b6a9-11e8-94eb-3bd52dfe917b_story.html

Jen Kirby, “Trump keeps trying to rewrite reality on his Hurricane Maria response,” Vox, September 12, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/9/12/17851122/trump-comments-puerto-rico-response-hurricane-florence

Betsy Klein, “Trump falsely claims nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico ‘did not die,’” CNN, September 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/13/politics/trump-puerto-rico-death-toll/index.html

Jennifer Rubin, “What we learn when Trump says crazy stuff,” Washington Post, September 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/13/what-we-learn-when-trump-says-crazy-stuff/


Typhoon Mangkhut

This link hadn’t gone stale, so the 72-hour gif was available as soon as I found out about this storm.

Fig. 3. From the run on September 15, 4:00 am: Mangkhut crossed the northern edge of one of the Philippines’ main islands.

Fig. 4. From the run at 5:00 am on September 16. Typhoon Mangkhut has reached China.

Lynzy Billing, “‘Wiped out’: Philippine region in direct path of Typhoon Mangkhut counts cost,” Guardian, September 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/16/completely-wiped-out-philippine-region-in-direct-path-of-typhoon-mangkhut-counts-cost-httpsviewergutoolscoukpreviewworld2018sep16completely-wiped-out-philippine-region-in-direct-path-of-typhoon-mangkhut-counts-cost-tuguegarao-city

Shibani Mahtani, “Severe typhoon hits Hong Kong, Southern China after taking at least 30 lives in the Philippines,” Washington Post, September 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/severe-typhoon-hits-hong-kong-southern-china-after-taking-at-least-30-lives-in-the-philippines/2018/09/16/c042c372-b973-11e8-b79f-f6e31e555258_story.html


Golden Showers

Jennifer Rubin, “Not even Republicans trust Trump on Russia,” Washington Post, September 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/13/not-even-republicans-trust-trump-on-russia/


James Comey

Spencer S. Hsu and Devlin Barrett, “Manafort will cooperate with Mueller as part of guilty plea, prosecutor says,” Washington Post, September 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/manafort-plans-to-plead-guilty-to-second-set-of-charges/2018/09/14/a1541068-b5c9-11e8-a7b5-adaaa5b2a57f_story.html

Jennifer Rubin, “Trump can start panicking now: Manafort will cooperate with the special counsel,” Washington Post, September 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/14/trump-can-start-panicking-now-manafort-will-cooperate-with-the-special-counsel/

Niall Stanage, “Manafort pulls surprise on Trump with Mueller deal,” Hill, September 15, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/406813-the-memo-manafort-pulls-surprise-on-trump-with-mueller-deal

