2:00PM Water Cooler 11/23/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


TPP: “The Burial of the Zombie TPP” (PDF) [Lori Wallach, Eyes on Trade]. “The unrelenting push by the Obama administration for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) right through this election helped to elect Donald Trump, but Trump himself did not derail the TPP –people power united across borders accomplished that first by delaying the TPP’s completion beyond its 2012 deadline and then by ensuring that a majority in Congress could never be built to implement the deal since it was signed 10 months ago.” And if Trump wants to put the cherry on top of the sundae built for others, why good for him and bless his heart!

TPP: “Trump has said he’ll withdraw from the TPP in the first 100 days of his presidency, and Republican congressional leaders have said they won’t hold a vote on the pact before the end of the year, but Obama has one more card left to play: He could still send the legislation to Congress for consideration” [Politico]. “Asked about whether Obama would make such a move, White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined on Tuesday to say whether Obama would submit the TPP, but he did acknowledge that chances were slim that the pact would become law in the next two months.”

TPP: “An ambitious Asia-wide trade agreement looks to be in the works, but it may include China rather than the U.S. A senior Chinese official says Asian leaders are pressing ahead with talks for the 10-nation regional pact since President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is the China-backed alternative to the TPP, the WSJ reports, and Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia are signaling support amid what one trade minister says is an ‘uncertain international economic situation.’ The rapid turn toward a new regional pact shows the U.S. partners in TPP won’t wait out a new and uncertain debate over that trade deal, even if it means following Beijing as an unlikely leader of a new free-trade movement. China is growing bolder as it seeks to claim leadership in global commerce” [Wall Street Journal].


2016 Post Mortem

“Clinton Manipulates Language of ‘Intersectionality’ To Preserve Support From Minority Voters” [ShadowProof]. From February, but relevant today. Scroll down for the transcript: “how do you expect to address the real plight of African-Americans in this country around their everyday lives without a jobs program, without universal healthcare, without decent and universal public education? To think that these are matters that, by virtue of being economic, are not relevant for people of color is not just wrong. It is fantastically dishonest.”

“Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump The White House” [Forbes]. Sure, hagiography, but it’s still full of amazing quotes:

On tech:

“‘Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election,’ adds Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, who helped design the Clinton campaign’s technology system*. “Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources.”

* Ada? BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!! And:

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, delved into message tailoring, sentiment manipulation and machine learning.

I wonder if the rallies tied into this in a way beyond Trump’s intuitions. Brookyn vs. San Antonio:

By June the GOP nomination secured, Kushner took over all data-driven efforts. Within three weeks, in a nondescript building outside San Antonio, he had built what would become a 100-person data hub designed to unify fundraising, messaging and targeting.

Kushner structured the operation with a focus on maximizing the return for every dollar spent. “We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best ROI for the electoral vote,” Kushner says. “I asked, How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?” FEC filings through mid-October indicate the Trump campaign spent roughly half as much as the Clinton campaign did.

When the campaign registered the fact that momentum in Michigan and Pennsylvania was turning Trump’s way, Kushner unleashed tailored TV ads, last-minute rallies and thousands of volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls.

And until the final days of the campaign, he did all this without anyone on the outside knowing about it. For those who can’t understand how Hillary Clinton could win the popular vote by at least 2 million yet lose handily in the electoral college, perhaps this provides some clarity. If the campaign’s overarching sentiment was fear and anger, the deciding factor at the end was data and entrepreneurship.

Finallly, there’s this:

It’s clear America’s tech and entrepreneurial leaders, who heavily backed Clinton and collectively denounced Trump, will use Kushner as a go-between and that Trump will lean on him just as heavily.

And as a postscript:

….former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has known Trump socially for decades and is currently advising the president-elect on foreign policy issues….

Henry’s just friendly with everybody, isn’t he?

UPDATE “It is, in retrospect, astonishing how much the Democratic Party seemed unaware or uninterested in just how many people didn’t like Hillary Clinton. We will parse the statistics for decades on this election, but the one that keeps sticking with me is the one taken after the election about the likability of the two candidates. Clinton and Trump were noted for their historical low approval ratings throughout the election, but this is the poll that showed where it mattered: People who liked Clinton but hated Trump voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. People who liked Trump but hated Clinton voted overwhelmingly for Trump. People who hated both of them voted overwhelmingly… for Trump” [Some Guy with a Website]. Sixteen years to craft their message, and the Clinton Dynasty blew it.

UPDATE “… I know that quoting a wikileaks email is akin to voting for Putin…” [Eschaton]. Epistemic closure. AFAIK from the Intercept, not one single Podesta emails has been shown to be false (and it’s hard to believe Brock wasn’t heavily incentivized to gin something up).

Trump Transition

“At Lunch, Donald Trump Gives Critics Hope” [Thomas Friedman, New York Times]. Help me.

UPDATE “Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript” [New York Times]. Rather a lot of “[laughter].”

“Trump taps Ashley Madison to lead Veterans’ Affairs” [Duffel Blog].

“Bankers Ridiculed by Trump Are Already Embracing His Future Regime” [Bloomberg]. Knock me over with a feather…


“After winning big at the polls only 10 days ago, backers of marijuana legalization fear their movement took a major hit Friday when President-elect Donald Trump chose Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a staunch legalization opponent, as his attorney general” [McClatchy]. “At a Senate hearing in April, Sessions called marijuana “dangerous” and said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

” Since the November 8 election, Shannon Monnat, a rural sociologist and demographer at Pennsylvania State University, has dug into the results. She found that counties that voted more heavily for Trump than expected were closely correlated with counties that experienced high rates of death caused by drugs, alcohol, and suicide” [Business Insider]. “Two other factors were strongly correlated with Trump “overperformance,” Monnat found: the percentage of white voters in the county and its ranking on Monnat’s ‘economic distress index.’ The index, which Monnat has used in her research for years, combines the percentages of people who are in poverty, unemployed, disabled, in single-parent families, living on public assistance, or living without health insurance…. “People are literally dying,” she added. “There was such a sense of hopelessness that it makes sense they would vote for massive change.” Which, given their performance, is completely OK with the Democrat establishment and the political class generally. Remember how the Case-Deaton study appeared and quickly vanished? How could they imagine there would never be a reaction to the policies that brought this about?

“What about the black working class?” [CNN]. ” In fact, in a CNN/Kaiser poll taken before the election, 63% of white working class respondents said they were satisfied with their personal financial situation compared to just 40% of black working class respondents. Both groups were overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the country’s economic situation.”

UPDATE “Why Black Voters in Milwaukee Weren’t Enthused by Hillary Clinton” [New York Magazine]. This article takes off on two other New York Times articles, and points out this flaw:

The African-American Milwaukee voters were less outraged by Trump’s bigotry and misogyny than many optimistic Democrats expected them to be. Over and over, Democrats and journalists stated and wrote confidently that Trump’s outrageous statements about minority groups would fire up and turn out the Democratic base, making Trump’s uphill battle even steeper. It didn’t happen — exit polls suggest Clinton underperformed among African-Americans and Latinos. One interpretation is that members of these groups were, overall, less offended than bubble-denizens assumed they would be, or at least less mobilized by that offense. In the case of the Milwaukee voters Tavernise interviewed (an admittedly nonscientific sample), Trump’s bigoted remarks just weren’t near the top of their list of concerns. One likely possibility is that African-Americans’ views on Trump were mediated by class and education. Just a month ago, the Times ran an article quoting a handful of the many black voters who were disturbed by Trump’s racial rhetoric. But it appeared to be a somewhat different crowd than the folks interviewed by Tavernise: Among the anti-Trump interviewees were a graduate student, another graduate student, a finance professional, and the head of a gay-rights group. It may be that high-information, politically engaged minority voters — those who are likely to have higher incomes and be better educated — found the choice obvious, but lower-information ones didn’t. It’s not like white people don’t have the same pattern.

In other words, you’ve got to factor in class (and maybe we could replace the insulting euphemism “low information voters” with “differently-informationed voters.” Or something).

“I Was a Teenage Nazi Wannabe” [Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic]. “[T]he actual alt-right, in reality a minor branch of a diverse ecosystem in which you’re just as likely to find techno-utopian seasteaders or orthodox Christians defending hereditary monarchy. The alt-right are the least intellectual of this pseudo-intellectual movement, which explains the appeal of Trumpism. Theirs is a sycophantic aesthetic fantasy in which they imagine looking cool in SS uniforms and getting to bang Alison Doody as Dr. Elsa Schneider, Indy’s treacherous Nazi paramour in The Last Crusade. Unfortunately for them, this bogus wet dream ends in stains and tears.”


