Links 1/5/16

US Immigration Crack Down on Central American Families Begins teleSUR English. This is really bad. I’ll have something in Salon about this in the morning.

The end of Schengen? Restrictions by Denmark and Sweden are ‘threatening Europe’s passport-free zone’ The Independent. You were warned.

Periodic table gains four new superheavy elements, filling up the seventh row WaPo

U.S. Bread Basket Shifts Thanks to Climate Change Scientific American

Southern Illinois battles flooding as Mississippi River builds downstream Reuters

China to Halt New Coal Mine Approvals Amid Pollution Fight Bloomberg Business

Saudi/Iran skrimish:

Saudi executions driven by fear of militancy, signal combative policy Reuters

After Executing Regime Critic, Saudi Arabia Fires Up American PR Machine The Intercept

Why Should We Want to “Keep” the Saudis? Daniel Larison, The American Conservative (h/t resilc)

Saudi Arabia’s Dangerous Sectarian Game Toby Craig Jones, NY Times

The Great Malaise Continues Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

Economists Take Aim at Wealth Inequality NY Times

Capital, Predistribution and Redistribution Thomas Piketty, Crooked Timber

The New Economy a Driver in Rising Inequality Sydney Morning Herald (h/t EM)

Uber cab ride on New Year’s Eve pinches customer for $1,114.71 CBC News

GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft Bloomberg

Ex-SEC Official Gallagher Joins Regulatory Consultant WSJ

Quicken Loans’ lawsuit against DOJ, HUD tossed out by federal judge Housing Wire

‘The Big Short’ and ’99 Homes’ tackle the 2008 financial crisis from boom to bust LA Times. This is in the Oscar buzz section. Good to see these kind of notices for the underrated 99 Homes!

Clinton Comes Out Swinging At Sanders Wall Street Plan—Before He Unveils It Bloomberg Politics. Gensler’s getting pretty feisty, eh? By the way, I don’t see how Hillary’s reform plan does anything to “shadow banks” other than use the term “shadow banks” a lot. That was enough to get Krugman to fall for it, of course. But their HFT proposal is terribly designed, the private equity/hedge fund stuff is underwritten, and they say nothing about peer-to-peer/fintech, which is where banking outside the regulatory perimeter is headed.

Asian Markets Regain Footing as Chinese Regulators Calm Nerves WSJ

China’s seven-minute selling frenzy shows circuit-breaker risks Chicago Tribune

Manufacturing in U.S. Contracts at Fastest Pace in Six Years Bloomberg

Class Warfare:

Governor helped hush-hush delivery of water filters to Flint pastors

Meet the lefty club behind a blitz of new laws in cities around the country Washington Post

Wisconsin’s public-sector unions plot fightback as supreme court case looms The Guardian

UAW unit publishes names of workers opting out of union Detroit News

How New York’s “Fight for $15” Launched a Nationwide Movement The American Prospect

Inside The Tiny Police State With Seven Armies The Daily Beast

Why is Microsoft monitoring how long you use Windows 10? Beta News

FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer The White House. Literally better than nothing.

U.S. files civil suit against Volkswagen for environment violations Reuters. However…

A Bailout for Volkswagen? Congress Wants to Do Something Absolutely Crazy Some dude, The Fiscal Times

The Armed Oregon Ranchers Who Want Free Land Are Already Getting A 93 Percent Discount

What You Need To Know About The Oregon Militia Standoff The Onion (h/t David L)

Illinois gov. ‘very disappointed’ in Rahm Emanuel The Hill. Sad when your best buddies abandon you (Rauner and Rahm used to go on vacations together)

You Can SoulCycle With Chelsea Clinton for $2700 NYMag

Antidote du jour (it’s a hyrax, saw one of these suckers at a zoo last week. It looks like a prairie dog but its closest relative is actually the elephant):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. Swedish Lex

    A couple of comments on Sweden, Denmark and Schengen.

    Due to the almost total passivity of the EU Institutions (to the extent that they have any real power on these issues) and due to the xenophobia and disrespect for the agreed principles and rules in force inside the EU and internationally (as regards asylum seekers), an ever increasing number of asylum seekers were effectively pushed North through Europe into Germany and into Sweden.

    Denmark, ignoring its obligations, simply let asylum seekers walk (yes) on foot through Denmark in order to make them leave Denmark and enter Sweden. Sweden has as consequence accepted vastly more asylum seekers than any other EU country in 2015, barring Germany.

    Going into 2016, there is simply no more available room in Sweden to take in another 150-200 k asylum seekers in 2016. Therefire, in the absence of any kind of EU spine and solidarity, Sweden was force to effectively close its borders. However, border controls does not mean that Sweden will not grant access to any asylum seekers. My guess is that Sweden in 2016 will grant room to many more refugees than practically all other EU states (per capita).

    As regards the Danes, I recommend that you read this good article from Bloomberg:

    1. Clive

      Similarly in France with respect to asylum seekers who really don’t want to stay in France but would rather enter the UK. French efforts to detain them in France are at best token gestures and France would be quite happy to kick the whole can down the road or, rather, kick it a few kilometres up to the north.

      Not that the UK takes anything like its “fair” share of people from the various “here’s one we made earlier” failed states we’ve created or participated in the creation of…

    2. Petter

      My son landed at Kastrup (Copenhagen) Airport this morning (returning from a trip to Australia) and told us that he had to show photo ID boarding the train to Malmo, and when he got off the train in Malmo. He said they also took photos of his ID (don’t ask me why). So yes, Schengen is in trouble as far as the border between Sweden and Denmark is concerned, at least for now.
      Norway, where I live, is not part of the EU but is part of Schengen, yet hardly ever gets a mention. We’ve taken in over 30,000 this year (equivalent to the USA taking in about two million) and the government is now in panic, in the act of implementing new laws and regulations to tighten up, tighten up, tighten up. So yes, it’s a race to see who will be the toughest and where this ends I have no idea.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        With zero discussion of where they came from and why. Let’s see, Mohammed is from Afghanistan, where he had a mud hut, an olive tree, and a goat. We blew up the hut, chopped down the tree, and killed the goat, so he started walking. He got to Lebanon, where he lingered in a refugee camp for five years. He decided that sucked, so he headed north. The West’s answer? “We just haven’t blown up enough huts and killed enough goats yet”.

        1. Felix_47

          No Mohammed used to work at FOB Salerno in eastern AFG. Mohammed was from Ghazni where he had a young wife and three kids. He had another wife in Kandahar where he worked on the base two years ago. After her two kids she kind of got fat and ugly so he moved up to Salerno. In the evening Mohammed and his other buddies would smoke hash and watch porno on the internet. If a US female came by they would leer at her and periodically try to proposition her. Mohammed would bug all the US contract workers he could find to help him get a visa to go to the US or Europe. Salerno shut down and Mohammed decided to abandon the wives and kids and head to Europe.

      2. Irrational

        Re Swedish Lex’s comment: The DK policy has long been a disgrace.
        Re Schengen: It is not just Schengen at stake, but the Nordic passport-free zone which has existed since 1952!

    3. JTMcPhee

      One little thought from a link a few days ago on “immigration” and the movement of great masses of humanity in response to what the shrinks call “approach-avoidance,” those horrid Muslims running for shelter or life prolongation in places where the war of all against all has not reached that critical point of blow-up-the-cities “Godisgreatnessgetoffmygrass:”

      Between 1880 and 1920 over twenty million men and women immigrated to the United States, drawn by the voracious appetite of manufacturers large and small for their labor. The largest flows of immigration took place between 1900 and World War I. In 1907 alone, over one million immigrants entered the country, the largest single year of the nation’s late nineteenth and early twentieth-century massive wave. Large-scale immigration reached its highpoint in 1910, when 14.9 percent of the population was foreign-born.

      “Yeah, but the American continent was rich and needed to be emptied of indigens to be stripped of their place and lives by us Europeans, who could Occupy the vast land and uncover the other resources to be turned to productive profit and look how much land there was to expand into, don’t remind me that most of these immigrants/flee-ers/displaced/dispossessed actually filled into the urban areas and got packed into tenements and sweatshops and found, as humans always do, opportunities to establish corruption and extortion and so on… When you are talking about these untermenschen, these lesser breeds daring to desperately attempt infilling into Northern European spaces that are already a little dense, well, as my ex-wife would say, when she did whatever it was, it was OK, when I did it that was ‘different'”…

      Another face of the multifarious goddess Schadenfreude… And these incoming louts and losers don’t even drink alcoholic beverages, and have so little wealth that can be stripped from them…

    4. OIFVet

      ” an ever increasing number of asylum seekers were effectively pushed North through Europe into Germany and into Sweden” The EU was too late in paying the Ankara sultan his protection money. The rules are that refugees should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter. For the vast majority, that safe country is Turkey. But the sultan unleashed the flows in an attempt to blackmail the EU into backing his “no flight zone” over northern Syria, and in the process the charade called “European unity” has been exposed. Your veiled digs at Southern and Eastern Europe ignore two things: the migrants don’t want to stay in the poor countries down south and east, while the rich north wants to turn the south into a cordon sanitaire, a vast holding area for the migrants. That hasn’t come to pass, yet, so the north has descended into mutual recriminations, exposing its own underlying moral hypocrisy. After years of lecturing the south and east about its treatment of the Roma, while doing its level best to keep these same Roma out, the north is now forced to put its money where its collective mouth is. The Bloomberg article you linked to keeps saying how good for the economy the migrant influx is, so why all the complaints? Take the migrants and show them xenophobes down south and east what they are missing out on.

