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Harvey, ICE, Geometry and Lawlessness

Houston is going under. Harvey has stalled. I have no faith in Trump to manage this. I hope I am surprised.

Pat and Frannie in the Houston area say they are doing ok but that the flood advisory has been extended to Tuesday.

Hillary tweeted this morning:

Consider a donation if you’ve got the spare cash. Here’s the link to HuffPo’s list.

Update: Pat referred me to this post at Buzzfeed about how ICE left 50 immigrants stranded at a bus station before Harvey hit. WTF??


This NY Times post link goes out to commenter miKe, proprietor of the blog elemental fractal, and other lovers of geometry and the beauty of math.

Vi Hart narrates a video on hyperbolic geometry and bending the rules of physics. If it’s Vi, it’s going to be good.


I haven’t said a whole lot about the pardon of Joe Arpaio. I’m just not that surprised. I’ve recommended the book In the Garden of Beasts about the years preceding Hitler’s invasion of the Sudetenland. The book was written from the perspective of the last American ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s early years as chancellor. The book is less about Hitler and more about how a destructive nationalistic populism takes over and becomes malignant.

It’s not enough to say “things aren’t normal”. It’s the structure of what keeps a nation together that is what is compromised. A president like Trump and the right wingers that put him in charge are uncovering all the holes in our government and society. We have gotten by for a very long time on norms and not formal laws to constrain us. The presidential power to pardon is unrestricted. We have certain formalities that other presidents have followed but there was nothing preventing any previous president from doing whatever he pleased.

Now we have a president who has no self control and whose aim is to play to his base. It is inevitable that some of that base is going to see this pardon as permission to go after immigrants and brown people, to harass them and commit acts of violence on their persons. Trump is allowing his base to ignore the judiciary because there will now be an expectation that holding it accountable will be met with laxity.

Once this kind of lawlessness takes hold on our country, it is difficult to stop other weak spots from becoming compromised.

Yes, the die hard Trump supporters are still a minority. But we have lax gun laws, a lot of paranoid militia groups and doomsday preppers and a toddler in charge of the military.

This is the first significant removal of a jenga block. It’s going to get shaky. And if he fails to sign on to raising the debt ceiling because he can’t get the money for his border wall, the whole faith and credit of the United States could be called into question. That could have repercussions world wide.

In which case, we should all stock up on our doomsday stash.