Monday, August 12, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: current count 31902  rated (+42), 259  unrated (+0).
Running late again, mostly because I've been fiddling with the
2019 Metacritic file,
adding extra points for high grades (not just midyear list picks)
for most of the publications tracked by
Album of the Year. The specific lists are noted
here: in most cases one
point for grades scored 80+, although for some relatively generous
publications I've used 90+ (e.g., for AllMusic Guide, I'm counting
4.5 star records, but not 4.0 star ones). My latest project there
has been to add points for
All About Jazz grades of 4.5+ stars (4 stars is probably their
median grade; at any rate it's very common). I've worked my way
back to March 26, and the work has slowed down as I've had to check
more release dates to separate 2019 releases out from the earlier
ones (mostly late 2018's, but sometimes they review older releases).
AOTY doesn't track AAJ (or any other jazz sources), so this has
started to generate some jazz coverage. I should probably do
Many of this week's picks are things I stumbled onto from various
lists, and they're a pretty patchy group. I've finally started adding
the final/latest Christgau EW reviews to his database, so a couple
records (like the Diana Gordon EP) were suggested there -- which, by
the way, led me to find Taana Gardner's disco classic (one of very
few Christgau-rated A records I missed). Phil Overeem's latest list
(link last week) led me to several things, including the George Jones
United Artists Rarities, which sent me on a minor dive with
a side of Little Jimmy Dickens.
The bigger dive this week was into the works of
Jon Lundbom and
Bryan Murray. This
started with Balto Beats and swept up pretty much everything
I had missed. (I had heard their often excellent records on Moppa
Elliott's Hot Cup label, but missed almost everything else.)
The other smaller dive was into country singer-songwriter Tyler
Childers. I initially graded his new one B+(***), but wondered if
I shouldn't revisit 2017's Purgatory -- graded B+(**) by me
at the time, but later a Christgau A-. Both of my initial reviews
admitted that more spins may be called for, and it didn't take many.
Also found two relatively crude earlier releases, which really
brought his songwriting into focus. A couple more spins of the
live EPs will raise could that grade as well, but the best songs
are repeats from the debut -- probably still the best place to hear
One minor note: I've taken the time lock off the
draft file, which is where the monthly archive winds up. I won't
do any indexing of the file until the end of the month, nor am
I likely to be citing the URL in my weekly posts (although it's
appeared in the notebook since I went weekly). But the naming
convention is likely to be consistent moving forward, and you
might spy something for the next Music Week there (e.g., the
records I'm listening to as I'm writing this).
New records reviewed this week:
- Leila Bordreuil/Michael Foster: The Caustic Ballads (2016, Relative Pitch): [bc]: B+(*)
- Tyler Childers: Country Squire (2019, Hickman Holler/RCA): [r]: A-
- The Cinematic Orchestra: To Believe (2019, Domino): [r]: B+(**)
- Mark De Clive-Lowe: Heritage (2018 , Ropeadope): [r]: B+(*)
- Mark De Clive-Lowe: Heritage II (2018 , Ropeadope): [r]: B
- Elephant9: Psychedelic Backfire I (2019, Rune Grammofon): [r]: B+(*)
- Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Psychedelic Backfire II (2019, Rune Grammofon): [r]: B+(**)
- Diana Gordon: Pure (2018, self-released, EP): [yt]: B+(*)
- Harbinger: Extended (2018 , OA2): [cd]: B+(**)
- Mike Holober/The Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Hiding Out (2017 , Zoho, 2CD): [cd]: B+(***)
- Anne Mette Iversen's Ternion Quartet: Invincible Nimbus (2018 , BJU): [r]: B+(***)
- Mark Kavuma: The Banger Factory (2019, Ubuntu Music): [r]: B+(*)
- LSD: Labrinth/Sia/Diplo Present . . . LSD (2019, Columbia): [r]: B-
- Lage Lund: Terrible Animals (2018 , Criss Cross): [r]: B+(*)
- Jon Lundbom/Bryan Murray: Beats by Balto! Vol. 1 (2018 , Chant): [r]: A-
- Moutin Factory Quintet: Mythical River (2019, Laborie Jazz): [cd]: B-
- Simon Nabatov Quintet: Last Minute Theory (2018 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
- Ola Onabulé: Point Less (2019, Rugged Ram): [cd]: B
- Mario Pavone Dialect Trio: Philosophy (2018 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
- Alberto Pibiri & the Al Peppers: The Nacho Blues (2019, Alberto Pibiri Music): [cd]: B+(*)
- The John Pizzarelli Trio: For Centennial Reasons: 100 Year Salute to Nat King Cole (2019, Ghostlight): [r]: B+(**)
- Noah Preminger: After Life (2018 , Criss Cross): [r]: B+(**)
- Jenny Scheinman/Allison Miller: Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller's Parlour Game (2019, Royal Potato Family): [r]: B+(***)
- Fabrizio Sciacca Quartet: Gettin' It There (2019, self-released): [cd]: B+(**)
- Paul Silbergleit: January (2018 , Blujazz): [cd]: B+(**)
- Paul Zauner's Blue Brass feat. David Murray: Roots n' Wings (2019, PAO/Blujazz): [cd]: B+(***)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Tyler Childers: Live on Red Barn Radio I & II (2013-14 , Hickman Holler, EP): [r]: B+(***)
- George Jones: United Artists Rarities (1962-64 , EMI Nashville): [r]: B+(***)
- Masayuki Takayanagi New Directions Unit: April Is the Cruellest Month (1975 , Black Forms Editions): [r]: B-
- Balto Exclamationpoint/Plaidworthy: If the Big Hurt (2015, self-released): [bc]: B+(***)
- Balto!: Balto! (2016, self-released): [bc]: B+(**)
- Balto!: Two Cans of Soup (2017, self-released, EP): [bc]: B-
- Balto!: Taco Cat Poops (2018, self-released, EP): [bc]: B+(**)
- Baltbom!: ¡!Baltbom!¡ (2015, self-released): [bc]: B+(*)
- Baltsticks!!: Play You, Play Me (2016, self-released): [bc]: B+(*)
- Bryan and the Haggards/Eugene Chadbourne: Merles Just Want to Have Fun (2012 , Northern Spy): [bc]: A-
- Tyler Childers: Bottles and Bibles (2011, Hickman Holler): [r]: A-
- Little Jimmy Dickens: 16 Biggest Hits (1949-65 , Columbia/Legacy): [r]: B+(***)
- Taana Gardner: Heartbeat (1981, West End, EP): [r]: A-
- George Jones: George Jones Sings the Hits of His Country Cousins (1962, United Artists): [r]: B+(***)
- George Jones: My Favorites of Hank Williams (1962, United Artists): [r]: B+(*)
- George Jones: George Jones Sings Like the Dickens! (1964, United Artists): [r]: B+(**)
- Jon Lundbom: Big Five Chord (2003 , self-released): [r]: B+(*)
- Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: All the Pretty Ponies (A Live Recording) (2004 , self-released): [r]: B
- Bryan Murray: What You Don't Forget (2007, Jazz Excursion): [bc]: B+(***)
- John Pizzarelli: P.S. Mr. Cole (1996-97 , RCA): [r]: B+(***)
Grade (or other) changes:
- Tyler Childers: Purgatory (2017, Hickman Holler): [r]: [was B+(**)] A-
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Steve Lehman Trio/Craig Taborn: The People I Love (Pi): August 30
- Dave Miller Trio: Just Imagine (Summit): October 4
- Bill O'Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble: Wind Off the Hudson (Savant)
- Mike Pachelli: High Standards (Fullblast): September 1
- Houston Person: I'm Just a Lucky So and So (HighNote)
- Lyn Stanley: London With a Twist: Live at Bernie's (A.T. Music)
- Tucker Brothers: Two Parts (self-released): October 3
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Again, spent a little over two days collecting what seems to be a
bottomless series of links that show various aspects of the same basic
fact: that Donald Trump is like all other conservatives in the sense
that he believes some people (like himself) are innately superior to
other people, and that the political system should be rigged to favor
superior people over inferior ones, but even among conservatives, as
an individual he is exceptionally ignorant, abusive, vain, and corrupt.
