January 10, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:59 PM


Populists in Power Around the World (Jordan Kyle & Limor Gultchin, :7th November 2018, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change)

Populism has two essential features. First, it holds that the people are locked into conflict with outsiders. Second, it claims that nothing should constrain the will of the true people.

Populism draws an unbridgeable divide between the people and outsiders. The people are depicted as "morally decent . . . economically struggling, hard-working, family-oriented, plain-spoken, and endowed with common sense", in the words of sociologist Rogers Brubaker.18 The people are defined in opposition to outsiders, who allegedly do not belong to the moral and hard-working true people. While many studies of populism define the essential social conflict as between the people and the elite, this report uses the more general term "outsiders", because populists as often stoke divisions between marginalised communities as between marginalised communities and elite.

From there, populists attribute a singular common good to the people: a policy goal that cannot be debated based on evidence but that derives from the common sense of the people.19 This general will of the people, populists argue, is not represented by the cartel of self-serving establishment elites who guard status quo politics.

There are three main strategies that populists use to stoke this insider-outsider division:

* a political style in which populists identify with insiders;

* an effort to define and delegitimise outsiders; and

* a rhetoric of crisis that elevates the conflict between insiders and outsiders to a matter of national urgency.

One of the most enjoyable things about Nationalism is that it claims unique virtue for the in-group, a unique threat from the out-groups, and a unique set of crises and it claims these things no matter where it is advocated, no matter when, no matter by whom and no matter against whom. It's quite precious from without.  

Posted by orrinj at 3:50 PM


For Trump, Storming Out of a Meeting Is a Signature Ploy (Shannon Pettypiece  and Margaret Talev, January 10, 2019, Bloomberg)

President Donald Trump's decision to abruptly storm out of a meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday shocked some on Capitol Hill. But those who have done business with him recognized it as one of his trademark negotiating tactics.

Long before he entered the White House -- where the latest turn on his heel occurred -- Trump was known to have done the same thing when a deal wasn't going his way. He even walked out of a judge's chambers during divorce proceedings.

Posted by orrinj at 1:00 PM


Visibly shaken Netanyahu blows live TV address (Ben Caspit, January 9, 2019, Al Monitor)

"It was the appearance of someone who finally put two and two together, who suddenly understood that he lost control over his situation and his fate," said a senior Israeli political figure who was loyal to Netanyahu for a long time, adding to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, "Evidently he understood that the attorney general is really going to indict him and announce his decision even before elections."

Netanyahu made a number of mistakes on the way to the appearance. They began at five p.m., when his office spread the word that the prime minister would deliver "a dramatic announcement" at eight p.m. In Israel, that kind of buildup can cause panic and sweep an entire country with crazy rumors. This is exactly what happened on Monday afternoon. As the clock ticked closer to eight, Netanyahu's people understood the terrible mistake they had made and tried to lighten the atmosphere.[...]

"He lost touch with reality," one of Netanyahu's ministers told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity after the broadcast. "He thinks this is a reality show and that he is the director."

Posted by orrinj at 12:57 PM


Groom wins NIS 30,000 damages after injuring his foot breaking the glass (Times of Israel, 1/10/19)

A Tel Aviv court has awarded a groom NIS 30,000 ($8,000) in damages after he injured his foot performing the glass breaking ritual at his wedding ceremony.

Posted by orrinj at 12:48 PM


Kamala Harris Ready To Enter Race For President, Sources Say (DOUG SOVERN, JANUARY 09, 2019, KCBS)

Sen. Kamala Harris has decided to run for president in 2020 and will announce her candidacy on or around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, probably at a campaign rally in Oakland, sources close to the freshman senator from California tell KCBS Radio.

Obviously Mrs. Obama is their optimal candidate, but Ms Harris becomes the immediate front-runner in her absence.

Posted by orrinj at 12:35 PM


Pacific trade deal spurs Canadian farm sales to Japan as U.S. watches (Rod Nickel, 1/10/19, Reuters)

A trade deal among Pacific nations - called the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - took effect on Dec. 30 among the first six of 11 member countries to ratify it, including Canada, Japan and Australia.

CPTPP's real prize, Canadian exporters say, are reduced Japanese tariffs for beef, pork, wheat and canola oil. Japan is the world's third-largest beef importer and seventh-largest wheat buyer, often buying top-quality supplies to meet consumer demand for soft, white breads and beef raised on grain not grass.

For Canada, following a year of volatile relations with the United States and China, the deal offers a rare opportunity to seize market share from the United States, which withdrew from the pact after President Donald Trump took office.

Canada's opportunity illustrates the risks of Trump's drastic trade actions. Farmers are key Trump supporters, but they have been among the hardest-hit from a trade war with China.

U.S. beef packers such as Tyson Inc and National Beef Packing Co also stand to lose, while Canadian grain exporters Richardson International and Viterra [VILC.UL] may gain.

At the Tokyo beef buffet, enthusiasm about Canadian beef transcended borders.

"The interest was as high as I've ever seen," said Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, who has been visiting Japan since the 1980s. "This new agreement is one of the most significant opportunities we've seen since the original NAFTA (North American Free Trade) agreement was signed."

Posted by orrinj at 12:11 PM


Test of steel prototype for border wall showed it could be sawed through (Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, 1/10/18, NBC News)

President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall, which he described as "absolutely critical to border security" in his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS.

Posted by orrinj at 4:29 AM


Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics (Trip Gabriel, Jan. 10, 2019, NY Times)

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?" Mr. King said.

