Morning Ed: The Americas {2019.09.20.T}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

127 Responses

  1. j r says:

    From the Socialist Worker Venezuela article:

    The right argue that if we vote for a socialist such as Jeremy Corbyn then Britain will end up like Venezuela. But Venezuela’s problem isn’t too much socialism—it’s not enough.

    Anyone arguing that Corbyn as Prime Minister or Bernie as President would lead to either the UK or the US ending up like Venezuela is obviously wrong. There are years of history (colonialism, post colonial caudillos, First and Second World interference, ill-conceived development strategies, resource curses, etc.) keeping most Western developed countries from ending up like the lesser developed Latin countries. That said, this article is pretty Simple Jack, but it is a pretty good example of my main beef with the far left. It is full of non-falsifiable statements about capitalism and socialism that only have meaning if you already buy into the foundations of socialist thought. It is catechism, not analysis.

    What’s caused this disaster?

    The right say that market forces ran the economy smoothly until Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro interfered with them. In reality, this is a crisis of the capitalist system that they didn’t confront.

    The biggest problem is the collapsing price of oil, Venezuela’s main export.When the oil price was high Chavez could fund anti-poverty programmes without confronting the rich. Maduro can no longer do this.

    This is a pretty good lesson in how not to do comparative public policy. Chavez did what Chavez because Chavez wanted to do what he did. If he failed to fully take on the vestiges of the old power system maybe it was because he was more interested in creating an authoritarian cult of personality than in ushering in a socialist utopia.

    Make no mistake, Venezuela could have just as easily been run into a ground by a bunch of right-wing cronyist rent-seeking corrupt authoritarians, but it wasn’t. It was run into the ground by Chavez and his Bolivarian Socialist movement. That doesn’t have to deal a death blow to the idea that some country could conceivably pull of a successful socialist revolution, but when folks try to dodge and/or invert the obvious truth, it does their movement no favors.Report

  2. Damon says:

    Mexico: No doubt. The us is paying mexico to strengthen it’s southern boarder, because they want to keep the Guatemalans, etc. out of mexico. And folk here are bitching about building a wall on our border….

    Venezuela: So I’m confused. The collapsing oil prices and the draught has crippled the country, but “Neither of these problems are former bus worker Maduro’s doing.” True, but he didn’t “confront the rich” when the prices for oil were high (and were funding the anti poverty programs) But he was part of the gov’t that “decade of relying on oil revenue”. But then again, “The left government did all it could to co-opt or contain this self-organisation.” after the 2002-3 protests and “It decided early on to adapt to capitalism—and some figures grew very rich.” So the author’s point is that the leftish gov’t ISN’T LEFT ENOUGH or sold out to the wicked Capitalists?

    Gun Ownership: I’m not sure how accurate these are. I know a lot of people that aren’t stupid enough to actually disclose to some random unknown 1) they own guns 2) what kind 3) how many. One does not talk about fight club or gun ownership.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

      Should be easy enough to track how many guns are being used if you track ammo purchases. And that’s just hacking walmart’s database, innit? (Serves as a decent proxy even in places where it isn’t the only store around).

      I own guns. To the tune of “more than you do.” They aren’t around my house, so don’t even.Report

      • Damon in reply to Kimmi says:

        I don’t think ammo purchases correlates well to how many guns their are. There are people that shoot 500 rounds a year and those that shoot 50 thousand rounds. People who own more guns buy more types of ammo, but competition shooters likely shoot fewer types of ammo but more of it. And ammo sales aren’t recorded by person in my state.

        You may own more than I do, assuming I do, but mine would be “cooler”. :pReport

    • Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

      If you’re down to 3%, you’re well under the “likes ebola” territory (which consistently sits at around 15%). 17 guns a person isn’t too crazy for people who just like guns. Of course, that is a mobile arsenal…
      And this is done using: the GfK Knowledge Panel, a nationally representative online panel

      dunno if i trust it that muchReport

    • Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

      You do realize that America’s Border with Mexico is one of the best defended in the world, right? And that Mexico’s border with Guatemala is basically non-existent.

