Links 1/11/16

Readers: NC needs a professional videographer in Monterey, CA or thereabouts. Contact yves [AT] nakedcapitalism [DOT] com for details on the project.

Squirrels Are Getting Seriously Tubby From The Warm Winter Weather IFL Science

Deformed mountain lion spotted in Idaho remains a mystery WTVR (EW Mayer).

Amorous T. rex danced like a bird CNet

Wall Street Fine Print: Retirees Want FBI Probe Of Pension Investment Deals David Sirota, International Business Times

Cash Is Back at Pensions, Funds WSJ

Investors plan to cut hedge fund exposure FT

Stock Market: A Bad-News Barometer Flashes Red WSJ. The TED Spread, doing what it did in 2007. It’s the difference between three-month U.S. Treasury bill and the the 3-month interbank lending rate, in 2007 LIBOR. (I remember Krugman explaining this during the crisis, but of course not even America’s favorite Nobelist knew that LIBOR was corrupt and manipulated. Even if the institutional signs were all there.)

Scrap Bank of England’s powers after century of boom and bust, says think-tank Telegraph

PayPal, others buy stolen data from criminals to protect users San Francisco Chronicle

Heed the fears of the financial markets Larry Summers, FT

Why the Fed needs to prepare for the worst right now Larry Summers, WaPo. This guy’s writing so much, he should start a blog.


UDPATE China regulator orders some banks to limit dollar buying: sources Reuters (Furzy Mouse).

PBOC Put? Li Signals No Major Stimulus While Past Suggests a Cut Bloomberg

China will find it tough to achieve over 6.5 percent growth over 2016-2020: state adviser Reuters

Will Hong Kong stock market’s introduction of circuit breaker this year mean a repeat of the chaotic scenes in China last week? South China Morning Post

Intervention by Beijing Is Worsening China’s Market Woes WSJ

China Not Facing ‘Cataclysmic’ Economic Slow Down, Says Stiglitz Bloomberg

Thousands protest in HK over missing publishers; booksellers worried Reuters

The meaning of Myanmar’s 2015 election (PDF) Australian National University

What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like? Foreign Policy. Kept nodding my head to this one, until I remembered that Kissinger, another war criminal who makes Blair and Bush look like pikers, was a realist. Anyhow, worth a read.


Following their “civilized” allies: Saudi jets bomb health facility in northern Yemen the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens

Stratfor: Who Wins and Who Loses in a World of Cheap Oil Fabius Maximus

Claims in Porter Ranch gas leak could cost utility billions of dollars Los Angeles Times. Southern California Gas/Sempra looking more like BP all the time.

Earth’s Top Ten Weather/Climate Events of 2015 Weather Underground

The unusual stories behind England’s chalk hill figures FT (SF).

The new Germans The Economist. “A nation of immigrants.”

Greece, Helmut Schmidt and the start of a complex European relationship Ekathimerini

Catalonia Elects New Separatist President WSJ

Canadians more polite than Americans on Twitter, study says CBC. Well, yeah, if you use metric.


Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Even in Early Races, Poll Finds WSJ. NBC/Marist, and national, not local. Nevertheless, if Clinton were the dominating figure her supporters and most of the political class say she is, you’d expect her to have put Sanders away by now. But Sanders keeps hanging around, chipping away. Readers, anecdotes: What do you see on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire, in terms of yard signs, bumper stickers, church (if any) socials, barber shops/hair salons, and local news coverage?

Obama will not endorse a candidate in 2016 Democratic presidential race: White House Reuters. Ouch.

Media Blackout on Bernie Sanders Continues even though he leads Trump in Polls Informed Comment

Debating Clinton Doug Henwood, Jacobin responding to Katha Pollitt, The New Republic.

Hillary Clinton, Snapchat, selfies and the road to wooing millennials Guardian (PlutoniumKen).

Chair of Congressional Black Caucus endorses Hillary Clinton for President Blavity. The Black misleadership class….

Gabby Giffords to endorse Clinton amid gun feud with Sanders Politico

The white man pathology Guardian. Very, very meta.

Donald Trump is here to stay. And he’s getting stronger. WaPo. Trump annotated.

Trump Ramps Up Birther Attacks On Cruz In Iowa Buzzfeed

Here is the Report On N.C. Charters That State Leaders Don’t Want You to Read Diane Ravitch’s Blog

The Boss Doesn’t Want Your Résumé WSJ. “Blind hiring.”

Sean Penn, Intelligence Dangle Emptywheel

How Americans Got So Fat, in Charts Bloomberg

Dear Parents: Everything You Need to Know About Your Son and Daughter’s University But Don’t Los Angeles Review of Books (Don G).

Simulating murder: The aversion to harmful action (PDF) Emotion (from 2012). Of course, we have economics departments to remedy this defect.

Class Warfare

Apploitation in a city of instaserfs Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Today’s must read. On, naturally, San Francisco.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. craazyboy

    Stock Market: A Bad-News Barometer Flashes Red WSJ. The TED Spread, doing what it did in 2007. It’s the difference between three-month U.S. Treasury bill and the the 3-month interbank lending rate, in 2007 LIBOR. (I remember Krugman explaining this during the crisis, but of course not even America’s favorite Nobelist knew that LIBOR was corrupt and manipulated. Even if the institutional signs were all there.)

    From ZH this morning:
    (Hong Kong’s interbank borrowing rate) exploded a stunning 939bps to a record high 13.4%

    Now that’s a spread!

    1. abynormal

      ” More patience is needed for the Chinese economy which is in a transition period, as it transfers from old to new economic growth drivers while also facing a backdrop of a slowing global economy, the People’s Daily reports citing academics. It would be too opinionated to judge that the Chinese economy would suffer a hard landing based on short-term fluctuations as many factors have had an impact on the yuan’s recent depreciation and the stock market’s falls.
      “The fundamentals of many economic crises is the psychological panic problem, and we need to take good care of the market and foster new drivers; conclusions on the Chinese economy can’t be made in a rush based on the short-term or partial changes,” said Zhang Tiegang, professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics.”

      There Will Be Contagion…

      “Just 11 days into 2016, Goldman has been stopped out of one of its 6 “top trades for 2016” following a 5.4% loss on its “long large-cap US banks” trade as these “relatively well-priced, trading just above book value” assets turned out to be relatively unwell priced…”

      1. craazyboy

        “There Will Be Contagion… ”

        HSBC is one of two banks in the top tier of the Fed’s “Systematically Important Financial Institutions”. The other one is the non-Hong Kong based bank – JPM.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Speaking in general, an economy that can’t handle psychological panic without causing a crisis is not a tough economy.

        In that sense, most modern economies are not tough enough.

        In fact, quite fragile.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Economists and investors, in spite of their “grown up” pretensions, seem soooo often to be operating at the roller coaster, emotional level of adolescent girls (no offense to adolescent girls, who obviously can be cooly sweet and thoughtful and analytical too) when dealing with flash numbers and the usual dynamic/chaotic ephemera that clutter the daily feeds. “OMG, did you hear that Google was seen in the lunch room with that tarty start up from Los Gatos?!?!”

          I wouldn’t design or build a house that required any degree of “confidence” whatever to keep it from falling into a pile of rubble atop me, and I don’t see why economies can’t be similarly engineered. Except–a rational, stable economy would by definition offer far less opportunities for speculative rent extraction. Financialized economies are powered by these emotive dynamic fluctuations, “Gotta have big surf to catch the big one and ride it to the beach”. Go in big or sell short, none of it works on a calm sea. The crazier and more emotional the situation, the bigger potential profits to be made. Maybe that explains foreign policy too?

    2. Skippy


      History of The LIBOR rates January 1, 1999 – December 31, 2013

      Sniff I get all misty eyed… and romantic…

      Rating agencies & Conflicts of Interest [“COI”]-more Wall St wrongdoers..

      so, access to all that pension and muni money is dependent upon the rating of the security- AAA only- now you ask who are these raters of which is speak?

      essentially quant geeks that break down a thing and rate it’s likelihood of failure.
      and once upon a time they did great work back when they sold their “ratings” to potential buyers of a thing- in the case of RMBS, a debt security. the ratings agencies assumed the cost of the rating process and then recouped their costs upon sale of the rating document- aka ‘buy-side’ ratings

      then came the Xerox machine, when instead of calling up S&P and dropping a grand on a rating doc, you just called your buddy over at he other fund and swapped docs over martinis.

      so ratings agencies then went to the originators of securities and offered to rate their security for a fee.
      anyone see the COI yet?

      i bring my security to you and pay you ~$100K for the work.
      if i like the rating you bestow, i bring next months pool to you for another $100K to you…-if i don’t like your ratings i take it across the street to your competition….

