2:00PM Water Cooler 11/18/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


TPP: “The news that the White House and Republican congressional leaders have given up on passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is welcome. That the TPP would be defeated by Congress if brought to a vote signals that Trojan-horse ‘trade’ agreements that expand corporate power and shrink Americans’ wages are simply no longer politically viable. People power beat the united forces of a U.S. president, the Republican congressional leaders and the entire corporate lobby” [Lori Wallach, Public Citizen]. “The unremitting push by the Obama administration for the TPP right through this election helped to elect Donald Trump, but Trump has not derailed the TPP –people power united across borders did that. Six years of relentless, strategic campaigning by an international movement of people from the TPP countries united across borders to fight against corporate power is why the TPP is all but dead.” A well-earned happy dance from Lori Wallach. And a salutary lesson. Idea: Learn from success?

NAFTA: “Canada, Mexico to Talk About the Elephant in the Room: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit in Lima, Peru, this weekend to discuss the impact President-elect Donald Trump might have on NAFTA, a Mexican official told POLITICO” [Politico].

“A USTR spokesman told Morning Trade on Thursday that the Trump transition team had not yet been in touch about the transition” [Politico].


Readers, Naked Capitalism is normally very image-light, but this 2015 photo essay from Politico (“Inside Hillary’s campaign headquarters”) on Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters so eerie and prophetic — rather like ruin porn — that I thought I’d take some screen shots for you and comment on them.


1. An aerial shot of the Titanic, prow headed toward the ice.


2. Close-up of the stickies in the previous shot. I suppose it’s barely possible the stickies emulate Hong Kong’s sticky note revolution in 2014, but I think it’s more likely that it’s one of those off-site rituals; everyone “shares” their thoughts and feelings with the stickies, and then the “facilitator” collects them.


3. Communications director Jennifer Palmieri’s corkboard. No problem at all with Albright’s “special place in hell” comment, presaging how Sanders supporters were marginalized and thrown under the bus as the campaign went on.


4. No messaging problems here! And indeed, not, internally, since Clinton later pivoted to appeal to Republican establishment figures and voters.


5. The Brooklyn HQ looks like a startup (at a time when the Trump campaign was, IIRC, a warren of bare wallboard and hanging wires). Surely that money would have been better spent in the field? Perhaps the goal was to empower a new generation of techically savvy liberal operatives, with a Clinton win the first item on their resumes, which would make the hilariously failed Ada project an enormous exercise in walking around money. The failure was also a massive exercise in hubris, since 90% of startups fail. Thanks, Silicon Valley!


6. An foosball air hockey table, another “startup culture” signifier.


7. Twenty bucks for a goddamned coffee cup?


8. Sad!

2016 Post Mortem

“Listening to Trump” [Nonsite.org (MsExPat)] . “Or to translate this into the academese of Roland Barthes, perhaps Trump’s discourse was more “writerly” (scriptable) than its simple sounds suggested; that is his meanings, because of the form of their delivery, were open to multiple understandings and re-assembly by the listener. Even his endlessly invoked wall, in reality a proposal for more militarized policing, could sound like a public works scheme, an infrastructure based jobs program.” And:

At almost every turn the liberal pundits misunderstood, or did not hear, what Trump was saying. After his win in the Nevada Caucus Trump said: “We won with highly-educated, we won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated! We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.” Liberals lampooned him, assuming that he had insulted part of his base.

A different interpretation translates those comments as: “Trump understands that it’s not all my fault that I couldn’t get an education. He understands that even people who don’t have advanced degrees can make good decisions and are worthy of respect.”

“How the Clinton Foundation brought down Hillary’s campaign” [New York Post]. But the URL is: how-mitt-romneys-campaign-manager-took-down-hillary/, which is a different and more interesting story.

“Kanye: “I Would’ve Voted for Trump”” [Pitchfork]. “Outside of the endorsement, Kanye’s language suggested Trump’s politics interested him less than his rhetorical style. “There’s nonpolitical methods to speaking that I like, that I feel were very futuristic. And that style, and that method of communication, has proven that it can beat a politically correct way of communication. And I f*ck with that.” He said Trump’s approach wasn’t just “entertaining—I actually think that his approach was absolutely genius. Because it fucking worked!” Also too, “Specifically to black people, stop focusing on racism. This world is racist, OK?”

” In an election focused on character, Trump won on the issues” [RealClearPolitics]. Lots of interesing polling analysis. This: “when Americans didn’t view considerations of character or experience as decisive, they voted for Trump over Clinton by huge margins. They did so because four issues favored him—immigration, trade, the Supreme Court, and Obamacare—while no issues favored her.” And this: “Trump did much better than Romney among Latino voters in the Southwest and Frontier West. In Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico, Trump swung the margin among Latino voters his way by between 15 and 19 points, in relation to Romney, in each state.”

“Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency” [David Remnick, The New Yorker].

“The prescription that some offer, which is stop trade, reduce global integration, I don’t think is going to work,” [Obama] went on. “If that’s not going to work, then we’re going to have to redesign the social compact in some fairly fundamental ways over the next twenty years. And I know how to build a bridge to that new social compact. It begins with all the things we’ve talked about in the past—early-childhood education, continuous learning, job training, a basic social safety net, expanding the earned-income tax credit, investments in infrastructure—which, by definition, aren’t shipped overseas.

Twenty years seems rather a long time. And reinforcing the neoliberal debacle by putting the people who created it in charge of the fix seems… not strategic. And of course, the answer is credentialing — three flavors of it! And how about single payer, instead of an effing basic social safety net? Given an AIDs-level epidemic of working class deaths in the Rust Belt, this is worse than banality.

Trump Transition

“Bannon, DB on repatriation, The $” [Mosler Economics]. Critique of yesterday’s Bannon transcript. Wrong on operational constraints at the Fed, wrong on trade, wrong on public debt.

“The U.S. Legal and Regulatory Environment Under a Trump Administration” [The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation]. A useful Tour d’horizon of policy. On Infrastructure: “President-elect Trump’s advisors have suggested introducing an infrastructure investment tax credit as a means of stimulating private sector investments in these projects. We expect this initiative will also feature proposals to increase the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs), whereby private parties agree to design, construct, finance, operate and/or maintain a road or other infrastructure facility under the terms of a concession agreement with a governmental entity. The existing Build America Bureau at the Department of Transportation, which provides federal financing for PPPs and other transportation assets planned by state and local governments, could become a more important participant in these efforts. The plans will likely create many more long-term investment opportunities for infrastructure funds, pension plans, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds, while also increasing bank and capital-market debt financing activity and boosting business for major infrastructure project managers and construction contractors, equipment suppliers and operators.” Oh good. Public-private partnerships. Corruption and cronyism aside, wouldn’t a purely public approach have a greater stimulative effect?

“People Are Loving That Hillary Clinton Went Makeup-Free for Her First Post-Election Speech, and We’re Here for It” [Glamour]. “Grift, grift, Horatio! The victory baked meats Did coldly furnish forth the the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds Celebration’s table.” The Children’s Defense Fund. Of course.


“CR Note: The [Trump] ‘infrastructure’ proposal that many investors are focusing on is really a proposal for about $100+ billion in tax credits to spur private investment in infrastructure (I’ve seen some people talking about $1 trillion in infrastructure investment – but that is the projected size of the private investment, not the proposed government spending). This proposal is actually very modest in terms of a fiscal boost. More analysis to come when we see the actual proposals, but I think analysts might be overestimating the boost from government spending in 2017” [Calculated Risk]. Readers, thoughts?

“The tax proposal seeks to raise the standard deduction for married couples up to $30,000 and $15,000 for singles. Many that are buying in more expensive areas are couples, at least based on sales data. Even if you buy a $700,000 crap shack with 20 percent down, the annual mortgage interest comes nowhere close to the new standard deduction whereas today, it does make an impact” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “If the [Trump] tax plan takes effect, this will largely negate the mortgage interest benefit in many overpriced metro areas that is usually pitched by housing cheer leaders. As we noted, the typical US home costs around $200,000 so what you have currently is lower priced states basically subsidizing the mortgage interest deduction for wealthier coastal regions. That may change.

“House Speaker Paul Ryan is yet again pushing& to privatize Medicare. Trump’s transition team includes advisors that have openly called for privatizing Social Security” [Capital and Main]. “The president-elect has praised private prisons and wants to lean heavily on the private sector to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which would mean tax credits for already wealthy investors, less pay for workers, and more tolls for Americans. Privatization is clearly front and center on the Trump agenda.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Sanders won’t join Democratic Party” [The Hill (Furzy Mouse)].

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, October 2016: “The index of leading economic indicators inched 0.1 percent higher in October to signal no more than modest economic growth in the coming months” [Econoday]. “The interest-rate spread has led this report this whole cycle and will increasingly so in the next report for November given the ongoing spike in long rates. The coincident index confirms the slow conditions, at plus 0.1 percent, as does the lagging index at plus 0.2 percent.” And: “The rate of growth is slowing on this index – similar to most other leading indices” [Econintersect].

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, November 2016: “The details are better than the headline for a Kansas City report that points to a third month of improvement for the region’s factory sector” [Econoday]. “There are more pluses than minuses in this report which falls in line with the modest strength of the Empire State report but falls well short of the strength in the Philly Fed.” And: ” The Kansas City region was hit hard by the decline in oil prices, but activity is starting to expand again” [Calculated Risk]. And: “The capital spending data will offer some reassurance over investment trends and the data release overall is solid with an overall gradual improvement in conditions” [Economic Calendar].

Housing Starts (yesterday): “Nice move up after a large move down. Note that the average of the last two months is about where this series has been. And, again, it’s the permits that count, and they are about the same as last month. And not to forget mortgage applications to buy homes fell a full 6% last week after rates went up in response to the election” [Mosler Economics].

Rail: “Week 45 of 2016 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) marginally contracted according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Rolling averages remain in contraction – but are improving” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “Amazon.com is turning to merchants who sell on its marketplace for extra warehouse space, a less-costly way to expand inventory available for quick delivery” [Bloomberg]. “It’s the latest sign the world’s biggest online retailer can’t build facilities quickly enough to meet demand for an ever-expanding assortment of goods that customers want delivered fast and free. Warehouse capacity issues and the cost of new facilities helped increase Amazon’s spending on order fulfillment 34 percent in the third quarter. The big expenses caused the Seattle-based company to miss analysts’ profit projections, driving down shares 8.8 percent since the results were reported Oct. 27.”

Retail: “In the two weeks leading up to the elections, consumers kept their hands firmly on their wallets, despite early Black Friday sales and a higher level of discounting compared with last year” [247 Wall Street]. “We’ve already noted the considerably smaller-than-expected growth in online sales for the first two weeks of November. Online retailers left about $800 million on the table, according to research from Adobe Digital Insights.”

Retail: “Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, perturbed by his company’s failure to capture much of the massive Chinese market, had a pointed message for executives in India during a visit in 2014: Don’t let that happen here” [Wall Street Journal, “Jeff Bezos Invests Billions to Make Amazon a Top E-Commerce Player in India”]. “The result: the company rapidly became India’s No. 2 e-commerce player and moved within striking distance of local rival Flipkart Internet Pvt., according to some estimates.”

The Bezzle: “Analyst: Tesla, SolarCity Are Nothing But Smoke & Mirrors” [ETF Daily News]. “In total, Musk-connected businesses – Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX – have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Los Angeles Times. Despite all the largess, none of these businesses make money…. My back-of-the-envelope analysis (and I don’t need more than that) values Tesla and SolarCity at zero. Actually, my analysis values them at less than zero. The opportunity costs associated with both companies are huge. Capital that could have been invested to develop legitimate, market-driven power sources and consumer products has been squandered on a fantasy.”

The Bezzle: “[Facebook,] the social-networking giant said Wednesday it has found numerous errors in the ways it calculates how many people view its ads, artificially inflating their perceived value to advertisers and publishers” [New York Post]. “Key metrics that Facebook has exaggerated include the weekly and monthly reach of marketers’ posts, which got inflated by 33 percent and 55 percent, respectively, as the site improperly included repeat visitors in its figures.” Oopsie. That’s not a subtle error.

The Fed: Yellen’s testimony summarized: “Turning to policy, she cites the September and November FOMC statements, but with an interesting twist. The key sentence is ‘At our meeting earlier this month, the Committee judged that the case for an increase in the target range had continued to strengthen and that such an increase could well become appropriate relatively soon if incoming data provide some further evidence of continued progress toward the Committee’s objectives.’ The ‘relatively soon’ language was the key initial takeaway from the speech, picked up in the initial newswire headlines. What is interesting is that, despite how she couches it, this phrase was nowhere to be seen in the actual November FOMC statement, which merely notes that the case had continued to strengthen but that the Committee had decided ‘for the time being’ to wait” [Amherst Pierpoint Securities, Across the Curve]. “So, the ‘relatively soon’ message was delivered today by Yellen as if it were part of the November FOMC statement, even though it wasn’t. What do I make of that? I think she did it that way because she wanted to underscore that she was delivering a message on behalf of the Committee, not a personal opinion. This is a strong, though certainly not surprising, signal that the Fed will be hiking in December barring a disaster between now and then.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 63, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 18 at 12:12pm. C’mon, guys!