      1. OIFVet “A policeman told the city’s Express news website that he had detained eight suspects. “They were all asylum seekers, carrying copies of their residence certificates,” he said….What is particularly disturbing is that the attacks appear to have been organised. Around 1,000 young men arrived in large groups, seemingly with the specific intention of carrying out attacks on women.” Similar reports are coming from Hamburg and Köln.

        1. Bob Visser

          Are you surprised? These people were well taught by various occupying Europeans/Americans (especially peacekeepers). Also the numerous dispensers of “aid”, were taking advantage of their privileged position, having first choice of the village virgins in the areas where they were deployed. Mr Swedish Lex would do well to take DNA samples and probably will find that quite a few have DNA that corresponds with his own or from other white/euopeans

          1. OIFVet

            There was a movie made about the peacekeepers and DynCorp contractors in Bosnia running a sex trafficking ring, called The Whistleblower. That scandal was quietly swept under the rug, even after the whistleblower won her lawsuit against DynCorp for unlawful dismissal. Later the abuses by peacekeepers/aid groups were repeated in Kosovo, albeit on a smaller scale. Allegations abound about similar misdeeds in Afghanistan and Iraq, whose nationals form a sizable chunk of the migrant wave, as well as in Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc.

      2. Swedish Lex

        Turkey hosts just under 2 million refugees.
        Greece and Italy could not and would not take in more refugees when other EU states would not.
        Sweden pays somewhere between 1-30 times more to the UNHCR per capita than the other EU countries, depending on which country you look. Big mouth countries like France pay almost nothing.
        If all countries paid to the UNHCR like Sweden does, there would not be a refugee crisis in Europe.
        So. Yes, Sweden and Swedish tax payers have the right to make their voices heard.

        Unemployment among Swedes born in Sweden ins 3% which means full employment. Growth is 3,5%. This means that there is not enough people to fill the vacancies. Growth projected to be round 3% for the coming years. Many of the refugees from Syria (but not from other countries) are either skilled or very skilled.

        France refuses to take in these refugees. They are welcome in Sweden. For many reasons.

        1. OIFVet

          So France’s (and Denmark’s) loss is Sweden’s gain, I fail to see why Sweden had to take this measure. Particularly since the migrants are welcomed. BTW, what’s the unemployment level amongst new residents of Sweden who were born elsewhere?

          1. Swedish Lex

            I will repeat once more:
            After having received a very substantial amount of refugees 2010 through 2014, the number of expected asylum seekers arriving in Sweden in 2015 suddenly doubled. Way, way above 2014, the previous peak year. The increase was largely a consequence of the the closed doors in other EU States (“we only accept Christians” and other similar BS). During the third quarter of 2015, Sweden was taking in asylum seekers at a rate of 40.000 per month or a rate of 500.000 per year. Sweden has 9,5 million inhabitants. That is not sustainable. Hence the shift in policy.
            All clear now?

            1. OIFVet

              I am not feeling the can-do spirit here, Lex. Instead of one Zlatan, you can now produce many, many Zlatans.

          2. Swedish Lex

            Unemployment amont people who arrived in Sweden recently or semi-recently is 50% or so.
            Total unemployment is above 7% and scheduled to be 6,5% in 18 months or so.

            Sweden took in 150.000 refugees from former Yugoslavia in the early 90s. Similar conditions. People tormented by war, arriving in Sweden with nothing and not speaking a word of Swedish. About a third returned to their country of origin after the war. Unemployment amont those who stayed is the Swedish average. Unemployment among the children of the former Yugoslavian refugees is lower than the Swedish average.

            Sweden has under-invested in housing and other infrastructure over the past 15 years. A lot needs to be built in Sweden in the coming 10 years. Many positions to fill.

            1. Jesper

              I think this might be relevant to the point Swedish Lex is making:

              One quote:

              Economists tend to miss the central point, of immigration which is that while the economy might get workers, society gets people. Therefore the technocratic language of the economy is not able to deal with the totality of immigration and can’t deal with the fact that there are winners and losers in this game.

              If you have, like me, the luxury of writing for the newspapers and working as an economist, there’s little chance that a new immigrant will take your job. If, on the other hand, I am labouring on the sites or working in a bar, there’s a serious chance that my wages and job security will be affected by new people coming into the country looking for work.

              & the population-increase in Ireland was a contributing factor to the credit boom in Ireland. The population increase in Sweden will be a contributing factor to the credit boom in Sweden. Will there be a bust after the credit boom in Sweden?

              As for empathy and/or lack thereof, this from the end of the post might be appropriate:

              When the relatively poor – those who are threatened by immigrants – voice their concerns, it is far too easy for the rich to dismiss these people as “racist’ or “xenophobic”, whereas maybe they are just voicing everyday real concerns.

              1. Swedish Lex

                Yes the economy is overheating in some ways, in particular as regards consumer credit and real estate. The authorities are acutely aware of this. The zero rate and zero inflation environment is not helping at all (thanks Merkel).

                In addition, there is insufficient housing in the regions that need it most, mainly Stockholm. This is due to bad planning essentially. Sweden will have to build at twice the rate for ten years in order to catch up with real demand. So construction may overheat too. But that could created thousands of jobs also.

                To conclude, there are clear risks but Sweden will not become the next Ireland. We had a very bad crisis 25 years ago when the economy blew up in our faces. Lessons have been learned and the people up North are trying to avoid the same mistakes.

    5. Bob Visser

      Chickens have the habit of coming home to roost! Swedish meddling in Africa, where they had no business, are now faced with the consequences. Libya, Nigeria and Mali, mentioned in an endeavour to not only blame the Swedes, are just another few examples of meddling by peope who don’t think before they act. BV

    6. different clue

      I don’t know if the Greek authorities let so many refugees through Greece into core Europe because of Ian Welsh’s advice, or whether they did it for reasons of their own. Maybe they never read Ian Welsh’s blog. Maybe they never even heard of Ian Welsh.

      But they helped get enough refugees into Europe to help destabilize Europe’s “schengen” protocol. If the Greeks weren’t able to get relief from EUrope’s kinder-gentler Holodomor, at least the Greeks have gotten a measure of revenge.

  2. RabidGandhi

    Re: Economists Take Aim at Wealth Inequality, NYT

    Summary: A small group of plucky economists have discovered an obscure little corner of their profession called inequality (in-ee-kwal-i-tee). As it’s only been a major story affecting most people since just recently (1971) there’s no way these crack professionals could have known about it until now. Whodda thunkit. Nevertheless, a handful of intrepid economists will be smart and innovative enough to come up with the cutting-edge solutions to this mind-boggling problem no one can seem to figure out. (“we think it has something to do with technological change and skills bias”).


    Not sure who gets the bigger FAIL here, the economists* or NYT.

    *The author did interview one economist, Dean Baker, who actually has been talking about inequality for decades and about how easy it is to solve, but he didn’t ask him about that: he asked him about whether Piketty is treated like a rockstar. But he then casts Baker and his ilk aside as “left leaning” and “ivory tower Marxists”. Double FAIL.

      1. Skippy

        Nay Sir craazyboy… Marginalist utility maximizing atomatistic individual… consumer is the sunday school mental felt board app for the unwashed…

          1. Skippy

            Refinement – Quietly paranoid sociopath… there are others plotting to take freedom and liberty away…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s the obsession with GDP growth.

        We must spend, spend, spend, so more low-wage jobs will be created for people to spend, spend, spend. And if you don’t have money, you must borrow to contribute. Nothing free here, not free for everyone, not even needed health care. Get a job, perhaps a sharing-economy taxi driver job.

        Two straight quarters of negative GDP growth – oh, no.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The only purpose of the modern economist is to preach the theology of the free market. While reminding the ignorant peasants that the divine will of the invisible hand is right and just. This laudable action provides the upper class with numerous and irrefutable rationalizations to justify their privilege. Which cannot be confused with entitlement. In spite of the fact we reside in a meritocracy where upward class mobility has been falling for years and where your lot in life is decided by what socio-economic position your parents were situated.

      A market economy is always in need of an easily disposable underclass. As such there is ample room at the bottom for downward mobility. If such an economy is unable to acquire it through various means like offshoring, open borders, and unrestricted immigration it will eventually possess one through the impoverishment of it’s former middle classes.