Most weeks I take pains to remind you that what's wrong with him is
just a reflection of his political beliefs, and we need to focus on
the broader right-wing and not just on him. Still, this week he was
such a flaming asshole that it's hard to get beyond the horror and
disgust he reeks of.
Some scattered links this week:
Trump is not a racist. His voters aren't either. Nothing here
convinces me of the title, and I doubt that's even the author's intent.
Rather, he's saying that Trump and many of his voters don't think of
themselves as racists, but the more they're called racists, the more
likely they are to start identifying that way. I can see the logic
here, even relate it to a personal incident. I had a boss once who
complained that I had a "bad attitude" and, well, my attitude got
much more pronounced after that. Still, we have a fair amount of
empirical experience with calling Trump and Republicans racist, and
thus far their response is almost always to deny rather than embrace
it. Sure, they get upset and irritated, and some try to turn the
tables and paint themselves as victims of racists, but as long as
they're defensive they aren't that much of a threat. Moreover, the
real problem with racism isn't that some people identify as racists.
It's that lots more people practice racism, often without giving
it much thought. Those people need to know that they're going to
get called out on their racism when it's evident -- something that
even the President hasn't been immune to lately. For more on Trump's
history of being called racist, see Philip Rucker/Ashley Parker:
The brand label that stokes Trump's fury: 'Racist, racist, racist.'
The Trump boycotts pose a grave danger to the Equinox and SoulCycle
businesses. Also: Alex Abad-Santos:
SoulCycle instructors are as mad about its investor's Trump fundraises
as its riders are; Lizzie Widdicombe:
Equinox members take a stand against Trump (sort of);
Billionaire Trump supporter Stephen Ross can't have it both ways.
The global machine behind the rise of far-right nationalism.
Julie Bosman/Kate Taylor/Tim Arango:
A common trait among mass killers: hatred toward women.
Why we should let more foreign doctors practice in America.
Norway mosque attack suspect 'inspired by Christchurch and El Paso
CBP chief forced to explain why ICE raids haven't targeted Trump's
Alexia Fernández Campbell:
The sleight of hand at the heart of Trump's appeal.
On "humanitarian intervention".
'Only in the Panhandle': Trump chuckles when audience member suggests
Pushing out the border: How the US is waging a global war on migration.
Chas Danner/Margaret Hartmann:
Everything we know about Jeffrey Epstein's death: A news blip I would
barely have noticed until I needed somewhere to hang the extra links:
Brady Dennis/Andrew Freedman:
Here's how the hottest month in recorded history unfolded around the
EJ Dionne Jr:
On guns and white nationalism, one side is right and one is wrong.
Climate change isn't an intangible future risk. It's here now, and it's
Are we headed for another expensive nuclear arms race? Could be.
Main problem with this "logic" is that the fix is already in: the
intent to spend more than a trillion dollars to stockpile new bombs,
regardless of whether anyone else shows up for the race.
Helena Bottemiller Evich:
'It feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie': "A top climate
scientist [Lewis Ziska] quit USDA, following others who say Trump has
Mary Fitzgerald/Claire Provost:
The American dark money behind Europe's far right.
A recent openDemocracy investigation found that America's Christian
right spent at least $50 million of "dark money" to fund campaigns and
advocacy in Europe over the past decade. (By the measures of US political
financing, this may not seem like a vast sum, but by European standards
it's formidable. The total spend on the 2014 European elections, for
example, by all of Ireland's political parties combined was just $3 million.)
Ben Freeman/Nia Harris/Cassandra Stimpson:
The military-industrial jobs scam: $750 billion for the Pentagon,
a record haul, but the "stubborn truth" is that more money begets fewer
jobs. Also at TomDispatch:
Can journalism be saved from the tech giants? There's a problem
here -- advertising revenues that previously supported newspapers and
magazines have been sucked up by Google and Facebook, undermining the
business viability of a free press -- but I don't see this "solution"
as helping much. The proposal is to allow content-providers to band
together to negotiate better terms with the tech giants. Seems to me
that the real problems are deeper than revenue distribution, starting
with the very model of depending on advertising to support journalism.
We're actually going through a period where the marginal distribution
cost of journalism has dropped to virtually nothing, which should make
it cost-effective to dramatically expand production, but we're stuck
with a business model (advertising + subscriptions) that drags both
consumers and content-producers into a death spiral. The obvious way
out of this is to free distribution while finding some other way to
pay for content creation. In the long run, that way needs to be public
funding, the trick being to come up with schemes that are responsive
to diverse consumers, that are professional, and that are fair and as
free as possible of corruption. That's a tough sell in a period when
virtually everything is politicized, but we've tried commercializing
everything, and have the present political mess to show for it.
Trump's executive order on social media bias is a distraction: "Trump
is reportedly drafting an executive order on tech bias against conservatives,
even though there's no proof this bias exists."
Joe Biden accidentally said "poor kids" are just as bright as "white
kids": "The former vice president immediately corrected himself
to say "wealthy kids." Or, as Jim Newell put it:
In Iowa, Joe Biden's mouth keeps getting away from his brain; also
Joe Biden gaffes his way through Iowa.
The Dayton, Ohio, shooter reportedly kept a "rape list" of potential
Joan E Greve:
New York Times changes front-page Trump headline after backlash.