Dear Old Blighty




“America’s First All-Renewable-Energy City” [Politico]. You guessed it: Burlington, Vermont.

Class Warfare

Obama speaks on globalization in Greece: “The current path of globalisation demands a course correction. In the years and decades ahead, our countries have to make sure that the benefits of an integrated global economy are more broadly shared by more people, and that the negative impacts are squarely addressed. When we see people, global elites, wealthy corporations seemingly living by a different set of rules, avoiding taxes, manipulating loopholes … this feeds a profound sense of injustice” [Guardian]. Yeah, and let’s give the job of getting that done to the guy who stood between the banksters and the pitchforks [bangs head on desk].

“The Big Short (2015 movie): Is it true what Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt’s character) said that 40,000 people die when unemployment goes up by 1%?” [Quora].

News of the Wired

“Sunken treasure, death-defying adventure, sibling rivalry: How Charles and John Deane invented modern deep-sea diving and saved the British Empire” [Unfathomable].

“An Alarm Designer on How to Annoy People in the Most Effective Ways” [Atlas Obscura]. “But what makes an ‘awooga’ sound more or less urgent than a ‘ding’?”

Love or hate his job? Marmite’s chief taster retires after tasting 264 MILLION jars” [Express].

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (AM):


AM writes: “A tree with red berries in the fields behind Coopershill House, County Sligo.”

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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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. fresno dan


    Yanez had his hand on his holster before Castile could finish his sentence and repeatedly shouted “Don’t pull it out” as Castile insisted he wasn’t, Choi said.

    Within a minute of the initial stop, Yanez unholstered his gun and fired seven shots at Castile. There was no sign Castile reached for a gun or posed any threat, Choi said

    I suspect the shouting “Don’t pull it out” was a ploy used to justify the shooting. Prison guards in CA have been found beating unconscious prisoners while screaming “stop resisting.”

    I would have wished for a 2nd degree murder charge at least – but at least this prosecutor didn’t use a grand jury to hide a cover up.

    1. Paid Minion

      Yeah, you see that all the time on “Cops”

      Twist a guys arm hard enough to dislocate it, then beat the crap out of him when he reacts to the pain.

      As I’ve personally experienced, cops have all kinds of tricks to provoke people into resisting.
      I about smacked one once, but I was sober and level headed, and recognized what he was trying to do. I can see how they can easily provoke a violent response, especially if the subject has been drinking a little, or is a little hot headed.

      As I’ve been trying to tell all my white, law abiding, “Cops Lives Matter”, suburban Republican friends and neighbors, this kind of treatment will eventually “trickle down”.

      Cops used to have the attitude that they would rather take a bullet, instead of shoot an innocent civilian. Part of the problem is the “career path”. Straight out of high school, into the Army, a few tours of busting heads in the Middle East, then discharged and straight to the Police Acadamies.

      Now it’s “Have a plan to kill everyone you meet” and “Whatever happens, I’m going home tonight”.

    2. pretzelattack

      i’ve seen reports that cops do that, too. probably part of the unofficial tips and tricks for people in law enforcement.

    3. Tertium Squid

      Can we assume that anyone with the time and freedom to holler, “stop resisting” is not actually being resisted?

  2. optimader

    Sophie Theallet Vows Not to Dress Melania Trump, Asks Other Designers to Do the Same

    LOL this..Ill just post the lead not the link

    I’ll hazard a guess she is a dress designer? Pathetic

      1. Carolinian

        I believe Jackie Kennedy used to get her clothes for free because publicity. Melania probably doesn’t need handouts (nor did Jackie).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Four years of expensive college, but you don’t have guanxi, so you’re stuck with the loan you will never pay off.

      And politics is about making sure the wife of the politician you dislike does not look fashionable.

      Only your side can look Avalon-graceful and saxophone-hip. In contrast, the people on the other side have to pay for any intimacy.

      It seems life is full of private positions and public positions.

  3. M. A.

    “Twenty years seems rather a long time. And reinforcing the neoliberal debacle by putting the people who created it in charge of the fix seems… not strategic. And of course, the answer is credentialing — three flavors of it! And how about single payer, instead of an effing basic social safety net? Given an AIDs-level epidemic of working class deaths in the Rust Belt, this is worse than banality.”


    1. Gareth

      Yes but twenty years means only one more generation on the trash heap. From then on it’s clear sailing.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s why you had to stop Hillary.

      So, those dying can be heard.

      If you are dying, there is no protest. You try to delay or stop death.

      “Yours is not a protest vote – but a stop Hillary vote.”

  4. Vatch

    Love or hate his job? Marmite’s chief taster retires after tasting 264 MILLION jars” [Express]

    Now that’s quite a misleading headline! From the text of the article:

    Mr Skelton estimates he has been responsible for tasting the equivalent of 264 million jars during his career.

    Every 12-tonne batch, which is enough to fill 24,000 jars, has to be checked and if there is a problem with the taste it does not leave the factory.

    264,000,000 / 24,000 = 11,000. Over a 42 year career, that’s 262 tastes per year, which, considering weekends, holidays, and vacation days, is about one per day. That’s more like it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Seduced by Marmite!

      Adding, the deck does clarify: “MARMITE’S chief taste tester will hang up his spoon for the final time after sampling the equivalent of 264 million jars.”

    2. Pat

      Crikey, I would probably happily come into a place, sit down and taste Marmite (gag) for a steady job for 42 years. Stretching it, that would be about seven weeks worth of work if you were doing 40 hours a week. That leaves lots of quality time to get over the taste of the marmite every year.

      1. Synoia

        Please do not knock ethnic food. The Brits do not make fun of “hot dogs or grits or twinkies.”

        If you do not like it do not eat it.

        I suggest you try some Balut.

        1. Katharine

          And what is that?

          I don’t particularly care for Marmite but have a considerable fondness for Branston Pickle. And I haven’t eaten a Twinkie since a mistaken experiment over sixty years ago. To each his own.

          1. optimader

            Marmite: Enjoyed by hundreds! A Green alternative to flushing Britain’s spent brewers yeast to primary sewage treatment ponds!

            Synergy=Twinkie stuffed w Marmite!

                1. Chris Williams

                  Same in Vietnam. The dish came about because of a lack of refrigeration/ice. So they let a male into the community of hens, ducks, chickens, geese, whatever, and just before chicks are hatched, into the pot of water…

                  An acquired taste and experience

        2. sleepy

          I love strange regional foods. In Newfoundland they eat fried cod tongues (and seal flipper pie). Not to be outdone I gave our hosts a jar of Louisiana pickled pigs lips.

          1. Annotherone

            On the road in East Texas today we saw a sign advertising this delicacy:

            Fried pickles and gizzard. :(

            English by birth, I’m the one (or one of few) averse to Marmite. What I miss are Heinz Salad Cream – oh, and proper mint sauce .

            1. Carla

              Proper mint sauce — does Crosse & Blackwell count?

              And what, pray tell, is Heinz Salad Cream? (I’m gonna guess, maybe something like Miracle Whip, but please enlighten me).

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Fried pickles and gizzard

              One of my lessons from this election is how enormous this country really is (trying to think of another word than “diverse,” but you know what I mean). A whole continent!

        3. clinical wasteman

          I agree with the sentiment about respect for ‘ethnic food’ in general, but having lived for 20+ years in London — that multi-ethnic working-class (‘services’ sector) city surrounded on all sides by England — I can confirm that anglo-English food is not ethnic, it’s parochial.
          Enuff was already said by William S. Burroughs some time in the mid-’60s, when Heathrow immigration cops asked him why he was “trying to enter the UK”. His answer: “For the food and the weather“.
          The anglo-English might be entitled to a bit more respect for their breakfasts if it were true that they don’t “make fun of hot dogs, grits or twinkies”. But unfortunately they do: American food, culture and language(!*) are ignorantly mocked all the time, most often and most cluelessly by an upper-middle class who consider it a perfectly respectable and witty pastime.
          On a sort-of-related note, thanks Lambert for the Lord Mayor’s Banquet picture, which sums up the point that’s cheerfully ignored here every time a very few people (eg. Frankie Boyle, occasionally hosted and pilloried at the Guardian; Sam Kriss of Idiot Joy Showland/Vice UK; certain pseudonyms at Metamute.org) repeat it.

          *Yes, language! And this from a village elite whose speech sounds like whinnying horses! (See BBC broadcasts passim.

      2. Synapsid

        I wish I could remember who it was who said that Marmite had no right to exist in a world that had discovered penicillin.

        Anyone know?

  5. Ivy

    Remnick of New York, the baleful spokesman of that class that the late Chairman Mao sent to re-education camps. Perhaps to be joined by Emanuel of Chicago, Clinton of Chappaqua and others from their class of 2016.

      1. hunkerdown

        Cruel to whom? Them, or us? I’m not sure that the ruling class deserves any more mercy than they’ve shown us in deed. BYO pliers and blowtorch!

  6. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    On Trump’s margins with Latino voters over all and in particular in border states, I’d like to see the gender split. That is, I’m hearing anecdotal evidence that Latino men were simply too sexist to vote for a female President, which is plausible to me given my experiences of Machismo culture, but even that is at the isolated anecdote level. I’d like to know what the exit polls say.

    Has anyone seen any?

    p.s. that looks like air hockey, not foosball, to me…

    1. diptherio

      that looks like air hockey, not foosball, to me…

      Yeah, Lambert is obviously not up on his table-top sports…I’m sure NC regrets the error :-)

        1. OIFVet

          …and staples of frat houses everywhere. Too bad the table wasn’t placed under the “special place in hell” quote.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Sure, if you say so, Trump won because sexist Latino males. So the next willfully blind, corporate kissing, opposition belittling Dems will also need to be demonize all of machismo culture. Add Latino males to the basket of deplorables, alongside Bernie supporters.
      Instead next time try running a candidate who didn’t have 25 years of public record doing stuff to hurt the people she claimed to be helping.

      1. aab

        There is no generic Latino voter. For this to be worth anything, it would have to be broken out by how long they’ve been in the states and what their prior home country was. Particularly with someone like Clinton, who is loathed by certain communities because of things she or her husband did to and in their home countries.

        Is there, for example, a gender imbalance in immigrants from particular countries? Because a pre-existing gender imbalance there would account for this result, and it wouldn’t really be gender-based as a voting decision.

          1. ambrit

            Well, there are those that use the letter “X” and those that do not. (Mexican Spanish versus “Official” Spanish.)
            At one time we camped next to a couple from Paris who were seeing the New World by Vanagan micro-bus. They regaled us with stories about the attitudes of City of Paris Frenchmen towards Rural Frenchman and, once they found out Phyllis had an Acadian grandmother, Cajun French. The term hillbilly came up more than once. An enjoyable and educational time that was.

    1. Joseph Hill

      The air hockey mallet is gripped behind the knob using one’s fingertips, not on top of it. The Clinton folks probably gripped the top of the knob…

    1. Vatch

      He had to do that. The level of his post-retirement speaking and consulting fees depend on how obsequious he is to the billionaires and to the CEOs of giant companies. Most of them want the TPP.

      1. Chromex

        Then it was a choice to put speculation about his own future welfare over the election and/or the future welfare of the country. He dd not “have” to do it. And that choice was a typical part of his legacy. And very much in character. Based on your rationale, I am assuming that you would agree but I will bet someone somewhere believes that. Him, maybe. They have to be able to continue to blame Stein/Johnson

        1. marku52

          Just today over at KD’s, a commenter was blaming the collapse of the Arctic Ice sheet on Bernie.

          Seriously. What else is Bernie’s fault? Toenail Fungus?

          1. Vatch

            a commenter was blaming the collapse of the Arctic Ice sheet on Bernie.

            That seems entertaining! Can you provide a link, or a string of characters that can be used in a web search?

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            Everything, apparently. I was just called a racist on Facebook after I called someone out for posting an article on Bernie’s speech about supporting any progressive actions Trump actually takes. The reason? Poster snarled Bernie was a hypocrite because he criticized Hillary for only wanting $12 but he’s willing to “embrace” Trump for $10.

            So, I gather Bernie is now not only a hypocrite who totally undermined the Clinton campaign but a racist. You don’t even need hallucinogens anymore to fall into an alternate reality.

              1. KurtisMayfield

                Wow…Markos better get himself a sweet consulting gig because you website is going to be worth less than an orange crush soon.

                1. hunkerdown

                  As with Gleen Beck and Roger Ailes, as long as Markos keeps talking, the interests that make up the DNC will keep contributing. Maybe people aren’t willing to pay for dogfood flavored like fruits that never existed, though.

                  Never fear, Brookings or CAP or some right-wing liberal org will step in, not that they’ve ever stepped out.

              2. Daerhbobber

                I stopped linking to Kos quite awhile ago. By the time of his edict on the limitations to criticizing Queenie, their orientation had become QUITE clear.
                (I think all I ever linked from them from that point forward were occasional examples of the problem there, and that increasingly rare piece by a contributor in the sidebar that actually reflected significant original work and not a talking-points rehashing of a press story.

                This was one of many elements of that awesomely progressive coalition that was able to be seen as way more than it was because during the Bush administration by railing against the GOP on behalf of the out-of-power version of the Democrats.

                Now that the Donkeys are out of power, he’ll try to go back to that, but once the mask slips, its hard to make people forget what they saw.