  1. [1]Jen Kirby, “Trump keeps trying to rewrite reality on his Hurricane Maria response,” Vox, September 12, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/9/12/17851122/trump-comments-puerto-rico-response-hurricane-florence
  2. [2]Betsy Klein, “Trump falsely claims nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico ‘did not die,’” CNN, September 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/13/politics/trump-puerto-rico-death-toll/index.html
  3. [3]Josh Dawsey, “‘Never give an inch’: Trump keeps touting perceived failures as successes,” Washington Post, September 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/never-give-an-inch-trump-keeps-touting-perceived-failures-as-successes/2018/09/12/12801b80-b6a9-11e8-94eb-3bd52dfe917b_story.html
  4. [4]Karen Zraick and Christina Caron, “Landfall, Storm Surge and the Waffle House Index: Hurricane Terms and What They Mean,” New York Times, September 13, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/us/hurricane-season-terms.html
  5. [5]Jennifer Rubin, “What we learn when Trump says crazy stuff,” Washington Post, September 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/13/what-we-learn-when-trump-says-crazy-stuff/
  6. [6]Spencer S. Hsu and Devlin Barrett, “Manafort will cooperate with Mueller as part of guilty plea, prosecutor says,” Washington Post, September 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/manafort-plans-to-plead-guilty-to-second-set-of-charges/2018/09/14/a1541068-b5c9-11e8-a7b5-adaaa5b2a57f_story.html
  7. [7]Jennifer Rubin, “Trump can start panicking now: Manafort will cooperate with the special counsel,” Washington Post, September 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/14/trump-can-start-panicking-now-manafort-will-cooperate-with-the-special-counsel/
  8. [8]Charlie Savage, “Legal Experts Urge Release of Watergate Report to Offer Mueller a Road Map,” New York Times, September 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/us/politics/mueller-report-grand-jury-watergate.html
  9. [9]Niall Stanage, “Manafort pulls surprise on Trump with Mueller deal,” Hill, September 15, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/406813-the-memo-manafort-pulls-surprise-on-trump-with-mueller-deal
  10. [10]Charlie Savage, “Legal Experts Urge Release of Watergate Report to Offer Mueller a Road Map,” New York Times, September 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/us/politics/mueller-report-grand-jury-watergate.html
  11. [11]Deanna Paul, “I was a prosecutor. Here’s what stands out to me about Manafort’s deal with Mueller,” Washington Post, September 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/15/i-was-prosecutor-heres-what-stands-out-me-about-manaforts-deal-with-mueller/
  12. [12]Shibani Mahtani, “Severe typhoon hits Hong Kong, Southern China after taking at least 30 lives in the Philippines,” Washington Post, September 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/severe-typhoon-hits-hong-kong-southern-china-after-taking-at-least-30-lives-in-the-philippines/2018/09/16/c042c372-b973-11e8-b79f-f6e31e555258_story.html
  13. [13]Lynzy Billing, “‘Wiped out’: Philippine region in direct path of Typhoon Mangkhut counts cost,” Guardian, September 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/16/completely-wiped-out-philippine-region-in-direct-path-of-typhoon-mangkhut-counts-cost-httpsviewergutoolscoukpreviewworld2018sep16completely-wiped-out-philippine-region-in-direct-path-of-typhoon-mangkhut-counts-cost-tuguegarao-city
  14. [14]Hannah Ellis-Petersen, “Typhoon Mangkhut: more than 100 injured in Hong Kong,” Guardian, September 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/weather/2018/sep/16/typhoon-mangkhut-to-china-as-philippines-death-toll-rises
  15. [15]Jennifer Rubin, “What we learn when Trump says crazy stuff,” Washington Post, September 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/13/what-we-learn-when-trump-says-crazy-stuff/
  16. [16]Jen Kirby, “Trump keeps trying to rewrite reality on his Hurricane Maria response,” Vox, September 12, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/9/12/17851122/trump-comments-puerto-rico-response-hurricane-florence; Betsy Klein, “Trump falsely claims nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico ‘did not die,’” CNN, September 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/13/politics/trump-puerto-rico-death-toll/index.html

If Bob Woodward is right, then why aren’t all these White House malcontents invoking the 25th amendment?

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 5, 8:59 pm.
  2. September 5, 11:25 pm:
    • So you can see my critique of that anonymous op-ed in the New York Times below. Now here’s David Frum with an entirely different but no less harsh take.[1] (Donald Trump)
    • Meanwhile, and mostly for the record, the White House reaction.[2] (Donald Trump)

Donald Trump

Funny how no one is talking about the 25th Amendment, which provides for this contingency. The argument that “[w]e want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous[3]” only makes sense if Mike Pence is not a more reliable conservative than Donald Trump. But, also according to this unnamed opinion writer, allegedly a senior White House official, “the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.” Further, we are to understand, “[t]here are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more. But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”[4] Would Pence have a worse “leadership style?” And finally, if you claim that “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president” but that “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis,”[5] what exactly would this official call what (s)he and his or her unelected colleagues are doing when they subvert an elected official’s will? (Hint: David Frum has a clue.[6])

I think Matthew Yglesias has this right:

And come to think of it, here’s someone we haven’t heard from in a while either:

I’ve said before that if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and it cannot last. My problem is that with Donald Trump, we are now so far beyond that point, that I have to question my understanding of what makes sense.

David Frum, “This Is a Constitutional Crisis,” Atlantic, September 5, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/

Jeremy Herb, Jamie Gangel, and Dan Merica, “Bob Woodward: Trump’s aides stole his papers ‘to protect the country,'” CNN, September 5, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/04/politics/bob-woodward-book-donald-trump-fear/index.html

Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, “‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and aides shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed,” Washington Post, September 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-sleeper-cells-have-awoken-trump-and-aides-shaken-by-resistance-op-ed/2018/09/05/ecdf423c-b14b-11e8-a20b-5f4f84429666_story.html

“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html


  1. [1]David Frum, “This Is a Constitutional Crisis,” Atlantic, September 5, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/
  2. [2]Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, “‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and aides shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed,” Washington Post, September 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-sleeper-cells-have-awoken-trump-and-aides-shaken-by-resistance-op-ed/2018/09/05/ecdf423c-b14b-11e8-a20b-5f4f84429666_story.html
  3. [3]“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html
  4. [4]“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html
  5. [5]“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html
  6. [6]David Frum, “This Is a Constitutional Crisis,” Atlantic, September 5, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/

