The Sword of Damocles

Brexit

Peter Walker and Owen Bowcott, “Brexit forecast: what will happen between now and 31 October?” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/brexit-forecast-what-will-happen-between-now-31-october

Lisa O’Carroll and Heather Stewart, “Boris Johnson’s ‘secret Irish border plans’ dismissed as non-starter,” Guardian, September 30, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/30/hardline-conservative-brexiters-open-door-to-support-for-deal

Peter Foster, “Boris Johnson to reveal his final Brexit plan to EU leaders within 24 hours,” Telegraph, October 1, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/30/boris-johnson-reveal-final-brexit-plan-eu-leaders-within-24/


Academia

Sheila Liming, “My University is Dying,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20190925-my-university-is-dying


Francis Drake might have landed in Oregon, not California

Francis Drake

Melissa Darby argues that Francis Drake may have landed in Oregon rather than California, that Chinese porcelain fragments may not have come from Drake’s ship, and that Herbert Bolton, who had already established a reputation in academia and was in the twilight of his career, may have made up the whole thing about the Point Reyes site as a joke that got out of control.[1] Note that none of this actually amounts to a refutation:

Members of the Drake Navigators Guild, a nonprofit group championing the Drakes Bay theory, soundly reject [Melissa] Darby’s assertion about [Herbert] Bolton. “The idea of a conspiracy doesn’t work,” says Michael Von der Porten, a financial planner and second-generation member of the guild whose father was part of the 2003 team that studied the hoax. He also dismisses her conclusions about a landing north of Drakes Bay. “This is yet another fringe theory, a total farce.”

Michael Moratto, an archaeologist who has been digging around Drakes Bay for decades, agrees. “I’ve spent 50 years listening to all sides of the debate, and for me it is settled.” Darby favors an Oregon landing site for parochial reasons, he adds, and “is twisting all of this to suit her own purposes.” He still maintains that some of the Chinese porcelain found at the bay came from [Francis] Drake’s cargo.[2]

Andrew Lawler, “Did Francis Drake Really Land in California?” Smithsonian, September 26, 2019, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/did-francis-drake-really-land-california-180973219/


Israel

Felicia Schwartz, “Netanyahu Is Given Four Days in Pretrial Hearing to Fend Off Formal Charges,” Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-is-given-four-days-in-pretrial-hearing-to-fend-off-formal-charges-11569773428


Brexit

Kate Proctor, “Boris Johnson fuels speculation he could ignore Brexit delay law,” Guardian, September 29, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/29/boris-johnson-fuels-speculation-could-ignore-brexit-delay-law


Redlining

I’m beginning to make a project of cataloging the weapons, gratuitously displayed, that I refer to in a previous blog post.[3] It is possible to honor veterans and war dead without guns—indeed, many sites in the area do just this—so the fetishization here remains truly striking and while I may need to refine the scope of my claim, there are an awful lot of weapons on display in and around redlined areas.

After I recognized what I was seeing from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ description,[4] my mother confirmed that there was “terrible” (I think she used that word) redlining in Pittsburgh. I pondered that later, wondering how she knew: Wouldn’t, I thought to myself, something like this be kept an insiders’ secret?

Um, no. I’ve found a redlining map of Pittsburgh. It does not cover the entire area that I am covering. But it is well worth exploring. The site is interactive in ways you might not expect, so try clicking on things, and then read the reports compiled at the time for each of the “graded areas.”[5] This is a historical gold mine.

What I can say is first, that it is shocking to see just how much of Pittsburgh was redlined—much, much more than could possibly be kept a secret—and second, that, over 80 years later, many of these areas have still not recovered, either through redevelopment or gentrification. There are many abandoned buildings, often more than one on a block, some of which have satellite dishes attached to them, indicating more recent occupancy, but showing that when calamity of one sort or another (often fire) strikes, properties may simply be left to crumble while neighbors strive to carry on. And, of course, these areas appear to have very high proportions of Blacks among their populations.

To be honest, I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. It’s jawdropping—all of it—what I’m seeing on the redlining map and what I’m seeing on the ground.

I’m still finding guns and other heavy weaponry on a catch-as-catch-can basis, so far, mostly south of the Monongahela River (the area I cover most intensively while driving for Lyft). It would be good to be more systematic about this.