              3. Kurt Sperry

                Thank you. I’m getting warm fuzzies watching DailyKos page views corkscrewing into the ground. May they continue drilling down.

          3. different clue

            I betcha the logic goes like this: Bernie weakened Hillary by campaigning against her for the D nomination. A thus-weakened Hillary lost to Trump because of Bernie’s weakening her by running against her for the D nomination. And so Trump won, because of Bernie.

            And Trump supports carbon skydumping, which will keep warming the global and will collapse the Arctic Ice Cap. And Trump won because Bernie made Hillary lose. Therefor the Arctic Ice Cap collapse is Bernie’s fault because Bernie weakened Hillary and Trump won.

            Such is what passes for logic in Clintonland.

            1. Vatch

              Very plausible. One problem is that Trump isn’t even President yet, and the arctic ice has been receding for years. Outside of science fiction, causation doesn’t work backwards in time. But you already know that, so I’m not arguing with you!

              Then there’s also Clinton’s support for fracking. . . . (which my computer tried to auto-correct to “tracking”).

    2. Pat

      Clinton might have won if she hadn’t thought that appealing to moderate Republicans was a great campaign strategy.

      She might have won if along with admitting that ACA was a disaster and needed radical changes to survive, not incremental ones. She might have won if she said that as a representative of Barack Obama’s administration it was her job to sell the TPP and hence calling it the Gold Standard of trade deals, but it is not a trade deal, it will cost jobs in America, and except for a few people in Pharma, Hollywood and Silicon Valley it is an outright disaster for Americans and is dead in the water if she was elected. And that goes for TTiP and TiSA as well. But she didn’t.

      Stop blaming others for Clinton’s failure to sell herself to the American public. That is on her and the people she hired. They weren’t the smartest people in the room, and could not find their hand in front of their face on a sunny day. She didn’t lose because of Obama…or Sanders…or Comey….or the Russians. I give you that wikileaks leaking their own words to the public didn’t help, but even that didn’t cause her loss. Her loss was failing to recognize that it wasn’t the voters job to vote for her, it was her job to give them a reason to vote FOR her (and my opponent is a monster is not a reason to vote for her).

      1. timbers

        Grew up in a small town in Minnesota working as a waiter thru high school at a Greek restaurant (The Olympia) with way too much to choose from on it’s vast menu, and even made their own candies and chocolate (we enjoyed sneaking into the basement where candy was made and grabbing some).

        The owner would sometimes sit at the front of the restaurant shooting the sh*t with the locals having coffee and pie and talk downtown and political gossip, while still wearing his dirty kitchen apron and soiled white shirt. He was short and when he walked his feet jumped out front and landed with a thump on the ground as he f moved forward, giving him a forever plodding look about him

        One of his favorite sayings for many occasions was “If, if, if! One smallest words in the dictionary and most used – “If the Queen had balls she’d be King.”

      2. Steve C

        She coulda told Obama to cut it out. But she wanted him to campaign for her. Anyway she didn’t want him to cut it out.

      3. John Wright

        Hillary and her supporters could have put an anti-TPP plank in the non-binding Democratic Platform.

        They would not, perhaps in a rare moment of non-cynical behavior.

        They muttered something about not embarrassing the President who supported the TPP

        Quietly HRC could have enlisted underlings to assure TPTB that the plank was for optics only.

        Then President HRC could have claimed the TPP had been improved enough that she was now supporting it.

        The Platform and the convention was a major screw-up for the Hillary people. They could have grabbed all the planks from the Bernie people, embraced the Bernie peoples’ enthusiasm, and made Bernie the focus of the convention.

        Then they could have thrown them under the bus AFTER the election.

        Maybe there is a degree of decency in the Clinton people and they couldn’t go that far.

        Or perhaps they considered this and believed they would lose more votes than they would gain.

        1. aab

          Her campaign was basically consistent. Her messaging skittered left as little and as vaguely as possible. They did not want to give the left ANYTHING. She could have backed Fight for $15. Why not? The House was guaranteed to stay Republican. The Democratic Party had already made sure of that. She could have made pro-worker mouth noises and told all her pals at ALL THOSE PRIVATE FUNDRAISERS not to worry, that a Federal minimum wage bill would never hit her desk. So even a perfectly safe pretend position was too much for her.

          I can’t tell how much of this was her wanting to be herself, and how much was the documented tendency of our billionaire class to demand both power and homage. It is interesting, though. And once we’re safely past the electoral college vote and the possibility of a coup recedes in the rear view mirror, I think the focus needs to move off Hillary Clinton and her hive mind sycophants and onto the entire Democratic Party leadership. Because as terrible a politician Hillary Clinton has been, she and her husband are not exclusively to blame for the Democratic Party being on the verge of death as a national party.

          Eight years ago, Barack Obama was elected with a strong popular vote margin and robust majorities in both houses of Congress. EIGHT YEARS AGO. Bill and Hill are not solely responsible for everything that went wrong after that. Neither is Barack. The rot is much broader than that. They thought they could crush the majority of the population faster than those flyover losers could wake up and fight back. Not only did that turn out to be wrong, it’s a morally repulsive premise. Blaming immigrants and people of color is also dishonest and morally repulsive. But the liberal virtue-signalers are monsters with pleasant faces. Like Ted Bundy, you can do a lot more damage if your victims don’t realize until it’s too late what kind of monster you really are.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I listened to a horrid, pre-election Foreign Policy podcast (“Live from the heart, if any, of The Blob!”) on this very topic, and that’s what they all thought. A Clinton administration (which they all thought was inevitable) would perform some cosmetic surgery on the deal, proclaim that now it magically met their standards, rebrand it, and pass it (with Repubublican help (screw the left)). But Clinton didn’t get elected, and now these people are going to have to work a lot harder to foment their next war. Sad!

  7. Bruce F

    I’m a relatively small grain farmer in northern Wisconsin, in the process of transitioning our land to organic production. In the past year there has been a flood of cheap grain from Turkey and the Ukraine, effectively undermining our markets. I suspect the incoming grain is being relabeled as organic, after being produced using much “cheaper” conventional/chemical methods. The oversight is lacking, the fines are minuscule, and the potential profits are huge for those who cheat.

    As you may know, organic methods focus on building the soil. That idea is being undermined by these imports. I suppose this could fall under the category of regulatory arbitrage, crapification, or just plain old corruption.

    Here’s a link from the organization MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) that spells out more of the details.

    The widespread fraud in Turkey has been publicly known for at least a year, while the NOP has taken little action to address these issues until now.

    Prices of domestic organic corn have dropped from $12 a bushel 18 months ago to $6 to $8 a bushel today. U.S. organic producers are losing an average of $300 per acre, far below the cost of production, which is around $10 per bushel.

    The market signal to organic farmers is to produce less, not more at a time when we are encouraging increased transitions to organic production domestically. Unless immediate steps are taken by the NOP to strengthen organic import protocols to be equivalent to what U.S. producers and the industry face here, in the EU and Canada, this stands to be a major economic train wreck setting back industry growth for years to come.

    1. uncle tungsten

      The solution is to buy local where you have a country of excellent regulation. Where I live the regulations are reasonably sound for locally produced goods and labeling so I can have confidence in those products or can research their quality. I rarely purchase imported goods for two reasons: the quality/reliability issue and equally important; carbon kilometers.

      I often see ‘Italian organic tomatoes’ in cans but have no confidence in that label at all. Buy local and buy fresh if at all possible. That’s ok for foods etc but manufactured goods can be a different equation.

      1. OIFVet

        Exactly, the carbon footprint of organics shipped thousands of miles is atrocious. One of my pet peeves is with those people who keep on yammering about how much they care about the environment and their health while serving that Whole Foods asparagus imported from Argentina. I would rather spend my money on bread made from Bruce F’s grain, even if though he is most likely a Packers fan who likes to call people from Illinois ‘FIBS” :)

        1. phred

          Ok, I’m stumped. FIBS? As a Packer fan I feel I ought to expand my vocabulary ; )

          As for local production, good luck Bruce! I recently learned that a person can buy a grain mill for home use. I missed out on a chance to get a local share from a grain farm not far from where I live, but maybe next year…

          1. OIFVet

            ‘FIBS’: effing Illinois bastahds :) It’s very Wisconsin-specific, though some insist Iowans use it on occasion, too.

    2. different clue

      Back when the Federalization of Organic Agriculture was still being considered, very few and very lonely voices were protesting the concept. One of those few lonely voices was Charles Walters Junior and Acres USA. Walters warned that the goal of Federalization and USDA-fication was to corrupt the standards from above and within in order to destroy Organic Agriculture by destroying its concept and its trust-worthiness. Do events like this make it seem that Walters’s warning beFORE the fact was prescient? Somewhere after all that I remember having written a letter to Acres USA myself and being honored by having seen it get printed. The editors only changed one sentence. They changed my sentence ” Charles Walters warned us that asking the Federal Government to regulate Organic was like asking Adolph Hitler to conduct a Jewish wedding” . . . to . . . ” Charles Walters warned us that asking the Federal Government to regulate Organic was asking for trouble.” I lived with the change.

      Do you have a loyal core customer base who are prepared to pay shinola prices for shinola grain grown by a shinola farmer in a shinola state? If so, is there a way for you to have all your grain labeled as to “who grown by” and “where grown”? So that people who beLIEVE in the concept of True Organic enough to PAY for it are ABLE to EVen FIND it to beGIN with so that they even CAN pay for it?

      There are also some farmers attempting to start a Full Disclosure/ Truth In Labelling movement for what they do.


        1. different clue

          It can if customers are prepared to pay farmers enough money for the farmers to be able to maintain the soil.

          Some farmers are growing for specialized groups of customers who are willing to pay enough for food to where those farmers can afford to maintain their soil, and are doing so. But there are only so many customers willing to pay a soil-maintanance price for food. Acres USA features different ones of these farmers and describes what they are doing to sell food to people willing to pay for food, and how they turn around and keep their soil maintained. One might look at France, Japan and other countries with Protectionised Markets. Are the farmers in France and Japan maintaining their soils? If they are, that shows that a fully Protectionized market permits said market to permit the maintainance of soils.

          A return to protectionism , whereby the entry of “lower-priced” food and fiber into the American market is forbidden, would allow farmers to charge enough to maintain their soil. A forcible minimum-wage increase would permit lower class workers enough money to buy that food. A basic income guarantee would permit the permanently dis-employed to do the same thing. Would the more money thereby injected into the farmer-sector of the bottom layer of society merely inflate the price of food to where the money became worth “no more than before”? Or would that money stimulate and facilitate the actual re-use of un-used capacity, allowing more people at the bottom of society to exchange more this for that with eachother, these exchanges being mediated by the more money?

          I remember reading an article in Acres USA about the 1972(?)-era “Great Grain Robbery” . . . the Soviet purchase of huge amounts of American grain, mainly wheat I believe. But it wasn’t a robbery for the farmers involved. They were paid real money for their real grain, and they spent some of their real money on new real inputs, farm implements, perhaps nice things for the house and family . . . and every implement dealer, fertilizer seller, nice-things-purveyor, etc. thereby recieved some real money with which they could mediate their own exchanges of this-for-that with some of that money. Large parts of the “wheat belt” geographical zone were supposed to have experience a couple of years of economic recovery from the injection of re-re-re-spendable money injected in at the bottom to begin with in return for all that wheat.

          ( It is too bad that this is not on-line. Nearly NONE of Acres USA’s millions upon millions of words are on-line. Acres is too tiny a bussiness to even be able to afford to do even that.
          They have a permanent subscriber base of 12,000 subscribers. They print about 22,000 issues per month. In a nation of 300 million. What if they had 120,000 subscribers? What if they had 1,200,000 subscribers? They would have the money and power to be able to do things like put all their millions of words on line. They might also have a big enough devoted-fan base to be able to sell dead-tree reprints to of some of those millions of words. Or maybe even all of those millions of words. But they don’t even have the money to be able to launch advertorial outreach drives. It is up to citizens to find their own way to Acres USA and decide whether to subscribe or not.)

          1. Norb

            There is a 15 acre farm still producing in my town, a neighboring suburb of Chicago. Although located in the center of suburban sprawl, the farm operates a vegetable stand throughout the growing season and stands as an oasis, at least to my eye. The farm also receives leaves collected by city crews from the surrounding neighborhoods, and composts them for soil enhancement. Excess produce is also donated to local food banks for consumption by the needy. The farm also recruits local seasonal labor from the community.

            Although I am not active in directly preserving this small enterprise, it seems essential that more operations like this one point the way to a sustainable future. On another interesting note, the farm is directly adjacent to a public grade school. The mind doesn’t have to roam far to see the positive possibilities for public education in this arrangement. Only the vision and will are lacking- along with financing.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Good point. We’re a little spoiled; our co-op makes a point of buying local if they can, and we live in the midst of the hugely productive Willamette Valley.

      There are exceptions: there isn’t much coffee or chocolate grown in the US (aside from Hawaii). And there are variety items like Kalamata olives, which Americans just don’t do as well. And I figure the Chinese are entitled to sell me tea, even though it grows well here – I’m growing it, as I said before, but only producing a portion of what I drink. Easy to grow, hard to process. And again, the Chinese or Indians do it better.