“The election probably wasn’t hacked. But Clinton should request recounts just in case” [Vox]. I’m so old that I remember when Clinton supporters were clutching their pearls and heading for the fainting couch when Trump said he wouldn’t necessarily accept the results of the election. And a six-month-old baby wouldn’t fall for this “just in case” nonsense. No doubt Clinton wishes to attack Trump’s legitimacy, but she’d have a lot more credibility if she and unnamed officials in the national security establishment hadn’t been gaslighting the election — and ginning up a war scare — by demonizing Putin.

“A growing number of academics and activists are calling for US authorities to fully audit or recount the 2016 presidential election vote in key battleground states, in case the results could have been skewed by foreign hackers” [Guardian]. ” “Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts,” [Professor Alex Halderman] said.” What did you do in the Democrat primary, Perfesser?

“Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States” [New York Magazine]. By one Gabriel Sherman; I guess Chait passed. Of the many red flags in the article, this is perhaps the most flaming: “The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.” So for this, hysteria on the Twitter? Petitions? Hash tags? Dear lord. And then–

“Be very skeptical of stolen election claims” [Vox]. On Sherman’s New York Magazine article above: ” In fact, there’s a grand total of one specific claim from this analysis that’s reported in Sherman’s piece, sourced to an anonymous person briefed on a recent call in which this group made its case to Clinton campaign bigwigs.” Swell.

Inside Baseball

“Use These Awesome Calling Card Reminders To Give Your Reps An Earful” [Chicagoist]. I don’t think much of the content of the cards, but the format looks like it could be useful.

Stats Watch

Durable Goods Orders, October 2016: “October durable goods new orders jumped a much greater than expected 4.8 percent as transportation orders posted a 12.0 percent gain” [Econoday]. “Excluding transportation, orders were up a healthy 1.0 percent for a fourth consecutive gain.” Not trucks, as we know; aircraft: “The Boeing effect was again important as the company received orders for 85 aircraft for the month from 55 in September” [Economic Calendar]. And: “The headlines say the durable goods new orders improved. The unadjusted three month rolling average improved this month and is now in expansion” [Econintersect]. “The real issue here is that inflation is starting to grab in this sector making real growth much less than appears at face value. Also this month’s data looks better because last month was revised down. Overall the trends are improving but far from the sense you get from the headlines.”

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Manufacturing Index Flash, November 2016: “The headline index was the highest since October 2015, largely reflecting robust output and new business growth during the latest survey period” [Econoday]. But: “New orders growth was also the fastest in 13 month with the main impetus coming from domestic activity. Export sales were reported to have increased only marginally on the month with competitive pressures and the strong dollar having an adverse impact on export orders, which rose only marginally for the month” [Economic Calendar]. And: “This signals a stronger number, but not one so strong that the growth and interest rate hawks need to panic” [247 Wall Street].

Jobless Claims, week of November 19, 2016: Increased [Econoday]. ” 90 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970.” But: “The general trend of the 4 week rolling average is a slowing rate of improvement year-over-year which historically suggests a slowing economy” [Econintersect]. But: “Some investors and economists may say the jump higher here is worth a note. It probably isn’t. Last week’s report was a cycle low and it would take two more straight jumps for someone to get much of a pulpit to stand on. After all, business owners and managers are just acting and sounding more positive again than they have in years” [247 Wall Street].

FHFA House Price Index, September 2016: “[E]ased slightly in September” [Econoday]. “On the year, the FHFA index surged to plus 6.1 percent, down from August’s gain of 6.4 percent.”

New Home Sales, October 2016: “October sales of new single family houses declined 1.9 percent to a weaker than expected an annualized rate” [Econoday]. And: “The data will maintain near-term optimism in the housing sector, but there will also be important underlying concerns over the implications of higher interest rates. 30-year rates have moved back above the 3.05% level, which will put further upward pressure on mortgage costs and lead to further affordability issues” [Economic Calendar].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of November 20, 2016: “fell back” [Econoday]. “Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin makes the following comments: The initial reaction of consumers to Trump’s victory was to express greater optimism about their personal finances as well as improved prospects for the national economy” [Econintersect].

Consumer Sentiment, November 2016: Climbed, above expectations [Econoday].

Shipping: “A new report by respected Hang Seng Management College (HSMC) claims the world’s fifth-largest port could lose as much as 2.4m teu in transhipment traffic or 14% of its throughput, should China’s cabotage rules, allowing foreign-flagged vessels to carry domestic cargo between Chinese ports, be fully relaxed” [The Loadstar]. “Under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, Hong Kong is not regarded as a Chinese port and is exempt from cabotage. As a result, it has historically benefited from large transhipment volumes, which represented 70% of the port’s 20m teu throughput in 2015.”

Shipping: “Port of Philadelphia $300m upgrade to double capacity” [Splash 247]. “Around $200m of that sum will go to capital improvements to the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal at the port. These will include increasing the container handling capacity from over 400,000 teu to 900,000 teu with the possibility of further increases to 1.2m teu.”

Shipping: “Shipbuilding orders in the first ten months of this year have dropped to levels not seen since the 1980s, according to Clarksons Research” [Splash 247]. “From January to October this year, global newbuilding orders recorded 359 vessels of a combined 24.8m dwt (9.6m cgt), showing a 73% year-on-year decrease in dwt terms.”

Supply Chain: “Why Reshore Manufacturing? It’s the Only Way to Avoid Defective Pirated Parts” [Of Two Minds]. ” What has been commoditified in the global supply chain is not quality or reliability– what’s been commoditified is pirated, defective parts that look exactly like legitimate parts. There is a solution that’s a lot cheaper than shoveling sand against the counterfeit tide: bring the entire supply chain back to America where production can be verified and the parts tested and ID’d/ labeled with technologies that cannot be counterfeited as easily as the parts.” I think we have readers who may have encountered such parts in their work. Comments?

Labor Power: “Outside Looking In: Why Has Labor Force Participation Increased?” [Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta]. “The LFPR has increased about 30 basis points over the past year (from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016)—a modest reversal in the precipitous decline in the LFPR that began in 2008. What accounts for this stabilization and—given the demographic and cyclical forces in play—how much longer can it last?”

Labor Power: “China’s purchases of multipurpose industrial robots will more than double by 2018 as the country’s government enacts policies to automate its supply chain in reaction to fast-rising labor costs, a study shows” [DC Velocity]. “The proportion of adults in the Chinese workforce is shrinking, even as their wages have grown to the equivalent of 64 percent of U.S. manufacturing wages in 2015, up from just 30 percent in 2000, according to the study by commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group, Inc. Those changes have made China less competitive in low-cost manufacturing industries than countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India, CBRE says. In response, the Chinese government has set a goal of reaching a robot-to-worker ratio of 100 to 10,000 by 2020 in comparison to its current 36-to-10,000 ratio, according to CBRE’s report. In comparison, the U.S. ratio stands at 164, Japan’s at 315, and South Korea’s at 478.”

Labor Power: ” Amazon.com Inc. and Deutsche Post AG’s DHL are facing labor trouble at a key air express service provider at the start of the busiest shipping period of the year. The walkout by pilots at ABX Air, a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group Inc. that began this week has sent the airline and its big customers scrambling to keep as much volume as possible moving during a critical period” [Wall Street Journal]. “ABX says in a legal filing asking a court to order the pilots back to work that millions of dollars worth of goods are at risk in the walkout. The abrupt labor action puts a spotlight on the rapid expansion ABX has undertaken as the carrier added business this year, including its big agreement with Amazon.”

ETFs: “Since the mid-1990s, exchange traded funds (ETFs) have become a popular investment vehicle due to their low transaction costs and intraday liquidity. ETFs issue securities that are traded on the major stock exchanges, and, for the most part, these instruments aim to replicate the performance of an index. ETFs have shown spectacular growth. By mid-2016, they represented about 10% of the market capitalization of securities traded on US stock exchanges” [Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation]. “Some researchers have raised the concern that this mechanical basket arbitrage trading can serve as a channel for the propagation of liquidity shocks across markets and deteriorate the quality of prices. This concern is especially acute given that ETFs are traded by high-turnover investors, who potentially impound liquidity shocks into prices at higher frequencies. The empirical evidence shows a causal relation between ETF ownership and return volatility, justifying these concerns. Similarly, ETF ownership appears to induce excessive correlation of the securities in their baskets. Finally, recent episodes of extreme market turbulence (e.g., the Flash Crash on May 6, 2010, and the events of August 24, 2015) have revealed that the liquidity provision in ETFs can display sudden dry-ups.”

The Bezzle: ” JPMorgan lands on the FCPA Top Ten Disgorgement List” [The FCPA Blog]. “Last week’s $264 million enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase included disgorgement to the SEC of $130.5 million — the seventh biggest FCPA disgorgement of all time.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 67, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 23 at 11:29am.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Navy’s most expensive ship ever breaks down in Panama Canal” [Stars and Stripes]. “USNI News, a publication of the U.S. Naval Institute, reported the ship was in the canal when it lost propulsion. Crew members also saw water intrusion in bearings that connect electrical motors to drive shafts, it reported.”