Dude, you're at least supposed to pretend there's another reason you oppose immigration.

Posted by orrinj at 4:25 AM


Reform Bid Said to Be A No-Go For Trump (ADAM NAGOURNEY, FEB. 14, 2000, NY Times)

The new interim head of the Reform Party, Pat Choate, described Mr. Trump as a ''hustler'' last night, and said he had never believed that Mr. Trump had any interest beyond promoting himself and a new book that happened to be published at exactly the time he started his light schedule of campaign travel.

''Donald Trump came in, promoted his hotels, he promoted his book, he promoted himself at our expense, and I think he understands very fully that we've ended the possibilities for such abuse of our party,'' Mr. Choate said. ''We're taking our party back to our very principles, and exploiters such as Donald Trump will not be able to exploit us again -- and he realizes it.''

''We saw no evidence that he was a serious candidate at all,'' Mr. Choate said. ''All this was, was a serious hustle of the media, and I think the media should send him a massive bill on it.''

Mr. Trump apparently anticipated such speculation -- which, in fact, is fairly common in political circles -- and in his statement went out of his way to say that this was more than a frolic. ''For those who suggest that this has just been a promotion, I want to strongly deny that,'' he said.

He said that although his book and his businesses had probably benefited from the exposure his campaign generated, ''I did not launch my exploratory campaign for that reason.''

Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics.

''The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,'' he said in his statement. ''This is not company I wish to keep.''

Posted by orrinj at 4:02 AM


Posted by orrinj at 3:59 AM


Shutdown's economic damage: $1 billion a week: The mounting toll is adding new risks to the Trump administration's economic hopes for 2019. (VICTORIA GUIDA 01/09/2019, Politico)

The roughly 800,000 government employees who are either furloughed or working without pay will be forced to start slashing their consumer spending when paychecks don't appear this week. Private-sector contractors and other workers tied to the government are already seeing damage from lost business.

And a hit to the nation's financial standing is on the horizon with a warning from Fitch Ratings on Wednesday about downgrading the government's credit rating if the shutdown persists.

Estimates from President Donald Trump's chief economist peg the cost to the overall U.S. economy at about $1.2 billion for each week the shutdown persists.

People seem unable to compute the fact that a tanking economy is a desirable outcome for Nativists as it makes America a less desirable destination.
Posted by orrinj at 3:58 AM


Texas landowners prepare wall fight; Trump to visit border (NOMAAN MERCHANT, 1/10/19, AP) 

As President Donald Trump travels to the border in Texas to make the case for his $5.7 billion wall, landowner Eloisa Cavazos says she knows firsthand how the project will play out if the White House gets its way.

The federal government has started surveying land along the border in Texas and announced plans to start construction next month. Rather than surrender their land, some property owners are digging in, vowing to reject buyout offers and preparing to fight the administration in court.

"You could give me a trillion dollars and I wouldn't take it," said Cavazos, whose land sits along the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas. "It's not about money."

Only Keystone made them love eminent domain this much.

Posted by orrinj at 3:55 AM


People older than 65 share the most fake news, a new study finds (Casey Newton, Jan 9, 2019, The Verge)

Older Americans are disproportionately more likely to share fake news on Facebook, according to a new analysis by researchers at New York and Princeton Universities. Older users shared more fake news than younger ones regardless of education, sex, race, income, or how many links they shared. In fact, age predicted their behavior better than any other characteristic -- including party affiliation.

Posted by orrinj at 3:52 AM


Report: US sanctions threaten Russian plans for passenger jet (Reuters, 01.10.19)

US sanctions have cut off imports of foreign components needed to produce Russia's first post-Soviet mainline commercial aircraft, threatening its production schedule, the newspaper Kommersant reported on Thursday.
Russia hopes the MS-21, a twin-engine, medium-range passenger plane, will give Boeing and Airbus a run for their money. Three prototypes have been built and the plane had been set to enter serial production in 2020.
But Kommersant, citing a senior government official and Russian aviation industry sources, said US sanctions had cut off imports of components from the United States and Japan that were needed to make the plane's wings and part of its tail fin.

Posted by orrinj at 3:51 AM


Trump's team had over 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, report shows (Christal Hayes, 1/10/19, USA TODAY)

"This wasn't just one email or call, or one this or that," said Talia Dessel, a research analyst for the left-leaning organization. "Over 100 contacts is really significant because you don't just have 100 contacts with a foreign power if there's nothing going on there."

The organization used publicly available court documents and reporting to tally up the number of contacts. Each meeting and message was counted as a separate contact.

The number of contacts was raised to 101 this week after it was reported that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide, shared polling data with Manafort's former Russian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik. 

Dessel noted the group's list of contacts is on the "conservative" end and the "very minimum amount of contacts" between Russian-linked officials and those within the Trump campaign and transition. 

Posted by orrinj at 3:50 AM


Yemen soldiers killed in Houthi drone attack on base (BBC, 1/10/19)

A drone attack on a Yemeni government base by the rebel Houthi movement has reportedly killed at least six soldiers and injured several senior officials.

A video appeared to show one drone exploding above al-Anad base, in Lahj province, during a military parade.

Sky News Arabia said army chief of staff Gen Abdullah al-Nakhi and Lahj governor Ahmed Abdullah were hurt.

A Houthi-run TV channel said the rebels had targeted personnel from the Saudi-led coalition backing the government.