  1. [1]Andrew Lawler, “Did Francis Drake Really Land in California?” Smithsonian, September 26, 2019, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/did-francis-drake-really-land-california-180973219/
  2. [2]Andrew Lawler, “Did Francis Drake Really Land in California?” Smithsonian, September 26, 2019, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/did-francis-drake-really-land-california-180973219/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, September 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/
  4. [4]Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” Atlantic, June 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
  5. [5]Robert K. Nelson et al., “Mapping Inequality,” University of Richmond, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, n.d., https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=12/40.442/-80.073&city=pittsburgh-pa

Divisions

Israel

Times of Israel, “TV: Netanyahu will ‘return mandate’ next week; Gantz knows he can’t divide Likud,” September 27, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-netanyahu-will-return-mandate-next-week-gantz-knows-he-cant-divide-likud/


Brexit

Sarah Marsh, “Johnson could face no-confidence vote next week to halt no-deal Brexit,” Guardian, September 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/28/boris-johnson-no-deal-brexit-no-confidence-vote-snp


Boris Johnson doesn’t want a Brexit deal. He wants an election he foolishly thinks he can win.

Brexit

Joe Armitage, “How Henry VIII powers could allow the government to cut through the Surrender Act,” Telegraph, September 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/27/henry-viii-powers-could-allow-government-cut-surrender-act/

Kevin Rawlinson, “Language in Brexit debate ‘unacceptable’, warn C of E bishops,” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/c-of-e-bishops-call-for-amelioration-of-brexit-rhetoric

Danielle Sheridan, James Crisp, and Tony Diver, “Brexit latest news: Britain is approaching ‘moment of truth’, Stephen Barclay says as EU talks resume,” Telegraph, September 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/27/brexit-latest-newsboris-johnson-parliament-no-deal-barnier-conference/

Henry Zeffman and Steven Swinford, “Brexit row: Divisive language harms chance of a deal, Tories warn Johnson,” Times, September 27, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexit-row-divisive-language-harms-chance-of-a-deal-tories-warn-johnson-kw2mwjptf


Whistle blowing

There is a new blog post entitled, “The New York Times at least very nearly exposes a whistle blower.“

Maanvi Singh, “New York Times faces backlash after revealing details about whistleblower,” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/26/new-york-times-trump-ukraine-whistleblower-published


Migrants

Maria Sacchetti, “Federal judge blocks Trump administration from detaining migrant children for indefinite periods,” Washington Post, September 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/federal-judge-blocks-trump-administration-from-detaining-migrant-children-for-indefinite-periods/2019/09/27/49a39790-e15f-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html


Trickle down


Income inequality

J3YOKJHACMI6TPT7JTEFAF6DN4
Fig. 1. Undated photograph attributed to Jeff Roberson of the Associated Press, via the Washington Post, September 26, 2019.[1]

Taylor Telford, “Income inequality in America is the highest it’s been since census started tracking it, data shows,” Washington Post, September 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/26/income-inequality-america-highest-its-been-since-census-started-tracking-it-data-show/


Israel

Times of Israel, “Mission impossible? Why Netanyahu, asked to form a coalition, isn’t smiling,” September 25, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/mission-impossible-why-netanyahu-asked-to-form-a-coalition-isnt-smiling/


  1. [1]Taylor Telford, “Income inequality in America is the highest it’s been since census started tracking it, data shows,” Washington Post, September 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/26/income-inequality-america-highest-its-been-since-census-started-tracking-it-data-show/

Binyamin Netanyahu has 28 days to try to form a government

Israel

Israeli political jockeying gave Binyamin Netanyahu a plurality of parliamentary seats so he gets the nod to try to form a government. He has 28 days.[1] To a certain Twitter contact who worried that Netanyahu might pull this out after all, I have to admit now, I’m more worried than I was.

Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash, “Netanyahu tapped by Israel’s president to try forming a new government,” Washington Post, September 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/netanyahu-tapped-by-israels-president-to-try-forming-a-new-government/2019/09/25/9f54aa22-dfa6-11e9-be7f-4cc85017c36f_story.html


Brexit

Kieran Andrews, “Supreme Court ruling: Boris Johnson must resign or be removed, says SNP leadership,” Times, September 24, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/supreme-court-ruling-boris-johnson-must-resign-or-be-removed-says-snp-leadership-txgjw7jgn

Heather Stewart, Peter Walker, and Rowena Mason, “Boris Johnson flies back to face MPs’ fury after court ruling,” Guardian, September 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/24/boris-johnson-flies-back-to-face-mps-fury-after-court-ruling


