All-Trump format for NYT continues even without Trump

If you’d been wondering what the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times were going to do with their “All Trump-Hatred All the Time” formats once the hated dictator was gone, here’s today’s NYT front page:

How much longer can they keep selling Donald Trump as the main topic that Americans need to learn more about?

(What else was going on in the world today? A coup in Myanmar. Climate change that is an existential threat to humanity. Chinese purportedly inflicting a “genocide” on a group that contains some separatists and jihadis. Insane volatility in GME stock (a friend sold a bunch of call options with a strike price of $800; when the stock was trading at $340 people were willing to pay $130 for the option, meaning that the buyers expect GME stock to hit $930). Variant coronavirus preparing to attack the masked-and-vaccinated. Lower income BIPOC school-age children across the U.S. are coming up on a full calendar year without any school (private and public schools for rich white kids are generally open, of course). Russians are in the streets to protest the arrest of Alexei Navalny. Fiji is being destroyed by cyclones. Migrant caravans are trying to reach President Biden’s promised land, but having trouble redeeming that promise.)

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Landfill all of the Trump-hatred books?

From our local public library’s new and featured books section:

And, upstairs in the children’s section:

Given the demographics of this Boston suburb, it may not be the right time to #Resist having working-class Black Americans pay higher taxes so that wealthy white families can have their student loans forgiven

Trump is gone, right? Will people still want to read books about Trump, books about resisting Trump, books about a former president’s elderly wife who was defeated by Trump, etc.? Once President Harris is in charge, is there still a market for a book about the shortcomings of “White Male America”?

What happens to Trump hatred once Trump himself escapes to Florida and/or, depending on how intensively he is hunted by Democrats and their attorney generals, beyond the borders of the U.S.?

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Government determines COVID-19 outcomes, so Congress will work on impeachment

Government action determines the death rate from/with COVID-19. With the right laws, and/or female leadership, we could have a death rate of 0 (see Cambodia), in fact. We’re at the height of Plague Wave #2. Californians donned the hijab and observed the sacraments of the Church of Shutdown, yet still the God of Corona was not appeased (NYT):

Plainly we need some different laws. Is Congress right now fully engaged in passing those new laws that would save hundreds of thousands of American lives? “House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump” (CNN):

House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Democrats on a caucus call Monday, setting up an impeachment vote one week after rioters incited by Trump overran Capitol police and breached some of the most secure areas of the US Capitol.

The House will vote Tuesday evening on a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, and then plan to vote Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET on the impeachment resolution, Hoyer said.

Democrats formally introduced their impeachment resolution Monday, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” as they race toward making him the first president in history to be impeached twice.

In other words, rather than beat COVID-19 with muscular government action, Congress will devote full time to impeaching a president who is already effectively gone (as far as anyone without a Chinese IP address can determine).


  • “Democrats were for occupying capitols before they were against it” (Washington Post): “Thousands of protesters rushed to the … Capitol Wednesday night, forcing their way through doors, crawling through windows and jamming corridors.” That is how one newspaper described the storming of the Capitol — not the one in Washington last week, but the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., a decade ago. Back then, thousands of pro-union activists — many bused in from out of state — rampaged through the historic building in an effort to stop a vote on collective bargaining reform legislation. … House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the occupiers for an “impressive show of democracy in action” and tweeted as they assaulted the Capitol that she continued “to stand in solidarity” with the union activists. In other words, Democrats were for occupying capitols before they were against it.
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VPN for Americans to get a Chinese IP address and see what Trump and other Deplorables have to say?

Donald Trump has been unpersoned by U.S. tech companies, deplatformed from Twitter and Facebook. Parler, the social media competitor to Facebook that had become popular with Trump supporters, has been deplatformed by Amazon Web Services (AWS, which provides Parler’s servers; the site will go dark tomorrow night). Parler has also been deplatformed by Google/Android from phones and will presumably be banned by Apple from the App Store in due course. Amazon previously deplatformed from their ad network anyone who expressed disagreement with the CDC (post from May; maybe Amazon was right… California’s governor followed the CDC’s guidance (old and new) to the letter and California has not been troubled by coronavirus).

Is there a business opportunity here? How about VPNs for Americans to get a Chinese IP address and surf the Internet from inside the Great Firewall so that they can see all of the stuff that has been banned in the U.S.? If they want to do this with apps they can get a Huawei phone (top-rated for camera performance by dxomark), which will soon run software free from American control.

What’s a good name for our VPN-to-China service? “FreePeking”? “YunnanGonnaBeBlocked”?

