Links 8/10/17

Greenland, the land of ice and snow, is burning Grist. A song of ice and fire?

The long and winding road to economic recovery FT

Stabilizing the System of Mortgage Finance in the United States (PDF) IMF

BAT’s $25 Billion Lucky Strike Bloomberg

The loanable funds hoax Lars P. Syll

Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation Computational Propaganda Research Project

Welcome to Our Global Censorship and Surveillance Platform Global Guerillas

Facebook is officially launching its big attack on TV Business Insider

The New Copycats: How Facebook Squashes Competition From Startups WSJ

Internet Archive was blocked because of court orders obtained by Bollywood studios Medianama

Maybe Americans don’t need fast home Internet service, FCC suggests Ars Technica

Why Financialized Corporate Governance Works Poorly The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

This company found a unique way to skirt SEC accounting rules MarketWatch

Carmakers face threat from new drivers of profit FT

Exclusive: Tesla developing self-driving tech for semi-truck, wants to test in Nevada Reuters


Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Remake the Middle East In Its Image The American Conservative

U.S. Military Actions in Syria C-SPAN. A call on the U.S. to remove all military aircraft from Syrian airspace.

It’s time for the Syrian opposition to realise that its regional backers have moved on The National. UAE.

Two months into Saudi-led boycott, tiny Qatar goes on the offensive WaPo

The China Wildcard in the Qatar Crisis The Diplomat

Venezuela May Be on the Brink of Civil War The Nation

Will Brazil be the next Venezuela? Al Jazeera (MT).

Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics The Intercept

Authoritarian Nationalism, Not Populism, Is Real Threat To Democracy Social Europe (MT).


Chinese quantum satellite sends ‘unbreakable’ code Reuters

One Man, One Road: A Funny Tale of Civic Protest in China The Diplomat

North Korea

North Korea Says It Might Fire Missiles Into Waters Near Guam NYT

Resolving North Korea Without “Fire and Fury” Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

The Game Is Over and North Korea Has Won Foreign Policy

News analysis: More US voices calling for talks as winds shift in Pyongyang’s favour Straits Times

Rex Tillerson just erased the reckless red line Trump drew on North Korea WaPo

CALM DOWN: We’re not even close to nuclear war with North Korea Business Insider

Trump Goes With His Gut to Shake Up Strategy on North Korea Bloomberg

Donald Trump talks like no politician has ever talked before CNN. Interview with speechwriter Barton Swaim.

What a Family Feud Reveals About Singapore’s Political Future World Politics Review


Brexit and the financial sector: time is already running out Jacques Delors Institute

A life lived in the post-crash world has given the young good reason to back Corbyn The New Statesman

New Cold War

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack The Nation. Important.

Secretive search for man behind Trump dossier reveals tension in Russia inquiry Guardian (Furzy Mouse).

Trump loyalists lash out at ‘deep state gone rogue‘ FT

* * *

Liberating Europe from Russian Gas Counterpunch

The View From the Kremlin: Survival Is Darwinian NYT

Russian spy plane trolls Trump with flight over D.C., New Jersey Politico. Open Skies program, with US observers.

* * *

FBI conducted predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home WaPo. On July 26.

We Interrupt This Grand Jury Lawsplainer For A Search Warrant Lawsplainer PopeHat

Trump Transition

Trump and the Nuclear Triad Foreign Affairs

Trump Aides Copy Bush ‘Red Team’ Strategy in Tax Fight Bloomberg

Trump says he’ll beat opioid epidemic with law-and-order approach Politico. What could go wrong?

If Pence Shapes Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Who Would Profit? Who Would Pay? International Business Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan USA Today

Dangerous Pollutants in Military’s Open Burns Greater Than Thought, Tests Indicate Pro Publica

Democrats in Disarray

Hillary Clinton wants to be a lay preacher. Here’s what her spiritual adviser says. McClatchy

Who’s truly rebuilding the Democratic Party? The activists. Vox “Many Democrats are terrified that they won’t be able to bridge the gap between the need to fight sustained racial discrimination and to deliver populist economist messages. Yet looking at these movements on the ground, you are struck by how diverse they are.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

‘Ferguson became a giant’: How 3 years of activism is slowly reshaping the St. Louis area St Louis Public Radio

Health Care

Judicial Watch: HHS Documents Reveal Known Pre-Launch Security Flaws in Judicial Watch

In the CMS “Pre-Flight Checklist” published on September 20, 2013, is a chart that indicates that the “Hub,” designed to help with verifying applicant information used to determine eligibility for enrollment, was unable to perform its tasks. Regarding verification of citizenship is the comment: “Hub has been too irregular to work thorough this, and still don’t have the right data to test to the 5 year bar.” Regarding verification of SSN is the comment: “Hub has reliability issues …” The Pre-flight Checklist also notes nine “high” security risks, 123 “moderate” security risks, 68 “low” and 17 “common” risks in various components of the Obamacare system.

On October 1, 2013, Americans started shopping for health insurance on, and the site crashed.

A ginormous debacle for which nobody in the administration was held accountable, either internally or by the press.

Is Part of the Health-Insurance Market Entering a Death Spiral? Bob Laszewski, National Review

Here’s why New Orleans flooding was so bad, and why people are being fired over it Times-Picayune

Class Warfare

How Did They Get So Rich? Matt Bruenig, Jacobin

What We Do Is Secret The Baffler

Real wages are mainly a macro issue mainly macro (MT).

Is Automation Anxiety All Hype? Governing

The Danger From Low-Skilled Immigrants: Not Having Them NYT

A Chinese billionaire may get a monopoly on a cancer drug backed by U.S. taxpayers STAT

What Brands Are Actually Behind Trader Joe’s Snacks? Eater

What Music Do Americans Love the Most? 50 Detailed Fan Maps NYT

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Linda


    Oregon is now the first state in the country to require that employers give workers their schedules at least a week in advance.

    Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed the measure on Tuesday. It was passed by the state legislature in June.

    The new law takes aim at on-call scheduling, whereby employees are tapped to work on short notice. This often causes workers’ schedules to fluctuate a great deal, and makes planning for child care and transportation more difficult.

    It’s a particularly common practice for workers in lower-wage industries, such as fast food and retail.

    One in six Oregonians receive less than 24 hours of notice before their shifts, according to a survey the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center published in February.

    Starting in 2020, affected employers will have to give workers their schedules two weeks in advance.

    1. Jen

      It’s going to take 2+ years for employers to figure this out? I mean, yay team and all that, but why not make it effective January 1st?

    2. makedoanmend

      Thanks for the info. Some passing thoughts.

      This may seem like small potatoes given the scale of the mountain that labour across the globe needs to climb order to advance rights of workers, but it is still a step forward. Hopefully, this will just be the beginning of some labour advancement.


      Maybe I’m just being old fashioned, but I’d have rather a union or set of unions won this victory via collective bargaining. Having the state legislate this law smacks too much, imo, of a strictly legalistic contractual agreement and approach, whereas I tend to see collective bargain agreements much more in the light of a social and legal contract.

      Also it is not uncommon for workers to need to confront the state, and so we need to know that there are collective organisations that can negotiate with the larger state when such occasions arise.

      Anywho, still good news.

  2. ArkansasAngie

    So … the question I have is … given possession of the server, would experts have been able to determine that it was a local download as opposed to an internet based hack?

    Wouldn’t there have been network traffic that either confirmed or denied it?

    If the DNC purposefully gave false information about the incident … did the DNC break the … any … law?

    1. voteforno6

      That would be possible, but then again, it’s always possible for a half-decent hacker to alter the relevant log files.