“Royal Navy retiring anti-ship missiles, will use short-range gun instead” [Ars Technica]. “The logic behind the decision is probably predicated on the amount of cash currently being ploughed into the UK’s two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, which are due to set sail in 2018, and development of the new Dreadnought class nuclear deterrent submarines.”

Dear Old Blighty

“UK’s new surveillance law creates a national browser history with a search engine to match” [Boing Boing]. “The Snoopers Charter requires ISPs to retain a log of all the websites you visit for up to a year, as well as a list of the apps you use, and lets the police search this data without a warrant and without any record-keeping (of the sort that would show, for example, that the police are abusing their powers by using them for personal gain, petty vengeance, or racial profiling).”

Guillotine Watch

“Nicholas Kristof’s Burden: First class travel and $30,000 speakers fee makes reporting on poverty easier to endure” [Washington Babylon]. I had no idea Kristof’s wife worked at Goldman Sachs. How nice for both of them.

“Bad news for Peter Thiel and others pinning their anti-aging hopes on the blood of the young” [Quartz]. Sad!

“In this panoramic, at times jaw-dropping book [Vertical], Stephen Graham describes how in recent years the built environment around the world, both above and below ground, has become dramatically more vertical – and more unequal. From miles-deep gold mines in South Africa to oligarchs’ basements in Belgravia, from American schemes for lethal military satellites to Bangkok’s elevated railway for the wealthy, the Skytrain, Graham lays out a landscape where architecture reflects and reinforces divisions with ever greater brazenness” [Guardian]. “Many of his examples are as dystopian as anything in the bleak prophecies of JG Ballard. A resident of a ‘luxury fortified apartment complex’ in Rio de Janeiro watches tracer bullets, fired by feuding drug dealers in a favela far below. ‘They are beautiful!’ she says. ‘We have a free firework display almost every day!'”

Class Warfare

“No Wall on Her Life’s Work: The Legacy of Immigrant Housekeeper Delmy Falla” [Capital and Main].

“Global wealth study reveals ‘shockingly’ high levels of economic inequality” [MarketWatch]. “According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, a mere 0.7% of the global population owns nearly half the world’s wealth. At the other end, 73% of the popular have less than $10,000 each.”

“Everybody Hates Cornel West” [Jacobin]. Excellent, funny, and sad. “We live in an era in which Clinton — who proudly supported mass incarceration and the obliteration of welfare — declares that a social-democratic program of financial reform and single-payer health insurance ‘won’t end racism.’ A recent WikiLeaks publication of internal Clinton campaign emails reveals another line they were testing out against Sanders: ‘Wall Street is not gunning down young African Americans or denying immigrants a path to citizenship.'” Also references this piece by the great Adolph Reed: “‘What Are the Drums, Saying, Booker?’ The Curious Role of the Black Public Intellectual” (pdf).

News of the Wired

“It would seem that human beings find, accept, and retain a single, permanent identity only with the greatest reluctance. Clearly, they would rather be two or more people than just one person. The wish often leads to lunacy. But in the world of art—and especially in literary art—sane grown people are able freely to indulge their tendencies toward dual or multiple personalities” [The New Yorker]. 1969 article on a dedicated con man.

* * *

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: “Grasses at Portrush, where the course blends in with the landscape naturally. … I don’t play golf but my husband does, and I walk the course with him when we go abroad. Totally different experience than in the US.” I’m relaxing my stricture against golf because of these beautiful grasses.

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. Carla

    Re: Business Insider article purportedly digging into election results: “The index, which Monnat has used in her research for years, combines the percentages of people who are in poverty, unemployed, disabled, in single-parent families, living on public assistance, or living without health insurance…. “People are literally dying,” she added. “There was such a sense of hopelessness that it makes sense they would vote for massive change.””
    If Monnat is a rural sociologist and demographer at Pennsylvania State who has been studying these trends “for years” why on earth is she only realizing this NOW?

  2. optimader

    “Everybody Hates Cornel West” [Jacobin].
    I like Cornell but a case of temporary insanity to be in a black suit in Orlando , no less in Disneyland.

    I secretly like Louis Farrakhan too , or at least parts of him.

  3. Vatch

    “Bad news for Peter Thiel and others pinning their anti-aging hopes on the blood of the young” [Quartz]. Sad!

    I guess he’ll just have to settle for sacrificing virgins to the Elder Gods.

    1. Synoia

      Virgins are in short supply. He will have to procure them himself, south of market in San Francisco.

      It’s hard work but someone other that Obama must do it (Obama does not do hard work)!

      “But..but… Ossifer….I was just searching for virgins for my blood”

  4. Carolinian

    Too funny

    Well, first off, rest assured that Kristof “always keeps audiences on the edge of their seat in enthralling presentations that catapult many into action themselves. As a master story teller with an unmatched reputation and peerless perspective on the events that shape our world, listeners find themselves glued to their seats and captivated by moving, first-hand global stories until, of course, the inevitable, emotive standing ovation at every engagement’s end.”

    (Personally, I find this confusing. First audience members are catapulted, then they are glued to their seats, yet they somehow, having endured so much already, rise to give a standing ovation?

    Clinton, her hangers on, and their booking agents certainly do have a way with words, don’t they? One assumes Kristof’s lectures are also very muscular.

  5. L

    “A growing number of academics and activists are calling for US authorities to fully audit or recount the 2016 presidential election vote in key battleground states, in case the results could have been skewed by foreign hackers” [Guardian]. ” “Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts,” [Professor Alex Halderman] said.” What did you do in the Democrat primary, Perfesser?

    While I agree that many (*cough* Vox *cough*) have conveniently rediscovered the “count every ballot!” mantra now that Trump is president it is not fair to call out Halderman here. He has been a consistent advocate for clear and constant elections auditing in all cases.

    The thing to keep in mind with elections is that there are those who are always concerned and do good work on it. They only get called however when someone’s editor has a burr up their butt because their stooge lost.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On one side, we have consistent expert advocates

      On the other side, we have inconsistent voters. They weren’t interested in counting every vote before (as late as this past summer). They weren’t interested in reforming the electoral college (not before this election, not even after 2000).

      These inconsistent voters will always use those consistent expert advocates, and dump them when the need is over.

      The professor will be wise to stay from inconsistent opportunistic people like that.

      Who knows, while unlikely, these same people may one day regret changing the electoral college

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      What both saddens and irritates the crap out of me is that Jill Stein has apparently raised a bunch of money to “fund a recount,” and people are praising her to the skies as if she’s doing it to elect Clinton. The last allegation was she was closing in on $100K, and I keep wondering what the ACLU and other organizations gearing up to defend the targets could do with that kind of money.

        1. Skip Intro

          One clue would be the eagerness to recount New Hampshire, which has a 0.4% margin. The amusing part, for me, is that the machines are basically recount-proof, and the real GOP dirty tricks were in striking voters off the rolls, which will also not be changed by a recount. The fact is this has been known for years already but was never interesting to the Obama DOJ or the Democratic Party. Methinks they doth protest too much.

  6. Lee

    “Bad news for Peter Thiel and others pinning their anti-aging hopes on the blood of the young” [Quartz]. Sad!

    According to the article Thiel would have to be grafted to a younger person, sharing organ functioning, to possibly achieve an increase in longevity. That sure conjures up some unsettling images. I guess I may now stop eyeing my grandchildren with vampiric intent.

    1. Vatch

      Hey, it’s been years since I thought about the classic movie “The Thing With Two Heads”, starring Ray Milland and Rosey Grier! And now that I’ve thought about it, I hope it will be many more years before I think about it again.

    1. Gareth

      Two years ago a couple of legitimate, to that point, Wisconsin political activists claimed there were abnormalities in counties using electronic voting machines during the gubernatorial election. They did an online fund raiser to audit the results. I chipped in the usual $20. After collecting the money they moved to California to attend grad school. Fool me once shame on me….

    2. aab

      I’m fascinated by this. I now think of Jill Stein as more of a mischief maker than a politician — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It looks to me like she’s trying to lure Hillary voters into funding a recount in those states. But aren’t the odds pretty high that if her votes were flipped, they were flipped to Clinton?

      If that were true, Jill might get her funding, and Trump’s legitimacy would strengthened, while our corrupted voting system would be exposed. That sounds like an overall positive. (Trump will go full steam ahead on the worst of his plans regardless of his legitimacy.)

