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13 - 19 February 2017

by Bjinse Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:17:50 AM EST

Your take on this week's news


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by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:27:36 AM EST
Juncker plans radical shake-up to save the EU from itself - POLITICO
Jean-Claude Juncker has had enough of EU states scapegoating Brussels for their failures.

Over his first two years as president of the European Commission, he has been repeatedly undermined by countries passing the buck to Brussels on toxic decisions about controversial topics like genetically modified food and pesticides.

In response, Juncker is preparing to hit back. Next week, he is expected to launch an overhaul of the EU's obscure and dysfunctional decision-making process, which allows countries to saddle the Commission with the final call on critical but potentially unpopular policies.

His goal: to overhaul the so-called "comitology" process and force national governments to take responsibility for decisions made in Brussels.

by fjallstrom on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it even credible to associate the word "radical" with anything Junker proposes?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 07:10:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radical tax evasion?
by generic on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 07:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bingo! That is it.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 09:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
coined by Goldman Sachs to help rally US citizen support for trans-national corporate business growthth that produces non-taxable revenue in Ireland, Germany, and France.

US citizen support for deferred corporate taxes and exempt revenue, such as permitted by *.IE because of historical AAPL share price increase, will make the USA great once the US congress scraps capital gains rates for the 99% AND enacts a "holiday".

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 05:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler lookalike arrested in Austria

A Hitler lookalike has been arrested in Austria on charges of glorifying the Nazi era, local officials say.

The 25-year-old man reportedly calls himself Harald Hitler.

The man, sporting a side parting and a trademark moustache, had been seen having his photograph taken outside the house in Braunau am Inn in which Adolf Hitler was born.

The lookalike had recently moved to the town on the German border, police spokesman David Furtner told the BBC.

There is a bit of discussion amongst some leftist circles about the morality of punching Nazis in the face, prompted when American neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was punched in the face on camera, (A step-by^step guide to a meme about punching a Nazi in the face) and re-ignited when wannabe-Nazi troll Milo Yiannapolis had his Berkley talk canceled by the police when scary Berkley leftists held a protest, lit firecrackers, and turned a telephone pole (usually wooden and coated in variously flammable preservatives) into a bonfire.

I tend to side with Captain America on this one, but I am a horrible person.

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 01:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no lecturing others without some sense of authority
by das monde on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 02:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to side with Captain America on this one, but I am a horrible person.

That did it ... opens the floodgate to my Marvel/DC childhood.  I will soon be quoting Odin, Green Lantern, Hank Pym ... you name it.  Thank you, Zwackus.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 06:55:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Shouldn't they round up these guys, too?

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 02:01:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Punching a Nazi is at worst a sin of self indulgence.
by generic on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 07:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bundestag cybercampaigns take to Facebook and Twitter

Many members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) wish Germany's 2017 elections could take place right now. The SPD is currently riding a wave of euphoria unleashed by Martin Schulz's candidacy for the chancellorship, and bolstered by the election of Frank-Walter Steinmeier as German president - both of which are perfect occasions for tweeting and posting on social networks.

Steinmeier demonstrated his prowess in this regard on the day of the election. He posted a picture on his Facebook page of his wife straightening his tie; then, shortly afterwards, users saw the two of them holding hands on their way to the Bundestag. This was followed by the photo from his voter ID card, then by a picture of the current president, Joachim Gauck, congratulating him; and finally, Steinmeier's own speech of thanks.

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 02:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Interesting turnaround: Support for PVV is notably lowering in the polls. Greens and the greener-than-VVD-marketista technocrats(D66) continue their increase. Socialist Party (SP) not showing a come-back.

by Bjinse on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 09:06:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, what are the possible outcomes in terms of government?
Given that both Grand Coalition partners are going to get punished, does that disqualify both (in Dutch tradition) from leading the next government?
At a cursory glance, it looks like D66 will be the pivot, possibly able to make a coalition with either left or right?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Feb 18th, 2017 at 05:07:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is as good as mine at this point...

As a rule of thumb Dutch election results are weighed firstly by seats and secondly by gains. Thus the party with the most votes customary takes the lead in the cabinet formation negotiations, even if the party lost seats. As a courtesy rule, it often is attempted to start negotiations by parties which gained seats. When this doesn't pan out, which is often, the hobnobbing can commence in earnest and the most preferable coalition is pursued. Note that for the scenario where PVV becomes the largest party, the bets are off...

D66 indeed has good chances to become the pivot, but with an electoral landscape this splintered, even a minor party might turn out to be as kingmaker. I've my eyes on ChristenUnie, a party which I generally describe as the more Christian party than the other one: conservative blowhards on drugs, prostitution etc but also with a very green and social profile - and steadily climbing in size.

My prediction (though it counts for nothing) will be a coalition of VVD-D66-CDA-Greens after gruelling negotiations. With the PVV shunned, chances for a conservative right appear the smallest, while a moderate-left coalition is within reach at current numbers. With the caveat that it only has a chance of happening if VVD is overtaken.

by Bjinse on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 08:19:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French election: Macron sparks Algeria row as Fillon hit by fresh blow
French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron has refused to back down after his far-right rival attacked him for comments he made condemning France's colonial past in Algeria.

On a visit to Algiers on Tuesday Macron said France's history in Algeria was a "crime against humanity". "It's really barbaric and is part of that past that we must face up to also by apologising to those who were hurt," he said.

And on Thursday, Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, said on Facebook: "Is there anything worse when you want to become president than going abroad to accuse the country you want to lead of crime against humanity?"

But Macron refused to back down, and in a video statement sent to Reuters, he said: "We must find the courage to call things by their name," he said. "Are we condemned to forever live in the shadows of this traumatic experience for our two countries?"

Interesting that the Guardian calls Macron "frontrunner" when he's polling only second or third behind Marine Le Pen in the first round.

Also interesting that Macron is one of the very few French pols willing to speak bluntly about France's colonial past, generating the predictable howls from the right and extreme right. This is also a generational thing: those over 70 have been brought up in the colonial myths, such as "Algeria, an integral part of France" or "France's civilizing mission". These age groups vote overwhelmingly to the right, LR mostly. Macron, OTOH, is cultivating his image of "youth" and "renewal".

by Bernard on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 07:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The deflation of the Macron bubble is starting. Being all things to all men is fine, until you get tied down with specifics. So far, he has gotten away with not having an actual programme, but by virtue of giving different messages to different groups, he is starting to look like the Machiavellian schemer he is.