Thank you, Verizon. In part due to your sheer rapacity, we may get net neutrality in California

Mendocino Complex

Don Thompson, “Verizon makes changes as lawmakers decry firefighters’ woes,” SFGate, August 26, 2018, https://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Verizon-No-internet-speed-restrictions-for-first-13179865.php

Jon Brodkin, “Verizon throttling could trigger FTC investigation of deceptive practices,” Ars Technica, August 27, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/verizon-throttling-could-trigger-ftc-investigation-of-deceptive-practices/


Net neutrality

Brian Fung, “California lawmakers vote to pass toughest net neutrality law in the nation,” Washington Post, August 31, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/california-lawmakers-pass-toughest-net-neutrality-law-in-the-nation/2018/08/31/f67fd3d0-ca93-498a-ac9a-46703c87583e_story.html

Taryn Luna, “Californians’ internet speed protected in bill sent to Jerry Brown,” Sacramento Bee, August 31, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article217410335.html


Unemployment

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, “Public May Not Trust Higher Ed, but Employers Do,” Inside Higher Education, August 28, 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/08/28/survey-business-leaders-believe-students-are-learning-skills-not-those-needed


Donald Trump

Greg Sargent, “Trump’s rage-tweets about Google reveal a frightening truth about the midterms,” Washington Post, August 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/08/28/trump-rage-googles-himself-and-reveals-a-frightening-truth-about-the-midterms/


James Comey

Aaron Blake’s article[1] prompted a new blog post entitled, “Donald Trump and the elite quest for freedom.”

Aaron Blake, “Did Trump just admit that he tried to fire Mueller and Sessions?” Washington Post, August 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/30/did-trump-just-admit-that-he-tried-fire-mueller-sessions/


Golden Showers

Jeremy Herb, “Ohr says Steele told him Russian intel believed they had Trump ‘over a barrel,'” CNN, August 31, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/31/politics/bruce-ohr-christopher-steele-donald-trump/index.html


Kyriarchy

Jim Geraghty, “America Was Meant to Overcome Identity Politics,” National Review, August 29, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/america-made-to-overcome-identity-politics/


  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “Did Trump just admit that he tried to fire Mueller and Sessions?” Washington Post, August 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/30/did-trump-just-admit-that-he-tried-fire-mueller-sessions/

Verizon burns firefighters fighting the Mendocino Complex fire

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 22, 3:13 pm.
  2. August 22, 6:43 pm:
    • We’re probably just at the beginning of the reaction to Paul Manafort’s conviction and Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, but the Hill has coverage of the battle thus far.[1] (Donald Trump)
    • I forgot to mention, because it’s been a couple days, a new blog post, entitled, “Ethos and appropriation: On the use of certain words and phrases.” There have been two updates already and I now even more emphatically reject the usage of the term dogwhistling in defense against attacks on the rich and powerful.
  3. August 22, 7:26 pm:
    • It would appear that Bill Kristol is forecasting that Donald Trump will somehow leave office by next year. See the tweet added under Donald Trump.
  4. August 22, 10:48 pm:
    • Had Barack Obama ever been beset with legal difficulties like those Donald Trump now faces, it is not difficult to imagine what the Republican reaction would have been: Congress would have impeached Obama so fast that, had you blinked, you would have missed it. In the absence of such difficulties, they focused on obstructing him in every way possible. With Trump, and his very real legal difficulties, their attitude is strikingly different.[2]
    • Added a tweet, which included a forecast map (figure 1), from the National Weather Service about Hurricane Lane.
  5. August 23, 12:47 pm:
  6. August 23, 6:32 pm:
    • Jennifer Rubin sifts through and discards apologists’ defenses for Donald Trump in the wake of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and Paul Manafort’s conviction[4] and Adam Serwer looks at the legal road ahead. (Just one spoiler: It is not 100 percent certain that the Southern District will abide by Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president.)[5]
  7. August 24, 12:11 pm:
    • You knew this was coming, right? Or maybe you didn’t care. Donald Trump lashed back at Jeff Sessions.[6]
    • Hurricane Lane is moving slowly. I have saved a 72-hour gif as figure 2. I expect to replace what is now figure 3 with another one later.
    • That the sleazy National Enquirer purchased stories about sleazy Donald Trump’s sleazy extramarital affairs is a strand of the story so deep in sleaze that I’ve been repulsed and inclined not to bother with it. But apparently this was their game.[7] Now the Chief Executive Officer of the tabloid’s publisher and a Trump organization executive have been granted immunity.[8] And if Melania Trump has any self-respect whatsoever, she takes her son and gets the fuck out.
  8. August 24, 2:48 pm:
    • Verizon has lifted data caps on its allegedly unlimited plans for firefighters in California and for first responders dealing with Hurricane Lane in Hawaii.[9]
  9. August 24, 10:59 pm:
    • Replaced the earlier saved 72-hour gif in figure 2 with one ending August 25, at 04:30 Zulu (or 4:30 am, Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Coordinated Time). I think the replacement is a bit more useful. As before, you may need to open the gif in a separate window or tab and reload it. I’m still expecting to replace figure 3 later.
  10. August 24, 11:43 pm:
    • Replaced the earlier saved 72-hour gif in figure 2 with one ending August 25, at 05:30 Zulu (or 5:30 am, Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Coordinated Time). I think this pretty much covers it, so I’m deleting what was figure 3.
  11. August 25, 5:43 am:
    • Where’s my bailout? California legislators are considering allowing Pacific Gas and Electric and other California utilities to issue revenue bonds that would be paid by ratepayers for wildfire liabilities.[10] So, I repeat: Where’s my bailout? Until you all answer that or even get me a real job, I’m really not interested in hearing about how we can’t allow PG&E to go bankrupt. Because what you’re saying is that a corporation has more human rights—is more human—than I am. (Mendocino Complex)

