Links 10/31/18

Neanderthals were upright individuals, skeleton proves Telegraph (KW).

Mountain birds on ‘escalator to extinction’ as planet warms AP (allan).

As Prairies Get Plowed for Biofuels, Greens Demand EPA Act Bloomberg

Best Way to Fight Climate Change? Put an Honest Price on Carbon Editorial Board, NYT. A Pigovian tax.

What if We’re All Coming Back? Michelle Alexander, NYT. “Rather than imagining a scenario in which we’re entirely ignorant of what the future holds, perhaps we ought to imagine that we, personally, will be born again into the world that we are creating today through our collective and individual choices.”

The Global Economy’s Three Games Jean Pisani-Ferry, Project Syndicate

Private equity: Apollo’s lucrative but controversial bet on insurance FT

Commentary Human element is still key The Bond Buyer

Another Tesla with Autopilot crashed into a stationary object—the driver is suing Ars Technica


Brexit: expecting the worst EU Referendum. Structural issues in the UK’s internal supply chain.

IATA issues alarm about Brexit impact on global supply chains Logistics Management

Employers must check EU workers’ status under no-deal Brexit, says immigration minister Sky News

How the ECB could help Italy — and why it won’t Financial News


U.S. Says Talks to End Yemen’s War Must Start in November Bloomberg

Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is ‘chief of the tribe’ in a cowed House of Saud WaPo

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi dissident prince flies home to tackle MBS succession Middle East Eye


Chinese manufacturing activity slows as trade war hits harder than expected South China Morning Post

U.S. curbs exports to Chinese chip firm Fujian Jinhua as trade war intensifies Japan Times

As India tackles its bad loans problem, large local groups and global funds are gaining advantage (J-LS).

History war between Japan and South Korea heats up Asia Times (KW).

New Asian coal plants knock climate goals off course FT

New Cold War

Nuclear Treaty Abrogation Imperils Global Security Yale Global

Russia’s Dry Dock Accident Could Have Far Larger Repercussions Than A Damaged Carrier The Drive

Who Can Be Happy in Russia? Riddle

Trump Transition

Trump Wants to Curb Birthright Citizenship, Escalating Immigration Debate WSJ

The White House Counsel and the Pending Birthright Citizenship Executive Order Lawfare

Trump Claims He Can Overrule Constitution With Executive Order Because Of Little-Known ‘No One Will Stop Me’ Loophole The Onion

Graham to introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship The Hill

U.S. Postwar Immigration Policy Council on Foreign Relations. A timeline.

Mueller Wants the FBI to Look at a Scheme to Discredit Him The Atlantic

Trump visits Pittsburgh synagogue The Hill

U.S. top court wary of limiting company power to arbitrate disputes Reuters

Democrats in Disarray

With Just Days to the Midterms, Russiagate Is MIA Aaron Maté, The Nation

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Who is Your Therapy App Working For? Balkinization

UPDATE: U.S. Attorney Powell in WV: His office & FBI will be investigating death of mobster Whitey Bulger West Virginia News

Realignment and Legitimacy

Is This Worse Than ’68? Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

From Backwaters to Major Policymakers: Policy Polarization in the States, 1970–2014 Perspectives on Politics

Energy Giants Choose Nuclear Option in Election’s Biggest Fight Over Fossil Fuel Capital & Main. Colorado’s Amendment 74 would nullify Proposition 112 “which would require new drilling operations to be set further away from occupied buildings or water sources.” Both are on the ballot!

Entergy investigators: Company knew or should have known about paid actors at council meetings The Lens

Here’s what happened after California got rid of personal belief exemptions for childhood vaccines Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Income Inequality’s Most Disturbing Side Effect: Homicide Scientific American

The Supreme Court could make it harder for workers to sue over issues like sexual harassment and pay discrimination Ars Technica (KW).

Why Harvard’s case studies are under fire FT

Disney Disapproves Of The Disposition Of Your Remains: The Happiest Place On Earth Has Become A Receptacle For Cremains Above the Law (J-LS).

Italy’s Beloved Moka Pots Are in Danger of Going Extinct Grub Street (J-LS).

Naomi Watts to star in Game of Thrones prequel series Guardian (Furzy Mouse). Martin is the series “co-creator.” Shouldn’t he be spending his time finishing his book?

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. emorej a hong kong

    Buffy Wicks follows Larry Summers’ rule “Insiders don’t criticize other insiders”:

    Asked if she was troubled by Clinton’s steadfast support for the Libya war, or her backing for Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen, or her vote to launch the war in Iraq … — Wicks demurred.

    “They can do whatever they wish,” she said, when asked if she would call for shutting down the pro-Wicks outside independent expenditures.
    … group is principally funded by the two powerful healthcare lobby groups, the California Medical Association and the California Dental Association; as well as by EdVoice, a charter school PAC.


    1. Otis B Driftwood

      I live in CA AD15, and every week I get about 2-3 mailers from the Wicks campaign or one of her PACs. Wicks is a corporate democrat, fully incubated as a staffer in the DNC machine, who now seeks to begin her career as an elected official in the CA assembly.

      “If a democratic socialist can knock off an establishment Democrat, you’ll have a slew of Berniecrats challenging mainstream candidates,” warned former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, now a highly paid consultant, in his regular column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

      Kamala Harris’ mentor couldn’t have made the case for electing Beckles any better had he tried.

      Wicks’s fellow travelers include, most famously, Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe, who took a lobbying job with Uber in San Francisco in 2014 and is now at the for-profit foundation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. It also includes former assistant press secretary and National Security Spokesman Tommy Vietor, who moved to San Francisco to speech write for startup CEOs; former Obama Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, who joined GoFundMe; and former White House advisor Tom Reynolds, who was hired by Facebook, among many others. Plouffe, Vietor, Pfeiffer, and Reynolds are all Wicks donors.

      The generation of Obama staffers, their ideology was always kind of loosely defined in these non-ideological, aspirational ideals

      I’m voting for Beckles, someone who has never wavered in her principles and will be steadfast in the struggle to get corporate money out of politics and return the power of government to the people.

      1. How is it legal

        I hope Jovanka Beckles wins!

        I’d vote for her too if I was in that district. So rare to witness any California Politicians with an actual moral compass.

      2. Mike Mc

        Jeebus, Willie, that’s the whole freaking point.

        If the DSA – Democratic Socialists of America – and Berniecrats like me (old hippie two years from retirement) and my peers can’t pull this off, there won’t BE a Democratic Party much longer, unless the criminal conspiracy known as the GOP decides they need straw men and women to run against so the optics work properly.

        The Obamanites are younger, slicker and sneakier than the Clintonites, for certain. 35 plus years in the Democratic Party including a state delegate position for Gary Hart (yeah, I’m old) and a legislative district co-captain in the 2016 Nebraska caucus (which we delivered for Bernie) has made this crystal clear. Beware!

    2. THe Beeman

      I send money to people like Jovanka Beckles in the hope that they can stop Wicks.

      Democrats in the 21st century who demur when asked about war are like a cancer.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Claims He Can Overrule Constitution With Executive Order Because Of Little-Known ‘No One Will Stop Me’ Loophole”

    Good for a laugh this idea but then I had a thought. Perhaps Trump could use the Obama doctrine to solve his problem of squaring the circle. And Obama was a constitutional lawyer after all. In short, Obama said that as it was his duty to enforce the Constitution of the United States, that he had to be over it, even above it to do so. You know that I am not making this up. I suspect that Obama had seen the film “Men in Black” one too many times. Remember this bit?

    You’re no longer part of the System. You’re above the System. Over it. Beyond it. We’re “them”.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. cue the outrage…
      which has been markedly absent for all the other abrogations of the Bill of Rights(and other things, like Habeas).
      what remains unsullied? The Third is the only one I can think of that remains intact.
      But trump belches forth some gross obscenity, and suddenly ever body has a sincere consideration for Norms.
      Perhaps if trump…or whatever manifestation of Id replaces him…were to tweet an executive order, placing troops in homes…would that be a bridge too far?
      Sometimes, I think Camus is the patron saint of our age.

      1. Doug Hillman

        Trump could do no wrong if he was as clean-cut, charming and articulate as Obama. Conversely, imagine Obama with a teased comb-over ‘fro and a compulsive case of oral diarrhea on Twitter; picture a paler version of Vegas boxing promoter, Don King.

        People might have actually noticed a few of Obama’s minor flaws — that his cabinet was staffed by Goldman, Boeing, and Lockheed; that he appointed a former insurance racketeer to oversee the bailout of her cronies; that he personally took single-payer off the table as he extorted premiums from everyone; that he created a Cat Food Commission to “save” Social Security from needy elders for his Wall Street patrons; that he staged coups in Honduras and Ukraine; that he escalated the war in Afghanistan, waged aggressive wars on Libya and Syria, and aided and abetted SA’s war on Yemen; that he deported more econ refugees, including Honduran orphans, and separated more children from parents than any of his predecessors; that he actually bragged about being good at killing people (which incl brides and bridesmaids) and joked about his “droning” his daughter’s suitors … Perhaps melanin helped camouflage a few of these trivial blemishes. Trump’s optics are all wrong.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The moral and intellectual rot that protected Obama has protected other Democrats including white male Democrats over the years such as Bill Clinton. I was at a local festival and talking to people at a booth while I signed a couple of petitions, and the one woman asked me if I would volunteer for the Kaine campaign after my “liberal” positions were established. I suggest Kaine was completely worthless. The tabler was shocked and seemed to think I might not know who Timmy was, so I listed some of his greatest hits. “Oh, I don’t know if that was Tim Kaine,” was her response. Did you know Tim Kaine is friendly in person? How many politicians are friendly in person? Like 3 or all of them, hence why they are politicians…

          Pointing out Kaine ceased restoring felons voting rights as Governor caused significant discomfort. Whether she believed me or not isn’t really relevant, but it was clear she started to suspect she didn’t know much about Tim Kaine, just that he was friendly.

          This kind of interaction is repeated over and over again. I think Obama’s skin color may have protected him from criticism before he became President as it was often shouted down or dismissed as what he had to do facing the affiliated obstacles.

          I was at my community market recently, and I happened upon my sister. We were walking to get lunch and passed by a Democratic linked voter registration guy. My sister and I look young. So did the tabler stop up and inquire about whether were were registered to vote. No, he was talking to some fairly well dressed older, white woman (classic Hillary voter, I’m sure) barely noticing people walking by discussing the latest Trump tweet. The tabler was there to virtue signal not register voters.

          The nominal center right followers (aren’t they all right wing including the Democrats?) act like Trump is making the world safe for peace while he is doing even more saber rattling than Obama who was criticized for being too hawkish and too peaceful by Republicans (why appealing to Republican voters is a waste of time, even for Hillary). The simple answer is partisans usually don’t care. Their heroes can do no wrong.

          1. Doug Hillman

            There are times I wonder if the CIA already possesses the Holy Grail of all Orwellian tyrants — effective, transparent mind control. We are so easily separated from objective reality. Are we even now being bombarded by micro- theta-waves that prevent us from seeing the scaly hides of our political, financial, and military elite? Is there something in the water (a flouride derivative?) that prevents Good Americans from seeing the blood dripping from the flag they pledge allegiance to? Is Vlad the Meddler somehow to blame?

            I’ve oft wondered if Obama, a consummate Mesmerist, had received advanced training in neuro-linguistic programming wth voice and body-language coaching, as if groomed well in advance to be the fulcrum of the Wall Street-Neocon coup that has completely captured the US economy and war machine. Mostly in broad daylight. Stunning.