Separately, I think this is the time to admit that I was wrong about Docker (“platform as a service”). From a senior software engineer friend:

Docker is a form of Kool-Aid. Think Jim Jones. We all drink it here in the Valley.

If Parler wants to spin itself up somewhere other than Amazon (is that feasible given the 24 hours of notice that Amazon gave Parler? They must have a crazy amount of photos/videos to transfer), Docker could actually be useful!

During my November 2019 trip to Shanghai/Suzhou/Hangzhou (awesome!), the U.S.-educated MBAs with whom I talked said that (a) they preferred living in China to living in the U.S. (they’d previously worked in Manhattan), and (b) they had more freedom of speech in China than in the U.S. (there was a clear line of permissible/impermissible drawn by the Party for published speech (they felt free to say whatever they wanted to at a restaurant table)). I wonder if Americans would experience more practical freedom on the Chinese-run Internet than on the Amazon/Google/Apple/Facebook-run Internet.

From Shanghai:

Finally, is it fair to say that Donald Trump is the new Hannibal Lecter and even the most casual contact with him, such as reading some words that he has written, could be dangerous? This Hannibal Lecter-style power is why my Facebook friends are talking nonstop about all of the ways that Trump can be imprisoned forever. It isn’t enough that Trump will disappear in 11 days. They need him inside a Supermax prison solitary cell in order to feel secure.

The Trump Twitter Archive captured some of the hated dictator’s tweets before Twitter put them into the memory hole. Here’s what he wrote just as the Capitol was being trashed:

  • Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
  • I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!


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Time for graduate school in Trump hatred

If we regard the lead-up to the election as a Bachelor’s degree in Trump-hatred, can the post-election activity be thought of as grad school? From “Voting Trump Out is Not Enough,” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (New Yorker):

Like tens of millions of Americans, I voted to end the miserable reign of Donald J. Trump, but we cannot perpetuate the election-year fiction that the deep and bewildering problems facing millions of people in this country will simply end with the Trump Administration. They are embedded in “the system,” in systemic racism, and the other social inequities that are the focus of continued activism and budding social movements. Viewing the solution to these problems as simply electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both underestimates the depth of the problems and trivializes the remedies necessary to undo the damage. That view may also confuse popular support for fundamental change, as evidenced by Trump’s one-term Presidency, with what the Democratic Party is willing or even able to deliver.

The hated dictator’s name appears more than 20 times in this article.

With Trump gone, it is apparently time to listen to the scientists who said that the shutdown would cost more lives than would be saved from Covid-19:

Today, in Philadelphia, where I live, there is not a single aspect of life that the pandemic has not upended, from work and school to housing and health care, pulling poor and working-class African-Americans, in particular, deeper into debt and despair. The uncertainty of the moment, let alone the future, feeds fear, frustration, hopelessness, and dread. In Philadelphia, shootings are on the rise, and the murder rate is growing. … African-Americans make up eighty-five per cent of the city’s shooting victims. Even before the pandemic, drug overdoses in Black Philadelphia were on the rise. In the first three months of shelter-in-place orders, a hundred and forty-seven Black residents died by accidental drug overdose, forty-seven per cent of drug deaths in the city. … Job losses have overwhelmingly affected low-wage, minority workers. Since May, as many as eight million people have been pushed into poverty, with Black families overrepresented among them. … Thousands of people have already been evicted during this crisis, and nearly one out of six renters have fallen behind on their rent. Nearly one in four renters who live with children report that they are not up-to-date with the rent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s unprecedented moratorium on evictions was too good to be true: the Trump Administration recently signalled to landlords that it would allow them to challenge the eligibility of tenants. This leaves the viability of the C.D.C. moratorium up to the discretion of individual judges, who may or may not honor it. Local organizers and activists have tried to fill the gap created by federal neglect with relentless mutual-aid organizing, but it is hardly sufficient.

Our cities are actually run by good people:

It is not a Trumpian slur to observe that many of the cities where Black suffering takes place are also governed by proud members of the Democratic Party. Instead, it illuminates the depth of the bipartisan failure to address the tangled roots of racism, poverty, and inequality.

But they have been let down by the U.S. economy, which is only about half as large as it needs to be to support the subsidies that low-skill and/or non-working Americans require:

In Philadelphia, which, ignobly, has among the highest proportion of poor residents of any big city in the country, thousands stand on the cusp of eviction. Twenty-two per cent of households in the city are severely cost-burdened, meaning that they are spending half or more of their income on housing costs, which is well above the national average. Before this downturn, sixty-one per cent of households headed by Black women in Philadelphia were spending at least thirty per cent of their income on rent, compared with fifty-three per cent of households headed by white women and forty-four per cent of households headed by white men.