      1. LarryB

        Not if the logs are stored on another machine where anybody with access to the working system doesn’t have access to the logging system. Of course, this requires that the machines be set up in a secure manner, which seems to be beyond the capability of Democrats.

        1. Procopius

          In fairness (and I really hate having to defend them) the Democrats aren’t the only ones. Most organizations that do business on the internet seem not to care about security until they’ve suffered a financial loss from hacking. Look at Sony, for example. Evan banks, for FSM’s sake. I’m very, very glad to get some more support for my long-standing suspicion that the DNC paid Crowdstrike to make up a phony report claiming a hack because they discovered (maybe the leaker told someone) that their emails had been downloaded.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > given possession of the server, would experts have been able to determine that it was a local download as opposed to an internet based hack

      Leaving aside the possibility that the entire server was itself hacked, that would certainly provide much more solid evidence. The Nation’s link supports the “leak, not hack” theory by examining the metadata from the files. The obvious scenario is that an insider with a USB stick* took the files. Now, the metadata in those files can (of course) be hacked, but the server would have timestamped the insertion of the USB stick. If that timestamp matches the timestamps in the metadata, I’d say that’s as close to an open-and-shut case as you are likely to get. (Assuming that the server logs had not been erased and there was a backup if they had been.)

      More technical readers please correct!

      * Since USB sticks are a major security issue, it’s hard to imagine even DNC people not wanting to track them.

      1. Watt4Bob

        You are substantially correct which is why the DNC didn’t hand over the server to the FBI and instead hired a third party to fabricate a myth.

        MOTU types insist on doing things the way they want to do them, and don’t listen to advice from experts because experts are the sort of people they like to boss around, and ‘use’ as opposed to listen to.

        CrowdStrike insists that the Russians did it, which is in my opinion exactly what they were paid for.

        Organizations victimized by hackers rarely admit to being hacked, those who fall prey to leaks by disgruntled insiders often claim they’ve been hacked.

        One of the security people I work with told me of the CEO of a non-profit he consulted for, calling him in the middle of the night to report the organization was hacked and their bank account emptied.

        This CEO wanted him to testify in their efforts to recover through an insurance claim.

        My friend politely explained that he had made numerous systems security recommendations that his organization had never implemented, and that he could not in good conscience testify otherwise.

      2. ChrisPacific

        I think the core contentions are that the metadata on the leaked files proves that (a) they were downloaded at a rate beyond what would have been possible for a remote link to Eastern Europe (namely a bit over 22 Mb/s) but that is typical for local file copies to USB and (b) the timestamp metadata shows that it was downloaded by someone in Eastern US timezone.

        If that’s accurate then I would agree it strongly suggests a leak rather than a hack. The million dollar question will be whether the metadata is reliable, or if that could have been doctored as well (but then if the hackers were sophisticated enough to do that, you have to ask why they made what would appear to be other elementary mistakes, like pasting the contents into Russian templates).

        In any case, I think it’s into the realm of security experts to determine the truth, and with so much at stake I’m sure both sides will be shopping for favorable opinions. This would seem to be germane to Mueller’s investigation, so hopefully he has his own experts to review the evidence.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      But not the American people, apparently: they like pop. Only thing on that list I like is Eminem. Course lots I haven’t heard of. Might wanna check out Georgia Florida Line…

      But seriously, in all of rock, Metallica?

  3. QuarterBack

    Re the Hillary as a preacher article, color me cynical, but this could be part of rebranding the Clinton Foundation as a church. If so, I would imagine she is kicking herself for not thinking of it earlier. By becoming a church, they could enjoy all the tax exempt status of a 501c3 without all the public reporting requirements. Plus, as a church, there are many local, state, and federal laws, and international treaties that exempt regulatory jurisdictions, and provide protections against any “religious persecution” that may be suffered from detractors of the Church of Hillary.

    John Oliver has a good explainer on how easy it is to make yourself a church.

    If this is her plan, I would urge her to watch the movie The Man Who Would Be King as a cautionary tale on the dangers of playing with peoples’ religious faith.

    1. bronco

      L Ron Hubbard knew he was a bad writer so he decided to invent a religion . He wrote how he was going to do it , then did it , and still idiots bought into it.

      L Ron Hubbard had to stay out of the spotlight , he wasn’t exactly a charismatic figure , Hillary is even less charismatic but she wants to preach to people , that seems about right for her . Less self aware and less modest than the sociopath that invented scientology.

      Why does my spell checker try to capitalize scientology ? Does it think its a real religion ?

      1. ambrit

        L Ron Hubbard was, to all appearances, also a Libertine who did not scruple to ‘steal’ someones’ long time girlfriend, with said girlfriends connivance, and money. (The two ended up on a yacht in the Caribbean. Much illegality was involved.)
        Both Elron and Hills have that “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” mind set.
        Good catch about “scientology” and the DNC both being cults.
        Scientology had a program to infiltrate members into the ranks of IRS workers so as to gain ‘early’ knowledge about IRS attempts to get at Church of Scientology and Hubbard funds. I believe a dozen or so “moles” were found in the IRS ‘ranks.’ They had apparently been in place for years. Hubbard had developed some supernatural ability to evade IRS ‘raids’ and funds blockages. The infiltrators were evidently the super in supernatural powers. Hillary already has tentacles in the American Government. As far as I can tell, she serves Dread Lord Cthulhu. If she “comes out of the closet” as a Nazerite, such would be in line with opportunistic sociopaths throughout history. Hypocricy is her natural element. God save the Tsar.

      2. Roger Smith

        What better place for the willingly blind and clueless to worship sycophancy and feel good cognitive bias!

      3. WheresOurTeddy

        Scientology and the DNC – both cults.

        One has way more allies for cover in the media though.

        1. ambrit

          Yeah, but, the DNC ain’t no slouch in the media circus biz either. Just ask Coach. (The DNC looks to be a large version of an Equal Opportunity Super Adventure Club.)
          Horror just crawled through my eyeballs when I ‘flashed’ on the image of Hillary bouncing up and down on Oprahs’ couch.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or you know she simply belongs to a prosperity gospel cult and really believes it which would explain her poor campaign, seemingly incapable of learning because her success was ordained by Jefus, again this would explain the focus on “Trump isn’t a billionaire” narrative. The religious fervor was strong.

    3. The Rev Kev

      You know, if HRC was considering another run at the job of POTUS, going all religious might be considered a tactic to peel off the religious voting base of the Republicans. If she had done that last year, her reasoning might be that that would have been enough to push her over the line.
      It wouldn’t matter so much about any medical problems she had in four years time as the second term of Ronald Reagan proved that you would still be carried by the establishment if you were considered useful. In any case, I will be eagerly awaiting the 2044 Presidential election race between Barron Trump and Chelsea Clinton when they rock around.

      1. Richard

        I’d thought the thought of Hillary running in 2020 was the worst thing I could imagine. So bad that I’d pondered suggesting some sort of euphamism, like “granny’s drawers” when one wants to reference the idea, to protect the faint hearted.
        Now Rev Kev you have given me Hillary doubling down on all the monarchical neoliberalism stuff, and also appealing to god.
        I curse you :)

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What kind of church?


      “Our books were censored.”

      Will it involve initiation rites?

      1. ambrit

        We’re talking Saint Hillary and the DNC here MLTPB. I’d say anti-gnostic was much more accurate.
        In honour of the New Tech Dispensation, I’ll upgrade your “Our books were censored,” to read “Our data files were corrupted.”
        Initiation rites cost money. Get the picture? (Money as Icon.)