      But Palast (who I have never directly read in depth) seems to be suggesting that the Republicans pilfered those votes for Trump, and the recount would give those states to Clinton. If he’s right, that’s chaos. You know the Dems were committing election theft elsewhere, if not in those particular states, and Trump being denied by two elite women would just be such a mess. I want electoral reform. I also think as bad as Clinton “winning” outright on election night would have been, her ascending like this would be worse.

      This whole situation makes me nervous. I’ll feel better once the Electoral College vote is over.

      1. UserFriendly

        I think it’s a brilliant move by Stein. She isn’t stupid enough to think it will change the outcome but it puts her on the side of the angels with all those Hill Bots. Not to mention it gives her their contact info for future fundraising.

        1. aab

          Would you care to wager on how many passionate Hillary Clinton supporters will ever give money to Jill Stein or the Greens for any other activity than doing a vote recount they believe will make Hillary Clinton President?

          I interacted with a LOT of Clinton supporters over the last year. A LOT. IRL and online. Read tons of their written opinions, too: long, short, “professional,” personal, etc. They are not leftists at all, or progressive, unless “progressive” means “affluent person who likes other affluent persons even if their skin color or sexual behavior is dissimilar, as long as no other behaviors and beliefs are dissimilar, and enjoys their economic and status privilege too much to facilitate any change that might erode it.” Not ideal targets for the Greens.

            1. aab

              That’s a point, I guess. She could sell the list to get the Greens money, too. Stein has literally nothing to lose personally or as leader of her party.

              This makes me nervous, though, as it feels incredibly inorganic. Clinton ALSO won some important states by tiny percentages. Will those get recounts, if these Rust Belt states flip? If this is really primarily about electoral integrity, shouldn’t there be an assortment of states recounted reflecting different regions and different voting processes and machinery?

      2. pretzelattack

        trump talking about defunding nasa climate research and bringing neocons on board makes me nervous, too. maybe i’m grasping at straws, but keeping him under pressure may help influence him, if some of the progressive ( i don’t even know what word to use, but i’ll use “progressive”)
        democrats will play hardball politics against the dinos in their own party. big if.

  7. Timmy

    Remember how the Case-Deaton study appeared and quickly vanished?

    Why hasn’t the story of Perdue Pharmaceuticals every gotten mainstream coverage? it is arguably one of the central catalysts to this ongoing crisis. It is needed now more than ever.

    1. uncle tungsten

      Could be solved by making Giuliani secretary of Health perhaps? There would be a bit of coverage then I guess.

  8. mcarson

    On some black voters not having Trump’s racism on the top of their list: It’s not a low-information or education difference. It’s class. Working people hear & deal w/racism all the time. Upper class people don’t, the racism they encounter is less overt, talk about “fitting in” & “making people uncomfortable” – stuff like that. Black people having a slow day unloading freight are insulted by “it’s not watermelon break yet Jimmy”.

    1. Kim Kaufman

      I suspect there were voters who might have preferred that Obama wasn’t black but it wasn’t a dealbreaker because he promised hope and change. I suspect there were voters who might have preferred that Trump wasn’t a racist xenophone but it wasn’t a dealbreaker because he promised change, and they hoped.

  9. barrisj

    Uh-oh, the NYT is saying that the notorious Michelle Rhee, of public education “disruption” and charter-school shameless promotion and grifting, is getting a look as a potential SecEduc…spiffy, just spiffy.
    And, a deservedly forgotten African-American “centrist”, Harold Ford, Jr., is being “considered” for SecTrans…whoa, the Donald continues his outreach to the minority communities, as perhaps a recognition that a significant tranche of black voters turned their collective back on Hills, and an opportunity for Repubs – well, maybe just the Donald – to resurrect the “big tent” meme.


      1. aab

        There’s a shock. /s

        Would vouchers be less corrupt and damaging that charters? I’m thinking maybe. (To be clear, I think they’re very, very bad. But are they as bad?)

      2. RabidGandhi

        Dixit Betsy DeVos, in “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer:

        “My family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party…. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections.”

        Well I guess the honesty is somewhat refreshing.

        1. Mark John

          My theory is that most boomers are fascists. I will be working on research to verify that. This is a start, anecdotal as it is.

            1. Mark John

              You know what, that’s a low blow. If one can prove 70% of something, that’s most. Definition of the word, lovie.

              1. aab

                You’re speculating on the ideological identity of “most” people in America born over almost two decades based on ONE far right billionairess trust funder.

                By all means, now prove that 70% of baby boomers are fascist based on Betsy DeVos, who is definitionally fringe economically and is considered politically fringe even within the Republican party.

                  1. Propertius

                    I guess this is “proof” that “most” millennials are innumerate ageists.
                    Because 1 = 70%, after all.

              2. Yves Smith

                What garbage. Positions well to the left of the Acela corridor political center of gravity have consistently polled large majorities or at worst significant pluralities (poll results are sensitive to the exact wording and ordering of questions). Those policies include ending the wars, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, even if that means increasing taxes on everyone, raising taxes on the rich. Since Boomers have been the demographic rabbit moving through the anaconda, these results would have been impossible absent large scale support among older age groups.

                Separately, making generalizations about “Boomers” is analytically bogus. The differences within a cohort that large will be much greater than between cohorts. NCs readers skew older yet overwhelmingly supported Sanders, who was most popular with Millennials. That’s a much bigger data set than you have for your pet theory.

              3. FluffytheObeseCat

                My theory is that most boomers are fascists

                Is there an ancillary clause in your hypothesis where you assert this differentiates them from other age cohorts? Or are you merely being provocative, and stating the obvious in a leading, charged sort of way?

  10. Vatch

    I’ve seen some articles saying that Ben Carson has been offered the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. It’s crazy to waste a man of Carson’s talents at HUD. He should be Agriculture Secretary, because nobody on Earth knows more about grain silos than Ben Carson.

  11. Sammy Maudlin

    The African-American Milwaukee voters were less outraged by Trump’s bigotry and misogyny than many optimistic Democrats expected them to be.

    In SE Wisconsin, this sentiment also extended to white suburban women, who were supposed to migrate to HRC 2-1 for every blue collar voter they lost to Trump. From the November 17, 2016, edition of The Brookfield/Elm Grove Now – Brookfielders react to election of Trump:

    Both Mellone and Moore noted that leaked recordings of Trump making questionable statements about women only weeks before the election did nothing to deter them from casting their ballots in [Trump’s] corner:

    “That made no difference to me. What I really hate about all of that is when men tell women ‘You should be appalled by that,'” Moore said. “You guys can be embarrassed about it, but don’t tell us what we should feel about it.”

    Full disclosure, Mellone and Moore are both members of local Republican women organizations. However, their sentiments were widely stated ’round the collar counties. NO ONE tells Wisconsin Republicans how to vote except local talk radio.

    Another sentiment that was widely shared was enunciated by Mellone:

    “I originally supported Scott Walker: I think he really could have done great…[but] there was no way I was ever going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Any Republican would have been my choice.”

    In Waukesha County, Although Trump picked up 21,000(!) less votes than Mitt Romney, HRC only managed to increase her vote total over Barack Obama’s 2012 showing by 421 votes.

    I guess no one bothered to program Ada to account for stubborn Lutheran and Catholic women.

  12. Pavel

    That “Navy ship that broke down in the Panama Canal” — it cost $4.4 *billion* dollars. And there is a second one just finishing construction with a third coming in at the basement bargain price of $3.7B:

    The Zumwalt cost more than $4.4bn and was commissioned in October in Maryland. It also suffered a leak in its propulsion system before it was commissioned. The leak required the ship to remain at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia longer than expected for repairs.

    The ship is part of the first new class of warship built at Bath Iron Works in more than 25 years.

    The second Zumwalt-class destroyer, which also cost more than $4.4bn, was christened in a June ceremony during which US Rep Bruce Poliquin called it an “extraordinary machine of peace and security”. The third ship is expected to cost a bit less than $3.7bn.

    [My emphasis]

    US navy’s most expensive destroyer breaks down in Panama Canal

    Well, I understand that these are magnificent “machines of peace and security” but it seems rather a shame that some of that money couldn’t be spent on delivering, say, clean water to residents of Flint and elsewhere.

    US Dems and Republicans both:

    Money for ENDLESS WAR — no problem!
    Money for housing, health, education, environment — how the hell can we find money for that?

    1. Synoia

      Let me fix that quote for you:

      US Rep Bruce Poliquin called it an “extraordinary piece of machinery”

      1. hunkerdown

        Not quite there yet.

        US Rep Bruce Poliquin called it an “extraordinary piece of security for the machine”

    2. River

      Given that the ammo is one million a shell, $3.7 billion is a bargain of sorts.