            WRT Obama, I was admittedly blinded by color-blindness in 2008; not motivated toward critical thinking, “don’t look a Trojan gift horse in the aft” as they say, but by early 09, I could never have imagined the guy would get away with muder for eight years. And still admired? WTF! Is it LSD or Psilocybin?

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Those are excuses for blind celebrity worship and a quest for easy answers. If there is a problem, its television.

              Obama’s promise was “yada, yada, yada, appeal to nostalgia, easy answers, and we are really good with no conflicts, we aren’t red states or blue states, we are the united states…and we all pledge allegiance to the same flag.” Race problems? Ghettos in America? Immigration? Wars? All were solved by Obama for people who are emotionally worried by those problems.

              With Obama, you didn’t have to think. Kerry and Hillary had experience where we could just trust them. At no point, did these people ever say here is where we went wrong, here are failings, and here is how to fix them. John Kerry is reporting for duty. Hillary is ready. Obama is like so smart, he’s like Spock (not the Captain of the Enterprise). Problem solved. Gore was a steady hand dedicated to the status quo. Problem solved.

              Even Shrub basically promised, “hey, i’m gonna git my daddy’s friends to make decisions for me, heh heh.” McCain, an American Saint. Mittens was a governor and ran businesses, so he knows how to run stuff…I know.

              They promise easy answers instead of moral clarion calls followed by a list of reasons about how we can reach that moral position. I’m not a fan of the Kennedys, but “don’t ask what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” and the rest is in direct opposition to the candidates who are presented as easy answers. “Obama’s got this.” On one hand, JFK was a genuine optimist who said we can make the world better together versus false optimists who tell us things are great or need a simple change. The return of civility. If Trump was gone, we wouldn’t have missed brunch.

              MLK, a great orator, in an open “letter” brought up the “white moderate.” He says the people who know Jim Crow are bad and do nothing are the greatest enemies to freedom than the Trump crowd. Its not about LSD.

              I don’t remember when, but I’ve been under the impression that besides the obvious desire to protect against retaliation, anonymous pamphleteers (John Dickens, Paine, Madison, Hamilton, a different range of actors in Colonial America) understood there were emotions attached to their presentation and names. The arguments they made needed to be separate and understood separately if they were to be carried out beyond their immediate electorate.

              Its just human nature. How many Christians are there? Isn’t the whole religion based around, we were damned and now we are not? So keep your head down and carry on, God’s got this. He was carrying you which is why you have no foot prints. I’m sure a person will jump in to point out the flaws with this reasoning and why those people who believe are misinformed, but its what they believe. I can’t speak to other religions, but Christianity has had a history of charismatic preachers that people would follow. As a lapsed cradle Catholic, I was stunned to realize Protestants simply didn’t go to their nearest church but would follow around ministers as if they said anything that relevant, considering they are using the same source material for their performance.

              1. Doug Hillman

                How many Christians? A very small fraction of its claimants will meet Jesus’ final approval on that fateful final review. “Did you clothe me, feed me, comfort me, nurse my wounds, visit me in prison, etc?”

                “No, I’ve never met you.”

                “True that; nor I you.” (Swipe left!)

                I’m a recovering Calvinist myself. Talk about excruciating dissonance! Enough to envy Alice her leisurely walk in Wonderland Park. Never could reconcile eternal damnation or fathom Jesus and Yaweh (Jehovah) as the same entity, let alone distant relatives — one a communist rabble-rouser and healer, the other a vengeful genocidal homophobic misogynistic slaver. I suspect there are many misdiagnosed cases of schizophrenia stemming from that Grim fairytale.

                1. Unna

                  Perhaps you might like the second century heresy of Marcion of Sinope who believed that the god referred to as “Heavenly Father” by Jesus was a higher god and distinct from the Yahweh deity referred to in the Old Testament. This was a belief related to some doctrines of Gnosticism.

              2. knowbuddhau

                “Isn’t the whole religion based around, we were damned and now we are not? So keep your head down and carry on, God’s got this. He was carrying you which is why you have no foot prints. ”

                No. You’re mixing Old and New. In the New, you’re supposed live in the realization that you and the divine are not two. Not much of that in evidence, amirite?

                If a beach walked on itself, would it leave any footprints?

                Like so many good things, it’s been crapified: The people who say they speak for god say god says, ‘You have all the freedom to do exactly as I, the Engineer King, maker of all Things, intend for you to do. Anything else and it’s all hell, all ways, for ever, for you. Now, go be free! (I’ll always be watching you.)’

                And people wonder where the Church of NatSec comes from.

            2. polecat

              Must be the bathsalts … the faithful seem to immerse themselves fully into the Baptism of the Dissonant.

        2. Mark Gisleson

          There are three political parties in this country: Republicans, their Democrats, and our Democrats.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i would sincerely like to meet “our democrats”. Is there a missionary expedition to the Texas Hills in the works?
            They’ll never get the Real Republicans around here(mostly older, well taken care of, dominate all the local civic clubs(opportunity to dress up and show off the jewels))….but there’s a whole bunch of dispirited and angry people out here, if anyone’s interested…generally unaffiliated, until you yell at them.
            If someone honestly lefty doesn’t speak to them like they matter, be sure that the various protofascists will.
            I am more and more convinced that the Nobility wants us to cull ourselves.

            1. Wukchumni

              Democrats in the Central Valley are few & far between typically, but not here in tiny town where about 2,000 inhabitants are split down the middle politically, maybe leaning more left but barely.

            2. Doug Hillman

              A self-culling herd is far out, man. But in an imperfect world, we have a trillion-dollar-a-year military killing machine. Use it or lose it, dude!

            3. NotTimothyGeithner

              “Our Democrats” are the ones you (YOU! not ME) like.This is why its best to think of politicians as Victorian era staff and just be done with the idea of “our team.”

            4. blennylips

              > I am more and more convinced that the Nobility wants us to cull ourselves.

              They do favor self licking solutions.

    2. marym

      Obama was continuously criticized for overreach by the right. Where do those critics stand on this or any other Trump executive order or policy?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Yep. I thought it was weird, back then, that they felt they had to make things up to be all bent out of shape over.(“OUR healthcare plan is really socialism! don’t fall for it!”-“our second choice for preznit is from canada!”(or panama))
        It’s only bad when they do it.
        (and leave the big important systematic things under the rug, please)

      2. vlade

        Nah, it’s always “them”. (Pratchett had a really good passage on this).

        If it was Obama, it was “them” who were bending the constitution, if it’s Trump it’s “them” they have to defend against by bending the constution. Feel free to swap Obama and Trump in the previous sentence.

        Humans by default split the world into “us” and “them”. It was great while it lasted from evolutionary perspective, but run it’s course and some.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Rev Kev was contrasting Trump with Obama. Nothing about their critics.

        Now, the focus shifts to them.

        The claim would be stronger if it were ‘the left was criticizing Obama at that time,’ instead of ‘Obama was then criticized by the right.’ The omission weakens it. Perhaps it can be remedied.

        Until then, the result of that claim is then that there are no (consistent) critics left, from the right or from the left, to criticize whoever is in the White House.

        And they (whichever party is in charge, not just now) can do anything they do.

        That would be unfortunate.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        There seems to have been genuine scholarship done on the Fourth Amendment — undid Dred Scott, gave former slaves citizenship, so it’s a pretty big deal — but so far as I can tell from the cites to the Congressional debates of the time by scholars, not Tweeters, an originalist would have a very hard time with Trump’s interpretation.* More reading to do….

        NOTE * Of course, the same could have been said of the Second Amendment, whose reinterpretation also depended on re-parsing grammatical forms.

        1. allan

          Where Four = Fourteenth. I’m currently reading (slowly) Ian Millhiser’s Injustices (from 2015,
          so pre-Trump), although immigration was already a hot topic). Millhiser discusses the Fourteenth a lot because of its relevance for civil rights, but as far as I can tell he never mentions birthright
          – if there was any “controversy”, it didn’t merit discussion.
          It seems to be completely settled case law that the Amendment says what it says.
          You have to admire how the WH, the RWNM and a few fringe lawyers (Turley is now officially fringe) have turned 140 years of Constitutional law on its head overnight.

    3. DJG

      The United States without birthright citizenship isn’t the United States. In particular, the three amendments after the Civil War, and the results of the Civil War, are definitive. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendmends are pretty darn clear. And the Fourteenth Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states (something not to be forgotten in the debate over citizenship).

      The Civil War was fought so that black people would be fully citizens. The cretinous decision in Dred Scott had to be overturned.

      So debating birthright citizenship and proposing the end to birthright citizenship pretty much show that the curtain is coming down on the long U.S. melodrama. I guess that we always wanted to be the world’s largest Honduras (sorry, Hondurans). The oh-so-noble experiment is over.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I was a teenager and people played tennis, the Pheasant Ridge apartment complex near Puente Hills mall opened up, with 6 brand new lighted courts, so we’d crash the place and play there.

        For a long time now, it’s been a way station for pregnant Chinese women not from here, to maternity.

        Last time I drove by earlier in the year, I saw 3 preggers, 1 probable, walking down the road, having a stroll.

        “Women at several locations will be interviewed to see whether the information they provide is useful to us,” said Lori Haley, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who was at the Pheasant Ridge Apartments Tuesday morning.

        The investigation opened a window into the complex world of Chinese immigration and travel visa requests.

        1. divadab

          Yup. Trump is NOT ending birthright citizenship – anyone born here of people legally here will be citizens. He’s just ending automatic citizenship for the children of people not in the US legally.

          All the hysteria about this and it seems to me, a naturalized citizen who jumped through all the hoops and paid all the fees and takes my citizenship oath seriously, that Trump’s solution is common sense and not inconsistent with the 14th amendment:

          “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States”

          the key words being “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. If you are not here legally, how can you be “subject to the jurisdiction”? Rather are you not evading the jurisdiction of the United States?

          1. Todde

            The parents are here illegally.

            The children born here are not.

            It gives trump a peg to hang his hat on, but i dont see him prevailing.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Since it is phrased that way, that it is possible that a person can be born in the United States and not be subject to the jurisdiction thereof, the question is, when does that happen.

            Some examples of a person born here and subject to the jurisdiction, and some examples of a person born here and not subject to the jurisdiction????

            1. Romancing The Loan

              So diplomats can have kids that are born here yet are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US, and they don’t automatically get citizenship.

              The implication to that argument however is that Trump’s executive order, to be effective, would place illegal immigrants entirely beyond the reach of federal law. It’ll be fun to see how this novel argument plays out in the courts but I don’t expect it (if he even issues one in the end) to get any further than his first immigration order did – the one explicitly based on religion.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The worst case scenario, in that situation (not subject to jurisdiction) – could that involve the imamous US base in Cuba?

                1. Romancing The Loan

                  No, no, that’s a different question, whether we can unconstitutionally hold noncitizens outside US territory. Normally the constitution applies to US territory or to govt actions on citizens anywhere they go (hence the lawsuit by that poor 16-yr old kid we droned).

                  The worst case scenario of this would be to make illegal immigrants’ kids’ born here after the effective date of the order (can’t strip someone of their citizenship) equivalent to exiled diplomats from their parents’ home country.

                  Pursuant to treaty (different for each country) there’d be rules on how fast we had to exile/deport them and what conditions etc., but otherwise the rules of the US would just not apply to them – they couldn’t be arrested and imprisoned other than to be deported under those treaty rules, their debts couldn’t be enforced, all sorts of utter insanity. It’d be like the purge, but only for our born stateless permanent underclass. …Somehow I don’t see it happening.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    What would the British think, if their heir to the throne should be born here in the US?