On Trump's Monday teleprompted speech, original headline read "Trump
urges unity vs. racism." Later changed to "Assailing hate but not
guns." Trump objected to the change: Allyson Chiu:
Trump lashes out after New York Times amends 'bad' headline about
his response to mass shootings. Both articles have scans of
both cover pages, and various tweets. As Jamil Smith put it: "This
is the 'Dewey Defeats Truman' of racism." For more: Aaron Blake:
Why the New York Times's Trump headline was so bad.
The meaning of Israel's massive housing demolitions in East Jerusalem.
These 7 prominent conservatives have nothing i common with white supremacists,
nothing at all: What we used to call "satire." FYI: Ben Shapiro,
Tucker Carlson, Donald J Trump, Stephen Miller, Laura Ingraham, Candace
Owens, John Cornyn.
Trump's new arms race makes the Cold War era look rational and restrained.
"The secretary of defense is keen to test a type of missile that no one
has requested for more than 30 years, without knowing where it would be
stationed or why it's particularly needed."
Is beating Trump the best Democrats can hope to achieve in 2020?:
I don't mind some prudent skepticism, but this guy is trying hard to
be a major killjoy. People, especially Democrats, need to understand
that the difference between even the minimal Democratic agenda and
Trump/Republicans is something that matters a lot, and they have to
get serious about implementing that agenda. That means: first of all
they have to win big, they have to make aggressive use of the power
they gain, and they have to make the Republicans the shadow government
of the super-rich own their failures, so they can build and run again
and again until they succeed. The Democratic candidate should be the
one who makes the strongest case for doing all that, as opposed to
someone who's just marginally better than Trump.
Nadler makes it clear House is already in 'impeachment proceedings'.
Related: Quinta Jurecic:
Impeachment, but without the moral clarity.
The Trump administration adds even more sanctions to try to push out
Leaked FBI documents reveal Bureau's priorities under Trump.
In new interview, Bill Barr sees Dirty Harry, Death Wish as justice done
China tries to teach Trump economics: "If you want to understand the
developing trade war with China, the first thing you need to realize is
that nothing Donald Trump is doing makes sense."
Tariff tantrums and recession risks: "If the bond market is any
indication, Donald Trump's escalating belligerence on trade is creating
seriously increased risks of recession."
Trump's China shock.
Trump, tax cuts and terrorism: "Why do Republicans enable right-wing
extremism?" I would say it's because they've found a successful political
strategy in provoking strong, irrational responses from their base, and
they have few if any scruples about anyone acting on those impulses. Race
is just one of those nerve points, but it's been successfully exploited
by Nixon (his "Southern strategy"), Reagan ("welfare queens"), Bush I
("Willie Horton"), and no one's hit it harder than Trump. It's not the
only one, but when you play it and follow with guns and war and general
contempt for law and civility, it's not hard to figure out what happens
But racism isn't what drives the Republican establishment, and my guess
is that a majority of the party's elected officials find it a little bit
repugnant -- just not repugnant enough to induce them to repudiate its
political exploitation. And their exploitation of racism has led them
inexorably to where they are today: de facto enablers of a wave of white
How San Francisco's wealthiest families launched Kamala Harris.
Nearly all of Mexico's gun violence is committed with illegal firearms
coming from US, officials say.
To learn about the far right, start with the 'manosphere': "The sexist
world has become a recruiting ground for potential mass shooters."
The only way to stop the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit? Revoke article
Ferguson changed how America talks about police violence. 5 years later,
not much else has changed.
How economists' faith in markets broke America: Review of Nicholas
Lemann's Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of
the American Dream, and Binyamin Appelbaum's The Economist's
Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society.
Stop blaming mental illness for mass shootings: "It's about the
A worried nation wonders: How can we keep Wayne LaPierre safe?
The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, it turns out, is
worried sick about his personal safety in this gun culture.
After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, he and his wife bravely waited
out the uproar on the
pink-sand beaches of the Bahamas, part of $542,000 in private jet
trips and personal items the NRA bought for him. And now, thanks to some
delightful reporting by my Post colleagues Carol D. Leonnig and Beth
Reinhard, we know that last year's Parkland massacre left LaPierre so
fearful for his personal safety that he tried to have the NRA buy him
a $6 million French-chateau-style mansion with nine bathrooms in a gated
Dallas-area golf course community.
He told associates he was worried about his safety and thought his
Virginia home was too easy for potential attackers to find.
Ultimately, the financially stressed NRA didn't buy LaPierre the
mansion. That's too bad, because, as the saying goes: "The only thing
that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a French chateau."
Trump says Google is biased against conservatives. Here's how search
actually works. One thing that remains unmentionable here is whether
or to what extent advertisers influence Google search results. That's
certainly my impression as a long-time user.
The 'warspeak' permeating everyday language puts us all in the
Beto O'Rourke is doing what Donald Trump is simply incapable of:
"The Texan is demonstrating real leadership in the wake of a horrific
mass shooting by unequivocally condemning racism." I'm less impressed.
I've seen his expletive-filled clip responding to "What can Donald
Trump do?" several times, and while he's fumbling on, the only answer
I can think of is "resign."
Trump's sudden push for a possibly doomed background check bill,
Trump's speech was like a hostage video.
Florida white supremacist arrested for threatening shooting at Walmart,
police say. Also: Tom Winter/Dennis Romero:
FBI arrests Las Vegas man who allegedly wanted to shoot Jews, LGBTQ bar
The truth about anti-white discrimination: "Many white Americans feel
that discrimination against whites is on the rise. Experiments suggests
otherwise." By the way, I took a semester of psych during my brief tenure
in high school, and learned a few things there. One key concept was
projection: the tendency people have to impute their own beliefs and
feelings to other people. We see projection everywhere. Especially we
see white racists assuming that non-whites are racist against them. In
50 years since then, I've seen non-whites who were wary and cautious
and sometimes even bitter, but I've never seen any say or do the sort
of things I've seen white racists do hundreds of times.
Jeremy W Peters/Michael M Brynbaum/Keith Collins/Rich Harris/Rumsey Taylor:
How the El Paso killer echoed the incendiary words of conservative media
Elderly Washington couple dies in murder-suicide blamed on worries over
medical bills: Another shooting guns weren't responsible for.
FBI agents are reluctant to pursue white nationalist extremists because
they don't want to target Trump's base, former counterterrorism official
Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok are both suing the Justice Department:
"The two former FBI officials filed separate lawsuits this week, alleging
improper political retaliation."