      It isn’t a shame that money couldn’t be used elsewhere. It’s a God Damn outrage.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Well, not quite a million, but $800,000 a shell according to Stars and Stripes magazine. And each ship is supposed to carry 600 of them. The Zumwelt is basically a very expensive mobile artillery ship, with no clear military purpose. The Navy have pretty much confirmed this by cancelling the system (there were originally to be 38 of them). The worst thing is that despite it having no clear purpose and costing vast sums of money, nobody seems willing to call anyone to account for having blown billions on an entirely worthless defence system.

        1. tony

          It’s not a defence system, it’s a profit system for the MIC. The U.S. doesn’t need defence, one tenth of the current military is enough to make it unassailable.

    3. OIFVet

      Perhaps it can be repurposed as a submarine. It was just a few days ago that Yahoo had a front page story extalling the mind blowing awesomeness of the Zumwalt, so I can not dismiss the leaks as an indication of super classified submarine capability. At $4.4 billion, it had better be!

    4. Cry Shop

      Never name any boat, much less a class of ships, after a Sesame Street character. No wonder the machinery acts like it’s as wacky as Elmo’s World.

      Next, talk about stupid. The UK names their newest world ending weapons program after the weapons program that helped launch World War One. ...and development of the new Dreadnought class nuclear deterrent submarines.”

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      Poliquin is reacting to the fact that Bath Iron Works is one of the few “stuff-bashing” industries Maine has going for it. Sad but true. I too would prefer the money go to clean water in Maine — we still have mercury in our rivers — or agriculture. But so it goes.

  13. LT

    Re: global wealth distribution
    73% of global population has less than $10,000.
    Scary. It doesn’t show how fast one can rise, but how fast and easy it is to fall.

    1. Sandy

      I don’t even know what to say anymore. The fact that black America hasn’t fully entered violent rebellion so far is remarkable. And in this specific instance should also be filed under White Psychopathy Watch.

    2. Jagger

      blockquote>Killing innocent harmless black people in America comes as natural as breathing for more Americans than we would like to think

      Every murder is a tragedy but lets not get carried away and imply middle aged whites killing black teens is a significant part of the problem of black murders. Maybe we should actually look at the FBI stats. If we do, we come up with a very different picture as to the race of those murdering blacks.


      Whites are 77.1% of the population and are responsible for 229 murders of blacks last year in 2015
      Blacks are only 13.1% of the population yet are responsible for the murders of 500 whites last year in 2015.

      So should we make the statement that the killing of innocent harmless white people in America comes as naturally as breathing for more Americans than we think???

      So lets look a little deeper, we find that 52.3 percent of all American murders were of blacks even though they are only 13 percent of the population. However the vast number of murders are not due to whites killing blacks but blacks killing blacks to the number of 2380 murders last year. Every murder is a tragedy but lets bear in mind that white on black murders resulted in 229 deaths while black on black murders resulted in 2380 blacks.

      Clearly, there are many major problems within the black community which need serious attention to reduce black murders but a throwaway statement suggesting middle aged whites killing black teens or even whites murdering blacks is a significant part of the black murder problem is not only detached from reality but also points rage in the wrong direction. Just not helpful in the least.

  14. Alex

    Regarding counterfeiting, I’ve worked in two industries that manufacture extensively in Asia: bicycles and electronics.

    Interestingly, counterfeiting seems more common overall in the bike industry, especially of high end products, because the brand name can play a large part in the price.

    Many commodity component prices in the electronics industry are already so low it’s probably not worth it to counterfeit. In higher value parts, like microcontrollers, its harder because the underlying technology can’t be easily copied or faked. Most counterfeiting of electronics happens with military spec or similar parts that need extra testing, but aren’t that physically different from regular parts, so it’s often cases of relabeling to make it appear to be of higher spec.

    In regard to the bigger question of bringing back manufacturing to the US to fight this problem, I don’t think it will happen on a large scale for a few reasons. Asian manufacturers have frequently proven to deliver better quality than American ones, when the buyer actually asks and pays for it. Mark Blyth has said, regarding manufacturing coming back to the West, we could supply everyone with extreme material luxury using less than 10% of the world’s population, and I agree with him, given current technology and automation. So, unless we de-automate, someone, somewhere will be out of a job. Finally, it would be a huge physical undertaking to actually rebuild the factories in the US.

    I think the problems mentioned could be addressed through better controls, stronger supplier relationships and global regulations and standards, improving things for customers and workers everywhere. I understand the sentiment in the linked piece about reducing the cost of counterfeiting by eliminating it through onshoring, but I doubt the cost if fraud is high enough relative the the investment needed to onshore that it will happen. And if production were brought back what is to prevent American producers from counterfeiting as well? Americans are not somehow magically more ethical than the rest of the world.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Besides the bicycle industry counterfeits have been finding their way into airplane maintenance. The constant churn of new model routers resulted in counterfeit network routers finding their way into government networks — including “secure” networks.

      I would not suppose American manufacturers are more moral than foreign manufacturers — but there is a certain discomfort level for criminals living within a jurisdiction as opposed to those remote and agile.

      To my mind the strongest argument for local production isn’t just the counterfeits. I saw how the U.S. corn subsidies undermined the corn used in Mexican tortillas reducing their quality markedly. I also sympathize with the Japanese who are reluctant to see their rice production wiped out by California and Texas rice. Only a fool or a Quisling would allow their primary food production to reside in the hands of foreign entities.

    2. tegnost

      “it would be a huge physical undertaking to actually rebuild the factories in the US”
      hmmmm… sounds like jobs to me, is that really the best you’ve got? Maybe you shouldn’t have taken them apart in the first place, but since you did, now it’s jobs for those ridiculously expensive americans. Oh and in context with your comments beginning shouldn’t you say that we can supply everyone with the appearance of extreme luxury, since it’s all a bunch of counterfeit bullshit? I had a Zinn bike, american made, super awesome, yesterday I saw a guy loading his pickup with 1/8 birch ply for longboard skateboards at MacBeath…, I want one… Controls, stronger supplier relationships,”better” global regulations and standards? TPP right? Sounds like someone has your rice bowl and is ready to smash it. The cost of fraud? The profits from fraud seem to be pretty good…jus sayin…If you stole the money then have to give it back? That seems really unfair….American producers are subject to the laws of america (where they are selectively applied, but it don’t have to be like that donchaknow) they’re not more ethical, they’re subject to penalties. Globalisation is a giant ripoff, don’t expect mercy.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Liberals seem deeply committed to the idea that “those jobs are gone.” I don’t see why. If they left because of financial incentives, why should they not return for the same reason?

        1. Alex

          The jobs may have left for lower cost labor, but that labor is being replaced by machines, even in Asia (see the German trade surplus, a large portion of which is manufacturing technology. On a global level, I feel we’ve already reached physical manufacturing overcapacity in the two industries I’ve worked in. Adding that manufacturing back in the US would increase that trend. I’m not sure what the globally fair solution regarding jobs is in that case.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I’m torn.

            On the one hand, “globally fair” is or ought to be important, since the working class is international (and pitted against itself globally).

            On the other, summarizing brutally, Rust Belt communities and whole states were gutted to build an Asian middle class (the “elephant chart”). That maybe “globally fair” — it all averages out! — but those erased by the averages may not feel so, since all the gains were creamed off by the top 10% and up. In such circumstances, “globally fair” could be seen as nice-to-have, and “fair to me and my community” a have-to-have.

            Classic problem for the left, since before the beginning.

            1. Alex

              I’m more than equally? torn, since I still influence manufacturing purchasing decisions regarding local vs Asian production. There’s been occasions where local production was the same price as Asian, and we ended up going with the Asian producer because they were actually easier to deal with and had higher quality.

              Regarding the Rust Belt, I think the automotive, heavy manufacturing and steel industries are the ones that were hollowed out the most? And automotive lost out in large part due to Japanese production, which was eventually higher quality at lower cost, even with tariffs. I think the real social safety net there helps reduce manufacturer labor costs significantly. The steel industry is however a different story, and here I fully agree that the Chinese have simply steamrollered everyone, environment and trade law be damned.

        2. different clue

          Because Liberals want to keep the poors poor. I don’t know why Liberals actively want to keep the poors poor, but that is what Liberals want. So they sell committment to the idea that “those jobs are gone” in order to try and hypnotize society into supporting the Liberal agenda of making sure those jobs stay gone.

      2. Alex

        I don’t seem to recall saying I’m against bringing manufacturing back. I was laying out some reasons on why I think it may not happen.

        Regarding my point on standards and regulations, I was thinking more of something like RoHS, which has drastically reduced hazardous materials in electronics worldwide even though it’s only an EU law. The US had nothing comparable.