      The sad thing is John Kenneth Galbraith saw this back in ’92 when he wrote the Culture of Contentment which imo should be re-titled the Culture of Privilege. And now matters are worse.

      1. rich

        Texas tycoon Wyly faces $2 billion tax trial over offshore trusts

        In April, the IRS filed claims asking the Wylys for a total of $3.22 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest, $2.03 billion of which is being sought from Sam Wyly.

        Those claims, stemming from what the IRS has called one of the largest U.S. tax frauds, are now at the center of the trial before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barbara Houser.

        The IRS says the Wylys starting in 1992 used a maze of trusts in the Isle of Man to evade paying taxes while exercising stock options and warrants they earned as directors of Sterling Software Inc, Michaels Stores Inc, Sterling Commerce Inc and Scottish Annuity & Life Holdings Ltd, now called Scottish Re Group Ltd.

        The Wylys used the offshore system to fund business interests and to buy art, jewelry, and real estate, the IRS says.

        The Wylys have denied engaging in fraud, saying they relied on lawyers who “thoroughly vetted” the offshore system, which was intended to allow them to defer, not avoid, taxes.

        hmmm…a maze of trusts…or just amazed?…only one?

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Just as Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,
          So are Taxes deferred, Taxes Avoided.

          “intended to allow them to defer, not avoid, taxes.”

          Or as the mealy mouthed republicans like to accuse, kicking the can down the road, eventually the can turns into the bucket.

        2. Paul Tioxon

          “intended to allow them to defer, not avoid, taxes.”

          Just as Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,
          So are Taxes deferred, Taxes Avoided.

          Or as the mealy mouthed republicans like to accuse, kicking the can down the road, eventually the can turns into the bucket.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I love the metaphor, it certainly applies to central banks. “They kicked the can so long it turned into a bucket”. +1

    2. fresno dan

      So economists largely ignored a major economic phenomenon as it was occurring, and now they’re obsessing over it even though it may have peaked or at least paused. What’s up with that?

      The answer may lie in agnotology, the study of the cultural suppression of knowledge. That’s what Dan Hirschman, a lecturer in economic sociology at the University of Michigan who will start work later this year as an assistant professor of sociology at Brown, proposes in a chapter, titled “Rediscovering the 1%: Economic Expertise and Inequality Knowledge,” of his brand spanking new Ph.D. dissertation. It makes for interesting reading.

      The term “agnotology” was coined 20 years ago by Stanford University historian of science Robert N. Proctor. Epistemology is the study of what knowledge is and how it is acquired; Proctor proposed, half-jokingly it seems, that agnotology was the opposite.

      Proctor was referring at the time to the tobacco industry’s efforts to obscure the links between smoking and cancer. Hirschman’s account of the economics profession’s treatment of inequality relies on no such deliberate suppression of knowledge. It is about, in his words, “normative ignorance” instead of “strategic ignorance.”

      “It is about, in his words, “normative ignorance” instead of “strategic ignorance.”
      HOW CONVENIENT! I aver that it WAS strategic ignorance. Must I quote Sinclair Lewis? – those keys on my keyboard are worn down to nubs….

      And putting on my quadruple layer tinfoil hat (note the irony – quadrupling of the 0.01% income….) Who says “…even though it may have peaked or at least paused…”
      “MAY”???? Maybe the economists have all been working on how to disguise or hide the ever increasing inequality – I imagine using hedonics. Modern billionaires give away money so efficiently or effectively, giving away 0.001% of their income, over a period of decades, is the equivalent of Carnegie giving away all his wealth in a nanosecond. Ahhh, computers ….

      1. ewmayer

        [Psst! Hey buddy … it’s Upton Sinclair … dose 2 mooks often get mixed up.]

        When I sent the similarly-themed SMH link to Yves last night I commented, “Funniest line, given that comes from an economist: ‘As with climate change, scientific consensus takes a while to build.’ Rigorous quantitive science (cough! cough!) aside, consensus that rampant income inequality is likely a bad thing for economies and the societies they serve? Sorry, the chicken entrails, erm, I mean ‘sophisticated econometric models,’ have not yet aligned on that.”

      1. different clue

        That was Tim the Enchanter’s fault. He told King Arthur and his men that the beast was a rabbit.

    1. Hobbs

      That’s a dassie. They’re all over South Africa. And yes,if you look at their feet, you can see the resemblance to the elephant.

      1. different clue

        I read somewhere that they can stare straight up into the sun without being blinded. This helps them scan the skies for the ever-circling dassie-eating eagles.

  3. craazyboy

    “US Immigration Crack Down on Central American Families Begins”

    Yes, well 5 families out of 12 million. I guess you may want to start somewhere. Picking on Haitians looks like good kayfabe. Illegal search without a warrant too. Aren’t we a nation of laws? At least we didn’t steal anyone’s babies in this case, and the Haitian government should be pleased to allow Haitian kids back into the country. I guess we still need to hear the Mexican government’s position on stealing their babies. I think we have a treaty with Europe where we don’t steal their babies, and they give their babies citizenship.

    I’m always amazed that the US is the only place for migrants and refuges to go in all of central and south America. Must be because we’re rich, have all the unfilled jobs, and speak English?

    ‘Course it’s always because of something we did. Like subsidize corn exports or the CIA’s penchant for overthrowing those nice left wing governments and installing horrible banana dictators. So I certainly am for stopping those things. Then central and south America could revert back to their idyllic past devoid of outside meddling; enjoying altruistic, uncorrupt, government and industry; and crime free living. I may even consider applying for immigration if that were so, provided the “fees” for expediting all the paperwork weren’t too pricy and numerous.

    1. ambrit

      You made me laugh out loud! “Idyllic past devoid of outside meddling.” The ghost of the Noble Savage rides again!

      1. aet

        “Idyllic past devoid of outside meddling.”

        Why not “Idyllic past prior to US immigration controls”, like prior to 1875?
        Or has it always and everywhere been the number one job of all Governments to “control immigration”…as if borders created separate species of people? ( It actually hasn’t, and isn’t. The #1 problem in the USA today is the threat of gun violence, not “illegal immigration”.)

        Idealists need to look up, once in a while… wouldn’t you agree? Judging from tones of some, perhaps not.

        1. jsn

          We liked people too back when the people were the nation, but now that the NeoLibs have shown us that corporations are the citizens we finally understand that people are just an expense…

        2. Carolinian

          Yes 2016 America….so like 1875.

          I have a woman friend who lives in a housing development in Phoenix. She grew suspicious of the rental house across the street and not long afterwards the INS raided and a couple of dozen illegals were brought out of the garage–left there by their coyote. Immigration may not be the number one problem but that doesn’t mean the current chaotic system isn’t a problem. No more bumper stickers from either side.

      2. perpetualWAR

        We both found hilarity. I laughed when I read “aren’t we a nation of laws”?

        Does anyone understand the reason I call judges “Your Heinous”? There is a reason!

        1. fresno dan

          I propose we call judges “your anus” it rhymes with what you call them….
          O!!!! lightbulbs!!!!
          Your heinous anus

    2. RabidGandhi

      It bears noting that the US is not the only hemispheric immigrant destination, as my many Bolivian, Colombian and Peruvian neighbours here in the Real Deep South will attest.

      And for those of you who manage to escape before the Great Wall of Trump goes up, citizenship here in Argentina is open to “all men (sic) of the world” (it’s written into our Constitution); no multi-thousand palm greasing necessary. But since healthcare and education are free, you will have to waive your god given right to Charter Schools, Obamacare and Gunz.

      1. Carolinian

        There was that whole throwing people out of helicopters thing.

        On the plus side Daniel Barenboim is from Argentina.

        1. RabidGandhi

          If state terrorism from decades ago works to keep immigrants out today, then extraordinary rendition, mass incarceration and kill lists should do the trick to keep immigrants out of the US as well.

          No Trump Wall necessary; the Homeland Security Industrial Complex will keep the huddled masses out just fine.

          1. Carolinian

            Actually we had something to do with the helicopters too. Henry Kissinger–still not in jail.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Argentina’s democracy was restored 32 years ago with the election of Raúl Alfonsín. Since then the country has thoroughly repudiated its militarist past, with prosecutions of some figures from that era.

          Meanwhile, the U.S. is entering its 15th year of martial law under the USA Patriot Act. There is no sign that it will ever be repudiated.

          1. Carolinian

            I wasn’t picking on Argentina, just pointing out that all countries have their unsavory moments. In our case that goes without saying. Regrets if offense taken.

      2. ambrit

        Yep, you’ve got me there on the Geography thing.
        Too, there is that large Welsh enclave down in Patagonia. In Between the Wars English fiction, whenever one needed to move a character off stage, Argentina was the place to do so to. I think Hastings, from Mssr. Poirot fame went to Argentina after being wed.

      3. Joe Renter

        Time to get that Rioplatense Spanish lesson. Do they like late 50’s white male refuges? I like to read Borges.

        1. craazyboy

          They used to like Nazis ok. They may tolerate Americans nowadays. I wouldn’t rule it out completely.