A trivial example : in December, he told Mediapart he was for the legalization of marijuana. This week, he told Le Figaro the opposite.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 18th, 2017 at 05:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile the Schulz bubble seems to be going strong.

The Linke seems to be doing pretty badly which reminds me that I wanted to link to this Jacobing post about the current kerfuffle there.
The Wagenknecht Question | Jacobin -

Sahra Wagenknecht, long-time icon of the party's radical wing, has begun a campaign to win over the supporters of the new right, expressing concerns about the country's border policy and empathizing with voters who worry how an influx of refugees might affect their lives. Her erstwhile followers accuse her of surrendering to racism and xenophobia and insist that the party uphold the principles of openness and inclusion. This new conflict strands Wagenknecht between the two established camps: she now finds herself equally alienated from both the urban radical circles and the party's reformists.

It misses a lot however and if you want the tl;dr version as I see it it goes like this: Wagenknecht tries to get some free press and break into right wing voters' bubble by writing press releases that sound similar to a right wing criticism of Merkel's asylum policies and goes on a double interview with Petry from the AfD. The press predictably goes full horse shoe theory with the usual level of fairness expected in articles about developments on the left. Some party critics jump on it.

I don't really want to go into what I think is wrong with the article except that it should really mention where the AfD comes from. It started as an anti "Euro-rescue" party, rapidly morphed into an anti Greek party and now is an anti-refugee party.

by generic on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 11:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well. I find the Jacobin article already nauseating. You seem to be saying it doesn't go far enough in supporting Wagenknecht's supposed strategy.

Tell me, have I got this right?

  1. The AfD was founded due to (nonsensical, but non-racist) fears about the Euro
  2. Sure, it went anti-Greek, but everyone was down on the Greeks, especially that nice Herr Schäuble
  3. OK, now they hate refugees, but between you and me, who likes refugees?

Obviously, it is OK to engage with voters of a xenophobic party. You do that by having policies that address the reasons that made their latent xenophobia into their prime electoral criterion. By giving them hope for a better future, and a plausible path for getting there.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 02:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to be saying it doesn't go far enough in supporting Wagenknecht's supposed strategy.
That's not what I'm saying. In fact the Wagenknecht strategy is rather bad. However the closeness to actual AfD talking points was vastly overstated. The interview that is often cited as the primery piece of evidence is  here(German). Both the interviewer and Petry want to find overlaps but there really aren't many. Now I'm not a fan of Wagenknecht but let me quote the whole part of the interview of her talking about foreigners:
Wagenknecht: Diesen Satz habe ich nicht mehr benutzt, weil er missverstanden wurde. Wichtig ist etwas anderes: Wenn so viele Menschen nach Deutschland kommen wie infolge von Merkels Politik im vorigen Herbst, dann muss man auch dafür sorgen, dass Integration gelingt und die notwendigen Wohnungen oder Arbeitsplätze vorhanden sind. Entscheidend ist daher, Menschen in Not dort zu helfen, wo sich die meisten Notleidenden ohnehin befinden: in den Herkunftsländern und in den angrenzenden Regionen.

Wagenknecht: Es gibt keine Überschneidungen, Frau Petry. Sie hätten im Gegensatz zu mir jeder Verschärfung des Asylrechts zugestimmt. Laut Programm will die AfD, dass Deutschland sich in der Einwanderungspolitik an Kanada und an den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika orientiert. Sie wollen also gezielt Hochqualifizierte aus ärmeren Ländern abwerben. Das ist das genaue Gegenteil von Hilfe. Dass Sie den Menschen in ihren Herkunftsländern helfen wollen, habe ich bislang auch nicht als AfD-Position wahrgenommen. Ebenso wenig, dass Sie die Bedingungen in den Flüchtlingslagern verbessern wollen. Stattdessen lese ich, dass Ihr Parteifreund Alexander Gauland die "menschliche Überflutung" bei uns eindämmen will. Solche Worte finde ich menschenverachtend

Wagenknecht: Wir haben heute einen großen Niedriglohnsektor mit Leiharbeit, Dauerbefristungen, Minijobs. Viele Flüchtlinge werden gerade in diesem Sektor Arbeit suchen und verstärken damit den Druck auf die Löhne. Ähnlich ist es bei den Wohnungen. Da suchen die Flüchtlinge vor allem in jenen Stadtvierteln, in denen die ohnehin schon Ärmeren leben. Wenn dann Mieten steigen, schürt das Stimmung gegen Flüchtlinge. In Wahrheit ist das Folge einer Politik, die den Arbeitsmarkt dereguliert und den sozialen Wohnungsbau weitgehend eingestellt hat.

In the first paragraph she demands that if you have as many people coming into Germany as caused by Merkel's policies than you haver to take care that integration works and jobs and homes are available. "Consequently it is crucial to help people close to their homeland".

Then in answer to Petry declaring that they to want to help people in their homeland:

There is no overlap. You'd have voted for all asylum restricting legislation. According to your program you want to get high qualified immigrants like Canada and the US. That is the opposite of help. This is the first time I hear that you want to help people in their home countries.

Then she mentions a few misanthropic statements from AfD people.

And finally:

We have a big low wage sector with temporary and mini jobs. Many refugees will search for work in this sector and increase the pressure on wages. Same for apartments. They will preferably search in already poorer regions ad if the rents rise this will lead to resentments against refugees. However in truth this is caused by policies that deregulated the job market and stopped social building.

That is it. Unless you take the "consequently" from the first sentence and interpret a whole different interview into it none of this is pandering to racists.
Of course the Zeit lead their article about the interview with "Petry and Wagenknecht find common ground" and everyone went into moral panic mode. The Wagenknecht strategy as I see it was leading with something that sounds like an AfD talking point and then follow with something entirely reasonable. I don't think it is the best idea particularly in a hostile press environment. Also there is no indication that it is working. But I don't see any policy convergence here. (Though maybe that was somewhere else. I'm not religiously following her interview output).