    5. David Carl Grimes

      I think Bill Clinton would make a better and more natural preacher. Hillary couldn’t even fill a high school auditorium with enthusiastic voters.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Let Bill be the preacher.

        Hillary can be the silent goddess.

        “Oh, my goddess, why do you not hear me? Speak! Let me know you are still around.”

      2. Procopius

        Certainly Bill would be a good fit? Ever read Elmer Gantry? It’s a truly awful book, but Gantry sounded like an awful lot of people in politics as well as the bible banging scam.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > By becoming a church, they could enjoy all the tax exempt status of a 501c3 without all the public reporting requirements.

      I should have thought of this, but I was too busy sputtering.

  4. Olga

    Maybe Americans don’t need fast home Internet service, FCC suggests Ars Technica – ok, just one more way to MAGA. Or may this Pai guy is really a Manchurian candidate, hellbent on stifling innovation and competitiveness. Even in Europe one can now routinely get 250MB internet service, never mind Asia. Good job…

    1. Craig H.

      I can still remember the first time I read on an internet board people comparing their home internet speeds and some guy from Finland was at 20 X what had and some other guy from Korea was at 50 X. Does anybody know a good resource that compares what the average consumer gets and what he pays? Who already has fiber?

      1. djrichard

        Just did a google image search and came across this:, which is from

        US ranks high in that graph, but of course that’s a blend of slow speeds in the rural space with high speeds in the metro space, so it masks the issue in the US in the rural space.

        Thing to keep in mind is that last mile providers in general are making 90% profit margin and above on internet service. It would be interesting to know if that’s also true in the rural space. And if so, do these “toll keepers” have any interest in changing the status quo.

    2. nippersdad

      Every time I see something like this I have a flashback to when Clinton promised that his media deregulation would lead to the best internet speeds on the planet. My internet service now strongly reminds me of our old Earthlink dial-up service, minus the small bills and cool sound effects.

      It’s fun having to reboot three times to read a story online! Thanks, Bill!

    3. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Yes. It’s as if mobile network parasites are eating the brains of the FCC chair and turning him into a zombie.
      Declaring mobile ‘good enough’ is a great way to impact rural health, to say nothing of a huge and growing demographic that has learned to improve quality of life by letting employees work from home, rather than squander weeks of their annual year stuck in commute time. Working from home also lets companies avoid forking out for commercial rents.

      I wonder how Kaiser-Permanente, large insurance companies, and all the Etsy sellers, as well as Amazon, Netflix, and Apple are going to think about how this move impacts both their work forces, as well as their customers.

      This FCC stupidity is guaranteed to further de-legitimize government.
      Self-inflicted wound to the 1,000th exponent. At a minimum.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s not good enough for 911. I recall the story of a woman up in the County whose husband died because they were out of network and couldn’t call an emergency vehicle. But, deplorables.

          1. ambrit

            A lot of us cannot afford even basic iPhone service. (Just ask Abynormal. I know that I cannot.)

              1. ambrit

                Thanks Yves. This isn’t so bad for us in that we don’t manipulate data very much for productive purposes. I feel sorry for the workers who are expected to have an iPhone to do tasks on that are related to their employment. If they are employees, they don’t have the perk of having the phones be tax deductible work tools. (If I remember correctly.) Also, isn’t there a “rule of thumb” about the income level where itemization of expenses becomes a net positive for an individual?
                I hope that Abynormal is doing well.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      if smartphones are making today’s teens unhappy, slower smartphones will make them unhappy slowly.

      You slow down the rate of unhappiness.

      So slow, some may throw them away…that’s just me fantasizing.

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      In the 30s the power companies were pulling the same BS.

      Roosevelt introduced the Rural Electrification Act.

      Time for the Rural Internetification Act.

      Is there an anti-trust lawyer with a pulse and a spine in this country?

      1. Alex Morfesis

        It already exists…rural telephone coops…rural telephone finance cooperative…and one would be shocked at how “urban” rural is defined…

        1. Oregoncharles

          A rural phone co-op serves the area just west of us (which also has an electric co-op), and also owns the ISP that carries our email (we retained it to keep the same addresses). However, our internet comes from a local wireless ISP. The antenna is a dish way up in a fir tree, which is now justifying its existence (in general, Douglas firs are far too large too quickly for people’s yards).

          We’re quite happy with both, but our only connection to the first was through a hostile phone company with very low speeds. Glad to be shut of them. That’s why we switched to the wireless. It also saves considerable money.

    6. WheresOurTeddy

      I am one of the 80% of Americans who have 1 (ONE) choice of ISP.

      Luckily for me, my satellite TV provider bought the lone ISP 2 years ago!

      Now I HAVE to buy TV monthly if I want a 50GB cap, else I can only buy “up to” 20GB if I am “internet-only”. $200 a month for basic cable package plus 50GB internet cap at garbage speed. Unable to run Netflix/Hulu/anything streaming on it. Falsely advertised as capable of doing so.

      When we want to watch Netflix or Hulu, we switch to the wife’s ATT hotspot.

      Between phones and HughesNet (A POX ON YOUR HOUSE) we spend over $350 a month for garbage cell service and garbage internet. And have no recourse because there is literally no competition.


      1. Kurt Sperry

        I’m not sure whether it makes more sense to run the internet utility as a national public system or a patchwork of local public systems, but having a privately run internet utility makes *no* sense at all from a user perspective. Private ISPs make as much sense as private toll roads that cost you the second you leave your driveway. Complete, utter insanity. Maybe have the backbone infrastructures federally owned, and the local networks owned at the city-county level.

      2. JBird

        $350 a month? In this economy. Nice. I wonder what percentage of the local population cannot afford it.

  5. Bill Smith

    A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack The Nation

    The Nation article is long winded waste of time to read. The original analysis is published here:

    “On 7/5/2016 at approximately 6:45 PM Eastern time, someone copied the data that eventually appears on the “NGP VAN” 7zip file (the subject of this analysis). This 7zip file was published by a persona named Guccifer 2, two months later on September 13, 2016.”

    It is analysis of the metadata in a zip file that when found on the internet contained all the DNC files that were later published.

    The original analysis is an interesting idea with one significant weakness. There would need to be proof that the file that was later found was actually created on the DNC machine (at that date). Not elsewhere at some other time.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Exactly. Plus The Nation + VIPS is vetted, which the Forensicator as a standalone site is not.

        > There would need to be proof that the file that was later found was actually created on the DNC machine (at that date). Not elsewhere at some other time.

        Presumbly the DNC server would have this information?

        1. Bill Smith

          On a Windows server the ability to log this information could be turned on. (I think I read somewhere the DNC was running a Windows server.) But how many places that are not (knowingly) dealing with classified information turn this kind of logging on? Is the DNC likely to have turned this kind of logging on?

            1. Loki

              Sysdmin here, we don’t normally audit for successes or file creation. It’s something that’s becoming more commonplace in very secure spaces , but the massive piles of data take up space and are difficult to sift through without expensive tools.

  6. doug

    Maybe Americans don’t need fast home Internet service,
    JFC, the folks in charge don’t get out much, do they?
    Don’t understand the real world at all, and they are in charge.
    Gosh darn, it upsets me…

  7. Olga

    Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Remake the Middle East In Its Image The American Conservative – a good, brief summary of Saudi MO in the last 50 yrs. In comparison, Iran seems like a progressive place (i.e., if progress is meant to signify govt’s concern for the largest number of people). It may have been Alastair Crooke who pointed out one more KSA problem: if Saudis do not export their wacky extremism, its practitioners may turn inward and undo the useless dynasty. Back to the 7th century we go…

    1. JBird

      The American Conservative does good work especially for a small magazine. I don’t agree with some of their conclusions especially since they are conservative and I am seriously not. However, as much, or as little I trust anyone, I do respect and trust their work. It makes me want more, and I get angry thinking of the joke much of the news media has become. No, worse. Dishonest propaganda.