The polls are in, and here's who won the second Democratic debate:
The most interesting of the polls was one by
HuffPost/YouGov, which offered separate percentages for whether the
debate performance improved or worsened opinion on the candidate. The
difference produce a net change: Warren (+44), Buttigieg (+24), Booker
(+20), Castro (+17), Yang (+13), Sanders (+12), Klobuchar (+8), Gillibrand
(+7), Inslee (+4), Gabbard (+3), Biden (+2), Bennet and O'Rourke (-4),
Harris (-5), Bullock and Williamson (-6), de Blasio (-14), Hickenlooper
(-15), Ryan (-17), Delaney (-30). Compare this to last week's pundit
rankings, which accorded wins to Biden (for not doing as poorly as last
time) and Delaney (for talking a lot even though no one much liked what
he had to say).
Democrats' confusing debate over an "impeachment inquiry," explained.
Democratic candidates grasp the moral seriousness of this moment.
The 'white replacement theory' motivates alt-right killers the world
Somini Sengupta/Welyl Cal:
A quarter of humanity faces looming water crises. This strikes me
as an even more acute threat to humankind than climate change, not that
the latter doesn't have something to do with it. Also: Christopher
Climate change threatens the world's food supply, United Nations warns.
Also by Sengupta:
Earth's food supply is under threat. These fixes would go a long way.
'Ruthless': How it feels when the Trump administration guts your agency.
Expanding fight against Iran, Israel opens new military front in Iraq.
Ali H Soufan:
I spent 25 years fighting jihadis. White supremacists aren't so different.
Long after Hiroshima: Last week marked 74 years since the people
charged with "thinking about the unthinkable" cavalierly went ahead
and just did it. Maybe the bigger number next year will motivate some
attention, like the 75th anniversary of D-Day (although it's harder
to spin Hiroshima as a day to celebrate American chauvinism). Maybe
the scuttling of arms control treaties and the trillion dollar scam
to "renovate" America's nuclear bomb arsenal will bring out some
Who's afraid of Tulsi Gabbard?.
Here are the Democratic presidential candidates with the most donations
from billionaires: Buttigieg (23), Booker (18), Harris (17), Bennet
(15), Biden (13), Hickenlooper (11), O'Rourke (9), Klobuchar (8), Inslee
(5), Gillibrand (4), Delaney (3). Warren has 2, tied with Bullock. Sanders
has 0 (tied with Castro, De Blasio, and Ryan). One each for Gabbard, Yang,
and Williamson. Not listed is Tom Steyer, who like Donald Trump is his
own billionaire. (See: Jessica Piper:
Billionaire Tom Steyer spends more than $7 million on ads in first
Trump could renounce white nationalism -- but he can't pretend he
cares. Personally, I couldn't care less whether "a president
can offer comfort at times like these." I think it's stupid and
wasteful for the president to scurry around to disaster zones --
in fact, that it causes more problems than it solves. Of course,
it's even worse with a guy who's stupid, arrogant, and incapable
of empathy. Embarrassing is the word -- one that applies to Trump
literally every day.
Trump's Twitter rant about the Federal Reserve and the dollar,
Billionaire Trump donor explains he's in it for the tax cuts, not the
Trump's designation of China as a currency manipulator, explained.
As is typically the case with Trump administration moves, it's not
entirely clear what the administration is trying to accomplish here,
in part because the administration doesn't do briefings in a well-organized
way and in part because various players in the administration are often
not on the same page. . . . And in this particular case, it's extremely
unlikely the IMF will do anything, because China is not, in fact,
manipulating its currency in any traditional sense. It's essentially a
policy of the US government stamping its feet while it figures out what
it wants to do next.
Joe Biden's rivals should attack him with some "Republican talking
points": Obviously, not the one about Biden being too far to the
left, but: "Joe Biden is old"; "Joe Biden is very establishment";
"the Biden family has made money off of politics."
Video games don't cause violent crime: "Research indicates that,
if anything, it's the opposite."
Biden is doubling down on Iraq War lies.
Not news, but let me note in passing a few more historical links on
intellectuals who had some influence on me:
Monday, August 05, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: current count 31860  rated (+29), 259  unrated (+2).
I continue to be surprised at the pro-gun memes showing up in my
Facebook feed. Consider this screed (from kin in Arkansas, if that
"When I was in high school we had gun racks in trucks,
and they had guns in them, and they were loaded. We even had fist
fights! But never once did someone get pissed and go get a gun to
shoot someone. We don't have a gun problem people, we have a people
problem, a sin problem, a lack of heart and soul problem, a lack of
respect for human life problem ,or even a mental health problem. . . .
but we DO NOT have a gun problem! I think it's easier for some people
to blame an inanimate object instead of taking responsibility."
This starts off with an anecdote which may have been true in the
author's personal experience but is far from the general rule. Then
it offers up a list of suspect people, blaming them and exculpating
the guns they use to commit crimes. We watch a lot of crime stories
on TV, and they invariably come down to motive and opportunity. Lots
of people have motives that some people have killed for, but they
don't do so because they never had the opportunity (or they had some
scruples that inhibited them from striking out). Guns may do nothing
on their own (there's a Steve Earle song called "The Devil's Right
Hand" that argues otherwise), but when someone picks one up, they
offer the opportunity of killing someone else, even at a distance.
The basic idea behind gun control is to keep guns out of the hands
of people who might use them criminally. One might argue that the
government isn't smart or fair enough to make those decisions, but
reasonable people could surely agree in minimal lists of guns that
no one should have and people who should not have guns.
The problem there is finding reasonable people, especially among
those on the right who have been propagating these stupid gun memes.
Admittedly, there are people who would like to outlaw all guns, but
they aren't numerous, and aren't in any position to reject reasonable
compromises. My own position is that I dislike guns, and don't see
any good reason for the vast majority of Americans (including myself)
to own any, but I'm pretty resistant to the idea of outlawing things
just because lots of people dislike them -- alcohol, drugs, and sex
are cases we should have learned better than. On the other hand, I
can occasionally see a case for prohibiting or strictly regulating
some things that are especially dangerous, and I could understand
wanting to include guns in that category.
Of course, there are some things that government is even more inept
at dealing with than guns, and oddly enough they show up on the list of
things pro-gun people like to blame gun violence on. Foremost is mental
illness, which heads up Trump's list of scapegoats (along with ubiquitous
things like violent video games). The fact is we don't do a very good
job of treating (or even identifying) mental illness in this country,
partly because we don't try (and conservatives are even more lax in this
regard), but also because nobody's really very good at it. A rigorous
system that tried to quarantine crazy people to keep them away from
guns would be orders of magnitude more expensive and more hurtful than
one that prohibited guns from all but the certifiably sane. Yeterday's
meme blaming gun violence on drugs diagnosis without a solution.
I didn't mean to go down this rathole, but it just opened up -- as
is so often the case. What I did want to do is quote a Barbara Ehrenreich
The mental illness we really have to fear is narcissism.