As to the AfD: Yeah you got the gist. The thing is that Germany's response to the Euro crisis, the blame shifting on lazy southerners and the mainstream hate campaign once those southerners started to object gave life and media attention to the AfD as a "fuck those people party".

by generic on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 04:35:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The byline on the Jacobin article is 15 February, but it's several weeks out of date in talking about electoral numbers, which actually radically undermines its principal argument.

The surge in SPD support seems, superficially, to be coming in roughly equal parts from Green, Linke and AfD supporters. Based on nothing much, as far as I can see - has Schulz made any earth-shaking policy pronouncements that I've missed? but self-reinforcing, as it opens up the prospect of a left-led coalition.

Dealing with xenophobia by tackling it head-on, shaming people, is often counter-productive. Empathising with it is worse. Sometimes it's better to change the subject.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 03:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently Tony Blair gave a speech on Brexit and Remain Twitter is pretty happy with it. After reading it I can only count that as a sign of despair. Sure it gives clear opposition to several nonsensical Leave talking points but that is hardly difficult. Most everything else seems useless to me:

Tony Blair: we need a movement which stretches across Party lines | Latest News | The Office of Tony Blair -

I want to be explicit. Yes, the British people voted to leave Europe. And I agree the will of the people should prevail. I accept right now there is no widespread appetite to re-think.

But the people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind.

Which sounds nice but what does it mean in the real world? May will trigger A50 and then the clock will start ticking and all the levers you could use to stop her are now gone. So what does he think he can do to change the outcome? Hope that in two years' time the tabloid induced nationalist retardation will have receded? Convincing people that they have fallen for a scam is not easy especially when you do it from Bloomberg centre. And even if that works to some extant, what is the plan here? Popular mobilisation that rivals the anti Iraq coalition in size? I'm sure that will work.


We must expose the agenda of the ideologues; and persuade those interested in the cost/benefit ratio.

For the latter, we must - day in day out - articulate the reality: the pain is large and the gain largely illusory.

So the new strategy is actually the old strategy. Why should this work now?

Then there is nonsense:


The economic future which could work outside of Europe is exactly the low tax, light regulation, offshore free market hub, with which Mrs May threatens our European neighbours, but which to the Brexit ideologues is a promise of things to come.

Except no. Low tax free trade Britain would explicitly not work without preferential EU market access. They'll go for it anyway just as they went for austerity.

As the world changes and opens up across boundaries of nation and culture, which values will govern the 21stC?

Today, for the first time in my adult life, it is not clear that the resolution of this question will be benign.

Britain, because of its history, alliances and character, has a unique role to play in ensuring it is.

Oh, fuck off. You killed a million people for nothing.

I just don't see what he has to offer that would be worth having him slither back into respectability and I very much doubt that anything good can come out of it Meanwhile centrist dems in the US now approvingly cite David Frum who only wrote the second most crazy thing an American president ever said in public.

by generic on Sat Feb 18th, 2017 at 04:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:27:38 AM EST
How Donald Trump became Deutsche Bank's biggest headache
Trump had given his personal guarantee he would repay the $640m. As per agreement, he was now due to hand over a large chunk, $40m.

There was only one problem: the future 45th president of the United States was refusing to pay up. Deutsche initiated legal action. Trump responded with a blistering, scarcely credible writ of his own, a 10-count complaint in New York's supreme court, in the county of Queens.

In it, Trump adopted a highly unusual defence, known as "force majeure". He claimed that the 2008 economic crisis was a "once-in-a-century credit tsunami", an act of God that was equivalent to an earthquake.

Since it couldn't have been anticipated, and it wasn't his fault, he wasn't obliged to pay Deutsche anything. It wouldn't get the $40m or the outstanding $330m, his writ said.

He went further. Trump claimed Deutsche Bank had actually helped cause the crunch. Therefore it owed him. Trump demanded $3bn from Deutsche in compensation.

by Bernard on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 06:50:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bill Gates: the robot that takes your job should pay taxes -- Quartz -
Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies' use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.

A lot of people seem to invent capital taxes these days.

by generic on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 07:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:27:40 AM EST
Worth reading in full...

The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins - Observer


How things are heating up between the White House and the spooks is evidenced by a new report that the CIA has denied a security clearance to one of Flynn's acolytes. Rob Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer selected to head up the NSC's Africa desk, was denied a clearance to see Sensitive Compartmented Information (which is required to have access to SIGINT in particular). Why Townley's SCI was turned down isn't clear--it could be over personal problems or foreign ties--but the CIA's stand has been privately denounced by the White House, which views this as a vendetta against Flynn. That the Townley SCI denial was reportedly endorsed by Mike Pompeo, the new CIA director selected by Trump himself, only adds to the pain.

There is more consequential IC pushback happening, too. Our spies have never liked Trump's lackadaisical attitude toward the President's Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn't paying attention to intelligence.

In light of this, and out of worries about the White House's ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the "good stuff" from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president's eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

(...)

What's going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that "since January 20, we've assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM," meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings.


by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 08:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...a senior Pentagon intelligence official...stated that "since January 20, we've assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM...
They probably may as well have. I have trouble imagining that Trump has the psychological capacity to separate his own private business dealings with the Russian State from US national security interests. He probably can't understand why the two might differ. Seeing things from others' point of view is hardly one of his strengths.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 06:35:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this doesn't seem like a situation with much stability, things are going to fall off the rails very quickly if a real panic turns up. I'm sure even the GOP were a little disturbed to hear of Trump conducting an NSC council in a public restaurant with the Japanese PM

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 08:30:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's okay, there were only rich donors at the table, and you know that the paid staff are just plebes who couldn't understand politics anyway. It's perfectly safe, much safer than in that cesspit of politics, the White House.
by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 01:10:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The U.S. Department of Education Misspells W.E.B. Du Bois, Apologizes, Misspells Apology
Look, spelling is sometimes hard and we all blow it from time to time. But god damn, Department of Education, get your shit together. The other countries can SEE YOU.
by das monde on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 01:24:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence


Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton's emails and would make them public.