  8. Corbin Dallas

    Ajit Pai is such a scumbag, but its tough to even pinpoint him in this cabinet of petit thugs and warlords and police enablers that tramppy has put together.

    I do think its amazing in particular that as more social security centers and government services are shut down/privatized and we’re told to have services on the Internet… Pai insists we don’t need speedy connection.

    I will say this for america’s depravity: it has a sense of the carnivalesque I think many other countries – that even in their own evil regimes – don’t have because while their government can be as bad and hateful, they don’t hate the very concept of the “public” and the “public sphere” as much.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I do think its amazing in particular that as more social security centers and government services are shut down/privatized and we’re told to have services on the Internet… Pai insists we don’t need speedy connection.

      Good point. Of course, you can always go to a public library. Also under siege!

      1. ambrit

        Plus, the Libraries have several ‘masters’ to bow down to: the Library Administration, the City or Township if applicable, the County, or Parish Administration, the State government, and soon, I believe, the Federal “Keep American Libraries Safe (For Some Definition of Safe) Enterprise” (FALSE).
        Each and every one has an agenda of its’ own. Citizens come in dead last on the list of importance.

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re The Nation piece entitled, “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack:”

    When you’ve lost The Nation . . .

    Unfortunately, it’s too late. The Russia Hacked The Election scam has served its dual purpose. For the neocon deep state, it has successfully dropped a gigantic sanctions turd athwart the path toward a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia. Greatly increased with all out nuclear war be damned. As for the Democratic Party Beltway establishment, the odoriferous dung ball was very effective at luring the Party’s dwindling grassroots faithful on to the path of Trumpsteria and away from the one toward a no-holds-barred analysis of why its legacy base is drifting away.

      1. ambrit

        Just like Irak did even after the WMDs reporting was exposed as fraudulent. The Cheney Doctrine is in play. “Ignore facts and follow orders.”

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      So, did anyone else notice the coincidence of all the approved and proposed natural gas and fracted oil pipelines to export fossil fuels falling right in line with attempting to prevent our friends in Europe from buying those commodities from Russia?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Katrina Van den Heuvel (sp. ?) is married to Stephen Cohen, an academic expert on Russia who has been contemptuous of the Russiagate kayfabe.

      The article at hand was written by Patrick Lawrence, a rather magisterial writer (historian?) who used to appear regularly on Salon until he started saying stuff like this.

  10. timbers

    Healthcare, Dating:

    Want to share what’s going on in the younger dating community regarding an AIDS preventative drug called PrEP. Being old enough to recall standing in line in Chicago to get into gay bars in my 20’s listening to people talk about their friends getting sick before there was even an name for AIDS, and going from one long term monogamous relationship to another my entire life, I thankfully dodged the AIDS bullet and rarely got tested. Be recently single, I’ve encounter hostility from guys online when I can’t tell them when I was last tested because it’s been so long, or them thinking they know more about my relationships than I do (meaning they mock me for thinking my relationships were monogamous because of their conviction everyone cheats, right?).

    Online dating sites will give canned response to sexual practices like “PrEP as treatment/prevention” and a VERY high number of gay online profiles claim to be on PrEP. I recently talked to someone who said it costs him $420/month with company insurance but by switching to non company insurance on his own he saves money because the plan he choose charges only $12/month.

    The below is from googling. Keep in mind this is only for 1 disease AIDS and does not include HepC or other sexually transmitted disease.

    What is PrEP?

    PrEP means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and it’s the use of anti-HIV medication that keeps HIV negative people from becoming infected. PrEP is approved by the FDA and has been shown to be safe and effective. A single pill taken once daily, it is highly effective against HIV when taken every day.

    How much does PrEP cost?

    Without insurance, PrEP costs about $1300 per month, plus the added expenses of office visits and lab work. But most insurance providers cover at least part of the drug’s cost, since it is generally cheaper to pay for prevention than to cover the costs of treating people infected with HIV.

    What are the side affects of PrEP?

    Although providers worry about the long-term risk of compromising kidneys or depleting bone mineral with TDF/FTC PrEP taken for 2 years or more, both clinicians and PrEP candidates should realize that TDF/FTC can have short-term side effects, including nausea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and …

    So if you’re single and don’t have company insurance…#1300/month just to get into the single market to date…

    1. JohnnyGL

      “…they mock me for thinking my relationships were monogamous because of their conviction everyone cheats, right?”

      — My gut tells me that people who claim that “everyone cheats” as a fact of life are probably consistent cheaters who are soothing their lingering guilt with the old, “everyone does it” justification.

      1. Moocao

        As a matter for Health Policy, telling patients to not have blind trust in their partners is helpful in preventing the spread of STDs. Unfortunately, trust is quite a premium nowadays.

        1. timbers

          I understand your point which is good common sense before anything else. There is however a militant view that rejects anything that interfers with responsibility free sex on demand in the gay community & a return to pre AIDS days of promiscuity. To some, even the concept or possibility of monogamy threatens that freedom of sex on demand & must be rejected. As a friend said “It’s living the dream” of endlessly availability of consequence free sex like in the pre AIDS and monogamy has no place in that utopia. Only now it’s costs up to $1300/month.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Just curious whether this new miracle $1,300-a-month therapy is 100% effective prophylaxis. And how did that word “responsibility” get into the discussion? Also curious if, in the pre-HIV days, all that “living the dream” did not include other STDs as possible consequences…

            Old chestnut is “For every right, there is a correlative set of duties…”

            1. timbers

              Effective?….I only know what the internet says and hadn’t even heard of PrEP until I saw it from online profiles, where it seems very popular. I expect gays have taken to using PrEP at a faster and higher rate than heterosexuals.

              Responsibly – I mean gays don’t have to worry about pregnancy and it’s related responsibitly when having sex.

              STD’s were basically easily treatable until AIDS, though there is Hep C and I’m not familiar with it’s time line.

              “Living the dream” my friend used sarcastically. His meaning was that, with PrEP, gays can go back to the “dream” (the militant view) of no strings sex, no relationship, no need to get to know your partner, safe sex anywhere anytime…Marriage being a heterosexual invention to repress gay lifestyle (this is the militant view). And males being more sexually aggressive means two males together likely = quicker and more frequent sex.

              I was a bit shocked that if I could not provide the exact date of my last HIV test, I was ridiculed and blocked online for saying something like “I don’t know when I was last tested, I don’t need a test I was in a monogamous relationship why would I even think to get one?”

              1. ginnie nyc

                Re: PrEP – the New York City Health Department periodically has an enormous advertising campaign promoting PrEP as an infallible prophylaxis for HIV, across all populations. The print, bus & subway advertising are ubiquitous, showing smiling couples of all varieties. The city apparently believes it’s effective.

            2. timbers

              this new miracle $1,300-a-month therapy

              Yes a miracle drug – for the company that makes it.

              I’m a bit surprised at so few comments on the price for a daily pill.

      2. Oregoncharles

        @ Johnny GL: While this doesn’t contradict your gut, biologists have found that cheating is pervasive in pair-forming animals. That doesn’t mean everyone does it, so your insight still applies, but it’s common enough to be normal.