                    Would he or she be an American subject, in that case?

              2. J Sterling

                Diplomats aren’t beyond the reach of federal law. They can be deported if caught outside the grounds of their embassy. Illegal immigrants don’t have any embassy to be inside the grounds of, so wherever found, they can be expelled like diplomats.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > subject to the jurisdiction thereof

              If illegal immigrants were not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” ICE would have nothing to do. (Reading as a 21st century reader; I haven’t read enough of what the writers of the Amendment meant.)

      2. Trent

        That is not why the civil war was fought. Your argument is like saying the United States entered World War One because the Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat.

          1. dcrane

            Wait…I’m no Lost Cause adherent, but this means that slavery was the reason for Southern secession, not necessarily the reason that the North fought the war. Wasn’t Lincoln pretty consistent in maintaining that the war, which was mostly initiated by the North (Ft. Sumter complicates matters, I know) was meant to restore the Union…and that the Emancipation Proclamation was meant to undermine the South’s ability to fight its war? This is somewhat different from saying that the war was fought to end slavery.

      3. Fiery hunt


        The dock…Analysis: The 14th Amendment may not have been intended to provide citizenship to everyone born in the U.S.

        Short version; kids of foreign diplomats or foreign soldiers (those who are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of US) are not US citizens even if they are born on US soil. Undocumented immigrant kids have even less “claim”.

        If it’s not a “right” for everyone, is it a “right”?

        1. marym

          The only people in the US not subject to its laws are people with immunity to those laws.

          Anything else is just an excuse for ethnic cleansing.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            You leap from outrage over anchor babies to “ethnic cleansing?!?

            This is Exhibit A: how to lose elections.

            1. marym

              There was no need to leap. Stepping stones have been placed by Trump, Sessions, and Miller in the immediate past, and the right has been clearing the path for years.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          Foreign diplomats have sovereign immunity. Undocumented immigrants do not; they are quite completely subject to the jurisdiction of the United States government while they live here. Most notably, when they are imprisoned for violating our immigration laws and thence deported.

          The brown people despisers among us are really working too hard on this one, and stumbling over the obvious as they strain away at it.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Might be better if you actually read the link…

            It also concluded that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was meant to exclude the children of “ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign states born within the United States.”

            Supreme Court 1872

            And I am not a “brown people despiser”. Calling people racist does not win the discussion …something Democrats have still not learned.

            1. divadab

              Yes. My own personal experience in this regard has rendered me unsupportive of the Democrats. If you call me racist for speaking my mind on a matter of consequence for CITIZENS ONLY, then a pox on you and your stupid party.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks for that quoted passage from the link.

              Some questions remain though.

              Don’t diplomats get traffic tickets, for example? Are they subject to the jurisdiction therefore, in some cases, but not in other cases?

              1. Fiery Hunt

                Not a legal scholar (obviously, some may say!) but I would guess the “jurisdiction” would apply to “citizenship”, not law breaking. I.e. you can break the law here and not be a citizen… but that the country you are “citizen(s) or subject(s) of …” has jurisdiction over you. We have treaties and agreements with foreign countries regarding this…an example would be extradition, either into or out of the US. (ignoring our “renditions”, of course! )

              2. JTMcPhee

                No, they are immune to traffic tickets and any other form of “jurisdiction’ of the US or its states. All that can be done to them is expel them,, and this is sort of a single area where there is “international law” actually in effect. Because our “diplomats” want to be free, too, to foment Color Revolutions and engage in political and economic espionage, and “get away with murder,” and our soldiers, except where there has been some express waiver of immunity, via something like a “Status of Forces Agreement” with the other nation, can rape and murder and steal and engage in all kinds of corruption in all those places that the Empire has ‘illegally’ invaded and attacked. They MAY be subject to prosecution via the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But where the other country’s law might provide a certain and likely harsh punishment, and establish the amount and require the payment of “blood money’ (which the US often pays to pacify the locals anyway), the UCMJ as applied has not had much deterrent, let alone retributive, effect on bad behavior by the Imperial troopers, at any grade level.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Thanks JT.

                  So, they can drink and smoke weed at the same time, and are not subject to the jurisdiction thereof. That’s crazy.

                  No wonder they meddle in elections.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Surely they can’t dissect frogs, among other beings, even inside or outside the consulate.

            3. Ook

              This goes the other way as well:
              One can well imagine many situations when one would not want to be considered a citizen to a country to which you have no connection other than chance location of your parents when you were born.
              I know someone who was born in Chicago to grad students, who left the country as an infant after his father graduated, and later went to a lot of trouble establishing himself as a non-citizen of the US.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Short version; kids of foreign diplomats or foreign soldiers (those who are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of US) are not US citizens even if they are born on US soil. Undocumented immigrant kids have even less “claim”.

          Again, I haven’t studied the debates so I can’t swear to the intent of the writers of the Fourteenth Amendment. But thinking pragmatically, this is the problem they faced: A huge population of citizens (C), a less huge population of former slaves (S), and a tiny population of diplomats and soldiers (D), all of whom are well-documented citizens of some country, just not our own.*

          Should S be treated like C or D? D demands documentation. How on earth is documentation going to be possible for slaves imported from Africa and sold? It won’t be. The only common factor in S is that all S were born here. So make that the criterion. And if we try to add exceptions (1) you get an enormous administrative apparatus (2) which the irredentist Slave Power will game. The result would be to make some former slaves not citizens, whereas the clear intent of the writers was to make all slaves citizens. And if there are a tiny number of false positives, so effing what? (I’m speaking as in the 1860s here, not today. I’m doing that because the claim is being made that Trump’s interpretation is originalist, and I don’t believe that.)

          Again, the two major parties are like funhouse mirror images of each other: Liberals love complex eligibility requirements for the provision of government services; conservatives love complex eligibility requirements for citizenship (including voting). Sadly, the miserable quality of services delivered by liberals makes it harder for them to fight and win against conservatives (even leaving aside conservatives culling non-conservative voters).

          NOTE * I suppose this would apply as well to American Indians, who are (were in the 1860s? I don’t know)

          1. Bridget

            “Foreign diplomats have sovereign immunity. Undocumented immigrants do not; they are quite completely subject to the jurisdiction of the United States government while they live here. Most notably, when they are imprisoned for violating our immigration laws and thence deported.”

            Unless they reside in self-styled sanctuary jurisdictions, in which case they they may be protected from the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States government but not able to birth a citizen.

          2. Bridget

            This is a really interesting analysis and one I have not seen before during the course of extensive reading on the subject. It’s an originalist(ish) approach that seeks to reconcile the history and the text of the amendment with a modern day situation to which it was pretty clearly not intended to apply. The question now being…..should it be applied anyway, and if so, how.
            Thinking through, the courts could dodge this by saying that the amendment’s impact is strictly limited to the context of establishing citizenship for former slaves and the question of birthright citizenship is essentially tabula rasa. Really interesting.

      4. marym

        The ease with which politicians and media have introduced this as worthy of debate is horrifying. We’re quite far along on “…then they came for.”

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Immigration and illegal immigration are complex issues…touching on everything from jobs and wages to housing and health care costs. It is right and democratically worthy to discuss how and what citizenship is. If your position is “open borders”, then I can understand that on principle and the questions of its practical impacts are certainly to be discussed. If on the other hand, one is not for open borders, then the “paths” to citizenship should also be discussed.

          For the record, I do not necessarily support Trump’s alleged change…but I think its pros and cons should be discussed. Our immigration system is broken. There are too many ramifications to ignore it…and to declare everyone who wants to change it a racist is Trumpian in its simplicity.

          1. marym

            Immigration is an important issue. I’m very pro-immigration, and don’t always have completely logical answers to the con side of the argument as it relates to impact on jobs, housing, etc. that you mention. Those are discussions worth having. Those aren’t the discussions prompted by the reasons Trump & co. give for their actions. Instead it’s constant fear-mongering about immigrants as dangerous, criminals, rapists, MS-13, ISIS, fraudulent-voter wannabes; along with few to no domestic policies directly improving wages, benefits, working conditions, healthcare, or affordable housing, and some policies to make things worse.

            Trump and the people with whom he surrounds himself have made their position on race and other aspects of diversity clear throughout their public lives. It’s up to them to show whether they care about any other aspects of the discussion, and up to their followers whether they require anything of their politicians beyond elimination of the Other.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              But that’s just it, isn’t it?
              Pro-immigration side doesn’t ” have completely logical answers to the con side of the argument as it relates to impact on jobs, housing, etc.” In other words, completely ignoring the costs to Americans.

              Talk about eliminating the Other…that’s exactly what so many Americans who have been left behind feel like.

              And it’s up to Democrats and social justice warriors to bridge the gap. Because Republicans are useless …but they will use the Democrats disconnect to win elections.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > few to no domestic policies directly improving wages, benefits, working conditions, healthcare, or affordable housing

              As opposed to “no to few” from Democrats. Clinton thought $12 was enough, not $15; liberal Democrats in general oppose unions, who are a central force in favor of better working conditions; Schumer and Pelosi both oppose #MedicareForAll; the fight for affordable housing in California is being organized by Democratic strategists (as were fights against single payer and against fracking in Colorado, as is the fight against minimum staffing levels in nursing homes in Massachusetts).

              Real wages have been flat for 40 years. Despite our brilliant economy today, they are going down for some. If it’s a zero sum game — as under austerity it is — then appeals against The Other are able to get a lot more traction than they do when people see other options for themselves. And although conservatives are beating the drum against The Other* as hard as they can, liberals are working to keep the game zero sum.

              NOTE * Leaving aside the whole “deplorables” discussion.

              1. marym

                I hadn’t said a word in defense of Democrats on these issues. Regardless of how or why white supremacy ideas “get traction,” the idea that it will help white workers is unsubstantiated. Trump and his cronies don’t even make that argument. I argue against it when made by people who themselves may want a better world for workers.

                Whether any theoretical help for whatever white workers are allowed to remain un-deported, banned, incarcerated, disenfranchised, or dead would be worth having in a value system driven by hate and fear would be another question.

          2. Unna

            “…and subject to the jurisdiction thereof…”

            My bet is this will be a more complex issue than people, mainly looking through their partisan pro immigration – anti immigration lenses, currently think. For example, in the 19th century Indian persons born within the territory of the United States were not recognized a citizens because they were not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States since they owed loyalty to their native tribes and not to the United States. Subject to the jurisdiction thereof is therefore not the same as having to obey the laws of the United States while present within its borders.

            Birthright citizenship as the Democrats are currently arguing it has resulted in certain absurdities: a Canadian couple both Canadian Citizens, the wife pregnant, is briefly in the United States to see a sick relative when the wife goes into labour and gives birth to a child. Three days later they return to Canada. The child never again returns to the United States in her entire lifetime. Forty years later, the child now grown up is considered a citizen of the United States. Oh, and please file forty years of back US tax returns, together with forty years of tax penalties plus interest. If you somehow think that’s an injustice, you had better rethink the conventional MSM wisdom on birthright citizenship.

            There’s a lot on the internet about this, and my suggestion is you READ both sides with arguments written by legal scholars and not listen to mouthfuls of political entertainment by TV bloviators, both right and left.

            Remember, the BIG K is on the Big Court now. And also remember that the answer to the question “What is the Law?”, is and always is: The Law is what ever the Court says it is.