Next round for the spy revolt.

by Bjinse on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 02:47:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Former Republican judge calls for Donald Trump to be 'impeached and removed with all haste'
Independent

Less than a month since Donald Trump took office, a former Republican judge is calling for the US president to be hastily impeached. Writing for Cincinnati.com, Mark P Painter, a former Ohio Court of Appeals Judge, has offered to help his congressman Representative Steve Chabot draft the articles for impeachment.

"In any time except our post-factual era, no office holder, much less the president, could get away with any one of the dozens of dazzlingly illegal things Trump has already done. They would forfeit office immediately," Mr Painter wrote. He added: "Who knows what happens next. Each new day is a new nightmare. We are still trying to digest one breathtaking assault on America when another is signed, issued, or Tweeted. All this amid constant lies. Constant. Lies."


It gets stronger as it goes. Some Republicans have queasy stomachs. So it begins.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 03:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some Republicans believe it's already time to move to the next stage, the real goal: Pence as POTUS and the implementation of as many elements of Christian dominionism as fast as they can.
by rifek on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 06:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Allies Conduct Intelligence Operation Against Trump Staff and Associates, Intercepted Communications USN&WR

As part of intelligence operations being conducted against the United States for the last seven months, at least one Western European ally intercepted a series of communications before the inauguration between advisers associated with President Donald Trump and Russian government officials, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Related: President Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns amidst Russia controversy

The sources said the interceptions include at least one contact between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and a Russian official based in the United States. It could not be confirmed whether this involved the telephone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that has led to Flynn's resignation, or additional communications. The sources said the intercepted communications are not just limited to telephone calls: The foreign agency is also gathering electronic and human source information on Trump's overseas business partners, at least some of whom the intelligence services now consider to be agents of their respective governments. These operations are being conducted out of concerns that Russia is seeking to manipulate its relationships with Trump administration officials as part of a long-term plan to destabilize the NATO alliance.

Moreover, a Baltic nation is gathering intelligence on officials in the Trump White House and executives with the president's company, the Trump Organization, out of concern that an American policy shift toward Russia could endanger its sovereignty, according to a third person with direct ties to that nation's government.


When it rains it pours. A real downpour for Trump. I am afraid Pence would be vastly more effective than Trump at passing the planned Republican legislation and hoped that Trump would last at least 18 months to sow confusion and strife in Republican ranks. He might not last so long at this rate. Events take on a life of their own.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 05:08:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if the 'Trump Foundation' had been formed and used like the Clinton Foundation's was for pay to play politics?

Double standard, anyone?

Tut tut, Donald, didn't you grasp that you have to learn the rules before you break them correctly?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 03:07:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that country intercepting internal US phone calls is almost certainly the UK.

It has long been the policy of plausible denial by both countries to say "we don't spy on our own people". What they don't say is that the yanks spy on us and share it with the UK government and we reciprocate. So both countries have complete pentration of each other's communications networks.

Which is probably why the UK is sucking up to Trump at the moment, cos we are too vulnerable

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 04:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you think Teresa May (yes, that one was deliberate, unlike the original) was less than enthusiastic about sucking up to the US?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 05:34:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, no, they weren't reluctant at all. If anything the Tories were like puppies whose Daddy had just come home.

And, of course, with brexit looming, they're in desperate need of any friend they can get. The spanner in the works being the Trump doesn't like free trade deals and tends to take a zero sum approach to deal making; anything the UK might want represents a potential defeat for Trump. He doesn't do concessions.

But even if they did have reservations, they aren't in a position to allow themselves anything other than N Korean like devotion

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 07:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither can legally spy on their own citizens so each provides this service for the other. A corrupt bargain of long standing. May might not want this information to be used against Trump, but, if it is passed, spy to spy, she has trouble containing what use is made of it in the USA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 08:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trumpery | Definition of Trumpery by Merriam-Webster -
Trumpery derives from the Middle English trompery and ultimately from the Middle French tromper, meaning "to deceive." (You can see the meaning of this root reflected in the French phrase trompe-l'oeil-literally, "deceives the eye"-which in English refers to a style of painting with photographically realistic detail.) Trumpery first appeared in English in the mid-15th century with the meanings "deceit or fraud" (a sense that is now obsolete) and "worthless nonsense." Less than 100 years later, it was being applied to material objects of little or no value. The verb phrase trump up means "to concoct with the intent to deceive," but there is most likely no etymological connection between this phrase and trumpery.
by generic on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 12:30:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump's Public Humiliation - Slate
Donald Trump isn't accustomed to hearing prospective underlings say "No." So it came as a shock when retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward--his first choice to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser--told the president he'd have to think about the offer. It must have been a double shock when, a few days later, Harward turned him down flat.

The rejection is stunning in several ways that go well beyond the scope of Trump's personal sensitivities. First, it is very unusual--almost unheard of--for a senior military officer, retired or otherwise, to turn down a request from the commander-in-chief.

Second, and largely for that reason, by rejecting the offer, Harward has provided cover to other officers, and to civilian national security analysts with a similar sense of patriotic duty, to turn down this president, too. Service, in this case, is not its own reward and by no stretch worth the sacrifice.

by Bernard on Sat Feb 18th, 2017 at 09:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Sat Feb 18th, 2017 at 01:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I recommend Dallek's book Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. It's a 700 pp digest, not a transcript, of a few thousand hours of WH tapes, slightly supported by contextual annotation. The dialogue of dubious aspiration speaks for itself.

I recommend the C-SPAN series "The LBJ Tapes". This is an hour-long broadcast presented every Saturday evening of selected portions of WH tapes. This week (Feb, 1967) LBJ and McNamara investigate JFK-era congressional conspiracy to site Lockheed plants in Republican districts, PR strategy to plant public opposition to same, and rogue CIA planning to assassinate Castro. Search
Meddling and Interference

I also recommend the blog Whatever It Is, I'm Against It. This is a daily curatorial project that presents NYT stories published current date minus 100 years. I should be surprised though if the blog were still operating forty years from today to capture the "fog of war and just plain bullshit" of the vicious red-baiting era 1950-1970.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 02:02:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even tho' it's David Brooks (from NYT) this is quite interesting

The Scotsman - David Brooks - This is what a failed administration looks like

I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Donald Trump's mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued. Trump's White House staff is at war with itself. His poll ratings are falling at unprecedented speed. His policy agenda is stalled. FBI investigations are just beginning. This does not feel like a sustainable operation. On the other hand, I have trouble seeing exactly how this administration ends. Many of the institutions that would normally ease out or remove a failing president no longer exist. There are no longer moral arbiters in Congress like Howard Baker and Sam Ervin to lead a resignation or impeachment process. There is no longer a single media establishment that shapes how the country sees the president. This is no longer a country in which everybody experiences the same reality.