        2. RabidGandhi

          Che vení. Morfate una zapi, bailate gotan, serás un capo: Gardel con una guitarra.

          Seriously, lots of expat gringos around here.

          1. polecat

            Yeah,…but I’d bet dollars to donuts they’er retired expats w/ fat pensions or otherwise wealthy….. Do any expat gringos actually work for a living down there….because that’s what I’d have to do if I wanted to pick-up stakes and move there myself……being the poor u.s. pleb that I am??!!

            1. RabidGandhi

              Yeah this is a good point. Getting a job is not easy (and it only looks to get harder with the new government in power). I would not recommend moving unless you have a solid job offer beforehand.

              That said, I have a couple of expat friends who live quite well in BA on pretty meager retirements (<USD 1800/month). One of them is a "medical expat" who came mainly for the free healthcare. Others do work for a living, many for international firms.

        3. craazyman

          I think you can sleep with hot 35 year olds down there, if you stay buff. The Borges is a good prop at the cafe. But I’d have to read the English translation first, just in case she asked any questions. It might be embarrassing to both 1) not speak Spanish and 2) know nothing at all about the book propped theatrically on the café table next to my Espresso.

          Howeverr, I”ve never been there. It sounds completely crazy to me — almost everything I read about it makes me say “Oh Man, that’s bad!” Except the country life in the mountains, but it’s getting that way here too, the “Oh Man, that’s bad.” reaction. I don’t know where to go. Maybe Reunion Island. The pictures look nice.

          1. tegnost

            All you need to know is the universe is a vast sphere who circumference is everywhere and whose center is nowhere, then just let it go from there

          2. polecat

            I am neither buff, have an income/pension to export, and do not work for an international firm……….I’d have to rely on manual work/working w/ my hands….so I guess I’m pretty well f#@ked!

    3. Adam Eran

      Two observations:

      1. Only 50% of the undocumented are Hispanic, the rest are Asian, yet 90% of the deportations are Hispanics. (Sheesh!)

      2. In the wake of NAFTA, not only did the U.S. have to pony up a $20 billion loan to Mexico to deal with capital flight (largely to bail out U.S. banks, likely), Ravi Batra (in Greenspan’s Fraud) reports real incomes in Mexico declined 34%…which is saying something in a country where half the population gets by on less than $4 a day.

      One has to revisit the Great Depression to find a decline of that magnitude. And everyone knows that triggered no migration! (Get out, you Okies!). Actually Cuba experienced a more recent such decline (GNP down 34%) when the Soviets withdrew their oil subsidy. I’ve read the average Cuban lost 20 lbs.

      Meanwhile, NAFTA was actually first proposed by (Harvard educated) Carlos Salinas Gotari. Bush 41 welcomed him into his web with open arms, and the rest, as they say is history. Gotari had to retire to Ireland to avoid assassination, although I hear he’s back now.

  4. ambrit

    Hyrax Alert!
    That critter looks like a pint sized Tasmanian Devil! (The Loony Tunes variety.)
    My first thought on seeing the Hyrax was; “OK kids! Sharpen your teeth like Uncle Gnaws’. This new year is going to be rough!”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have gotten off to a bit bumpy start, but nothing more QE money couldn’t overcome….hopefully.

      1. ambrit

        The problem being that every time I make it to the pay out window at the Casino, someone shuts it in my face.

  5. edmondo

    You Can SoulCycle With Chelsea Clinton for $2700 NYMag

    Is there anything these people wouldn’t do for money? If she’s elected (which I doubt) they will probably remove all the White House computers and replace them with cash registers.

    1. makedoanmend

      ‘replace computers with cash registers in the White House’

      Classic! I had to laugh.

      But, then, I think this is what current ideology demands. For everything. Everyone must become a cash register-consumer, clone-drone ad infinitum.

      No so funny.

      Still, a laugh is priceless…

      1. tegnost

        hmmm, ok, well how about parking meters for all the chairs, sofas and beds? Not the throne, of course, that’s paid for

    2. Inverness

      Sounds like Chelsea shares her parents’ modesty. At least Mom and Dad earned their status, through lots of hard work, nepotism, and corruption. Chelsea was just born into this kind of power and prestige.

  6. nobody

    The propaganda on the supposed “pretty good deal” the Bundy Ranch has refused to avail itself of “if they’re willing to accept the aid” omits the crux of the issue:

    [W]hat kind of fees are the BLM now collecting on the other 51 allotments they administer in Southern Nevada, where “better ranchers” have presumably been “following the rules” for the past 30 years?

    Um . . . that would be . . . zero.

    What they don’t bother to mention is that Cliven Bundy — about as far east in Clark County as you can go — is, as he says, “The last rancher from here to the Pacific Ocean.” And the only reason he’s survived is that he WON’T cooperate with the BLM, WON’T allow them to impose on him a “range management plan” which has been a purposeful recipe for bankruptcy for every other rancher in Clark County, and which could soon drive out of business every rancher in the rest of Nevada, as well — though the pretext in Northern Nevada is not the desert tortoise, but the sage grouse.


    Actually, the Bundys say they’ve tried [to pay the grazing fees]. But there’s a sure way to find out. All Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has to do is issue a formal, written offer to accept 20 years (heck, 30, up through 2024) worth of grazing fees from the Bundys at the standard rate, without requiring them to sign any BLM “range management plan.”

    Then Mr. Sandoval can offer to transfer that money to the BLM, if he wishes, in complete settlement of this matter, thus allowing the BLM to prove once and for all that it’s “all about the grazing fees,” not about forcing the Bundys to sign an agreement to “get their cattle off the land from February to June,” which would drive them out of business in a year, resulting in no more “grazing fees” being collected for this allotment, from anyone, from now till doomsday (the same situation that now prevails on the other 51 allotments where ranchers grazed cattle in Clark County 60 years ago.)

    Why could Cliven Bundy no longer operate under BLM permit restrictions? All they want him to do is keep his cattle off the range in the springtime… Here in the high Mojave Desert, the only time the land looks green and the wildflowers blossom is after the spring rains. The only time ranchers tell me they can fatten their cattle enough to make any money out of the back-breaking work is in the springtime. Pull the cattle off the range in the springtime? Where are these ranchers supposed to put them? They’re not feed-lot operators. Anyone can see it’s a good way to go broke, which is why none of Clark County’s other 51 ranching families from 60 years ago –- the ones who tried to “obey the law and pay their fees” — are still in business. Not a one.

    And none of this is an accident.

        1. ambrit

          Don’t forget “brown” people, as in the Saudis and their American West animal feed “estancias’ exporting feed to the Middle East. (I’m sure the hypothetical Martian viewing us all from afar is laughing and crying at the same time.)

      1. Carolinian

        Bingo, as you would say. Ed Abbey talked quite a lot about the environmental destruction caused by the “hooved locusts”–all so ranchers can enjoy their taxpayer subsidized lifestyle. Cattle raising makes a lot more sense back East where we have plenty of grass and plenty of water (do we ever).

      2. flora

        I think the point is that the BLM is trying to drive cattle off certain lands while at the same time pretending it is not trying to drive cattle off the lands and not breaking the terms of the tenancies. Its an underhand method. BLM leased tenancies with certain rights. BLM should come straight out and say tenancies have to be renegotiated and cattle grazing removed. Instead they resort to underhand methods to achieve the same end.
        My comment isn’t a comment in favor of the Bundy’s actions. It’s a comment against govt agency underhandedness.

        1. alex morfesis

          So this al-bundy terrorist organization…are they bullshovyx or menshuvytz…soundz like a bunch of gosh darn commeez to me…the right to exclusive use of the property of the soviet…

          raul should come north of the keys and take notes…

            1. ambrit

              Timmy hung out with the “Aryan Bankrobbers” quite a bit shortly before Mini Gotterdammurung.
              For a real Godwins’ Law violation, turn back the pages to the Mini Civil War between the Freikorps and the Leftists in 1918 1nd 1919 Germany. All sides used demobilized WW1 veterans for their fighting cadres. Also see the Spartacists for the Bavarian attempt at a Leftist government.

        2. Paul Tioxon

          Government agency underhandedness? Let’s see, is this an appeal to square deals and fair play? No sneaky shyster lawyer trickery or fast talking sales fine print? If the government tried to do anything, say like sort of closing the the gun show loop hole, where open air gun bazaars are held outside of the legal requirement of legitimate gun dealers who have to comply with the law by having permits, paying sales tax and oh yea, doing back ground checks, the government gets sued in court and attacked politically for continuing to slowly boil the freedoms and Bill of Rights by incremental measures.

