Links 7/13/17

Sri Lankan navy saves elephant from the sea The Star

Whale Strikes and Kills Canadian Rescuer After He Helps Free It NYT (RM). :-(

‘Critter cams’ help NC residents – and scientists – learn what’s creeping around News & Observer

The post box in Bermuda numbered 666 which receives Google profits worth £8BILLION a year Daily Mail

Fed chair Yellen gives succour to inflation doves FT

One-eyed man Reuters. Gary Cohn at the Fed?

The New Abnormal in Monetary Policy Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate

Rooftop Solar Is No Match for Crony Capitalism Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Brazil’s ex-President Lula convicted of corruption BBC


Secret Details of Trump-Putin Syria Cease-fire Focus on Iranian Proxies Foreign Policy

US and Qatar broker counterterrorism agreement CNN (Furzy Mouse).

Top U.S. diplomat ends talks in Gulf; no sign Qatar crisis resolved Reuters

Saudi Arabia exports extremism to many countries – including Germany, study says Deutsche Welle

Why Europe needs more migrants The Economist

EU regulators clamp down on social media searches on job applicants FT


Five examples of Britain’s ‘chocolate orange’ Brexit strategy Guardian. “Now the head of the UK’s public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, has issued a remarkable criticism of the government on the subject. Amyas Morse said that he had seen no ministerial plan to push through the necessary legal and statutory changes for the UK to leave the EU. ‘We have an issue there because we have departmental government,’ he said. ‘What we don’t want to find is that at the first tap it falls apart like a chocolate orange.'”

The Great Repeal Bill – which does the opposite of what it says – could be the Brexit act that finishes off Theresa May Independent

Labour threat to defeat Theresa May over Brexit bill Guardian

Brexit: EU negotiator Barnier firm on citizens’ rights EU

Brexit: Irish business leaders warn of ‘calamitous divorce’ BBC

EU wants legal jurisdiction over UK to last for years after Brexit The Telegraph

Richard Smith: Trial balloon from an expendable ex-MEP. Step change in the mood music though:

North Korea

China rejects ‘responsibility theory’ on North Korea Asian Correspondent

North Korea weighing a return to talks as missile launch boosts its bargaining power, US nuclear expert says South China Morning Post

Asian VC funding outpaces US for the first time FT

New Cold War

Throwing a Curveball at ‘Intelligence Community Consensus’ on Russia Scott Ritter, The American Conservative. Must-read.

Exclusive: Trump says he does not fault son for meeting Russian lawyer Reuters

This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun vs. The Trump Jr. emails are a turning point in the Russia scandal The Week

What the Election-Law Camp Is Saying About Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails Good wrap-up.

Timeline of Trump Family Comments on Russia Since June 2016 WSJ

Trump’s Low-Level Russian Connection Bloomberg. I wonder if we’ve got any Russia hands who could chime in on this and the next two…

The Donald Trump Jr. Scandal Is Straight Out of 1990s Moscow Foreign Policy

Who is Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr.? ABC

Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation McClatchy

Donald Trump has had no trouble getting big loans at competitive rates Francine McKenna, MarketWatch. A bit dated but still useful: Cleans up the talking point that Trump had to turn to the Russkis for money; obviously he didn’t.

* * *

Democrats introduce new bill on Russia and Iran sanctions Reuters

How Russian Rule Has Changed Crimea Foreign Affairs

Exclusive: Russia appears to deliver more turbines to Crimea – Reuters witnesses Reuters. Crimea apparently coming up on the charts…

Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence Bloomberg (Bill B). Bill B: “Government front men like to paint their state-sponsored actors as stalwart operators, hacking pro aris et focis. Yet this prosaic good-versus-bad narrative translates into ‘drunken brawl’ once readers have left the editor’s office at the New York Times and step out into reality. The truth is messy. With operators leaking tools, switching sides when it’s convenient, prevaricating, bragging, and generally looking out for the bottom line.”

Trump Transition

Trump’s expected pick for wage chief sued for stiffing house cleaners Reveal

5 ways the Trump administration is undoing Obama’s student loan legacy MarketWatch

Transcript of Reuters interview with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Reuters

Trump crafting plan to slash legal immigration Politico

White House’s dwindling science office leaves major research programmes in limbo Nature

Trump Administration Moves to Dismantle Obama’s ‘Startup Visa’ Rule WSJ

The Age of Detesting Trump LRB. Suitably jaundiced.

Ending the Ronald Reagan Lie Jeffrey Sachs, Common Dreams

Democrats in Disarray

Say No to Centrism Salon

Republicans and Democrats Continue to Block Drug Reimportation – After Publicly Endorsing It Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Health Care

Don’t Leave Health Care to a Free Market NYT

Senate moderates sidelined in new Obamacare repeal bill Politico

The Coalition Pushing for Single Payer in California Is Fracturing David Dayen, The Intercept

Our Famously Free Press

‘A general atmosphere of ambient dread’: Text journalists fear (and resent) The Great Pivot to Video Digiday. Owners with bright ideas…

Done deal: Eisendrath beats tronc to buy Sun-Times, Reader Robert Feder (Alex). “Eisendrath and a coalition of labor unions and individual investors closed on the purchase of the daily Sun-Times and the alternative weekly Chicago Reader.”

Germany: Social Media Platforms to Be Held Accountable for Hosted Content Under “Facebook Act” Global Legal Monitor

Class Warfare

The unhappiness of the US working class IZA World of Labor. Pretty anodyne, but at least Brookings picked it up…

What labor department developments mean for employers Hotel News Notes. Browning-Ferris and classifying independent contractors.

On Matthew Effects Stumbling and Mumbling

When Feeling Good is Bad Grass Roots Economic Organizing. Important.

Let’s talk about sex robots Nature. The limit case for automating emotional labor.

Out of this World Santa Fe Reporter. “Santa Fe Institute launches an InterPlanetary Project with galactic ambitions.” Wait ’til they run into the alien quarantine.

How loneliness in older people makes them more vulnerable to financial scammers The Conversation

Could a text become your will? The plans to revolutionise ‘outdated’ legacy system Telegraph. What could go wrong?

Low-cost smart glove wirelessly translates the American Sign Language alphabet into text (CL).

The Return of Monopoly Matt Stoller, The New Republic

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Juneau

    I felt so sad for that fisherman and his family. It is an incredibly dangerous job. I hope people remember him for the effort to free that whale though now he may be used as a reason to avoid rescuing any animal. I guess it’s obvious but I am realizing rescuing creatures on the high seas is particularly dangerous. I guess the alternative for them would have been to release the entire net and let the whale drown. Poor man.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        But that delightful antidote sure reminds me of something from Studio Gibli :-)

        1. carycat

          My first thought was synchronized swimmers without the makeup! Those seals do look good (I do love me some Totoro but I think it is not that fond of water)

  2. Donald

    I googled Ilan Berman, who wrote the piece on Russian human rights violations in Crimea ( most of which I couldn’t read as it is behind a aywall).