He says at one point, "Imagine the Roman Empire ruled by Monaco". But he misses the point about the fall of the Roman Empire, it didn't fall apart cos it was well run at the end, it fell apart cos people like Trump ended up in charge.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 10:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:27:43 AM EST
Oroville Dam: Thousands evacuated in California after plans for emergency spillway fail' - Independent


Residents below the tallest dam in the United States, near Oroville in Northern California, were urgently ordered to evacuate on Sunday after a spillway appeared for a time to be in danger of imminent collapse.

The abrupt evacuation orders came as authorities said that an auxiliary spillway on the Lake Oroville Dam could give way at any time, unleashing floodwaters onto rural communities along the Feather River. "Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered," the Butte County sheriff said in a statement posted on social media. "This is NOT A Drill."

The California Department of Water Resources said on Twitter at about 4:30pm PST that the spillway next to the dam was "predicted to fail within the next hour."

Several hours later the situation appeared less dire as the spillway remained standing and the Water Resources department said crews using helicopters would drop rocks to fill a gouge in the spillway. Authorities were also releasing water to lower the lake's level after weeks of heavy rains in the drought-plagued state.

by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like so much infrastructure across the US, maintenance seems to have had a low priority

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 08:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Feds are going to conduct an "independent assessment" of the Oroville Dam situation ... wanna bet the conclusion will be the Repubs  must be put into state power or the Feds will leave CA twisting in the wind. I was associated with a company, Pacific Coast Producers, which has a fruit processing plant in Oroville, for 10 years.  I never even knew of Lake Oroville till now ... just jokes about Orogell.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 07:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although the large flow of water into the damage at the bottom of the main spillway looks spectacular, it is the barely seen emergency spillway to the left where the problem lies.

I suppose it's the nerd in me that actually saw where the dam was being undermined, but I couldn't understand why the TV ignored that to concentrate on the main spillway

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 03:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump administration OKs Jerry Brown's disaster requests

Sacramento Bee  February 14, 2017

Federal emergency officials approved Gov. Jerry Brown's requests to pay for winter storm damages and to support California's unfolding response to the emergency at the distressed Oroville Dam, the White House announced Tuesday.

BUT ...

Brown had indicated there were increasingly positive signs that the Republican president might agree to financial assistance for the storm-ravaged state even with the lingering animosity between the president and a state he called "out of control."

IOW, "the check is in the mail".  Now when did I here that last?

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 12:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico
Hillary Clinton will run for president. Again.

No inside information informs this prediction. No argument is advanced as to whether her run is a good or a bad idea--there are many ways to make a case either way. Instead this is just a statement of simple facts (if facts mean anything anymore, that is). And the facts are clear that the former secretary of state is doing everything she needs to do to run for the White House one more time. If she finds a path to do so, she will take it. And I can prove it.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 04:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope not, because I really think everyone needs a rest from the Clinton drama

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 04:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hear Sanders is still young by the standards of Italian politics.
by generic on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 05:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sanders at 80 would be preferable to Trump at 70.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 05:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, one of our long dead hamsters would be preferable to Trump at any age.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 10:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He sets an amazingly low bar, it is true.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 03:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't they find a more plausible fake candidate?! :-]
by das monde on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 12:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Knowing DNC machinists, that PR story is probably based on polling results to test HRC's electoral support in the NOV 2017 mayoral campaign.
Hillary Clinton would easily win if she decided to run for mayor against de Blasio, poll shows
DNC apparatchiks floated this Plan B the same week she lost the presidential election. Like her MY senate victory and consolation appointment to sec. of state, Leader of Wall Street is a necessary rung on the ladder up The Restoration ... of liberal values in the USA.

You'll be seeing more of this manufacture by June.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 02:27:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:28:08 AM EST
Oroville Dam: Feds and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago  The Mercury News
More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California's largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam -- at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people -- could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.

Three environmental groups -- the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League -- filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam's relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam's emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.

....

FERC rejected that request, however, after the state Department of Water Resources, and the water agencies that would likely have had to pay the bill for the upgrades, said they were unnecessary. Those agencies included the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to 19 million people in Los Angeles, San Diego and other areas, along with the State Water Contractors, an association of 27 agencies that buy water from the state of California through the State Water Project. The association includes the Metropolitan Water District, Kern County Water Agency, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Alameda County Water District.


FERCed again!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 12:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking: the Oroville dam  RWER Blog Merijn Knibbe   
According to the most recent updates, the Oroville dam in California (the highest dam in the USA) might be on the point of collapsing (more precisely: the emergency overflow might collapse). According to Piet Dircke, an engineer of Arcadis (which since 2010 is involved with Californian water management in the San Fransisco-Stockton-Sacramento triangle) there is one overriding reason why this might happen: failing maintenance maintenance. "The overflow should have been replaced 10 years ago. This has not happened because of budgetary reasons".  And yes, people had warned, official reports and all. Do I have to remind anyone that, according to modern neoclassical theory, government investments (including maintenance) are wasteful by definition?



