Abbreviated pundit round-up a new arms race, friendly phone calls, and the word from davos map of all the countries in europe

I’m not sure how giving Vladimir Putin everything he wants is supposed to hurt him, but I am not the Secretary of State. This is an odds-on decision to start another nuclear arms race in Europe, which can only hype up the ambitious Russian ganglord’s dreams of a gangster-capitalist new USSR. The INF Treaty was one of the Reagan Administration’s shining accomplishments, and one of the first indications that Mikhail Gorbachev was a real reformer.

It was the first arms-control countries in europe game agreement that required a reduction in nuclear weapons rather than simply freezing the number of them in place. It brought Europe out from under a dark shadow. (These were the days in which nuclear war was again thought to be feasible, if not imminent.) It allowed people in Europe to breathe a little easier.

For all his faults, Reagan made the INF Treaty a landmark in nuclear diplomacy, and it led directly to President George H.W. Bush’s START treaty which cut in half the nuclear arsenals of both countries.

There’s little doubt that for the last few years Russia has been violating the INF. It’s been doing so in a way that poked, poked, poked at American negotiators by breaking the treaty in a way that they could deny — though, not really with any degree of plausibility. But the reason they’ve been doing that is not because they wanted to sneak in a few missiles here and there. This is what they wanted. They wanted America to throw up their hands and walk away from the table.

And now Trump, with the giggling aid of Mike Pompeo, has done just that. This is an enormous gift to Vladimir Putin, perhaps the biggest thing Trump could give him without actually wrapping up Europe with a bow. And, though there are plenty of weapons designers ready to satisfy their itch by crafting a new generation of hemispheric weapons, and a line of arms manufacturers ready to open their wallets to a fresh infall of cash to build those weapons, what there is not is any way, any way at all, that walking away from the INF benefits the United States. Mr. Master Dealmaker who loves to work one on one, just walked away from one of the most critical deals on the what countries in europe use the euro planet, and didn’t even really try.

If your partner in a treaty cheats, you use the mechanisms of the treaty to hold the partner to account. You don’t simply abandon the treaty—unless, of course, you want to start arming up in Europe all over again and (maybe) don’t mind much if Russia does the same thing. Were I an ordinary Czech, say, I might wonder if two oligarchs weren’t actually working together to dominate the European landscape.

One of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries of the Russia investigation has been a series of phone calls Donald Trump Jr. made to a blocked phone number while he was setting up a meeting during the campaign with Russian agents who were promising to help his father. Many people, including me, speculated that the call might have been to his father to inform him of the meeting. Yesterday, CNN reported the calls were actually “between Trump Jr. and two of his business associates.” …

To be clear, nobody said the phone calls “were made to his father.” They said the calls might have gone to his father. (Democrat Eric Swalwell suggested last year, “That looks like he may very well have been trying to call his father to talk to his father about taking this meeting.”) They didn’t. So, whether or not Trump Jr. did inform his father of the meeting — Steve Bannon speculated he did so in person immediately after — he didn’t do it through how many countries are in europe today those phone calls.

The recipient of one of the phone calls was Howard Lorber who is, yes, a “family friend.” But he is also a longtime point of contact in Trump’s ambitions to build a tower in Moscow, which date back to the 1980s. Lorber accompanied Trump on a 1996 visit to Moscow to explore building there. “Howard has major investments in Russia,” Trump boasted to a Russian politician at the time. As Craig Unger notes, Lorber’s dealings in Russia put him in contact with Russian mobsters.

Christie thus joins Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” came out in August, and Cliff Sims, whose “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days In The Trump White House” also was released last week. Granted, Trump Remorse is just a literary trickle now. But given the extraordinary rate at which countries in europe list the man burns through personnel, it’s reasonable to think the trickle may soon become a flood.

If just one of these people, just one, in their time as a Trump surrogate had spoken up, spoken out, or spoken the truth about what was going on, then maybe they’d be worth ten minutes’ consideration. But people who had a million chances to disown Trump’s idiocy and abuse when it counted, don’t deserve a moment of the nation’s attention when they could deliver insight only for a fat fee from a safe distance.

After all, the only thing these authors really have to offer is the gratification that comes of hearing some true believer finally admit what you already knew. And with Christie, you barely even get that. To judge from media coverage, his book concentrates its fire on the circus Trump surrounds himself with, while the ringmaster himself escapes relatively unscathed.

The Democratic governor attempted to apologize in written and video statements Friday, and then, bizarrely, attempted Saturday to retract his admission and his assumption of responsibility. At an afternoon news conference, he implausibly claimed he wasn’t in the offending photo (which contained what he called “blackfacing”) because “I so vividly don’t remember this” and didn’t know where it came from, even though other students chose the photos for their pages.

It’s well how many countries are in western europe known that Kushner had extreme difficulty getting his SF-86 right, and that he was granted multiple chances to try, try again to tell all. He at first left off that he had used a private email server for state business (as one does), and he failed to include all those meetings with foreign officials. They slipped his mind. One hundred times.

Kushner’s made a record number of “mistakes,” but even in the period where he didn’t officially have top clearance, it seems very likely that he trotted off to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman and shared classified information that got people killed. And as a result … Kushner got top secret clearance anyway. And hey, have you thought about Jamal Khashoggi lately?

Presidents have long disagreed with some of the information and analysis they get from the intelligence community. President George W. Bush would occasionally say to me during a morning briefing, “Michael, I don’t think this is quite right” or “I have a different view here.” There are also plenty of examples of intelligence analysts telling presidents that they cannot accomplish something only to have them do just that. During the mid-1990s war in the Balkans, the intelligence community was highly skeptical that a peace deal was possible, but President Bill Clinton delivered the Dayton Peace Accords nonetheless.