      But I’m dwelling on the exceptions, by way of suggesting what is worth transporting (tea from China was the original motive behind the clipper ships, which raced back to Boston with the new crop). Staples, like wheat and beans, are more important to produce locally if possible – rice doesn’t grow in Oregon, either. For one thing, it’s a security issue: will you starve if the transport system collapses?

      1. different clue

        And it is for cases like this that cross-border trade may be permitted as a necessary evil. If we sell
        cranberries and blueberries to the cocoa zone and buy cocoa right back from the cocoa zone, this is trade in things the two separate places could not produce, and if the prices are exactly value-equivalent, it is the money-mediated exchange of stuff for stuff of kinds that can only be grown “here” OR “there”, but not both “here” AND “there”. And that is where trade may legitimately be permitted to exist.

  8. Robert McGregor

    At almost every turn the liberal pundits misunderstood, or did not hear, what Trump was saying. After his win in the Nevada Caucus Trump said: “We won with highly-educated, we won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated! We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.” Liberals lampooned him, assuming that he had insulted part of his base.
    A different interpretation translates those comments as: “Trump understands that it’s not all my fault that I couldn’t get an education. He understands that even people who don’t have advanced degrees can make good decisions and are worthy of respect

    Hillary’s people do not speak “working class,” so they could not properly interpret Trump’s statement. To Hilloryites, to be called “poorly educated” is to be insulted period, since to them having a good formal education is the essence of life! Yet for working class people, the far majority of their peers do not have a degree. They know that a graduate from Harvard is “well educated,” so as the negative, the working class can be said to be poorly educated, as in having no formal education, but it is not “freighted” with insult like it would be to a Hilloryite. It’s like saying you have a poor “jump shot.” There are advantages to playing basketball well, but most people cannot. To Hillary’s people, the only excuses for not having a degree is if you are poor, and a minority. If you are white and male, and don’t have a degree, you are deplorable! Hillary didn’t even want those people, despite Bill Clinton’s pleadings. Podesta and Hillary told Bill that white working class males were not part of their coalition. She had contempt for them, and they returned the favor.

    1. flora

      “Hillary’s people do not speak “working class,” so they could not properly interpret Trump’s statement. “

      The Dem elite are clueless. They call people “low information” voters if said voters talk about their local economy, Main St. and foreign policy from the point of view of having relatives in the military. In many ways it’s the elites who are “low information” since they seem clueless about the world outside their bubble. According to the Dem elites the economy is booming. Maybe the Dem elite Wall St. economy is booming. Main St. isn’t booming.

  9. john c. halasz

    Re Burlington VT:

    Re-labeling wood burning as “bio-mass” and calling it renewable energy is sheer green-washing. Also, Burlington’s transport system is scarcely fossil fuel free.

    As to Obama’s Athens speech, note that it took place at the “Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center”. You can’t make this sh*t up, folks.

      1. TK421

        Burning a tree releases the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere as the tree would release when it dies and decays, so it’s a perfectly green source of energy, though not an ideal one.

        1. Katharine

          But cutting down trees faster than they can be replaced by new growth reduces current carbon fixation.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            In most instances where using wood-burning stoves is part of a renewables program, there are strict rules about where and how much can be harvested. Indeed, there have been such restrictions in place on public lands for decades—you can’t just pop into the local state forest and chop down a tree whenever you feel like it.

            Some of the demand is satisfied via “wood farms,” where someone converts their property to forest (like Christmas tree growers do) which is grown specifically to be harvested for firewood. Some comes from thinning existing forests to promote growth. I suspect there may be other methods of providing firewood I’m not aware of, but those two were available back 20 years ago when I lived in upstate Pennsylvania where a lot of people burned wood.

            1. ratefink

              Coppicing, where you grow trees specifically to cut them and reharvest the growth from the same root stock over and over, can be particularly renewable and carbon fixing, if done diligently.

          2. different clue

            But cutting them down as slow as they can be replaced by new growth keeps current carbon fixation at par.

            And if the wood-for-fuel program is based on rotationally-harvested coppice-tree farms such that the stump and roots are left alive to grow new trunks and branches after the cut-down, then the carbon fixation could be net positive.

            I saw an article online about this but can’t find it now. If I find it I will post it to this thread.

        2. hamstak

          As much perhaps, but over a much shorter timeframe — albeit, you probably don’t burn an entire tree in a day. The fact that the CO2 is heated, and is generally released into open air instead of (potentially) in an arboreal environment (where it is available for uptake by other trees) may also play a factor, but I am less certain of the impact of these.

          Microbial and insect contributions to decay may also change the equation.

        3. polecat

          I burn wood almost exclusively here, in winter, in part to give a big FU to the local PUD, which, every year, raises it’s rates ..along w/ the city, county, port dist., local school dist etc. putting their respective hoary palms out … to bleed me dry, drop by gusher, every fucking year !!

          ….plus I like wood heat …

          1. barefoot charley

            What makes firewood renewable is that a growing tree consumes from the atmosphere the amount of carbon dioxide that’s released when it’s burnt, netting zero emissions. Particulate and smoke don’t count, so stop coughing. (But you’ll pry my woodpile from my cold, dead fingers . . .)

            1. polecat

              The nice thing about wood stoves, is, in the event of and extended electrical power outage, one can still heat the abode, and, at least do rudimentary cooking, as well as heat water ….. when the card-carrying NPR tote-baggers nextdoor are freezing their asses off …. can’t cook anything, or worse … wheel in and fire up the barbeque or hibachi, only to die of carbon monoxide poisoning …… so there’s that …..!

              1. andyb

                Ah, but Obama’s EPA has effectively banned wood burning stoves; you now need a permit and inspection; lobbying by utilities, dontcha know. Everyone has to be hooked up, whether you like it or not.

          2. Optimader

            The ash is a good soil mineral fortifier I pyt it in my compost pile, presumably the alkalinity is a good acid neutralizer

            1. polecat

              Any charcoal (cold, of course) left over from any previous stove burn I collect until enough, at the beginning of veggie bed prepping in late winter, I crush coarsely, and then mix into said beds for greater benefits to plant roots and micro fauna …aka ‘poor man’s biochar’ ..

      2. temporal

        I believe it’s the lack of tech.

        Burning wood does not generally involve scrubbers nor deal with other concerns about the environment. Leaving a tree on the ground creates an environment for diverse life to flourish, in fact it’s been argued that a tree on the ground is better for other life forms that one that is still upright. Certainly far better all the way around than one that has been turned to ash. Also a lot of the CO2 in the tree ends up being locked back into the ground.

        It would take too long to hunt down but I think it was in the links a few months back that a guy argued that the only thing worse for the environment than the present course would be to go retro and do things like use wood for heat and cooking.

        Not saying people shouldn’t do it but there are trade-offs.

      3. john c. halasz

        1) Wood is not an efficient source for electricity. It could inly really be justitied for such a use in a co-generation plant.

        2) You are burning carbon, releasing particilates as well as CO^2 and other gases. The argument is that eventually the tree will grow back and reabsorb the CO^2 released, but that’s not true over a 20 year horizon, the relevant term, and is indeterminate over longer periods, (scientific opinion being split on the issue), since one must aggregate all sorts of different species and forest ecologies.

        3) Even if you’re using waste products from forestry and milling, those wastes have other uses, such as pulp and mulch, and therefore you’re encouraging a rebound effect, i.e. more logging.

        4) Northern forests especially are a carbon sink, and we should be encouraging their expansion, not using them needlessly for energy production, when other much better options are available.

        MA has removed “bio-mass” from its renewables list, but VT, because of its intense localism and “small is beautiful” ideology still pushes it in its energy planning. The Burlington plant BTW is the largest single point source of carbon emissions in the state, since otherwise we don’t have much in state electrical generation except for maybe 600 MW of hydro-electric and a bit of wind.

        1. Optimader

          Actually we did some developmwnt work for clients producing batches of torrefied wood. Their application is to supplant coal at coalfired utility plants tvat are at their emission limits
          It seems a reasonable strategy
          The condensibke fraction can be used as liquid smoke! (Nasty)

      4. Carolinian

        We talked about this here awhile back. I don’t have a link handy but there were stories about how Scandinavian countries were using wood pellets for power generation and therefore turning to southern US chip mills to supply the supposedly carbon neutral fuel. The results are more monoculture tree farms and more clear cutting and they are not at all environmentally friendly. And as some of the others here are pointing out this may not be carbon neutral either.

        It’s similar to the ethanol craze which uses shaky justifications to give big boosts to certain economic interests but is probably doing little to solve the problem. Indeed here’s what Jeff St. Clair has to say about the AGW crisis which Chomsky, in this morning’s link, seems to think should have been the key issue in the election.

        I get a lot of groans for talking this way, especially at the kitchen table here in Oregon. Why are you always so depressing? That’s no why to motivate people! But regardless of how we speak about it, climate change is beyond control now. The time to act was 50 years ago.


        That may be pessimistic, but undoubtedly it will take 50 years or more to “turn the ship” as Obama likes to say and therefore razing the south’s forests or blaming all this on Trump are arguably ill judged actions/statements.

      5. fajensen

        Last time I checked, 2014 or so, the wood chips burned by DONG were from Russia, Canada and Liberia – no proportions given so one assumes the bulk is from Liberia. Liberia is a mess and Russia is not exactly known to care for the environment. Both countries are corrupt in their own way, making it difficult to verify claims about sustainability.

        On the technical side, wood must burns at a lower temperature compared to coal or gas (the ashes will form glass if the temperature is too high). This means that the Carnot Efficiency will be low. If they only produced electrical power a coal- og gas- burning power plant would run at around 60 % thermal-electrical, a wood burner would be at about 40%.

        The wood burning only makes sense in a combined power plant, where the waste heat is used for district heating. Of course a modern gas-turbine combined heating plant will trounce the wood burner on all parameters – except it burning natural gas or oil, which are fossil fuels.

        So, the reason they do it, is that DONG has a lot of old coal fired plants that can easily burn wood albeit at lower efficiencies. These were hooked up to district heating back in the 1980’s.

        With the modern building standards here, it doesn’t make any sense to expand the district heating networks because no-one in a modern house need a lot of heat, they can easily heat their home with a smallish Air-Water heat pump, typically 10 kW electrical. There a is big & vicious political fight over this – currently electric power is taxed super-hard if used for heating … but … if one fits solar panels and “net out” the electrical power then one doesn’t use a lot to pay taxes on.

        The wood-burners are basically “legacy”, not very green at all, but maybe greener than the old power plants. Probably on-par with burning natural gas more efficiently in a modern “combined-cycle gas turbine power plant”. But those would cost Money to build – as they say ;).

        There is still a need to burn stuff due to all the old houses in the cities, everywhere else, where the new homes are and where one knows that one cannot rely on infrastructure, not at all.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t use wood chips (ick). I use wood from a woodlot. I agree strongly with you, however, that biomass is a bad word to hear; when they justified the landfill up here, “biomass” included construction debris, and gawd knows what was in it. Damn.

          1. fajensen

            Sadly, all these “green” words will be propagandized to death and come to mean nothing at all in particular. Like “racist” now.

            I live in Sweden at the present. I get about 4 cubic meters of wood – usually Birch – every second year delivered from somewhere in the local forest. Some guy with a tractor delivers it so it can’t be that far off, its 400 SEK for the delivery (about 30 USD).

            I don’t really heat my house with wood, I use the wood burner to take the peak off the cold periods we have and as backup for when the power goes. Everyone here has one, so no trouble with the neighbors over the tiny amounts of smoke.

            Sweden is blessed with a lot of overhead 20 kV lines in the woods, so when there is a good winter storm many of them will fall down due to ice or trees and it can take several days here to get it fixed. In some places it can take up to month. Households have to be resilient here ;=

    1. Oregoncharles

      Years ago, I read that Vermon’t forests would actually benefit from thinning (as in, they would grow prime lumber faster, I think). There was a vast amount of “junk” wood out there. The point being that Vermont was producing wood considerably faster than it was using it.

      As long as that’s what they’re burning, they may well be ahead of the carbon cycle, rather than deforesting. The air pollution is still a substantial price to pay – I’ve seen my town under a pall of wood smoke in the winter; same situation, only in an airlocked valley. A woodburning generator in Eugene was extremely controversial for that reason.

  10. timbers

    Never heard of Bannon until Trump. He may be the terrible person the media says he is but I agree with this except the part about creating a middle class in Asia. (Not denying a middle class Asia was created, just that it was not the intention of the globalists):

    “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,”… “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver—” by “we” he means the Trump White House “—we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia.

      This is the famous “elephant chart.” I think Bannon’s right about that. But wowsers, is he wrong about a lot!

      And I don’t think they can “deliver,” at least not for the working class. We’ll see.

      1. Martyh

        I think the metric of “success” is whether they deliver better than their previous three decades of successors. Even mediocrity is likely to be better than excellence in screwing the US Middle Class.

      2. aab

        It’s nice that he’s right about something important, though.

        I know very little about him. If I hadn’t just gone through the campaign following the D side very closely and therefore seeing how much the corporate press lies, I’d assume he’s a terrible racist. I mean, he’s from Breitbart. But now I completely disregard assertions from people like David Corn. Seriously, someone on my twitter feed linked to an article without a screencap, just a title. I clicked, saw it was David Corn writing in Mother Jones, and closed it without reading. I’m sure Bannon is not my flavor of loose leaf tea. But I’m just going to watch for now. The odds were always that Trump would be absorbed by the Republican establishment — the same establishment that preferred Hillary. I don’t see any reason to pay close attention to all the noise and flashing light going on now. Let’s see what they actually do.