      Skippy…. naw~~~~

        1. cwaltz

          He was bisexual, which, of course, was nobody’s business except his own or those sleeping with him.

          Even more impressive he was happily married for two decades(It’s not as easy as they make it look on TV.)

          My heart goes out to his family. Based on some of the stories I’ve been reading in the comments section, he was a decent human being and a little of a quiet philanthropist.

        2. OIFVet

          My favorite Bowie: Space Oddity and Under Pressure (with Queens).

          It’s the terror of knowing
          What this world is about
          Watching some good friends
          Screaming, “Let me out!”
          Tomorrow gets me higher
          Pressure on people – people on streets

          1. Kfish

            ‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
            And love dares you to care for
            The people on the edge of the night
            And love dares you to change our way of
            Caring about ourselves
            This is our last dance

            RIP Freddy and Bowie.

          2. pdehaan

            mine is: Hunky Dory. Can’t believe it was never a success. Maybe because it’s quite introspective.

            1. JerseyJeffersonian

              I always liked “Fill Your Heart With Love Today” from that album (among others).


              Sorry, no YouTube link, as they seem to have frozen access to his music.

              The song was written by Biff Rose and Paul Williams, but the arrangement and the delivery made it characteristically a Bowie song.

              I’m from South Jersey near Philly, always a hotbed of Bowie fandom, so through many phases of his career, right from its start his music was a presence around here. RIP Thin White Duke.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Only if also the elephants retire with good pensions and insurance plans.

        “At our senior elephant retirement living center, we have drawing classes, for we know elephants like to draw and are really good painters. There is creative greatness within each elephant – that’s our motto.”

    1. 3.14e-9

      This makes my heart so glad.

      Many years ago, I was allowed “backstage” at the circus in Knoxville. The image is permanently burned in my mind of the row of elephants, each with a flimsy chain around one foot, attached to a stake hammered a few inches into the concrete floor. I asked the trainer how that could possibly keep them in place. He said they were trained to believe that the chain was holding them, and that if one of them ever figured out the truth and bolted, it would have to be shot, because it would never obey its trainer again.

  2. Uahsenaa

    An article in the CR Gazette slips this in, rather tellingly:

    “It’s time to make some history,” Sanders told the Veterans Coliseum crowd that was larger than the one in that venue when Republican Donald Trump, who Sanders referred to as “my dear, dear friend, Donald,” visited in December.

    In IC I see tons of Bernie signs and only two Hillary so far, but Iowa City is basically as commie as it gets here, so that may not be any indication. I like that statement from the Gazette because it alludes in a very Iowa way to how much has been made of Trump’s crowds, yet hardly any mention is ever made of how Sanders dwarfs them, even in the same venue.

    1. Uahsenaa

      Oh, and Lena Dunham showed up at the Java House to stump for Hillary, which packed the place slightly less than what it looked like during finals week. Someone must have forgotten to tell the campaign that students aren’t back yet.

          1. David s

            I’m in Durham NC. Durham has shown, to me at least, to be a pretty good Democrat barometer over the years.

            Ten Bernie signs and bumper stickers for every one Hillary. At least.

            But very little enthusiasm overall, which bodes very badly for the Democrats.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Bernie’s early rallies were about media, money, and establishing a presence for after Iowa and New Hampshire where everyone is use to voting. Every vote matters. Bernie’s goal is to win and roll, hopefully stemming a major loss in South Carolina. After the first two states, enthusiasm and paying attention to caucusing states will carry the day.

              The Sanders campaign doesn’t have the resources beyond people such as yourself to move to North Carolina. Hillary doesn’t either.

              I will say that many would-be Bernie supporters want nothing to do with Team Blue and will hold out until after New Hampshire when the primaries become real. The Pats haven’t even won the Super Bowl.

              1. Brian

                Bernie does not appear to need a team, group, think tank, or any other bizarre political advertising gimmick to have quietly moved a large part of the nation to want to hear what he has to say, and agree with what they have heard so far. That is comforting in many ways for those of us that actually believe in that old we the people stuff.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Yes, he does need to actually make sure they vote on the appropriate days. It’s a considerable amount of work.

                  Given the enthusiasm gap, this could crush Hillary especially in caucus states. Her young supporters are just young Republicans who don’t hate wealthy minorities and think Jay-Z is edgy. They would take hit poor, blue neighborhoods for GOTV. They’ll just whine about people voting against their Interests. Ultimately, Hillary isn’t growing on the youth side but she’s had eight years of death on the senior side. Those little old people manning polling stations in 2008 are dead or can’t caucus.

            2. Uahsenaa

              I’m withholding judgment until I see what happens in the junior high gym on the 1st, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Sanders trounces Clinton here. I see so many national media reports that wring their hands over what will get people to brave the cold to caucus, but seeing as people over the weekend (and it was VERY cold here) braved the weather to go to Sanders’ rallies, I think that’s a pretty good indication.

              I mistrust the polling so far. So many of them have margins of error so large that whoever is doing their sampling out to be embarrassed out of a job. Add to that how only local media seem to be covering political events with an even hand, I don’t take anything for granted, no matter what their numbers say.

    2. PQS

      Even up here in the PNW I-5 corridor, I’ve only seen two or three Hillary bumperstickers. Many, many more Bernies.

      I still want the one that says, “Bernie. Because F*** this s***”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I wonder if Sanders attract more extrovert supporters while others have more introvert followers.

    3. sid_finster

      Deep red North Dakota, I see Bernie lawn signs and bumper stickers, very few for Rodham.

      The governing class of both political parties is working to make the 2016 primary season as “managed” as possible.

    4. sleepy

      I live in Mason City–a democratic, blue collar town in decline. My take: I saw my first yard sign of any flavor the other day, for Trump. And that’s it. The local media gives a lot of coverage to Trump as the celebrity, much like they did Obama 8 yrs. ago.

      Overall, I don’t see much obvious enthusiasm for the caucuses one way or the other. This is in contrast to 2008 when the city was sprouting Obama and Clinton signs all over the place. To the extent that reflects complacency or a lack of organization, I think it favors Sanders–if anyone’s inspired to vote I think it will be his supporters. I also think the apathy reflects Obama’s degradation of hope.

      I think Sanders wins the state–in 2008 Clinton came in tied for second with Edwards–folks just haven’t seemed enamored with her here.

    5. petal

      Checking in from Hanover, NH: still more Sanders yard signs(more now than in the fall) here and in Leb/West Leb, and a huge(6’x7′?) one a fence on the hill entering Hanover from 120. I have seen a small handful of HRC bumper stickers in the past couple weeks which is more than this fall(which was zero), but still dwarfed by Sanders stuff. They are trotting out Bill on Wed to Keene, Claremont and Dartmouth. Still trying to figure out how to get into the Dartmouth one as my Chinese roommate wants to go see the circus-there has been almost no advertising for it. Cheers.

      1. petal

        A coworker said he and his wife had been contacted by HRC’s campaign about the Wed rally and asked if they would like to go. He said apparently if you’re not on their list already you have to contact them and put yourself out there. I’m not willing to give them my name as I abhor harassment-esp by that lot.

      2. Jen

        From Orford, NH (15 miles north of Hanover, home of Meldrim Thomson – not quite the same demographic as Hanover): lots of Bernie signs, couple for HRC, couple for Trump, and a couple for Kelso. Kelso? Yeah, Kelso. Google him. God, I love being in the first in the nation primary state. I’m seeing Bernie yard signs in front of houses where I’ve never seen candidate signs before. Just put one up in front of my house yesterday, and that’s a first for me.

    6. cyclist

      Bernie signs outnumber Clinton by a large margin here in northern NJ, even though there aren’t too many of either. This is supposedly one of those NE Democrat strongholds, but I find people here to be rather uninformed and bigoted (after all, we elected Christie – twice).

      I regularly pass by a modest house in posh Short Hills with a Bernie poster located right next to the road. It appears that someone came by and poked a hole in it, but the sign was repaired with a note attached. I’ve been meaning to stop to see what it says.

      1. Stefan

        Here in northernmost NH, we see plenty of Bernie and Trump signs, with a smattering of Carlys; very few Hillarys.

        A friend who is well-informed tells me that many Trump signs are in front of addresses without registered voters. This was true of republican signs in earlier election cycles as well. People who never get around to voting seem to prefer republicans.

        On the other hand, another knowledgeable friend with a lot of ground game experience believes that Bernie could never win in the national general election because he will be unable to overcome the “socialist” labeling. I’m not sure how to counter that argument, but I would bet Bernie beats Hillary by more than 10 percentage points in the NH primary and gets more total primary votes than Trump as well.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Do you mean like that Muslim, Kenyan, commie in the White House? The GOP will label anything as crazy regardless. Also, you should note plenty of people will never vote for an Iraq War supporter.

