Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal
The Week of Saturday, November 19 through Friday, November 25, 2022 [Vol.4 No.19]
Rule of Law
The Week’s Most Notable
Whatever the reasons and expressions for giving thanks – here’s to a happy Thanksgiving.
Six days apart this month: November 13, University of Virginia, 3 dead; November 19, Club Q, Colorado Springs, 5 dead; November 25, Chesapeake Virginia Walmart, 6 dead. This is NOT going to stop. Why? Many reasons, given all the different events, but two reasons stand out: Anybody with homicidal intentions can get a gun. Americans have more guns per person than anywhere else – 400 million guns, 330 million people. Second, Americans are relentlessly propagandized into believing using a gun is a viable solution for many a problem. From home defense to political argument, we grow up in a culture that normalizes the use of guns, sometimes as a symbol, sometimes in action. Studies of all kinds, using different wording, come up with these two factors – guns and culture. The U.S., along with Mexico and Guatemala, are the only countries that start with the assumption that people have an inherent right to own guns. In terms of our political authority, Americans are not inclined to rein-in, much less give up, guns or gun culture. Apparently, we are willing to sacrifice our safety, peace of mind, and our children, to avoid compromises.
Saturday, November 19
[Mass Shooting] Colorado LGBTQ Nightclub: 5 Dead, 18 Injured – Club Q was supposed to be a safe haven for LGBTQ people. It was attacked just before midnight on Saturday by what appears to be the perpetration of a hate crime. It could have been worse, but the attacker was taken down by an army veteran and subdued (severely beaten) by others at the club. Most political response has been strongly sympathetic to the victims, although some Republicans, such as Lauren Boebert (R-CO), chose to blame the LGBTQ people.
[Twitter] Musk Reinstates Trump on Twitter – Trump may not use the account, committed as he is to his own service, Truth Social. Then again, he may use Twitter, if it suits him. In any case, this open invitation explains Musk’s political leaning and desire to make money.
Sunday, November 20
[COP27] Climate Change Compensation Fund Approved – As these climate change things go, this is a landmark deal; even the U.S. signed on to make a special fund for compensation of underdeveloped countries that suffer the effects of climate change. The fund would particularly help the many tiny island nations about to disappear under rising oceans. On the other hand, the program is voluntary and bound to become very expensive – funding for the fund might well be problematic.
[Climate Change] Record Lake-Effect Snow Buries Western New York – Snow accumulation exceeding 60” was common in areas near Lake Erie, topping out at 81.2” in Erie County (Buffalo). If verified, there will be new state records.
[World Cup] World Cup Begins in Qatar – Almost overshadowing the games and world class football, Qatar spent over 12 years and $200 billion (yes, that is a “b”) preparing, including facility construction that resulted in worker deaths – 39 officially, up to 6,500 unofficially. This huge discrepancy is emblematic of the scale and dark contradictions behind modern mega-scale sports. World football is in transition, becoming much less the domain of old European powers and South American passionistas. Asian and middle eastern teams will win important games, and last-generation heroes such as Messi and Renaldo will be swapped for new names.
[Biden Birthday] Joseph R. Biden is 80 – The oldest sitting president.
Monday, November 21
[Indonesia] At Least 300 Dead in 5.6 Magnitude Indonesian Earthquake – More than one-third of the victims are children, caught in crumbling schools. Most casualties are in rural areas, which have little or no earthquake resistant construction standards.
[Ukraine] For Safety, Ukrainians Leave Newly Liberated Areas – With winter starting and Russians deliberately destroying civilian infrastructure, Ukrainian officials are urging people to leave Kherson and Mykolaiv regions for safer places to the west. It is a measure of the brutality practiced by the Russian military (a matter of policy) that demoralization and decimation of civilians must be considered part of the routine conditions of the war.
Tuesday, November 22
[Mass Shooting] Virginia Walmart Shooting, 6 Dead, 6 Injured – Apparently an act of a store night-manager angered by fellow employees and active paranoia. In this case he bought a handgun a few hours before the shooting.
[ Student Loans] Biden Extends Student Loan Repayment Pause – Next June payments might resume, if and when court rulings make it possible. As usual, student debtors are caught in limbo. Multiple lawsuits brought by Republican attorneys general and other interested parties are challenging Biden’s executive order, often on financial rather than strictly legal grounds. The court processes are likely to take many months, if not years.