        And no, I haven’t cheated on my wife (not even sure how you manage that), but did a couple of times in less formal LTRs, when we were all much younger.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Back in the Dark Ages, the cure for the sick frequently involved blood letting.

      Today, health care demands blood from the patient as well (they have to compete with immortal billionaires who don’t own health care companies).

      Maybe, we are still in the dark.

      That Enlightenment was just lightening, for a brief second.

    3. Anonymous

      I’m sure insurance doesn’t pay $1300/month for PrEP, but even so that is a hell of lot of money to pay for someone’s hedonistic lifestyle choice. Thanks Obama!

    4. UserFriendly

      1. There are plenty of free clinics for testing for HIV.
      2. Prep does offer coupons.
      3. You can just say you did 23andme and found out that you have ccr5 delta 32 and you are immune to HIV.
      4. If you are looking for something besides just a hook up I’d stick with OKCupid, that is the only gay site I’ve gotten a date on and not had sex . The rest are all very hookup driven, which is what it is. My longest relationship was just a hook up on one of those sites first though, so you never know.

  11. Carolinian

    The Eater article on Trader Joe

    A Trader Joe’s experience is not just about saving money. Similar stores like Aldi (a TJ’s competitor) have a private-label concept but have not transcended the stigma of “generic” as Trader Joe’s has, nor have they mastered the art of brand deception (or perception).

    For an investigative article this is a bit of a boo boo. Not only is Aldi not a TJ competitor, they are in fact owned by the same company.

    Aldi seems to survive the stigma since they do bang up business although another German chain, Lidl, is taking them on in my town and elsewhere. And while we don’t have a TJ, we’ve long had an Aldi whose private brands are variable but often quite good. And in line with the Eater investigation I’ve seen them stocking chicken out of boxes marked Tyson and a Pet truck at the loading dock suggests the source of some of their dairy.

    1. Vatch

      My understanding is that ALDI in Germany split into two separate companies several decades ago. Trader Joe’s is owned by one company, and ALDI in the US is owned by the other.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s a bit confusing.

        The individual groups were originally owned and managed jointly by the brothers. Karl Albrecht (d. 2014) retained ownership of Aldi Süd, and with a personal wealth of €17.2 billion, making him the richest man in Germany, while the co-owners of Aldi Nord, Berthold and Theo Albrecht Jr., close behind at €16 billion. Dieter Schwarz, owner of Lidl and Kaufland came in third, with a fortune of €11.5 billion.[9]

        However the two chains are designed to appeal to different demographics so they are not really competitors. That said, TJ is operated by Aldi Nord and the Aldi stores in the US by Aldi Sud.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It seems a German thing to have a fraternal break-up to produce two companies – Adidas and Puma started the same way.

          Aldi is an odd company, and being private, its real workings are quite opaque. The two Aldi’s are almost identical inside, and in Europe they don’t compete, they’ve divided the continent between them, and they seem to share some supply chains. Lidl, their main competitor in that sector, is very closely modelled on them, even matching their schedule of occasional specials. Sometimes its hard to know which shop you are in.

          Although famously ruthless as a company, Aldi have a reputation as more ethical than most shops of that nature. Here in Europe they stock a good range of organic and fairtrade, and they are known for paying staff better than most competitors, and giving staff good promotion structures (they do work them very hard though). And they have a good reputation with most of their suppliers.

          As for their sources, like most German companies, they operate very differently with suppliers than US or UK chains. They are much more likely to agree long term contracts, even lending money to small companies to allow them to invest in production capacity. They don’t play suppliers against each other usually, but I think they have a strong preference to being the main buyer from a small company, rather than be just one buyer from a major producer. This is one reason I think why they manage to supply such consistently very good quality products at very low prices. Their success really infuriates some of the big brands, as they get shut out of an increasingly large section of the market.

          In the UK they’ve taken a massive chunk out of the traditional grocery chains, despite rigidly sticking to their model. The major chains in the UK had been very successful up to 10-15 years ago at using aggressive tactics to drive discounters out of business, but both Aldi and Lidl succeeded where many others failed. What people really like about them I think is that their pricing is so plain. No annoying fake discounts, no points or discount cards, no 3 for 2 offers. The price is what you see and is almost always fair. Once customers got used to the ‘unknown’ brands they rarely go back.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            They also create an unexpected (versus completely predictable) store experience, you walk in looking for a carton of milk and next to it is a cordless drill at a great price. Taking the phrase “impulse purchase” to a new level.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                True story: I have a Bosch cordless drill, I’ve had it for about 15 years. The battery faded so I had to buy a new one (after much searching, they turn out to be hard to source).

                Shortly after getting buying the battery, someone told me a rumour that Aldi’s power tools were designed and made by Bosch (or at least a Bosch subcontractor). I went in to check them out – turns out they were selling the drills for significantly less than the replacement battery cost me.

    2. oh

      I’ve found TJ’s products to be good and the store is well run with decent prices, unlike WholePaychex.

      1. jrs

        their products are often inferior to whole paychex though. You get what you pay for sometimes I guess. I do wish there was a bigger high end food market than there is, bring back Wild Oats.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      $1.4 billion in the Clinton campaign coffers, the expectation of Hillary’s certain coronation, and Trump not raising money mattered to coverage. Jeb blew close to $130 million, and the media always treated him like a serious candidate when he clearly suffered from the debilitating condition of being Jeb Bush.

          1. Vatch

            Interesting. Maybe the Open Secrets data doesn’t include the joint fundraising committees’ money. They should include it, since I doubt that much of that money ever reached the supposed partners such as state political party organizations. Most of it was inhaled by the Clinton campaign.

      1. JohnnyGL

        The massive media coverage for Jebbie was unreal…the guy was dragging along at single digits in the polls and NPR was still running long, detailed access journalism pieces on his campaign. They couldn’t be bothered to notice that Bernie was crushing almost every state west of the Mississippi River and regularly hauled in crowds in the 10s of thousands.

        Sometimes, you know the media is bad, but it’s pivotal moments like the above that show you where they really stand.

    2. djrichard

      Hmm, this is more devious than I thought. I actually mistook this for something pro-left-wing, when it’s actually right wing. My apologies for the mis-read. My excuse is that Yahoo’s web site is so bad performance wise on chrome it makes it difficult to actually scroll through what’s posted on there. So I went ahead and cross-posted to here without actually finishing the article. Color me surprised when I read through to the final graphs to see how the author turned what I expected on its head.

      Anyways, some take aways:

      – yahoo’s propaganda machinery apparently isn’t breaking down as much as I thought. Though I did see a couple of articles on socialism the other day that weren’t negative.
      – the more devious take-away is that right wing populism is not only co-opting some of the left wing arguments against the neo-liberal center, but in the process also cloaking itself with some of the left wing appeals before making the switcheroo to right wing appeals.

    3. Massinissa

      “Something’s breaking in the gears at Yahoo. Somehow their propaganda machinery is letting our message through.”

      I wouldn’t go that far. The end of the article said we need to reform government ‘like Bill Clinton did’.

      So in other words Democrats need to deregulate everything and pass free trade deals? No thanks.

      EDIT: Wrote this before seeing djrichard’s new comment, but I may as well leave this here anyway.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Something’s breaking in the gears at Yahoo

      For some reason, Yahoo’s front page seems to have a broader spectrum than Google’s news page. There’s a lot of whacky stuff too, though, and plenty of clickbait.