        Obama threw a lot of people who helped him get elected right under the bus, like, immediately. Bannon should be rewarded. He backed Trump when it was hard. That’s how politics is supposed to work. If he was really such a horror, maybe the Democratic Party shouldn’t have nominated a sickly, unliked criminal with unpopular policies to oppose him.

        It’s very hard for me not to default to suspecting that the reason Bannon is being opposed so vociferously from the Democratic side is not his attitudes towards race, religion and ethnicity, but his economic nationalism. After all, I watched them claim that Bernie Sanders — a man who put his body on the line for the civil rights movement — was sexist and racist. Why should I believe them now, about anybody?

        1. John k

          Great post. Let’s see what they do. I also think they’ll either do what trump wants or he’ll find some that will.
          Rep elites are not going to drive the bus… granted, neither will Bernie.
          Keep thinking, no fly zone in Syria, and anything that comes will feel better.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Sure. Bannon can both by opposed by liberals wholly invested in identity politics and be fully worthy of opposition for any number of reasons.

          But yeah, after this campaign, I wouldn’t trust Mother Jones — or WaPo or the Times, for that matter — as far as I can throw a piano. A concert grand piano. That’s why transcripts are important.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The Bannon transcript shows him to be a more interesting and more vulnerable figure than the liberal caricature of him.

          Wholly committed to riding identity politics all the time, they frame him as a racist (meanwhile, really treating the Honduran maid who cleans their marble countertops as “really one of the family”).

          What the Democrat establishment ought to be doing, IMNSHO, is setting Bannon up for his inevitable failure. “Bannon says Trump will help the working class? He’ll fail, and here’s why. Democrats, by contrast…” Of course, the liberal larder is empty; did you read that steaming load of crap from Obama? That’s because (a) many of them hate the working class, pure and simple, and (b) they don’t actually have any policies that will do that either, despite a smidge of good will on the balance sheet from FDR days*. Further delegimitization of the Democrat establishment should help clear the air for that, however…

          * Another outcome of this election may be the final death of the idea that “Democrats are better on the economy.” I’m convinced that turned the tide for Obama in 2008; he couldn’t put McCain — McCain!! — away until after Lehman.

          1. JSM

            There’s no doubt about it, he & also Roger Stone are fascinating individuals who didn’t start thinking about this stuff in June. They’ve been at it for years, even if, as some here have pointed out, that doesn’t make them intellectuals per se. But neither does that make them any less effective.

            Believe you’re right about the correct liberal strategy, and while not feeling especially generous to the Democrats, yeah, that’s probably what should be doing, but being cautious enough not to fall into the obvious trap. If Bannon can succeed in making the Times & Post follow Breitbart’s lead, it’s gonna be one hell of an interesting four years where everything is potentially up for grabs. That might not be so bad for everyday Americans. The Dems, for all their supposed sophistication, have shown they can only counter with the crudest blanket propaganda.

            & no, couldn’t be bothered yet to read Remnick’s gabfest with the prez, not even for personal ‘counter-disinformation’ purposes. The Obamamometer concept dictates that there’s really no point in it anyway. The only thing one can do is watch his actions and surmise whom he’s caving to at any given moment.

            Interesting comment about Obama-McCain. If Trump goes all-in on the domestic economy you can probably bet Bannon (& Stone, sympathetically) are actively working toward that end.

          2. aab

            I read a long post somewhere — possibly r/WayoftheBern, which is great, although going through growing pains — that went into detail about what some of the pols on the ground in either Michigan or Wisconsin were telling the Clinton campaign. They weren’t merely saying, “Please give us canvassers, please do a rally here.” They were listing very specific policy positions to ameliorate the lives of these citizens, that should have been easy for a pre-DLC Democratic Party to advocate for. But it was clear reading through it that if these were things Hillary Clinton needed to say to win the state, she would never win the state, because she would never say these things.

            If you operate from the perspective that having taken all that billionaire dough and having set in motion the corporate capture of the Democratic party all those decades ago, and this by necessity had to be the final triumph of that project, maybe this was the only campaign and campaign strategy Hillary could use. She wasn’t going to apologize for her husband’s policies. She wasn’t going to advocate for robust government spending or government regulation. That would betray everything she and her husband worked for, AND piss off her donors, who are also her intimate social circle. I think those may be factors in why she seemed so willing to lie about so many things, but not about providing leftwing policies. That would explain the reliance on ADA (although not the stupidity of insufficient field testing). It’s possible her team knew perfectly well they had nothing to offer the Midwest, knew they had to hold some of those states anyway, and so were trying an inverse Kobayashi Maneuver — trying to use the computer to outwit reality. That could explain the focus on places like Arizona in the final weeks — not that they were foolishly playing for a blow-out, but that having gone all in on chasing Republicans, they were stuck waiting for the river card; they were pot-committed.

            That’s in line with what they’re doing now, and I think it’s a higher risk strategy than they realize. They seem to be counting on the Republican establishment controlling Trump and making an Obama of him, so he delivers no material benefits and they can keep playing their identity games. It’s really weird watching Bernie talk about pressuring Trump on raising the minimum wage and having Joy-Anne Reid pretend that means Bernie is a sell-out racist. If Trump, Bannon, Sessions, et al., behave themselves and actually do ANYTHING good, it will erode the Democratic brand badly. And I think it’s possible that they will. I’d never bet against the American federal government’s corruption at this point, but I also think Trump is underestimated. Yes, he’s a trust fund baby who ran his family’s real estate business into the ground, but he built the global Trump brand from scratch. It was pretty innovative, actually. Neither Baby Bush nor Barack Obama can point to having achieved anything remotely as impressive prior to their presidencies. Obama was used to taking orders from rich people. Trump is used to giving orders, and being obeyed. It is different.

            Realistically, he will probably fail completely. But what if he doesn’t? What if an actual rude, outsider businessman does better than a Harvard Law School unicorn? Given how weak the Democratic Party already is, that would be the final nail. The way to avoid that PR problem would be to set a big, tall rhetorical stake far to the left of what’s feasible, so any successes Trump achieved would still be a failure. But instead, they seem to be setting him up so that if he does nothing but not build a bigger wall, not herd Muslims in to camps, not ban birth control, and do ONE economic thing that would help a measurable number of non-rich people, he’ll be considered a success. To continue my poker metaphor, that’s like playing heads-up and going all in on pocket 9s. Yes, you might win. But is that really what you gamble your tournament life on, if you don’t have to?

            1. JSM

              ‘The way to avoid that PR problem would be to set a big, tall rhetorical stake far to the left of what’s feasible, so any successes Trump achieved would still be a failure.’

              That’s more likely correct. Trump has instincts, goddammit! (as they supposedly used to say), that’s why Schumer, Pelosi & Hoyer should have stepped down (or still should for the latter). Trump can at least claim with more credibility than any congressperson (10% approve of Congress?) that he’s not (personally) bought & paid for. It wouldn’t be surprising if he makes the proverbial mincemeat out of them in two weeks. If that happens the state parties can go ahead and rename themselves as the Democrats will be finished.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                They still should. First, they framed the election as about fascism. Granting that, they proceeded to lose to a fascist. Why reinforce failure by leaving them in power?

                I’d like to see #Occupy and #BlackLivesMatter take over a lot more offices. Schumer should be only the start. The DNC would be good. Democratic think tanks like CAP, in particular Neera Tandens’ office. Whatever office David Brock slithers out of.

                1. fajensen

                  Well, here in Euro-land we get so much choice:

                  We have “Beige Fascism” or “Inverted Fascism” where the sole purpose of governments is to serve capital and business interests (enforced by contracts such as CETA, TTIP and TISA).

                  We have “Neo-Classic Fascism” where the promises are to force capital and businesses to serve a government (or Else) elected by the people. (“Neo” – because the singular strong leader is not so visible).

                  We have “Theocracy”, the crazy person-hearing-voices-in-the-air-Fascism, represented primarily by “The Left” and “The Elites” embracing Islam at every opportunity they have to show how “tolerant” and “multicultural” they are.

                  So, what is one to do?

                  Door number one is continued permanent Austerity and strip-mining of the environment (status quo), Door number two … we tried that before and it didn’t go so well back then – but at least we will get parades, jobs and new career opportunities, Door number three we also tried that before and we killed about 1/3 of the European population until we agreed on disagreeing on which voices-in-the-wind are the proper ones.

                  Door Number Two, the one with Marine Le Pen inside, seems to be the rational choice these days. Scary.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              aab, that’s brilliant. I like the poker metaphor (which I think I understand, though I don’t play poker. Can you flesh that out and explain why they have to play poker that way? (They’re also gambling other people’s lives, not just their own. The Democrat Party is risking the lives of the very people the Democratic Party would have taken care of.

              Lots of great comments today. If me confusing air hockey and foosball is what it takes, I guess I should do that more often!

              1. aab

                Briefly: “pot-committed” basically means that you have already put so much of your stack into the pot given your hand that mathematically there’s no point in folding. Done correctly, it takes into account your cards, the community cards, the size of the pot, the size of your current chip stack, etc. So in the case of the Clinton campaign strategy, if they realized in late October they weren’t going to get those suburban Republicans, it was too late to change course; they had to play out the hand.

                The pocket 9s in heads-up refers to the end of a tournament, when it’s down to two players. For a whole lot of reasons, the math and the strategy is quite different when you’re playing heads up. Going “all in” means betting all your chips. There are circumstances when you really have to do that, even with terrible cards. But if you don’t have to do it, doing it with a middle pair is risky. The math is not in your favor. So betting everything on 9s means you are risking losing everything for no good reason. Wait for better hole cards. (Those are your private cards.) The Democratic elite are playing a weak hand, when they could wait and play a stronger one later — if they care most about governing. That, of course, is the question.

                1. Cry Shop

                  I’m impressed with both comments, aab. They got played like frat house boys who’s marked deck (polls) was swapped for deck marked identically on the back, but with different faces.

                  I can only add lets not call the leadership/cadres of the Democratic Party elites. There is nothing elite in their performance beyond money grasping. I’d like to hear them called tools of organized crime. Maybe that’s too much of a mouthful, how about mobsters or mafioso?

      3. different clue

        It took the Globalist OverClass several decades to destroy most industry in America. It would take a militant belligerent Protectionist regime several decades of rigidly banning all unnecessary imports from abroad to permit the rebuilding of even some of that destroyed industry.

        If America adopted militant belligerent Protectionism, it would be a Revolution. The Protectionist Revolution. And the World Elite would regard an infant Protectionist America the same way the World Elite regarded the infant Bolshevik Republic in USSR. They would organize to attack and exterminate it. The World Elite would co-ordinate Iran-Iraq level and style of sanctions against a Protectionist America in order to regime-change it and re-impose a Free Trade Occupation Regime against America. Anyone talking about “helping America recover” should understand that
        Survivalist Protectionism means decades of famine-blockade war against America by the Globalist Elite and its Outside Country power bases.

        1. fajensen

          The problem for the elites is threefold:

          All of their money is either in USD or linked to USD, US exceptionalism means that the US can (and absolutely will) issue global arrest orders, seizure of assets, defamation, all the way up to drone strikes on any opposition not fully backed and protected by a nation state, the US military, vast and corrupt as it is, is not to be trifled with.

          Blockading the US it is sort-of the same thing as Georgia went poking the Russian Bear right in the eye for Soros: Asking for a good size can of whupass then screaming like a little bitch when no-one comes to your aid. Elites are weak on hard power.

  11. Hana M

    I know Zero Hedge is not usually on the menu here but I found this post on the recessions and elections rather interesting, just from a data-wonky perspective.

    Every single US recession bar one (with explainable circumstances) occurred around an election. [interesting graphs here] Only two Presidents in history did not see a recession and they were inaugurated after single-term Presidents….

    Politics creates recessions

    Firstly, it is the political cycle that is the key driver of recessions – governmental cycles in one way or another are an essential component. I am really not yet sure of the reason why two-term presidential cycles are so spectacularly consistent in provoking recessions but I do know that election dates are super helpful for predicting recessions and thus asset prices. The investment game is all about odds, and odds of 100% – even from a small data sample – are incredibly useful. Sure, it might not remain 100% forever but the probability is still going to be extremely high and that’s all we need to make successful forecasts and investments.

    I have not watched the video yet so I don’t know if they get into data from overseas. I assume there is enough LT data for Britain to determine if the pattern repeats there as well as in the US. Any thoughts?

    1. uncle tungsten

      The market brigands like to shake down the newcomer president. The USA is likely to be safe until January 21. It depends to some extent what Trump signals in the regulatory appointments but they still might shake him down because tradition.

    2. Mike Sparrow

      Trump is likely assured a recession because the cycle is at the maturation stage. That is just simply how it works. I think 2017 will be a very good year for the US economy. Maybe 2018 as well. Buy by 2019, the party will be ending. That is why a Clinton victory would have been better for Republicans. They really got hosed in this election by a very unlikeable candidate.