It makes dumb, loathsome people feel virtuous and smart. Gun ownership
is another form of narcissism. It makes little men feel big.
I'll also add this one from Adam Serwer, on Trump's Monday morning
Trump sounds like a robot when condemning white supremacy
and like himself when he's attacking religious and ethnic minorities
because one is him pretending and one is him being himself.
Moving on, we have a week's worth of new music for you below. I
added some grade data to my
mid-year list aggregate,
checking sites that hadn't produced lists and (usually) according
one point for each record rated 80+ (based on AOTY lists. This had
the surprise effect of boosting Sharon Van Etten's Remind Me
Tomorrow to first place, 48-47 over Billie Eilish (gain from
last week was 10-4). The only other notable shift was Weyes Blood,
up from 15 to 10. Biggest drop was probably James Blake, 10-14.
Much of what I listened to last week came from looking at these
lists. My other major source was
Phil Overeem's July honor roll -- most impressively the MexStep
record that came out mid-December, with no one noticing it in 2018
New batch of q&a from Robert Christgau up tonight:
New records reviewed this week:
- Iggy Azalea: In My Defense (2019, Bad Dreams/Empire): [r]: B+(***)
- John Bacon/Michael McNeill/Danny Ziemann: Refractions (2017 , Jazz Dimensions): [cd]: B+(***)
- J. Balvin & Bad Bunny: Oasis (2019, Universal Music Latino): [r]: B+(**)
- B.J. the Chicago Kid: 1123 (2019, Motown): [r]: B+(*)
- Chance the Rapper: The Big Day (2019, self-released): [r]: A-
- Chuck Cleaver: Send Aid (2019, Shake It): [bc]: B+(***)
- Chick Corea/The Spanish Heart Band: Antidote (2019, Concord): [r]: B-
- Default Genders: Main Pop Girl 2019 (2019, self-released): [bc]: B+(**)
- Pablo Embon: Reminiscent Mood (2018-19 , self-released): [cd]: B-
- Empath: Active Listening: Night on Earth (2019, Get Better): [r]: B+(*)
- Filthy Friends: Emerald Valley (2019, Kill Rock Stars): [r]: B+(**)
- Fred Frith: All Is Always Now: Live at the Stone (2007-16 , Intakt, 3CD): [r]: B+(***)
- From Wolves to Whales: Strandwal (2017 , Aerophonic, 2CD): [cd]: B+(***)
- Rhiannon Giddens: There Is No Other (2019, Nonesuch): [r]: B+(***)
- Charles Wesley Godwin: Seneca (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(*)
- Maxo Kream: Brandon Banks (2019, Big Persona/RCA): [r]: B+(**)
- MexStep: Resistir (2018, Third Root): [r]: A-
- The Paranoid Style: A Goddamn Impossible Way of Life (2019, Bar/None): [r]: B+(***)
- Pink: Hurts 2B Human (2019, RCA): [r]: B+(***)
- Dave Rempis/Joshua Abrams/Avreeayl Ra + Jim Baker: Apsis (2018 , Aerophonic): [cd]: A-
- Herlin Riley: Perpetual Optimism (2017 , Mack Avenue): [r]: B+(*)
- Sasami: Sasami (2019, Domino): [r]: B+(*)
- Betty Who: Betty (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(**)
- Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband: Tor & Vale (2018 , Moonjune): [cd]: B
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- The Tubby Hayes Quartet: Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Session 1969 (1969 , Decca): [r]: B+(**)
- Bob Moses: When Elephants Dream of Music (1982 , Gramavision): [r]: B
- Pink: Funhouse (2008, LaFace): [r]: B+(**)
- Pink: Greatest Hits . . . So Far!!! (2000-10 , LaFace/Jive): [r]: A-
- Olaf Polziehn Trio Featuring Harry Allen: American Songbook Vol. 2 (2003, Satin Doll): [r]: B+(**)
- Olaf Polziehn/Ingmar Heller/Troy Davis/Harry Allen: American Songbook Vol. 3 (2006, Satin Doll): [r]: B+(*)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Corey Christiansen: La Proxima (Origin): August 12
- Harbinger: Extended (OA2): August 12
- New York Voices: Reminiscing in Tempo (Origin)
- Alberto Pibiri & the AI Peppers: The Nacho Blues (Alberto Pibiri Music)
- Paul Silbergleit: January (Blujazz)
- Paul Zauner's Blue Brass feat. David Murray: Roots n' Wings (PAO/Blujazz)
- Miguel Zenón: Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel Music); August 30
Sunday, August 04, 2019
Starting this early (Friday), hoping to avoid the last-minute crunch.
Not really news, but CNN's Democratic presidential debates got a lot of
attention from the punditocracy this week. As usual, I didn't watch in
real time (although my wife did, so I overheard some), but caught the
"highlights" later (among the comics, Colbert was most informative).
Let's group the links here, rather than clutter up the main section:
Elizabeth Warren is running a brilliant campaign.
4 winners and 3 losers from the second night of the July Democratic
debates: With German Lopez, Dylan Matthews, and Andrew Prokop.
Winners: Joe Biden ("Well, this one's complicated"); Elizabeth Warren
and Bernie Sanders ("weren't there, but they loomed large anyway");
Cory Booker; single-payer activists. Losers: Kamala Harris; CNN,
again; the DNC.
3 winners and 4 losers from the first night of the July Democratic
debates: With German Lopez, PR Lockhart, Dylan Matthews, and
Ella Nilsen. Winners: Elizabeth Warren; John Delaney; the Republican
Party ("several of the major issues were framed by the moderators in
terms Republicans would love"). Losers: the policy needs of black
voters; CNN; Beto O'Rourke.
Marianne Williamson isn't funny. She's scary. Picks on her views
on depression and illness, which are not exactly tangential to either
her career as a "self-help guru" or her political aspirations. As for
funny, my take so far (and I know or care nothing about her career)
is that she does a nice job of filling a niche in the Democratic Party
that no one even imagined before: a soft focus on morals and emotions,
like Ben Carson among Republicans. That role is unimagined because
most Democrats try hard to be rational and grounded in reality, but
sometimes she seems to be onto something at a primal, instinctive
leve. Of course, much of what she says is, as Beauchamp puts it,
"extremely vague and hard to parse, but managed to at times banal
and at other times deeply weird."
Jake Tapper and CNN totally botched the health care discussion.
Alexia Fernández Campbell:
What Biden doesn't get about immigration.
Democrats aren't going to win working-class voters this way, says labor
union president: "Democrats have to speak about how they are going
to take the shitty jobs that exist in this economy and make them good
jobs." Isn't that usually just a matter of making them pay better?