            1. marym

              Let’s not listen to media bloviators, and let’s also remember that the people pushing to end birthright citizenship aren’t concerned about anything like ameliorating the consequences of an unexpected US birth of a Canadian.

              1. Unna

                Agreed. All the court cases and all the legal arguments will only be about results, inclusive immigration or exclusion, depending on what you want.

                I only did a little bit of reading and came away with the impression that the issue is complicated with numerous SC cases stretching over 200 years, with reference even to, god forbid, English statutes and common law in order to help interpret terms and phrases as used in early American legislation on citizenship, etc.

                So the interpretation of “…subject to the jurisdiction thereof…” could then come down to back and forth arguments by partisan motivated historians and experts on legislative and constitutional history. And with that, you enter into the world of the XVIII card of the Tarot deck, “the Moon” i.e. the world of legal shadows, rhetorical illusions, public confusion, but with the potential of magnificent creativity….and yes, I’m being sarcastic.

                If you want the full meal deal on this sort of thing, read Scalia’s Second Amendment decision, Dist of Col vs Heller. Wonderful story about militias during the English Civil War and about how the framers understanding of them influenced their intended meaning of the word “militia” in the Second Amendment.

                Such a history lesson! But, is it true? Does it even matter?

                But it is certainly true that there are thousands of very upset Canadians who are not too happy with their unwanted “gift” of American birthright citizenship which they never wanted and find difficult and expensive to get rid of. That could be a public policy argument against birthright citizenship to show how it produces bad results in the real world for America’s closest and most beloved allies, the Canadians…..

                Of course they won’t care about Canadians one bit but they will care about the argument’s psychological effect on the public and its potential use by Trump Justices as a rhetorical tool to get a desired result.

        2. J Sterling

          Most countries have never not “come for” babies born to illegal immigrants. The minority of countries that allow it has been geting smaller for a long time. The Brits abandoned birthright citizenship decades ago, and India a couple of years back. Nobody’s adopting it.

      5. rd

        Canada had one of the most famous territorial birthright challenges ever in 1943. Part of the Dutch royal family was living in exile in Canada due to the German occupation and Crown Princess Julianna was pregnant. Since Canadian citizenship is automatically bestowed on anybody born on Canadian soil, the Canadian federal government declared the maternity suite within which she gave birth to Princess Margriet to be “extra-territorial” (like being born at sea) so that she would have only Dutch citizenship passed on “jus sanguinis” (by blood) which is how the Dutch pass on citizenship. This was done so that she would not be denied the right to succeed to the Dutch throne which would have happened if she had another citizenship.

        So Trump can simply prepare an executive order declaring that the land that every pregnant illegal immigrant woman walks on to be “extra-territorial” (like having a little cartoon bubble always around them) so that if she gives birth, it is not US territory and therefore the child is not an American citizen.

        It’s also an excellent approach for things like favored polluting companies who can have their discharges to be declared “extra-territorial” as well so they are not subject to US laws.

          1. rd

            I believe it was the Dutch government in exile and the birth certificate would be the same as being born on a ship. The first birth in space will look similar.

    4. Lee

      Based on nothing more than a portion of a radio interview heard in passing, I got the impression that this measure would be aimed at denying birthright citizenship to those born of parents who are not legal residents of the U.S. I guess this addresses the issue of splitting up families. We could deport families intact. Problem solved!

      My son is the great grandchild of an illegal immigrant. Would this make his daughter, my son’s grandmother, then her daughter, my sons mother, then our son subject to loss of citizenship status? Now, they did say the measure would not be applied retroactively but one could quite plausibly assume that such multi-generational scenarios would occur in the future.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You’re right that in your particular case…only that case…it would not apply (as you say, not retroactive).

        As for examples in the future, there is one that would be opposite of that.

        Here, imagine an invading army from, say, Russia. Will their babies by the female and male invading soldiers born here be considered Americans?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Sounds like only the lucky (again) 1% will be able to date those female Russian invaders.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > imagine an invading army from, say, Russia. Will their babies by the female and male invading soldiers born here be considered Americans?

          In that case, we will probably have more important things to worry about. Wikipedia says the default case for Russian citizenship is by blood (jus sanguins).

    5. Hepativore

      Has there ever been any sort of legal ruling by any court specifying what a president can and cannot do by “executive order”? I am not asking out of snark, but it seems like presidents throughout our history have been given quite a bit of leeway in regards to how much power they have through such a measure. After all, it seems that they can use it to bomb countries without a formal declaration of war, (Not that congress will ever formally declare one these days) waive due process rights for citizens, open extralegal detention centers, etc. What are the legal limits of an “executive order” if any?

      Anyway, in retrospect, Obama can be effective and hard-hitting on issues if he has the interest in doing so. A few days ago he was calling out Trump for his blatant lies on the ACA and preexisting conditions and all of his accusations were accurate and blunt. Obama has shown that he can and will fight for things and get them when he actually WANTS to. However, campaign Obama and president Obama have shown themselves to be almost entirely two different people.

      1. Unna

        A pure guess: Trump declares in an Exec Order that no Department of the Federal Government will henceforth recognize birthright citizenship of children of Illegal immigrants nor issue them documents to that effect. That triggers an immediate law suit in an immigrant friendly district court. The court issues injunction declaring Trump’s Exec Order in violation of the Constitution and the case takes the eventual trip to the Supreme Court. Will the case get there before or after Trump names another Supreme Court Justice? Ladies and Gentlemen, please place your bets, red or black.

  3. Steve H.

    > Is This Worse Than ’68? Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative
    > Income Inequality’s Most Disturbing Side Effect: Homicide Scientific American

    Buchanan has a perspective overemphasizing mass mobilization, which in ’68 was driven by the draft. Antiwar activities rode the infrastructure developed by the civil rights movement. IMO, the last effective mass protest in the US was in Seattle 1999. The 2003 protests against the Iraq war were like water off a ducks back.

    Now much of the affective aspect of protests is cordoned off in social media. For a less-biased discussion of what constitutes ‘worse,’ see:

    The Impending Crisis
    Conclusion: Two Ages of Discord

    * I’ve writ in the past about how NC was one of only two sites that passed my analysis at the ‘usually right’ (>3:1) level. There are three provisional additions:

    : Turchin keeps being confirmed in his trends, and we’ll know about his conclusions by 2021.

    keeps being very useful for me. Might not be for you unless you change the coordinates.

    : John Robb seems to have been decreasing his number of false positives. This takes him from ‘home-run hitter with wild misses’ into ‘don’t discount what sounds nuts’ territory. His last big whiff was on blockchain, which NC keeps being correct on concerning cryptocurrencies.

    1. Summer

      2018 is worse because with all the accumulated evidence and death, nothing has been learned.
      P.B. thinks people actually not cooperating with oppression is chaos.

      Not cooperating is the only way out of here.

      1. DJG

        Summer: Agreed. And there are these paragraphs:

        At the Democratic convention in Chicago, the thousands of radicals who had come to raise hell congregated nightly in Grant Park, across from the Hilton where the candidates and this writer were staying.

        Baited day and night, the Chicago cops defending the hotel, by late in the week, had had enough. Early one evening, platoons of fresh police arrived and charged into the park clubbing and arresting scores of radicals as the TV cameras rolled. It would be called a “police riot.”

        Sorry, Pat, but it was a police riot, just like the one at the Haymarket some 80 years earlier, just like the endless number of police riots, just like the one that I saw at the anti-NATO demonstration in Chicago a mere four or five years ago. Just like the one in Charlottesville.

        Not cooperating is the only way out of here, as you write. And not believing that right-wing violence is legitimate is part of non-cooperation.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Unfortunate that in the comments on the TAC piece, not a one mentions the enhanced role of state surveillance as a factor in the now.

      1. Steve H.

        It’s not a causal force in the theory. As a proxy, it might be tangential to elite overproduction.

        The structural-demographic perspective says that much of what we attribute as causes are secondary or amplifier effects. For example, number of unemployed males aged 20-30 correlates with instability. Along those lines, the following is more important than media/surveillance:

        First of all, it turns out that the prime decade driving the increase in non-participation is the 25-34 age group:

        Screentime is a means rather than a cause. It amplifies what Greenwald said about people who “call names of the people who voted the way you that you think was bad.” Robb is very specific about the mechanism of the moral warfare, NC has noted how the #moves have benefited elites, but these are about attributing blame, and don’t address the causal substrates. Namely, elite overproduction and popular immiseration.

    3. Summer

      I look at that “instability graph” and I see place that has been unstable from about post 1850…

      I’ve said before that the terms of political debate seem stuck between 1850 and 1950.

  4. onlythis

    I know it’s my own fevered mind, but Brexit is beginning to feel like the Soviet collapse, another large disaster capitalism project. What might be up for grabs? Anyone waiting in the wings?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that’s a rather sobering lens to look at it through.
      Brexit has been pretty peripheral for me, but it feels chaotic and self-defeating…especially given the lefty critique of euro financial hegemony(and the lack of effective representation).
      The latter was left by the wayside and the British version of teabilly was allowed to hijack the whole enterprise.
      cousins across the pond, indeed.
      maybe these egregores the financial elite inhabit have become supranational enough that they see no reason to not eat their own…as in send in the Chicago Boys to manage the harvest.(world without end…)

      1. Off The Street

        There is no little concern that Italexit or similar wildcard activity might precipitate the EU collapse. After reading Michael Hudson’s enlightening (and frankly scary) article yesterday, I have even more concern about the ongoing viability of that and the repercussions.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The EU goes back to the Articles of Confederation problem the US avoided with the advent of our Constitutional rule. Hamilton and Madison weren’t random political leaders. They were Revolutionary War vets and surrogate sons of Washington. Without those legitimate heirs, would the pre-1789 USA been able to avoid a splintering or put together a cohesive government. We still had a Civil War.

        Before Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal was a puppeteer. He had a front man, knowing he wouldn’t be accepted as legitimate until his big win over Churchill’s plan. Nasser was a puppeteer at first. Its a hypothetical, but the Fourth Republic of France had issues its structure could deal with. DeGalle fixed those problems, but what if DeGalle had a stroke in say 1950. Who could have done it? With the rightward shift in Israel, Sharon was the last guy who could curb Likud’s excesses given his status. Everyone on the political right doesn’t have the standing as an individual defender of Israel that he had.

        The ad hoc nature of the EU makes the whole place incapable of being governed outside of good times. Does the President have to run every decision by the Governor of California or New York? No, he doesn’t care. In the end, the mistake wasn’t creating the USofE.

    2. cm

      You heard it here first. With Brexit and Merkel’s declining prospects the future is clear: England at war with Germany!!!

      Macron will get to play soldiers, too…


  5. allan

    Pittsburgh shooting exposes rift in Israel, which doesn’t recognize all Jewish denominations [LA Times]

    … in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel has a role in the fight against anti-Semitism, no matter where it occurs, official denouncements of the crime quickly devolved into a political squabble that reveals the growing rift between American Jews and the Jewish state.

    Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life congregation hosts communities representing three streams of progressive Judaism. Most American Jews with a religious affiliation belong to one of those branches, but none of the denominations is recognized as properly Jewish by Israel’s Orthodox religious authorities. …

    David Lau, Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, who is both a religious authority and a public servant, engaged in linguistic acrobatics so as to avoid referring to the site of the massacre as a synagogue, or Jewish house of worship.

    Interviewed by an ultra-Orthodox newspaper, Lau said the victims “were killed because they were Jews … in a place that for the killer was a place of clear Jewish character.”