      Without speaking to the merits of beefing up the Mexico-Guatemala border, it is probably a much more cost effective way to limit undocumented immigration from central america than building a wall along our massive border.Report

      • Damon in reply to Gaelen says:

        Perhaps I didn’t make my point clear.

        “We”, as in america, all cool with paying Mexico to beef up it’s boarder with Guatemala, at least according to Don Zeko’s theories, but doesn’t want to do anything about OUR border. Meanwhile, Mexico is totally cool and sees the need to do something about the damned illegals crossing their border, but has no interest in sealing it’s northern border. Hmmmm.Report

        • Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

          “Mexico is totally cool and sees the need to do something about the damned illegals crossing their border, but has no interest in sealing it’s northern border.” Countries act in their own self interest. Color me surprised.

          On your first point, I got it (except for the Don Zeko part). My point is about diminishing returns. It is entirely consistent to say that spending $25 billion to build a semi-pointless wall for our incredibly well protected border (which, by any measure, it is) is a waste of money, but that spending $15 million helping Mexico manage a incredibly porous border with Guatemala is a much more cost effective way of heading off illegal immigration both in Mexico and the US. There is nothing hypocritical there.

          Hell, even if securing the border isn’t your only concern, Mexico’s border with Guatemala is basically open. It is entirely consistent to think that the US spends to much on border security, while at the same time thinking the Mexico spends too little.Report

          • Damon in reply to Gaelen says:

            I’m curious about this well protected border that apparently lets in billions of dollars worth of drugs and tens of thousands of immigrants. Given that I can walk up to the border and hop over the cattle fence that it is in some areas, I’d strive hard to call it well protected.Report

            • J_A in reply to Damon says:

              1- Most of the illegal immigrants arrive by plane into a fancy airport, carrying a US visa, which they then overstay

              2- In those places where you can walk over the cattle fence, the problem is not the fence, it is crossing the couple of hundred of miles of desert in both directions without dying a lot. In those places where you can walk up to the fence in safety, like San Diego, or El Paso, it is quite a big, secure, fence.Report

              • Damon in reply to J_A says:

                “it is crossing the couple of hundred of miles of desert in both directions without dying a lot. ”

                Funny, back before the recent crash, my mom would wake up in the middle of the night several times each night as the illegals walked up her street, causing the dogs in the neighborhood to bark. They seemed to manage the miles of dessert rather well. And the trail markings and trash strew along the trails up to the border and beyond seemed to indicate a decent amount of preparation/recognition of the rigors of nighttime desert walking-they also liked to hang out under the train trestles during the day in the shade.

                But to your point of “Most of the illegal immigrants arrive by plane into a fancy airport, carrying a US visa, which they then overstay” Wow, and yet above you indicated how “strong our border” was. I can’t seem to resolve these two statements.Report

            • Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

              The US-Mexico Border is very, very long, and is the most legally trafficked border in the world. It is also, quite possibly, the best defended border between to non-hostile nations. It’s not perfectly secure, but we spend around $12 million on it, and have more border agents, national guard, drones, and fence than almost anywhere else on earth. We probably disagree over whether that is sufficient.

              But again, this discussion whether it is hypocritical to spend resources to help Mexico without building a wall on our border.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

      I’m more than a little disturbed by how many people are A-OK with banning gun purchases to people on the no-fly list. The problems with the no-fly list have been trumpeted over & over again in the media, and still people think it’s fine to deny a right based upon a suspicion.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    Of course somebody from the Socialist Worker would blame Venezuela’s ills on capitalism rather than Chavez’s particularly nutty resource based form of socialism. You can’t base a socialist economy on one particular resource and you can’t ignore some basic economic rules. Norway is a pretty good example of how to do petroleum-based social democracy right.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

      FARC based their “socialist economy” on two resources: Cocaine and Venezuela.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      And Norway is constantly on guard against price fluctuations or the taps running dry.Report

    • Joe Sal in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Isn’t socialism about ignoring most economic rules?Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Joe Sal says:

        No, it is not for the most part. Socialists might not believe that economic rules are as set in stone as ardent free marketers but they don’t think they could be ignored either.Report

        • Pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Or they just believe in a different set of economic rules from free marketeers. I think a description of socialism that completely excludes Marx from being a socialist leaves something to be desired.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Pillsy says:

            Classic Marxists believe that socialism will inevitably happen because of the economic rules that they believe in.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Pillsy says:

            Marx was a classical economist. He believed in a lot of the rules and laws that Smith and Ricardo set down. He just believed that they would lead to a very different place than Ricardo or Smith did.