Hawaii

The relevant National Weather Service page is here.

Fig. 1. The National Weather Service tweet above included this forecast map.
Fig. 2. Hawaii infrared satellite photo as of August 25, 5:30 Zulu (or 5:30 am, Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Coordinated Time).

More imagery is available here.

Mendocino Complex

That climate change and wildlands management are issues in the Mendocino Complex fire is not a surprise.[11] But net neutrality, as a fire department blames the Federal Communication Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules for Verizon’s throttling of firefighters,[12] most certainly is. Be sure to read the promoted comments on the Ars Technica stories; some are absolutely priceless.

Rong-Gong Lin, II, Joseph Serna, and Louis Sahagun, “143-mph ‘fire tornado’ that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future,” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-redding-tornado-destruction-20180802-story.html

Dana Nuccitelli, “Trump reignited his war with California, but his bizarre tweet got burned,” Guardian, August 13, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/aug/13/trump-reignited-his-war-with-california-but-his-tweet-got-burned

John Myers, “California lawmakers will abandon effort to loosen wildfire liability rules for utility companies,” Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-may-2018-california-lawmakers-will-abandon-effort-1534615963-htmlstory.html

William Finnegan, “California Burning,” review of Wildfire: On the Front Lines with Station 8, by Heather Hansen, Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future, by Edward Struzik, and Burning Planet: The Story of Fire Through Time, by Andrew C. Scott, New York Review of Books, August 16, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/08/16/wildfires-california-burning/

Jon Brodkin, “Verizon throttled fire department’s ‘unlimited’ data during Calif. wildfire,” Ars Technica, August 21, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/verizon-throttled-fire-departments-unlimited-data-during-calif-wildfire/

Ina Fried, “Verizon admits error in throttling California firefighters’ service,” Axios, August 21, 2018, https://www.axios.com/verizon-responds-to-allagations-it-throttled-fire-departments-wireless-connection-1534890751-04a282b1-e369-40c9-b8bf-779d8c7999b7.html

Jon Brodkin, “Fire dept. rejects Verizon’s “customer support mistake” excuse for throttling,” Ars Technica, August 22, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/fire-dept-rejects-verizons-customer-support-mistake-excuse-for-throttling/

Dale Kasler, “Stung by criticism over wildfire response, Verizon lifts data ‘cap’ on first responders,” Sacramento Bee, August 24, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article217296475.html


Donald Trump

Fig. 3. A screenshot from the New Yorker Daily Humor newsletter.

Megan Keller, “Hayden: Relationship between Trump, national security community ‘dangerously close to being permanently broken,'” Hill, August 19, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/402515-ex-cia-director-relationship-between-trump-national-security

Devlin Barrett et al., “Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election,” Washington Post, August 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-longtime-lawyer-michael-cohen-is-in-plea-discussions-with-federal-prosecutors-according-to-a-person-familiar-with-the-matter/2018/08/21/5fbd7f34-8510-11e8-8553-a3ce89036c78_story.html

Jennifer Rubin, “Michael Cohen: Trump’s greatest fear comes true,” Washington Post, August 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/08/21/michael-cohen-trumps-greatest-fear-comes-true/