    Lau’s remarks sparked a firestorm, with opposition leaders calling on the government to break a decades-long unwritten agreement with ultra-Orthodox religious parties whereby other denominations of Judaism, principally the Reform and Conservative wings, have no legal standing. …

    “a place that for the killer was a place of clear Jewish character” is definitely one for the ages.

    A special relationship, indeed.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So, was Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi saying that some Jews are more equal than others? So what does that make Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life? A heathen temple?

      1. Arizona Slim

        Tree of Life is very much a synagogue. I’ve been there.

        And why was I there? I was there because of my boss’ catering business.

        I was one of his restaurant employees and he needed some help for an all-day conference at the Tree of Life temple. Since I needed the money, I went and helped.

      2. ambrit

        It’s typical religious orthodoxy at work. Remember, some among us consider those Nazarites, aka Christians, as a splinter sect of the Hebrew faith.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Unless you believe he spent his missing years in India (or there about…say, Gandhara) soaking up Buddhism.

  6. Chuck

    Martin’s books have become irrelevant. Expect sales of future releases to be far behind the first 3 books. It’s his own fault. He appears to have become obsessed with celebrity and wealth.

    1. JohnnySacks

      I gave them up for stillborn years ago and wish I never started reading them. His ego got the better of him, time to fire up my usenet software stack to view the HBO consolation prize.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The world of Game of Thrones is every bit as vivid as the world of Lord of The Rings (and far more insightful about power and the moral ambiguities of power than LOTR: “They make you swear and swear”). See “When did you get hooked?” in the London Review of Books for the appeal.

        Clearly, Martin has a problem with ending the book. So did Tolkien: After the ring is destroyed, the prose goes horribly awry with soupy triumphalism. Tolkien only regains his grip when the story returns to the shire. (Tolkien didn’t create problems for himself by killing off too many characters, either. But sheesh: Martin’s world is about to be over-run by zombies! Don’t leave us hanging!)

    2. Nick

      The last couple of books were pretty bad too. Third book came out almost 20 years ago. I don’t follow him but it seems like he does have other, productive writing projects. I wonder if he just dug himself into a narrative ditch with the 4th book and then had the misfortune of the HBO show coming out 15 years after the first books.

      Lol at “obsessed with celebrity and wealth.” I guess it’s hard not to take it personally when the interests and ability of an author change over the course of a few decades….

      1. cm

        Agreed on the 4th book. Too many new characters, too few resolutions. He’ll never finish the series.

        However, he has changed my reading habits. After having been similarly burned by Rothfuss’ _The Name Of The Wind_ I only read completed series now.

      2. a different chris

        And couldn’t it just be put as “enjoying celebrity and wealth”??? He has no obligation to do what we want him too.

        If your goal is “c&w” and you haven’t achieved it yet, you tend to be focusing on the wrong things. And yes that is not a good thing. He, OTOH, wrote some books which may or may not be great lit (TLDR :)), but eventually they made him rich and famous so I’m not going to criticize him riding it out in his old age.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        The soapy plot twists and turns (example: Red Wedding) where so many major character are simply removed from the narrative when in retrospect they could have been addressed in asides he is running into a situation where the main narrative is simply dull (there may not be an ending but it might not serve any kind of thematic function) but still requires plotting to get the pieces to the final places that simply won’t hold up or fit a thematic element. Not that removing Boromir (???) from the narrative wasn’t a great idea, it was as it introduces an element of danger, but it strikes me as soapy moving from one twist based on a half remembered historical plot to another.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          I just got tired of the constant butchering of decent, ethical characters while the nasty ones thrived. Which, I have to suspect, may be why he opted not to continue. I get the desire to avoid Mary Sues, but when even the purported “good people” are basically just lighter versions of the nasty ones, why should I care what happens to them?

      4. ambrit

        My first question when reading that headline was; “Who is this Naomi Watts person?”
        (I must be getting old.)

    3. ewmayer

      I’ve watched the first few seasons of GoT on used-DVD, but not a yuuuge fantasy buff, so that was enough for me.

      I am curious, though – is there some unwritten rule that to become a wildly popular fantasy author one must have dual middle initials “R.R.”? Tolkien, Martin… or maybe, giiven J.K.Rowling’s success with the Harry-Potter-verse, said rule only applies to male fantasy authors?

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Mueller Wants the FBI to Look at a Scheme to Discredit Him”

    I don’t know why. He has done a good enough job on himself over the past two years.

    1. Skip Intro


      Mueller Wants the FBI to Look at a Scheme to Discredit Him

      The call is coming from inside the house!!!!

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Trivializing the corruption for a laugh…

      Maybe we are all just so tired of it all, you gotta laugh to keep from crying. Confession: In an abstract way I register the Pittsburgh massacre as awful, but I am not scared or sad. It has become too common. Mainly my response is thoughts (we need gun control, Trump encouraging white supremacists is bad), not feelings.

      There is an overload on my moral/empathic imagination. I think I will only feel something if it happens to someone I know or in a place I call home.

      AZ Slim, there was a heartfelt remembrance of your doc on CNN last night, what a good and giving soul he was.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        America’s cries of confusion amid the bloodletting, the desperate chest pounding, hair tearing grief and accusations arising on all sides, pointing one at another, resound yet again. But the answer is clear, it stares us in the face, as a nation, as a people, we have abandoned the one law to rule them all.

        Americans embrace killing both at home and abroad. It is our law that authorizes it.

        1. Todde

          More so the golden rule.

          More encompassing.

          Odd rule for a God who constantly has His people kill others in his name.

      2. Arizona Slim

        He was indeed a good soul.

        And he put up with a lot of shhhh from me. Let’s just say that I was a lousy patient.

        1. Chris

          There are no “lousy patients”, Slim. It’s never the patient’s job to keep the doctor happy. That’s not how receiving care is supposed to work.

    3. ewmayer

      “I have here, in my hand, a piece of paper with the names of the heads of all 17 US intelligence agencies confirming that It was the evil rooskies trying to discredit me! Clearly, this should be considered an act of war against our wunnerful incorruptible peace-and-love-spreading democracy…”

  8. Wukchumni

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers runs the reservoir on one side of town, and National Park Service runs the forest for the trees on the other side, and an interesting thing is going on, in that a few NPS employees have shifted over to the dam’d side, on account of the park service being strangled for money, while the USACE is a beneficiary of mo’ manna.

    The ultimate prize if you work in NPS is the hallowed full time position, as opposed to being a seasonal employee. It can take 10 years to attain. USACE is hiring for full time positions now.

    They are completely different cultures politically in terms of personnel, most that work for the Corps are really conservative, and it’s just the opposite for the fern feelers @ NPS.

  9. Old Ari

    Has anyone thought of dispersing fine aluminium powder in the upper atmosphere, to reduce the amount of heat coming from the sun?

    1. JohnnySacks

      No primetime TV ad for “take two of these and all your problems will be solved by tomorrow” is going to solve the problem. Hate to say it, but a more effective solution would be a major pandemic, although extinction of a specific species would be the most immediate successful solution.

      1. John k

        Typical pandemic just knocks off 10-20%, would just set us back a decade.
        Yes, eliminating one specific species would save many others, but most events that would take out one that survives in most above water environments would have unacceptable collateral damage.

    2. SimonGirty

      Think, Kurt Vonnegut’s brother had been asked about this, as part of his light metals cloud seeding experimentation in the late 1940s? Bloomberg/ Guardian might help, they’re big on ramming specious bioengineering down our cumulative throats (as Naomi Klein predicted?)

    3. LarryB

      Think we might want to test this before we run a massive experiment on the whole planet? (And, yes, I know that’s what we’re doing now, but see no reason to compound the problem.) How to do this test is left as an exercise for the reader.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        That’s my first reaction as well.

        “No hard work. No need to sacrifice anything. Only need smart ideas.”

    4. ambrit

      Such ideas have been ‘floated’ before. Mother Nature will be giving us a beta test version of the concept when one of the world’s ‘supervolcanos’ goes off. Think, hello Yellowstone, goodbye global warming!

      1. polecat

        Kinda like Pompei, ambrit .. but on a continental scale !

        In which case, setting up shop in a rather deep mine shaft (with food, water, air filtration .. and .. uh .. ‘mates’, wink wink !) might not be such a bad idea .. assuming the .1%s haven’t bogarted them all.

  10. bob

    Italy’s Beloved Moka Pots Are in Danger of Going Extinct Grub Street (J-LS).

    From personal, everyday experience, the bialetti versions of the moka pot sold in the US are junk. Props for kitchens, not very good at making coffee.

    The best moka pot I ever had was a bodum. They don’t make it any more.

    Other versions can go into and over $100.

    Crazy. I found a cheaper one that works, but not well, so no recommendation. It should be possible to buy a working version of a moka pot for less than $50, if not less than $30.

    1. divadab

      French Press, mes amis! Meilleur saveur, plus facile, puis moins dificile a netoyer.

      Plus pleusieur pots moka sont fait d’aluminium et nous savons que la verre est beaucoup meilleur pour la sante.

        1. Bridget

          I think that the tastiest and richest coffee comes from a French press. But unfiltered coffee supposedly raises LDL cholesterol, and the paper filter of the Aeropress results in a healthier product. I use the Aeropress for that reason. There is a method of using the Aeropress that immerses the coffee so that it’s much richer than the drip method recommended by the manufacturer. The immersion method is shown on any number of YouTube videos and I highly recommend it.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Ha, I am reading this in Italy while drinking a coffee I made on an eighties-vintage moka pot. Part of the problem may be that the moka pot design is pretty much unbreakable. The composition handle looks potentially like it could eventually fail, although anyone who could whittle wood and peen over an old nail to make an improvised rivet could probably add a couple more decades to its life. Really the only consumable part is the gasket, which also anyone could make themselves with a sheet of cheap rubber gasket stock and an exacto knife. Great, practical, resiliant, mature industrial design has the side-effect of killing demand for the product I guess. There’s almost no reason for anyone who has a moka pot ever to replace it with a new one.

      1. BillC

        I’ve found replacement gaskets pretty easily at local stores (e.g., Coop) in years past. Haven’t needed to look lately, but given this news, maybe I need to stock up.

    1. perpetualWAR

      The scariest thing about that song is that she sees voting as a solution to all of those situations. Hint: both parties don’t give a flying [family blog].

  11. Olga

    On climate change – and its power of indiscriminate destruction. RT is reporting on two disasters in Italy; a giant fire that consumed hundreds of luxury cars ready for export (incl. Maserati) and a weather-caused damage to many yachts. Some here have argued that the rich are fine with climate change because they’d somehow escape. I have my doubts… once they realize there’s “no exit,” maybe we’ll get some action to implement solutions. (I can imagine, though, that it’d take a lot more than a few damaged yachts.)

    1. Summer

      As long as people agree that in the event of such upheaval “prices” must remain established, we all deserve to die.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Best Way to Fight Climate Change? Put an Honest Price on Carbon Editorial Board, NYT. A Pigovian tax.


        It’s not likely we get honest price under capitalism (the current version or even the ideal version).

        Could we have gotten an honest price under, say, the USSR? Not likely either.

        Can we get a honest price under a Green Dictator, who dictates an honest price?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Gaia will punish the wicked by flooding the world.

            Time to build an ark, one pair of everything…including dinosaurs.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The thing that has always puzzled me is this – why did he need to bring a pair of sharks or whales in the Ark?

                Wouldn’t they have been happier during those few raining days outside?