          It seems to me, that the only way the government can govern in the face of the neo-liberal foot soldier movement of accusing every inhale and exhale of the federal government of being a liberty lynching, freedom killer, jack booted black helicopter flying conspiracy to destroy all American Christian virtues like gold mining, log cabin building and of course, hamburger cattle rearing activities, is to use the standard business practices of business who do everything perfectly legal, if underhanded and not strait to your face. After all, don’t you want government to be run like a business, accountable for balancing the balance sheet, and making a profit? Well, you got it in the BLM from your description of them. Perfectly legal business terms that you need to adhere or else go get a job in some other line of work if you can’t deal with the terms.

          1. flora

            ha! Yes, what was I thinking. The illegal foreclosures on thousand of homes by the Wall St. banks which made the banks a pretty penny without legal penalties – just business as usual.

        3. fresno dan

          I approach it from the stand point that the cattle ranchers were prosecuted under “terrorist” provisions, in which our laws have become ever more expansive, capricious, and arbitrary. These guys may have been criminals, or in my view scofflaws, but they were not terrorists in any kind of meaning that is not Orwellian.

          I remind people of Ferguson, in which a slew of laws (or call them codes or regulations – the effect is just as pernicious) were enacted to pretty much re enslave people (how many Fergusons are out there? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – our illustrious media are all lapdogs, so they will not look, and if they do look, they won’t look HARD). Or, in links I have posted before, how constraints on interviewing, investigating, and how the law gives defacto carte blanche to police when they say the magic words “I feared for my life”.

          I wish some of these guys protesting would show up at Chicago, or black lives matter protests – do they really believe in the constitutional foundations that law must be proportionate?
          But principals are in short supply, and fair play for the team that is not your own color is a code of honor long lost.

          1. flora

            good point about the “terrorist” designation. Kinda like charging govt whistleblowers with violating The Espionage Act.
            I’d like to see the DoJ come down on Wall St. banksters with anything even remotely approaching this heavy handedness.

            1. fresno dan

              Well good! I learned something!
              I think the individual who didn’t want to go because of the looting should remember that any barrel will have a few bad apples. There are plenty of people who use the two individuals who shot police in Las Vegas who were at the first Bundy stand off to discredit the militia. As I understand it, those two shooters had been asked to leave. Likewise, you can try and have a peaceful protest – sometimes violence breaks out because of hot headed individuals, and sometimes because of provocations by the police.


          2. polecat

            DId you hear about the Montel Williams tweet he made yesterday. Vile & cynical thru and thru!

      3. nobody

        According to Wayne Hage, many of the lands in question are classified as public lands erroneously:

        [There has been] a failure or unwillingness on the part of the federal government to understand that private property in the West developed under an entirely different doctrine than did property in those states east of the 100th meridian…The eastern states, up to the 100th meridian, that’s basically the line between Kansas and Colorado, were settled under the concept of the riparian water doctrine. The riparian doctrine, which has roots in Anglo Saxon law, says in simple terms that if a person acquires lawful title to a parcel of land he has the exclusive right to the utilization of the water and vegetation on the land. The riparian doctrine had historically applied to areas of adequate or excess rainfall… The 17 western states fall almost entirely under the Prior Appropriation Water Doctrine. Under that doctrine, the person who acquires title to the water has a right to acquire the use of as much land as is necessary to put the water to beneficial use. This water doctrine developed anciently in the desert regions of the old world. It came down to us through Las Siete Partidas, the great law code of Spain, and Mestas Ordinanzas of Spain and Mexico, which established the land-use law that governs in the western United States today…

        For one thing, the difference in rainfall patterns between East and West demanded it, and the Prior Appropriation Water Doctrine of land settlement was already well established in the southwestern part of the present United States long before there was a United States of America. Congress and the executive wisely recognized this long-established law when they approved the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848. The United States wisely chose not to disturb a system of property law which predated the establishment of the United States and chose instead to adopt the principles of Prior Appropriation as U.S. Law with the Act of July 26, 1866…

        On much of the western land area, particularly the vast western range lands, the underlying land itself, the mineral estate, is held by the United States just as it had previously been held by the King of Spain and later by the Mexican government. What the rancher acquired were grazing easements over the lands of the government. These were inheritable rights. An inheritable right is known as a fee. The lands covered by these grazing easements, called grazing allotments, are in fact held by the United States, but are referred to properly as fee lands because the fee, the inheritable right to use, is owned separately from the underlying lands…

        The term “public lands” has been erroneously applied to these lands. I say erroneously because the United States Supreme Court held in Bardon v. Northern Pacific Railway Company that “lands to which rights and claims of another attach do not fall within the classification of public lands.” Rights and claims of ranchers to water rights and grazing easements (range rights) cover virtually all these lands. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the ranchers’ grazing allotments cannot be public lands…

        The truth is that a rancher is not required to have a grazing permit. The grazing permit should more accurately be called a grazing management permit. It is a cooperative permit whereby the rancher permits the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management to manage his private range rights in return for the rancher being permitted to participate in the range improvement fund for capital expenditures. When the federal agency cancels a grazing permit, as they did in my case, they cancelled my ability to participate in the range improvement fund, but they also cancelled any authority to manage my private range and water rights…

        The one thing the environmentalists and federal land management agencies hate to lose is control. Without the grazing management permit or some other management agreement with the rancher, they cannot legally control his property rights. [Why is control so important to the groups we just mentioned?] The answer is water. Fresh water is the “oil” of the 21st century. There is a massive effort by private corporations and the federal government — aided and abetted by the environmental groups — to divest private owners in the West of their water rights…

        When the cooperative grazing permit was first instituted by the Forest Service and BLM, it was applied in clear recognition of the rancher’s prior appropriation rights. Particularly in the last 25 years, the federal agencies have attempted to impose the riparian doctrine and the public lands myth on the western rancher through regulation. This has resulted in an ever-growing taking of ranchers’ private rights through regulation.

        1. Yves Smith

          This looks to be the same level of legal analysis as the guys who claim you don’t have to pay Federal taxes.

          People who try that argument wind up in prison.

          The people asserting they have property rights can’t produce a deed or evidence of title. If they could, they would have been able to litigate for compensation under eminent domain. The fact that this “analysis” includes no case law examples tells you it’s a crock.

          1. nobody

            Case No. 91-1470L. (Fed. Cl. Jun 06, 2008):

            As the Court stated in Hage I and still firmly believes,

            The taking clause was not written to protect merely against frivolous exercises of governmental power, but more precisely to protect against the opposite. Presumably, the political process protects against most frivolous exercises. The protection of the Fifth Amendment is most needed to protect the minority against the exercise of governmental power when the need of government to regulate is greatest, and the desire of the popular majority is strongest. In this way, and in this way only, does the judiciary properly affect policy, and the effect is to adjudicate the limits that the rule of law and a written Constitution impose upon popular government. The existence of property rights, not the judiciary’s finding of a “taking,” impose these limits.

            35 Fed. Cl. At 152.

            Following this spirit, as well as the law and the evidence, the Court hereby finds that the Government’s actions amount to a taking of Plaintiff’s property with respect to their surface water rights and their 1866 Act ditches. The Court further finds that the Government dedicated Plaintiffs’ historical grazing lands “to another public purpose” for the purposes of 43 U.S.C. § 1752(g). Thus, Plaintiffs are hereby AWARDED $2,854,816,20 for the value of their water rights plus $1,365,615 for the value of their improvements, for a total award of $4,220,431.20, plus interest from the date of the taking and attorney’s fees and costs under the Uniform Relocation Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4654(c).

            It is so ORDERED.


            Later overturned on appeal.


            1. Yves Smith

              That would seem to prove my point. The appeals court verdict would represent case law. The lower court ruling has no force. Appeals are based only on arguments regarding the application/interpretation of law, or procedural abuses that worked to the disadvantage of the pleading party. So the appeals court nixed the legal reading of the lower court.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes many so called ranchers are absentee owners who are in the cattle business as a tax dodge. The biggest landowner in the US is probably still Ted Turner who owns large chunks of New Mexico, Montana and a bit of my state. He’s not exactly someone struggling to eke out a living. As Yves says above, if the Bundys had a legal leg to stand on they wouldn’t be involved in these publicity stunts. Since they pretend to revere the Constitution then perhaps they should read it. It is the courts who ultimately decide in these kinds of disputes.

      4. diptherio

        If only the BLM could be counted upon to enact the public purpose….

        Listening to the ranting of Ammon the other day, I did have a moment of sympathy, as he seemed to be calling for local control of Federally owned lands, which is something I support, so long as the control is truly local and done through a democratic common-pool resource management body, a la the commons management bodies that Ostrom studied. The Federal bodies all too often enforce non-optimal solutions, and the track record of local commons-governing bodies is at least as good, so I prefer the latter.

        However, I don’t think the Bundys would necessarily like the decisions of a well-run local “commons council” any more than they like the decisions of the BLM…but I think I might actually agree with them in principle on the non-optimality of our current common-pool resource management system, although definitely not on their tactics.

        Imo, the actual stakeholders and users of the land should be empowered to decide how best to manage the resource as they see fit, within some broad criteria and aimed at generalized goals set by the wider community, but the guiding principle should be that of subsidiarity–i.e. devolving power to the lowest practical level.