    Anyway, whatever the truth about Crimea, Berman looks like another think tank denizen who makes his living warning about the evil foreigners. Can’t have a decent military industrial complex without enemies.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a love-hate relationship when it comes to those evil foreigners.

      Hate when they are out there abroad, but love when they are here on H1B visas.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Or when they are willing to work for less than minimum wage and won’t complain about work conditions…..

    2. Carolinian

      The scathing human rights study he seems to be promoting comes from Kiev so no more objective than the Russian version of what is going on. If the Ukraine government automatically deserves the benefit of a doubt then so does Russia with the converse also being true. Undoubtedly some Crimeans are leaving but so what? Perhaps more interesting that they can leave–a courtesy the Ukrainians aren’t extending to the eastern separatists.

      So yes just more noise from the Blob.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t like getting two random signals on Crimea at the same time in the places I frequent. If I keep getting them, I’m going to conclude the signals aren’t random, and given the war fever in the Beltway, that’s concerning.

      1. MoiAussie

        Kiev has been pumping out non-credible anti-russian propaganda for years now, but the US media suck it up as if it were gospel. Kiev succeeded with the MH17 false flag, and are likely behind the whole Trump campaign collusion thing.

        Related, Novorussian sources have been warning for some time that an “anti-terrorist” campaign was planned for this summer. Basurin yesterday suggested a false flag is planned.
        More Cowardly Behavior By The Poroshenko Regime Of Ukraine, Planning To Bomb Kiev Junta Controlled Towns of Krasnogorovka And Avdeevka And Blame DPR Forces
        While Novorussia Today is hardly unbiased, reporting of Basurin’s comments is quite credible.

        Nazi Ukrainian army plans to stage new provocations by shelling Kiev-controlled towns of Krasnogorovka and Avdeyevka, and blame DPR armed forces for the strikes, DPR Operations Command deputy commander Eduard Basurin said on Thursday.

        “According to our intelligence ’ information, the headquarters of so-called “anti-terrorist operation” ordered the commanders of 72nd and 92nd separate motorised infantry brigades to prepare and carry out provocative shelling of Krasnogorovka and Avdeyevka,” Basurin said.

        A group of Ukrainian journalists has arrived in the zone for this cowardly operation preparing this ugly propaganda with the view of showing the world the strikes allegedly delivered from DPR positions, he said.

        Earlier, Nazi Ukrainian army units on a number of occasions shelled their own positions in Kiev-controlled frontline towns and villages in Donbass. The Republic’s Operations Command called these moves a ploy to disrupt the Minsk Agreements and launch a new round of fighting in the region.

        Ukraine and its backers are emulating the strategy that worked so well in Syria.

  3. IHateBanks

    Re: debunking the “Intelligence Community Consensus”

    I tend to read really long articles only when they challenge my current opinions, or a belief I hold dear.

    Since I learned to mistrust anything our “Intelligence Community” has put forth since the late ’60’s, I was 2 paragraphs in before “same as it ever was, same as it ever was” sprung to mind, and I moved on to looking for any articles that might show Elon Musk to have any redeeming value to our multiverse.

    I was disappointed with the results, but I did fill my run-on sentence quota for the day!

    1. craazyboy

      The good news, for Elon, is two brand new Space Alien Private Equity Investment Bankers showed up and are interested in buying out all of Elon’s business lines at a whopping 30% over present market value!

      See the “Antidote” for the Facebook evidence posted by NASA Economic Scientists.

      Ivanka has been secretly in contact with them, sending e-mails since the 80s, and recently has also been discussing a side deal to sell them the USA for a good price!

      1. Ottawan

        You should send that idea to John Scalzi. Aliens use Tesla as front for galactic money laundering and eventual takeover of Earth. 200 pages of pulp fun.

        1. craazyboy

          Scalzi is one of my fav authors! Old Man’s War is a classic! Reminds me of R care. Join the Space MIC in your old age and they give you a new super soldier body. Survive your 10 year tour of duty fighting 4000 races of advanced, angry, and terrifying space aliens, and then they give you a brand new civilian body!

          It’s like asking Congress for health care!

          Which book are you referring too? I haven’t got to all his recent novels yet.

  4. Loneprotester

    My take after reading all the links on the Don Jr. firestorm: whether it brings down the Trump White House or not (probably not, or not yet) it will hasten the removal of all Trump family members from positions of power in the administration, which is 100% a good thing.

    Removing a sitting president from office without actual evidence of actual crimes-this I am not comfortable with. Removing his idiot family members from power-this is a step in the right direction whatever comes next.

    1. Antifa

      The underlying problem is not the lack of ethics or intelligence of Trump family members. It’s that no one with any integrity or intelligence will accept a position with this Administration. It would be their last job in government if they did, so they don’t. Even people left behind by the previous Administration are leaving in order to protect their careers.

      Job counselors are even advising people to remove every capital “T” from their resume — it triggers any HR people who see it.

      Trump can’t get anyone worth having. He’s even putting Fox News out of business.

      1. Lona

        At a conference today I heard Raymond Starling, Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and food assistance speak. I don’t know his background but I was impressed with him. The guy sitting next to me also thought he came across well. At USDA, Sonny Perdue also appears to be finding favor as the Secretary.

      2. Lona

        At a conference today I heard Ramond Starling, Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and food assistance. I don’t know his background but I was impressed with him. The gut sitting next to me also thought h came across well. At USDA, Sonny Perdue also appears to be finding favor as the Secretary.

    2. DH

      Here is an interesting take on Don Jr. as Sherman McCoy – Sub-Master of the Universe:

      Are the mini-Trumps capable of learning, or will they remain oblivious to everything but money? Or will their past obliviousness be the gift that keeps on giving so that shoes keep falling off the centipede as John McCain predicts, so that Don Jr. and Jared Kushner never get to learn anything but how to write checks to lawyers?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think it’s useful to think of Trump, and I suppose the Trump family as a whole, as a catalyst. That is, although they facilitate and intensify reactions/processes, they themselves remain unchanged.

        So, yes, they will learn nothing. And, yes, volatility will continue.

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Who is Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr.? ABC

    Not very elucidating. There is much juicier stuff at The Hill:

    The Moscow lawyer had been turned down for a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully but then was granted special immigration parole by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.

    “Special immigration parole.” Loretta Lynch. Hmm…..

    And I’m sure Vesel… was quite a help to her client in an american court–apparently she speaks no English. Many americans who do speak English as their first language can’t make heads or tails of american legalese.

    Her immigration parole ended in January, 2016, but she was seen about town months after that including on June 14 when ” she appeared in the front row of a hearing chaired by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), sitting right behind a former U.S. ambassador who testified on the future of U.S-Russia policy.”

