Link Roundup, 5/10/2018

From the New York Times: How Boeing may benefit from the end of the Iran deal.

From The Daily Beast: Rick Wilson’s riff on the Trump-Giuliani relationship is hilarious. When this is all over, Wilson may have his own show – on Comedy Central.

From The New Yorker: A look at capitalism as a threat to democracy, through a review of Polanyi.

From Wired: Diving into pay statistics from Silicon Valley (Median pay at Facebook is nearly $250K).

From Texas Monthly: At the NRA convention, tactical weapons stole the show.


  1. As we watch technology change the workplace and replace many humans, it’s interesting to read about the serious shortage in truck drivers. Apparently, driverless trucks can’t arrive too soon….but in the “gap,” truck drivers, those blue collar, “maybe” high school educated folks, will ride into the sunset doing better than any of us thought probable.

  2. Re: Boeing. That’s a pretty lousy reason for Boeing coming out ahead, i.e. because the imposition of sanctions will increase middle east tensions leading to more lucrative arms deals for Boeing. Some would call that blood money.

    Also, Airbus may yet get the last laugh. I have a feeling the rest of Europe will figure out a way to continue their part of the agreement, which will let Airbus bag those contracts.

    Even in arms dealing, Boeing will likely end up a long-term loser. Countries don’t base their national security on weapons platforms imported from unreliable partners that make decisions like sanctions willy-nilly. Imagine you’re Qatar and Trump decides one day to tweet that he’s imposing sanctions on you, leaving your American weapons platforms incapacitated by spare parts shortages just as Saudi Arabia starts moving tanks to your border. No amount of Ex-Im Bank financing or discounts will convince you to buy American vs. more reliable partners like France or Russia.

    Just look at India, the world’s largest arms importer, where they’ve basically told American fighter jet makers to pound sand and have chosen French and Russian platforms (plus developing their own). The memory of American sanctions after their nuclear tests still leaves a bitter taste. No country that’s not completely beholden to American interests (NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia) will touch US defense products with a ten foot pole due to their foreign policy instability.

  3. Imagine, for a moment, thousands of Americans protesting at the border about Mexicans doing something, take your pick on a topic. Now further imagine Mexican army snipers firing across the border, killing 16 Americans, wounding hundreds. What, precisely, would be the outcome of such an action?

    Israel, the pitbull of the U.S., has killed 16 Palestinians today, who are protesting on Palestinian soil.

    Further, Israel has at least 80 nuclear warheads, many miniaturized, some mounted on cruise missiles in their German-made Dolphin subs. Much of the initial technology for their nuclear weapons program was stolen from the U.S. Meantime, Iran is not supposed to be allowed to progress with their own MAD doctrine, like Russia/U.S./China have.

    The hypocrisy runs so deep. So further to my posts earlier in the week, yeah, when faced with a nuclear-armed terrorist state like Israel in their neighborhood, it is only logical that Iran wants nukes also.

    BTW, before anyone accuses me of being anti-semetic, no, I am anti-Zionism, given what Zionism has devolved into. Oh, and do remember, a key part of the birth of Israel was the terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel. Menachem Begin, a key member of the terrorist group, later became the prime minister of Israel. The country was founded in terrorism, and has never stopped. Then again, one man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist. It all depends on who writes the narrative, and Israel and their main supporter the U.S. have so many good writers.

  4. If I we’re an aspirational young or midcareer Republican, I would pay attention to how a lifetime of public service and decades of party loyalty and affiliation left John McCain with nothing better than his own party members cheering on his coming death.

    Great friends to have, Republicans.

  5. JonCR, the Bernie vs. Hillary comment was not meant entirely seriously (although it’s been painful to read some comment section discussions between supporters of the two, to say the least).

    I supported Sanders because of economic issues. I didn’t see him as pushing identity that much, and in fact he got caught a bit flatfooted with African-Americans. (Why that was I never figured out, since MLK Jr. was all about economics in his later years.)