  12. kj1313

    Lambert you want to see Hubris from the Clinton campaign

    “A senior official from Clinton’s campaign noted that they did have a large staff presence in Michigan and Wisconsin (200 and 180 people respectively) while also stressing that one of the reasons they didn’t do more was, in part, because of psychological games they were playing with the Trump campaign. They recognized that Michigan, for example, was a vulnerable state and felt that if they could keep Trump away—by acting overly confident about their chances—they would win it by a small margin and with a marginal resource allocation.”

    The above statement has to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read regarding campaign strategy.


    1. Eduardo Quince

      The Democrats’ strategy was, in a word, “extortion”: vote for our preordained candidate undemocratically nominated through a rigged primary process or else you get stuck with the racist, mysogynistic buffoon Donald Trump as your president

    2. cocomaan

      “Alright guys, have I got a plan for you. All 200 of you. What? Yes, all of you. Ready?

      Hide in here. Yes, with the lights off. Smartphones OK, as long as you’re tweeting.

      Victory is assured.”

    3. JohnnyGL

      Thanks for that one. I’ve sent that one to the office Trumpers. They’re eating it up. That’s weapons-grade stupid. They really just Brexited themselves.

      One guy I was talking with said, “it’s not stupid, it’s just hugely arrogant.”

      I replied by saying they’re effectively the same thing beyond a certain point.

      The idea that one of your senior campaign officials is thinking of mind games to play with the opposition in order to bluff their way to victory is really telling.

      Also, “marginal resource allocation”? This from the campaign that raised $1bn….maybe your candidate should have been told to cut out the 10,000 closed-door fundraisers that she found time to attend???

      Can someone seriously slap some sense into these people. They just lost to a guy who bragged about grabbing women by the p#$% in an interview?!?!?! Anything less than a Reagan-Mondale level beat down is gross incompetence!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the first grade, I tried that, if I recall correctly.

        “Try throwing that fastball again. I wasn’t paying attention,” after I swung and missed. “Prove you weren’t lucky (lucky because I was distracted).”

        Thus, we have to re-do the election, if you want to claim you can really beat me.

      2. Cry Shop

        What’s left of that $1B after this campaign is still Hell-Billy’s. She may have lost, but it still paid for her to run. She’ll be back if she’s still alive in 4 years time, trying to squeeze juice more from the suckers.

    4. Mike Sparrow

      Sorry, but they were a dumbly run campaign. If Obama circa 2012 had run against Trump, he would have been toast.

      I know you don’t want to admit that, but it would be good for your soul if you did. Sometimes, candidates just suck. That is why the Jeb’s or Rubio’s of the world would have made her campaign totally up north. She would be toast of the M/D and weaker out west. She would need every vote up north just to have a chance.

  13. DJG

    The photo essay reminds me of how nostrum-ridden and cliché-smothered U.S. culture is these days. Stainless-steel appliances (for those who can’t cook, because they are a pain to keep clean if you use them), foosball table (to work off that extra “testosterone”), Post-It notes as thoughts, the open office in which any originality is worn down by the do-not-disturb atmosphere.

    Where are the bowls of kale chips?

    It isn’t just the mummification of the political culture through bromides, which was evident in both the Clinton and Trump campaigns, each of which was chock-a-block with zombie ideas: We see a whole culture of speciousness. In a decision worthy of both political campaigns, that orientalist slop, The King and I, recently toured the country. The King and I in 2016.

    Have we ended up in a bog, where the acidity will preserve us, and years from now, whoever inherits the Earth will dig us up and wonder at how perfectly preserved the culture is, almost as if it were still real?

    Or are we in the beginnings of a collapse, which may be healthy, as these clichés start to tumble down, one after another? I recently posted on Facebook that ‘incremental change’ has all of the appeal of ‘day-old bread,’ which sent at least one “friend” off the deep end–and made me think that I should collapse my FB “friends” list down to about 24 persons.

    1. hunkerdown

      If archaeologists of the future can figure out the compact disc family of storage systems — hoping there are acid-free copies of the Rainbow Book standards somewhere! — they will, indeed, have a pristine copy of what we imagine ourselves to be at the moment. And, Americans being innate reenactors, they will have a pristine copy of what we imagine ourselves to imagine the past to be at that moment.

      I don’t see any reason to give the people who lost this thing the benefit of the doubt anymore. I ignore their pretensions to values and call them out on their interests.

    2. different clue

      I don’t do facebook. but if I did, that sounds like a good way to decide which friends to purge from the rolls.

  14. Cal

    “The index of leading economic indicators inched 0.1 percent higher in October to signal no more than modest economic growth in the coming months”

    Maybe that’s because the “irredeemables” are hoarding their money to spend it after inauguration day?

  15. rd

    Re: Policy, infrastructure spending and 2017

    The only infrastructure spending that could make a significant difference in 2017 is already in conference committee in Congress (WRDA – Water Resources and Development Act). This could be signed into law by Obama if Congress can successfully get the conference committee bill to his desk before the end of the lame-duck session.

    Infrastructure bills need to get negotiated in Congress (WRDA is currently renewed every two years and this version has been in negotiations all 2016) which is a non-trivial exercise that typically takes months. Even the “emergency” TARP didn’t make it through in a few weeks. Unless the Tea Party has been suddenly reformed, it is unlikely that any infrastructure bills will make it to the President’s desk before April-May.

    The approved bill then needs to go through the various agencies for figuring out how to distribute funds (even block grant checks don’t immediately go in the mail to states).

    State governments then need to figure out how to allocate the funds. Most highway funds are matching funds that go through the states. The federal government itself doesn’t spend the vast majority of infrastructure money directly unless it goes through USACE.

    Maintenance/replacement types of projects can generally be done without permitting (environmental, building codes, zoning, etc.). These types of projects would include simple bridge repairs, paving, some water and sewer line replacement etc.

    However, most new builds have to go through various planning and permitting processes. That takes anywhere from weeks to years. Any legal challenges bring that process to a standstill. Most P3 projects are going to be new builds, so they probably won’t get off the ground for at least a year or two.

    So now we get to actual design and contracting for the work. You need to have plans and specs for the bidders. That means the architect and engineering teams need to do their work (several months to several years depending on complexity). There are very few projects that have moved to the point where this work has been done unless funding has already been appropriated (anybody out there already got the blueprints for their new house they think they might be able to afford in a few years? Thought not.).

    The work then needs to get contracted through public bidding processes. Even P3s usually have to go through this for the P3 itself to be awarded the work before it can begin its final design and construction. Preparing a detailed P3 or design-build proposal in that bidding process usually takes several months so that accurate scope, schedules, and budgets can be developed. This process has a number of set rules because this is the time when historically graft and corruption have really inserted themselves into the process.

    TARP proved that there are very few “shovel-ready” projects ready. Historically rushing infrastructure projects through planning and permitting stages to spend money has led to poorly thought out projects and “white elephants.”

    Good infrastructure has to be done thoughtfully with spending bills that are providing funding for 5-10 years since its design life is generally 30 to 100 years (think of all the infrastructure you use daily that is over 40 years old, ranging from sewers to bridges). Think of the issues that arise years later from “cost-efficiency” decisions, such as Washington Metro’s decision in the 1970s to not have a third line to allow trains to divert around shut down tracks, which is now leading to massive shutdowns of entire lines in order to do delayed maintenance.

    So if WRDA gets to Obama’s desk, then you can expect to see some money for water resource projects starting to make their way through the US economy in 2017 – contact your Representative and Senator to push them to get that bill on Obama’s desk. It is unlikely that we would see Trump’s P3 money or most highway type of spending (that wasn’t already authorized in 2015’s Transportation Bill) in 2017. We might start to see it beginning to work in 2018.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Speaking of planning and permitting and contracting, one nice feature of the pseudo-legal system we have is that there’s lots of “holdout power” and “kneecapping potential” built in. A disappointed bidder often has both administrative-law and judicial challenges he/she/it can bring that will enjoin any “progress” while the controversies over “qualified bidder” and “lowest cost” and the many other litigatable issues are fought out, or resolved by some kind of invisible “agreement” that ain’t usually ‘in the public interest.” Corruption everywhere, getting bigger all the time.

      And of course there’s NIMBY attacks.

      And all that ignores the presence of people like an attorney here in Pinellas County aptly named (I won’t say), who is “plugged in,” and can, like a lot of other players, change the course of sensible projects and advance crapola wealth transfer stuff as if by magic, for the right fees and “incentives.” Why does it always seem like “the law” is available as a club or pike or shield for the rich folks, but not for the rest of us?

      And of course there are the Public=Private Partnership sharks, always circling, circling…

      1. rd

        Tight designs and scopes of work help with defining accurate bids and reduce change orders. But they cost a bit more money and take extra time, both of which get in the way of political agendas.

  16. Elizabeth

    The Hillary campaign photos do remind me of a lot of startups. The one with the “Swipe Right for Hillary is quite ironic, and with the big screen showing Bush Sr., it’s really funny. Perhaps these were the kind of voters she wanted to win. Also, there was a photo of Huma’s office (not shown above) that was completely empty.

    1. UserFriendly

      Swipe Right is a reference to Tinder; the hookup app. It sends you endless pictures, you swipe right if you are interested, swipe left if you aren’t. If two people swipe right on each other they both get a message. It didn’t take long for horn dogs to figure out to just always swipe right.

      1. Elizabeth

        Thanks for the explanation – had no idea the swipe reference was to a dating app! That reference makes it even funnier!

      2. aab

        I can’t think of a worse candidate to associate with the concept of “voting for her is like wanting to have sex with her.” Elite gayelles seem to adore her, so maybe there’s some fetish I’m unaware of, similar to Bears in the gay community.

        But any of these people were ACTUALLY of the left, that would have rung alarm bells. Funny how it did not.

        1. UserFriendly

          Yeah, I think it is disgusting. I would not want to swipe right with Bernie and his social media team would have known better than to ask. I have seen it used in non sexual terms before, but Tinder is for sure the origin and the most common use. Ewwww

  17. european

    How did ‘less than stellar’ high school student Jared Kushner get into Harvard?

    (The answer of course is money.)

    “There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,’’ a former official at the Frisch school in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. “His GPA [grade point average] did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought, for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.’’

    1. aab

      Come on, this is ridiculous. If it’s a private school, they know the score.

      When I got into Harvard, a really smart, mentally unstable guy in my class was wait-listed. His dad was a wealthy, relatively powerful alum, who had probably bribed my high school to admit his son after he was expelled from one of the top private schools in Manhattan. This kid WAS smart, and had decent SATs — his verbal was legit high. His grades were very uneven. My school was very heavy-handed about controlling where its students applied, because they needed to maximum their results list for marketing purposes. I was actually forced to apply to Harvard, and blocked from applying to Brown and Wesleyan, because they knew I could get into all three, but I’d block other kids in my class from being admitted to Brown and Wesleyan (I know it sounds like boasting, but I’m trying to give context. And part of what made me such a lock wasn’t just being smart and high-achieving, it was coming from a tiny state and having a horribly tragic childhood. Believe me when I say you would not want my childhood.)

      But they let this kid apply to Harvard, when there was no way in hell he should get in. And after he got the wait list notice, he said, “I’m in. My dad just has to write a check.” He was off the wait list before graduation.

      This was the 1980s. I have heard from friends that the intellectual quality of Harvard undergrads has gone down noticeably, and frankly, the dirty little secret about Harvard was that the hyper-smart kids there were ALWAYS a minority. There have been numerous articles in the mainstream press over the past decade or so about rich men negotiating with the Ivies over how big a check is needed to ensure their child’s admission. If the Frisch School was so surprised that the scion of New York real estate could be admitted to Harvard, they should all be forced to work at McDonald’s, instead. Because that is so common and obvious they had plots on Law & Order that included this exact fact set.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If Harvaaard was really elite, they’d be able to turn C students in high school into A workers at Goldman Sachs.

        But if it’s not really elite, A+ students in high school graduate only to find you don’t need a college degree to teach yoga and be happy in life.

      2. Liberal Mole

        When our son was a junior, he was a highly recruitable athlete – Straight As, top 10 in the nation in his sport, so I set up a schedule of elite colleges for him to visit. My husband always enjoys telling alums that Harvard was not on the list.

        This fall, our son decided to take a class on insects, cross registering at Harvard. Turned out that rather than studying the life and biology of insects, he was expected to go catch butterflies on the weekends and then mount and classify them.

        He dropped the class.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > go catch butterflies on the weekends and then mount and classify them

          I did that as a high school freshman. Lovely experience, but has higher education really deteriorated that much?!

      3. WJ

        I concur about Harvard. The place struck me as a kind of hugely ornate mausoleum. Kids at Chicago were way way smarter on average, and also legit intellectuals. For every one of those at Harvard there are four or five future financiers and beltway types.

      4. Kurt Sperry

        Harvard has been discriminating against Jewish kids and then Asians since year dot. My mom said the Chicago (and Stanford) kids were always smarter. Old money alums guarantee mediocre talent. But as MLTPB says just above, that should be where a great school shines. Or, more often, doesn’t.

  18. Paid Minion

    As long as we are on the subject of sunken warships…….


    Nice. The locals get their panties twisted if their culture/religion is “disrespected”, but this concern evidently doesn’t extend to UK/USA/Netherlands war graves.