                1. polecat

                  Got a hint from some nerdy folks disembarking a Klingon bird-of-prey maybe ..
                  … and the chemical formula for transparent aluminum.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                And hopefully, adult, responsible humans don’t need a Green Dictator to stop doing that.

        1. Grand

          Obviously markets ignore massive amounts of information. Pigou did the first systematic analysis of non-market impacts (which he called social costs and benefits), but the best book on the subject is Kapp’s “The Social Costs of Private Enterprise”, which he wrote in the mid 20th century. One of the most important books on this subject there is.

          The problem is, of course, that the climate crisis is one part (a big part) of the overall environmental crisis. There are many other issues involved in that crisis beyond carbon emissions, although they are obviously all linked together. And markets themselves are a key driver in the environmental crisis. Can we place a value on every negative environmental impact, resource, ecosystem service and species? The neoclassical types claim they can, they’re full of shit. They analyze the economy in terms of the individual, maximizing utility and all of that. Even if we could, should we commodity nature to that extent? Beyond that, if we could, the price of literally everything would explode, which by itself would result in pretty radical changes in how the economy works. In regards to pricing carbon (which, as flawed as it may be, is better than nothing), carbon is embodied in everything. We also have to take into account, when pricing carbon, the actual end of our species, the worst possible outcomes. What price to you place on that? Can it be priced? What is 2% of infinity? So, everything would go up in price, massively, and many luxury goods that middle class people buy are very carbon intensive, so those things would become too expensive for most people. How, additionally, do we actually accurately price carbon when we have internationalized production as we have, where end products have components made in multiple countries, all of which use lots of carbon just to ship that stuff? Then there’s the problem of offsets, which are often outright fraudulent.

          If we really wanted an economic system that was sustainable, we would need a system that uses markets far less than this system does, a system that realizes limits to growth in throughput and pollution generation, and we would need to acknowledge that a chaotic and decentralized market economy cannot deal with these limits without some planning and coordination. So an increasingly non-market economy, which acknowledges limits to growth and employs planning. Whatever that system is, it isn’t capitalism. And the most “progressive” party in this two party state cannot bring itself to support single payer when 80% of its base wants it. I have hope, I do, but not in this system or these parties. If we don’t get radical changes, someone else is going to have to save us and start this process.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Given that there is very little time left (unless we had passed the event horizon), would dictatorship be an option?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > a chaotic and decentralized market economy cannot deal with these limits without some planning and coordination.

            Well, that’s why we have Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Who Can Be Happy in Russia?”

    The most entertaining part of this article is the mob that published it – Riddle. As an oddity, the .io in the internet address resolves itself into the British Indian Ocean Territory. Diego Garcia perhaps? The fun bit though is the About Us page at where such names as Francis Fukuyama and Zbigniew Brzezinski pop up as well as some Polish government entity called the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding. The only thing missing is mention of the Atlantic Council. As for the article itself, not that great but if you want to have fun, imagine that the article is called “Who Can Be Happy in America?” and reread it but putting it into an American context. The same can also be done for the UK and Australia or any other country of course.

    1. polecat

      restated as ?? ..

      “Who can be happy stumbling around with the congenital affliction of sporting five eyes !”

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Having dealt with the so-called “safety net” in the US on more than one occasion, I found reading this entertaining for the irony. One could easily substitute “the US” for any instance of “Russia” and not have to change another word.

  13. Wukchumni

    50 years ago, my dad was in the stock business & plied his trade @ the Pacific Stock Exchange on Spring St. in downtown L.A.

    Once a year i’d get to go to ‘work’ with him, the highlight being the big computer with whirling dervishes spinning to and fro, punch cards and all that. I think it had to be in a climate controlled room, if memory serves.

    Computers meant less than zero, for all intents and purposes back then.

    1. DonCoyote

      55 years ago, my dad was a math teacher in Chicago, having gotten his BS the previous year. Being a teacher and newly married, he thought (incorrectly) he might be safe from the draft. The army, seeing his BS, sent him to Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia to learn about and work on computers. After he got out of the army, he stuck around the Philadelphia area and became a computer systems analyst for Sun Oil.

      In 1972, I remember riding the subway downtown with him to his job. My main memory, besides the punch cards and huge magnetic tape spinners (I don’t know if it was climate controlled so much as sealed to minimize dust and particles getting in to mess with the tapes), was playing “Lunar Lander” on his computer–a text game with exact parameters (starting speed and fuel) of the Apollo module, in which you specified strength and length of retrorocket “burns”, and in the end crashed into the moon (or escaped the moon’s gravitational pull if you burned enough fuel early–but of course you still died).

      Computers were used during WW II for codebreaking and other things, and the military were obviously early adopters. The word “computer” probably didn’t mean anything to most people 50 years ago, and obviously their pervasiveness and influence has grown tremendously since then, but they did have an influence, even then.

      1. Wukchumni

        It wasn’t as if computers weren’t around, just that nobody in the general public had anything to do with them in their daily lives in terms of interaction. The one I remember in my dad’s workplace was about the size of a file cabinet and weighed a bunch.

      2. Big Tap

        True but during WW II ‘computers’ were mainly actual people who did computations on mathematical problems like improving rocket trajectories. They did have primitive computers like you mention also.

  14. Amfortas the hippie

    1. I’m pleased that Michele Alexander seems to have been reading Rawls.
    Original Position is a welcome re-addition to the menu.
    2.on the Arron Mate thing in the Nation…foundational to the whole RRR! Opeation is the sense that any discontent with status quo ante is (1) yer own damned fault or (2) the result of sinister machinations by spooky Ruskis.
    as if us individual humans can’t look around and find ample reason for disillusion on our own. It’s never stated outright…”you rubes are too stupid for self-governance”…but it’s there in the struts and beams.
    a marriage in hell of Orwell and Huxley, we wear our proverbial chains as common fashion.
    and finally, 3. Remember when Pat Buchanan was considered a reactionary fringe character? lol.

    1. hunkerdown

      This is pretty close to outright:

      Let it stand as a principle that just government should derive from the people. But let the people be taught that they are not able to govern themselves.
      -Jeremy Belknap, 1787

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      He kinda still is, and he always spoke some truth, which was refreshing. He never supported the US gallivanting all over the world leaking blood and treasure like there was no tomorrow (well, maybe there isn’t).

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier Is Damaged When Dock Sinks, Crane Punches Huge Hole in Ship”

    Hard luck for the Russian Navy but they have had problems with their shipyards infrastructure for decades. The US Navy have had their own troubles too ( but not as bad as the Russians. One main problem was that the old USSR dispersed shipbuilding and their related industries throughout the Union. As an example, ship’s turbines and transmissions were made in the Ukraine so after 2014 the Russians have had to spend enormous resources learning again how to make this stuff. They are not there yet but they are working on it.
    Would you believe that the shipyard trying to save a buck led to this sinking? From a Russia Insider story at

    “According to the prevailing media narrative, Kuznetsov was being readied for launch when the dry dock lost power from shore, causing it to lose stability, list, and eventually sink. Supposedly wet snow and sleet led to a buildup of ice on the transmission power lines which created problems across Murmansk. There may have been a large power surge, resulting in the emergency shutoff of the pumps maintaining ballast on board PD-50. A different story holds that the power lines were severed resulting in an outage. Either way, the dry dock lost electricity and began to sink while holding the Kuznetsov…Of course the dry dock should have had its own independent electricity supply via four on board diesel power generators (the sort of thing that would have prevented it from sinking), but in the interest of cost savings and ‘efficiency’ the shipyard saw fit to reduce the crew responsible for power generation and not buy fuel for the generators. The rest of this sordid tale almost writes itself.”

    1. polecat

      Humm ..
      ‘lost electricity vs independent power supply ..’ Shades of Fukushima

      Was the ship in question a ‘nuclear wessel’ in the making ?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps Russia will send her warships to China for repair and maintenance?

      And outsource their weapons productions as well. Cheaper and better quality.

  16. jefemt

    Oil Giants Nuclear Option. Terrific in-depth article, great reporting I would have missed. Muchas Gracias!

    1. grayslady

      Agree. Real reporting. This could happen in any state where fracking or oil/gas production is allowed.

      1. newcatty

        Yes, in-depth reporting. We lived a brief while in Front Range of Colorado. Fracking at the time was mostly relegated to the Eastern region of state. Not too long after we left, the Boulder local newspaper, which we occasionally kept track of, begin to feature the encroachment on the towns and cities mentioned in the article. Boulder, in my reflections, projected the illusion of being an exceptional town: We are so bright with our university, prestigious research entities, hip restaurants and the bestest farmer’s market in the country…we have to wear shades (also lots of sunshine to boot). Almost all who choose to live in our amazing town are fit and healthy, mostly bicyclists and/or runners. Bikes have the run of the road. I knew a friend who got caught between having to choose between driving into a string of riders or slamming into a deer…She, being a seasoned Boulder driver, just barely missed the deer and the riders. Said It was one of scariest moments of her life. Boulder is also one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The small towns around it are (were?) nice places to live and raise a family, retire, or otherwise live a good life. Lots of cool music to enjoy. This narrative of greed and corruption by big oil and gas, as well as the selling out by the state governor and Republican legislators is tragic for the environment and natural beauty, but more importantly a real undermining of the people’s rights to have control of their lives. It could happen anywhere…

  17. Wukchumni

    There were about 30,000 Fentanyl deaths last year in the USA versus 75 in the UK.

    Are we being targeted by the exporter-China, pretty much exclusively?

    1. divadab

      Well overdose is the leading cause of death in young men in Canada also and fentanyl a major part of it. SO maybe China targeting north america? They are certainly buying up assets at a good clip.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, 4,000 Fentanyl deaths in Canada in 2017 which equals the U.S. # on a per capita population death basis.

        75 deaths in the UK is almost like an asterisk, a drop in the bucket.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was going to, but decided against it, leap to the thought that maybe this was China’s ethnic cleansing of North America, in order to get Lebensraum.

        Too early in the morning to do any leaping.

    2. DonCoyote

      Well…if we adopt the Case/Deaton “deaths of despair” paradigm, then we could conclude that the UK has less despair. But can we get evidence of that from other deaths of despair data (all overdoses and drugs)?

      OK, US has approx 5 times the population of the UK. According to the NIH, US has about 88,000 alcohol-related deaths per year, while the NHS archives say there were 6,813 alcohol related deaths in the UK in 2015. A fifth of 88K is 17,600 so the alcohol deaths are 2.5x less per person in the UK.

      There were 8,441 OD deaths in the entire EU in 2015 (2,655 in the UK), as compared to 33,091 in the US for 2015. Once again, the UK overdose deaths are about 2.5x less per person, arguing for overall fewer deaths of despair (and lower yet for the EU as a whole, about 6x less per person).

      Now I didn’t pull out Fentanyl specifically (because the numbers are a little harder to come by, although here’s an article saying the problem is growing in Europe as well). But I’ll finish with two things:

      1) Fentanyl is schedule II in the US, but schedule I (equivalent) in the UK and most of the EU as well (this only applies to legal fentanyl, but at least it is harder to come by (although supposedly it is not that hard to obtain illegally over the Internet);
      2) Several EU counties, including the UK, have take-home naxalone programs and do other things in treating addicts that are better. So, arguably, they don’t have less fentanyl (although they almost certainly do, at least for now), they have fewer fentanyl deaths.
      {Shorter: even if you don’t buy the deaths of despair framing, there are relatively simple things the US could do to reduce fentanyl deaths which it is not doing}

    3. Ford Prefect

      Another failure of socialized medicine. Clearly the UK doesn’t realize this is the solution to the pension/Social Security/entitlement crisis gripping the developed countries. Mitch McConnell is all in on this means of cutting the federal deficit.