            The Marxists believed that the rules of Capitalism would require Capitalism to (eventually) collapse under its own weight. Lenin’s innovation was a revolution because waiting for something to happen organically sucks.

            Marx is at his best when he is descriptive rather than trying to be predictive.Report

            • Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Picketty will back up the idea that Capitalism will eventually collapse under its own weight.
              It’s all in the hidden premises.Report

            • Pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Yeah, that’s what I was trying to get at. And there’s been a fair amount of divergent evolution since Marx’s day. Still, I’m sure I’m far from alone around here in saying that I hold Marx in considerably higher regard than I hold Marxists or even “Marxism”.Report

            • J_A in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              The failure of predictive Marxism was the failure to predict Bismark

              Bismark great insight was to understand that unfettered Capitalism would really crush the working classes, as Marx (more or less) predicted, and that political stability, conservatism, and keeping elites at the top of the heap required putting a floor to the working class’ impoverishment. Bismark is thus the father of the welfare state.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to J_A says:

                A lesson learned by the US elites as well. When the anarchists were ramping up their attacks and rhetoric against the Capitalist Machine, concessions were made to labor in the form of unions, welfare programs, worker protections, etc. Anything – ANYTHING – to save capitalism from its own self-destructive excesses.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to J_A says:

                The Anarchists were against the Marxists because they perceived that eventually capitalists would learn the most effective strategy would be to turn the working classes into little bourgeois like Bismark did. Bismarck’s strategy did not work in the short term because it wasn’t generous enough and the SPD continued to be popular but he got the basic idea right. It just took awhile to get the formula right. One of the distinguishing features of American conservatism is that they never really adopted the Bismarck strategy on creating a floor for the working class for a variety of reasons.

                Another fatal flaw with Marxism or really most socialism is that they never managed to work out some fairly big contradictions within socialism. The entire idea of socialism was that it was supposed to lead to a more equitable economic system than capitalism and better and fairer distribution of goods and services. Many Marxists and socialists hated the bourgeois culture with a passion but increasing material well-building basically means raising more people to bourgeois living conditions and material culture. A lot of socialists really hard a hard time addressing the desire for creature comforts and fun.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I think this is one of the reasons socialism as practiced in Nordic countries is workable. Government isn’t playing hardcore morality police with regard to luxuries & leisure, and even structures things so as to better enable people to enjoy them.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The Eastern Bloc communist countries did try to provide an Anglophone/Western European consumer lifestyle to their citizens after Stalin died. Even Stalin realized that socialism is about providing the goods to people. They just ran into the usual problems of the command economy and some of the intellectual problems with it. Asian communists were more into the communal part of communism so never really struggled with this.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                And also the various non-Communist Socialist parties in Europe had tremendous fights over consumerism and leisure and how they relate to social democracy. There is a puritanical tradition in socialism that a lot of leftists do not like to pay much attention to these days.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Yeah, that puritanical streak was very problematic.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              To be fair to Lenin, Marx and his early followers also got into the entire lets start organizing the working classes now instead of waiting for things to happen. Lenin’s just accelerated the entire thing a bit and argued you could have a revolution in a mainly rural and religious country like Russia.Report

        • Joe Sal in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Are we talking the free marketeers using social constructs, or the ones not using social constructs?Report

          • Pillsy in reply to Joe Sal says:

            I’m not sure “free marketeers” of any stripe are in a good position to avoid social constructs, and the ones who try are likely to get “free markets” that are neither “free” nor “markets”.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Joe Sal says:

            Your social construct thing makes even less sense when it comes to economics. A market or really the entire economy is a social construct because it involves multiple people interacting with each other.Report

            • Joe Sal in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Well I wouldn’t expect you would want it to make sense. I’ve been over the owner operator thing. I’ve been over the individual to individual interactions in the context of personal exchange. This doesn’t take The Great Society to occur. It doesn’t take Command/Control economics to function.