    No “National Geographic” levels of artifact preservation here. A “Blast and Grab” job. Any human remains are pulverized by the explosives. Or end up in the scrapping furnace, along with all of the other artifacts and scrap metal.

    The USS Houston has partially received the treatment. The USS Perch has completely disappeared. I suppose someone should go check on the USS Lagarto and USS Flier.

    1. rd

      It is completely unacceptable for third-world people to loot first-world shipwrecks thereby showing disrespect for their customs and relics. The developed nations would never have done that to them.

      1. Paid Minion

        Too bad it’s not “Third World People” doing the blasting. Can’t be too “Third World” if they are using divers 200-300 feet (or more) down.

        Of course, details like this don’t matter to the “two wrongs make a right” club.

        We are spending millions recovering soldiers/sailors/Marines from battlefields and aircraft crashes all over the globe. Even if only to recover a few bones or teeth. We don’t do the same with sunken ships. The policy being “not disturbing their final resting place”.

        Now what do you suppose is going to happen when the still-living relatives of these sailors find out their mortal remains are being blasted into dust? And that the governments with jurisdiction aren’t going to do a damn thing about it?

        They will damn well insist that the US Navy start searching for and recovering these casualties. Or hire government contractors.

        A few hundred billion here, a few hundred billion there, and as they say, pretty soon you are talking real money.

  19. cocomaan

    This Obama apologia tour is really gag inducing.

    I’ve seen it mentioned that he’ll go to Silicon Valley, is that because of his milquetoast Wired op-ed? Just wondering where that idea comes from. I have no idea what he can offer Silicon Valley, given that he can’t even keep track of what email address his staff is using. I guess he has a lot to say about surveillance, though.

  20. L

    The Diplomat has an intersting take on the undead status of the TPP: How TPP Can Survive Trump. In it the author makes the valid point that many of the pieces of the TPP can come into force in other ways (e.g. individual FTAs with a different brand) and that many of the other countries in the TPP can move forward on their own, and may choose to do so on the assumption that the U.S. may join 4 – 8 years from now.

    They also note that a renegotiation under Trump is possible though unlikely given his consistency on the issue.

  21. Jerry Denim

    Kayne Link- Mr. West is ever amusing. His political musings contained quite a few astute observations well beyond the grasp of your average paid pundit. His exhortations to move beyond “racism” seemed to echo many of the sentiments expressed here regarding our current vapid identity politics vs. the old meaty politics of class and material substance. His closing remarks spoke of a desire to illuminate the dangers of epistemic closure for his audience who was most likely unfamiliar with the concept. “I asked you to give me your facts, because the internet was giving you their facts based on what you wanted to hear. And a lot of you guys got blindsided.”

    1. JTMcPhee

      Speaking of “the world is racist:” I saw a bumper sticker this morning on an older Buick with a sunburned opera roof, driven by a young male of color with dredlocks. Quoth the sticker, “Does my big d!ck make you afraid?” Running along in the next lane was a Big Wheel jacked-up pickup with two flags flapping from the back corners of the cab — 3 x 5 footers, one the US Ol’ Gory, the other the Confederate Battle Flag. Both headed the same direction…

    2. craazyman

      pretty funny he admits he was too lazy to vote. that’s pretty funny. I would’ve voted for Trump myself — if I had voted — but I didn’t vote either.

      If I sit here now and think about it, there were :

      1. Trump Voters
      2. Clinton voters
      3. voters who would have voted for Trump but they weren’t too lazy to vote
      4. voters who would have voted for Clinton but they weren’t too lazy to vote
      5. voters who wouldn’t have voted for either of them, even if they did vote, but they didn’t
      6. voters who did vote and voted for somebody other than Trump or Clinton
      7. voters who would not have voted for anybody under any circumstances
      8. voters who forgot to vote and would have voted for Trump had they remembered and voted
      9. voters who forgot to vote and would have voted for Clinton had they remembered and voted
      10. voters who would have voted if they’d known where to go vote
      11. voters who meant to vote for Trump but accidentally voted for Clinton
      12. voters who meant to vote for Clinton but accidentally voted for Trump
      13. voters who tried to vote but were so confused they failed for some reason, perhaps even inside the voting booth, even though they weren’t lazy (that may have been my category if i wasn’t so lazy).
      14. voters who had no idea there was even an election going on

      That’s a lot to analyze.

      I’m hearing rumors The Wall 1) was just a campaigning device and 2) when construction starts it would be a boom for Mexican cement manufacturers. The Wall may be the best thing that’s happened to Northern Mexico since God Knows When. It could be an economic boom. Seriously. This could be the most amazing wall the world has ever seen. It might be like the arch in St. Louis if they do this right — it could be an architectural masterpiece and a cultural icon. I’d say go for the wall. it could employ so many people you’ll think it;s a Cecil B. DeMille movie.

      1. craazyman

        somebody changed the words after i typed! this is the way it should have been:

        3. voters who would have voted for Trump but they were too lazy to vote
        4. voters who would have voted for Clinton but they were too lazy to vote

      2. JustAnObserver

        Double boom for cement if you include all the tunnels the Mexican cartels’ll be digging under the Wall.

    3. integer

      There was a discussion here the other day about how CEO’s of big corporations have a high propensity to drift into the mindset that they are highly knowledgable experts on all topics. Well, there’s a musical analogue of this genre of know-it-alls, and Kanye West is one of its most prolific spokespeople.

  22. Carolinian

    Thanks for pix of the SS Clinton. We remember when you called it that. Hopefully Lena Dunham doesn’t read NC because she might come down with another case of the weepies. The site that shall remain nameless says Dunham is unwinding in Sedona, Arizona on a “vision quest.” No word on whether she’ll also be trying the sweat lodge.

    1. hunkerdown

      +1 ruin prawn. Perhaps whilst on her co-optation spa getaway Ms. Dunham will atone by having a Brazile-ian.

      1. aab

        While that is a delightful pun, I vote to never have another reference to Lena Dunham’s genitalia on this site.

        1. hunkerdown

          aab, they were arguably relevant to the campaign; that said, seconded and sorry and as should Lena! I missed my pun-chance when Donna got waxed from CNN for sugaring one of the candidates with advance questions from the pop quiz, which would have gotten anyone else docked from class instantly, but for the hair apparent, it took Comby to cut her down to size

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Or anyone’s, please! This is a family blog (though granted the pun above is delightful and would go over the heads of the children in any case).

          Having said that, dare I ask what “ruin prawn” means? Is that a kind of air hockey?

          1. hunkerdown

            Thank you and sorry again guvnor. Prawn, you know, prawnographic imagery. I do have some sense of decorum!

            Those photos coming back about at this juncture reminded me of the video for Ultravox’s “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes”, the story being of a nuclear power plant exploding and killing the town. The video spends rather a long time panning intimately over the (tastefully covered) carnage of one family’s home. It’s apparently not trivial to find online; apparently UK censors got a bit bothered by that story on the screen during the Cold War, and its rightsholders are enforcing with vigor.

  23. optimader

    Image 4
    Looks like a retooled Illinois DMV office, (dept of Motor Vehicles office) Not clear if anyone there is actually working? Maybe they are unpaid interns doing what they are paid for?

      1. aab

        This reminds me of my favorite rumor from the primaries. Supposedly, Hillary interns were really jealous of Bernie interns, because Bernie paid his interns and treated them well, and Hillary interns were unpaid, screamed at and treated like slaves.

  24. John Wright

    Off topic, advice on stopping a NYTimes digital subscription

    Perhaps others might want to kill their digital subscription to the NYTimes.

    I cancelled my NYTimes digital subscription last week,

    In the USA, this is done by calling a toll-free number, as the Times has no supported way to do this online.

    Foreign subscribers can email their cancellation, and maybe that would have been honored for a US customer, but email lacks “closure” to me.

    One item that troubled me was I could not clear out the credit card info stored on the Times site.

    Clearing the CC number didn’t work, changing the expiration date didn’t work.

    What did work was substituting an unexpired pre-paid debit card number that had zero balance.

    This number was accepted and my fears that the Times might charge my credit card anyway were lessened

    1. aab

      We went through this a couple of years ago. We cancelled, they made us jump through lots of hoops to do it, and a few months later, they just started charging us again. It took FOREVER to get it taken care of. Apparently, the Times is well known for doing this.

      That debit card trick is genius. I wish I’d thought of it.

    2. Jen

      On the one hand, having to call the Times to cancel your subscription is inconvenient and annoying. On the other hand, the poor soul who answers your call has to ask you why you are cancelling your subscription.

      I must say, it was worth making the call, and I cancelled my subscription well before the election over their rancid coverage of Ferguson.

  25. LarryB

    Well, I imagine those mugs are cheaper now, not many people would want to be associated with that campaign.

  26. b.

    The Remnick piece is mistitled – should be “How Obama does not reckon”

    Gods, 70 more days of drivel like this? This genre needs a name – hagiobituary?

    One useful bit of information:
    “[Obama] mentioned Kamala Harris, the new senator from California; Pete Buttigieg, a gay Rhodes Scholar and Navy veteran who has twice been elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana; Tim Kaine; and Senator Michael Bennet, of Colorado.”

    By their sponsors know them. Daschle/Lieberman told us everything about Obama worth knowing.

    1. Propertius

      Senator Michael Bennet, of Colorado.

      All you need to know about Michael Bennett, courtesy of Wikipedia:

      Bennet was appointed superintendent of Denver Public Schools on June 27, 2005, taking office on the following July 1. Bennet had no experience as a school administrator.[11] In 2008, Bennet persuaded the Denver Board of Education to enter into a 30-year, $750 million financial bond transaction with variable interest rates designed to fluctuate as economic conditions changed. The New York Times wrote that “In short order, the transaction went awry because of stress in the credit markets, problems with the bond insurer and plummeting interest rates.” As of 2010, the school system had paid $115 million in interest and other fees, at least $25 million more than it originally anticipated.[

  27. ewmayer

    o Michael Hudson’s latest piece on Counterpunch [append the following to the obvious URL: 11/15/break-up-the-democratic-party-its-time-for-the-clintons-and-rubin-to-go-and-soros-too/] echoes a sentiment posted under different authorship here this past week:

    “Break Up the Democratic Party: It’s Time for the Clintons and Rubin to Go – and Soros Too”

    o Staying at the same site, a pair of interestingly contrasting post-election articles:

    “Blaming Everybody” | Jason Hirthler […/11/11/blaming-everybody]

    “Not Our President?” | Stanley Cohen […/11/16/not-our-president/]

    Hysterical pearl-clutching by the author: “…in dozens of cities across this nation women and men of conscience, of all races, ages, religions, cultures and beliefs, understand all too well that Trump represents the greatest political and social threat that our Republic of diversity has encountered since the civil war…” Yowsers, “Our Republic of Diversity” – three-biodegradable-cruelty-free-fair-trade-hanky stuff there, Stanley! Everyone, can we we all get together to give poor Stanley a big Multicultural Group Hug? He can really use one.

    o Janet “Yellen like a Felon”, leader of the FOMC absurdist comedy troupe, on whither rates: ‘At our meeting earlier this month, the Committee judged that the case for an increase in the target range had continued to strengthen and that such an increase could well become appropriate relatively soon if incoming data provide some further evidence of continued progress toward the Committee’s objectives.’ — That is credentialed-absurdist-comedic-economist-ese for ‘Markets already hiked rates for us half a percent post-election without any accompanying FOMC blather, but we are determined to race out to the front of that riot and call it a parade.’ Must be really cool to actually get paid and slavishly quoted by the financial press for this kind of ‘duh!’ material, though. Oh, did I mention that she is highly credentialed?

  28. Oregoncharles

    ” This proposal is actually very modest in terms of a fiscal boost. More analysis to come when we see the actual proposals, but I think analysts might be overestimating the boost from government spending in 2017” [Calculated Risk]. Readers, thoughts?”
    Aren’t there huge amounts of private funds sitting uselessly in the Wall St. casino, or overseas? It $100 billion can draw large amounts of those into domestic investment, it would be a good investment, indeed.

    I’m not saying it WILL, but that may well be the intention, and might even be the effect, with luck. Trump is a builder.

    If not, just more graft.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I thought GG kind of whiffed on his contention that honest Republican reappraisal post-2012 was responsible for 2016 successes. The party brass learned nothing, they tried to get Trump off the ticket. The only thing that saved the party was their failure. The rest is coat tails. He did get the DP side pretty well right however.

      1. Liberal Mole

        Yes. If anything, the Republican party was all set to do 2012 again. Just look at the crop of losers that were running against Trump. Were any of them likely to have more appeal than Romney?

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Trump, as a putative change agent, was probably the only one of the Republican scrum who could beat Hillary. That’s more amazing given Hillary’s extremely high negatives. The Republicans were as, actually maybe more, hostile to Trump than the Ds were to Bernie. Just as Hillary as the consummate unpopular insider perhaps uniquely made a Trump administration possible. It’s almost like both sides were trying to sabotage their own chances by trying to force unpopular candidates on their respective bases. It almost has to be some manifestation of kayfabe doesn’t it? It’s just hard to make sense of it any other way. Are they–can they be–as dumb as that?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Hillary from the perspective of Congressional Democrats was about Obama and what he did to the party. The Dems were shellacked in 2014 and didn’t receive much of a welcome. Obama was delivered the Presidency and huge majorities. He didn’t do much besides post Hillary.