  3. tony

    Kissinger might have been a walking war crime, but he was competent. Even many of us outside the US would prefer the US act in a calculated selfish manner of a sociopath, rather than based on self-concocted delusions and contradictory internal motivations. Self-interested countries are careful, predictable and it is possible even for smaller countries to position themselves in a way that keeps tham safe. They generally are vested in stability and understand when to let their opponents win.

    Of course, I should mention that I am an European, and Latin-America at least has managed to gain a measure of independence form the US as it has grown weaker. Still, I consider the risks of an unpredictable and psychotic hegemon greater than one callously pushing for self-interest.

    The article ended with the following:

    “So here’s my challenge to Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bezos, the Sulzberger family, and anyone else who runs a major media operation: Why not hire a realist?”

    It’s not in their interest. Ian Welsh wrote about this a while ago:

    “Years ago, Stirling Newberry told me that the job of modern politicians was to wrangle the masses for oligarchs. He was right. That is what they do. They are good at manipulating enough of the population, and they are good at giving money and power to those who already have both.

    They are not good at anything else, and expecting them to do anything else is insane.”

    Personally, I think the best bet is to appeal to the self-interest of the American population. I doubt they want to pay for the empire, which has become a burden, pick a fight with Russia or concern themselves with the affairs of Muslim countries. Expecting America to become the Good Guy is a bit too much, but not insane would work for me.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hong Kong publishers missing.

      TPTB over there should buy media companies. Then publishers will publish patriotically or the new owners can quietly put in their people.

      And, then, they can buy other media companies in the UK, Australia and other countries.

      1. Jessica

        If our oligarchs and other elites formed a coherent leading class, then the realists would represent their interests well. However, our leading class has been obsolete for decades and has little cohesion. The different fragments and shards fight only for their own interest, even at the expense of the leading class as a whole.
        That is why the US has foreign policy that makes no sense when viewed from the perspective of the empire as a whole and over time.
        This is also why the leading class has so little capacity to discipline its own members who get out of line.

        1. Pavel

          hi Jessica, thanks for referring me back to your comment.

          It seems to me one of the biggest problems is the mixture of greed and self-interest and sheer stupidity. This would be typified by Cheney’s use of Halliburton to make millions in the patently ill-planned (and illegal) Iraq war.

          We also have all the stories of SEC incompetence and corruption (remember how they ignored all the warnings about Bernie Madoff) and the revolving doors in Washington so the regulators are in bed with the regulated.

          The US has been sliding into an oligarchy for the last 20 years and now the entire system is so corrupt and entrenched I sadly don’t see how it can be reversed. If Sanders wins that would be a huge moral victory at least, but I suspect he wouldn’t be allowed to accomplish much.

          The mere fact that Hillary R. Clinton, who has taken literally millions from banks, military hardware companies, and the like for “speaking fees” (ha!), is taken seriously as a candidate sums it all up. At least the Repubs for the most part don’t claim to care about income inequality.


        2. John Merryman

          Nature and history at work. Tower of Babel. When it crumbles, the little guys might get more sunlight, but the rules don’t change. Nature rules.

    2. Dino Reno

      Americans want the the tribute (material rewards, Roman style) that comes with Empire. Bernie will redistribute it from the rich here,
      while Trump will demand a vigorish from the rest of the world for protection. Either way, we want to get paid. The trappings of Empire are not going way, just the way the spoils are divided.

      The neocons’ con game of telling the nation that we’re special, exceptional and indispensable while keeping the goodies for themselves may have a limited shelf life.

      Not sure where this falls on the mental health index.

      1. The Dilettante

        Under “major depression,” perhaps.

        I can’t help but hold out hope that an equitable social-democratic redistribution of wealth in the imperial heartland might give people the leisure time and educational opportunity to, within a generation, start questioning the empire itself. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the tumultuous events we call The Sixties started almost exactly twenty years after the GI Bill’s passage.

    3. PQS

      Yes, I agree with your last paragraph, although I think you’re appealing to the better angels. The lesser angels (i.e., pretty much every angry white person) are happy to pay for empire as long as their money doesn’t go to “those people”. Crabs in a bucket, etc.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Use the Force to channel that anger into positive actions.

          Don’t ask how much new money the government can spend to trickle down to you.

          Ask how much new money you (the people, collectively, exercising our political sovereignty and monetary sovereignty) can spend to trickle down to the the government, one with limited congressional approved budget.

          Take charge of the household. people, you masters of the house.

  4. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re: Obama will not endorse a candidate in 2016 Democratic presidential race: White House

    I think this says that the DNC believes that Clinton can pull significant Independent and Republican support.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The candidates probably paid Obama to withhold his endorsement.

      It would be like having Kim Jong Il endorse your ramen noodles.

    2. polecat

      Perhaps he’s afraid his legacy will be tarnished, considering the FBI’s current investigation of Hillary’s possible corruption w/ regard to financial corporate big donors…….

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        Maybe. Still the DNC is so blinded by cynicism and enamored of the smell of its own flatulence that I do think it is a miscalculation she/it could easily make.

  5. Carolinian

    This morning’s Cillizza. Naturally those of us of the ABH persuasion hope this is true.

    But remember that politics is a changeable business. And that most normal voters (still) aren’t paying much attention to the process. If Sanders won the first two states, is it that hard to believe that the race could fundamentally shift — and not in a good way for Clinton — in the 10 days between New Hampshire and ­Nevada?

    To me, the idea that the race is totally upended is at least as likely as the notion that Sanders winning the first two states wouldn’t affect much of anything in the states that followed.

  6. Andrew

    From Apploitation in a city of instaserfs :

    ” the ride-share app companies want to avoid the responsibilities of being full-blown employers.”

    Sums up the “sharing economy” quite neatly.

    1. Ulysses

      “companies want to avoid the responsibilities”

      How to succeed in business without really trying:

      1) Use Other People’s Money

      2)Externalize the costs

      3)Pocket the “profits” (see #2)

      4) stash the loot in the Cayman Islands so as not to pay taxes!

  7. Pavel

    I’m late to the party, I know, but I am just halfway through THE BIG SHORT and reading about Goldman Sachs’s various forms of skullduggery (at the point where I am, against AIG). Remind me why all those bastards aren’t in jail? Jesus H. Christ.

    1. abynormal

      hope your breakfast is settled:

      Jim Cramer: Shouldn’t they have indicted somebody who actually did bad things in banking?

      JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon: I think if someone did something wrong, they should go to jail.

      Cramer: Well, who did? Who went to jail?

      Dimon: One of the great things about America, failure is not illegal or wrong. You can’t just say it failed. But I do think America looked at the crisis—and this is too bad—and there was no, anywhere, Old Testament justice. What they saw is people got overpaid—and some of these people lost all their money, their reputation, all that. If someone did something wrong, they should pay. You’ve got to be specific. Did they do something wrong, or you just don’t like the fact that they failed? You make investments. They don’t always pay off. It doesn’t mean you’re a criminal.

      Cramer: Right.

      1. fresno dan

        So how many of the CEO’s of these institutions are out selling pencils or apples on the streets?
        And how many are not destitute because the way to deal with the crisis was to keep the idiots who got us into the crisis ……RICH.
        Every single CEO and CFO of every institution that needed money from the government should have been fired – – they indisputably failed by the criteria of the market. I would have settled for that – as I suspect that our prosecutors are too stupid and/or too corrupt to do the job.
        But not only do we have to put up with the disaster, we have to put up with the incessant yammering about how wonderful the market is – Still!!!!
        Market for the poor, socialism for the wealthy….rage barf

      2. perpetualWAR

        From a government who is not allowing the word “fraud” to be used in its courtrooms (yes, this happened!) then it’s clear one cannot find any fraud.

        From a populace that’s been doing the investigation for the above mentioned government, we see fraud everwhere.

        It’s all in your perspective and if you are being paid to keep the blinders on.

      1. abynormal

        Thanks perpetualWAR! “As the authors insist, the choice that America faces is stark: whether Washington will accede to the vested interests of an unbridled financial sector that runs up profits in good years and dumps its losses on taxpayers in lean years, or reform through stringent regulation the banking system as first and foremost an engine of economic growth. To restore health and balance to our economy, Johnson and Kwak make a radical yet feasible and focused proposal: reconfigure the megabanks to be “small enough to fail.”

        …well, we here at NC live to investigate that answer everyday. What make’s it SO different this time is the girth…the Global Financial Industry will do any & everything to win this, even at their own demise. What seems to keep the engine banging is the world’s majority doesn’t understand they’re already cannon fodder.

        “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”

  8. PWC, Raleigh

    re: “Dear Parents: Everything You Need to Know About Your Son and Daughter’s University But Don’t” — Los Angeles Review of Books

    This should also be a must-read, imo.