              I’m sure you folks will figure out how to twist and distort control economics driven by social constructs to function correctly in about 500,000 years, maybe.Report

              • Alan Scott in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Joe, it’s pretty clear that you have some special definition for the term “social construct” that doesn’t match the typically understood meaning–and I don’t think I’m the only one who has no fishing clue what you’re trying to communicate when you use that term.

                Because to the rest of us, something like a market is a textbook definition of a social construct. The free exchange of goods literally requires multiple people to share compatible ideas about how goods can be owned and their ownership can be conveyed. So it’s a bit weird for you to jump down Lee’s throat because he’s not hip to your special definition.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Alan Scott says:

                @joe-sal frequently talks about the ideal of every person providing for him or herself without the aid of anybody else. I guess that his idea of a social construct is anything that doesn’t take into account this radical individualism where a person is supposed to do it all for him or herself, food, clothing, employment, healthcare, and leisure. The thing is that nobody can do it all for him or herself and most free market economists would recognize this level of self-sufficiency as a path to poverty.

                This is why I sometimes refer to Joe Sal’s ideas as home steading. The ideal seems to be as not dependent on anybody else as possible. You should grow your own food and make your own clothing.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You should grow your own food and make your own clothing.

                Which, ironically, a lot of the hippie communes attempted.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Being in the anti-authoritarian right, I actually love hippies as individuals. It’s when they collect together and start making public policy I start not liking them.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Alan Scott says:

                That is a somewhat fair criticism and I appreciate you stepping up with push back. There is nothing special about the definition. Things are either constructed around groupings of people and or grouping of the greater ‘society’, or they are constructed individually.

                It has taken me awhile to develop the difference, I might argue that it is because the drift of peoples mindset into socialism has been so thorough and indoctrinated for ‘reasons’.

                It takes considerable thought to understand a market built around individual production and personal means of exchange. I guess it bothers me to some magnitude that I have to paint it in such strong light for people to see it, if they will. Factions of the left tend to get critical of capitalism. If you really start picking it apart, the things that they are at odds with aren’t a development of one person. It is the development of a construct taking many, many people. Other parts are something that is put together by ‘social democracy’ but is labeled capitalism.

                So in effect considerable chunks of what we are calling capitalism is actually social capitalism or capitalism as a sub-construct of social democracy. The construct of social democracy as it stands is not concerned about individual agency, it is concerned about socialism in a collective sense. It is concerned about what it’s social majority wants to invest in and construct or control.

                I hold no quarter for anyone pointing at socialist forms of capitalism and saying naked socialism is better, or even socialist capitalism is ‘good’. Yeah I get abrasive about it. I openly apologize to Lee if it is seen anything more than sparring of ideas. We spar often on this. I really like Lee, and think we have potential as good friends if we engaged outside our internal leanings as they are.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Joe Sal says:

                I guess I should also suggest free markets are currently viewed only as social constructs. This is an issue I have been trying to convey a position on for I guess four years now.

                If personal means of exchange occurs between individuals, and as personal means of production are in effect, I claim that a free market can occur between two individuals.

                The functions of demand and supply are present, therefore I see no reason why a free market couldn’t be a individual construct. Furthermore I would challenge that the only free markets that exist without outside interventions at the time of typing this are only individual constructs.Report

              • Alan Scott in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Joe Sal:
                If personal means of exchange occurs between individuals, and as personal means of production are in effect, I claim that a free market can occur between two individuals.

                I have no problem with the idea that in theory, a market can exist between two individuals–but then again, in theory, those two individuals form a society.

                I think the problem is that “capitalism” becomes a pretty meaningless term when you reduce things down to this level–what you’re calling “social capitalism” seems to just refer to what everyone else calls capitalism. So that leaves me struggling to understand what you mean when you say “capitalism”–because if it’s just the act of individual exchanges of goods and services that’s an odd name for it–since after all, that’s a feature of all modern economic systems, including socialism and communism. Reducing things the the level of individual exchange hides, rather than highlights, differences in economic systems. After all, both Americans and Venezuelans exchange money for bread.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Alan Scott says:

                Oh, I don’t even start at it being a theory. Individuals already practice this and have since the pre dawn of civilization. Free market in the context of personal means of exchange is just pointing out definition for clarity, not theory.