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 12:58:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm in Sac ... if the Oroville Dam goes, I promise to keep posting while underwater. Truffles (the cat) might have other plans.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 07:05:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd prefer you breathing personally.
by generic on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 10:12:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I will point out that ET has a policy of welcoming the undead, so breathing is optional.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 11:05:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have there been any publicly available assessments of the risk of a major failure of the Oroville Dam to Sacramento? If so, what? I saw a claim that 80% of the discharge from upstream could be diverted by the Yolo bypass, but don't have much info on that.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 07:39:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, people in LA and San Diego don't actually care if parts of N California get washed away, it's not their problem

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 03:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was never true of this person. For 40 years I lived in LA and learned to love the hinterland, from the Salton Sea to the Owens Valley, Red Bluff, Shasta, state Hwy 1 from LA to Oregon, etc. I never made it to Lassen or Oroville, but I'm not dead yet.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 04:38:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:28:11 AM EST
The Guardian on Japan.
More than 22% of all women surveyed said they found sex "troublesome" - up dramatically from 21.3% in 2014.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 06:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is going to get worse, worldwide as well. With worsening inequality and economy, the number of "real men" will decline.
by das monde on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 06:53:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Japanese and love -- more complicated than you think
The price tag on love and marriage seems to go up by the year. My friend Kumi, who is 38, says: "At this age, I'm not going to be extravagant about it -- I just want someone with a yearly income of over ¥7 million who's not bald". As for the man's personality, political views, whether or not he's racist, misogynist or that hated of all things, a domineering husband ?  "We could sort all that out later", says Kumi. For her, the ¥7 million bar is the only point where she's not willing to compromise. "I can't trust a man with no money", she says.
by das monde on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 12:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The end of that article suggests that the core problem is precisely real men (where real means "traditionalist male-dominant assholes"). Weirdly enough they don't want to play submissive little wifey to them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 02:56:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which problem?
by das monde on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 03:55:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would go further than that, "What problem"?

Women don't marry arseholes any more in Japan, because they don't absolutely have to like their mothers, grandmothers and so on.

Japanese men, in their majority, don't seem to have got the memo.

The result: natural selection, and plunging demography. Whether they can break the death spiral probably depends on the ratios of non-arsehole men and of submissive women.

All of this could be pushed in the right direction with sensible government policies, but I'm not holding my breath.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 02:44:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL, really! Do you talk what you know?

There are quite a few ranking where Japanese men come near the top:

Top 10 Countries With The Hottest Men

3. Japan

Japanese men are known for being elegant and refined. These men also have great fashion sense, which is never a bad thing. Men in Japan are quite conscious of their health, so it's not uncommon to see a Japanese man with a great physique and smooth skin. Yes, Sumo is Japan's national sport, but the average Japanese guy has a pretty slim build. Men from Japan enjoy playing baseball and football, so attending sporting events may likely be in your future if you fall for a man from Japan.

And similarly here.

by das monde on Mon Feb 20th, 2017 at 03:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
30% of them smoke. Your source may therefore regard them as "hot" but surely not "conscious of their health" -  the latter applies to Japanese women only at around 10%.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 20th, 2017 at 06:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rankings are for mindless leisure, surely. But still, as typical for Pacific islands, there is nothing wrong with natural selection of men over there. It is just that times of tougher selection are coming again. Japan is leading the 21st century, so to speak.

by das monde on Mon Feb 20th, 2017 at 07:19:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Smoking in Japan -- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tobacco use has been in nearly constant decline since 1996 and the decline has been mainly accelerating in recent years. Per capita consumption of cigarettes in 2015 was 1,618 sticks, roughly 46% of the peak figure in 1977 and a number last seen in 1956.
By mechanical statistics, the Japanese should start smoking more again to get their birthrates up.
by das monde on Tue Feb 21st, 2017 at 12:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just correlating some objective realities (low birth rate, decline in sex, the fact that emancipated women won't take shit from arseholes)

I don't know of any correlation, positive or negative, between being "hot" in the sense you seem to find so important, and being a good husband and father.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2017 at 09:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You imply (rather than disclose a fact) that Japanese women are particularly emancipated. What they won't take shit from is socially or financially inhibited "nice boys". Westerns feminism is for protection from the same crowd.
by das monde on Tue Feb 21st, 2017 at 12:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a universally acknowledged fact that, in any given locality, when women have access to education and paid employment (and contraception), the birth rate drops, often to below replacement rate. It's because they have choices, and it's largely independent of specific culture.

Whether the birth rate goes back up again depends on social evolution. In Scandinavia or France, men have largely accepted egalitarian relationships, and governments have undertaken the necessary social engineering; the result is that, by and large, women want to have children.

My thesis is that, in Japan these days, the birth rate is very low because of the lack of adequate social engineering, and because, in the aggregate, the men behave like arseholes (examples : excessively long working hours, drinking with the boss, authoritarian attitudes).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 07:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your knowledge of Japan is too superficial for badmouth words. Among functional families, long working hours and mischievous authority is a norm as ever.

Israel is a clear counterexample to your "any given locality" fact. Liberal political inclination could be just as consistent marker of lower birthrate.

by das monde on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 12:13:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel has replacement rate fertility in the majority society of non-Haredi Jews.

The group with the highest birthrate are the orthodox:

RevisedFriedlanderpaper.doc - RevisedFriedlanderpaper.PDF

Israel's  ultra  orthodox  group  `strives  to separate  itself  not  only  from  every  aspect  of  the outside  world  culture,  but  also  from  people  or  things  that,  having  passed  near  or  through  that  world, carried contaminating elements of it' (Heilman and Friedman, 1991).

How can the very high fertility (TFR of around 7.0) of this group be explained? We argue that it is the socio-cultural structure of this group, which makes high fertility beneficial, if not for the individual family,  then  for  the  community  and  its  political  establishment.  This  group  has  its  own  independent  educational  system,  which  is  the  key  for  its inter-generational  survival  within  a  very  materialistic  outer  world. Education begins at a very early age, and male students remain in the more advanced educational institutions  (yeshiva) until their  mid-thirties  or  forties.  Women  are  regarded  as  supports  of  scholars  and  are the main breadwinners in many ultra-orthodox families. They are engaged in various occupations such as teachers - in  an  ever-growing  young  population  -  and  particularly  in  employment,  which  does  not involve the necessity of mixing with people of the outer world.

Marriages  are  arranged  and  take  place  at  an  early  age.  Couples  are  expected  to  have  their first child  within  a  short  time  following  marriage,  and  high  fertility  is  an  encouraged  norm  throughout  marriage  (Heilman  and  Friedman,  1991).  

I would say they don't really fulfil the criterias.

by fjallstrom on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 01:06:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about an explanation that explains the trends, not the absolute figures?
When differentiated by level of religiosity within the Jewish population, the statistics show that the fertility rate among the secular population rose by 10% between 2000 and 2009, and by 15% among the religious population, while the haredi birth rate decreased by 10%.