Gerald F. Seib, “Michael Cohen Deals a Blow to His Former Boss,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-cohen-deals-grievous-blow-to-former-boss-1534892391

Burgess Everett and Nolan D. McCaskill, “‘It is what it is’: Republicans shrug off Trump’s legal meltdown,” Politico, August 22, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/22/republicans-senators-react-manafort-cohen-trump-791530

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “In Trump’s right-wing media universe, it was a day like any other,” Washington Post, August 22, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/08/22/how-right-wing-media-dealt-with-a-devastating-day-for-trump/

Jeff Horwitz, “National Enquirer hid damaging Trump stories in a safe,” Yahoo, August 23, 2018, https://www.yahoo.com/news/reports-immunity-tabloid-ceo-trump-hush-money-probe-183131025.html

Peter Nicholas and Sadie Gurman, “Sessions Defends Himself After Trump Slams DOJ and Decries ‘Flipping,’” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-decries-law-enforcement-tactic-of-flipping-criminal-defendants-1535033248

Jennifer Rubin, “Speaking of collusion . . .,” Washington Post, August 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/08/23/speaking-of-collusion/

Adam Serwer, “Trump’s Troubles Are Just Getting Started,” Atlantic, August 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/trumps-troubles-are-just-getting-started/568246/

Aaron Blake, “This may be the biggest flip yet in the Trump-Cohen saga,” Washington Post, August 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/26/this-may-be-the-biggest-shoe-to-drop-from-the-trump-michael-cohen-tape/

Nicole Hong and Lukas I. Alpert, “David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer Publisher, Granted Immunity in Michael Cohen Case,” Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pecker-granted-immunity-in-cohen-case-1535041976

Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, who allegedly helped arrange hush-money reimbursement to Cohen, receives immunity,” Washington Post, August 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-organization-executive-allen-weisselberg-who-allegedly-helped-arrange-hush-money-reimbursement-to-cohen-granted-immunity/2018/08/24/404ebdf2-a7b1-11e8-97ce-cc9042272f07_story.html

Veronica Stracqualursi, “Trump responds to Sessions: Go investigate Dems and critics,” CNN, August 24, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/24/politics/trump-continues-jeff-sessions-criticism/index.html


  1. [1]Niall Stanage, “Team Trump fights back,” Hill, August 22, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/403154-the-memo-team-trump-fights-back
  2. [2]Burgess Everett and Nolan D. McCaskill, “‘It is what it is’: Republicans shrug off Trump’s legal meltdown,” Politico, August 22, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/22/republicans-senators-react-manafort-cohen-trump-791530
  3. [3]Peter Nicholas and Sadie Gurman, “Sessions Defends Himself After Trump Slams DOJ and Decries ‘Flipping,’” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-decries-law-enforcement-tactic-of-flipping-criminal-defendants-1535033248
  4. [4]Jennifer Rubin, “Speaking of collusion . . .,” Washington Post, August 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/08/23/speaking-of-collusion/
  5. [5]Adam Serwer, “Trump’s Troubles Are Just Getting Started,” Atlantic, August 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/trumps-troubles-are-just-getting-started/568246/
  6. [6]Veronica Stracqualursi, “Trump responds to Sessions: Go investigate Dems and critics,” CNN, August 24, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/24/politics/trump-continues-jeff-sessions-criticism/index.html
  7. [7]Jeff Horwitz, “National Enquirer hid damaging Trump stories in a safe,” Yahoo, August 23, 2018, https://www.yahoo.com/news/reports-immunity-tabloid-ceo-trump-hush-money-probe-183131025.html
  8. [8]Aaron Blake, “This may be the biggest flip yet in the Trump-Cohen saga,” Washington Post, August 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/26/this-may-be-the-biggest-shoe-to-drop-from-the-trump-michael-cohen-tape/; Nicole Hong and Lukas I. Alpert, “David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer Publisher, Granted Immunity in Michael Cohen Case,” Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pecker-granted-immunity-in-cohen-case-1535041976; Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, who allegedly helped arrange hush-money reimbursement to Cohen, receives immunity,” Washington Post, August 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-organization-executive-allen-weisselberg-who-allegedly-helped-arrange-hush-money-reimbursement-to-cohen-granted-immunity/2018/08/24/404ebdf2-a7b1-11e8-97ce-cc9042272f07_story.html
  9. [9]Dale Kasler, “Stung by criticism over wildfire response, Verizon lifts data ‘cap’ on first responders,” Sacramento Bee, August 24, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article217296475.html (Mendocino Complex)
  10. [10]Adam Ashton, “Ratepayers would help pay off utilities’ fire debts under Legislature’s proposal,” Sacramento Bee, August 25, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article217307900.html
  11. [11]William Finnegan, “California Burning,” review of Wildfire: On the Front Lines with Station 8, by Heather Hansen, Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future, by Edward Struzik, and Burning Planet: The Story of Fire Through Time, by Andrew C. Scott, New York Review of Books, August 16, 2018, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/08/16/wildfires-california-burning/; Rong-Gong Lin, II, Joseph Serna, and Louis Sahagun, “143-mph ‘fire tornado’ that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future,” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-redding-tornado-destruction-20180802-story.html; Dana Nuccitelli, “Trump reignited his war with California, but his bizarre tweet got burned,” Guardian, August 13, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/aug/13/trump-reignited-his-war-with-california-but-his-tweet-got-burned
  12. [12]Jon Brodkin, “Verizon throttled fire department’s ‘unlimited’ data during Calif. wildfire,” Ars Technica, August 21, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/verizon-throttled-fire-departments-unlimited-data-during-calif-wildfire/; Jon Brodkin, “Fire dept. rejects Verizon’s “customer support mistake” excuse for throttling,” Ars Technica, August 22, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/fire-dept-rejects-verizons-customer-support-mistake-excuse-for-throttling/; Ina Fried, “Verizon admits error in throttling California firefighters’ service,” Axios, August 21, 2018, https://www.axios.com/verizon-responds-to-allagations-it-throttled-fire-departments-wireless-connection-1534890751-04a282b1-e369-40c9-b8bf-779d8c7999b7.html