    I haven’t really seen much on millenial’s opinions. I’m a classic boomer–vintage 1951–and most of the Bernie supporters I know are about the same. There seems to be a basic misunderstanding of economics if millennials really support socialism but not redistribution…

    (Redistribution is a bad word, it has overtones of giving people things they don’t deserve. But economic systems are unavoidably systems for distribution of economic goods. Neither Trump nor Sanders used the term redistribution, although they both pointed out that the economic system is rigged.)

    1. Here’s my source. It’s short and worth looking over.
      I got the punchline wrong. The punchline is “support for ‘government managed economy’ is lower than support for ‘socialism’. Regardless, these numbers suggest a group which is … impressionable. Maybe that’s not abnormal; Millennials aren’t being compared with other generations in the section that highlights paradoxical views.
      I might have posted this story before, but, after O’Malley became irrelevant I had been planning to vote for Sanders for about the whole season, until he came to my city the week before the primary. He gave a speech that focused on Walmart and how their wages are low and are basically subsidized through welfare programs. It was important stuff, but I felt like if all the cheering was taken out (it was an hour-long event) that we’d be left with an essay I could have written in high school. Contrast this with Hillary who had plans for mental health and private prisons, the stocks of which jumped by a lot after she lost… Sanders looked dangerously uniformed to me. But my opinion here is not that intense. There is economics, and besides Clinton picked a few weird things to lie about.

      1. Oh and for redistribution I agree the connotations aren’t great. There are too many angles for me to give a proper consideration of the topic right now but I just meant it in a denotative sense: the government adjusts the distribution done by the market.

      2. “Contrast this with Hillary who had plans for mental health and private prisons, the stocks of which jumped by a lot after she lost… Sanders looked dangerously uniformed to me.”

        In 2010 two women were running for governor in my state. One was the vice governor of the previous Democrat administration and had a website full of links to actual legislation already pretty much written and planned to roll out over a large variety of issues and topics. The other was a Tea Party newcomer whose website consisted only of about a paragraph per tab about how hardcore she’ll stand up against the Obama administration. No plans, no proposed legislation, nothing. Obviously, she won, because anger against Obama was more important than solutions to problems.

        When the Tea Party swept 2010, a friend of mine from Massachusetts wrote on his blog, “Well congratulations guys, now that you got elected against the leadership of this country, let’s see you actually lead.” I felt much the same way — and expected that a few years of these uppity whingers would turn off ‘the electorate’ to people who ran entirely on anger and hatred rather than issues-focused plans and ideas that were executable and achievable.

        For some reason I’m now kicking myself over, I made the exact same mistake in 2016. And the mistake I made wasn’t with ‘the right’, as the years after the aforementioned Tea Party surge showed that conservatives were all-in on doing nothing but being wrong about basically everything, often in the most useless and unhelpful ways possible. The mistake I made in 2016 was that the REST of the country, moderates and liberals alike, would at least take a cursory glance at Hillary Clinton’s website and see that she had a page of literally hundreds of initiatives linked to research papers, prior state-level legislation, and stuff like economic analyses; and that these people in general, having the same cursory glance at basically any other person running, would be like, “Well you know, I don’t LIKE Hillary Clinton, but she is the only single person running for this office with anything resembling knowledge, experience, and a plan.” I expected that because she was, in fact, the only person who ran for President of the United States in 2016 who had anything resembling knowledge, experience, and a plan.

        But it turns out that people on the left care as little about knowledge, experience, and plans as people on the right, and moderates care more about whether or not they like a person than they adhere to technocracy. As a result, the left ate itself with Hillary vs. Bernie, and the moderates stayed home because the two final options were just unpleasant people.

        I’m still angry about this, largely because it means, to me, that there is no hope of guiding history by merely being correct and knowledgeable. You have to talk big, whether you’re worth a damn or not. And the bigger a person talks, the less worth a damn they tend to be on average. Talking big is pretty much correlated with how deeply a person is trying to hide their own uselessness. People of skill don’t have to talk big — their achievements speak for them.