  18. Carey

    From article on latest Tesla crash:

    “So to make the problem easier to handle, the cars may just ignore stationary objects, assuming that the driver will steer around them.”

    “Our Autopilot is not an autopilot.”

    1. Carolinian

      Sounds like the owner of the other car is the one who should be suing. Defendants can be both the Tesla driver who couldn’t be bothered to read the instruction manual and Tesla itself for overhyping.

      1. RMO

        I’m an outlier here in that I don’t hate Tesla (though their loopy, probably sociopathic founder CEO is another story) but calling it “Autopilot” AND (over)promising a coming-real-soon full self-driving upgrade was colossally stupid. Drivers SHOULD read the damn manual but let’s face it, with cars almost no-one does and it’s the marketing that sticks in their minds. Design of the machine and the marketing should take this into account.

        On related “RTFM” incidents, there have so far been two cases I’ve heard of where the owners of a Cadillac model which has electrically operated door latches (the current Corvette has them too) got trapped inside for many hours when the battery gave up. There is a manual release for this eventuality but it’s located down on the floor between the door and the seat so it’s not easily seen. Sure they should have read the manual so they knew that, or they should have been informed of that feature by the dealership but I think it’s more on the designers to make an emergency backup system obvious and intuitive. The fact that even Tesla with their questionable human-factors work made the emergency door release on the Model 3 pretty much impossible to miss should really shame the GM engineers.

  19. Wukchumni

    >Disney Disapproves Of The Disposition Of Your Remains: The Happiest Place On Earth Has Become A Receptacle For Cremains Above the Law

    That’s pretty freaky, leaving your mortal remains in the happiest place on earth, only to be subjected to “Code HEPA” for removal from the premises, and off to some dumpster.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Key point from Dayen’s article:

      “If anything, the campaign reveals the lucrative nature of dialysis and the oligopoly getting rich off it.”

      And calling it a dialysis industry is being very kind. It’s more like a racket.

    1. John k

      He’s really old, not risking many years. Plus he’s probably filled with patriotic fervor, or at least loyalty to the relay family.

  20. Cynthia

    “Naomi Watts to star in Game of Thrones prequel series Guardian (Furzy Mouse). Martin is the series “co-creator.” Shouldn’t he be spending his time finishing his book?”

    There lies the problem. Game of Thrones is an epic fantasy. And what’s often the case with epic fantasies is that they don’t have an ending, they can literally go on forever. Which is why I don’t particularly care for epic fantasies, at least the ones made in the past forty years or so. I’d prefer to watch fantasy films that have some sort of closure. And because most fantasy films made today, or in the recent past, are overly epic and lack closure, I have to look back to the 1930s to the 1950s to find a fantasy film that I really enjoy watching.

    Since it’s Halloween, I’ll mention two that involve ghosts and the supernatural. The first one is “I Married A Witch”(1942). It’s a fantasy film that is also a romantic comedy, which makes it somewhat of a rarity. What makes this film particularly good, besides having a great storyline and a great director to film it, is the amazing chemistry between the two leading characters, played by Veronica Lake and Fredric March. Oddly enough, the two despising each other in real life served to strength their on-film chemistry. This is something nearly impossible to do, much less with utter perfection, as Lake and March managed to do in this film.

    The other ghostly film that I’ll mention is “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”(1947). It’s a romantic-fantasy film, starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. Joseph Mankiewicz, its director, captures the picturesque beauty and charm of turn-of-century life by the sea like no other director, then or now. Between the hauntingly beautiful music composed by the great Bernard Herrmann and the hauntingly beautiful Gene Tierney, this film is truly perfect, in every sense of the word.

    1. Eclair

      Cynthia, I find that fantasy books and films are essential to my remaining sane in the face of our daily dose of horrors. And, as you point out, the recent turn from a 90 minute film, or one or two books, to the ‘epic fantasy’ that goes on forever, runs the risk of becoming life, rather than offering a tiny bit of escape from life.

      1. ambrit

        Agreed. ‘Modern’ Fantasy has become an exercise in ‘Pure Escapism’ instead of it’s original function, ‘Situational Escapism,’ mixed with ‘Disguised Social Psychological Criticism and Education.’
        For example, C. S. Lewis’ fantasy works are a species of Christian Apologism. A form of advertising aimed at promoting a variety of positive social values.
        A modern version of fantasy are the purported ‘children’s anime,’ like Pokemon, etc. These are deliberate exercises in Commercial Apologism. A form of advertising aimed at promoting a form of negative social values. (If you don’t think that encouraging the young to mis-allocate resources is a negative value, well, we have an argument waiting.)
        Roughly, old style fantasy tried to help the individual adapt to the world around them. New style fantasy seems intent on rendering the ‘consumer’ of it incapable of functioning effectively in the world in which they see themselves as miscast.
        Oh well. I tried.

        1. Romancing The Loan

          You’re just not reading the right new “old-style” fantasy. Give Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, and Daniel Abraham a try.

        2. Sparkling

          How is buying a video game any more a misallocation of a resources than buying a movie? Unless you think both are misallocations of resources, in which case if “new style fantasy” is code for “dumb blockbusters” then I have a bunch of kitsch and gag humor from the last two centuries to show you.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Pokemon’s slogan is “gotta catch them all” while introducing new Pokemon one needs to acquire. Of coure, there are now loot boxes which may contain special products allowing one to play the game better.


            This episode of South Park is particularly illuminating. Its not even fun. The Pokemon construct is work or reliant on hideous sums of money. Not that other companies and previous products aimed at children didn’t have similar problems, but the constant expansion of lines and reliance on super secret characters that can be found through some kind of process of holding the pause and power button just right while saying a little prayer or sending a huge check.

      2. Cynthia

        Yes, and the never-ending nature of epic fantasy films today have the risk of becoming nothing more than glorified soap operas. You can stop watching one of them for a while and then pick it up again and never feel like you missed out on anything. I prefer a one-shot deal fantasy with a clear beginning, middle and end. Most epic fantasy films from the past were done that way as well. “The Wizard of Oz”(1939) and “The Thief of Bagdad”(1940) come to mind. That’s why, IMO, that they have become enduring. They have withstood the test of time, if you will. You won’t be able to say the same about “Game of Thrones” (2011-….) and other soap-opera style, epic-fantasy films.

    2. Carolinian

      Well Game of Thrones reaches an ending next year. Hence the need for a “prequel.” Doubtless Cersei will get it in the neck.

      And if you read the books Martin seemed to be increasingly writing himself into a corner. Fresh eyes were needed. He’s an old TV writer and doubtless was fine with collaboration. A prequel is a way to start fresh.

      1. pretzelattack

        i think he just got lost, should have planned it better and finished in 3 books the way he originally intended.

          1. ambrit

            He would have been better served had he ventured through the Mezentian Gate.
            I don’t know how Martin gets along with his characters, but Robert E Howard, in an oft quoted passage from a letter mentions feeling as if the character, the actual Conan of Cimmeria were standing behind him, telling Howard his, Conan’s, life story while the author transcribed. Did Martin’s characters gain the upper hand?
            The theory that Martin has joined the Austrian School is intriguing. I did get a feel of the presence of the approving shades of Sacher-Masoch and de Sade in some of the plot lines in the odd snippets of the series I’ve seen online. Quite ancien regime, with an admixture of herrenvolk.
            Panem et circenses.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t even know what Game of Thrones is, other than hearing the name from time to time.

      I am debating whether I should spend some time to learn about it.

      1. pretzelattack

        well, since he apparently will never finish the series, i would not recommend starting the books.

          1. JTMcPhee

            You don’t need to know what GoT, is or the states and characters and empires and various plot lines. Because I can see that you are aware of the “motions” of empires, nations, and the humans that play them out, and probably have a good idea of how the series (fiction and real-life, thanks to “growth” and “trade” and the seemingly infinite series of “threat and counter-threat and counter-counter-counterthreat,” tied mortally to “science” and “technology” and “political economy”) is going to turn out: Everyone dies. Death wins, but unlike the refined figures of Death in our mythologies, just DOES NOT CARE. I doubt even “Mad Dog” Mattis and Peter Thiel and Bezos and ObamaTrump all working together could defeat Death, for all the “tech” in the Valley. I do happen to think of what we call “Silicon Valley” as the biblical “valley of the shadow of Death,” and sorry, YHWH, I do fear Evil…

            Love and live while you can.

            And who knows whether it will be fire or ice? Not enough obsidian to go around, and Cersei and her opponents, following the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Thanatos, are wedded to self and death…

    4. Lord Koos

      I’ve never understood the appeal of this show. It just looks like a Lord of the Rings with t**s and a** to me. Well, I guess that IS its appeal, but it doesn’t attract me. I have only seen clips of it on youtube but from what I’ve heard it has some extreme violence.

      1. ambrit

        An eternal appeal it is. Way back in 1973 Frank Frazetta did a cover illustration for ‘National Lampoon’ featuring the ‘Ghoul Queen.’ She supplied the t–s and a lounging saurian supplied the lizard. Strangely, that was not the cover for a ‘T–s and Lizards’ issue. There isn’t one. Oh well.
        See (Marginally Safe For Work- If you work for a pornographer, like the Daily Mail or Fox News.):
        Caution! Contains naked cartoon breasts!

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mountain birds on ‘escalator to extinction’ as planet warms AP (allan).

    More than just us humans and the planet.

    To those (including yours truly, even, as I can’t rule myself out) who have stated that ‘about that Climate Change/Global Warming thing, the planet will survive just fine, it’s us humans who will get wiped out,’ let us remind ourselves, taking advantage of this news at this time, that others, including these little mountain birds will be gone as well.

    “It’s not just you people and this rock!!! What about us cats, dogs and others?”

    1. polecat

      The thing is, ‘we’, meaning humans, generally think of species, envions, and time in static terms e.i. ‘bidness as usual’ .. due, primarily to our short lifespans, coupled with our seeming God-like hubris. It’s why we gravitate towards feelings for domestic cats, say, .. or Bambies, or bushbabies .. but not ticks, black mambas, or deadly viruses. Evolution don’t work that way, and to ‘feel that we’re all gonna die .. and take everything down with us, IS really the height of hubris !
      Something(s) will emerge down the evolutionary road .. and side-streets thereof, to savor the future day.

    2. Lord Koos

      I think it was here on NC that there was a link that said species are disappearing faster than evolution will be able to compensate for their extinction. Once an entire genus or family is gone, that’s it. However, it is true that the earth will abide, it will just take millions of years before life on the planet is as diverse as it was 50 years ago.

      1. blennylips

        I see a future in Endoterrestrials:

        Scientists have found microbes living in granite rocks 6,000 feet underground in the Rocky Mountains, and in seafloor sediment buried since the age of the dinosaurs. They have even found tiny animals—worms, shrimp-like arthropods, whiskered rotifers—among the gold deposits of South Africa, 11,000 feet below the surface.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Polecats are weasels – wild ferrets. They don’t have antennae.

          (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

    1. lambert strether

      On Bulger, I picked the local source I did because to me, the details screamed “set up.”

      1. Duck1

        So morally, how does this compare to dismantling an opponent in an embassy? Not implying that head of state was involved, but certainly reeks of state involvement.

  22. Charlie

    Tesla lawsuit:

    “In this case, the car was incapable of transmitting log data to our servers, which has prevented us from reviewing the vehicle’s data from the accident.”