So what is different now? For one, the number of the disagreements between Trump and his intelligence agencies is much greater than in the past, and many are displayed for the public to see. And where most differences between presidents and their intelligence communities are over interpretation, causes and implications, they are typically not about facts. It is one thing to question whether Kim Jong Un will ever give up his strategic weapons; it is quite another to say that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.

A few days ago, ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom, discovered that a tool it was using to track political advertising on Facebook had list the countries in europe been quietly disabled — by Facebook. The browser extension had detected political ad campaigns and gathered details on the ads’ target audiences. Facebook also tracks political ad campaigns, but sometimes it fails to detect them. For the past year, the company had accepted corrections from ProPublica — until one day it decided it didn’t want them anymore. It also seems like “they don’t wish for there to be information about the targeting of political advertising,” an editor at ProPublica told me.

Facebook also made news in recent days for another tool number of countries in european union: an app, this time its own, designed to give the company access to extensive information about how consumers were using their telephones. Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, has defended the project vigorously, on the grounds that those who signed up to use this research app knew what they were doing — and were paid $20 a month. Unamused, Apple decided to intervene — and has now banned the app from its phones.

Both of these stories have something in common: They illustrate who is making the rules of our new information network — and it isn’t us. It isn’t citizens, or Congress, who decide how our information network regulates itself. We don’t get to decide how information companies collect data, and we don’t get to decide how transparent they should be. The tech companies do that all by themselves.

Schultz has taken a thousand shots by now from people pointing out that an independent run by a socially liberal candidate can only split the non-right-wing vote and reelect Trump. This is obviously true and I certainly agree with it. But there’s another critique of Schultz that I haven’t seen and that needs to be aired. And since I hope somehow that the man himself reads this and takes it semi-seriously, I’m going to write it in a non-vituperative way.

The first is Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. You probably know of it; he has this pledge that he makes Republican members of the House and Senate sign agreeing that they’ll never raise a tax. He dreamed it up in the 1980s, and it really took off after George H.W. Bush broke his “no new taxes” pledge in 1990. They’ve almost all signed it, and with very minor exceptions, no Republican in Congress has voted for a tax increase since 1990.

Resentment springs eternal in American politics, and if the primaries of 2016 and 2020 indicate any kind of pattern, it’s that every unique form of resentment eventually gets its own presidential candidate. Howard Schultz, the billionaire former chief executive of Starbucks, is the manifested resentment of the super-rich, who have been what are all the countries in europe as miffed by the right-wing turn toward gauche Trumpian reaction as by the Democratic shift toward economic populism. If you find Trump tacky and taxes icky, Schultz is your man.

Naturally, Schultz is considering running as a “centrist independent,” opposed to “unrealistic policies and promises” such as single-payer health care and tuition-free college. Schultz detests the idea of higher taxes on the super-rich, and also worries about the nation’s budget deficit, which he would shrink by targeting welfare spending. But, of course, he’s socially liberal — against Trump’s border wall and in favor of LGBTQ rights. He’s an American Dreamer, self-made with his own resolve and good, old-fashioned American opportunity, as he relishes to remind us. “Imagine,” he invites us in a recent op-ed, “if our founding ideals of freedom and equality, and the promise of opportunities such as education and jobs, were more fully realized.”

Fifty-plus years later, and it’s clear that Hanna-Barbera cartoon robots were a lot more adorable than what was coming in real life. In the post-war idealization of an automated future, robots were just cool add-ons that made your everyday life easier — the maid that 1960s middle-class folks couldn’t afford, or maybe a friendly family dog. (“Hello, I’m Rags — woof woof!” went the annoying robot dog in Woody Allen’s 1972 flick, “Sleeper.”) Thanks to all the leisure time created when robots were doing so much of the work, George Jetson only went to work one day a week, for just two hours.

In the actual 21st Century, George Jetson has been fired — replaced at Spacely Space Sprockets by a robot that uses artificial intelligence to design new, better sprockets — and his flying car is up on blocks because he can’t afford the insurance payments. But his former boss Cosmo Spacely is doing better than ever — recently having purchased his fifth flying space yacht.

The whole purpose of capitalism is to defy a kind of monetary thermodynamics by using list of the countries in europe labor to concentrate wealth into fewer and fewer hands. Every time we crank up that horrifying measure of “economic growth” known as productivity, we’ve gone up a notch in greasing that path to selected pockets. And by now, that path is getting very, very slippery.

I was thinking about the two countries in europe robot fantasies of the 1960s and 1970s and the robot realities of the 21st Century this weekend as I read a remarkable report from the World Economic Forum in Davos by the New York Times’ Kevin Roose. It described in detail how the world’s billionaires and their powerful friends are talking about an automated near-future in which millions of jobs from truck driver to bookkeeper to newspaper journalist are replaced by machines. It’s a development all but guaranteed to cause massive societal upheaval but the grand poobahs of technology are powerless to stop it…because, you know, shareholders.

Corporations are, of course, also kinds of machines, even if their parts are made from bylaws and their cogs from employees. Even societies are machines, and our society — like our corporations — has refined the process of taking from the many and giving to the few down to the point where they’re milking the very last few percentages of inefficiency away. And no. No matter what you’ve been told, improving efficiency does not create new jobs with better pay. It creates fewer jobs and less pay. That’s the whole damn point.