The report notes, however, that despite the changes in birth trends, the fertility rate of haredi women was still 3.5 times higher than that of secular women during this period - 6.53 children per haredi woman compared to 2.07 per secular woman in 2009.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 01:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say the absolute level matters even when looking at trends.

In the same article we learn that these changes led to "6.53 children per haredi woman compared to 2.07 per secular woman in 2009". So secular women increased from around 1.8-1.9 to 2.07. This is essentially normal variation that can depend on a number of factors, for example the general economy can change when you have your two kids. If it takes of and rises to 2.5-3.0 we are seeing something new, but otherwise we're not.

Same really with the haredi, 6.53 is still very high. The pdf I linked notes that Haredi birth rates are socially possible due to the rest of society shouldering much of the cost. Any changes there?

When a society or part of society shifts down in  births, it's often quite dramatic as it tends to be a generational shift. It can drop from 5-8 to around 2 in ten years or so. So it could be the start in the Haredi community, but just as likely it's normal variations going on there too.

by fjallstrom on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 08:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if we're talking about the reasons for the birth rates, then the reasons should explain changes. I'm not aware of any changes about the rest of society shouldering the costs. But there may be internal changes: Major expenses (weddings, apartments in Jerusalem and so on) were often supported by requests to wealthy people in the community - maybe there are fewer of these, at least relative to the requests.

Incidentally, the discussion of Muslim countries on this thread seem to ignore the fact that Iran (1.9) is lower than France, and Indonesia is still a bit higher than France, but has come down dramatically. I think the high Muslim birth rates are mainly in the narrowly defined Middle East.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 08:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are multiple reasons for birth rates, and the reasons are different if you are talking high rates or low rates.  Of the top of my head high birth rates are determined by age of marriage (or sexual coupling) for women, survival to menopause, death rates and re-marriage rates for married men, child spacing through breastfeeding, survival rates for fetuses, health and nutrition of women. I think as population the 16th century french Canadians still has the record with an average of around 10-11.

The shift is dependent on womens control over their pregnancies and survival rates of children.

The exact level of low birth rates I think are mostly dependent on economics. Societies that to a high degree socialises the cost of children has around 2 (but with year-on-year variation), while those that don't has around 1.5 (with year-on-year variation). The variation appears also be dependent on economics where economic shocks has effects, but those effects can both decrease number of children (can't afford) and increase (have time).

I don't think men being sexist jerks is really a factor, more that more equal societies to a larger extent socialises cost of children and socialising the cost of children leads to a more equal society. So there is a connection but not causality between sexist jerks and birth rates around 1.5.

So I don't think a model that can explain the big picture needs to be able to explain why birth rates for example has gone up from 1.2 in Italy in 1999 to 1.5 now. As always, I recommend Gapminder.org if one wants to explore the data.

When it comes to Moslem birth rates, they are going down in the same way as it has in other countries. Saudi Arabia for example has 2.5 and sinking quickly. Wartorn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan also has sinking birth rates but sinking slower then their more prosperous neighbours.

And then there is Africa, last continent to go through the demographic transition.

by fjallstrom on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 04:28:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if social engineering, alignment of biological-industrial forces with the specific target of population growth has been already happening and growing for a while -- since Malthus, say? What if the birthrates and trends are more or less where they are supposed to be? Available statistics, declared objectives could be more a propaganda, like in economics.
by das monde on Fri Feb 24th, 2017 at 01:33:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it's been run like that since Malthus, you should be able to find evidence in correspondence that was not public at the time. After all, the larger a conspiracy, the more paper trail. I don't think you will find anything, but good luck with the attempt.
by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 25th, 2017 at 09:49:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is how Mason Gaffney found the letters from some of the originators of Neo-Classical Economics in the 1880s - 1920s that showed that they were specifically trying to "change the very language" in which economics was expressed so as to make the critiques of 'single taxers' such as Henry George unintelligible to subsequent generations of economists. See my diary Henry George and Neo-Classical Economics    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 26th, 2017 at 02:49:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This sociobiological game is more ancient than Malthus. When a small group of gnostic elites controls most of vital resources and perceptions of the masses, there is no need for paper trail. Malthus was just an intellectual amateur, like me ;-)
by das monde on Sun Feb 26th, 2017 at 12:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Fri Feb 24th, 2017 at 04:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not received as offensive, no. He is proposing including sex in the activities that counts as "friskvårdstimme", on hour a week that the local authority as employer offers its employees to use for exercise.

I see lots of people having fun with the statement, but not offense.

Friskvårdstimme is generally run on the honor system anyways.

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 25th, 2017 at 09:44:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Italian situation is a little more complicated, reflecting an increase in the North and a decrease in the South (to the point that I think that the old stereotypes are reversed). Maybe economics explains it?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Feb 24th, 2017 at 08:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going wildly guess that immigration - don't 1st gen  immigrants from countries that are pre-transition tend to have higher birth rates? - might be having an effect there.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2017 at 09:37:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, you can also include most of the Muslim world in the exceptions. Some societies with strong religious and societal cohesion/coercion manage to buck the trend.

But that's not what's happening in Japan, is it? Married women are still having 2.1 children,  but fewer and fewer are getting married.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 09:59:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What about this picture: guys with pretty traditional attitudes and income get married and get 2.1 children, while "sensitive" guys are left behind or get into those stressful, sexless marriages? Any statistical contradictions to that?
by das monde on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 07:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's the Guardian house line about every single problem in the world.

I've really come to loathe the Guardian for its faux-progressive neoliberalism. Its idea of feminism starts and ends with women in the boardroom. Poverty is apparently a bit of a problem for some people - including some women, even - but it's not nearly as important as giving column inches to right-wingers like Louise Mensch and Matthew d'Ancona.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 02:28:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The story is Japan Times.