When Robert Reich was auditioning to become Clinton's Secretary of
Labor, he came up with the rationalization that it didn't matter if
American factories shut down, because unemployed workers could always
be retrained to become high-paid "symbol manipulators." Ever since
then, the only answer neoliberal Democrats had to declining working
wages and standards was to offer more education (and debt). But no
matter how much money we plow into education (and I don't doubt that
we should spend a lot more than we've been doing), we'll still have
shitty jobs we'll need people to do. But we can decide whether we
respect and value the people who do those jobs enough to accord them
a decent wage and fair and equal rights -- a status we used to call
"middle class." Interview with Mary Kay Henry.
Can Joe Biden sell 'no we can't'? "The triumph of the progressives
on night one of the Detroit debates portends trouble for the former
John F Harris:
Democrats are veering left. It might just work. Cites Stanley
Greenberg, who wrote a book about how Reagan "captured many working
class Democrats who believed their party's liberalism was out of step
with their lives. But now he "believes that the urgency voters feel
for shaking up the status quo means there's less risk for candidates
and the party in going too far than in not going far enough." For a
contrary point, Harris cites Rahm Emanuel, whose fear and loathing
of the left is even greater than his readiness to sell out Democratic
voters. Greenberg has a book coming out in September: R.I.P. G.O.P.:
How the New America is Dooming the Republicans.
2020 Democrats are getting more confrontational with the fossil fuel
The Democrats need to get their act together.
Gravel '20 is done.
Why you can't ignore Marianne Williamson: "Mock her all you want, but
Marianne Williamson speaks to people horrified by Trump who aren't satisfied
with policy papers."
Trump outperformed his popularity in 2016. That might not happen in 2020.
As I mentioned somewhere else here, many voters saw Trump as a solution
to a very tangible problem in Hilary Clinton. Maybe they hated whatever
it was they thought she stood for (and there was grounds for that from
the right and also from the left), or maybe they just didn't want to
subject themselves to four years of pompous clichés, inane backbiting,
and petty pseudo-scandals blown way out of proportion. Maybe they even
recognized the unfairness of the vitriol, but still, the only way to
make it go away was to vote her down. But since 2016, he's dominated
public consciousness, becoming the source of our public embarrassment
to a much grosser extent than she ever was or could be. There will, of
course, be a block of people that loves him no matter what, and another
that despises him, but in between there's a slice that can break one
way or another. If in 2016 they broke for Trump because they wanted
to flip off the status quo and avoid its scandals, those exact same
rationales suggest they'll break against him in 2020. That's probably
not enough to seal his fate. I can imagine at least one other slice
breaking the opposite way: people who support the status quo, even
as it's been warped by Trump's malign rule. Moreover, I expect Trump
will have a lot more money, and a much more professional campaign
behind him this time, in lockstep with a pretty unified Republican
Party. But still, the tables have turned on those last-minute impulse
Pete Buttigieg says he'd withdraw troops from Afghanistan in his first
Here's who won (and lost) the second Democratic debate, night two:
In rank order: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard,
Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, Michael Bennet, Jay Inslee, Bill de Blasio,
Here's who won (and lost) the second Democratic debate, night one:
In rank order: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson,
Pete Buttigieg, Steve Bullock, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Tim Ryan,
Beto O'Rourke, John Hickenlooper.
What Andrew Yang gets wrong (and right) about robots.
Obama looms over the primary in invisible ways.
The presidential debates wasted too much time talking about stuff only
Congress can do: "The president has a lot of power -- so why wouldn't
the candidates talk about it?"
Jay Inslee points to Democrats' real problem: Mitch McConnell:
"Even if the Democrats win the Senate, the filibuster stands in the
way of their big plans."
Joe Biden's 1981 views on child care haven't aged well. Gillibrand called
him out on it.
Charles P Pierce:
Is Andrew Yang the doomer candidate?
The Democratic debates were built to fail.
Winners and losers on night 2 of the second Democratic debates.
Winners: Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, Andrew Yang.
Losers: Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard. Treading water:
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro.
Winners and losers on night 1 of the second Democratic debates:
Winners: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson ("go
ahead, laugh"), Steve Bullock. Losers: John Delaney, Hickenlooper,
Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar. Treading water: Pete Buttigieg, Tim
"Your question is a Republican talking point": CNN frames debate questions
around right-wing concerns: "Republicans weren't onstage during the
Democratic debate -- but were living rent-free inside moderators' heads."
The messy health care discussion at the second Democratic debate,
At the Democratic debate, Joe Biden defends the party's past.
The 2 veterans on the Democratic debate stage made a big promise about
Afghanistan: That would be Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg, who
Lawrence S Wittner:
The Democratic debates need more questions about nuclear war.
The weird controversy over Democrats "criticizing Obama" at this week's
Democrats are skipping the most important health care debate: "should
this even be the priority?"
Personally, I think the Medicare-for-all people are 100 percent correct.
The current American health care system is bad and wasteful, and replacing
it with something like the Canadian system would be a good idea. But the
policy world is full of good ideas, and not every good idea can be your
top priority. Prioritizing health reform has not, in the past, been an
extraordinarily successful strategy for new presidents.
I agree with the first line here, and would add that any presidential
candidate who disagrees is not just wrong (in all their arguments and
rationalizations) but a coward to boot. On the other hand, if I was in
charge and didn't have the votes, I'd write up a good single-payer bill
and hold it in reserve, while trying to pass a bunch of less ambitious
reforms to the ACA framework. If the reforms are thwarted, either by
politics or by the courts, you can always fall back on the single-payer
bill, and that case would become more compelling. Meanwhile, there is
a lot that can be done, and not just by throwing more money at the
blood-sucking insurance companies. The long-term answer is not just
single-payer (cutting the for-profit insurance companies out of the
system) but reducing the profit motive in the provider system. (You'll
never wring all the profit-seeking out of the system, but non-profit
hospitals were a lot more cost-effective than HCA is.) One thing that
could be done would be to build up government-supported non-profits
that could compete against the profit-seeking companies. (The "public
option" under ACA is one example, but non-profit options wouldn't have
to be directly under government bureaucracy.) One might, for instance,
change bankruptcy law to allow failed hospitals and service providers
to be reorganized with public support and employee control. Another
idea I've been kicking around would be to offer a bare-bones universal
insurance (e.g., through the Medicare provider network) that would
cover an initially small set of emergencies and illnesses. This would
make private insurance supplemental (rather than primary), reducing
its cost while allowing it to fit more customized needs. (You can see
how this works with Medicare supplemental plans. Medicare at present
does most of the heavy lifting, but still leaves a lot of deductible
nonsense that makes supplemental insurance attractive. That could
change if Medicare-for-All improved a lot, but that's going to be a
hard battle to fight -- especially all at once.)