    The former ambassador, michael mcfaul, is a Russia-hater who is a regular on msnbs, brought in to bash Putin and trash any hint by Trump of improved relations with Russia. Many internet eyebrows are being raised about Vesel….’s appearance at this hearing. Russian agents in the halls of congress is surely some kind of treasonous violation, wouldn’t you think?

    As for the film about the Magnitsky affair, Robert Parry provided his take in a link yesterday which was far more in depth than anything else I’ve heard so far.

    This could get interesting.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Applying the ‘when you have been seen with Russians, you must recuse yourself’ logic, those House members who were there that day with her must now recuse themselves from any future investigations.

      1. sid_finster

        That rule applies only when you are doing something that the Establishment does not approve of.

        For instance, receiving a generous contribution from a Russian to the Clinton Foundation from a Russian would be just peachy.

    2. Louis Fyne

      if you want to get conspiratorial/cui bono it does smell like Trump was set up with a Russian meeting. —which would allow grounds for a FISA wiretapping warrant of Trump Jr.

      Which would be a fruitless idea anyway as the running prudent assumption should be you’re wiretapped 24/7 by someone, particularly if you’re prominent.

    3. Procopius

      How is treason involved? Do you know the definition of treason? I don’t think you can claim treason unless the country involved is at war with us. Are we at war with Russia? I missed the memo.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Critter cams’ help NC residents – and scientists – learn what’s creeping around News & Observer

    This can’t be military-related or of military-origin, can it, as those critters could be, er, drone critters ready to attack our freedoms?

  7. Livius Drusus

    Re: the article on the unhappiness of the U.S. working class I hate to sound like a broken record but again the technological change argument is brought up. If technology and not deliberate policy was really at fault you would be seeing similar working-class collapses in other industrialized countries but you simply aren’t, or at least not to the extent as is occurring in this country. Is the United States the only country using the latest in industrial technology? Are German factories run on primitive technology?

    Pro-corporate trade deals, union busting, the Fed’s interest rate policy and government austerity policies all explain the woes of the working class much better than technological change. Productivity growth has actually been slow in recent years and you still see plenty of people working in low-productivity jobs precisely because it is cheaper to hire low-wage labor than invest in more technology. When factories moved to China and Mexico they weren’t going there because of Chinese and Mexican robots, they were going there because of how cheap and powerless labor was(is) in those countries. The same thing happened within the United States where we had our own race to the bottom between the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt.

    Too much emphasis on technology leads people to neglect other issues that are usually related to politics and policy and reinforces the TINA narrative because most people don’t want to take the Luddite position and say that technological progress is bad and must be stopped. People are buying into the narrative that nothing could have prevented the immiseration of the working class and that it was the fault of working people for not “getting with the times” and obtaining the right credentials. Thus politicians, business leaders and economists are off the hook. Don’t blame us, blame the robots!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The unhappiness of the working class…and Americans in general, including teenagers.

      In 1976, it was ‘I am mad as h*ll, and I am not going to take it anymore.”

      Here, we are, 41 years later, after ‘not going to take it anymore.’

      And in many ways, life in 1976 seemed like life today, only not as bad…in the sense that wealthy inequality was still working its exponential way through the economy.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      But, but, but…..we are educating more and more students to push the right keys on the computer – isn’t that making them more technological? Or is it making them technology pawns……

      He who controls gets the benefits – and that is the same with technology…….we keep forgetting that and expecting the people who control the technology to “take care of us” – they never will. If we don’t want to be pawns, then we must controllers…..and that means EVERYONE getting to understand technology first AND being the ones to make the decisions about it….it’s a matter of survival…..

      I heard someone on TV say that technology is the new “hunter-gatherer” economy – I’m thinking it is time for civilization to again advance past that “hunter-gatherer” phase into technology farming and society building…..

    3. Antifa

      The way democracy works, really, is that any time the people want to, they can vote themselves more money, more safety net, and more perks. A living minimum wage, free college, national health care, a 90% tax on all incomes over $10 million a year, stuff like that. Only elect people who work for the common good, and remind elected employees constantly that we, the people can shut down the whole country unless and until we get what we want. It’s our country, and we want it handled this way. Why? Because we said so. We choose this.

      This is the key idea of either a democracy or a republic. Elected officials are employed at the voters’ pleasure, and day to day, to put a fine point on it. You let us down, we recall or impeach you, and then you get arrested.

      That’s the world we seem to have forgotten completely. Americans are so divided and distracted that we cannot even get a genuinely caring politician like Bernie Sanders past the primaries. We let the crooked feast on his bones and do nothing but tweet about it all day.

      Naturally the billionaires go ahead and vote themselves even more money, even more safety net, and even more perks. Why the hell not? The people who actually own this boat have clearly take no interest in their own best interests. Hell’s bells, there’s not even any need to take away their vote. They already don’t show up to vote, and those that do let a privately owned and operated computer announce their vote totals without ever producing a genuine paper trail. It can’t get any easier to steal everything in sight than it already is — or can it?

      We’ll think of sumthin’ . . .

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How loneliness in older people makes them more vulnerable to financial scammers The Conversation

    Even though they don’t have organic vegetables nor yoga classes (and, gasp, might have voted for Trump), it was nevertheless, good to read that in the devastated American agricultural heartland that friends in their 80s still celebrate birthdays together (from a commenter report a few days ago).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why Europe needs more migrants The Economist

      a worker who moves from place to place to do seasonal work.

      That’s why you young people don’t need to buy houses…not when you move seasonally.

      The thing about mobility vs. immobility is that with the latter, you tend to celebrate birthdays in your 80s (not improbable, even with the Standard American Diet) with your friends and family members (who are stuck like you).

      Mobility sounds attractive to a young person, but when it’s over done, when you are constantly on the road, will there be any friends there at the end?

      “Don’t cry for me, my dear salad-subsisting, yoga-practicing Tina.”

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Let’s talk about sex robots Nature.

    Does it start with talking about robot birds and robot bees?

    “Try not to get your sex robot pregnant. Things get really complicated when that happens.”

    1. Synoia

      Does the Robot manufacturer have a IP interest in the robotic offspring?

      Not as stupid as it reads, because the possibility is of robots building robots.

      1. Antifa

        The military is already field testing autonomous artillery, both airborne and tracked cannons that load themselves, fire, and move to a new spot before the enemy missiles arrive.

        That’s bloody smart, mate.

        In my next life, I want to be a son of a gun.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why wait?

          Re-train oneself to become a robot.

          “Reverse-Turing Test 101 – How to pass it to disguise oneself as a robot.”

          Now, we can’t complain that school is useless.