        In the end it just means that the electorate is a bunch of idiots. Remove all of the pomp and pleasure of mediated gamemanship with graphics and makeup, and just have candidates submit a statement of three major issues they’re going to tackle and the outlines of legislation that is meant to resolve it, and it wouldn’t take more than a glance to know which person you want to actually write legislation.

        But that will never happen, because it’s not how people think. Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers. I keep failing to do that.

      3. JonCr-

        All you’re really saying is Millenials are just as confused as all Americans. Plenty of polls show nearly everyone holds contradicting beliefs: people who love “ACA insurance” and detest “Obamacare”; believe in “free markets” yet support the stock market (regulated by literally millions of pages of “red tape”); seniors who think they “earned” their current Social Security payouts, etc etc. This isn’t necessarily because people are stupid (although the more egregious examples can be explained by stupidity and ignorance). It’s because public policy is always a tension between opposing goals. Frequently, it’s very reasonable to support both goals: the debate becomes where on the spectrum you land.

        Depending on the way the survey is worded, I’d probably support “socialism” and disagree with “government managed economy” too. After all, just because I support Medicare-for-all (my definition of socialism) doesn’t mean I support Soviet 5-year plans and collectivized farming (my definition of government managed economy). But then maybe I’m just a stupid uninformed Bernie supporter 🙂

        Regarding Bernie’s so-called policy naivete. The man has been in politics longer than Hillary has. He’s hardly naive, nor unaware of the level of detail and analysis required to actually pass sound policy. (Neither is Hillary, in case you think I’m denigrating her thoughtfulness on policy issues). But here’s the difference: Bernie supporters felt that 2016 was war: a battle for the soul of the country no less important than the Civil War (just hopefully without as many dead bodies). Sending a dry technocratic policy wonk to face the machine guns of a Republican Wehrmacht would work out about as well as sending an unarmed George Kennan (no matter how brilliant his policy papers were) against the Nazis.

        I can’t speak for all Bernie supporters (many of which, it’s true, hated Hillary viscerally just like the Republicans), but plenty of Bernie supporters like me actually liked Hillary and her voluminous, detailed proposals, but were afraid that she didn’t understand the battle she was facing. There is no debating policy points and seeking compromise with a destructive force like the current Republican party. They must simply be defeated. The policy details can be debated later. I think in hindsight we have been proven right.

        If Bernie’s speeches seemed to only reveal a high school level of understanding of the issues, I consider that a plus. Unless you’re delivering a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School, talking at any level higher than high school level is political suicide. Especially if you view your goal as rallying troops to battle to save the country rather than debating the finer points of taxation policy.

        At the end of the day, IMHO, Hillary, for all her intellect, was part of the Obama wing of the party: centrist, seeking compromise, believing in post-partisan, purple-state kumbaya BS. Obama was repeatedly punched by those red states that he kept saying didn’t exist, and never learned his lesson. Hillary seemed like she was going to repeat the same mistake. You could see this in the way she backed away from her “basket of deplorables” comment (ironically, this from the same person who coined the term “vast right-wing conspiracy” and stood by it, later being proven correct). Show me a Republican who’s ever apologized for calling Democrats far worse (a sampling of titles from Ann Coulter’s books about liberals: Slander, Treason, Godless, Demonic. I believe they were all bestsellers).

        While I supported Bernie’s policy positions, I had no problem with Hillary’s. I even agree that they were more detailed and “realistic”. But 2016 was war. Only one candidate understood that. Mike Tyson famously said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Hillary has been getting pummeled ever since she was First Lady. And yet she still thought the key to winning was having a detailed, 100-page bullet-point’ed plan. Is it any wonder she got KO’ed?

      4. we either get legislation redistributing wealth, or revolution redistributing poverty…


        I love that quote, but there’s a subtle misquote in there. Will Durant said legislation *re*distributing wealth vs revolution *distributing* poverty. In the first, redistribution means some people will get poorer while others will get richer. In revolution, there is no re-distribution. Poverty gets distributed to all. Even the poor get poorer.