  15. oho

    ‘Clinton Manipulates Language of ‘Intersectionality’

    problem #4 of many liberals (sorry i forgot we’re progressives now), pretentious love of non-value-added jargon.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Huh!? What!?
      Your comment is occult to me — much as were the first few paragraphs of the link you referenced. What is your point? What are you trying to say? I love to argue but really? I can’t argue with air — lighter than air! Maybe I agree????? Hard to tell/say. …. Hell! i even eat crow — as long as I have a lot of pepper and garlic to season it with — maybe a pinch of hing.

  16. Paid Minion

    We sent our landing gear in for overhaul by the OEM (Dassault Falcon) back in 2007, or thereabouts.

    Good thing they had “loaners”. We didn’t get our nose gear back for 18 months. We needed a part that had to be fabricated out of forged steel. Almost all of the raw steel worldwide with the required specs come from China.

    And almost all of it failed Dassaults inspection process for incoming raw materials. They finally found some that would pass.

    The good news……aerospace OEMs have QC departments to try to prevent crap parts and materials from getting in the system. At least right now.

    Unfortunately, I’m seeing and hearing lots of stories like:
    “whaddaya mean its a giant piece of crap??? I’ve got a piece of paper telling me it’s good!!”

  17. upstater

    “Port of Philadelphia $300m upgrade to double capacity”…

    Somebody should tell all these east coast port operators that TTP and TTIP ain’t gonna happen. Doubling capacity to 900K teu’s and expecting capacity of 1.2 million probably requires LSD to envision. I wonder what the existing and under construction capacity is for the east coast. Surely it is far above what is required.

    Stranded public investment in unneeded infrastructure, anyone?

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        That’s mean! We all know global warming is a hoax now that the Trump is in charge /SARC. And there’s plenty of money to be made improving the port of Philadelphia.

          1. pretzelattack

            well, maybe, and i hope he doesn’t defund nasa’s climate change research. i don’t think clinton would have been any better, just a more effective evil.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Or it’s a con. Trying to avoid the polluted Guardian, et al. Space News:

            4. Shifting NASA budgets to “deep space achievements” rather than Earth science and climate research. Walker said that some, unspecified NASA Earth science missions might be better handled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but “there would have to be some budget adjustments” to transfer those missions from NASA to NOAA.

            Which makes sense assuming good faith. Which I’m not sure I should. Here’s more on Walker (not Scott Walker) from The Verge.

            1. UserFriendly

              Thanks for the links. I can’t think of a better way to make America great again than to go to Mars. With all of Trump’s expensive ideas I think its just a matter of time till the GOP deficit hawks throw a shit fit and he tells them to stuff it and mints a trillion dollar platinum coin.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    Regarding recounts, when the total vote difference is in the single digit thousands in large states where hundreds of thousands or more votes were cast, the candidates shouldn’t have to ask for a recount, it should be mandatory*.

    I’ve been asking my city to do a recount to verify the accuracy of the machines for several years and was told that the state law would not allow for a recount simply for accuracy’s sake (unbelievable!) and the only way for a recount to happen would be after a close election.

    Well my significant other stood for election in a city race this year, and how ironic, came within about 50 votes of winning and we got to ask for a recount! This was an odd race where voters chose two out of seven candidates for the two open seats. One candidate won by a clear margin and 2nd and 3rd place were separated by about 50 votes. I was one of those recounting the votes by hand and when all was said and done we wound up counting over 100 votes more than the machines had counted and we only recounted ballots that contained votes for the 2nd and 3rd place candidates so there were potentially and quite probably an even higher number of ballots that weren’t counted the first time around. A rough estimate is that 1-2% of the initial votes weren’t counted at all by the machines.

    The ballots that were initially counted weren’t marked in any way so we had no way of knowing which ballots had been previously counted by the machines and which hadn’t however we were able to make some educated guesses after looking through thousands of ballots. We found quite a few where people ‘x’ed or drew a line through the circle rather than filling it in according to instructions and others where people had voted for one candidate, crossed it out, and then voted for someone else. We suspected these were the types of ballots that the machines were not able to count. Also when I had served as an election clerk several years ago I noticed that the ticker on the machine that is supposed to count the number of ballots fed into it would not count a ballot if it was fed into the machine too quickly after the previous one so this may have been another reason some ballots didn’t get counted the first time. There were also reports on election day that some machines temporarily malfunctioned (one had been accidentally unplugged) which may have caused other votes not to be counted.

    After the recount we picked up some votes but not enough to change the results which was actually pretty reassuring as the extra votes tallied were in the same proportion for each candidate to what the machines initially tallied which is what you’d expect over a large sample size. What we found is that while these particular machines did accurately count the ballots they were able to count, they cannot count all of them due to user error which is pretty difficult to eradicate – some people simply won’t follow directions properly no matter how clear they are.

    We caught some flak when asking for the recount about the presumed large cost to the taxpayer however the cost turned out to be minimal. Each candidate had 8 volunteers plus 8 more election clerks who were paid $11/hr by the city to supervise the volunteers. Our 8 teams of 3 managed to go through around 12K ballots in about 5 hours.

    The solution is to have all ballots for every election counted by hand in public immediately after the polls close. It isn’t rocket science, it’s not that expensive and it’s the only way to ensure that everyone’s vote is actually counted.

    * Lest anyone accuse me of trying to get Clinton in, I say all of this as someone who would rather be shot in the face by Dick Cheney than cast a ballot for any of the Clinton’s or their spawn, legitimate or otherwise.

    1. tegnost

      I won’t accuse you of anything, but I will accuse the dems of purging the rolls and allowing this execrable policy to fester when they were certain that it would favor them, and now it’s just a bunch of whinging and crying. Did the dems make it easier to vote in the brooklyn primary? How many of those purged voters didn’t bother re registering after that betrayal? It wasn’t you, it was them. Call them and complain. Paper ballots counted the day of the election. Lots of people do it, we can too.

  19. Pelham

    “(and maybe we could replace the insulting euphemism “low information voters” with “differently-informationed voters.” Or something).”

    How about “insufficiently bamboozled voters”?

    1. aab

      Given that all these nice, affluent women voters who apparently had NO IDEA much of the country has been ravaged by Democratic Party policies, they are the people who should have the “low information” label hung around their necks for the foreseeable future. They also seem to have very little understanding how how elections work, how American government works, etc.

      Low Information, High Credential voters (LIHC): ugly acronym, uglier impact.

      1. JSM

        Yup, exactly.

        Moreover, it’s time for the bubble dwellers to realize that there’s this thing called the internet now, and it’s done a marvelous job of curing the average American of his/her ‘historical amnesia.’

        The Democrats and their affluent supporters still can’t imagine being held accountable for anything. (Whether they can imagine being wrong is a separate matter.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve been calling Hillary voters “low information” voters, but I don’t consider MSNBC to be anything other than Pravda for Comcast and GE.

        Of course many Hillary voters are ignoramuses who project an aura of being informed and con “low information” voters who largely care only for their team sport. The ignoramuses are dangerous.

        1. aab

          The fact that these people have in many cases reached the age of retirement without yet figuring out that the New York Times has a strong bias in favor of people and policies that benefit the wealthy and the most authoritarian tendencies of whichever party is in power, and that people like Rachel Maddow are not reporting news or even reflecting fact-based reality much of the time means they are inexcusably low information. Poor people are low information in part because they are exhausted and under constant stress. These Hillary Voters have no such excuse.

          Rachel, Martha Raddatz and Rebecca Traister all cried basically on camera over the election results. Way to give feminism a good name, ladies. Traister was puffy-eyed and morose the next day on Hayes’ show. That’s unprofessional, and displays the intense bias undergirding all this hothoused propaganda. Their world pointed and laughed when Rove had his meltdown in 2012. How is this behavior any less risible? And every single one of these low information, snobby, entitled Hillary Voters could look at that and think, “Hmmm…maybe they were’t being objective during the campaign. What does that tell me about them and the organizations that employ them?” This isn’t rocket science. I was overwhelmed with multiple severe family crises in 2008, but when Barack Obama — who I had donated to and volunteered for, in addition to voting for him – brought Rahm on as Chief of Staff, I knew I’d been conned. It may have taken me years to figure out the real deal, but I had the capacity to notice the gigantic red flag waving in my face. All these Hillary Voters could do the same. That they won’t is a choice, one worthy of condemnation and condescension, given that they live in luxury off the fat of the land and the suffering of those they look down upon.

  20. Optic7

    FYI, that quote on the Guardian (from the book they are reviewing) regarding tracer bullets as free fireworks show is lifted directly from a 2009 Brazilian documentary about people who live in penthouses in the 3 largest cities in Brazil titled “High-Rise” in English or “Um Lugar ao Sol” in Portuguese (“A Place in The Sun”, translated):


    You can watch the whole one-hour documentary for free (with commercials IIRC) at snagfilms:


    It’s actually a well-made and interesting documentary, and would probably be of interest to a lot of the readers here…

  21. Gerald Wilgus

    Re: Counterfeits and the Supply Chain.

