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Jim Fawcette
Like tennis, wine, and bad sci-fi.
Like tennis, wine, and bad sci-fi.

Jim's posts

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Don't Blame the Robots

Pssst. It's the politicians.

"If automation were accelerating rapidly, labor productivity and capital investment would also be surging. Instead, they are growing at the slowest pace in decades."

But ... "As a result (of trickle-down economics), gains from improving technology have been concentrated at the top, damaging the middle class, while politicians blame immigrants and robots for the misery that is due to their own failures. Eroded policies need to be revived, and new ones enacted."

No, Robots Aren’t Killing the American Dream


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Europe Combats a New Foe of Political Stability: Fake News

"Germans are fleeing their country, fearful of Muslim refugees. The Swedish government supports the Islamic State. The European Union has drafted rules to regulate the ethnicity of snowmen."

And: "Created by the European Union to address “Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns,” the team — composed of diplomats, bureaucrats and former journalists — tracks down reports to determine whether they are fake. Then, it debunks the stories for hapless readers. In the 16 months since the team has been on the job, it has discredited 2,500 stories, many with links to Russia."

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Ryancare: You Can Pay More for Less!

Republican healthcare plans are like that old Herman's Hermits song "Henry the 8th", 100th verse same as the first.

"In a half-baked policy paper released on Thursday, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, trotted out washed-up ideas for “improving” the country’s health care system that would do anything but. For example, the paper calls for reducing spending on Medicaid, which now provides insurance to more than 74 million poor, disabled and older people. Many millions of them would be cast out of the program. The Republican plan would also force most people who don’t get their health insurance through an employer to pay more by slashing subsidies that the A.C.A., or Obamacare, now provides. The proposal would allow families to sock away more money in health savings accounts, which may sound good at first but would primarily benefit affluent people who can afford to save more."

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Trump Escalates His Attack on Sweden

Apparently, there is an attacker terrorizing Sweden, but he's not coming from the middle east, nor is he a Muslim. It's Trump.

"Carl Bildt, a former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, made a jab at Mr. Trump on Twitter: “Just a piece of friendly advice: when you are in a hole, stop digging.”

Large-scale immigration to Sweden brings problems and is widely debated (and reported on, contrary to The Orange One). But increases in violent crime, or an unreported terrorist attack two nights ago, aren't true.

"Pernilla Stalhammar, the foreign policy spokeswoman for the Green Party, expressed surprise that Mr. Trump had relied on Fox News for information about Sweden.. “The problem is that the segment had a lot of incorrect information in it,” she said. “There aren’t any no-go zones in Sweden, and the number of crimes against individuals is at about the same level as it was.”

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TV Interview w/ Page, Trump's Foreign Policy Advisor
Snow: So you are completely innocent as not charged

Channel 4 in, I believe, London, UK, interviews one of the Trump advisors supposedly under investigation for ties to Russia.

There is no investigation, or maybe there is, but it is part of the "dark state". Page can't seem to admit to even being an advisor to Trump. Then says he is but never meets with him and never discusses Russia at all. But you lived in Russia for years, the interviewer says, and they brought you in as a foreign policy advisor on everything but Russia? ... Me thinks he doth protest too much.

Crude transcript, only approximate;

TV Channel 4's Jon Snow: Asks if page is getting a commission on Rosneft's sale. Page never really says yes or no then after several attempts denies being involved.

Snow: Here is Trump naming you as one of his foreign policy advisors, presumably because of your expertise in Russia.

Page: That's only because he's constantly getting asked about me.

Snow: No, hold on {Points to Trump on screen naming him} This is a not that long a time ago ... March, 2016, he Trump names you as one of his foreign policy advisors .... For a man with very little attention span, there is some reason he remembers you ...are you or are you not a foreign policy advisor to Trump?

Page: I never spent any direct time with him. ... {Snow asks him the same question over and over until Page says he was an advisor to the campaign.}

Snow: So, what qualified you to be a foreign policy advisor if it had nothing to do with Russia, a country in which you lived for many years? .... How can you be a foreign policy advisor if the one area of your expertise, Russia, isn't part of the deal?

Page; You know, it's interesting. .... I know a lot of people in China, in Africa...

Snow: So you are completely innocent as not charged.

Page: This is completely a smear campaign. Every point in "the dodgy dossier" is completely false.

Snow: What do you think of the revulsion with some of Trump's comments have been met with here in London ... and in Sweden?

Page: something about it's all fake news. Does he mean the reaction to Trump? What Trump was saying was falsely reported, perhaps? (But, there's video). What is the fake news?

Trump: Carter Page interview via @jonsnowC4

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Oil Industry Rebounds But Not Jobs

And thus the myth of "bringing back good blue collar jobs". They're gone or going. “I don’t see a future,” Mr. Velazquez {an oil worker for 10 years} said on a recent afternoon as he stooped over his shopping cart at a local grocery store. “Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”

Existing wells produce more oil at far lower costs with fewer workers. Most of the technology already exists, developed by aviation, auto and deepwater oil industries. So, land-based oil can adopt it rapidly.

"Oil and gas workers have traditionally had some of the highest-paying blue-collar jobs — just the type that President Trump has vowed to preserve and bring back. But the West Texas oil fields, where activity is gearing back up as prices rebound, illustrate how difficult it will be to meet that goal. As in other industries, automation is creating a new demand for high-tech workers — sometimes hundreds of miles away in a control center — but their numbers don’t offset the ranks of field hands no longer required to sling chains and lift iron."

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Anti-Muslim Group Boasts "Direct Line to Trump"

WaPo: "Stephen K. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart who has described Muslim American groups as “cultural jihadists” bent on destroying American society, is Trump’s chief strategist. Breitbart has published several articles Gabriel has written. Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has spoken at ACT’s conferences and sponsored an ACT meeting at the Capitol last year.

"Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who sits on ACT’s board of advisers, served as the president’s national security adviser before stepping down after revelations that he might have violated the law in communications with a Russian diplomat

This group believes Islam threatens America: ‘It’s a spiritual battle of good and evil.’

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Trump Team Planning to Replace Ukrainian President that Opposes Russia?

Peace plan includes attacks on leader that resists Russian takeover.

A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates

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The specter of Trump in Munich

Opinion piece by Applebaum: "Speaker after speaker called for unity and cohesion in the face of the grave dangers facing the Western alliance. But nobody could quite bring themselves to say the truth out loud: that one of the gravest dangers facing the Western alliance is the president of the United States.

"Unless you knew that to be the case, the whole weekend would have been mystifying. Sen. John McCain made an eloquent and moving plea not just for Western security, but for Western ideals. He deplored the “increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood and race and sectarianism” and the “growing inability to separate truth from lies.” He declared that the founders of the Munich conference, back in 1963, would be “alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.”

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Most Sampled Drummer Dies

Clyde Stubblefield, the "Funky Drummer" for James Brown, never got a penny for his work later appearing in a vast array of music. When medical bills overwhelmed Brown, the musician Prince secretly paid them, even though the two had never met.

"Though Mr. Stubblefield wasn’t enamored of the song — “I didn’t like the song. I still don’t really get off on it,” he told Paste magazine in 2014 — its mark became indelible. Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx,” Sinead O’Connor’s “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” and Kenny G’s “G-Bop”: Mr. Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break appeared as a sample in all of those songs, and over a thousand more, from the 1980s to the present day. It made Mr. Stubblefield, who died on Saturday in Madison, Wis., at 73, perhaps the most sampled drummer in history."
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