      5. I’m really not trying to attack Sanders supporters. After all, I only switched my allegiance at the very end. And while I can’t claim to have any regrets there, I don’t have any deep emotional attachments to my choice.
        And if you scroll down to where I first brought it up, I mainly mentioned surveys of Millennials out of musing on the belief topography of the Democratic party through the lens of the primary. I will say, though, that the idea of social leftism combined with economic conservatism – neoliberalism – concerns me. It masks the power structures that truly matter with a bunch of mostly fabricated nonsense.
        I’ve evolved on that last point. I used to complain that the liberal mind was annoyingly incapable of a combat mentality. But now I’m worried about what the combat mentality does to our mental faculties. The trouble is that it’s a cycle. The Republicans are genuinely evil, the Deplorables comment was one of the most honest remarks we’re ever going to get from a politician, a highlighting of an inconvenient truth, and having Rs in policy discussions is a waste of time. But with them gone, the Left has to have conversations by itself, and what I see is that a mix of having a narrower (though perhaps numerically larger) audience, fear, and anger have reduced the quality of those conversations. Whether viewing politics as war helps us increase turnout, or if “escalation” ends up scaring people away/driving up R turnout before that effect kicks in, is in the not the point. Because whether we win or lose, escalation is ultimately going to move us towards becoming their reflection.
        If nothing else I want to point out that people can reach the right answers for bad reasons.

  6. JonCR, the Bernie vs. Hillary comment was not meant entirely seriously (although it’s been painful to read some comment section discussions between supporters of the two, to say the least).

    I really supported Sanders because of economic issues. I didn’t see him as pushing identity that much, and in fact he got caught a bit flatfooted with African-Americans. (Why that was I never figured out, since MLK Jr. was all about economics in his later years.)

    I haven’t really seen much on millenial’s opinions. I’m a classic boomer–vintage 1951–and most of the Bernie supporters I know are about the same. There seems to be a basic misunderstanding of economics if millennials really support socialism but not redistribution…

    (Redistribution is a bad word, it has overtones of giving people things they don’t deserve. But economic systems are unavoidably systems for distribution of economic goods. Neither Trump nor Sanders used the term redistribution, although they both pointed out that the economic system is rigged.)

  7. I’m just finishing the Kuttner book, I also just read the somewhat similar “Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Neoliberal World” by Mitchell and Fazi. Both books see neoliberalism as deliberately undermining the power of nations to protect their citizens from global capitalism, by enhancing the power of global finance and undercutting the power of labor. Kuttner in particular is pretty hard on Bill Clinton. Both see stresses on labor as part of the rise of Trump, who during the campaign very much stressed that “the system” was rigged against the little guy.

    “Other countries are taking advantage of us” (by allowing environmental and worker rights abuses?) Trump just wants US businesses to be able to compete fairly, apparently by rolling back regulations on, among other things, child labor. Take that, shithole countries!

    1. So, just to recap and make sure I understand the two main camps in the debate here. One group is arguing that a sort of gentry class stole the Democratic party, becoming obsessed with social issues and nonchalant about protecting blue collar workers, who then turn towards an anxiety which “may not be possible to untangle from a more tribal mind-set.” Opposing this view is that represented by, say, Ta-Nehisi Coates: that entrenched bigotry is everything and that Trump voters are fundamentally evil. Having not much relevant knowledge, I’m looking for reading lists on this subject. It’s a bit tricky, because from what surveys and street interviews I’ve seen, just asking Trump voters themselves supports the latter view, but the former seems to have a better grasp on historical cause-and-effect as well as human nature. So anyway what books and/or articles would you all recommend?

      That NRA convention is creepy AF by the way.

      1. The sentence about untangling economic anxiety from a tribal mindset jumped out at me too. An acquaintance’s father said when the acquaintance mentioned that he didn’t see much racism (in 1970s Vancouver) “Wait til times get hard. You’ll see plenty.”