(The author doesn’t mention this, but what will really help these folks is 45 million immigrants to compete with them in the rental market:

(from Migration Policy Institute). Econ 101 tells us that when demand is boosted by 45 million, prices for scarce rentals will inevitably fall.)

Not enough money is being diverted from rural America (i.e., the counties that voted Republican) to the cities (i.e., the counties that voted Democrat):

The likely gridlock in Congress next year will lead to more stagnation in local government, as communities become hamstrung by a lack of federal funding.

(I should do a separate blog post on this. I wonder if the reason that people in low-density parts of the U.S. vote for smaller government is that big government spends nearly all of its money in cities. Hospitals, federal buildings, central post offices, community centers, concert halls, courthouses, etc. all tend to be built in downtown areas. The bigger the government, the larger the transfer from rural counties to urban counties.)

The core problem is the existence of Republicans:

That conclusion may seem to be supported by the shocking fact that upward of seventy million people voted to reëlect the most corrupt, venal, and brazenly racist President in modern American history. … The insistence on unity between the two parties almost always comes at the expense of those whose needs are greatest. How would a Biden Administration incorporate the views of a Republican Party that has supported a white-supremacist President, voted for Trump’s plutocratic tax cuts, advocated for the separation of families at the border, and facilitated the heist of a Supreme Court seat in hopes of fulfilling the right’s fantasy of ending access to abortion and destroying any hint of government-backed health insurance? We were told that this Presidential race was the most consequential of our lifetimes, that it was a contest between democracy and budding fascism. Why would Biden welcome the foot soldiers of Trump’s authoritarian politics into his coalition?

And the struggle will continue even if Trump disappears in his Boeing 757, beyond the reach of even the most vindictive Democrats:

The need in this country dwarfs the best of what Biden has put on the table for changing our current condition. But the demonstrations of the summer, the ongoing campaigns for mutual aid, and the growing movement against evictions are demonstrable proof that power is not only generated in mainstream politics but can be garnered through collective organizing and acts of solidarity. They also foretell a future in which the country does not return to a long-forgotten normal but is animated by protests, strikes, occupations, and the ongoing struggle for food, medicine, care, housing, justice, and democracy.

One reason that I voted for Bernie Sanders (twice!) was his logical consistency. In my opinion, we shouldn’t run a country that says housing is a “right” and then provide subsidized housing to only one quarter of those who qualify. At the same time, building the 7 million additional low-income housing units that are required (NLIHC) will cost roughly $5 trillion. Not only don’t we have an extra $5 trillion lying around, but every year an additional million or so low-skill immigrants arrive whose correspondingly low income would entitle them to subsidized housing (i.e., even if we got 7 million new units built by the end of 2021, we’d still have a substantial shortfall).

The Democrats actually did have control of the Presidency and Congress in the first two years of the Obama Administration, right? And they couldn’t find enough money in the U.S. economy to achieve their policy goals? If the Democrats’ huge advantage in funding is sufficient to take control of the Senate via the Georgia runoff votes, will they be able to fund their dream programs in 2021 and 2022? Or will they discover that the U.S. economy has grown at a much slower per-capita rate than their dreams?


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What can we appreciate about Trump?

Now that Donald Trump appears to be definitively headed for retirement from politics, maybe it is worth revisiting a question that a negotiation expert asked a group of Harvard alumni: What can we appreciate about Donald Trump? (the guy was trying to teach these folks that you will be a more effective negotiator if you can find some common ground)

The assembled righteous, of course, answered that there was absolutely not a shred of goodness in the Bad Orange Man and certainly he had never done anything that they could possibly appreciate.

Readers: What about you? (no need to highlight or dissect the failures; every U.S. president has been limited by Congress, the states, and/or the American people)

(My personal list:

  1. started no wars
  2. aligned corporate tax rates with Europe so that it no longer made obvious sense for corporations to flee
  3. limited the unfair subsidization of inefficient states by residents of efficient states (SALT deduction limit; note that this increased my personal tax payments)
  4. motivated the FAA to be a little less inefficient and a little less unresponsive
  5. a couple of peace/trade deals between Israel and the Arabs
  6. appointed a fellow Honda minivan driver to the Supreme Court



  • (does not seem to have been updated in a couple of years, as Kavanaugh is listed as a nominee only)

Serving suggestion if you’re hosting a Trump Appreciation party (Goya-brand olive oil):

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The Coastal Elite’s pain at sharing a country with Trump supporters

“How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again?” (NYT, Frank Bruni, October 29) beautifully summarizes the pain that coastal elites suffer because, by an accident of geography, they are sharing a country with Deplorables and, as my Dutch friend points out, forgot to take away the Deplorables’ right to vote.