    “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life” by William Deresiewicz points in similar directions, though from a different angle.

    Add together with “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Agreed, IMO it is a must-read (and not a must-skim, mind you).

      The Calgary Herald stated that Srigley was suspended after publishing the article, although I have not been able to confirm this anywhere else, and he still is listed on the UPEI website.

      It was depressing that most commenters on the article, as per usual, ignored Srigley’s scathing critique of bloated administration (because markets) as the culprit, instead falling into the usual left vs right kayfabe .

      1. JEHR

        I’m impressed that an academic told the truth about our universities. Now the question is: What are they (and you) going to do about it?

        1. RabidGandhi

          I can’t do much about it as I’m in the wrong hemisphere, but what should they do? Nationalise them.

          As Srigley makes abundantly clear in his article, the raison d’être of the bloated administrator class is that they bring in more clients… er students, and thus more funds (to hire more administrators).

          Conversely, at the University of Buenos Aires– a top level, tuition free public university– there is no recruitment department, no capital fund driving plans, no campus tours for nervous 14-year olds unsure about where to park their $80 grand in student loans… The money goes to professors and [basic] facilities.

          Yet I highly doubt making education truly public will get much resonance in academia, even from Srigley. They’re too busy scratching their heads with non-existent problems: but how will we pay for it? Won’t that just make kids lazy? What would Camus think of Bernie Sanders’ tie?

          1. abynormal

            “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” ~Camus

            btw, always look forward to your post RabidG

      2. Massinissa

        It was more right vs left. I didn’t see that many people blaming the right, mostly the left.

        I saw one guy blaming Progressive Education (whatever that is), and another blaming, as usual, Cultural Marxism.

        What a headache.

        Not that blaming the right would be any more useful, mind you.

  9. Jef

    Afraid to look but I wonder if the “oldest profession” has jumped on the “sharing economy” bandwagon.

    1. Jessica

      Au contraire. The more upscale of the oldest profession in the world use various platforms to eliminate the middle-man without cutting the platform in on the action. They are one profession that has really benefited.
      The main reason is because they are illegal. If that profession was legal, some platform, perhaps called Uber/Unter, would drive prices way down.

      1. Optimader

        More opportunity for product differentiation the “oldest profession” form of a “ride sharing” biz model in comparison to Uber.
        Never have used Uber, a friends son told me over the holidays that he and his peers think it’s fantastic in the City (Chicago).

    2. low_integer

      I’ve seen a documentary on the German sex industry that, among other things, detailed an ebay style system of bidding for the services of women (and presumably men too, though this wasn’t shown). The founder of the website, who presumably takes his cut from every transaction, enthusiastically told the story of one customer who ‘won’ two attractive women for a night for one euro due to lack of bidding competition. Apparently the transaction was completed, with the desire to accrue positive feedback being cited as the motivation for the women to perform for this price.

      1. Dandelion

        And the likelihood is that the women were trafficked, so what choice did they have anyway? Slavery PLUS apps! What a win for the new economy.

        1. low_integer

          Yes, the trafficking of women, especially from the economically vulnerable Eastern European population, was covered in some depth, with one of the owners of what might be described as a chain of mega-brothels being arrested during the course of the documentary on suspicion of trafficking offences.

  10. dcblogger

    Losing Losing their long-time homes

    In the rapidly gentrifying nation’s capital, real estate investors aren’t the only ones flipping houses for profit. The city’s public housing authority is getting in on the action — moving older tenants out of homes where they’ve lived for decades, renovating them, and selling them to wealthy buyers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Location, location, location.

      To be close to the fount of unrestrained trickle-down spigot.

    1. abynormal

      wOw, “Inadequate charters? There are such things. When the cap was lifted, legislators also created a definition of a crappy charter that included low academic performance (aka “test scores”). In 2012, one charter ran afoul of this. For 2012-2013, the state moved the goalposts so that test results wouldn’t count against charters. In 2014-2015, sixteen charters got warning letters for academic suckiness. They could be in trouble. Maybe.

      Pre-cap-lifting, 57 charters closed, including 14 that never opened. 35 of those closures were because of financial problems. Since the cap was lifted, 13 charters have closed.”

      …where’s the angry investors?

  11. Roquentin

    Re: Sanders in Iowa

    I spent much of my childhood in Iowa, but haven’t lived there for a decade. It’s hard for me to get a precise handle on the mood, but Hillary Clinton was unpopular among people I knew for as long as I can remember. I can also remember thinking Iowans would never pick her when she faced off against Obama. My younger sister, who has since moved to Michigan, should be a prime demographic target for Clinton, but strongly supports Sanders. She and I are both baffled that Hillary is polling so well, because nearly all the likely democratic voters we know are supporting Sanders. Then again, we’re relatively young so the demographics are a little skewed.

    Still, I just can’t figure out where all these Clinton supporters are coming from. My guess is that if the people that have been showing up at rallies turn out during the Iowa Caucus, he wins. If they stay home, he loses. It’s of the utmost importance that Sanders lands some big victories early on so people see him as a legitimate choice in the primaries.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One issue is the quality of polling and cell phones. Even though “the young people” are on their screens all the time, they aren’t talking. If it’s important, a person would send a text which can be checked at leisure instead of when they are in class, a work place environment, driving, a busy restaurant, etc.

    2. Carolinian

      But, but….Lena Dunham. Perhaps Hillary’s upcoming crushing defeat will be the beginning of the end for La Dunham–that plus the fact that HBO put off Game of Thrones for a month so they could run Girls instead.

    3. neo-realist

      I can envision Clinton supporters as a bunch of middle aged to older democrats who like Sanders’ positions, but fear he won’t be competitive in the general election because they believe that the TPTB will game the election or that he will be roasted by the corporate media over his democratic socialism and portrayed as some sort of Trojan horse commie.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Dr. Copper, comrades: he’s gone over the precipice and is hanging on to one little manzanita bush with his bare hands: $1.97/lb. Chart:

    Meanwhile, stocks in oil patch dependent Canada have shed almost a third of their value in nine months, in USD terms (less in C$). Chart:

    One worries that J-Yel’s scorched-earth rate-hike campaign will stampede North America’s vast herds of ZIRPaloes over the cliffs to their doom.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When a giant sequoia falls on Main Street, there is not tremor on Wall Street.

      But when a dwarf bonsai trees falls on Wall Street, a magnitude 8 quake can be felt on Main Street

      1. Jim Haygood

        That’s the reverberation of the propaganda loudspeakers.

        ‘There is nothing “fundamentally wrong” with the broad U.S. economy despite the “bearish” global stock environment, said Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, on Monday.’

        ‘Even as late as December 1930, Herbert Hoover maintained that “the fundamental strength of the economy is unimpaired.”’

    2. craazyboy

      “Federal Reserve announces discontinuation of the “Greenback” and will replace with a “Hillary R. Clinton” $2 copper coin.”

      Fed spokeschairman Janet Yellen explained, “We think the move will be supportive of oil prices as well, because everyone will be carrying around one pound $2 copper coins. We are also working with Canada to help them launch a copper loony, although we haven’t decided yet whose head will be on it.”

  13. Tertium_Squid

    managers tended to pick hires based on whom they connected with personally, or those with name-brand employers like Google Inc. on their résumés—factors that had little bearing on job performance, he says.

    Surely googlers are superheroes, and other organizations just don’t know how to properly apply their brilliance?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Slave owners didn’t buy slaves that way.

      They probably bought based on health and price.

      I am not sure we have progressed…more like, meandering.

  14. kenick

    Re: Top Ten Weather/Climate Events of 2015

    Is President Obama even going to visit the Mid-West to have a look at the damage from #7 — Wild Christmas Week Flooding and Storms in the US?

    1. Pavel

      I suspect not if it keeps him from his holidays in Hawai’i and the golf course.

      I’d like to propose a new rule: until the budget is balanced, apart from strictly-defined official state business, all presidents must stay in DC and holiday at Camp David.

      And no playing games with giving a “state speech” in the same location as a campaign fundraising event.

      I read somewhere that Obama’s breaks in Hawai’i cost $450,000 per day. Not sure if that’s true, but I’m sure it’s a small fortune.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s totally unrelated I am sure, but I am reminded that Tiberius liked to vacation in the island of Capri and threw bad guys off a cliff there.

        1. ambrit

          It’s also true that Tiberius filled Capri with a Posse of Perverts, plus a menagerie of little kids for his Pedophilia. I wonder who’s going to be Obamas’ Caligula.
          (I won’t even start on Bill and Hillary’s Circus After Midnight.)

        1. Karen

          I read the Swedish newspaper’s article (they had an English-language version you could click on), and it sounds like the same sort of thing as in Cologne: gangs of foreign-born young men acting as a group.