                My position has been repeatedly called radical individualism. I don’t hold that as accurate. I would call my position normal individualism. I could reference (most!) everyone elses position as radical socialism, but it would give merit where none is due.

                The position that is generally held today has been the slow slog of regular socialism over time, not some quick jump. So if capitalism has drifted into social capitalism without any notice from the socialists, it only looks as progress. This isn’t a movement of individualism into more radical individualism. It is a slog of chunks of society into the deeper waters of socialism.

                I am going to take a moment here to clear up a definition of free market. As above most folks using this term aren’t taking at it’s definition level. One of the main requirements (by definition) for a free market, to actually be a free market is for it to exist without interventions. I make a claim of that to be truthful under my own subjective objectivity, not open to distortion from social objectivity.(just because the majority of society would want to move the meaning to what it wants, the meaning is to not drift with majority preference, in this case the continued use of the words ‘everyone else calls’)

                A important implication in the differences of social capitalism and free market capitalism is where capital formation and wealth distributes. As I tried to convey in my post with I guess little illumination is that capitalism was supposed to be a way out of fuedalism. A basic parameter of free market capitalism is based on individual constructs is that both the wealth and capital formation go to/ are controlled directly by the individuals. A parameter of social capitalism is the capital formation and wealth go to/are controlled by social constructs.

                If you think this is in error demonstrate how and why.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Alan Scott says:

                @joe-sal wrote a couple of guest posts explaining himself a little while back, so I would suggest reading those. I didn’t feel particularly illuminated after reading them myself, but lots of other commenters seem to have done, so YMMV.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Don Zeko says:

                One thing that helps me with Joe’s constructs are the Peelian Principles, especially number 7:

                To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

                Individuals have a responsibility to maintain order (the individual construct), but as communities got larger, a social construct was needed and developed (the police). The individual construct remains, but the social construct functions to bolster the individual.Report

  4. Richard Hershberger says:

    Assimilation: based on the one paragraph and two lines that I could read before the paywall, this is wholly unremarkable. The long-established pattern is that the first generation immigrants for the most part never become fluent in English. The second generation is fluent bilingually, and the third generation is fluent in English, with only limited use of the old language, unless they were raised by their grandmothers, in which case it is the fourth generation that loses the old language.

    There is a long-standing claim that Hispanics Are Different. I remember hearing this as far back as the 1980s. Hispanics, it is claimed, refuse to assimilate, and that is why Hispanic immigration is bad in a way entirely different from that wave of immigration that brought my ancestors over. This claim has always been bullshit. Anyone who actually looked into the question discovered that Hispanic immigrants followed the same pattern as their predecessors. The claim only appeared plausible, to the extent that it did, because the Hispanic immigration wave was ongoing, and since they all look alike how are we supposed to tell the new immigrants from the grandchildren of earlier immigrants. (Hint: check their language skills.)

    Hispanic immigration has, hysterical rhetoric notwithstanding, stagnated since the Great Recession. You can thank Bush for that, I guess. In any case, it is unsurprising that Spanish-language television ratings would be in decline in consequence.

    On a distantly related note, you can track the history of German immigration by looking for Lutheran churches with the word “English” in their names, and checking when the congregation was founded.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      If by stagnated you mean “all the construction workers went home” (which seriously left a friend of mine in the lurch. lost all his agents in Phoenix).Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kimmi says:

        Well, sure. They came here for work, and when the work went away, they left. This notwithstanding the fervent claim that they came for our sweet, sweet welfare benefits. That anti-immigration hysteria rose as actual immigration reversed itself tell us, if any proof were necessary, that said hysteria is not a reasoned conclusion from the facts.Report

    • Gaelen in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      But the claim keeps getting repeated, as in the Frank DeFillipo article when he ends with the unsupported assertion that Hispanic immigrants today refuse to assimilate like past European arrivals. He even mentions our sweet, sweet welfare benefits.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Mexican immigration is greatly different than previous immigration because so many of them only intend to stay for a period of time. See the second article in the OP. That wasn’t really an option for immigrants coming from further away when transportation costs were higher.