    I was able to see some of this working in Drug and Device quality.

    A very egregious example was the Heparin Sulfate drug substance from China that resulted in deaths in 2008. This was also abetted by poor regulation that did not protect against deliberate adulteration. Drug manufacturers were allowed by the FDA to accept raw materials using a supplier’s Certificate of Analysis and doing basic identity and potency tests if three previous lots were acceptable using the full analysis in comparison with the supplier’s CofA. Chinese manufacturers, knowing this, began supplying sulfonated junk protein that would pass identity and potency but contained no Heparin. The risk has been increasing because it is matter of fact for Chinese manufacturers to set up Potemkin facilities to be licensed by the FDA then moving manufacturing to substandard facilities.

    Then there are issues of manufacturing incompetence in China. When I would look at output of device manufacturing the processes were rarely in a state of control. One could see in bimodal or truncated distributions the effect of reworking or sorting that is a sign that defective parts would be delivered in the future.

    Pretty sad. But as disturbing is the loss of America’s manufacturing skill and experience driven by a consumer culture where perception trumps quality.

    1. Synoia

      perception trumps quality.

      That’s so politically incorrect. Twitter slangfest erupts in 5…4…3…2…1…

    2. tegnost

      loss of manufacturing skill was due to consumer culture? That’s a hilarious misdirection. It has been common knowledge for at least a few years that outsourcing to the colonies requires more oversight, so H1-B’s are better for the grifters because they don’t have to move to china along with their production. Truncated distribution over the Pacific Ocean? Do you even know what that word means? Bimodal? I guess you must mean transferring from a ship to a train? Nobody made you move your plant to mexico, and if it hurt your business, I guess it was a bad decision that your industry made.

    3. different clue

      Didn’t the Clintonite Free Trade Conspirators begin the mass outsourcing to China during the Clinton Administration? Hasn’t that given us at least 20 years of people brought up under the ubiquity of cheap chinese crap and deprived of any historical memory of a day when things were better?

      In other words, hasn’t this consumer culture where perception trumps quality been deliberately engineered and fostered by the Clintonite Free Trade Conspirators themselves?

  22. Synoia

    At a Senate hearing in April, Sessions called marijuana “dangerous” and said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.

    Translation, unsaid but intended:

    At a Senate hearing in April, Sessions called marijuana “dangerous” and said that “good god fearing white people don’t smoke marijuana, unlike those n…… and m……..”

    1. ambrit

      Being from semi rural Mississippi, I can testify that those pesky “white trash” smoke that meth stuff too.
      Edgar Winter to the contrary, “White Trash” have a bad reputation. After all, many of them hang out with n*****s and m******s.
      What’s a God Fearing White Middle Class Exceptionalist to do?

    2. different clue

      Perhaps the reply should be: Good people smoke good marijuana.

      And the best people smoke only the best marijuana.

  23. ambrit

    About onshoring manufacturing.
    Slightly skewed, but of interest, I worked on several Federal construction jobs over the last thirty years. During most of that time, the sub contractors were mandated to “Buy American” in their parts sourcing. Nonetheless, I often would encounter foreign made plumbing, heating, and occasionally cooling parts. Steel gas pipe plainly marked Product of Taiwan or Made in So and So Land, often India was almost common. The subs would regularly pick the absolute cheapest product, no matter where it came from. I never once saw a Quality Control officer call the Subs to account. I never had to replace foreign made stuff with American on a job site. So, onshoring, to be of any use to the American economy, will have to be both cheap, and politically connected. Someone has to enforce the laws already on the books, and then many of the problems bedeviling America’s economy will abate.
    The basic rule that promises to be of best benefit to America would be; “Take Businessmen Out of Business Regulation.”
    A corollary to this is that the American Working Class has indeed been bamboozled. What Americans need is Bigger Government, not smaller. The funny part of all this is that the very people who exploit the Working Classes the most claim to represent those classes. Yes. “They” aren’t called “Owners” for nothing!

  24. fresno dan

    “Everybody Hates Cornel West” [Jacobin]. Excellent, funny, and sad. “We live in an era in which Clinton — who proudly supported mass incarceration and the obliteration of welfare — declares that a social-democratic program of financial reform and single-payer health insurance ‘won’t end racism.’ A recent WikiLeaks publication of internal Clinton campaign emails reveals another line they were testing out against Sanders: ‘Wall Street is not gunning down young African Americans or denying immigrants a path to citizenship.’” Also references this piece by the great Adolph Reed: “‘What Are the Drums, Saying, Booker?’ The Curious Role of the Black Public Intellectual” (pdf).

    The irony of West literally sharing the stage with Reed was lost on few. Written in the 1990s, Reed’s “What Are the Drums Saying, Booker?” reads like prophecy today. The black public intellectual, in “Drums,” was a “freelance race spokesman; his status depended on designation by white elites rather than by any black electorate or social movement” only able to claim that status thanks to a long period of depoliticization. His role was to thus interpret “the opaquely black heart of darkness for whites.”

    Unsurprisingly, this role fits perfectly within the brokerage model of politics that the Democratic Party has so heavily relied on for years to enact an agenda that is increasingly at odds with the material needs of most black voters. In the original essay, Reed found perhaps the clearest articulation of this role in West’s work up to that point — referencing West-isms like the call for a “love ethic” and a “politics of conversion.”

    But in the Obama era, black public intellectuals find themselves in a curious position. It’s a difficult balancing act — how to keep “interpreting the drums” for the Democratic Party elite, as Reed’s argument goes, while staying friendly with that same party that’s overseen a mass economic immiseration of working-class Americans and an exploding carceral state (both of which disproportionately affect black Americans).
    Earlier in the primary season, during an interview on the Real News Network, West directly called out the black elite — whom he calls “the lumpenbourgeoisie” — for abandoning “the black prophetic tradition” for “individual upward mobility” and the “formation of the black professional class.” As he put it, “Black folk for the most part became just extensions of a milquetoast neoliberal Democratic Party. But Adolph Reed and a host of others told this story many years ago. It’s becoming much more crystallized. We have to be willing to tell the truth no matter how unpopular it is.”

    West didn’t hesitate to proclaim that his biggest left-wing critic had been right all along. But the fact that he felt betrayed by this “lumpenbourgeoisie” in the first place only shows the limits of this political vision and the power of Reed’s original critique. After all, why would a “lumpenbourgeoisie” act different than any bourgeoisie? A vision of a harmonious insular black “community” without any internal class tensions might sound appealing to some in 2016 — particularly to the Democratic Party — but it’s a delusion no serious leftist can afford to entertain.
    DANGER, DANGER NC readers (said in the voice of that robot from “Lost in Space”) – irony approaching infinitude – read at your own risk!!!!!!!!

    How many people remember the Slate article from August 19, 2016 (and dozens like it):
    “Never mind that Trump—who recently polled at 1 percent among black voters in a nationwide survey—was treating black people as a monolithic group of poor, unemployed people. His ad-libbed “what the hell do you have to lose” line sounded very much like Trump thinks he knows what’s better for black voters than they know for themselves.”

    And that is mild compared to some of the things said about Trump’s temerity in pointing out that blacks weren’t any better off than before Obama became president.
    But of course, I remember when the internet was going to free people’s mind – it seems the niches only serve to enforce the orthodoxy better

    Now I certainly don’t believe Trump will do any more for blacks than Obama (I hope I’m wrong) but it is interesting how much everything is devolving to PR…and of course, it goes without saying that the neoliberals are absolute masters of PR…

  25. Altandmain

    Does anyone else get the overwhelming impression that the US is heading for an impending collapse or serious decline at least, unless it puts a fight it against the status quo?

    Judging by the people who Trump has appointed, it is looking like an ugly situation for the US. If he actually hires people like John Bolton, we will know that a betrayal was certain. While I think that it is probable that he is the lesser evil, he was supposed to avoid neoconservatives and Wall Street types (that Clinton associates herself with).

    I find it amazing how tone deaf the Clinton campaign and Democratic Establishment are. Trump and apparently his son in law, no matter what else, are political campaigning geniuses given their accomplishments. For months people were criticizing their lack of experience in politics like a fatal mistake..

    I think that no real change is going to happen until someone authentically left wing takes power or if the US collapses.

    1. aab

      I think it would be a mistake to attribute too much “genius” to Trump and Kushner. It sounds like Kushner exhibited competence, and that’s great. But Trump won in great measure because Democratic Party governance eviscerated those communities.