          In 2013 and earlier, it was apparently more the “usual” one guy acting on his own, then this new phenomenon showed up in 2014 and 2015.

  15. RabidGandhi

    Re: Henwood v. Pollitt on HRC:

    This may be a generational thing, but I do not understand the de riguer obeisance accorded to Katha Pollitt by the left. Here Henwood says:

    I should say right away that Katha is a friend; not only am I very fond of her personally, I’ve admired her writing (both prose and poetry) for more years than either of us would probably like to count.

    In a recent blogging heads debate with Pollitt, Glenn Greenwald told Pollitt:

    I expected lots of people would distort [my arguments] but I didn’t expect it from you .

    I have not been reading Katha Pollitt “for more years than I could count”, but every time I have read her, her views have been exactly as shoddy and revolting as her defence of HRC and Obama here. And as the two examples (v. Henwood and v. Pollitt) went on to thoroughly show, her arguments as such invariably refuse to confront legitimate, well-reasoned attacks from the left, instead degrading into crass partisanism. Or as Henwood says

    Pollitt makes no serious political case for Clinton’s candidacy. Nor does she really try to rebut my critique of her forty-year record.

    So was there a time when Pollitt actually stood for something other than Team Blue? And if not (or even if so), why all the deference to her? Personally, although I’m pretty far to the left, I would rather read a hack from the right than Pied Piper Pollitt trying to lure progressives into Camp Hillary.

    1. montanamaven

      I don’t know the history how she became a respected columnist. I only starting reading “The Nation” in 2000 after that election. Then even went on The Nation cruise. Then dropped my subscription in 2007 after, yet again, they did not endorse the “progressive” candidates. When I started to really pay attention, it seemed to me that she is not really a feminist scholar. She’s not in “The Essential Feminist Reader”, for example. She is a sheepdog herding people into the Democratic Party roach motel or as you say, Pied Pipering the children into a trap. Why the deference? Now that I live in a very small town, you need to get along with everybody, so politeness helps. However I wish when “friends” disagree with her, they could link to a particular poem or idea that made them fans. At least Henwood does that in general by saying he admired her prose and poetry. It’s like Carole King. You like her songs, but her views on politics are, in her own words, Pollyannaish. I heard her say that she didn’t like the TV show “Veep” because it made fun of the Veep and Washington and pictured them all as bunglers and creating chaos and so it was not realistic while “The Newsroom” (an idyllic view of TV journalism) was real. I see it the exact opposite.

  16. Kurt Sperry

    Obama campaigned as a strong progressive in 2008 and mobilized a huge following based on that branding, then almost before the echoes of the inaugural speeches had died in the Capital Mall he was granting Telecom immunity for industrial scale Fourth Amendment violations, putting the Wall St. foxes like Summers and Geithner in charge of the public henhouse, siding with Bush/Cheney on torture by immunizing them from accountability, claiming pre-emptively no crimes were committed in the largest systemic financial fraud in human history and demobilizing his organized base. None of which were driven by any popular demand from the electorate who had just made him President.

    Hillary is another status quo figure, almost completely financed by Wall St. and other corporate cartoon villains like Monsanto and telecom monopolies about as popular with the Democratic base as gum disease. Unless you are one of the handful of Americans who benefit from the corporate resulting graft, a Hillary administration will ignore your interests whenever those interests come into conflict with those of her sponsors. We Democrats love to ridicule blue collar Republicans for supporting candidates and policies that run in shocking opposition to their own interests, yet here we have a class of Democrats who are doing the exact precise thing by choosing Clinton over Sanders, who on virtually every policy point clearly represents positions more in line with the interests of the average voter.

    Now those Republicans who vote for candidates espousing lower taxes for billionaires and cuts in public services they use et al are in fact behaving stupidly, it’s not just a matter of opinion. I don’t see Clinton supporters as any different in kind from those Republicans who vote for policies counter to their own interests because of appeals to tribal partisanship or identity dogwhistles. Stupid is a real thing, it’s not always just differences of opinion, and supporting a candidate beholden to Wall St. and the rest of her heinous laundry list of bribers is objectively stupid in exactly the same way. President Hillary means no meaningful controls on Wall St., no push for a rational single payer health care system, continued dragnet surveillance of ordinary citizens in sneering contempt of the Bill of Rights and on and on. It’s worth considering as well that a Republican administration opposing these sane goals will at least have the real possibility of Democratic opposition to them whereas a Democratic administration can kill them dead with impunity. When you elect regressive Democrats, there is nobody left to advocate for better policies–you are truly screwed. A Clinton administration would not be a “lesser evil” as much as a more effective evil, doing its evil with no organized political opposition to check them.

    If your livelihood is dependent on Citigroup or Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan or Time-Warner or Monsanto, and you identify as Democrat then sure Clinton may represent your interests–everyone else, no. Hell no, fuck no, supporting Clinton you are just as stupid as the welfare collecting white single mom in the dystopian ex-coal mining town in Tennessee voting for the Republican vowing to cut handouts to the “takers” because some might wind up going to black people. We’re talking a *very* special kind of stupid here.

    1. montanamaven

      Brilliant. I have posted shortened versions of this, but this is divine. I will just copy this and use it. I do like to give credit when I can.
      I usually say when a “liberal” friend says in a fairly condescending way, “Well, what do you expect from those Fox News low information voters?” I say, “The same thing I expect from those NPR, News Hour, Nation Magazine listeners. It might not be exactly low information and more misinformation. All the news outlets are propaganda and who you believe is based on who your tribe is.”
      What I say to my monied friends is what you say. “I understand your support of Clinton. She will maintain the status quo with a slight nod to women and gays. It is in your interest to stick with her rather than rock the boat. However, she will not serve your interests if she starts a war with Russia. Then no matter how much money you have, it will all be gone in a mushroom cloud. Poof!” I stay away from economics and stick with Clinton’s horrible war record. It actually does give people pause.

    2. Carolinian

      Ah yes, those white Tennessee welfare queens–sort of Ronald Reagan rhetoric in reverse. Do they drive Cadillacs? It’s also odd that you fail to mention the real reason for opposing Mrs. Clinton: her hawkishness and joined at the hip support for villains like Netanyahu. To be sure for Sanders supporters this is an awkward place to go since he suggested the Saudi head choppers solve our ME problems for us. In the ideological spectrum discussed in today’s Foreign Policy article he probably falls in the Liberal Interventionist camp, albeit in a more passive/aggressive way. Yes Assad should go–tell us when it’s over.

      I certainly hope Sanders does prevail over Clinton but it won’t be because the Democrats suddenly came to their senses or stopped being “stupid.” She’s in their wheelhouse.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘joined at the hip support for villains like Netanyahu’

        Senator Hillary visits Israel’s separation wall, as machine gun-toting Israeli soldiers protect her from the village of Bethlehem visible on the other side. JPG image:

        Sweet baby Jesus!

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Please use this any way you want, make it better, shorter, longer, take full authorship credit, I don’t care!

      1. Optimader

        Nicely played, a cut and paste for any thread advocating HRC.

        At this late date i am as bamboozled by progressive lefties that still swoon for BHO or HRC as i am by right wingers that hate on them for all the popular and inaccurate meme reasons — (eg BHO is a socialist, plenty to love or hate on him about but that reason is inoperative.. As well HRC being a middle class advocate, effective administrator or an insightful foriegn policy wonk)

    4. wendy davis

      Yes, Kurt Sperry, superb rant as far as domestic policy goes. But to me, Bern supporter need to know for whom they are…excited. He is an Imperialist, though of a ‘lesser evil degree’ according to himself. Sorry that the video has been removed (I think it was on abc’s Snuffleupagous show, but the rest of his statements are easily found, if…modified at some sites (depending on which).

      For some of us, Empire and War are key to what’s afoot in the larger policies re: Wall Street, gun massacres, military budgets, black murder, dissident murders/incarceration by police /the state and beyond.

      I almost didn’t comment, since I couldn’t find the video (with formerly ’embedded’ MarhaRaddatz) again. Terminated? Hmmmm.

      1. 3.14e-9

        It’s really good to know what an imperialist brown-baby-killing warmonger Bernie truly is. To think that I was supporting this fake socialist. Thank goddess you and Sam Husseini have set me straight so that I can vote for Hillary with the confidence of knowing she will do what’s best for our country and the environment. I was sorry Joe Biden didn’t run, though, because he surely would continue to carry the torch of American goodwill around the world, as he did in Ukraine. As for Jill Stein, in my secret fantasies, a vanguard of Pleiadeans creates a mass shift in human consciousness, and suddenly she starts packing stadiums and takes over the lead in the polls. Because really, I do know deep down inside that her voting record is vastly superior to Sanders’s on the issues, and she is the only one with a viable plan to get the Palestinians and Israelis to start being nice to each other.