[Supreme Court] Supreme Court Denies Trump Request to Block Release of Taxes – It was a last-ditch maneuver by Trump’s lawyers; it failed, as the Supreme Court had already established precedent about Trump documents, including taxes. Now it appears that, finally, the House Ways and Means Committee will see Trump’s tax returns – after 4 years of trying. Trump’s response: “Why would anybody be surprised that the Supreme Court ruled against me; they always do! . . . The Supreme Court has lost its honor, prestige, and standing and has become nothing more than a political body, with our country paying the price.” Only those arriving from off-planet after the last six years would fail to understand the irony in Trump’s whopper – he completed the six-judge majority of super-conservatives. Note: The ultra-right wing and Trumpists are trying to subvert “legal logic” – only judgments favorable to Trump are legitimate, just like elections.
Wednesday, November 23
[Midterm Elections] Alaska: Murkowski and Peltola Declared Winners – Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is a quasi-independent Senator; Peltola will be a House Democrat; neither please Republican leadership and especially Trump.
[EU – Energy] EU Emergency Meeting Unable to Agree on Natural Gas Price Cap – Some countries favor depressing prices, others favor guaranteeing adequate supply. Russia probably won’t go along with either. The EU needs a joint policy for 27 countries, which is harder than agreement among 50 U.S. states.
Thursday, November 24 THANKSGIVING DAY
[U.S. Holiday] Americans Seek to Normalize Thanksgiving – Post pandemic, post midterms, the country seems to want a return to parades, Thanksgiving football, and being stuffed with turkey. But the pandemic lingers, politics remain sour, inflation bites, and that’s rain on the parade. Here’s to those who find holiday cheer!
[Thanksgiving Football] Viewership Record for Giants / Dallas Game – A record regular season viewership of 42 million watched the Giants/Dallas game Thursday afternoon. That’s normalcy +. (BTW: Dallas won 28 – 20.)
[Ukraine] Continuing Russian Missile Strikes Cripple Ukrainian Electrical Supply – Repair is ongoing, but under stress from repeated attacks, depleted parts supply, and ever-increasing demand as winter comes on; it’s likely to be a hard winter for Ukrainians – a survival situation for many.
Friday, November 25
[Coronavirus – China] Renewed COVID Lockdowns Provoke Street Protests – China has a NO COVID policy that is becoming increasingly unpopular and difficult to enforce. Latest rounds of lockdown in Beijing and Sinkiang have brought out rare public protests and threaten to derail Chinese economic recovery.
[Black Friday] Fewer In-Person Shoppers, Much Bargain Hunting Mark This Black Friday – Reverberations from inflation and pandemic seem to have whittled away at Black Friday shopping enthusiasm; but we’ll have to wait for sales results.
Politics, Legislation, Election Notes
The Ugly Time Coming: Start with Trump, of course. This week he insulted “his” Supreme Court for allowing Congress to see a few of his tax returns. He also verbally assaulted the wife of the new special counsel, Jack Smith, for being a Democrat. The new reality for Trump: If it isn’t publicly good for him, it’s fundamentally illegitimate. On this basis he can, and does, verbally assault anybody, at-will, ally or not. This trashing of people and relationships is not new for Trump – or the ultra-right Republicans – but it’s becoming more frequent, more shameless, and more divisive – in short uglier. Expect this to escalate. It’s moving toward weaponizing not just the routine use of lies, but the deliberate fabrication of untrue and misleading narratives. Despite the negative impact on a majority of voters, the “Grand Guignol” approach (graphic, amoral horror entertainment) keeps the Trump base coming back for more.
Pinned Point: Until we seriously confront – and deal with – the media conundrum created by disinformation and the First Amendment (here’s looking at Fox News, Twitter et al), the information chaos will get worse.
Quote of the Week
[T]he British Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the Scottish Parliament could not unilaterally schedule a second referendum on whether to break away from the United Kingdom. In a unanimous ruling, the court said that the decision on whether to hold a referendum could not be made without the consent of the British Parliament.
Mark Landler,” Scotland Cannot Unilaterally Vote on Independence, Top U.K. Court Says,” The New York Times, 11/23/2022.
[The IUY Weekly Journal assumes readers are at least casually familiar with names and events. For more details, check with internet search.]