      A local city with a meatpacking plant had two waves of immigration, and when the immigrants were polled: Do you think you’ll stay in the U.S.? 42% of Mexicans said yes, compared with 75% of West-Africans (Francophones). Mexican-Americans are refusing to assimilate because being in the U.S. is just a temporary gig, and the cost of immigration and reverse immigration is very low.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Of course the numbers are different – There’s far less cost, distance, and social risk in coming from Mexico as opposed to West Africa, not even getting into the fact that the vast majority of people immigrating to the US from West Africa are immigrants from at least the middle class, if not even higher up on the chain.

        So yes, this may be true of the Mexicans who are just coming here for work and not bringing their families, no more than say, English teachers in South Korea or Chinese factory owners in Africa aren’t assimilating in the local culture.

        But, the statistics of people actually staying here generationally shows that Mexicans are assimilating at basically the same rates of every immigration wave in the past. There’ll be plenty of Hernandezes and Rogriguezes in 25 years who won’t be able to speak a lick of Spanish.Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Lack of assimilation is a problem, and the problem starts with groups of people that don’t intend to assimilate even if for entirely rational reasons. But if you don’t consider the people who leave the country, either as always planned or because they are having difficulty . . . assimilating, then your analysis is going to be the product of survival bias. This is a border issue, but as the cost of transportation decreases and the government subsidizes immigration, it becomes larger.Report

          • Kimmi in reply to PD Shaw says:

            Sicilians were doing this at the beginning of the 1900’s. You possibly saw less “we come back every spring” stuff with higher transportation costs, but…Report

            • PD Shaw in reply to Kimmi says:

              Italians in the early 20th century had high rates of reverse migration, but I think that is a failure of assimilation, to which one can probably point at multiple causes. But transportation costs were still much lower than previously. My wife’s grandfather immigrated from England after WWI and they were still going back to England every few years on his working-class salary. Their last trip before WWII, Katharine Hepburn looked after my father-in-law for a short while.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to PD Shaw says:

        I’m an assimilation guy (a stew if not a melting pot, but definitely not a salad), and I’m not especially worried about the ones who are only staying for a while. And for a lot of border hawks, those aren’t of special concern either (except for economic impact) as they’re more worried about the ones who stay, have birthright children, and so on.

        I’m even more laid back than they are, in that I am not terribly concerned about the first generation at all even if they do stay. I’m more worried about second and third generations, which are pushing Telemundo towards more Americanized entertainment.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Will Truman says:

          If the first generation stays, they starve. Along with the rest of us.
          It’s time to worry, folks.Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

          The problem with those who on a temporary basis is that they are not investing in America or the communities they live-in. In many cases, they are sending the money they make to another country, acting as a reverse stimulus to the community, while their children encumber the public school systems.Report

      • Pillsy in reply to PD Shaw says:

        I can see why people who don’t stick around are unlikely to assimilate, but at the same time, if they’re not going to stick around, why is it a problem if they don’t assimilate?Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Pillsy says:

          Because we can’t afford the people we have, going forward?
          That means more mouths to feed (even if they intend to go somewhere later) is a problem. (alsonote: going back to where they came from may be unexpectedly impossible or impractical)Report

          • Pillsy in reply to Kimmi says:

            Because we can’t afford the people we have, going forward?

            It’s not immediately obvious to me what this has to do with whether they assimilate. It’s also not immediately obvious why having people show up, work cheaply for a few years and then head home wouldn’t make this alleged [1] problem more severe rather than less.

            [1] “We can’t afford the people we have!” is one of those arguments that is supported much less frequently than it’s asserted.Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to Pillsy says:

              Given how many immigrants work in jobs that native-born Americans are basically unwilling to do, the “can’t afford them” argument is even more peculiar. How do we get our cheap poultry without them?Report

              • The problem with this argument, it seems to me, is that focusing on the utilitarian benefit of immigration allows for stuff like “well, can we deny immigrants who do *NOT* want to work?” to be a reasonable question.