        1. wendy davis

          Somehow I sense that you are mocking me and that I’ve vexed you, 3.14e-9 (smile). Look, all I want is for folks to know is a far more complete picture of the Bern, that’s all. I did finally find the interview with Heel-biter Raddatz; his opinions on the future militarily begin at about 4 mins.

          This is Dave Swanson on ‘Bernie Sanders insists the Saudis should kill more people’ (as if…)

          Peace to you,


          1. 3.14e-9

            Wendy, folks are not going to get a “more complete picture of the Bern,” by reading Sam Husseini, David Swanson, or anyone of the burgeoning number of “Imperialist Bernie” writers. That anyone would even cite these guys as credible authorities is laughable.

            And why would you assume that I (or anyone on this site) haven’t read these articles? I have. All of them, and when they were first published. Which is how I know that they are mostly garbage. They are opinions based on cherry picked and distorted facts, whether due to misunderstanding or deliberate twisting of information to expand a narrative that began in the mid-1980s, when some of Bernie’s anti-war supporters got angry that he didn’t remain ideologically pure once he took office. In that regard, they aren’t even original.

            I started a comment a few hours ago that addresses Sam Husseini’s silly diatribe about Bernie and the Saudis. And there’s plenty more where that came from — for example, the false allegation that he supported Israel’s invasion of Gaza last summer, which those on the hard-left constantly repeat as unquestionable truth. Or that when a group of protesters arrived at his Burlington office in 1999, he refused to speak with them and instead had them arrested for trespassing.

            Yes, Wendy, I think it’s time that folks had “a far more complete picture of the Bern,” because then supporters like Kurt Sperry — who obviously is a clear-thinking, intelligent individual with a conscience — wouldn’t have to feel so conflicted due to some of the misrepresentations coming from the hard left. As they say, the truth will set you free.

            P.S. And yes, I find it irksome when people smile while condescendingly trying to “educate” me.

            1. The Dilettante

              Look mate, I’m about as (anarcho-) socialist as they come, and I’ll be voting for Bernie in the election because it’ll be the first time I can vote for someone who’s an authentic social democrat in my brief lifetime. But Wendy’s got a point, and it helps to call a spade a spade. On foreign policy Bernie is to the right of Ron Paul, and the social movement that elects him will have to resist him on that front if any progress against the Empire is to be made in the near term.

              1. 3.14e-9

                She “has a point” only if you back it up with articles by Sam Husseini, David Swanson, and other “revolutionary” leftists who cherry pick information, distort facts beyond recognition, and outright make sh-t up to fit into their self-righteous worldview. And they’ve been doing it for so long that even intelligent, thinking progressives have started believing it. There are so many examples, it would take a book, but here are some of the more widespread claims:

                – Sanders sided with Israel in its assault on Gaza last summer. Wrong. Out of 100 senators, 79 approved. Sanders was one of the hold-outs. But wait, what about this “unanimous consent” thing? He could have objected, but he didn’t, which is the same as voting “yes.” Wrong again. There is a gross misunderstanding about how the Senate uses unanimous consent agreements. He had no opportunity to object.

                – Sanders never met a defense budget he didn’t like. Wrong. He has a mixed voting record. Moreover, Congress likes to pile amendments on to appropriations bills, often done deliberately to garner votes . The supplemental defense appropriations bill in 2006 included disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina. Sanders voted yea. He also voted yea on a supplemental war funding bill that included the establishment of the post-9/11 GI Bill. When analyzing his record, you also have to make sure you’re looking at spending bills – that is, appropriations. Authorization bills establish funding levels, but until members vote to appropriate the money, they can change their minds.

                – Sanders voted against the Iraq War, but he’s a hypocrite because he voted to fund it. Congress has been funding the Iraq War through various measures since 2003, not all of them obvious (see above). So yes,he has voted for some bills that included funding for Iraq. But he voted more often against them. Most importantly, he voted against funding in 2003, when Bush asked Congress for $75 billion in emergency funding at the start of the war. And he voted no when Bush came back six months later for another $87 billion. So to say he voted against the war and then approved funding is a lie by omission.

                – Sanders won’t cut military aid to Israel. Wrong. He said he’d reduce military aid to Israel and increase economic aid, and also that he’d increase aid to the Palestinians. The leftie writers ignore that and instead quote his spokesman, who said that Sanders has never supported cutting off arms to Israel. There is a difference between “cutting” and “cutting off.” Of course, the anti-war left will scream that anything short of an arms embargo is warmongering.

                – Sanders says we should put the Saudis in charge of fighting ISIS and let their troops overrun neighboring countries. Alternative version: Sanders “insists that the Saudis should kill more people” (preposterous statement by Swanson). WRONG. He ripped into the Saudis last March when they told John Kerry that the United States should send combat troops to Iraq to fight the Islamic State. Essentially he told them to FO and not expect American troops to protect the Saudi royal family. He said they need to “get their hands dirty,” which caused a sh–storm from the idiom-challenged left. Sanders has been consistent all along in calling for a Muslim-led coalition to figure out how best to defeat the Islamic State, with support from Western countries. Husseini still manages to twist that into an imperialist plot to control all the oil fields in the Middle East. Only one problem with that: Sanders includes Iran in the Muslim coalition and says the international support group should include Russia.

                There’s plenty more, but I think you get the idea. The guy isn’t a pacifist; he’s said as much. No, he’s not going to turn the Pentagon into waterfront condos with rainbow banners fluttering from the flagpoles. But he’s no imperialist warmonger. The hard left can turn him into one only by playing hard and loose with the facts.

        2. Massinissa

          Look, its pretty clear to me Wendy isn’t a Hillary supporter, so youre straw manning.

          Is it really impossible to point out the flaws of BOTH candidates? You cant point out Bernies obvious flaws without endorsing Klinton.

          1. 3.14e-9

            Sarcasm and satire are no fun if you have to put a ;-) at the end to make sure everyone knows it’s sarcasm. I try to drop big hints by including patently ridiculous or outrageous statements, but invariably someone takes it seriously.

          2. wendy davis

            Thank you, Massinissa, and yes. I’ve been railing against the Hillary Hawk since before Josh Marshall closed the Café (readers diaries), often…quite unpopularly.

            But how odd; I’d answered 3.14e-9 hours ago, smiling about how I seemed to have vexed him/her. That it never showed up must be down to the fact that I’d included two links, the following and a Dave Swanson link saying that Bern wanted the Saudis to get their hands dirty (as if they weren’t already in Yemen and elsewhere), and tra la la.

            But Bern in his own words I did find by searching youtube a different way. This is where he ‘sees the future’. Note: genocide and other metrics, which memes are happening as I type via Africom scribes and Avaaz:


      2. montanamaven

        Yes, Wendy. Bravo. It is why I am not interested in either Hilary or Bernie. Not really interested in electoral politics anymore at all. I’m with Russell Brand. Bernie voted to fund Iraq war which is tantamount to enabling. It was easy to vote “No” to give Bush a blank slip for a Senator from Vermont since it was going to pass anyway. But it would have been really courageous to “not support the troops” as people who voted against funding were labeled. The Vietnam War was not finally ended because of marches in the street. It was defunded by Congress in 1972. (Gallup Poll of January 1971 had approval of the amendment at 73%. So not just a bunch of hippies.
        I’m a pacifist and do not believe the “just war” argument. I’m glad that Bernie has his economic message getting out there. But Buyer Beware.

        1. wendy davis

          I agree, montanamaven, so I won’t vote for any Presidential candidate, but I will turn in a ballot for some down-ticket races and referenda.

          Yes to ‘the power of the purse’. Given the article’s length, I didn’t finish it. Did the author ever mention that the Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ was a sham? I did look it up, and according to, the evidence seems to be in by now that it was.

          Ha, I’m so totally disenchanted by electoral politics, that’s the sole diary I’ve written on any candidate, and likely my last.

          Best to you,


      3. Kurt Sperry

        Oh I’m well aware of Sanders’ apparent nonchalance about imperial adventure, I think he’d still be better than any of the likely alternatives, even there in his weakest policy area. That’s not an endorsement of his positions as much as a condemnation of those of the field. And as such I can reconcile that as a small price for so much else that is better. Getting ordinary people involved in the political process, as I believe his candidacy can, will almost always favor less militarism. People don’t want war, it has to be sold and pushed on them. I don’t think a Sanders administration would be likely to make that push. I’m similarly unmoved by attacks on his gun control positions, he is not horrible there still in my view and he reflects his constituents’ views, which a representative generally should.

        1. wendy davis

          It’s good to hear that you know this about him, Kurt Sperry; I do understand your reasoning, but I also disagree with it as far as his militarism might play out. For instance, how many on the putative left gave Obama pass after pass on his dirty wars because: Obama?