    How convenient!

  23. Wukchumni

    I’ll tell you what’s not like 1968…

    Our English friends were on the lounge waiting for their Delta flight to board, when they heard this:

    “Our active duty U.S. military service members with ID are welcome to board.”

    This coming on the heels of having their fingerprints taken along with a headshot photo, going through U.S. Customs…

    …the very same booking procedure a suspected criminal goes through when arrested

    1. rd

      I had photograph and fingerprints done when I became a US “Resident Alien” in the 1980s – I was officially “Mork”. FYI – Immigrants to Canada are “Landed Immigrants”.

      The process was repeated in the 2000s when I became a US citizen. Process has been repeated numerous times for Transportation Worker Identification Card, TSA Pre-Chek, and Global Entry. For the last one, it is iris scans as well.

  24. Ralph Reed

    “Neanderthals were…” wearing stilettos and stridently murmuring “Clack the Grass Ceiling” while waiting for a Humanoid Samantha Powers to rescue them from being turned into an evolutionary ideogram that celebrates their removal from natural history by reversing their selective advantage of bipedalism.

  25. Swamp Yankee

    Look, I share many commenters’ frustration and disgust with Obama and the Vichy Dems.

    But Trump’s proposal, backed up by Sen. Graham, to get rid of birthright citizenship, is absurd on its face and has been described as such by even very conservative jurists, including ones that Trump nominated to the federal bench. I would be extremely surprised if it’s not thrown out by the first judge who sees it.

    Here are the issues as I see them (nota bene: not a lawyer, but I am an American historian by training, and I do teach American legal history at the college level, so I am not speaking out of turn here).

    1) An Executive Order has to do with the ordering of the Executive Branch, see, for instance, Truman’s Exec. Order to desegregate the US Armed Forces. Trying to use an Executive Order to change the Constitution is a non-starter; we have a constitutionally-prescribed method of amending the Constitution. The President lacks that authority. It’s practically a non sequitur — it just doesn’t follow. If we were to make an analogy to chemistry, that reaction just won’t “go”.

    2) The plain language of the 14th Amendment! Section 1: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” This was one of the three Reconstruction Amendments that come as the result of the Civil War and which guarantees the Freedmen and Freedwomen were citizens of the United States.

    Nor is this an amendment that ought to be messed with; most modern civil rights law comes from readings of the 14th amendment’s Equal Protection clause (“nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”), e.g., Brown v. Board of Education.

    3) The fact that birthright citizenship is well-established at the Common Law; it literally precedes the Constitution. Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, Inglis v. Trustees of Sailor’s Snug Harbor, 1830: ” Nothing is better settled at the common law than the doctrine that the children even of aliens born in a country while the parents are resident there under the protection of the government and owing a temporary allegiance thereto are subjects by birth.”

    4) This comes into the Common Law via Calvin’s Case (1608), tried by the great English jurist Sir Edward Coke, having to do with a child’s nationality (Scottish or English) during the period when James I of England was also James VI of Scotland, and thus conceivably two different bodies politic. This case firmly establishes birthright citizenship/subjecthood/nationality at the Common Law, which of course, is the law of the land here as well as in England.

    5) Since we are a Common Law country, I think most lawyers and jurists will find the claim that illegal immigrants are not in the jurisdiction of the United States tendentious if not prima facie absurd. It doesn’t matter if they are here illegally and then give birth; they’re still under the jurisdiction of the United States, and this is also a fact at the Common Law. Cf. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book IV, Ch. 14: Therefore to kill an alien, a Jew, or an outlaw, who are all under the king’s peace or protection, is as much murder as to kill the most regular born Englishman; except he be an alien enemy, in time of warr….”

    Thus, even criminals are under the King’s Peace, which must be understood as the essential equivalent of “the jurisdiction of the United States.” The only way out of this is if they are enemy aliens in a time of war; as the United States, constitutionally speaking, is not at war (Congress having not declared it; AUMF does not count); and we therefore do not have enemy aliens to worry about in a jurisprudential sense, there is simply no way around considering illegal migrants, whom might be glossed as both “aliens” and “outlaws” in Blackstone’s formulation, are under the jurisdiction of the United States.

    Look, I’ve been very much willing to defend Trump to various of my MSNBC/NYT reader friends when they want to extra-constitutionally attack him and string him up on baseless charges of treason (which the Constitution is also very clear about). But a fidelity to the Constitution and the Common Law means we have to call him out when Trump is the attacker.

    This is a bad move, almost certainly illegal and unconstitutional, as well as immoral, and we ought not to look away from that fact no matter how justly angry we are at Obama’s own betrayals and unconstitutional deeds as President.

    1. rd

      Quartz has an interesting map on birthright citizenship:

      Birthright citizenship without restriction is virtually the entire Americas along with Pakistan and a handful of African countries. Britain, Australia, Portugal, and Germany (surprisingly) have the restriction that you have to be a resident. Most of Europe, Africa, the Far East. the Middle East, Russia, and China have the requirement that only a citizen can pass down the citizenship (jus sanguinus).

      I think common law and the US Constitution make it clear that pretty much everybody present in the country is subject to the jurisdiction (diplomats etc. probably have specific exemptions) and so a child born to them in the US would automatically have citizenship. In the US, slaves have few rights (even less than today’s illegal immigrants) before the post-Civil War amendments but clearly were subject to US jurisdiction. To end up where Britain and Australia are with requiring legal residency to have citizenship would require a constitutional amendment, which is conceivable given the number of Republican state administrations, but is quite different from an Executive Order. I don’t think a mere Act of Congress would be sufficient to overturn this aspect of the 14th Amendment.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Trump isn’t going to write nor sign any such executive order overturning the 14th amendment. It is BS. Pure BS. By Monday, he’ll be stating that he’s sending 50,000 troops to the US-Mexican border to fight off the Guatemalan zombie army of father-raping drug dealing atheist Islamic killers.

        IF HE WERE SMART, and he’s not, he would be linking the Central American refugees to Hillary Clinton’s role in the Honduran coup.

      2. Jean

        “I assume that the various landowners down there can just post some No Trespassing signs and have them arrested when they become annoying camping out in their backyards”
        Ever hear of the Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground Laws in Texas?

        Re Jurisdiction of the U.S., is that “Geographical Jurisdiction”, or, “Legal Jurisdiction?”
        If “Legal Jurisdiction”, and the person does not obey federal law, or breaks federal law and does not turn them self in to the federal authorities, does that mean that their U.S. born children are thus nationals of their country of origin?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Sudden thought: Trump has been prosecuting people caught crossing illegally – apparently it really is a crime of sorts.

      That means they’re under US jurisdiction, in the most literal sense, as soon as they cross the border. He’s hoist on his own petard.

  26. rd

    The Militia are coming to Texas to fend off the barbaric caravan horde.

    I assume these militia are well-regulated and have been (drum roll) called upon by Congress to repel invasion per the US Constitution (trumpet fanfare). Absent this, I assume that the various landowners down there can just post some No Trespassing signs and have them arrested when they become annoying camping out in their backyards over the next two months waiting for the women and children to cross the Mexican desert and invade the US.

    Article I Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress

    Article II Section. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;

    Amendment II. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Amendment V. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a
    presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in
    the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger;

    1. Jean

      “I assume that the various landowners down there can just post some No Trespassing signs and have them arrested when they become annoying camping out in their backyards”
      Ever hear of the Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground Laws in Texas?

      1. rd

        Yes, but unless the homeowners have armored cars for confronting these militias, the militia’s bulletproof vests and AR-15s will make standing one’s ground pretty perilous. The police and DA would be a better avenue for enforcing property rights.

  27. Oregoncharles

    From the article on the ECB and Italy: “Mario Draghi is Italian. Italians should help their country. Mario Draghi is president of the European Central Bank. So the ECB should help Italy.
    That is the reasoning Italian government officials have shared in recent weeks with investors or visitors”

    That doesn’t mean they’re “counting” on Draghi – they know his views. It means they’re trying to pressure him, as in: “Do you want to ever come home again?” And they have a point: if he crashes the country’s economy, he won’t be popular there.

    Of course, his real reason for helping would be the sheer size of the Italian economy and its links to the rest of the Eurozone; Italy is Too Big To Fail. There’s a game of Chicken going on.

  28. Jeff W

    Neanderthals were upright individuals, skeleton proves Telegraph

    Upright and decent, I’d say.

    The effect of one upright individual is incalculable.
    — Óscar Arias Sánchez, President of Costa Rica from 2006 to 2010

  29. makedoanmend

    (amended) This was directed at a very good comment on the migrant issue. I seemed to have missed the border and shot straight into the twilight zone.

    I agree 100% with your sentiments. We all come from somewhere else. Our mobility and adaptability, more or less, defines our species – probably what makes us so successful and dominant to the point of global ecosystem destruction.

    Yet, it cannot be denied that the economic system has used migrant-immigrant labour as a means to undercut “native” workers means of subsistence and well being.

    There are obvious ways to remedy this situation without scape-goating our fellow travellers but right now it seems that no historically useful remedies seem possible in current circumstances. A social-cultural inertia seems to have taken over.

    These are not interesting times. They are dangerous. I fear for democracy and decency – two things that do hand in hand.

  30. Jean

    Re inequality and murder rate:

    “the biggest mysteries in homicide and inequality research. Why, as inequality has skyrocketed in the U.S. in recent years, has the murder rate continued to fall? ”

    The higher availability of birth control and abortion starting 20 to 30 years ago in communities that produce the most violent criminals?
    Not my original thoughts but worth answering the question.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Better: fewer unwanted children being born against their mothers’ wishes.

      My understanding is that the crime rate, at least, has started back up.

  31. Oregoncharles

    On “Is This Worse Than 1968?” (no):

    1968 was the first year I could vote; while I was in Oregon, not Chicago, I remember it at least as well as Mr. Buchanan – who WOULD make excuses for Mayor Daley’s thugs. I’ll tell you who I voted for at the end.

    Police are paid and trained to keep their cool when “baited” – except, I guess, in Chicago. When they chose (or were ordered) to riot, they handed the election to Nixon. Of course, Humphrey’s refusal to reject the war until too late didn’t help him.

    I agree with Buchanan and others here, though: we aren’t there – yet. There were bombs and fairly serious street fighting, to say nothing of race riots that burned whole sections of cities. Ultimately, the war ended because this country was falling apart.

    In 1968, Humphrey, illegitimately installed by the Democratic Party in defiance of the primaries, chose to vocally support Daley’s thugs. By that, I knew he was just as dangerous as Nixon. (I also believed he was a ruined man after being Johnson’s toady for 4 years.) They were both pigs, so I voted for a REAL pig: Pigasus, “nominated” by the Yippies to make that very point. I was not the only one, so I suspect Pigasus was responsible for HHH’s defeat – along with Humphrey’s own failures, of course.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Is This Worse Than 1968?

      Everybody seems to be focusing on the Chicago Convention. But I think if you look at the list of assassinations, riots, and bombings, then the answer is Buchanan’s: “No, this is not worse,” Unless you’re an accelerationist, I suppose.

  32. Oregoncharles

    “EXCLUSIVE: Saudi dissident prince flies home to tackle MBS succession Middle East Eye”

    A brave man, or very foolish. It’s bizarre to see such medieval power politics operating in the present day, undisclosed, like Game of Thrones made real.

  33. Oregoncharles

    “Neanderthals were upright individuals, skeleton proves”

    As I’ve been saying: Neanderthals were us.

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