                I suppose we can always jump back to deontology if someone asks that and accuse them of racism or something.Report

              • Pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                The problem with this argument, it seems to me, is that focusing on the utilitarian benefit of immigration allows for stuff like “well, can we deny immigrants who do *NOT* want to work?” to be a reasonable question.

                It might be a reasonable question, but it seems like one that is of little interest to most people arguing against immigration.

                I suppose we can always jump back to deontology if someone asks that and accuse them of racism or something.

                Indeed, everybody deserves endless charity except people who think racism might motivate a significant fraction of the right.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                The local meat-packing industry cut wages across the board 25% and reached a 100% job-turnover rate that could only fill by sending recruiters to the Mexican border. These were not jobs Americans weren’t willing to do.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Few americans will consent to be put into sausages. yes.
                few mexicans as well, but slavery.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                Starving people get real happy to do jobs real quick. Including murder, if that’s the only job available to them.Report

            • Kimmi in reply to Pillsy says:

              We can support about a third of the current American population, given the current agricultural outlook in fifty years. (assuming relatively minimal importing of food, which is wise considering the likelihood of petro-economy going tits up).

              I’m making the argument that “I’ll just go home again” is a fine argument, unless you’re from Miami or Bangladesh.Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to Pillsy says:

          I think its pretty obvious that the community w/ the meat packing plant I mentioned is better-off with the Africans than the Mexicans on the basis of intent to stay. Probably a rough stereotype would be would you like to buy a home in a neighborhood of renters or owners? Also, what is the Keynsian multiplier effect from immigrants sending a percentage of their salary home?Report

          • Pillsy in reply to PD Shaw says:

            All of those things may be true–they’re all at least plausible–but the role played by assimilation is not entirely obvious, unless you’re arguing that assimilation is simply the desire to settle down and work, without entailing any interest in accommodating the culture of the country you’re immigrating to.

            In any event, if that is the issue, it’s also not clear why making it harder for the Mexicans to enter the country and stick around is the appropriate policy response.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to PD Shaw says:


        the cost of immigration and reverse immigration is very low.


        I have heard that many Mexican immigrants who want to be seasonal workers, end up staying in America because crossing the border is so expensive and difficult.Report

        • notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          They seemed to cross our boarder to get here easily enough but somehow going back is hard? Yea right.Report

          • Gaelen in reply to notme says:

            I think you missed the part were Chip said “seasonal.” As in coming for the season then going home, then returning the next season.Report

            • J_A in reply to Gaelen says:

              Which was the keystone of Bush immigration reform: guest workers. And would be the preferred option of most migrants. Be here six months, keep the family south, where the cost of living is much lower, and earn enough to live until next agricultural/yard maintenance/house building season.

              The fact that crossing over is more and more difficult means that once here they’d rather stay put, and once they stay they bring their family over, and, voila, we have immigrant kids at schoolReport

      • notme in reply to PD Shaw says:

        So the US is now the gig economy for Mexicans?Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    If this is true, George H.W. Bush will vote for Clinton. I don’t expect this to influence any on the fence voters but I do think it signals a death knell for the Republican Party as I knew it for most of my life.Report

  6. Stillwater says:

    Chris Christie is getting it from both sides now: both the defense and the prosecution assert that Christie knew about the Fort Lee lane closures as they happened.

    What’s interesting is that Kelly and Baroni’s defense hinges on establishing that Christie not only knew about the closures but was behind the decision to do so. So now all parties in the current court case agree on the basic facts in play re: Christie: that he knew about it in real time. (K and B are arguing that Christie et al thru them under the bus to protect themselves.)

    I’ve said it before, but my account of why Christie unexpectedly jumped onto the Trump train was because it was the best, perhaps only, way to prevent prosecution for his actions as NJ Gov. With both parties arguing that he knew, the likelihood of charges being filed against him seems to have just gone up a notch.Report

  7. Jaybird says:


  8. DavidTC says:

    Guys. Right now. Back your stuff up. And not just to your own house.

    If you do not have a lot of stuff, you can use something like Dropbox or OneDrive. Just start using those as your document and pictures directory.

    Otherwise, get an online service.