      Plus Yahoo actually does reporting, which I hope they don’t gut in their random death throes. Matt Bai (who wrote that article) is good, Olivier Knox on the White House is far better than most, and they’ve even got Isikoff (“Spiky” of Whitewater fame).

  12. Livius Drusus

    Re: fear over automation is partially due to bad management practices as we discussed in the post on flagging productivity. Because American workers have little say over how technology is implemented in the workplace, little or no job security and live in a country with a paltry safety net, there is immense fear over losing your job to a machine. You also have the phenomenon of tech being used in ways that increase worker stress and unhappiness, such as to aid in managerial micromanaging and surveillance so that adds another layer to the anxiety over technology, one that I think is very sensible. Who likes being micromanaged and placed under constant surveillance?

    The article ends with the usual education/training panacea. Do the authors realize that most of the fastest growing jobs don’t require more than a high school education? In fact you could make an argument that on average developed world workers are less skilled than those in the developing world. I am willing to bet that an ordinary Mexican probably has more skills than an ordinary American. But the developed world worker benefits from systemic advantages like better infrastructure, better organized firms and more capital development (technology). To put it another way, a British factory worker in the 20th century was probably less skilled than his peasant ancestors but the British factory worker was wealthier because of the development of modern industry. It had little to do with education.

    The key to improving the lot of the average British worker was not to make sure he went to Oxford or Cambridge but to help him capture some of the rewards of his society’s greater productivity through organizing into unions and demanding political reforms like old age pensions and universal healthcare. I think this is a point that people tend to forget when discussing the issue of automation. Who gains and who loses is more a function of political conflict between labor and capital and not some individualized issue of who gets the best marks in school. But today every economic issue is seen as an individual problem and not a social one so that is why we keep getting education and retraining as the answer to every problem under the sun.

    1. clinical wasteman

      Thanks L.D., the points you make so well in your last two paragraphs are colossally important and should be seen as elementary everywhere, but clearly they’re not, so an elegant restatement like this is a wonderful thing.
      “Training” is for circus animals and professional athletes (when done to horses it’s more appropriately called “breaking”).
      I’d only add (or really just emphasise more: I don’t see it as something you didn’t implicitly say) that it’s not limited to education. The supply side fantasy framework is so persistent and pervasive that even today there are FT columnists seriously discussing “productivity” as though it meant “how hard individuals work”, making it ultimately a matter (according to the particular fantasist’s preference) of “nudgable” “culture” or imposable discipline.
      I wonder sometimes how much of this sort of hallucination (the “educational” as well as the disciplinary part) is actually believed by those who spout it. But regardless of that, its advantages for the purposes of repressing the pesky demands of the relatively and absolutely poor are obvious. Just the latest in a long series of mystifications designed to make us believe that poverty is our own individual fault.
      (And a secondary aspect of that is the way it discourages the sort of education — often self-education or social/collective education — that helps people see through the mystification itself. “Workplace-oriented” education with an emphasis on “social skills” (i.e. exuberant servility) is one remedy for Samuel Huntington’s nightmare of the early 1970s, in which an over-educated, youthful and underemployed global rabble was going to demand far too much.)

    2. makedoanmend

      Yep, second that…those last two paragraphs are simply wonderful – the last paragraph = bullseye. Kudos.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      What are you…some kind of communist? Are you now or have you ever been a member… etc?
      Workers organizing to promote their interests, against the unbridled power of Capital? How un-American. /sarc off

  13. DJG

    Patrick Lawrence in The Nation the DNC Downloads

    Wowsers, as we say around here. The writer sure knows how to marshal data. The article is a must-read.

    Notable paragraph:
    Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.

    That is called throwing down the gauntlet.

    Also, the analysis of Guccifer is astute. I went to Guccifer’s site when all of this was coming out. Guccifer’s language and style of writing are in no way Russian or Romanian—unless the person spent formative years in the U S of A. The style of writing and presentation are hipsterish, twenties/thirties. I imagine Guccifer as someone who lives in a groovy neighborhood in Philadelphia—how about Northern Liberties?

    1. Ivy

      …reply. Not credibly, in any case.

      Credibility is in precious short supply around DC. If some is restored, then Americans might start to feel slightly more charitable toward their so-called representatives in our res publica.

    2. JTMcPhee

      But a commenter up above, who appears, from hints laid out over years of commenting on behalf of the Narrative, to be credentialed and experienced in such matters after a work life “in the field” maybe, says that “The Nation article is long winded waste of time to read,” and cites to a mainstream Narrativeauthoritative source for the truth of the sourcing…

      How do any of us “know” anything, any more, with so many people busily generating fraudulent information, FUDding each other, with ever more competent help from reality-generating and -bending algos and Tech? Does the Blob unit that pulls off some bit of plausible deniability, or false attribution, or flat-out BS generation and insertion into the calcified and scarred arteries of discourse and “information,” hide a little smile behind his or her crusty, palm-turned-inward paw?

      We yak about “fake news,” but it seems we are most often talking about sophisticated or clumsy frauds, and we should all remember that there’s lots of precedent and remedies for acts of fraud. A definitional setting, for convenience:

      “Fraud is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.

      To constitute fraud, a misrepresentation or omission must also relate to an ‘existing fact’, not a promise to do something in the future, unless the person who made the promise did so without any present intent to perform it or with a positive intent not to perform it. The false statement or omission must be material, meaning that it was significant to the decision to be made. Also, an opinion does not constitute an existing fact and cannot be the basis of a claim of fraud unless the person stating the opinion has exclusive or superior knowledge of existing facts which are inconsistent with such opinion.

      The misrepresentation or omission must be made knowingly and intentionally, not mistakenly or accidentally, sothat the person either knew or should have known of the falsity or acted in negligent disregard of its truth or falsity. The person charged with fraud must have intended the Plaintiff to rely on the misrepresentaion or omission and Plaintiff must have been injured by such reliance to prevail on the claim. Sometimes, it must be shown that Plaintiff’s reliance was justifiable, and that upon easonable inquiry would not have discovered the truth of the matter. For injury or damage to be the result of fraud, it must be shown that, except for the fraud, the injury or damage would not have occurred….”

      Burden of proof, of course, is on the injured party, and “evidence” and “proof” are notoriously hard to gather and introduce — each bit of substantive proof of the fraudulent nature of some bit of “news” or distortion and injury is countered or buried, most often, in a flood of more dysinformation and extensions and expansions of the fraudulent initial BS… And of course in both the judicial setting, and in the free-exchange-of-information-First-Amendment-Democracy Marketplace, the rules of evidence and procedure are stacked against “the actual truthtellers.” Often, see dkos, FOX, MSNBC, etc., with lots of help and cheerleading from mopes who Truly Believe, or are on the bandwagon (headed over the cliff) for one reason or another…

      But then philosophers and poets and such types have been arguing the nature of Truth and Reality since some time way back when. And geometric growth of “information,” that includes ever-increasing amounts of “noise” in with the “data,” sure ain’t helping us mopes make sense of an increasingly senseless, individualized and atomized, sauve-qui-peut world…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > tive, to be credentialed and experienced in such matters after a work life “in the field” maybe, says that “The Nation article is long winded waste of time to read,” and cites to a mainstream Narrativeauthoritative source for the truth of the sourcing…

        Not true. The Forensicator is in no sense mainstream.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Sorry, should have indicated my skepticism more clearly with an appropriate tag or “skeptical quotes.”

  14. DJG

    Hillary Clinton preaching

    As I have noted before, the continuing crisis of monotheism.

    What about all of those years of yoga and the 30,000 yoga e-mails? And she wants to be a Methodist preacher? I await the sermon on ahimsa.