            1. craazyboy

              All three seasons of Fargo have been a real hoot! That little robot episode was funny as hell. I still have an earworm going in my head that says, “I can help”, in the little boy’s voice. It usually goes off when I do something stoopid. Hahahahaha.

              1. optimader

                HAHAHA.. we do the “I can help!” all the time too.. Hopelessly burn some toast?.. I can help!…. Comic genius
                The play on Marvin Minsky as well.

          1. polecat

            Well, if you get nice with some desperate Prawns, maybe they’ll accommodate you by making You the robot : just mix some of your DNA with their’s … and your good to go !
            Not sure how the sex thing works out though …

            1. polecat

              Oh, and have a full unit of tinned catfood by your side for good measure … as an enticement. ‘;)

    2. Anonymous

      You have to pay extra for the robots without the internet connectivity, as the hijinx cannot be collected for later entertainment or blackmail.

  10. lou

    O.K. I’m dumb, or at least ignorant. After a link it will sometimes say (Re Silc) or I think (resilc). What does this mean? Thank you.

    1. savedbyirony

      It’s the online name of the person who submitted the link (and you are far from the first person not yet in the know to ask).

        1. Mel

          It’s always you, isn’t it? You have coined the one screen name that people see and say That has to Mean Something. Have you maybe considered a career as a memeticist?

          1. savedbyirony

            Yes. Maybe i interpreted Lou’s question incorrectly. What does “resilc” meaning!?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Adding, to be safe, if I’m not 100% certain of the handle (and because I don’t mentally connect handles with email addresses, which is good, because it means I treat all commenters equally harshly) I anonymize with initials.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From the article:

      The plan is for Qalqilya, said to be the most densely populated Palestinian city in the West Bank with more than 40,000 residents and surrounded by Israel’s separation wall on three sides.

      The plan would extend the city to allow for the new homes into the part of the West Bank known as Area C, under complete Israeli control.

      Some 60 percent of the West Bank is part of Area C and Palestinians face near impossible odds in gaining construction permits there.

      Even in the bantustans, which were under de facto South African control, the apartheid government didn’t withhold building permits or send in boer settlers & soldiers.

      America’s little apartheid project on the Mediterranean … oo-ooh, that smell!

        1. optimader

          well, I’ve long contented all the American Zionists and US Gov tax derived “donations” (ouch) $ thrown at Israel to perpetuate Apartheid and its derivative conflict, rooted in the fruit of the poisoned tree (stolen land), would have been better off relocating Palestinians to prime Manhattan real estate -or- purchase equitably prime real estate for property equivalent to that stolen from Palestine and just give it back to them.

          Some basic Old Testament grade-school playgrounds rules.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence Bloomberg (Bill B)

    Don’t Chinese companies work with the Chinese government (which include Chinese intelligence)? Many are even owned by the Chinese government.

    And don’t Japanese companies work the the Japanese government (which include Japanese intelligence), German companies work with the German government (which include German intelligence), American companies work with the American government (which include American intelligence), etc?

    1. craazyboy

      Yes, well, the Russian Mafia has also infiltrated Kaspersky, being heavily into financial fraud, credit cards and identity theft.

      They also recently found the Stutnext virus in their network! It was a modified one. Was hiding in some non-core storage flash for 3 months. Nothing looks for it there!

  12. funemployed

    Re: When feeling good is bad. I can’t tell you how much flak I’ve caught from my lefty friends for refusing to sign petitions, attend protests, call politicians, etc. when I think that the exercise is clearly pointless or counterproductive from a strategic perspective.

    The pattern of the conversations is interesting though. Always it’s the same thing “doing something is better than doing nothing,” they say. When I counter with many obvious examples of doing nothing clearly being better than doing an un-thought-out something, and point out the opportunity costs of doing a pointless something in terms of scarce resources, energy, time, and inertia.

    Most of them shut right down at that point. Rarely rebuttals or strategic thinking. Usually an honest admission that they simply can’t bear to face that my arguments are sound, so they will continue believing otherwise. Thanks for this link. Maybe it will help.

    1. diptherio

      Glad you got something out of it.

      In my mind, it’s not that doing nothing is better than doing something, but rather that not all somethings are created equal. Failing to distinguish between doing something useless and doing something useful is our major failing, imho. So I don’t want to encourage people not to act, I want to encourage them to act in strategic ways. To quote myself:

      we need to spend more time working on changing our own relations with each other than we do trying to get other people to change their behavior.

      Because, of course, our own behavior is really the only thing we have control over. I also want to encourage more radical actions and more “risk taking” in the cause of societal transformation. We have much, much more power to effect the world than we are normally aware of. Thinking that all we can do is attend a march or organize a petition is just a subtle way of distracting from what we can actually accomplish.

    2. Jef

      Fune – I get in trouble when I say “you voted so you don’t get to complain”. They start out thinking wait a minute its the other way around right? Then I go about explaining until I start to see their focus wandering and just give up.

    3. nihil obstet

      The disagreement isn’t over whether it’s better to do something useless or something useful. It’s a difference in judging whether a particular action is useful. I’m rather easily persuaded to sign petitions, attend demonstrations, and the like. The leaders of a propaganda society want us to believe there’s a consensus for what they do; how often have you heard that the U.S. is a conservative country? I think it makes some difference to affirm lefty values publicly. Demonstrations, rallies, tabling for good causes all work to say “No, we and many others object to the monstrous policies we’re subjected to.” I think it’s worth the miniscule time it takes to sign a petition to Congress, just to run up numbers on it. If it were totally ineffective, politicians wouldn’t pay for polling.

      Those of us who can spend hours on the internet may easily underestimate the limited options of thought for those who can’t or don’t spend time that way. And then to sneer at them for being stupid or “sheeple” or some such denigrating dismissal. And to sneer at those whose opinions of what may have some effect differ from our own.

      However, I’m probably wrong. I look forward to hearing about your sharing of income in solidarity.

      1. funemployed

        I don’t consider reasoned debates about strategy with trusted friends sneering, or a waste of time. I’ve also dedicated my life and career to instituting systemic change in the most effective way I know how, and consequently earn slightly more than minimum wage (not counting volunteer hours instead of six figures (yes, I have had multiple opportunities to earn that much). Consequently, I need to think carefully and strategically about how to use my finite time and resources. When I do have a little extra cash, I donate very selectively to the most progressive local candidates I can find. Most of my internet time is either spent working, or gathering information on the world to inform strategic decisions.

        We are engaged in a power struggle right now. The consequences of losing it will be extraordinarily dire. I am not apathetic. I am afraid.

        1. nihil obstet

          Sorry, I misunderstood you. I read your comment as being about “flak” from your lefty friends, which isn’t usually a marker of reasoned debate, nor is a description of a “pattern” that’s “always the same thing” ending with your reasoned debaters “shut[ting] down” with “rarely rebuttals or strategic thinking”. If I said that about my friends, I’d probably be sneering, but then I’m not as nice a person as many people I know.