    If you cannot afford one of the online services, then find someone *else* who cannot afford one, and you both install Crashplan, and back up to each other’s computer.

    Seriously, this isn’t the old days, where backups required complicated hardware and tape changing. Just back up. Offsite.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to DavidTC says:

      Use optical. Do not back up anything important or sensitive online.
      Assume someone’s gonna see/read anything you put on there.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Kimmi says:

        Yes, use optical, and then lose it all when your house burns down.

        Good plan.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Kimmi says:

        It’s pretty easy to encrypt your data before dumping it into the cloud. Then all you have to do is back up your keys. Keys are small enough that you can keep a hard copy in a safe deposit box and type it back in if it all really hits the fan.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          Encryption is fine… so long as you don’t have someone with tons of time and a supercomputer on their hands. And that’s for decent encryption — the stuff they use for finance and crap. Not “you picked a password” encryption, which has password crackers.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kimmi says:

            Yes, because someone with lots of time and all of Google’s clusters is really interested in my banking information.

            And no, I don’t care if you know a person who… just, no.

            If you are just backing up your photos and other crap, 128-bit encryption will keep honest men honest.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Kimmi is wrong anyway. You can’t crack a 128 key using Google. Cracking modern encryption via brute force is, fundamentally, impossible.

              I had a nice long comment here, but screwed up some math in it, and don’t really care to fix it.

              But if anyone is actually interested, if the fastest supercomputer that currently exists had started cracking a 128-key at the dawn of time, it would be about 1/100,000,000,000,000,000 of the way through the keyspace. (Good news: On average, it only will have to get halfway through it before finding the key. Bad news: The universe will probably cease to exist long before that.)

              Kimmi, of course, will tell you that the NSA has much faster computers. The problem, of course, is that we’ve basically reached the point where it’s impossible to build a CPU that is much faster than current CPUs, and all we do can do is throw *more* CPUs at the problem. [EDIT: By more CPU, I really mean more CPU cores. CPUs are getting faster, but they’re getting fast because they have more cores on them.]

              But the NSA is not secretly operating a septillion computers. The power requirement would be absurd, for one thing, as would the heat dissipation.

              (In fact, the NSA is not secretly operating *any* super computers. They don’t tell us exactly how big their super computers are, or the architecture, but we pretty much know where they are and *roughly* their size.)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                But… But… But… On TV they crack ‘Military Grade Encryption’ all the time! In a few minutes! With a just a beefy laptop!

                *Don’t feel obligated to spend any effort explaining this inanity, I know why it’s crap, I’m just poking fun.Report

              • greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Don’t need to crack codes. You just Zoom and Enhance until you can see the password written on a post note on the bad guys computers. That’s what satellites are for.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I like to imagine that when they say ‘Military Grade’, they mean DES, which *was* encryption designed for the military. Back in 1977.

                It’s only 56 bit.

                It *still* takes a specialized computer (consisting of 128 FPGAs, which are customized CPUs) to break it in less than day, though. Or it did in 2008.

                It’s not implausible that, if you put a powerful modern PC on it, you could do it in under a month-ish.Report

            • Kimmi in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Keeping honest men honest is a good thing, surely.
              It’s a lot harder keeping computers honest, because they’ve got a lot more time on their hands.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

      I use Crashplan and am quite happy with it. Very reasonable costs, speedy enough to be useful, and if I want to, I can encrypt everything I backup there and there isn’t an issue.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I use Mozy, but I’m sort of switching to a hybrid system. I’m in the process of putting together a home networked storage system, but because Mozy thinks it’s 2002, it classifies all network shares as ‘commercial’ and I’m not paying their commercial rates over a 3 TB home share.

        Instead I’ll be moving the bulky, but non-critical files, to the share (media, mostly) and shrinking my Mozy footprint (and thus my monthly costs) down to critical things (photos, reciepts, tax documents, etc).

        And because I’m paranoid, but not that paranoid, I’m adding a 3TB USB drive to backup the mirrored 3TB drives…..(but I won’t store them offsite. I’m more worried about disk failure than fire. I wonder how a USB drive handles a fire if it’s in a fireproof box? Bet the heat kills it….)Report