      1. Richard

        And such a tragedy for Libyans, their society dynamited by imperial mobsters, gone from a relatively high standard of living and well being metrics to criminal anarchy. And have you ever heard Hillary, or any Democrat, or any msm pundit take a family blogging second to reflect on that, and to maybe actually take some responsibility for that situation? Like maybe my thoughtless embrace of armed chaos might have contributed to this situation?Because I missed that part if it happened.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Tough fantasy dilemma. If she were a PFC I might be more likely to support the next call for boots (pantsuits) on the ground.

        1. JTMcPhee

          But she is already an experienced field trooper, per her report, knows what it is like to descend into a landing zone that is under sniper fire and all that,

          What, you say she, in the framing that is supposed to exist in the Cheyenne language, “said the thing that is not so”? Who to believe, who to believe.. So she wears “Bespoke”
          Clothes, and deletes her deceptions with the “Misspoke” Eraser…

  15. diptherio

    Re: The Danger from Low-Skilled Immigrants

    “The benefits of immigration really come from occupational specialization,” said Ethan Lewis, an associate professor of economics at Dartmouth College. “Immigrants who are relatively concentrated in less interactive and more manual jobs free up natives to specialize in what they are relatively good at, which are communication-intensive jobs.”

    How does this well-educated idiot thinks the labor market works? Having spend a good bit of my working life doing janitorial, home care, and other “low skill” jobs, I never once had the thought, gee, I’d love to go work in a slightly higher-paid job, but if I did that who would wash all these dishes?

    The article’s author also throws out some howlers:

    Not speaking English, the newcomers might bump their American peers from manual jobs — say, washing dishes. But they couldn’t aspire to jobs that require communicating with consumers or suppliers. Those jobs are still reserved for the American-born.

    Ever had a non-native-English-speaker answer your tech-support questions? Yeah, me neither…. And while the author doesn’t seem to be aware of this fact, if he ever bothered to travel he’d find that a lot of people speak English, all over the world, even if it’s not their first language. I’d have thought that was common knowledge by now.

    And check out the “logic” at work here:

    For instance, many servers and hosts in New York restaurants owe their jobs to the lower-paid immigrants washing the dishes and chopping the onions. There are many more restaurants in New York than, say, in Oslo because Norway’s high wages make eating out much more expensive for the average Norwegian.

    So, American waitstaff should be happy about their and their co-workers low wages, because if they made more money, there would be fewer restaurants for them to work in. Makes perfect sense, just ask any union-busting corporate executive, since that’s the same argument they like to make. And, as everybody knows, Norway is hell for workers, just awful…oh wait

    I could go on…and on and on and on.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Afghan war privatization:

    Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY.

    We are the Hessians now — the mercenary troops which American revolutionaries held in such contempt.

    How low can we go?

    1. Carolinian

      Raimondo points out that the model, the East India Company, had to be bailed out by the British government.

      Prince explicitly raises the example of the British East India Company, a mercantilist construct that deployed private armies in order to conquer the Indian subcontinent, as an example of a success story. Yet the East India Company was not a success: established in 1600 with a grant of monopoly on all trade with Asia, by 1772 it was begging the British government for a bailout.

      In other words a perfect PPP Trump project.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Envision Chaplain Hillary, reassuring Blackwater’s weary troops in Kabul that it’s a just war.

        “There are no atheists in a foxhole,” she intones wisely, as hardened combat veterans wipe away tears (and the video camera rolls).

        Suffer the little Afghan children to come unto me.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Suffer the little Afghan children to come unto me. Out in the open. Where the drone and other Real Time Battlespace sensors can see them more clearly. And the smart weapons can more effectively pink-mist them…”

      2. bronco

        The low point I think was when after losing at some battle or another the Indian leader laid all the english that surrendered out and herded elephants back and forth over them. A forerunner of that episode where Lucy and Ethel were stomping wine grapes .

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Excellent comment, Jim Haygood. Not the biggest concern, but regarding the mercenary organizations behind the effort to privatize the war in Afghanistan and presumably elsewhere in exchange for cash from an unaudited Pentagon, I wonder how both they and the governments who hire them will reconcile the potentially conflicting economic and governance interests of these entities?

      For instance, this was reported recently:

      Don’t know the legal implications of these military services contracts, as I am not familiar with their terms nor am I an attorney. But it seems to me on the face of things that any government that enters into a contract with a mercenary organization to conduct military actions runs the risk of conflicts of interest, and potentially even armed conflict, with other entities managed by that same company.

      Not to say that would actually occur, although I do recall reading a report that conflicting parties in a Middle Eastern country were both being funded and supported by different arms of the US government.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There was an old Star Trek episode of a future society where massive computers fought the battles, then the citizens of the “losing” nation would dutifully line up for extermination. Bill Shatner of course thought this was all unthinkable.
        But parse it for a moment: it would be much more efficient than all of the messy logistics of war today. Just run computer simulations of all societal conflicts (war versus peace, health care versus profits) and the losing side gets efficiently snuffed, maybe processed into Soylent Green.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Thought-provoking comment, HAL. As a fan of peace and humanity, I would agree with the Captain James T. Kirk, commander of NCC-1701, the Starship Enterprise. The “losing side” of civilians in most wars generally have little or nothing to do with initiating the conflicts; although they are often required to participate or find themselves being targeted once wars begin.

          I am reminded of an observation once made by Hermann Goering about war, and he certainly would have known:

          “Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

  17. Ranger Rick

    Trying to bring the North Korea expectations management propaganda into focus. “Reacting to North Korean threats makes the US look weak!”

    We’re talking about military posturing here, not economic talks. What rational actor threatens nuclear war against the United States knowing full well that a single submarine parked off the coast of the Korean peninsula could render their entire country radioactive in less than fifteen minutes?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not to mention a YUUUGE area of Not North Korea that happens to be downwind… though that would take a little longer than 15 minutes, of course…

      1. Mark P.

        A yuuuge area that also happens to be the world’s high-tech workshop, with all the fabs and such there.

        From Kim’s POV, it’s not ideal since it’s still MAD and he can’t yet directly threaten the U.S. mainland. But within those constraints it’s as good a hostage-style situation as he could hope for.

  18. dcblogger

    The Methodist church has a long tradition of lay preachers, and Hillary Clinton is loved by Methodists. I know people who go to her church and they Luv Luv Luv Hillary. She is so unpopular with this community that we forget that the majority of the country voted for her.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The majority of individuals who cast their vote… not the majority of the electorate, much more the country.

      Teach your children (math) well. H/T CSNY

    2. flora

      “loved by Methodists.”

      um… ‘some’ Methodists. The ones that voted for her. Many did not vote for her.

      1. Jim Haygood

        In fact the United [sic] Methodist Church likely will schism in 2019 over the ordination of gay bishop Karen Oliveto in Colorado.

        Her ordination was challenged by the more culturally conservative South Central district, which is likely to bolt if the church’s General Conference backs Colorado’s action.

        With her signature sharp tongue, Hillary is the perfect person to polarize this dispute to a raging boil and a bitter crack-up by labeling southern Methodists as knuckle-dragging deplorables [a term she coined at the LGBT for Hillary Gala in NYC].

    3. Adam Eran

      a) Remove California, and the majority didn’t vote for her.

      b) The Methodists have embraced a few unsavory characters. When they advocated for prohibition, the Klan and Methodists got together…

      1. dcblogger

        so what? keep California and remove PA and HRC won both popular and electoral college. California is part of the US and she won the popular vote.