          You are in a very small proportion of people who find effective ways to work against the system. With more of you, we’d have a better society. But as it is, to get to the society we want, we will need lots more than the small proportion of core activists to support us when the opportunity comes. So it’s rather counterproductive to spend time saying to other lefties, “No, no, you’re not doing it right.” When a system collapses, what follows springs from the ideas that have been developed in opposition, so the kind of ideas in the article are important to work on as a possibility for the new world, but without the larger societal and economic change, they’ll be like the communes of the 60s and 70s and disappear like them.

  13. Craig H.

    Trump’s expected pick for wage chief sued for stiffing house cleaners Reveal

    Obligatory internet semantics pedantry. Stiffing is slang for not giving a server a tip they earned. It is not synonymous with cheating, stealing, or defrauding in my zip code!

    (economist link is borked. you want this one.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Obligatory pedantic moderator’s riposte citing dictionary. The OED:

      1 North American Cheat (someone) out of something, especially money.

      ‘several workers were stiffed out of their pay’

    2. Michael

      This is not correct. Stiffing is just not paying money owed. It gets applied to tipping because it is assumed that the one who did the work “earned” a tip.

  14. Vatch

    Sri Lankan navy saves elephant from the sea The Star

    The Sri Lankan Navy rescued an elephant. What does the U.S. Navy do? They kill whales with ultra loud sonar.

    1. Anon

      That article is an example of how media misinforms readers. The article assumes the elephant is “lost” at sea (or blown off-course), or wandered, unwittingly into deep water (8 km from shore). Wrong.

      While elephants are large and look somewhat silly swimming, they are actually good swimmers and have been known to swim some 20 km to find tropical islands with abundant food, using their strong sense of smell. This particular elephant is unusual in that s/he was alone in the water (elephants usually move in groups). Could the Sri Lanka Navy be interrupting a training session for the Sun Valley, ID, Tri-Elephanthon?

      1. Anon

        There is a much better written account of the event on The Guardian website. Much more accurate information.

    2. optimader

      I suspect there are several other navies that operate SONAR you can throw in that bucket

      1. Vatch

        Quite true. But the U.S. Navy is the world’s largest navy by far. They blast a lot of active sonar.

  15. Marco

    RE CA Single Payer Movement fracturing.

    Can we trust Dayen’s reporting? If we can this is disheartening. Key take for me:

    “The single-payer movement, said Sholes, is merely being used as a weapon in intraparty politics, calling the CNA strategy “a political hit against Dems whom the CNA wishes to replace with Bernie Sanders supporters.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Particularly liked this one from a commenter named coram nobis:

        As for an “equal partnership” WRT SB 562’s proponents, it’s a little rich for the shaft to say the spearpoint is too sharp.

        I’m gonna remember that one.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A town hall participant asked Lighty whether establishing a single-payer system would require a ballot measure, a concern raised by The Intercept because of the need to exempt new revenues from Proposition 98, which requires that roughly 40 percent of state revenues go to education. Lighty again responded that CNA is working with legislative staff and constitutional lawyers to devise a way around the Prop 98 restriction, without providing specifics.

      1. Devise a way around – could it involve classifying a doctor’s visit as, say, educational? I do learn a lot every time I see him. And he would test me too. Additionally, I have do homework myself, like reading up on diet tips here at Naked Capitalism.

      2. Revenues can be avoided. More specifically, government revenues can be avoided (city, county or state level), if money involved in the Single Payer is not handled by the government.

      Maybe a quasi-government entity, using, say, Fannie Mae as a model.

      And it would be ‘private’ California Single-Payer revenues, nothing for Prop. 98 to be invoked.

  16. diptherio

    Thanks for running the “when feeling good is bad” piece. Good to know my radical ideas find some resonance with others.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No thanks needed; it’s an excellent piece of benefit to readers.

      “Don’t keep doing what doesn’t work” doesn’t only apply to liberal Democrats (modulo the whole “It works just fine for them!” discussion).

  17. Antifa

    There’s another way to do solar. Get some deep cell batteries to power your property through the night. You pretty much have to build a shed out back to house all the batteries and inverters, and they’ve got to be top quality marine batteries, but if you aren’t looking at solar as a 20-year ongoing investment that more than pays for itself, you aren’t ever going to lose the grid.

    We started with a solar package plus batteries just to power our water well around the clock, then we put in geothermal under the back yard for free heating and cooling for the next fifty years, and finished with a little garden shed full of 75 Ah marine batteries and inverters to power the house fans and furnace through the night. We use propane for a bit of additional winter heat, and have a small backup generator (also propane) which is still sitting there unused.

    Big purchases up front, but you aren’t going to get these kind of long term returns on Wall Street. If you stay on the grid, the Koch Brothers can always arrange to send you a bill. They have a smart ALEC friend who writes the laws and regulations that make you write a monthly check to Charles and David.

    We’re okay for juice unless the solar eclipse in August turns out to be permanent. There’s videos on YouTube that say this time it really is The End . . .

    1. visitor

      You pretty much have to build a shed out back to house all the batteries

      Ok, with all that talk about batteries exploding in smartphones, Boeing 787 airplaines and laptops, how risky is having a shed full of them?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Those are lithium ion batteries. Antifa is talking about lead-acid batteries, like the one in your car.

        OTOH: lead-acid batteries can misfunction in such a way as to produce hydrogen, which could explode. Some care is called for.

      2. Inode_buddha

        The risk is very low since deep cycle batteries are typically AGM or lead-acid. Same basic technology that starts your car, just much heavier duty. Proper care and ventilation and they’ll last for decades. The batteries that are giving trouble lately are the newfangled Li-ion jobbies.

    2. Mel

      We have great hopes for the coming Salt Battery technology, but nothing usable yet, that I know of.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > but you aren’t going to get these kind of long term returns on Wall Street

      Sounds like you have a great house, but I prefer to think of a house as a dwelling, not as an investment. That said, can you show your workings? The math?

    1. allan

      From the article:

      …It sounds outlandish, but Green Party candidate Jill Stein actually proposed this on the 2016 campaign trail. She pitched the idea that the Fed should buy as much student loan debt as possible and then forgive it all….

      Massive outcry followed — from across the political spectrum. As many pointed out, including TV host John Oliver, Stein totally misunderstood what happened with QE. The Fed has been making a lot of money on that program because the entities that took out the loans in the first place still had to pay up. The loans weren’t forgiven.

      Hensarling compared Stein’s plan to communism.

      “If we are not careful, we may wake up to find our central bankers have instead become our central planners,” he said, gazing at Yellen. …

      I for one look forward to seeing Dear Leader Yellen on the reviewing stand, watching the May Day parade
      of Aston-Martins, Bentleys and Lamborghinis, towing a fleet of G650s down Maiden Lane.