          Well, I won’t go on about what his ‘limited circumstances’, ‘last resorts’ seem to be, or what nation he might be convinced deserves Nato/Isaf R2P help. Many are brewing in sub-Saharan Africa….

          Speaking of which, you may be interested in some emails of Clinton’s on Sarkozy and Gadaffi’s gold, not that Clinton puts her own sly self into the mix. (smile)

        2. 3.14e-9

          Kurt, don’t be so sure about Bernie’s “apparent nonchalance about imperial adventure.” Most of the allegations about his imperialist/militaristic tendencies are coming from a group of self-righteous hard-leftists who for years have been recycling “Bernie the Bomber” anecdotes, now standard background material in the proliferating genre of Bernie-bashing commentary on sites such as CounterPunch and Consortium News (sadly, as I have a high regard for Bob Parry).

          Your long post above is clear-headed and insightful, so I don’t want to be so presumptuous as to think you need to be “educated.” However, I do wonder whether maybe some of your reticence comes from seeing some of the misinformation from the left repeated over and over. There are so many inaccuracies and half-truths about Bernie floating around that it’s inevitable some of them are going to make their way into articles by credible writers. Also, crap articles like the two referenced in links above sometimes end up on the better alternative news sites. At some point, even intelligent, thinking people start to believe some of it.

          I had a post started several hours ago that shows how one of those articles was almost entirely made up. It’s long. So I’ll put it in a separate post and also save it in case the subject comes up again in the future, which I’m sure it will.

          Thanks again for the great “rant.” Made my day.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      A correction on the telcos: Obama voted for FISA “reform,” which granted retroactive immunity to the telcos for multiple felonies committed during Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance, in July 2008, flip-flopping from his promise in IIRC January 2008 to filibuster any such bill on Constitutional grounds.*

      That is, there was a very clear tell, not just before the inaugural, but before the nomination, as to what Obama was and how he would govern, visible to anybody who was paying attention.

      * An early indication of how Obama would rationalize and consolidate Bush’s executive power grab. There was a significant and fully justified critique of this under the Bush administration from the career “progressive” blogosphere, but the critique vanished as if it had never been with Obama’s rise.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The New Germans.

    A nation of immigrants.

    As any good pre-historian will tell you, the Teutons (or as the French called them during WWI, the Huns) came from the Caucasus.

    The Native Germans – I think they were the Neanderthals.

    1. Jagger

      If I remember correctly, the Celts were settled over most of Europe prior to the great BC migrations and wars. The last remnaints were finally sqeezed into Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Probably helps explains why they are always so touchy these days

  18. russell1200

    The aversion to harming others has a large impact on how people actually fight in wars. It’s why people shoot 1/3 poorer than in target practice, when firing at real people. Even when the real people are trying to kill them. They generally perform all actions poorly and get easily side tracked by minor complications. The “heroes” of the battlefield, are not super aggressive ubber soldiers, but the very small number (3%?) of folks who’s skills are not degraded. They are cool under fire.

    I have seen some indications that training that simulates some of the stress of combat while your learning a task (shooting for example) can be helpful, but very little of current training seems to work in that fashion.

    Oddly enough, this seems to have been better known in the past. The sited advantage of the early machine guns was that you could site them down a line, and then all that was required was pulling the trigger. No aiming, limited possibilities for human error.

  19. Carolinian

    Libertarian Justin Raimondo–back from his last column’s Bundy cloud cuckoo land–solves the “puzzle” posed in Stephen Walt’s Foreign Policy article.

    How does all this play out in the media? The American and British media have long been merely an extension of their respective governments: the revolving door that operates between the media and the State is beyond dispute. They socialize together, their kids go to the same schools, they marry each other, and – most importantly – they are both infused with the hubris endemic in Washington and the capitals of Europe, the idea that they have the knowledge and the moral authority to define and enforce the parameters of “world order.” The media is called the “Fourth Estate” for a very good reason – because they are very often part and parcel of the political class. Their function is to reinforce the narrative set out by government officials, and crush any dissent that arises in the hinterlands, and this role has been accentuated in recent times as the gap between ordinary people and the Washington-New York axis of affluence grows ever wider…..

    So don’t wonder why advocates of peace can’t find a niche in the “mainstream” media: the answer should be obvious enough. The solution is to build alternative media that can challenge the interventionist narrative and win the battle for public opinion.

    Shorter Raimondo: all hail NC!

  20. rich

    Who’s the Real Progressive? A Side by Side Comparison of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s Lifetime Donors
    Michael Krieger | Posted Monday Jan 11, 2016 at 10:42 am

    If you’ve ever heard Hillary speak, you know full well no one would ever pay to see that. Unless they expect a very strong return on investment.

    Bearing all of this in mind, it is downright preposterous that Sanders and Clinton could be competing for the Presidential nomination of the same political party. At this point in the post, I’m tempted to make some cliched, overused proclamation that goes like: “The choice is theirs. Does the Democratic Party want to be champions of the middle class and defenders of government by the people and for the people, or does it want to be gatekeepers for an undemocratic and corrupt oligarchy.”

    Let’s be honest. This choice was made long ago, and we all know who and what the Democratic Party actually serves. Which brings me to my last point. Take a look at the following quotes from Hillary Clinton.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Roman way – two co-presidents.

      Bernie can be the domestic co-president and let’s find someone else for the non-domestic co-president.

      And restore some balance to our 4 branch government – legislative, judicial, domestic executive and non-domestic executive.

  21. JEHR

    Re: Canadians more polite than Americans on Twitter, study says CBC. Well, yeah, if you use metric.

    I puzzled over the comment at the end but it must be because “it’s easier to work in metric.”

    Did you know that only three countries in the world do not use metric: the US, Burma and Liberia?

    In Canada most of those over about 40 have to know how to use both metric and imperial–all my recipe books and most of my measuring cups are imperial! So I did learn to use more than one “language.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Whereas the inch and foot are derived from the dimensions of the human body, the meter was originally defined in 1793 as one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the north pole.

      Only an out-of-touch academic could think up such an unwieldy, unintuitive unit of length. We still have 90 degrees of latitude, not 100, with 111 kilometers per degree of latitude. Oops.

      The deeply ingrained cultural attachment to a 7-day week, a 24-hour day, and a 360-degree circle suggests that the orderly but sterile powers of ten incorporated in the metric system fail to engage the human imagination.

      1. OIFVet

        Yep, I keep imagining how I can get three freakishly large barleycorns in order to constitute my own inch, and use that to claim that my neighbors are illegally squatting on my property. I do enjoy using imperial units, even though I grew up with the metric system. I particularly enjoy a pint, especially the British one. Much more generous than the American pint… Come to think of it, even the half-liter is more generous than the American pint.

      2. Lord Koos

        The human imagination seems to be working fine with the metric system in the rest of the world.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The decimal system derives from the human body as well.

        Ten little fingers and ten little toes, though it was accidental we have 10, if I remember my Cosmos correctly. (We could have evolved only 2 fingers each hand, for example).

        1. Synapsid


          The earliest land vertebrates had numbers of digits on the forefeet and the hind feet other than five, but the number stabilized at five pretty early. I’ve no idea why.

      4. Oregoncharles

        I was told, years ago, in an art-history(!) lecture, that the Indo-european languages originally used base 12. This shows up in words like “twelve” (why not “two-teen”?) and, of course, the foot, with 12 inches, or the year, with twelve months. In some ways it’s a more convenient number base – more factors, for one.

        the number system we use was actually developed by the Indo-European Hindus, but transmitted to Europe by the Arabs, who at the time were far more advanced culturally.

        I don’t know why the Romans used base 10 in their (clunky) number system, but of course that’s the other source.

        Both 24 and 360 are divisible by 12, of course, remnants of the original.

        However, your comment does not explain why only 3 countries still use “imperial” measurements. Much less functional.

      5. Ulysses

        As the 1793 date you mention might suggest, the metric system was a product of the French Revolution. The revolutionaries’ new system for naming months (Brumaire, Thermidor, Germinal, etc.), unlike the metric, didn’t long survive the ascent of Napoleon.

        Kinda cool to realize people can be so thoroughly committed to remaking every aspect of their world!

        1. Jim Haygood

          10 days per week, 10 hours per day, 100 minutes per hour, etc.

          Finally all those perfect, monotonous 1’s and 0’s drove folks nuts.

          Prolly invented by a guy with a 10 cm member, who regarded it as a fundamental unit of measurement.

          1. ambrit

            Mr. Jim;
            As a “grunt” working for a surveyor in Louisiana, I was introduced to French Measure, which was used by the original French land divisions before the Revolution. A very ungainly system. I’ve seen original French Land Grants done in French Measure, which had to be transmogrified into Imperial Measure to do the computations in.