        At any rate, the Hammonds are going to jail for arson and the land that the Bundy boys are currently holding hostage should belong to the Paiute tribe anyway. The Bundys are definitely are in the wrong, but it doesn’t follow that the current system is right.

      5. Propertius

        What public purpose is served by Federal ownership of 81% of the land in Nevada? Other than a convenient locale for weapons testing, of course.

        1. cwaltz

          What public purpose would be served by those lands becoming the property of private citizens?

          Personally if we’re going to go with the “my family worked the land before the BLM was established” it seems to me the land ought to be reservation land since the land was originally settled by indians before the government forced them on reservations. But that argument wouldn’t benefit a bunch of cattlemen heckbent on insisting that THEY shouldn’t have to follow rules.

    1. Gio Bruno

      I’m not sure what NOBODY is attempting with the lengthy block quotes, but much of what is in them is BUNK.

      I’m a former Nevada state official ( under Governors Bryant and Miller) and Nevada has more wealthy ranchers with BLM allotments than any other state. Clark County (Las Vegas) has been trending away from ranching for decades, but other northern ranchers are doing quite well, thank you. Cliven Bundy and his sons are simply Great Basin bozos with little knowledge of the landscape, or the impacts of cattle ranching on the dry plains.

      Those of you with Google Earth apps can locate the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, zoom in, them navigate (pan) a quarter mile to the east of the Wildlife HQ and you’ll see a typical ranching holding pen and the concentrated pollution flowing out of a culvert and draining toward Malheur Lake. (This is known as “externalizing” the cost of operations.) This is the real cost of subsidized grazing.

        1. Gio Bruno


          Thanks for the link. The article is more insightful than I expected. As a direct observer of Nevada backroom politics, I can say Christopher Ketcham comes very close to describing the real story.

    2. lyman alpha blob


      Here on the east coast farmers have to own or rent the land from another land owner before they can graze their cattle. The farmers I know would probably be a lot better off if they could just pillage government-owned land at a huge discount like these welfare queens out west.

      1. Nigelk

        Oui. La solution est la guillotine.

        Wealth tax on anyone over $10M in assets
        50%+ tax on incomes over $200,000
        1% tax on all speculative economic behavior

        1. alex morfesis

          1 % and 3 % on the 1 percent…1 percent on face value of all trades and 3 percent on highest asset/market cap valuations of wealth over 10 million…

          nasdaq value of trades…97 billion…then 970 million in taxes due and payable today…not quarterly…payable in a week…do that 200 times a year and you might have some real money…

          100 trillion in assets for those over 10 million…3 trillion per year in payments due as an asset tax in addition to regular taxes…

          and going overseas…if corporations are people too and a people going overseas needs to give congress via IRS a number of years of money after “renouncing”…then why are corporations given “superior” rights to/than citizens (yes I know why…but meaning via jurisprudence…)

          you leave, you pay…jack lewb-job nonsense aside

    1. Strangely Enough

      But, the author of the above-linked article claims, “Gensler has widespread credibility with the left.”

  7. allan

    “Wisconsin’s public-sector unions plot fightback as supreme court case looms ”

    I noticed that Scott Walker spent Wisconsin tax-payer dollars for a 28 page insert
    in United’s in-flight magazine (Jan. issue) touting the glories of the ready-to-work WI economy. As if.

    1. Chris in Paris

      Didn’t the United Airlines CEO resign for some political contributions scandal in NJ? Follow the money. I’m sure Walker got some.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      “Plot fightback” – what does this even mean? Apparently, reading the article, not much. Here is the most “fightback-y” paragraph I could find:

      Paul Spink, president of the Wisconsin branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said his union (Afscme) is pushing hard to reverse its Walker-induced slide by explaining to workers how much unions can help them and why they should join and pay dues. For Spink’s Madison-based union, this is not a minor matter – it has lost two-thirds of its members and funding since the Republican-controlled state legislature enacted the anti-union bill, Act 10, notwithstanding protests by tens of thousands of union members.

  8. jgordon

    Can we be sure that these minor curbs on official gun buying that the Obama regime is putting in place are really better than nothing? First, recognizing the fact that objectively speaking these gun control measures are really not much of anything at all, a quick glance around the internet this morning reveals a lot of rage and paranoia as a result of this latest effort of the regime, not least because it’s being perceived as illegitimate in some quarters. From the HPost article:

    Aides said few issues have frustrated him more than the inability to forge a legislative consensus around gun control measures, which failed to pass the Senate in the months following the 2012 shooting of 20 first graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. His executive actions, aides said, were birthed from that frustration.

    Well there’s a problem here. Did you see it? Real or imagined, the perception is that Obama couldn’t get his agenda through by legitimate means, so he’s issuing a dictatorial fiat to get what he wants–and what he wants is more tyrannical control over the people. I initially suggested that Obama was on the take from the NRA as a joke, but the more stuff like this happens the more I’m convinced that somehow he’s on the take from them.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘what he wants is more tyrannical control over the people’

      That’s been the agenda ever since the lying Federalists piously assured everyone it wasn’t.

      Obama’s plan to ping the Social Security admin to disarm the senile elderly is just sad. Yeah, you see that all the time — confused oldsters, blasting a hail of lead from their Medicare scooters. Hey, you, stop blocking the Walmart aisle!

      Despite Rep. John Culberson’s (R-Texas) threat to defund the DOJ’s enforcement of Obama’s new rules, you can bet that the big-government socialist R-party ultimately will ‘mend not end’ Obama’s imperial decree, after making plenty of hay during this election year by serving up phony red meat opposition to it.

      1. jgordon

        The most astonishing thing to me is that these people simply have no comprehension of how the things they say and do are being perceived by the other side–aside perhaps from Obama and few others in the gun lobby who are benefiting from all this. How farcical is it for a campaign with the ostensible goal of curbing access to guns to actually be the greatest driver of guns sales and gun political power? I’m shaking my head and laughing over how completely absurd this situation is.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Since it is not possible to directly short 0bama to zero, a proxy anti-Ozero trade is to go long firearms makers. Winning:

          Gun stocks rallied for a second day on Tuesday, as investors again bet that new restrictions to be rolled out by President Barack Obama not only wouldn’t deter sales but would propel them.

          Smith & Wesson shares surged 14% and Sturm, Ruger & Co. climbed 8% at the open. Smith & Wesson shares have surged 180% in the last 12 months, and Sturm, Ruger is up a cool 89%.

          Beats the crap outta the S&P’s feeble 1.38% return in 2015. Tobacco and distiller stocks also outperformed in 2015, as folks self-medicate against the malaise of a dying empire headed by a feckless dictator.

    2. tegnost

      He’s using the bully pulpit to campaign for his fellow republicans.
      Spot on with the federalists jim haygood, the last one I talked to that was willing to pledge that allegiance swore I had no right to privacy

      1. Jim Haygood

        “This is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns,” Obama said in a ceremony in the East Room.

        “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”

        “This is the most transparent administration in history.”

        etc etc …

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      Considering it is harder to buy a pack of cigarettes than a gun now, I don’t see any of the proposals as going too far.

      I don’t want some whackjob who lives next door buying an assault rifle at a gun show with no paper trail. Then unleashing it next time he gets upset at something/anything.

      Whackjobs with gunz: Newtown shooter, Colombine shooters, Aurora, Co movie shooter, it’s a long freakin list …

      And I’m Not defending Obama. I can’t stand him.

      1. jgordon

        Well that wasn’t the point here. I’m pointing out that have even more reason to dislike Obama now but he’s the best gun salesmen and gun promoter in the USA now. This phony non-measure he came up with 1) won’t actually do much 2) will dramatically increase the total number of firearms in the hands of the American public, and 3) will greatly enhance the political/lobbying power of the NRA. If this guy isn’t a Manchurian candidate for the gun lobby, then he’s completely delusional about what he’s doing.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Ah Yeah, agreed. It is just baby steps. Prolly just to bring the Gunz Issue to the forefront so pols can posture over it for the 2016 election. Just like Repubs wait til every fourth year to bring up an abortion challenge to the courts.

          1. Strangely Enough

            And the corresponding Democratic campaign mantra ,”keep abortion legal.” Kayfabe.

        2. meeps

          It is surreal that the WH proposes no measure to reduce the number of weapons already in the hands of lunatics in the US, yet people still cry foul over gub’mint tyranny. Would a voluntary gun-buy-back program (perhaps even granting amnesty should said weapon/s be linked to crime/s) pose too great a threat to liberty? Several ordinary (not criminal) gun owners I know said they’d glady participate in such a scheme. They don’t value their guns above all else.

          Interestingly, or not, the WH put a figure on investment in mental health ($500 million) but fails to put a pricetag on investment in “smart guns” whatever the hell that means. Sounds like a gift to gun manufacturers, whose idea of “smart gun technology” means weapons capable of firing more than a million rounds per minute or obliterating human flesh without destroying infrastructure.