        Lots of groups have unsavory characters. so what?

        all I am saying is that millions of Methodists would be very interested in hearing Hillary preach. Not on this site, but elsewhere.

  19. flora

    Lots of great links today.

    re: FB launching attack on TV. I’ve read elsewhere (can’t find the links, so this is ancedotal) that Zuck’s goal is for FB to become a total media monopoly, replacing MSM broadcast news and the big MSM newspapers as the user preferred platform. What a rentier stream of income *that* would generate.

  20. hreik

    Holy Moly:

    “He had his first son’s wedding one year, so he bought a pair of three-carat diamond cuff links that we made in our workshop,” said Filippo, the younger son of the label’s founder.

    The cuff links, he added, cost $100,000.

    “A year later,” he continued, “his other son got married. So we presented him with an $80,000 tie, with 100 diamonds on it. We made six of them. One of them is owned by Elton John. When we went personally to deliver it, we said, ‘Are you happy with the cuff links?’”

    The father responded with a shrug. “‘You know what?’” he said, according to Filippo, 34. “‘I lost them at the wedding. I partied too much.’”

    Stomach churning revolting. esp. the part about in the article about his ivory cuff links.


  21. Derrmot

    I went to my local pharmacy to get one of my crazy pill prescriptions filled this morning.  When I was waiting for my prescription, a mail carrier came up to the pharmacy window, and wanted the pharmacist to look into radiation sickness pills, “in case North Korea bombs us”, his words.  He said that because he worked outside he wanted to be prepared.  Then he started going off on the Cuban Missile Crises.  This pharmacist actually took all of this seriously and spent 20 minutes looking in their databases to see if they carried it.  Pharmacist said, “a lot of people are going to probably be asking for this”.  And I am the one that needs “crazy pills”. (suffer depression, was mentally battered for years in a hostile work environment by two abusive bosses, in part because I was not on board with Hillary and Obama, ended up acting out when boss started wearing a Hillary Clinton mask to meetings, they went to HR with a pack of lies about me writing 3rd party software with another scientist, the insane (name for it?, university HR type performance review) punishment lead me to resign.) Unemployed because I actually studied Marxian political economy in school and dared to speak.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Hope you find better work and peace in your life. Something we could all benefit from. Though too many of us mopes are involved, in too many ways, in making life worse for too many of our fellow mopes. All so the Owners can lose $100,000 diamond cuff links and think nothing of it.

      The pharmacist needs to ping his bosses about this potassium iodide business opportunity — I’m surprised I’ve not seen advertising for these, but then I don’t frequent nut sites or commercial TV. Of course it’s hardly a complete protection against what nuke war radiation will do:

      I wonder if an attorney specializing in workplace abuse might be able to help you get a little of your own back?

      In the meantime,, and

      1. Dermot

        Thank you. Talked to a couple of different attorneys. One of the things that set me off, was that these bosses (elites in the university sense) loved to lampoon people from the rural areas of our state. I am from the country. I am not a right winger but one of my focuses in school was rural sociology, so I understand a lot of what is going on out there. This university even calls itself (state’s name)’s “elite university”…hee. So their attacks on the rural prole also centered on this, (none of these admins have ever even been to the rural parts of our state) but of course there are no protections there legally for people like me that wind up at these institutions. So no help there. On the political harassment most attorneys wouldn’t touch it. I lost hope and just gave up. Trying to move on. I do geospatial tool development for problems in ecology and biogeography. Looks bleak out there job-wise right now.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > geospatial tool development for problems in ecology and biogeography

          It’s almost like the powers-that-be don’t want those problems looked at, isn’t it?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Buy the mushroom cloud.

      If a mass extinction ensues, nothing lost. If humanity survives, you’ll be rich. :-)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          It’s a WIN-LOSE (WIN)
          WIN #1: We don’t nuke, stocks go up in relief
          WIN #2: We nuke, stocks go up to “support the troops”, USA! USA! USA!, Krugman’s broken window hypothesis, massive grift opportunities from rebuilding, “now we can have peace in our time” etc

      1. Edward E

        Don’t worry, Ivanka is moderating. Can just envision Ivanka saying, “daddy, can I put my name on a couple of missiles and nuke Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus?”

    2. VietnamVet

      NBC News reports that Senator Lindsey Graham said that Trump won’t allow the regime of Kim Jong Un to have an ICBM with a nuclear weapon capability to “hit America.”

      “If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong Un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And He has told me that to my face,” Graham said.

      Clearly, the cost of destroying Seoul is of no consequence to Washington DC. This is how the Korean War reignites.

  22. Mark P.

    “It’s Hard to Price an ‘Extinction Event’ Like a North Korea War”

    Ain’t that the truth.

  23. Pookah Harvey

    The Right wing media has been hitting the Wasserman-Schultz Awan story pretty hard trying to prove the DNC hack was an inside job. Whatever the Awans were doing it seems to have made Debbie very nervous, to the point where she threatens the Washington DC Chief of Police with “consequences” if he doesn’t release a laptop (related to the Awan case) that she claims is hers. This exchange was video taped during a Congressional hearing concerning DC police funding.
    The video can be found in this story from the Daily Caller

    The relavant part should automatically start at 1:24:24


  24. hemeantwell

    A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack The Nation. Important.

    Yep. Glad to see the Nation getting on board.

    It would be a very worthwhile project to take five or so stories of this sort and see how far they penetrate into the MSM. It might serve as a measure of propaganda solidarity and could be used to identify issue areas where “freedom” — which might be nothing more than leeway for brand differentiation — prevails. How much coordination, if there’s any, exists between owners of major outlets re an issue of this importance and blowback potential? If they break ranks, how would they be punished?

  25. Elizabeth Burton

    Judicial Watch: HHS Documents Reveal Known Pre-Launch Security Flaws in

    It seems like this might be a good time to remind everyone that the company responsible for setting up that website was a major contributor to the gubernatorial campaigns of our current Sec. of Energy. And received a lot of nice government jobs in return, need one say.

  26. ewmayer

    o “Why Financialized Corporate Governance Works Poorly for the Real Economy But Greatly Enriches Our Graduates and Alumni | The Harvard Law School Forum on Financialized Corporate Governance and Financial Misregulation” — Fixed a couple of typos for ya, HLS headline writers.

    o “Chinese quantum satellite sends ‘unbreakable’ code Reuters” — Snip at end: ‘China insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.‘. Unlike the Exceptional Democracy, whose military has no such plans, I’m sure.

  27. Massinissa

    Kinda surprised no one is talking about the Libertarian article, to be honest. Not that I have much to say myself.

    1. ambrit

      The Libertarian article, being “one,” requires no modification, nor explication. It stands alone, resolute and self contained. It is like going to Gerunds’ Gulch.
      I usually find myself with too much to say and so, must practice “effective effacement.”

  28. Summer

    Re: Trump says he’ll beat opioid epidemic with law-and-order approach Politico.

    First Paragraph:
    “President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed his administration would beat the opioid epidemic by beefing up law enforcement and strengthening security on the southern border to stop illegal drugs from entering the country.”

    The opioid epidemic also has a lot to do with prescription drugs.
    This makes no sense except to provide more militarization of the police forces and increase surveillance.

  29. pricklyone

    Re: Troops, Trolls…
    Lambert, I started to read thru this massive thing, but was brought to a standstill at page 11, which is blank.
    Seemed a fairly important section, too.
    I don’t know who converted this to .PDF,(says Microsoft Word on top) but if it was you, you whoops’ed.
    Otherwise, guess I will leave it for now.

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