It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.

I was putting too much trust in Americans.

I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.

We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.

Except, it turned out, we weren’t.

“We” in this case means people who don’t live in Manhattan and work for the New York Times, presumably. The Deplorables are far more deplorable than the sensitive writer could have conceived:

And it was a populace I didn’t recognize, or at least didn’t want to.

Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower — or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.

And did the Deplorables see the light when the New York Times published material from Anonymous, a “senior administration official” who turned out to have no decision-making power at all (he does not look old enough to vote!).

In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.

No! There are still people in this country who prefer Donald Trump to the possibility of President Biden and/or President Harris.

This Times piece is worth reading, in my opinion, because it eloquently expresses what so many elites have been feeling. If God loves them, how could he/she/ze/they have dumped them into a redneck-filled land rather than some place where at least those without advanced credentials would recognize their intellectual superiority?

Exhibit A, someone with enough money to buy a Lexus, but without the sophistication to refrain from purchasing Alabama’s “God Bless America” plate:

Exhibit B, some folks in Easton, Pennsylvania who not only fail to boycott Chick-fil-A, but actually work there!


  • Part of the same NYT series, “What We’ve Lost”, an opinion piece bemoaning the selfishness of the American people: As a nation, we’ve lost our sense of altruistic and moral purpose, a collective will to do what is decent and right and, as sociologists like to say, “other-regarding.” (but isn’t this the inevitable effect of mass immigration? Americans never cared deeply about poor people outside of the U.S. Why would they suddenly begin to care about tens or hundreds of millions of poor people merely because those people somehow made it over the border? There are some exceptions with huge hearts, such as Bill Gates, who care about all people everywhere equally. But most of us have always cared far more about the neighbors with whom we share a culture than about people in distant foreign lands.)
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COVID-19 survivors speak

Kellyanne Conway and Melania Trump, both recent victims of COVID-19, managed to recover sufficient lung capacity to speak in Pennsylvania recently. The video is on PBS and a transcript on Rev.

I had never seen a video of Melania Trump before and it was interesting to hear her perspective. Some excerpts:

For the first time in history, the citizens of this country get to hear directly and instantly from their president every single day through social media. I do not always agree with the way he says things but it is important to him that he speaks directly to the people he serves.

The Democrats have chosen to put their own agendas ahead of the American people’s wellbeing. Instead, they attempt to create a divide, a divide on something that should be nonpartisan and non-controversial.

While the President was taking decisive action to keep the American people safe, the Democrats were wasting American taxpayer dollars in a sham impeachment. They cared more about removing our elected president.

Joe Biden attacked President Trump’s decision to put the American people first and closing travel from China. He called it xenophobic hysteria. Now he suggest that he could have done a better job. The American people can look at Joe Biden’s 36 years in Congress and eight years in the Vice Presidency and determine whether they think he will finally be able to get something done for the American people.

Before my husband decided to run for President, the media loved him because they saw the man that I see every day. Someone tough, successful, and fair. … A man who sees potential in everyone he meets, no matter their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. … But when he decided to run for the President as a Republican, the media created a different picture of my husband, one I don’t recognize, and treated all his supporters with equal disdain. The media has chosen to focus on stories of idle gossip and palace intrigue by editorializing real events and policies with their own bias and agendas.

Apparently Melania has been paying close attention to events in Washington and beyond. She espouses a traditional (for American politicians) message of prosperity and security:

This election isn’t just about the next year. It’s about the next four years and beyond. It’s about continuing to set this country on a course of real prosperity and success. We can’t and we shouldn’t go backwards. Donald Trump is the man who will lead us and empower us to make that greater future together. Donald Trump will expand and grow the economy and keep us safe.

Joe Biden’s policy and socialist agenda will only serve to destroy America and all that has been built in the past four years. We must keep Donald in the White House so he can finish what he started and our country can continue to flourish.

And she’s kind of humble:

Thank you for taking time out of your day to be here with me.

Readers: Could Melania win a Senate race in her new home of Florida, for example? Rick Scott is 67, which is 20 years younger than Dianne Feinstein. On the other hand, maybe Scott would rather do something else in what would traditionally be considered his Golden Years.

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