      FederalReserviana has always been at war with WageInflation.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Aston-Martins, etc. followed by F-35 jets, if I recall Red Square communist parade correctly.

        The first loans forgiven will be money borrowed by the Pentagon.

        It’s better we don’t go that route.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Stein totally misunderstood what happened with QE. The Fed has been making a lot of money on that program because the entities that took out the loans in the first place still had to pay up. The loans weren’t forgiven.

        This is really for Yves, but for now I’ll quote (ugh) AEI:

        The Federal Reserve just released its annual income statement for 2014, including details on its annual distribution of “residual earnings” to the US Treasury. Last year the Fed earned net income of $101.5 billion, primarily from “$115.9 billion in interest income on securities acquired through open market operations (U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency and government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and GSE debt securities). Note that “acquired” means that the Fed was able to purchase about $474 billion in securities last year in its “open market operations” without any real assets, deposits or money, bringing its total portfolio of securities “acquired” to $4.236 trillion at year end 2014, see red line in chart above. The “acquisition” of $4.236 trillion in marketable securities was mostly the result of the Fed’s monetary expansion known as QE1, QE2 and QE3 that started in 2008 in response to the Great Recession. At the end of 2007, the Fed held “only” about $750 billion in Treasury securities, which then grew to a portfolio of almost $4.25 trillion by December 2014 after the Fed “acquired” almost $3.5 trillion in Treasury securities ($1.7 trillion in purchases from 2008 to 2009) and mortgage-back securities ($1.75 trillion from 2009 to 2014).

        $101.5 billion doesn’t seem like much in the great scheme of things. And if we had a Debt Jubilee, we might have an economy that actually functions, especially for the currently debt-enslaved youth.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I would be so against those 100-1 leveraged hedgies, or borrowers getting any adittional jubilation.

            Which kind of debt is important here.

            First, medical.

            Then, housing.

            Then, divorce debt.

            Then, IRS debt.

            Then, beauty school debt.

            Then, real estate school debt.

            Then, MBA school debt.

            Then, computer science degree debt.


            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              As for School of Americas (in Georgia) student debt, I think we have to think twice…at least.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More so with medical debt (I just want to live, though nothing really wrong with I-want-to-move-ahead-of-my-competition schooling).

    1. Huey Long

      I am absolutely livid!!! Not only did they let this guy off the hook, but after his conviction he was allowed to remain free on bail during his appeal.

      Damned Just-us system.

      If you can’t convict Shelly Silver of corruption, then who can you convict?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Totally concur. But there’s another aspect:

        ‘The Thursday ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was quickly followed by Acting U.S. Attorney Jon H. Kim’s declaration that Silver would face a retrial.’

        Amendment V: “… nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb”

        Every time somebody says “constitution,” I burst out laughing. It’s a rich, rich joke … on us.

        1. Vatch

          You have misunderstood the Constitution. If a person is acquitted of a crime, he can’t be retried for that crime by the government that prosecuted him. But Silver wasn’t acquitted; the article says:

          The judges agreed with Silver’s contention that jury instructions in his trial were erroneous in light of the decision handed down in the case of McDonnell vs. United States.

          The jury charge was “in error,” the appeals court ruled. “We further hold that this error was not harmless because it is not clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have reached the same conclusion if properly instructed.

          “Accordingly, we vacate the District Court’s judgment of conviction on all counts.”

          If the instructions to the jury had been different, he might or might not have been convicted, so there will be a retrial. Similarly, in the Bill Cosby case, Cosby was not acquitted, because the jury could not agree on a verdict. So Cosby will be retried, without any violation of the prohibition against double jeopardy.

  18. ChiGal in Carolina

    When Feeling Good is Bad Grass Roots Economic Organizing. Important.

    Okay Haygood, time to pony up for NC solidarity! To whom do we report our earnings?

  19. DJG

    Scott Ritter on the so-called intelligence community and its assumptions. First, as a leftist, I find myself wondering that I am reading the American Conservative, although TAC seems to be conservatives who truly want to conserve things (although Dreher gets whacky about trying to conserve medieval religion).

    Second: I’m wondering how Ritter ended up there. Ritter is a big name with an impeccable reputation. He couldn’t have gone to New York Times Magazine? I guess that he can’t.

    So the article is a must-read. The other must-read is Salon, Say No to Centrism, in which the indispensable Naomi Klein analyzes our current situation thoroughly. Her comparison of Obama to Macron is delicious. And she’s skeptical of impeachment driven by news cycles and ratcheting up the panic.

    1. Carolinian

      Presumably Ritter is on the outs with the NYT and their ilk because of his dissents on the war on terra’s premises. This goes back to Iraq War time.

      As for the American Conservative, I find their writers to be a very mixed bag but they do have some articles that seem refreshing given the Resistance groupthink that prevails at formerly independent outlets like Commondreams. If we wanted to cocoon we’d be at DailyKos.

  20. Alex Morfesis

    Kushner investigation will get “disappeared”…san Antonio hq for cyberpunk trump campaign

    The acela vanity press is going to have a hard time mansplaining to lucy how the 688th didn’t notice what their buddy Parscale was doing right down the street and under their nose “for the benefit of russia”…

    Even worse if it turns out those “russians” hackers had a texas drawl…

    Am Expecting some diversionary activities if too much of parscale and his trinity krewe does not get buried below the fold past page 7…tucked in between ads for car rentals and free lunch to sell annuities to bluehairs…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The acela vanity press is going to have a hard time mansplaining to lucy how the 688th didn’t notice what their buddy Parscale was doing right down the street and under their nose “for the benefit of russia”…

      I need a translation:

      The acela vanity press is going to have a hard time mansplaining to lucy how the 688th didn’t notice what their buddy Parscale was doing right down the street and under their nose “for the benefit of russia”…

      OK, Parscale….

      1. Alex Morfesis

        My being of half cuban decent…splainin to “lucy” was what ricky has to do to explain to the “americanita”…

        parscale was given “san antonian of the year” by ihearts 1200/woai for his work on san Antonio tech…

        he was “rider zero” for uber in San Antonio in October of 2015 after he led a fight via his organization, techbloc (@satechbloc) which he co-founded in may of 2015, to bring uber back to san antonio…

        San Antonio is considered now the 2nd largest center for computer security in the u.s. of hey…

        mostly apparently due to the 688th, which is part of the 24th air force at lakeland/san antonio…

        When trying to go around googles “though shall not find what one is looking for” algorithms, looking for a side bar…[in this case, jill giles, the person parscale worked with (?used?) to go up the economic food chain]… then bouncing thru photos and images search, was able to find this data…

        When google and the acela vanity press makes it “interesting” to find basic background…me-duz inspector gadget routine and woyk it out…photo search is harder to “stalinize” facts and information…at least until the algoze are adjusted…

        Pascale began his work with trump org via eric trump…trump intl realty website…

        2013, eric is in san antonio for one of the typical events cloaked as charity for the “Eric trump foundation sporting clays tournament” to benefit st judes children’s research hospital…typical as after expenses, these types of events leave less in real money then the beer tabs of most participants…

        nothing uniquely slippery as most of these “events” almost never end up handing off much money…

        but “the awareness and education” value is priceless…

        My use of Lucy is as a cutout for “the american public”

  21. Ned

    How on earth can we lament the plight of our renters priced out of urban areas, our homeless, our veterans, our teenagers with little chance of employment, our African American youth with no jobs and demand livable wages for our workers when we continually import millions of uneducated poor people from the third world into our country?