          1. Jess

            “Smart guns” refers to efforts to develop guns, esp. handguns, with bio-metric safeguards so that the gun can only be fired by its rightful owner. (The person whose bio-metric signature is married to that gun.) The idea is to prevent stolen guns from being of any use, and to prevent kids and others from accidentally (or intentionally) discharging the weapon.

            The problems with implementing this technology are numerous. First there is the question of multiple legal owners, such as a husband and wife. Hubby’s off at work, wife can’t defend herself against an intruder because she’s not the registered bio-metric “owner” of that weapon. So, two guns, his and hers? Double the expense. (Good reliable handguns cost $350-$700 each.) And BTW: just because you live in a city with a police station nearby doesn’t mean you can dismiss the legit concerns of folks who live in rural and semi-rural areas where a cop can take from 15 minutes to several hours to arrive.

            Another problem with smart gun technology is that it might simply create a new cottage industry in the stolen firearms market. You make a device that limits who can use a gun, chances are some bright and enterprising types will come up with a work-around hack, or devise a replacement electronics unit, or simply disassemble the weapon and put all the other working parts into a new weapon without the bio-metric feature. (In short, bio-metric guns are not the equivalent of those car radios that self-destruct if removed from the car without the correction authorization key.)

            1. Lambert Strether

              Then again, the three-year-old won’t be able to pull the gun out of a drawer and kill themselves and/or others. So I guess it’s a trade-off with hubby’s wifey’s putative ability to defend themselves, amiright?

              That said, look, we all know how reliable software is. So what on earth could be the problem? (Another way of saying that is that this proposal looks like a giveaway to Silicon Valley, to me, rather than effective policy. Ka-ching.

              1. meeps

                I called out the “smart gun” nomenclature to illustrate that the author/s of the executive order fully expect readers to interpret it to mean the gun safety or locking mechanism, whatever technology might be employed. Indeed, that’s how we understand it here. But a biometric or software-based safety is still just a lock. Why not use a clear descriptor in this context? Because the context is investment in weapons R&D. In the hands of lawyers, overtly obfuscating language such as “smart gun” is a signal for the broadest possible interpretation. When policy proceeds from such fungible parameters the results are often not what’s expected or hoped for.

                The million rounds a minute citation was not melodrama; see The World’s Deadliest Gun, Metal Storm. I’d place a link (there’s one on YouTube from 2014) but links that work on my computer aren’t working properly when I post them on NC.

  9. JTMcPhee

    And in case gentle readers here don’t already have enough reasons to fear (beyond the sad losses of apparent wealth in bad “investments” and the limits to groaf being so manifestly central right now), let us remind ourselves that there are thousands of Imperial and Israeli and Russian etc. nuclear weapons on ready alert, already targeted on most of the planet, and what could possibly go wrong with the whole infinitely compliecated, dependent-on-average-mopes-to-operate-correctly Global Battlespace thingie when there are people and episodes like the ones highlighted here,, “Five Times The United States Almost Nuked Itself” (maybe more accurately, almost got ionized by inevitable apparitions of Murphy’s Law). And of course as all the rest is going on, there are always war games and the subterfuges of effing Sneaky Petes playing the Game of RISK!(tm) for real with the lives and futures of us mopes and the planet, just running on career energy and the momentum of Idiocy, as we humans approach the end-game of Ragnarok, so stuff like this is always just another little locking-pin, fuel leak, close-formation-midair-collision, depth-charge message misconstruction,”policy misstep” away — And reasons to be very upset that the “Game of Thrones” author has missed the deadline for producing the latest chapter of that obsession with the real nature of the Beast, thus imposing deferred gratification on Sex-and-Death-Lovers…

    I wonder, did Kubrick know about that bit with the locking pins on the H-bomb when he penned that scene for Slim Pickens’ “King” Kong ride into annihilation?

    And those little two-step tumbles are most likely the tip of the iceberg, and don’t include all the others that the Soviets and IndoPakis and French and Brit and of course Israelite high priests of the Nuclear Phallus have undoubtedly survived, sort of… “No harm, no foul!”

    1. fresno dan

      “Five Times The United States Almost Nuked Itself”

      How do you know we haven’t nuked ourselves?

      You know how the life expectancy of middle aged people is declining? Oh YEAH, the elites say its booze, Oxycontin, Meth, depression. HOW CONVENIENT!

      I say those tactical NEUTRON bombs that were suppose to go to Germany have been deployed and set off here – just at lower levels so death isn’t instantaneous. Disenchanted demopublicans/republicrats voting for Trump will screw up the duopoly….best to eliminate the disenchanted.
      (the above is sarc….although I can’t actually vouch that it is not true…)

      1. ambrit

        Hey! Wasn’t Dai Ichi in Fukushima built according to General Electric plans? (Plans from way back in the ’50s no less.) If ‘they’ don’t get you from Hanford, they’ll get you from the coast.

  10. fresno dan

    Why Should We Want to “Keep” the Saudis? Daniel Larison, The American Conservative (h/t resilc)

    Rather than asking “who lost” Saudi Arabia, here’s a better question: why should we want to “keep” them? Perhaps at one time the benefits of having the Saudis as a client outweighed the costs, but those days are long gone. Saudi Arabia is not only a useless and reckless client, but it is increasingly a liability. As we can see from its campaign in Yemen and its destructive meddling in Syria, it is also something of a regional menace. Saudi Arabia inculcates jihadism among Muslims in many countries, supports destabilizing policies throughout the region, wages a pitiless and stupid war against its poorer neighbor, and on top of all that it is an especially abusive despotism. The connection with the Saudis has cost the U.S. an extraordinary amount, especially over the last quarter-century, and it has gained us virtually nothing.

    Its sad and appalling that the Wall Street Journal, apparently to keep subscriptions up, or to keep its offical red decoder ring, states such drivel.
    What passes for “conservatism” nowadays, a dishonorable, disreputable refusal to acknowledge the grays of life and the complexity any policy the government should follow, as the US is in fact constrained by reality – which repubs increasingly seem to be at war with (why not? 2 wars in the last 15 years is not enough – lets have a few more)

    Did not our last republican President state what a wonderful thing the Arab spring would be, as democracy swept over the mid east – was there an exception for OPEC members? Or maybe just the big campaign donors? Do republicans lie about Saudi Arabia, or are they 1000% batsh*t delusional????

    So after all the blood and treasure expended in majority Shiite Iraq, do we choose to be blissfully unaware of what affect that could have on our relationship to Iraq – which we SAY we are interested in? We blithely should stand by our staunch Saudi friends (the origin of most of the 9/11 terrorists) and the financial center of Sunni extremism, in which we are, according to most republicans, engaged in an existential threat? A country that had their boot on our throats during the last oil embargoes when OPEC was to be feared? Its as if logic, consistency, and thinking cause painful death to neo-cons….(seriously, the only logical explanation for such self destructive behavior is that they are all communist sleeper agents implanted during the Stalin regime, tasked with destroying the country from within…)

    A country that until just days ago did not allow women to vote and is a enthusiastic practitioner of the death penalty, by the same method that those barbarous ISIL/ISIS/Daesh guys use…(they may be barbarous SOBs, but they’re our barbarous SOPs…)

    Its as if what passes for mainstream “conservatism” and/or “republicanism” is becoming proud of being EVER MORE ignorant and divorced from reality. I imagine at the upcoming repub convention they will disavow that radical ….Abraham Lincoln.

    I remember when I was a kid and read the Superman comic, and every once in a while bizarro superman would show up – ostensibly some one who was 180 degrees the opposite of Superman. But even bizarro superman, to fit his description, had to be consistent, and had to perceive reality accurately so that he could truly be the opposite of superman.

  11. TedWa

    “In his speech tomorrow, Senator Sanders should go beyond his existing plans for reforming Wall Street and endorse Hillary Clinton’s tough, comprehensive proposals to rein in risky behavior within the shadow banking sector.” about Gensler’s assessment :

    “Senator Sanders won’t be taking advice on how to regulate Wall Street from a former Goldman Sachs partner and a former Treasury Department official who helped Wall Street rig the system,” Michael Briggs, Sanders’ communications director, said in an e-mail.

    Hilarious and accurate retort from Sanders. I’ll bet his plan is good and what we need. HRC’s plan is to continue coddling them with faux reform that isn’t any real reform at all. No wonder Barney Frank endorses her plan.

    1. James Levy

      Well, although I am four-square behind the toughest plan Sanders can come up with, I wonder if when the Clintons and the Franks of this world say “nothing more can be done than what the financial sector will allow to be done” they are simply stating a fact. Under threat, can the financial sector do to the USA what the Troika did to Greece? I’m asking here, for I don’t know. But I can’t see any US Executive mustering the courage to run roughshod over the Congress and the Courts and nationalize the financial sector if it starts wiping out the Baby Boomer’s retirement accounts and tanking the economy in a hissy fit over true regulation. My guess is that we would be no more capable, psychologically, of weathering that kind of storm than Syriza was. I just don’t know if the Federal Government has the kinds and numbers of cadres in place to take over a runaway financial sector determined to crash the economy if Sanders really could muster the will to take them on the way Roosevelt did in 1933-35.