3 winners and 4 losers from the Democrats' two-night debate extravaganza:
Winners: Cory Booker (Yglesias thinks "neoliberal shill" is a compliment);
Joe Biden; the Great Winnowing. Losers: knowing what powers the president
has; comprehension of what is in these health care plans; all these housing
plans; policy criticism of Donald Trump.
America deserves a debate between Joe Biden and his main progressive
critics: "Elizabeth Warren versus John Delaney is not the drama we've
Elizabeth Warren's vision for changing America's trade policy, explained.
Lots of non-campaign news this week, but Donald Trump's flagrant
racism caught the most attention, climaxing with two mass shootings
which, despite pro forma denials, appear as the proof in the pudding.
Checked my Facebook feed shortly before filing this, and was rather
surprised to find as many/maybe more pro-gun memes than anti, not
that the former make any sense. One, for instance, links to a piece
titled "Every Mass Shooting Shares 1 Thing in Common, NOT Guns": I
didn't follow, but the picture shows a pile of pills. I doubt that,
but even if lots of mass shooters popped pills, by definition every
single one used a gun. All of those were forwarded by acknowledged
friends. (Of course, I do also have anti-gun friends. They may even
be in the majority, but lose out in this comparison because they tend
to post their own thoughts instead of just propagating someone else's
Some links on this and other stories:
'Mother is not going to like this': The 48 hours that almost brought down
Trump: "The exclusive story of how Trump survived the Access Hollywood
tape." An excerpt from the book, American Carnage: On the Front Lines
of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump. Ends
with this memorable debate exchange:
Donald Trump: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to
get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. Because there
have never been so many lies, so much deception.
Hilary Clinton: Everything he just said was absolutely false. It's
just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is
not in charge of the law in our country.
Donald Trump: Because you'd be in jail.
Trump later claimed "that debate won me the election." It was a lucky
punch, but it landed because more people wanted to see her fail than so
feared Trump they were willing to live with her constantly in their minds
for the next four (or eight) years. It was not a moment American voters
would be proud of.
Police: Rookie Texas officer shoots at dog, kills woman.
Andrew J Bacevich:
The real reason so many Republicans love Israel? Their own white supremacy.
Related: Jonathan Ofir:
Racism is at the center of Israeli settler-colonialist venture: a
review of Ronit Lentin's book, Traces of Racial Exception: Racializing
Israeli Settler Colonialism. Ofir also wrote this update on changing
alignments in Israeli politics:
Israeli pols merge parties, and the right-wing seems stronger than
What the House anti-BDS resolution reveals about the Palestine solidarity
movement. Related: Omar Barghouti:
Why Americans should support BDS.
We can't fund the progressive agenda by taxing the 1% alone: "The
tricky politics of taxing the 1%, the middle class, and everyone in
between." Basic point here is well taken. To do everything we'd like
to see the government do requires that tax revenues be increased.
While current tax rates leave a lot of leeway for increasing taxes
on the very rich, that's not necessarily enough -- especially moving
forward, especially if we do other things to diminish inequality.
It may also be easier to increase a range of taxes by a small amount
than it would be to increase one tax (income) by a lot. For instance,
the easiest way to fund the sort of basic health insurance I outline
elsewhere here would be to tack it onto the payroll tax that already
funds Medicare, even though that's the most regressive tax we use
these days. It would also be good to implement a small VAT (basically,
a national sales tax), which is also regressive but could be scaled
up to raise significant revenue as needed. One fact worth recalling
is that not every tax has to be progressive -- you can compensate
with more sharply progressive tax rates on incomes and estates,
which is all you really need to bring the 1% back into mainstream
America. Democrats need to be wary of falling for Republican talking
points, which is what they're doing when they deny any tax increases
on the middle class. They need to convince people that the returns
on their taxes will be worthwhile -- which is basically what FDR did
when he designed the payroll tax to fund Social Security.
Behind the guise of adversarial journalism, CNN's Jake Tapper is taking
America to war.
Unqualified UN Ambassador is the perfect weak link: "Don't be
surprised if Kelly Craft's lack of experience is exactly what Bolton
and Pompeo wanted for their war cabinet."
Right-wing troika: "The Republican Party's 50-state strategy."
Review of Alexander Hertel-Fernandez's book, State Capture: How
Conservative Activists, Big Businesses, and Wealthy Donors Reshaped
the American States -- and the Nation.
How Trump's political appointees overruled tougher settlements with big
Don't ask how to pay for climate change. Ask who.
Rep. Will Hurd's retirement reflects GOP's biggest electoral struggle
in the House: Trump.
Trump seems thrilled that someone broke into Elijah Cummings's house.
The next election will require a new kind of vigilance.
The 2020 race has now begun in earnest, with the Democrats having their
first primary debates last month [June]. Lurking in the background is
something that once seemed inconceivable in modern-day America: the
threat of election-related violence.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center said earlier this year in an annual
report, there has been a rise in domestic terrorism, hate crimes, and
street violence. It's no surprise, then, that on June 26, Reddit -- the
fifth-most trafficked website in the U.S. -- announced it was "quarantining"
a popular message board with 750,000 followers because of active discussions
involving violence against political figures. . . .
Perhaps the biggest harbinger of election violence is the proliferation
of disinformation, rumors, and hate speech. All of which are spreading
further and with greater velocity than at arguably any other moment in
What 'abolish ICE' really means: "It's about asking whether we need
an immigration system that terrorizes the least dangerous people in this
country." Related: Emily Ryo:
How ICE enforcement has changed under the Trump administration.
Greenland is melting away before our eyes.
b>Ellen Knickmeyer/Brady McCombs:
Opponent of nation's public lands is picked to oversee them.
Donald Trump's dangerous empathy deficit.
Trump's trade quagmire (wonkish).
Why was Trumponomics a flop? "Neither tax cuts nor tariffs are
But why has Trumponomics failed to deliver much besides trillion-dollar
budget deficits? The answer is that both the tax cuts and the trade war
were based on false views about how the world works.
Republican faith in the magic of tax cuts -- and, correspondingly,
belief that tax increases will doom the economy -- is the ultimate policy
zombie, a view that should have been killed by evidence decades ago but
keeps shambling along, eating G.O.P. brains.
The record is actually awesomely consistent. Bill Clinton's tax hike
didn't cause a depression, George W. Bush's tax cuts didn't deliver a
boom, Jerry Brown's California tax increase wasn't "economic suicide,"
Sam Brownback's Kansas tax-cut "experiment" (his term) was a failure.
A racist stuck in the past: "In Trump's mind, it's still 1989."
Krugman picked 1989 because "that was the year he demanded bringing
back the death penalty in response to the case of the Central Park
Five," but for most of us that was just one year in a long continuum
of viciousness (racist and otherwise).