    I support President Trump’s plan to cut legal immigration and to return illegals to their countries of origin where their talents and skills can reform their own nations.

    1. jrs

      importing rich people is just as much of a problem. They contribute as much if not more to renters being priced out as rich foreigners buy up properties. I’d like to see Trump ban that, but he’s a real estate guy, so a snowballs chance in hell.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hard to stop importing rich people when you are responsible for printing the global reserve currency (to facilitate international trade, and more…like recycling the Petrodollars, or LaminateddFlooringDollars).

        Once we are not the global reserve currency issuer, it’s entirely possible we have to peg ours to the new hegemon money.

        Then, the CIA or the Pentagon will have to be run as a household.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > importing rich people is just as much of a problem

        Especially when its people with the dirtiest money who have the greatest incentive to move it, and themselves, to safe havens, where they dig themselves giant underground bunkers in Sloane Square or raise the rents in Manhattan so high that only the weed-like chains can survive. And gawd knows what they’re doing with PACs, or where else their capital is going.

    2. marym

      There are no policy initiatives from the Trump administration, and no history of objectives or accomplishments among his appointees, that benefit workers, veterans, homeless people, unemployed people. Much the opposite in many cases, along with white supremacy and misogyny.

      Also, many countries of immigrant origin have been and continue to be destroyed by US forces directly, US-supplied arms, US economic policies, and US political meddling.

      People who advocate for restrictions on immigration need to identify not only which problems they think this will solve, but the policies, programs, and values needed to implement those solutions.

      Without that, it just seems to be a mechanism for divisiveness, fear, and deflection from facing and resolving deep problems in our economic, political, and social institutions, and our role in the world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also, many countries of immigrant origin have been and continue to be destroyed by US forces directly, US-supplied arms, US economic policies, and US political meddling.

        And I would say Single Payer Health Care must be accompanied by policies, programs and values to improve the diet, lifestyle and the environment.

        To those ends, we must demand our leaders they distant from the F-35 program, the Russia witch hunt, along with the requirement that they outlaw all the bad stuff that go into our bodies currently.

        But if we can get something done, but not all of them, we should not reject it. (Single payer now or yesterday…we work on genetically modified crops tomorrow)

        1. marym

          Well, I wouldn’t outlaw all the bad stuff that goes into our bodies (who doesn’t want the occasional indulgence?).

          As a supporter of publicly funded, publicly administered, comprehensive, universal healthcare, I doubt that I’m alone in being eager to support lots of programs and policies that encourage safe and nutritious foods, healthy lifestyles, and addressing environmental and climate concerns. I support such policies whether incorporated in a health care reform policy, stand-alone, or part of other general reform initiatives.

          The question was what policies does the Trump administration support that would lead to favorable outcomes for workers, veterans, the homeless, etc. It doesn’t magically happen if we restrict immigration and deport a lot of people.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think we outlaw the most dangerous bad stuff.

            As for the Trump administration, he somehow stands in the way of potentially waves and waves of migrants/refugees from Russia and Crimea.’

            The Vietnamese boat people…that was 50 years ago.

            The Iraqi and Afghan sources of refugees – it’s genie out of the lamp at this stage. Possible solutions might involve general Sherman’s ‘going all the way.’ We should try to avoid it. And it’s on us for any ‘sudden withdrawal/disappearance.’ It will take a long time…like slavery and its legacy today.

            Perhaps something can be done about Syria.

            Then there is the potential N. Korean refugee problem, even if we denuclearize the area.

            1. Arizona Slim

              A North Korean refugee crisis will be more of a problem to South Korea and China than it ever will be to us. Reason: Geography.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Without that, it just seems to be a mechanism for divisiveness, fear, and deflection from facing and resolving deep problems in our economic, political, and social institutions, and our role in the world.

        It is that.

        Lambert here: Unfortunately, a policy of cheap imported labor presents exactly same issues: “Divisiveness, fear, and deflections.” It seems to me a reasonable, 30,000-foot proposition that a nation-state at least appear to put the well-being and interests of its own citizens first, in immigration policy as in any other policy. (And I don’t see liberals making an argument in favor of international working class solidarity; if I did see it, I’d be more inclined to accept claims of justice as anything more than virtue-signaling plus “We treat our yard man like one of the family.”)

        I distinguish between (a) refugees, (b) legal immigrants, and (c) illegal immigrants.

        (a) Refugees: We should accept as many as possible, especially from wars that we create (like most of ’em); for that, the moral/justice component seems crystal clear, beyond the realpolitik (like maybe stressing the EU to the breaking point with refugees wasn’t such a good plan). Note that this indirectly disincentivizes war-mongering.

        (b) Legal immigrants: As above, and why the heck not? Given the criterion that the United States prioritize US citizens. (For example, I’d remove any incentives that encourage foreign crooks to bring themselves and their hot money here, as in the comment above. We have enough crooks of our own.)

        (c) Illegal immigrants: As above, though I think fewer is better, because I see the primary incentive as cheap labor, and I think cheap labor policies are bad for the U.S. working class. Let people mow their own goddamn lawns and clean their own goddamn granite countertops and take care of their own goddamn children or pay a decent wage in the slaughterhouses etc., or make it really worthwhile for others to do it! Note that illegal immigration is also bad for the rule of law, which liberals (as well as conservatives) profess to respect.

        One thing I do know is that if I decided to make a permanent move to another country and took a job illegally there, or if I decided to move to Canada to illegally take advantage of its single payer program, I’d expect that country to at the very least expel me or fine me, and that nobody would bat an eyelash, including open border advocates. I don’t see any difference between the cases of illegal immigration, from a justice perspective.

        It’s a wicked problem, and it might have been better to let it fester than make it worse by trying to solve it. But until I hear immigration advocates* putting US citizens first as a matter of policy**, I don’t see how they get traction. They certainly didn’t with Obama, despite the rhetoric, and there’s probably a reason for that.

        NOTE * Granted, there are different flavors. I’m really responding to the liberal mainstream immigration advocate whose agenda is to get Democrat voters into the so-called “Obama Coalition,” and not to more principled immigration advocates further left (who should probably be working toward eliminating labor arbitrage, the real driver here).