When a judge becomes “co-counsel for the [filthy rich] defense”

Fig. 1. Donald Trump is depicted in a space suit colored in an earth camouflage style. I doubt, though the question did occur to me, that were he indeed to appear in uniform, this would make him a legitimate military target. Still, the thought of letting the air out of that gas bag surely has to tempt. Via Ozy, fair use.

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 11, 8:03 am.
  2. August 13, 7:03 am:
  3. August 13, 3:30 pm:
  4. August 13, 10:45 pm:
    • Worked some more on the commentary under James Comey.
  5. August 14, 6:37 am:
    • More than 50 percent of Lake County has burned since 2012.[2] The graphic (figure 2) is jaw-dropping. (Mendocino Complex)

James Comey

So, okay, it’s been a couple days, but Elie Mystal at Above The Law at least helps me to know that yes, the judge really is being weird in Robert Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort.[3] And now, a couple days after that, Jonathan Turley weighs in, with yet more criticism.[4] They’re lawyers and I’m not, but each of us has our own criticisms.

As to other points in the above, verbal communication is, of course, only a part of the sum of communication. When I was in that field (my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are in Communication), the word was that over half—maybe even 90 percent—of communication is nonverbal and it’s pretty unreasonable to think that the folks who invented open courtroom trials weren’t well aware that nonverbal communication is a factor.

The point of having the accused confront their accuser in front of a jury is in large part about enabling them to see facial reactions to judge who is more credible. There’s nothing radical here. This is simply how it works. But Judge T. S. Ellis, III, had demanded counsel constrain their facial reactions.

Some of this is a judgment call. I can certainly understand Ellis not wanting a trial to be a contest to see who can make the greatest face of disbelief. And there is an issue in that nonverbal expressions cannot easily be rendered in court transcripts. But the sense I’m gathering is that Ellis went well beyond that; hence my question as to whether he would prefer proceedings be conducted in writing.

Further, Ellis sought to limit the prosecution’s presentation of evidence of Manafort’s lavish lifestyle, which was allegedly funded at least in part by through the means for which Manafort has been charged. Facially, this seems valid: Prosecuting a rich man for being rich is, at least, an ad hominem attack. But carry the countermand too far—which it sounds to me like Ellis may have done—and you weaken the prosecution’s ability to question how that lifestyle was funded. Mystal does not raise these specific points here. What he does do is assure me that the appearance that Ellis is favoring, at least for the moment, the defense wasn’t just my misperception based on left-of-Donald-Trump journalism.[5]

Finally, as to class and the system of injustice, Jeffrey Reiman has that covered.[6] And it’s not like he’s the only one.[7]

Elie Mystal, “Should Manafort Prosecutors Request A Mistrial?” Above The Law, August 10, 2018, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/08/should-manafort-prosecutors-request-a-mistrial/

Jonathan Turley, “Judge in the Manafort trial is creating some big problems,” Hill, August 12, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/401443-judge-in-the-manafort-trial-is-creating-some-big-problems


Mendocino Complex

Fig. 2. Los Angeles Times, fair use.

Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Priya Krishnakumar, “More than 50% of this California county has burned since 2012. Some residents have had enough,” Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-lake-county-fire-epicenter-20180814-story.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Turley, “Judge in the Manafort trial is creating some big problems,” Hill, August 12, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/401443-judge-in-the-manafort-trial-is-creating-some-big-problems
  2. [2]Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Priya Krishnakumar, “More than 50% of this California county has burned since 2012. Some residents have had enough,” Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-lake-county-fire-epicenter-20180814-story.html
  3. [3]Elie Mystal, “Should Manafort Prosecutors Request A Mistrial?” Above The Law, August 10, 2018, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/08/should-manafort-prosecutors-request-a-mistrial/
  4. [4]Jonathan Turley, “Judge in the Manafort trial is creating some big problems,” Hill, August 12, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/401443-judge-in-the-manafort-trial-is-creating-some-big-problems
  5. [5]Elie Mystal, “Should Manafort Prosecutors Request A Mistrial?” Above The Law, August 10, 2018, https://abovethelaw.com/2018/08/should-manafort-prosecutors-request-a-mistrial/
  6. [6]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  7. [7]Steven E. Barkan, Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006).

A hot August

Updates

    1. Originally published, August 7, 12:59 am.
    2. August 8, 7:28 am:
      • Obviously, the Statue of Liberty is just a European plot.[1] (Legal immigration)
      • The article is long. Gawd, it is long. It rambles. Gawd, it rambles. It whines. Gawd, it whines. And it seems like there’s a fucking ad after every god-damned paragraph. But if you want to see what I’m up against when I drive for Uber and Lyft, you could do a lot worse than this article by Ryan Felton. One thing to notice: We see no defense here of how Uber and Lyft treat their drivers; the companies defend themselves by threatening a return to having to stand on a corner to hail a cab.[2] (Ridesharing)
    3. August 8, 8:20 pm:
      • New York City responded to the conditions described by Ryan Felton (see update at August 8, 7:28 am) by passing a temporary cap on the number of Ridesharing vehicles in the city and clearing the way to a minimum wage.[3]
      • I am not caught up.
    4. August 8, 10:30 pm:
      • Added Corte Madera sunset photograph under California wildfires.
      • Added a cute photograph (figure 5) from the Atlantic. Scroll all the way down to see it.
      • I am now caught up.
    5. August 9, 8:42 pm:
      • Added another smoky sunset photograph (figure 2) and two screenshots showing 1) the location of burned areas in the Mendocino Complex fire (figure 3) and 2) a zoomed out version that includes the Carr fire (figure 4) under California wildfires.
    6. August 9, 11:46 pm:
      • The Trump administration attempted to deport a mother and daughter even as a court hearing appealing that deportation was under way. The judge was not amused.[4] (Unauthorized migration)

Donald Trump

It should be no surprise to anyone who read Susan McWilliams’ review of Hunter S. Thompson[5] that bikers at a rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, support Donald Trump, even at the expense of their favorite brands of motorcycles.[6] Nor should it surprise anyone that these bikers are pretty well off.[7] Nor should we be surprised that there is a tyranny of the masses at this rally against dissenting views because those masses of asses supporting Trump “often decline to interpret political conflict as a struggle among interest groups or a good-faith clash of opinion.” Instead, just as Kim Messick observed of authoritarian populists he encountered a few years ago, “they tend to identify the country as a whole with an idealized version of themselves, and to equate any dissent from their values with disloyalty by alien, ‘un-American’ forces.”[8] Still, it’s confirmation of a particular picture I’ve been putting together.[9]

Bill Weir, “Bikers salute leader of their pack: Donald Trump,” CNN, August 6, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/05/politics/sturgis-biker-rally-supports-trump/index.html


James Comey

For those of us, including me, too young to remember all the sordid details, William D. Ruckelshaus was the deputy attorney general whom Richard Nixon fired in the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre, Nixon’s attempt to stop a special prosecutor’s investigation.[10]

William D. Ruckelshaus, “Only one other president has ever acted this desperate,” Washington Post, August 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/only-one-other-president-has-ever-acted-this-desperate/2018/08/06/7eed964e-9994-11e8-b55e-5002300ef004_story.html


California wildfires

Fig. 1. Sunset in Corte Madera, August 8, 2018. Mount Tamalpais is at left. The sky is smoky from numerous wildfires burning in Northern California.
Fig. 2. This is along Highway 116, west of Cotati, looking west towards Stony Point Road, August 9, 2018. The marine layer (fog) can be seen intruding at left. The onshore flow that brings that layer likely accounts for the thin appearance of blue sky between it and the smoky rest of the sky.
Fig. 3. This is a screenshot, taken August 9, 2018, at 5:34 pm, from a Google foundation map showing both the extent of the Mendocino Complex fire and its location relative to landmarks that may be familiar.
Fig. 4. This screenshot, taken August 9, 2018, at 8:27 pm, is zoomed out to include the Carr fire near Redding and a bit more of the coast as a reference. San Francisco is off the map, along the coast to the south. I live near Sebastopol, which is west of Santa Rosa, near the bottom extent of the map.