Pennsylvania

Kara Seymour, “PA Governor Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” Patch, September 25, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gutg4/pa-governor-calls-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana


  1. [1]Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash, “Netanyahu tapped by Israel’s president to try forming a new government,” Washington Post, September 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/netanyahu-tapped-by-israels-president-to-try-forming-a-new-government/2019/09/25/9f54aa22-dfa6-11e9-be7f-4cc85017c36f_story.html

Nothing new to see here

Brexit

Move along, really. Certainly nothing new to see here. Not with the Irish Backstop.[1] Not with Boris Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament[2] Not even, really, with the Supreme Court’s finding that Johnson acted to frustrate Parliament by proroguing it;[3] this is yet another humiliation echoing those administered by Parliament itself[4] of a schoolboy who does not do his homework. And certainly not that the prorogation really was indeed about Brexit despite earlier denials.[5] It might be breathtaking and it might be stunning and it might be pathetic and it might be all of these at once but it’s really nothing new.

If, however, you choose to read one piece, may I suggest Sam Knight’s.[6] Seriously, his writing is exquisite.

Daniel Boffey, “EU’s chief negotiator calls Johnson’s backstop solution ‘unacceptable,’” Guardian, September 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/23/eu-chief-negotiator-michecalls-johnson-brexit-backstop-solution-unacceptable

Peter Walker, “Boris Johnson refuses to rule out suspending parliament again,” Guardian, September 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/23/boris-johnson-refuses-to-rule-out-suspending-parliament-again

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule,” September 24, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49810261

Sam Knight, “Boris Johnson’s Supreme Court Calamity,” New Yorker, September 24, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/boris-johnsons-supreme-court-calamity

Danielle Sheridan and Asa Bennett, “Boris Johnson hits back at Supreme Court ruling saying people want to ‘frustrate Brexit’ and ‘stop this country coming out of the EU,’” Telegraph, September 24, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/24/brexit-latest-news-supreme-court-ruling-boris-johnson-prorogue/


Israel

Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz, is agreeing to negotiate with Likud, led by Binyamin Netanyahu, about a possible unity government but not with Likud’s partners while Likud is insisting that its small right wing religious parties are part of the deal. Gantz also insists that Netanyahu personally cannot be part of the deal while he faces expected corruption charges.[7] This is also as it was before.[8]

Times of Israel, “Blue and White, Likud start talks, but can’t even agree who they’re representing,” September 24, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/blue-and-white-likud-start-talks-but-cant-even-agree-who-theyre-representing/


National insecurity

National insecurity is what it took to push Nancy Pelosi to an impeachment inquiry. Which probably really means she conflates Joe Biden with what she calls “national security.”[9] You know what? I couldn’t care less. I mean, seriously, spare me.

Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis , “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry of Trump, says his actions were a ‘betrayal of national security,’” Washington Post, September 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/pelosi-top-democrats-privately-discuss-creation-of-select-committee-for-impeachment/2019/09/24/af6f735a-dedf-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html