        NOTE ** It’s probably possible for an open borders proposal to do this; we did pretty well as a country before the Immigration Act of 1917. But I haven’t seen one.

        1. marym

          I don’t have a consistent, defensible position on immigration. I generally agree with your take on the 3 categories. I do strongly lean stereotypically liberal on diversity, compassion, preserving families, and meeting our obligations to people whose countries we’ve destroyed. I oppose the role immigration plays in cheap labor, both low end (legal and off-the-books) and the high-end visas.

          True, it’s not putting our country first to be liberal on immigration if it’s to build the Obama coalition or have a nice nanny.

          However, it’s not putting our country first to oppose immigration on grounds of white supremacy and fear-mongering.

          Nor is it putting our country first to oppose immigration claiming concern for US workers, the homeless, or stress on social programs, if people making those claims don’t actually support good strong policies to provide jobs, worker pay and protections, homes, or social benefits; and are,in some cases, among the right and the liberals in their own special ways, the enemy of such programs.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            if people making those claims don’t actually support good strong policies to provide jobs, worker pay and protections, homes, or social benefits;

            It gets back to a point that was made the other day: A fact, an argument, a piece of evidence is not enough. We have to look at who is making that fact/argument/evidence.

            So, a claim is not to be judged of itself as a claim.

            Sometimes we get ‘It’s not my husband BIll’s adventures, but a vast right-wing conspiracy with their (let’s not address them for now) claims.’

            And the ‘We don’t trust him, who knows what he will do, due to his business dealings with Russia, and other conflicts of interest,’ the focus-on-the-person approach.

            Other times, it’s ‘He is for immigrants because they will vote for him/her’ ulterior motive.

            The skeptical-and-verify or mistrust, or trust-but-verify goes on everywhere.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Before 1917, we had an open frontier, having cleared it of the inconvenient natives.

          We also had rapidly repeating economic depressions – not sure if there’s a connection.

        3. polecat

          Lambert, you mentioned nothing about the vetting (or not) of said refugees ??
          A copper for your thoughts.

  22. allan

    United Wants to Sell Your Seat to Someone Else for More Money [Bloomberg]

    This week, United Airlines Inc. is quietly unveiling a new technology platform that it will use to manage the problem of oversold flights—and, in the same breath, turn them into a profit opportunity.

    With the help of its new Flex-Schedule Program, the airline is piloting a way to buck the trend of involuntary bumping—the term for kicking passengers off oversold flights—without necessarily offering four-figure payouts to passengers at the gate, or curbing their practice of overselling inventory. … Instead, it’ll simply offer buyouts earlier—up to five days in advance. The upside for United? The chance to resell your ticket at a wider profit margin. …

    After months of negative press—the doctor who was dragged off the plane, the infant whose $1,000 seat was inadvertently resold—United’s image has taken a nosedive.

    According to Azim Barodawala, the chief executive of Volantio who created the technology and brought it to United, the Flex-Schedule Program could be an opportunity to change the narrative with the help of innovative technology, rather than cumbersome regulations. “If you can offer a buyout to a customer in advance, everyone will be happier,” he said. “For airlines, it represents a release valve—a way to shuffle people around when you’re capacity-constrained. This benefits the customer as well, you’re creating choice for them, and that’s what gets me really excited. …”

    Please excuse me while I use my technology platform to change the narrative.
    Having just promised possible 4-figure payouts for overbooking,
    United now has second thoughts and is implementing a system to limit payouts to $250,
    which is even lower than before.

    Going out on a limb, I’ll guess that signing up for this program requires agreeing to binding arbitration.
    Because choice.

  23. Dale

    About the sex robots: “Interactions between humans and robots may eventually include sex.”

    A robot is an electro-mechanical device that moves under its own power according to how it has been programmed. Sometimes they don’t just move, they vibrate.

    Women have been having sex with robots for the last century and a half. The electric vibrator was the third electrical appliance ever invented.

    Why is this only coming up for debate now?

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Awaiting that ASL glove off-label application. The screenplay potential is uuuge, I tell you, uuuge.

      1. kareninca

        Very early anyway; in 1880. More than a decade before the electric iron or the vacuum cleaner. But perhaps after the electric fan, toaster, tea kettle and sewing machine. Victorian era doctors were simply exhausted from providing “pelvic massage” to relieve “female hysteria” by means of “physician assisted paroxysm” ; it was big income source for them but they got “chronic hand fatigue.”

      2. Dale

        The fifth electrical appliance ever invented. My bad.

        But seriously, why is robotic sex suddenly so ominous now, after 137 years of it?

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China rejects ‘responsibility theory’ on North Korea Asian Correspondent

    Typically, sphere of influence comes with some responsibilities for the vassal tributary states.

    So, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi started to kidnap Korean potters to bring back to Kyushu, Ming China felt responsible to do something about it, to such an extent it bankrupted the empire and the Manchus were able to move inside the Great Wall for the hostile takeover.

  25. ewmayer

    O Re. Kushner e-mails: Well the front page of my local corporate-owned rag [San Jose Mercury News] has a lurid headline “WHITE HOUSE ENGULFED IN SCANDAL”, with subtext describing alleged despair among unnamed top WH advisers, so take that, scandal-downplayers!

    o “How Russian Rule Has Changed Crimea | Foreign Affairs” — So wait, Russian Rule in Crimea is a new thing? The FP headline certainly seems to imply that. ISTR rumors of a key military base having been there for the better part of a century or more, and a 90% ethnic-Russina populace. Deplorable Rooskies must’ve been really busy to accomplish all that since the CIA-sponsored Maidan coup (Note: coup, not ‘election meddline’ – so it’s OK).

    o “Exclusive: Russia appears to deliver more turbines to Crimea – Reuters witnesses | Reuters” — From the loud headline, one would think they were delivering H-bombs, not turbines. Will Reuters expose suspicious deliveries of concrete, rebar and miscellaneous plumbing supplies in Part 2?

    o “5 ways the Trump administration is undoing Obama’s student loan legacy | MarketWatch” — There’s that word again, ‘legacy’. What legacy might that be – exponential increase and no relief from Joe Biden’s debt-slavery-act?

    o “Let’s talk about sex robots | Nature” — I’d rather sing about sex robots, or better, listen to Frank Zappa sing about sex robots [websearch for “zappa lyrics sy borg”].

  26. Alex

    Looks like Foreign Affairs need a fact-checker

    The article says that “Crimean meat production fell by an estimated 84 percent over the course of 2016” while the source they link to says Production of meat and cattle declined as well, by 16.5% compared to last year’s level. Yes, the title is Meat production fell by 84% but seeing such a discrepancy should’ve made them pause and think about that

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