But yeah, the Guardian is pretty awful too.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 02:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their transparent bias in all things anti-Corbyn nailed their true colours to the wall.
The paper might as well be owned by Tony Blair!
It's astonishing to be be politically lefty and listen to such soapy twaddle gush forth from its pseudo-proponents.
The right may be way worse but its hypocrisy is somehow less stomach-churning, surprisingly.
Just to process this feels deeply weird...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 03:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the problem for the Guardian is that it has to get clickbait writers and they know that d'ancona and Mensch drive clickbait and comments and, thus, advertising revenue.

d'Ancona is mostly boring; his criticisms of the right don't seem any more useful or incisive given his access and his criticism of the left is just Aunt Sally posturing. If the Graun has to have right wingers in it, then they should at least be interesting or entertaining.

I'd not seen Mensch in there, but she's a complete drivelling idiot so I would probably have never noticed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 04:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian doesn't need clickbait writers. It just thinks it does.

Every so often they give Frankie Boyle a column, and he's always blisteringly insightful and hilarious. If they could find a few more writers of similar quality - and they're surely out there - and fire the herd of babbling non-entities that write the op-eds, the paper would become a force to be reckoned with.

It used to be a real cheerleader for the left. Now it's just a journalistic picture frame riddled with woodworm around a fading photo of Tony Blair winning an election twenty years ago.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2017 at 08:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, I'm sure we could all think of a couple of Graun writers I'd happily not see again. But Zoe Williams, who was just blossoming into their most interesting op ed writer, seems to have been sidelined and given a motoring column as a pension. Tragic waste of resources.

btw, the Gruan does need the money. The trust which owns it is going bust fast as the proit model on which it relied collapsed under the internet. Given the paper's huge online presence, they need to drive online advertising with clickbait writers. It's just a shame they haven't found good writers to do it with. The Mail's website should be a warning of where the current path leads

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 18th, 2017 at 08:23:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm confused.

I should think, on one hand, "abstinence" everywhere and regardless the parties' motives is "good". I have been led to believe that coitus increases risk or probability of sexual reproduction; and sexual reproduction is anathema of population controls (devised by gov't. or NGO policy referees) that conserves valuable, equitable resource allocation and distribution (marketing) to live citizens which define progressive standards of living for all nations. Any behavior that restrains population growth is "good."

On the other hand, this statement categorically implies that abstinence is "bad", not to mention that alternative entertainments or pleasurable activities such as full employment, pottery, and paid labor of ova-bearers are also "bad." Any behavior that restrains sexual reproduction is bad.

How would you prefer to license sexual reproduction across the world?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 03:02:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Statistically speaking, philosophers and sex do not mesh.
by das monde on Mon Feb 20th, 2017 at 03:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, that's meant to be a contraction of this section?


More than 22% of all women surveyed said they found sex "troublesome".

Among married men, 35.2% said that work left them "too tired" for intercourse - up dramatically from 21.3% in 2014 - while smaller numbers said they had come to see their wives solely as family members rather than as sexual partners, or that their sex lives had fizzled out after the birth of a child.

Huh?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 02:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "contraction" was what they published - they must have fixed it....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 03:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gee. Who couldn't see that coming after the birth of the first, second, third child? I'd say the "family bed" advocates, only because I haven't found an English-language blog that flogs discreet fucking strategy with or without nanny spectator supervision.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 03:45:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Forward
I walk through the metal detector [Boston] without a problem.

As I waited for my bag, I hear the "security check" alarm.

A TSA official walks over towards me.

"Is this your bag?" they ask.

[...]

The woman TSA official opens my small bag and proceeds to rifle through all the pages of my book.

"You see this book?" she says.

"Yes," I say.

"It's too thick, too many pages, it set off the alarm."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 11:07:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or possibly a thick book blocks too much of the x-rays and needs to be hand inspected in case it's concealing something?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 11:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As the Bill Hicks tale goes, "then the TSA official asks, "what are you reading for?""

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 02:55:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The proper response: "I'm sorry you are having so much trouble calibrating your machines."


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 04:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a thing that legitimately can happen with certain kinds of paper. I had South Korean security rifle through a textbook once for the same reason. And it's not because I get profiled for harassment. (These days it's usually the other way around; the logic, if that term can in fact be used in this context, appears to be that terrorists don't wear suits.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 07:00:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They carry tomes.
Carrying books is an "insurgent tell, because totalitarians don't carry tomes. Totalitarian conformists don't read much. This threshold of "threat" is entirely subjective interpretation of x-ray imaging of a brick, coupled to country of origin, VVD and similar.

I am currently an AMZN employee.I pass through metal detectors several times each day and am subject to body search if flagged. After two years of trials, I've concluded, metal detectors actually do detect minute quantities of metal and metalloids, per periodic table, AS SPECIFIED by security operatives. For example, a package of --or-- a single cigarette (evidently each stick contain some metal(oid), but not brass buttons on a Levi jacket, can trigger body search. In the same twelve-hour period. Security operatives play the dial (randomize) in a day to capture shoplifting employees, of which there are plenty.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 at 03:35:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:28:36 AM EST
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:28:38 AM EST
Ku Klux Klan killing: Frank Ancona's wife and stepson charged

The wife and stepson of a Ku Klux Klan leader found shot dead in Missouri have been charged with murder.

The body of Frank Ancona, who called himself an "imperial wizard", was found next to a river on Saturday.

His wife Malissa Ancona, who appealed for his return on Facebook, and stepson Paul Jinkerson Jr were charged with the murder on Monday.

They are also facing charges of tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.

Police allege Mr Ancona, 51, was shot in his sleep on Thursday at home in Leadwood, Missouri, about 70 miles south of St. Louis.


by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 02:06:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are also facing charges of tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.

So many come-backs ... where to start.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 07:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kim Jong-un's half-brother dies after 'attack' at airport in Malaysia
The estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has died in Malaysia, police have confirmed, after he told authorities he had been attacked in the shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Kim Jong-nam, who was 45 years old, died on his way to hospital after seeking help at an information desk because he felt dizzy, Malalysian police said. He said he had been attacked by an unknown assailant, and police have ordered a postmortem.

Both South Korean and US government sources believe Kim was murdered by North Korean agents, Reuters news agency reported. Poison-pen devices have been found on would-be North Korean assassins in the past, and a US government official said a similar device could not be ruled out.

by Bernard on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 08:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He said he had been attacked by an unknown assailant ...

I heard a report it was 2 women ... probably would-be hookers.  Great way to go!

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 08:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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