        Both Kuttner and the other book I mentioned believe that the left made a big mistake by accepting the “no alternatives” claim of globalism, and very specifically in the case of Mitchell and Fazi rejecting the Marxist class struggle view for an identity politics view. (Bernie bros vs. Hillary bots?)

        Also: Seriously, Oliver North?

      2. Thank you I’ll put those in my Amazon cart.
        See I’m not sure if it is as simple as Hillary’s supporters vs. Bernie’s. A longstanding complaint of mine has been the lack of survey study of the Democrats, and I don’t know how that group breaks down. I see in the people around me an irony by which the Sanders supporters are also some of the most involved in identity politics. Something about the impatience of youth, or the primary being not only about working class vs. globalism but also about populism vs. technocracy, I can’t say. But I feel like magazines somewhat fall into this pattern as well. HuffPo was for Bernie and they are pretty much completely off the deep end with identity politics; the NYT leans toward the other end of both scales.
        If I had to guess I would say that for most the question of globalism was bigger, not because the counties Sanders won in were mainly white but because they leaned rural. And yet, Sanders’s base was also young, and Millennials as a group are… let’s see if I recall correctly, the most receptive generation to identity politics, the generation most fond of “socialism” if it’s just a word, and rather economically conservative if asked about something more concrete like redistribution.

      3. I concur with what Chris wrote back in the GOPLifer Days.

        However, I have recently revised my thoughts on this entire term “identity politics”. It is a term that has been used by right wing pundits and the GOP to paint the Democrats as elitist and out of touch. In reality the Democrats are practicing a “politics of inclusion” in that they are trying to open up access to all people regardless of sect, color of skin, sexual preference, etc. Whereas the GOP is the party that is truly practicing “identity politics” with their white superiority, misogyny, and sexual exclusion. That is being done deliberately to appeal to the tribalistic instincts of their base and to attract others who are scared. That has enabled the GOP to win elections, so they can continue their oligarchic program of “comforting the comfortable, and afflicting the afflicted.”

        Having just read “Masterless Men”, I have become acutely aware of these approaches and how society is shaped under an oligarchic regimen. I fear that in the US today, we are approaching an oligarchy with our extreme inequity. That is significantly affecting our politics.

      4. I’ve debated whether to post links or try to answer this myself. I decided to go with some of both approaches. This may be long.
        I have used the phrase “identity politics” here because I consider it neutral. The alternatives are more stilted terms like “progressive”, “social justice movement”, or “regressive left”. (I’ve not listened to even half of the people she mentions, but I mostly subscribe to the line of thought described in Bari Weiss’s “Intellectual Dark Web” piece – yes we all agree that the name sounds needlessly edgy.)
        Regardless of the word used for the far cultural left, the group is hard to define. But two patterns I see are
        1.) a binary narrative by which the world is repeatedly divided into oppressed and oppressor. This narrative holds mostly true, in my opinion, for class and race. The reality of ways in which the sexes interact is more complicated and nuanced, and as far I can tell homosexuals have full acceptance by everyone who matters these days. But the far left, even if they claim to know this isn’t true, appears to operate on the assumption that the fundamental power relationships upon which society operates have not changed since the 1950s.
        2.) The actual meaning of “diversity” is “as many non white men as possible”. Similarly, there is a double standard of conversation by which one can make any hateful, blanket statement they want about historically dominant groups – usu. men, whites, evangelicals, the rich – but any sort of analysis of anyone else as a group is frowned upon, even if it is constructive and no matter how much the speaker stresses that they are talking about the population, not individuals for which there is plenty of variance. I link to this article
        as an example. The writer is talking about a women-only workspace and the lack of self-awareness that this is the mirror image of what feminists complain about is kind of incredible.

        One last tidbit – I think this is partly fueled by well-off people that want to lie to themselves about income being the most important measure of privilege and so have invented this litany of other things to talk about. My evidence is a Brookings report that college speaker dis-invitations, invariably done by the left, are more common at wealthier schools.

        Again, sorry for the length. I’m worried about appearing like the right should I be too brief.

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