            The Democrats needed a savior, and they don’t have much. Liz Warren? A lifelong Republican. That’s the star. Those Hispanic Obamas are empty suits but less TV ready and have to face a tougher environment.

            Hillary had a campaign operation and had the myth of having win big in 1992. As a plus, the Veep sweepstakes seemed wide open, and she might not run in 2020. If you didn’t think very hard or at all, Hillary answered prayers of these people.

            Team Blue types went up to New Hampshire and found there wasn’t much interest in current Democrats. Hillary still had her celebrity, and unlike Obama, there was a belief she would fight Republicans. I bet she is friendly in person, most people are, but that has never stopped people from being amazed another member of a species of apes in arrested development would be friendly.

        2. different clue

          I would have voted for Clinton against any of the Brand Name Republicans. Because they were all without exception Foreign Policy Clintonites for War in Syria and Bad Relations with Russia. They were all as bad as Clinton AND worse besides.

          It turns out the Clinton team made a bad guess as to which Republican would scare the most voters into voting for Clinton.

      2. pretzelattack

        i don’t think he contended that–he said something like it counted because it showed they could question themselves, but trump actually won by acting against their recommended actions (or so i understood it).

        as an aside, i’m a little stunned at a couple of longtime greenwald commenters, who’ve gone full daily kos.

  29. Kim Kaufman

    A lot of good stuff in this article. Glad he listened so I didn’t have to.

    Listening to Trump
    By Christian Parenti (New York University)

    “I found myself watching hours of raw video feed of Trump campaign speeches. Insomnia got me there but I stayed for the mesmerizing dada quality of the Trump show, and for the mind-bending experience of watching a reality TV freak articulate surprisingly subversive political truths about the economy and America’s role in the world.”


    “Leaning into the mic, face flushed, speaking with unhurried and angry deliberation, Donald Trump told a cheering New Hampshire audience: “We’re gonna bring businesses back. We’re gonna have businesses that used to be in New Hampshire, that are now in Mexico, come back to New Hampshire. And,” pausing for applause, “you can tell them, to go fuck themselves! Because, they let you down, and they left!”

    The crowd roared its approval.”


    “At almost every turn the liberal pundits misunderstood, or did not hear, what Trump was saying. After his win in the Nevada Caucus Trump said: “We won with highly-educated, we won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated! We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.” Liberals lampooned him, assuming that he had insulted part of his base.

    A different interpretation translates those comments as: “Trump understands that it’s not all my fault that I couldn’t get an education. He understands that even people who don’t have advanced degrees can make good decisions and are worthy of respect.””


    “Much to my surprise, the young Yemeni American shopkeeper at my local convenience store in Brooklyn supported Trump. Why? Because, instead of hearing in Trump’s rhetoric a threat to round up Muslims, he heard a promise to stop supplying Saudi Arabia with bombs to drop on Yemen. “Over a thousand school kids killed by those bombs! Just little kids!””

    1. Foy

      Agreed. Scott Adams mentioned this last year as a reason why he considers Trump to be a master persuader. The way Trump talks allows people to put their own interpretation on what he says and go “ah yep, he’s talking to me”. Two people can walk away with different interpretations of the same sentence.

      It seems that people are only now working out how Trump speaks. It’s usually always vague enough for multiple interpretations or attached with a undefinable caveat eg ” We will ban all muslims entering the country until we know what the hell is going on”. As soon as he declares he “knows what the hell is going on” he can lift any ban in place. But “what the hell is going on” can mean anything he wants it to mean.

  30. JimTan

    “[Facebook,] the social-networking giant said Wednesday it has found numerous errors in the ways it calculates how many people view its ads, artificially inflating their perceived value to advertisers and publishers”

    Hmmm……Maybe Facebook’s newfound honesty is because customers are starting to question why years of Advertising spend is not translating into revenue gains.  I’ve always found it curious that Facebook sells Advertisements to customers who have no way to verify these purchased Advertisements are displayed to Users. This model creates all kinds of crazy incentives. How much of an item would you sell if your customer can’t see what you’re selling?

    1. JTMcPhee

      …and heaven forbid that all those “items” for sale by hopeful sellers might be worthless dreck on the way to unused files on endless hard drives and other media, or in rented storage units, the backs of endless not-yet-professionally-“organized” closets, or landfills…

      But hey, it all goes into the GDP calculation, right?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hmm. Do I need to start filing Google Ad Words stories under The Bezzle? Can you recommend a source for me to track, like Advertising Age for SEO (a hideously sleazy field)?

  31. mk

    Bernie was on Colbert’s show on 11-14, just watched it. He was promoting his book, Our Revolution, here’s some of what he said (all his words, but not exact transcription):

    …Our job right now is to get involved heavily into the political process. When millions of people stand up and fight back, we will not be denied.

    The Good News
    Trump is not an ideologue, his views are all over the place.
    When millions of people stand up to Trump, he may actually hear them.

    The Bad News
    If not Trump himself, people around Trump are saying… hmm… we got the house, we got the senate, we got the White House, have the Supreme Court… we’re going to change the rules of the game so that we don’t lose anymore.

    That means you have the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allows billionaires to buy elections. They can make it even worse by doing away with all campaign finance laws. Someone can come up to you and say “Hey, here’s $500 million, run for Senate NJ, I own you, you work for me, here’s your script.” That is what the Koch brothers and the leadership of the Republican Party want.

    Then on top of that, they’re going to move forward more vigorously in voter suppression making it harder for poor people, old people, people of color to actually vote, put up all kinds of restrictions. You do those things, unleash billionaires to buy elections, make it hard for millions of people to participate, they think they can control this government indefinitely.

    Our job is to bring tens of millions of people together to say #1 – This country is not an oligarchy, it’s a democracy. #2 – You’re not going to split us up by attacking our Muslim friends or our gay friends or women or anybody else. We’re going to stand together and fight for a government and an economy that works for all of us.

  32. OIFVet

    0bama: “investments in infrastructure—which, by definition, aren’t shipped overseas.” Ah, Barry, as someone who claims to be a Chicagoan, you very well know that the rents from infrastructure do get shipped overseas. So the meter revenue goes to the Middle East, and the tolls from the Skyway go to France or Spain. Too lazy to check which one, but they sure do. I am all for infrastructure investments, but let’s not privatize them, m’kay?!

    1. cnchal

      0bama: “investments in infrastructure—which, by definition, aren’t shipped overseas

      Isn’t there some bridge in California that was made in China that is rotting much faster than planned?

      Politicians and truth. It’s really hard to come together.

      Canada has it’s own version of overseas infrastructure. Chinese delegations have been swanning around Parliament Hill demanding that they build the 500 KM railroad to the Ring of Fire mineral deposit in Northern Ontario. After destroying their own habitat, they are looking for fresh places to ruin. The financial media is fully on board with this idiocy.

      What the Chinese delegation deserves is a kick square on the asshole with an Alberta cowboy boot, and with the words “get the fuck out” ringing in their ears. Ring of fire indeed.

      1. different clue

        Hmmm . . . . if China builds dams the way it builds bridges, I wouldn’t want to be living downstream from Three Gorges Dam. Cheap Commie Crap Construction. Unless they have higher standards for domestic work, which would be very cynical of them.

  33. Steve C

    The working class always gets screwed. Trump’s privatization will ruin the people he claims to represent and reward those he claimed to despise. Will the Dems seize on this opportunity? Doubtful.

        1. aab

          I’m fascinated to see what Bernie is doing. He’s a cagey old dude. He apparently wrote a book that’s quite blunt about the Democratic Party, while anticipating that Clinton would win. Now he’s doing a book tour conveniently during the chaos of the transition, forcing them to actually cover him and his message a bit.

          He couldn’t actually be such a Jedi that he planned for this, could he?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Sanders Our Revolution still #1 at Amazon (the hard cover!).

            > cagey old dude

            What I think. “Some people” seem to think it’s a bad thing that Sanders is a very good politician. I think it’s a good thing. You want people inside that can play the inside game. What we need are people who can play the outside game. The Greens might work as a movement even if they’re merely a distraction that has now been cleared away as a party.

            1. meeps

              Yes. I think it was wise of Sanders to express optimism for his new role in energizing the people’s political movement while forswearing allegiance to the D party. That gives some reassurance to those of us who don’t wish to be steered anywhere near that wreckage.

              How the outside game will be played is less obvious. The social media is a great organizing tool for some, less so for others.

              Thanks for Lori’s happy dance, which contains a nice Road Map document (a bullet list) of what to do/avoid next. It’s the sort of win that reminds that the people aren’t necessarily done for, even in the midst of a hard right swing.

              In an interview Snowden said, “If we want to have a better world we can’t hope for an Obama, and we should not fear a Donald Trump, rather we should build it ourselves.”

              I’m in.

    1. GregoryA

      I think much like 1992, that was a “bad win” for Republicans. There was a lot of weakness in the vote. Also the fact it will force out some Democrats is not a good thing either. Fresh faces lead toward problems for the oppositions.

    1. djrichard

      Wow, very powerful. When I dream, my dreams tend to fall into two buckets: dreams where I’m talking/connecting with people. And others where I’m dealing with things/technology and authority (and not connecting at all). These paintings would probably be the closest realization of how I feel in the latter.

      Unfortunately, while my life falls into those two buckets too, it’s more on the latter side.

      Anyways, thanks for sharing. Definitely will have to revisit this artist’s works.

    1. Skip Intro

      So much fear on the part of minorities and energy on the part of racists is due not to Trump’s actual words or positions, but the Clinton campaign’s half a billion dollar distorting megaphone, which portrayed and continues to portray the Trump campaign as a national referendum on open white supremacism.

  34. thump

    Thought re: Calculated Risk article on infrastructure proposal. Tax credits for private development will mean there’s still an opening for the left, since private companies will just jump on the money and not actually help people.

  35. different clue

    Way upthread I said I would leave a link to an article about “Top Ten Fuel Trees for Zone 5 and Above” if I could find it. Here it is. It speaks for itself so I will just provide the link.
    I believe it to be worth re-reading several times slowly.

    Here is an article about growing your own renewable perennial kindling. And within the article is a link to an ongoing project to write a big book about renewable coppicing all around the world. I will include both for their value, and also to show how one accidentally finds things of great value by random-walking the web. First the renewable kindling link.

    And now the upcoming-book-about-coppicing link from within the just-above-linked-to article.

  36. different clue

    Oh, and . . .about the problem of smoke and particulates from wood fires . . . the rocket stove solves that at a very tiny scale level.
    Heres a crappy wiki-link with embedded links to better articles.

    Could this principle be scaled up in size for total oxidation of bigger batches of wood?

    Maybe not big enough for a power plant but maybe yes big enough for home heating. What if a bigger rocket stove were the source of heat for an in-home Masonry Stove? Like this?

    And what if the Masonry-heater-owning homeowner with a rocket-stove-designed woodburning-component providing heat to the heater were burning osage orange wood or some other very high heat value wood for the masonry heater?

  37. skippy


    The Phallic Hillary arrow with post-it notes at the end…. what can I say…. reminiscent of the late Robin Williams comic sketch ‘Spiffy the Sperm’…..

    Long story short, Spiffy was a layabout night owl without much drive to succeed whilst all the other sperm were training like champions… for the big day. Anywho the big day came, flashing lights – hooter goes off and its off to the races, Spiffy’s ancestor makes an appearance and an previously unknown desire to – “WIN” – compels him to a competitive level he never knew he was capable of……

    Leading the pack Spiffy is overwhelmed by his nascent victory at the departure point…. only to egress for a split second and reverse azimuth, sticking his head back in, too in a panic stricken voice…. yell…. BLOW JOB…

    Disheveled Marsupial…. yep… that about sums up the whole shebang for me….. everyone got – sucked in too – a pyrrhic something or other….

  38. samhill

    No pictures of the Amazing ADA? Like Deep Blue. Only brown, like poop. Deep Poop. I looked couldn’t spot a big brown machine.

    So, in part HRC lost because of an incompetent robot? There’s a movie in that. Maybe even a cute goofy Disney robot movie. Or a TV series. Like a Jetsons episode. Hillary like Lucile Ball.

    Trump overtakes the GOP clown car, nervous but arrogant Mad Prof. Mook inserts a quickly improvised Trump punch card made from a soy sauce stained Chinese Take-Out Menu into ADA, after a pregnant pause it’s eyes bulge, its head spins in a 360 blur as smoke, springs and bearings fly out it’s ears. Mook pulls a desperate all-nighter secreted alone in his lab and gets his beloved machine back together and seemingly working well. We the audience and he are the only ones who know what really happened and weeks of gags ensue as the machine borks on relentless “does-not-compute” Trump input and HRC is forced to follow the computer’s crazy suggestions (picture Gilligan trying to implement The Professor’s schemes). Hillary’s husband Bill is the only one suspicious and has an snarky antagonistic relationship with ADA. BC: “I didn’t need a fancy-pants algorithm to get myself elected!” ADA: You didn’t need one to almost get yourself impeached either!” Laugh track on 10. Each week different guest stars like Beyonce, Robert DeNiro, Jay-Z, etc., appear and interact comically with ADA. Season highlights are political luminaries Warren and Sanders interacting w/ ADA, even George Senior and Barbara Bush on the Christmas Special.

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