As deficit explodes, GOP demands emergency tax cut for the rich:
"Twenty senators have urged the Treasury to give the wealthy another
tax cut via executive order."
What Israel's demolition of 70 Palestinian homes was really about.
It's never "too soon" to talk about preventing mass shootings. It's
always too late.
How to campaign when nothing is possible. I suppose if I was a
do-nothing "moderate" I'd take some comfort from this, realizing
that even such a committed and principled radical as Bernie Sanders
would preserve more status quo than another four years of Trump.
If the Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate, the new Democratic
president will not be enacting one iota of their top shelf legislative
agenda. There will be nothing major on health care or college loans or
immigration or climate change. Even judges will be only confirmed in the
most belated and begrudging manner, and only if they've never said anything
on the record that conservatives find irritating. All legislative progress
that can be made will come as the result of leverage over must-pass bills,
and the leverage will only be truly significant so long as the Democrats
retain control of the House of Representatives. But navigating government
shutdowns and threats of national default in order to attach a few things
to appropriations bills is not going to turn many of a candidate's
campaign promises into reality. . . .
Yet, even if the Democrats win the trifecta and eliminate the legislative
filibuster, they'll still have huge problems passing legislation. Even
assuming that Nancy Pelosi can push the president's agenda through her
chamber (and this is doubtful for some of the policies the candidates
are pushing), there are senators (like Michael Bennet of Colorado, for
example) on the record opposing much of the progressive candidates'
agenda. . . .
I absolutely understand that people are hungry for change. People are
sick to death of Congress and want to break this gridlock. But it's a
problem that is beyond the power of any candidate or any rhetoric to fix.
On the other hand, while a left-committed candidate like Sanders or
Warren might not get much more accomplished than mediocrities like Biden,
Klobuchar, or Bennet, they would try, and be seen as trying, and their
frustation and dedication would sustain the Party's slow drift to the
left. And that would generate more creative discussion of real problems --
the solution to which is only to be found further left.
Business leaders flock to Trump for protections against socialism.
Cites his previous piece,
What if big business falls in completely with Trumpism?
The El Paso shooting and the virality of evil.
The national conversation will now turn, as it should, to gun control,
to mental illness, and to the President's practice of exacerbating
racial tensions, which has been one of his avocations for decades and
now appears to be his central reëlection strategy. But there's also a
more specific question: what can be done about the fact that so many
of these terrorists -- in Pittsburgh, in Poway, in Christchurch, in
El Paso -- seem to find inspiration in the same online spaces? Each
killer, in the moment, may have acted alone, but they all appear to
have been zealous converts to the same ideology -- a paranoid snarl
of raw anger, radical nationalism, unhinged nihilism, and fears of
"white genocide" that is still referred to as "fringe," although it's
creeping precariously close to the mainstream.
The progressive case for free trade. Related: Daniel Block:
Free trade for liberals. This piece focuses more on European problems,
and vainly posits that an alliance with American liberals would help
"protect democracy, fight inequality, and save the environment." Lots
of problems here, starting with the fact that US trade policy -- even
under Democratic presidents -- has always been the province of business
interests, and while those interests may like to tout "democracy" as a
propaganda riff, fighting inequality and saving the environment never
really was their thing. Moreover, any "Atlantic Alliance" is at present
bound to reek of those nations' colonial/imperial pasts. On the other
hand, other alliances have always been possible: internationalism was
the hallmark of the labor movement at least since 1848, and could be
again. But it will take some kind of political revolution before the
US and Europe can see trade as a tool for promoting the welfare of all
The movement to decriminalize sex work, explained.
When hate came to El Paso.
Charles P Pierce:
'We're all tired of being called racists'. I'm getting tired of
having to call them racists, too. Maybe they should do a better job
of keeping their racism to themselves?
When Trump calls people "filth," he's laying the groundwork for genocide.
From condemning "white terrorism" to condemning video games: Republican
responses to El Paso shooting.
There is no excuse for supporting this president. Looks like the
Washington Post is piling on; e.g. EJ Dionne Jr:
On guns and white nationalism, one side is right and one is wrong;
Trump is leading our country to destruction. Needless to say,
Trump's holding up his end of the feud. See: Jonathan Chait:
Trump directs government to punish Washington Post
'How do you stop these people?': Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric looms
over El Paso massacre. Also: Ayal Feinberg/Regina Branton/Valerie
Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in
hate crimes. Coincidence?
White nationalism's deep American roots: "A long-overdue excavation
of the book that Hitler called his "bible," and the man who wrote it."
That would be Madison Grant, author of the 1916 book The Passing of
the Great Race.
The use and abuse of international law in the occupied territories:
Review of Noura Erakat's book, Justice for Some: Law and the Question
Kobach used private border wall's email list to fundraise for Senate
campaign: "This email could run afoul of campaign finance laws."
Trump donor, Elliott Broidy, paid Dennis Ross $10,000 to publish pro-Saudi
op-ed in The Hill.
The bizarre, peaty science of Arctic wildfires.
US troops are back in Saudi Arabia -- this will end badly.
As Trump fans the flames of anti-abortion rhetoric, Kansas offers a
Hospitals squeal over Trump proposal to disclose insurance company
Felicia Sonmez/Paul Kane:
Republicans struggle to respond in wake of El Paso, Dayton shootings.
The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller.
Violence has spiked in Africa since the military founded AFRICOM,
Pentagon study finds.
Conservatives are hiding their 'loathing' behind our flag: "The molten
core of right-wing nationalism is the furious denial of America's unalterably
multiracial, multicultural national character."
The rhetoric and reality of Donald Trump's racism.
Today's budget deal proves once again Republicans never cared about the
deficit. Nothing really new here: I still recall when Nixon declared
himself a Keynesian. With their tax giveaways, Reagan, Bush, and Trump
didn't even have to admit as much. They merely understood that the rules
are different when the Republicans are in power or in opposition. That's
only hypocrisy if you pretend there's a general principle involved.
The critical thing, however, is that if not for hypocritical Republican
opposition, we could have been running these higher deficits in 2011,
2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. And if we had done that, the economy could
have recovered faster from the Great Recession, the unemployment rate
could have fallen more rapidly, and hundreds of billions of dollars of
national income that is now irretrievably lost could have been earned.
The Federal Reserve's interest rate cut, explained.
America's dual housing crisis, and what Democrats plan to do about it,
explained: "A crisis of low incomes and a parallel crisis of tight
Trump is approving an anti-competitive merger that will cost you money:
"But he seems to have made money off the deal personally." The merger
of Sprint and T-Mobile, currently the 3rd and 4th largest mobile phone
The new bipartisan Senate bill aimed at making Big Pharma lower drug