  1. [1]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; Daniel Boffey, “EU’s chief negotiator calls Johnson’s backstop solution ‘unacceptable,’” Guardian, September 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/23/eu-chief-negotiator-michecalls-johnson-brexit-backstop-solution-unacceptable; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues; Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz
  2. [2]Jamie Doward, “Supreme court poised to rule against Boris Johnson, say legal experts,” Guardian, September 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/22/supreme-court-verdict-boris-johnson-prorogation; Owen Bowcott, “Government declines to rule out fresh prorogation if it loses case,” Guardian, September 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/17/government-declines-to-rule-out-fresh-prorogation-if-it-loses-case; Danielle Sheridan and Asa Bennett, “Boris Johnson hits back at Supreme Court ruling saying people want to ‘frustrate Brexit’ and ‘stop this country coming out of the EU,’” Telegraph, September 24, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/24/brexit-latest-news-supreme-court-ruling-boris-johnson-prorogue/; Peter Walker, “Boris Johnson refuses to rule out suspending parliament again,” Guardian, September 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/23/boris-johnson-refuses-to-rule-out-suspending-parliament-again
  3. [3]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule,” September 24, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49810261
  4. [4]Charlie Cooper, Annabelle Dickson, and Emilio Casalicchio, “Boris Johnson loses control,” Politico, September 4, 2019, https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-loses-control-brexit/; Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-house-of-lords-approves-bill-to-block-no-deal/a-50331382; Heather Stewart and Severin Carrell, “Boris Johnson short of options as rebels vow to secure Brexit delay,” Guardian, September 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/06/boris-johnson-short-of-options-as-rebels-vow-to-secure-brexit-delay; Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam, “Britain may face snap elections after Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers major loss in Parliament,” Washington Post, September 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/showdown-set-for-the-british-parliament-as-legislators-return-from-summer-recess/2019/09/03/105ecca6-cb6c-11e9-9615-8f1a32962e04_story.html; Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam, “Boris Johnson suffers two major losses in Parliament, leaving his governing authority and the terms of Brexit in doubt,” Washington Post, September 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/uk-parliament-brexit-vote/2019/09/04/cc934b1c-cb6d-11e9-9615-8f1a32962e04_story.html; Rowena Mason and Owen Bowcott, “John Bercow: I’ll stop Boris Johnson breaking the law on Brexit,” Guardian, September 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/12/bercow-warns-pm-not-to-defy-law-on-no-deal-brexit; Sam Knight, “Boris Johnson’s Supreme Court Calamity,” New Yorker, September 24, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/boris-johnsons-supreme-court-calamity; Aamna Mohdin, “Boris Johnson ‘sabotage’ letter to EU ‘would break law,’” Guardian, September 9, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/09/boris-johnson-sabotage-letter-to-eu-would-break-law; Reuters, “Johnson prepares plan to legally stop Brexit extension – The Telegraph,” September 8, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-parliament-johnson-idUSKCN1VT0SK; Griff Witte and Karla Adam, “A chaotic final night for Parliament leaves Johnson with bleak choices on the path to Brexit,” Washington Post, September 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-chaotic-final-night-for-parliament-leaves-johnson-with-bleak-choices-on-the-path-to-brexit/2019/09/10/443a835a-d33a-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html; Harry Yorke, “Boris Johnson draws up plan to legally stop Brexit extension if MPs vote against general election,” Telegraph, September 8, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/08/boris-johnson-draws-plan-legally-stop-brexit-extension-mps-vote/
  5. [5]Danielle Sheridan and Asa Bennett, “Boris Johnson hits back at Supreme Court ruling saying people want to ‘frustrate Brexit’ and ‘stop this country coming out of the EU,’” Telegraph, September 24, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/24/brexit-latest-news-supreme-court-ruling-boris-johnson-prorogue/; Danielle Sheridan and Asa Bennett, “Boris Johnson hits back at Supreme Court ruling saying people want to ‘frustrate Brexit’ and ‘stop this country coming out of the EU,’” Telegraph, September 24, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/24/brexit-latest-news-supreme-court-ruling-boris-johnson-prorogue/
  6. [6]Sam Knight, “Boris Johnson’s Supreme Court Calamity,” New Yorker, September 24, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/boris-johnsons-supreme-court-calamity
  7. [7]Times of Israel, “Blue and White, Likud start talks, but can’t even agree who they’re representing,” September 24, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/blue-and-white-likud-start-talks-but-cant-even-agree-who-theyre-representing/
  8. [8]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  9. [9]Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis , “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry of Trump, says his actions were a ‘betrayal of national security,’” Washington Post, September 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/pelosi-top-democrats-privately-discuss-creation-of-select-committee-for-impeachment/2019/09/24/af6f735a-dedf-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html

Reading the tea leaves

Updates

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

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

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


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


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

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


Brexit

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


Israel

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

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

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

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


Gig economy

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

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


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

Third time the charm for Binyamin Netanyahu?

IMG_0006
Fig. 1. McKeesport. That’s the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center McKeesport Hospital behind the cemetery.
IMG_0007
Fig. 2. Clairton.
There is a new blog post entitled, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh. It’s a more formal critical theory approach to my observations of racism in the Pittsburgh area. I haven’t added the photographs above to it yet because there’s one or two more I want to get.