Paige St. John, Alene Tchekmedyian, and Rong-Gong Lin, II, “Mendocino Complex fire racing at unprecedented speed into the record books,” Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-wildfires-danger-level-20180806-story.html


Ridesharing

Ryan Felton, “How New York Became the Center of the Fight Against Uber and the Gig Economy Lie,” Jalopnik, August 7, 2018, https://jalopnik.com/how-new-york-became-the-center-of-the-fight-against-ube-1827871915

Ryan Felton, “NYC Becomes First Major City to Cap Uber Cars and Can Set Minimum Wage for Drivers,” Jalopnik, August 8, 2018, https://jalopnik.com/nyc-becomes-first-major-city-to-cap-uber-cars-and-can-s-1828201521


Legal immigration

Chris Sommerfeldt, “Trump administration reportedly plans to limit citizenship for millions of legal immigrants, outraging advocates,” New York Daily News, August 7, 2018, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-news-advocates-trump-citizenship-immigrants-20180807-story.html


Unauthorized migration

Arelis R. Hernández, “Judge halts mother-daughter deportation, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt,” Washington Post, August 9, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/judge-halts-mother-daughter-deportation-threatens-to-hold-sessions-in-contempt/2018/08/09/a23a0580-9bd6-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html


International Cat Day

Yeah, I miss having a cat. This photograph is just a little bit older than I am. I found it in the Atlantic in their International Cat Day collection.

Fig. 5. Quoting from the Atlantic, where I found this: “The original photo caption from March 23, 1959: ‘Hep cat. A real live kitten on the keys, this music-loving feline lends vocal accompaniment to his mistress in Worcester Park, England. As Marion Holland 15, plays the piano, Money the cat joins in the singing.’”

  1. [1]Chris Sommerfeldt, “Trump administration reportedly plans to limit citizenship for millions of legal immigrants, outraging advocates,” New York Daily News, August 7, 2018, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-news-advocates-trump-citizenship-immigrants-20180807-story.html
  2. [2]Ryan Felton, “How New York Became the Center of the Fight Against Uber and the Gig Economy Lie,” Jalopnik, August 7, 2018, https://jalopnik.com/how-new-york-became-the-center-of-the-fight-against-ube-1827871915
  3. [3]Ryan Felton, “NYC Becomes First Major City to Cap Uber Cars and Can Set Minimum Wage for Drivers,” Jalopnik, August 8, 2018, https://jalopnik.com/nyc-becomes-first-major-city-to-cap-uber-cars-and-can-s-1828201521
  4. [4]Arelis R. Hernández, “Judge halts mother-daughter deportation, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt,” Washington Post, August 9, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/judge-halts-mother-daughter-deportation-threatens-to-hold-sessions-in-contempt/2018/08/09/a23a0580-9bd6-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html
  5. [5]Susan McWilliams, “This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson,” review of Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, by Hunter S. Thompson, Nation, December 15, 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/this-political-theorist-predicted-the-rise-of-trumpism-his-name-was-hunter-s-thompson/
  6. [6]Bill Weir, “Bikers salute leader of their pack: Donald Trump,” CNN, August 6, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/05/politics/sturgis-biker-rally-supports-trump/index.html
  7. [7]Diana C. Mutz, “Status threat, not economic hardship, explains the 2016 presidential vote,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 23, 2018, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1718155115
  8. [8]Kim Messick, “Modern GOP is still the party of Dixie,” Salon, October 12, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/10/12/modern_gop_is_still_the_party_of_dixie/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126); David Benfell, “How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party,” Not Housebroken, July 1, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/07/01/how-donald-trump-captured-the-republican-party/
  10. [10]William D. Ruckelshaus, “Only one other president has ever acted this desperate,” Washington Post, August 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/only-one-other-president-has-ever-acted-this-desperate/2018/08/06/7eed964e-9994-11e8-b55e-5002300ef004_story.html