          2. low_integer

            Start using log base 12 dollars or whatever in finance then, if a system based on multiples of 10 is such a problem. The rest of the world laughs at the imperial system.

      6. ewmayer

        For earth-science purposes I find the 10,000-km-from-pole-to-equator definition (still a very close approximation despite later redefinition of the meter) very convenient.

        As a computer geek, I appreciate the base-2 aspect of the ‘obsolete’ imperial system, e.g. liquid measures (or better, measures which I use liquidly here, or something):

        [The pattern breaks down at the small end at ‘3 teaspoons in a tablespoon’, but still easy to remember]
        2 tablespoons in a fluid ounce;
        16 fluid ozs in a pint (as I noted a couple days ago in Links, Brits are weird here in terms of multiple, tho I support the “more beer” aspect);
        2 pints in a quart;
        4 quarts in a gallon;
        64 gallons in a hogshead (of beer – wines are weird in that respect);
        4 hogsheads in a tun (= 256 gallons, or ~2048 lbs of water weight, very close to a short weight-ton).

        For dry goods:

        8 quarts in a peck;
        4 pecks in a bushel

        For firewood:

        128 ft^3 in a cord.

      7. low_integer

        Lucky everyone’s body is exactly the same then?
        I think the USA just has a thing for the word “imperial”.
        Personally I think the imperial measurement system is absolutely ridiculous.
        Btw for calculations involving angles the radian is the preferred unit.

  22. Andrew Watts

    RE: What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like?

    The author’s ignorant views that American realism are a source of historical optimism is just as humorous as his labeling of Reinhold Niebuhr as a realist. The historical record of secular American realists has been as close to total disaster as the actions of the neoconservatives and (neo)liberal imperialists have been. Niebuhr denounces and dissects this horrifying record in the Irony of American History.

    More significant than our actions and interpretations in the First World War was our mood after its conclusion. Our “realists” feared that our sense of responsibility toward a nascent world community had exceeded the canons of a prudent self-interest. Our idealists, of the thirties, sought to preserve our innocence by neutrality. The main force of isolationism came from the “realists,” as the slogan “America First” signifies. But the abortive effort to defy the forces of history which were both creating a potential world community and increasing the power of America beyond that of any other nation, was supported by pacifist idealists,

    So, they turned their back on the League of Nations and the idea of collective security. The failure of collective security was one of the primary factors which led to the second World War. The unfolding events in the South China Sea and Ukraine are worth contemplating in this context.

    The proposed actions of American realists turned monstrously ugly at the beginning of the Cold War. It’s also when we begin to see how blind Americans are to their own culture, it’s hopes, and their dreams.

    Naturally, a culture so confident of the possibility of resolving all incongruities in life and history was bound to make strenuous efforts to escape the tragic dilemma in which we find ourselves. These efforts fall into two categories, idealistic and realistic. The idealists naturally believe that we could escape the dilemma if we made sufficiently strenuous rational and moral efforts; if for instance we tried to establish a world government. (AW: Or we contemplated how much better the world would be if America re-embraced realism) Unfortunately the obvious necessity of integrating the global community politically does not guarantee its possibility. And all the arguments of the idealists finally rest upon a logic which derives the possibility of an achievement from its necessity. Other idealists believe that a renunciation of the use of atomic weapons would free us from the dilemma. But this is merely the old pacifist escape from the dilemma of war itself.

    The realists on the other hand are inclined to argue that a good cause will hallow any weapon. They are convinced that the evils of communism are so great that we are justified in using any weapon against them. Thereby they closely approach the communist ruthlessness.

    The realists were entirely willing to instigate a nuclear war and were utterly devoid of any feeling for humanity. “Death is a preferable alternative to communism” was their rallying cry. After all we only would’ve lost tens of millions of people to finally eradicate communism. Perhaps if they were successful they would’ve ended up extinguishing all human life in the northern hemisphere. It was quite fortunate that Niebuhr had a major effect upon thinkers like Kennan at the time.

    Compared to the intellectual and moral wasteland of most of the Cold War realists Niebuhr was firmly rooted in Christian ethics and morality in his understanding of history. Nor was he blinded by any idealistic dreams of resolving human conflict. The same cannot be said for current policymakers in Washington. In their hubris they imagined the Middle East could be re-made into America’s image. When this dream ended they schemed to partition the region into various ethnic and sectarian groups which they thought would extinguish conflict.

    Presently they think that American power and supremacy will be maintained through one scheme or another. They’re wrong. The horrible truth is that America’s political class isn’t capable of acting in the country’s best interest. In their limited understanding of the world, and their own cultural blindness, we consistently find our country and the world in peril which the inherent ruthlessness of realism cannot overcome.

    As such we stumble from one disaster to another time and time again.

    1. Carolinian

      Sounds to me like you are making up your own definition of what realism in foreign policy means and then attacking it. Since Walt supplies his own definition I’ll just quote it.

      Realism sees power as the centerpiece of political life and sees states as primarily concerned with ensuring their own security in a world where there’s no world government to protect them from others. Realists believe military power is essential to preserving a state’s independence and autonomy, but they recognize it is a crude instrument that often produces unintended consequences. Realists believe nationalism and other local identities are powerful and enduring; states are mostly selfish; altruism is rare; trust is hard to come by; and norms and institutions have a limited impact on what powerful states do. In short, realists have a generally pessimistic view of international affairs and are wary of efforts to remake the world according to some ideological blueprint, no matter how appealing it might be in the abstract.

      What you are attacking with your historical examples is not realism but crackpot realism (i.e. the notion that we were threatened by Russia during the Cold War and therefore justified in all steps to counteract Russia’s power and influence). Those who claim to act in the name of “realism” are obviously imperfect humans just as Christians are. But since we are speaking in the abstract I’d rather have a foreign policy based on reason and evidence (above all evidence) rather than the rather manichean beliefs of someone like Chris Hedges. When it comes down to heroes and villains we might have a lot more in common with the villains than we care to admit.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I wasn’t ignoring Walt’s definition as it’s in line with the post-Niebuhrian consensus. I simply do not see any evidence that current realist thinkers are being actively influenced by Niebuhr with the honorable exception of Andrew Bacevich. Their thoughts are governed by the fallout generated by recent policies instead of being anchored by Christian ideology or principle. Cynicism is not a guide in the foreign policy realm. Thus I reckon their actions will be guided by the same spirit of power mongering unenlightened self-interest previous incarnations of the American realism school have produced.

        The realists of the Cold War were crackpots before Niebuhr’s influence was felt. Kennan almost started a nuclear war over the Tito-Stalin split. He was a big supporter of early CIA covert operations that coined the term “blowback” by CIA analysts. I cannot be expected to put him on a pedestal knowing this history.

        The disastrous result of Niebuhr’s influence on the school of neoconservative thought encouraged them to enshrine their principles alongside their policies. Which they quickly betrayed of course. Their biggest mistake though was to confuse their social values as universal values and this horrible mistake is being compounded to this very day in Washington.

        But since we are speaking in the abstract I’d rather have a foreign policy based on reason and evidence (above all evidence) rather than the rather manichean beliefs of someone like Chris Hedges.

        All too often reason becomes a slave in service to power.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Why the Fed needs to prepare for the worst right now ”
    Hmmm – Larry Summers agrees with the alarm signals here on NC. Should our hair be on fire? (Well, mine went away a long time ago, but anyway…)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not sure, however, that Summers is doing much more than saying that recesssion follows “recovery,” cyclically. The real issue is the general crappiness of this particular “recovery.”

  24. Kim Kaufman

    Here’s something strange. On my screen, the titles of the links are in orange and the rest in black. If I click on something to read it, it then turns blue. I read Marcy Wheeler’s piece on Sean Penn yesterday, clicking through from a friend’s posting on facebook. This morning when I looked at links, that link was already blue. So Marcy’s website is sending to NC website telling me that I’ve already read the article even though I did not click through from NC and I did it yesterday. Or perhaps it’s some even worse tracking from facebook. Very. Weird. Creepy even.

    1. giantsquid

      Yes, it is creepy. And you’re not alone. This also happens to me, on a not infrequent basis, at NC and at other sites such as twitter. Not only that when I read a product review online that same product will show up in recommended lists when I visit online sites like Amazon. This regardless of the precautions I take to stop sites from tracking me. It’s annoying to say the least.

    2. OIFVet

      It’s your browser telling you that you have already visited said article. It doesn’t matter where you visited from, what matters is the address of the article. Delete the cache and browsing history, and the links will turn orange again.

    3. Oregoncharles

      That’s called a “cookie”, a record on your own computer of what you’ve already seen. You can clear your cookies (not that I would know how) if you don’t like it, but it does save a certain amount of reviewing.

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