      1. neo-realist

        My concern is that even if Sanders musters the will to take on the financial sector, he will be hampered by massive financial and ideological capture of congress and the regulatory agencies (which arguably was not as big a problem in FDR’s early days), which will prevent him from amassing the cadres he needs for successful fundamental change.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Absolutely but not entirely dissimilar to Roosevelt. Best case, he would need to win, propose a bunch of good stuff that went nowhere, then ask us for a mandate in 2018 and 2020. Similar to Roosevelt in 1932, 1934 and 1936.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          I think a canny reformer in the White House could carefully pick issues where the consensus of the electorate and the political status quo are almost diametric opposites and play those into destroying the political careers of the obstructionists. There’s a long list of reforms that poll well with huge majorities of Americans that have been stymied by corruption, pushing hard on those will cost the obstructionists political capital every time they have to publicly defend those unpopular positions they are bribed to take. Just hammer away using those wedge issues again and again. Like splitting a tough log, it gets easier every blow.

          I’m not buying that a charismatic populist a bully pulpit and a slate of issues a solid majority support could be indefinitely stymied. I think it’d end up being carnage for those oppositionists in the end. We give the bad guys waaaaay too much credit. They not only want you to think resistance is futile; their whole project depends on you believing that. Once TINA starts to break down, watch out below.

          People want change now like they haven’t in ages.

      2. craazyboy

        It would certainly be difficult for anyone to truly take on Wall Street* at this point – that’s why we call them Too Big To Fail – It’s like simultaneously defusing 19 mega nukes scattered around the planet, all of which are rigged with deadman’s switches. Not that we should be scared of figuring it out and giving it a try. (I suspect bluff and there is a way)

        However, they have been wiping out Baby Boomer’s retirement accounts for some time now. The GFC did that very well, and I do know shell shocked boomers who bailed with a big loss and never got back in. Then we had the miraculous recovery and the upward shift of wealth again. Stoopid us.

        Now I think once we get GFC2**, the game will be visible enough, and boomers really are too old to “make it back”, we finally realize our lot in life is to be bagholders for hedge fund managers. Then maybe there will be some real political pressure for real change but, as usual, too late, and they may just laugh at us anyway.

        *And their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
        ** This will certainly happen before we’re tired of playing shuffleboard.

  12. tommy strange

    With respect D.D., I do like your articles and they are a relief in Salon dot com, but bringing up the support of the Honduras fascist coup by Obama and Clinton, should have been in there.

  13. abynormal

    Like gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it. ~Sakyong Mipham

    Monsanto said Wednesday its earnings fell 34% in its first fiscal quarter, as South American farmers cut back on planting corn, reducing demand for the company’s biotech-enhanced seeds.

    US farmers harvested record crops of soybeans and corn last year, sending prices on those food staples to their lowest levels in years. That has resulted in farmers in South America and elsewhere reducing the number of acres they dedicate to corn. Monsanto said its business was also affected by reduced cotton planting in Australia.

    The agriculture products company’s revenue fell more than 8% to $2.87bn in the period, on lower sales of corn seeds and herbicide. Analysts expected $2.96bn, according to Zacks.

    The St Louis-based company reported a profit of $243m, or 50 cents per share, down from $368m, or 69 cents per share in the same period last year.

    Earnings, adjusted to account for discontinued operations, came to 47 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

    1. Chris A

      My in-laws farm and for the first time had to hire local kids to pick weeds out of their soybeans and corn fields last year. Roundup is no longer working.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Well now, wait a minute. That would imply that we traded a permanently* polluted water supply for a weed-killing solution that lasted for just a few growing seasons. How can that be right?

          * To be fair, I don’t know how glyphosate breaks down, or into what. “Just a few harmless alkaloids,” or something….

          1. different clue

            I have read somewhere that glyphosate is a very strong chelator, and was first patented for that purpose. A glyphosate molecule in the soil can grip and hold a manganese or a zinc or another metal ion so tightly as to make the glypho-metal chelate complex immune to chemical breakdown for decades. Put enough glyphosate into soil to lock up all the manganese, zinc, etc. and even though manganese, zinc, etc. is technically still in the soil; from a plant’s eye view the soil is now manganese, zinc, etc. defficient.

            If farmland with enough glyphosate in it to do that becomes unlendable-against from a bank’s eye view, perhaps that will force a reduction in use of glyphosate.

    2. abynormal

      dang….How the Hell did YALL let me get away with numbers from Jan. 2015

      im gonna need a wheelbarrow for the tip jar

  14. diptherio

    The Sydney Morning Herald piece on how the “New Economy” is a driver of inequality, does not actually address that topic at all, so far as I can tell. Inequality has been getting worse for 35 years. Low-level employees are feeling the pinch while the top .25%-1% go from pay-raise to pay-raise. It’s happening in finance, IT, manufacturing and every other sector for nearly two full generations now…so how does that implicate the “New Economy”?

    And what is the “New Economy,” anyway? I’m never quite sure what’s all included when that term is used (although I’ve been known to use it myself from time to time).

    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      “New Economy” = making money without actually making or giving anything in return. Certainly for the winners in today’s New Economy this is far more economical than the typically cumbersome, thing-oriented arrangements under the Old Economy.

  15. RabidGandhi

    My confusion.

    I just realised that since the Y’all Qaeda incident began, “BLM” here no longer means Black Lives Matter.

    Quite a relief really. Some of the comments had me bewildered.

  16. Jim Haygood

    In response to weak ISM and construction spending reports, the Atlanta Fed’s GDP nowcast for the 4th quarter has fallen to a feeble 0.7% real groaf estimate:

    But delusional Fedsters are still fantasizing about four or five more rate hikes. For what, for Bog’s sake? Because they can!

    Ms. Market will respond by faceplanting as violently as it takes to get their dimwitted attention. Every central planner has a pain point.

    1. craazyboy

      We’ll then get acquainted with why it is so important to have HFT computers trading overpriced, used stock.

    2. Skippy

      Never understood the Fed focus when its a congressional thingy, but hay, after yonks of Milton’s hypnotoad trance club who can blame either of them.

      I wonder how GDP will measure augmented reality, techno’glibertarians leg humping Gates are positively Pavlovian salivating at the thought of friction-less capitalism… I hear their gawd the AI singularity is coming… then pesky humans and Newtonian ontology will be a dim memory [hand break].

      Skippy…. I wonder if the Harvard bias test covers this stuff….

  17. human

    Even simpler Stiglitz:

    “Great Malaise” = stagflation/stagnation = status quo.

    We know who benefits.

  18. Propertius

    The Armed Oregon Ranchers Who Want Free Land Are Already Getting A 93 Percent Discount

    Except, of course, that the ranchers aren’t actually from Oregon. But what the hell, it’s all “flyover country”, isn’t it?

  19. Oregoncharles

    From the first link on deportations:
    “The decision to raid homes to conduct deportations, unprecedented in modern U.S. history, is proving to be highly controversial.

    This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
    “”. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article.
    (Clever – Telesur includes that credit automatically.)

    Unofficial immigrants/refugees provide such convenient victims for the authorities to practice their home-invasion and roundup skills on.

    I don’t like the domestic implications. And this, mind you, is Obama.

  20. subgenius

    Is anybody else getting this asshole ad that bounces you to a fake Facebook page “you’re a winner”?

    This has happened 3-4 times today from landing at NC. One of those redirects that makes it hard to go back. Getting bored of it. To the point of considering retaliation.

    If adservers want to continue in business it would probably make sense to not piss off the population.

  21. optimader

    RE: GM -lyft
    I predict today 1/5/2016, the Taxis will be equipped with:
    1. On-demand Interntz Porn,
    2. Minibar c/w your favorite minibolttles and pints of Brawndow (TM) –The Thirst Mutilator
    3. Hookahs &the regionally popular favors ( disposable mouthpieces by American Hospital Supply)
    … will be the major income streams for this biz model, not necessarily in that order ( well, maybe items 2&3 anyway).
    Taxi fare will just be a loss-leader to capture the riders. This will be the killer app for public trans killer.The beauty of it is, it wont even matter if you get to your destination!

    The Taxis will feature the: Must be Jelly ’cause Jam Don’t Shake Like Dat Oleo-Pneumatic Suspension System (TM) ! (this is my morning TM filing today… I am sending GM-Lyft the control P&ID schematics this afternoon)
    Gawd,… blessum Amrica

  22. ewmayer

    Re. the antidote: Is it true that the hyrax is a less-pacifistic upper-crust cousin to the lorax, as claimed by the late great heterodox evolutionary theorist Dr. Seuss?

        1. ambrit

          All breath should naturally arise from the Middle.
          Did Seuss ever write a book for Predatory Tykes?

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