Israel

Jerusalem Online, “Lapid: Bibi Is Trying to Drag the Country Into a Third Election,” September 20, 2019, https://www.jerusalemonline.com/lapid-bibi-is-trying-to-drag-the-country-into-a-third-election/


The humbling of Binyamin Netanyahu

Israel

Avigdor Lieberman, who leads Yisrael Beiteinu, which seems to have won more seats in Israel’s Knesset in the country’s re-run election, briefly seemed not quite to have the advantage the Associated Press earlier suggested[1] as it was suggested that Likud, in a bloc with the small right-wing religious parties that secularists despise, could combine with the secularist Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz, to form a unity government. The stumbling blocks to such a government were that 1) Likud would have to ditch Binyamin Netanyahu, who depends on a position as prime minister to avoid prosecution on corruption charges; and 2) that whole issue of the small right wing religious parties[2] who have used their position “to restrict public transport on the Sabbath, set marital laws and avoid military service.”[3] Likud and these small parties have agreed to a pact forming a unified bloc.[4]

Avigdor Lieberman, the head of Yisrael Beiteinu, has said he wouldn’t sit with any religious parties. Mr. Gantz has said he wouldn’t sit in a government with Mr. Netanyahu while he is under investigation for alleged corruption.[5]

As it turned out, the stumbling blocks were fatal.[6]

Gantz, not mentioning Netanyahu by name, said Thursday that he will lead a “liberal” coalition without Netanyahu’s haredi Orthodox allies. Moshe Yaalon, a Blue and White leader and former Israeli defense minister, said plainly that the party will “not enter a coalition led by Netanyahu,” echoing what the party had stated throughout the election campaign.[7]

Lieberman’s leverage seems to lie in that rejection of a unity government, as either Likud or Blue and White could combine with his party to form a majority.[8] Likud and the religious parties remained loyal to Netanyahu and Gantz rejected a coalition with those parties.[9] (It had earlier appeared as if the knives were out for Netanyahu even within Likud.[10]) The curious part of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency story[11] is that it does not mention the possibility of Lieberman’s party helping to form the coalition,[12] focusing instead on the possibility of so-called “Arab” (meaning Palestinian) parties taking part.[13]

Finally, while I’m inclined to view Netanyahu’s defeat (assuming it actually transpires) as a positive step towards unpacking the mess of Israeli politics, Diana Buttu pours cold water on the idea of any immediate or even near-term progress for the Palestinians.[14]

Diana Buttu, “The Israeli Elections Are a Referendum on Who Can Treat Palestinians Most Harshly,” Nation, September 16, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/israel-election-2019/

Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix, “Election setback has Netanyahu now seeking to share power in a unity government,” Washington Post, September 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/election-setback-has-netanyahu-now-seeking-to-share-power-in-a-unity-government/2019/09/19/2449d634-dac1-11e9-ac63-3016711543fe_story.html

Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead

Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009


  1. [1]Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891
  2. [2]Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix, “Election setback has Netanyahu now seeking to share power in a unity government,” Washington Post, September 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/election-setback-has-netanyahu-now-seeking-to-share-power-in-a-unity-government/2019/09/19/2449d634-dac1-11e9-ac63-3016711543fe_story.html; Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead; Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  3. [3]Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  4. [4]Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix, “Election setback has Netanyahu now seeking to share power in a unity government,” Washington Post, September 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/election-setback-has-netanyahu-now-seeking-to-share-power-in-a-unity-government/2019/09/19/2449d634-dac1-11e9-ac63-3016711543fe_story.html; Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  5. [5]Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  6. [6]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  7. [7]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  8. [8]Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Gantz Declares Win, Rejects Netanyahu’s Call for Negotiations,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/netanyahu-calls-for-unity-government-after-election-deadlock-11568881009
  9. [9]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  10. [10]Bernard Avishai, “A Climax to the Saga of Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman,” New Yorker, June 1, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/a-climax-to-the-saga-of-benjamin-netanyahu-and-avigdor-lieberman; Times of Israel, “Ehud Barak says Netanyahu is ‘finished,’ predicts Likud will turn on him,” May 31, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ehud-barak-says-netanyahu-is-finished-predicts-likud-will-turn-on-him/
  11. [11]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  12. [12]Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891; Aron Heller, “Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker,” Associated Press, September 17, 2019, https://apnews.com/192335a30dca44e59fb1534974de5891
  13. [13]Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Netanyahu reaches out to form a government with his rival — and gets rejected,” September 19, 2019, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/with-final-votes-counted-gantzs-blue-and-white-takes-2-seat-lead
  14. [14]Diana Buttu, “The Israeli Elections Are a Referendum on Who Can Treat Palestinians Most Harshly,” Nation, September 16, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/israel-election-2019/