      This is akin to how Obama got WAY too much credit for being a brilliant orator. People wanted change in ’08 and voted for it. That change agent betrayed them, so they voted for change again this time. Or, more accurately, a lot of Obama voters stayed home, the Republican base held together, and Trump’s team found necessary little pockets of ignored voters to energize. But that strategy would never have worked if not for Obama’s and Clinton’s malfeasance and incompetence. Honestly, Hillary got closer to a win that she had a right to. That ought to be the real story.

      1. Darthbobber

        Yes! This is exactly the point after the ’08 election where the rash of rose-tinted commentary about the awesome political genius and eleventy-dimensional chess playing of Obama and the Obama organization and all things Obama-related began to take hold.

        When in fact, Obama needed only to avoid egregious blunders and avoid drooling in public to be the virtually guaranteed winner of the ’08 General Election. (Securing the nomination was by far the more difficult task.) And the list of things that were “proven”, and the things validated, by that win was as long as your arm. And it was 99% hyperventilating vapor.

          1. UserFriendly

            Yeah, but Obama’s mad skills were given lots of credit for the win, while Wall Street collapsing in it’s own greed was left to a foot note.

            1. Skip Intro

              In retrospect, it was not at all reasonable to believe that Obama would deal with Wall St. in a more useful/honest way than a republican.

              1. UserFriendly

                In retrospect the media should have pointed out that it was Bill Clinton’s twin time bombs of GLBA and CFMA that caused the damn recession in the first place and been on whoever got elected about appointing people who would seek real remedies not band aids. The fact that the press swaps integrity for access and didn’t see fit to keep hounding the administration for not jailing anyone over the biggest fuck up in a generation is why no one trusts them any more and why democracy is in decline.

    2. Daryl

      It is not clear to me what exactly a collapse entails. The US doesn’t have obvious lines to fracture across, like say the USSR did. (I suppose an argument could be made for “cultural regions” like the South, Cascadia etc separating out, but it seems far less likely to happen, even in the case of continuing extreme economic duress and breakdown of democracy/civil rights).

      The US is and has been in a serious decline, and will probably continue.

      1. aab

        What does that mean, though? For most American citizens, American hegemony after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been terrible. It looks to me like the lives of British citizens got better after Great Britain became less great, until Thatcher came to power, and it sounds like a lot of why the Tories were able to do as much damage as they did was in part because they were parasitically riding along with us, and also benefited from Soviet decline. (I realize the neoliberal march started before the Soviet system completed its death throes.)

        It seems to me that being a global power primarily benefits the elite, and gives them even more ability to crush those beneath them in their nominal country. A “weaker” country internationally — as long as it’s not too weak — seems more likely to take care of its own citizens.

        I guess we’re about to find out if I’m right. I sure hope I am.

    3. tegnost

      Must say I think that electing trump is putting up a fight against the status quo, keep trying, but nuland et al are worse, and as aab points out it wasn’t genius who won, it was the dem establishment who lost. Now we have potentially sessions going after the 420 which will eviscerate the repubs in 18 because the states love the tax revenue and the people love the freedom, Also, the people (actually it was the media and the elite, and calling them people bestows an identity they lack) criticizing trump and Kushner proved themselves to be little minded. Real change has actually already happened. It’s like the Sundance Kid. get them moving and they’re easier to hit. They’ve been flushed from cover.

    4. JSM

      It’s been pointed out that many of the first names Trump has floated are extreme – e. g. Dimon & Bolton, and it’s possible that this is perception management at work.

      There also seems to be a good probability that Trump isn’t going to get involved in major conflicts. Flynn, who’s been advising him since perhaps the Republican primaries, seems like a hardliner more interested in sharp balance of power arrangements than shooting wars. You also can’t really have détente with Russia and war with Iran at the same time. (Putin will be happy to cut deals, but not, one would think, that one.) All the emphasis has been on the former.

      And the decline is already decades old. If you want a (somewhat skewed) accounting, along with a general indictment of rampant incompetence, go back and watch… Trump announce his candidacy.


  26. ewmayer

    o “The Trump campaign, meanwhile, delved into message tailoring, sentiment manipulation and machine learning.” — Oh, please, this sounds like a stereotypical Google-centric view of things. They of course left out the most important part of the campaign, the key to its inception, which could be described in terms like “The Trump campaign, meanwhile, actually noticed the widespread misery and non-recovery in the parts of the US outside the elite coastal bubbles and DC beltway, and spotted a yuuuge political opportunity.” In other words, not sentiment manipulation – that was, after all, the Dem-establishment-MSM-wall-street-and-the-elite-technocrats’ “America is already great, and anyone who denies it is deplorable!” strategy of manufactured consent – so much as actual *reading* of sentiment. Of course if one insisted on remaining inside a protective elite echo chamber and didn’t listen to anything Trump or the attendees actually said in those huge flyover-country rallies that wasn’t captured in suitably outrageous evening-news soundbites, it was all too easy to believe one’s own hype.

    o “…former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has known Trump socially for decades and is currently advising the president-elect on foreign policy issues…” — I really, really hope this is just Hammerin’ Hank tooting his own horn, as he and his sycophants in the FP establishment and MSM are wont to do.

  27. Brad

    “Trump dumps the TPP: conservatives rue strategic fillip to China” (Guardian)

    Another wedge angle for Trumps new-found RINO “friends” to play. Trump will have as many problems with Ayn Ryan Congress as Obama/Clinton on economic issues.

    “The TPP excludes China, which declined to join, proposing its own rival version, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which excludes the US.” You see, it is all China’s fault. No info presented on why China “declined” to join.

    And if Abe’s Japan were really an independent country, they’d pick up the TPP baton and sell it to China.

  28. Jim

    The Adolph Reed piece mention above is, indeed, a wonderful analysis.

    In a way this essay is, perhaps, partially a reflection of Reed’s own trajectory as a black intellectual. He put in the necessary time and effort to “make a radical politics by climbing the tenure ladder.” But I believe he is retired now and seems appropriately focused on the serious task of gaining “proprietorship of the institutions and policy process..aimed at creating agendas that define and realize black interests.”

    Bravo. Looks like politics may finally be getting serous.

  29. fresno dan

    Supply Chain: “Why Reshore Manufacturing? It’s the Only Way to Avoid Defective Pirated Parts” [Of Two Minds]. ” What has been commoditified in the global supply chain is not quality or reliability– what’s been commoditified is pirated, defective parts that look exactly like legitimate parts. There is a solution that’s a lot cheaper than shoveling sand against the counterfeit tide: bring the entire supply chain back to America where production can be verified and the parts tested and ID’d/ labeled with technologies that cannot be counterfeited as easily as the parts.” I think we have readers who may have encountered such parts in their work. Comments?

    Well, because your asking for comments, adulteration (that term means materials have dangerous or diminished quality due to not meeting prescribed US FDA quality controls) from China in food and drugs is actually quite common. And it is one of those things where if this had happened from an American manufacturing plants, the outcome would have been much more serious for the manufacturer


    One can look up Chinese pet food contamination, Chinese food adulteration, Chinese drug adulteration, etcetera – its really too numerous to list.
    And it really is an Alice in Wonderland world – because China is so far away and expensive to inspect, as well as the fact FDA does not hire INDEPENDENT translators (a Chinese employee translates for FDA – one can see the conflict), Chinese manufacture does not get nearly the scrutiny that USA manufacture gets. (NOTE: FDA was unable on the first inspection to even FIND the actual manufacturing location of the adulterated Heparin****) Undoubtedly, the economics of meeting FDA inspection costs is a reason companies flee……because they KNOW they will have significantly lower costs overseas.

    FDA rationalizations for the lessor inspection burden placed on foreign firms makes Hillary Clinton’s explanation of emails seem as pure as if they were spoken by the Lord.


    While FDA must be applauded for its outstanding efforts in
    responding to this outbreak, it must also be held accountable
    for one glaring and fatal mistake: in 2004, a series of FDA
    blunders resulted in an FDA decision to approve Changzhou SPL
    to sell heparin HBI to Baxter without first the FDA conducting
    a pre-approval inspection of Changzhou SPL’s production plant,
    as is the FDA’s policy. This plant was not registered in China
    as a drug manufacturer, and Chinese officials had never
    inspected the plant either.
    If FDA had conducted such an inspection in 2004, would they
    have concluded that Changzhou SPL was not capable of meeting
    current good manufacturing practices, as was concluded by the
    FDA’s inspection after heparin deaths?
    It was not until February 20th that the FDA began an
    inspection of the Changzhou plant. In that inspection, FDA
    determined that Changzhou SPL was incapable of providing safe
    heparin API to the United States.

    Although the congressional inquiry provides good background, I am not talking about a “pre-approval” inspection with regard to not finding the plant, but that when FDA first went to China in response to the medical issues that had arisen with heparin, the inspectors did not inspect THE actual plant that was the cause of the disaster (believe it or not, they went to a firm with a similar name). It really wasn’t their individual faults – the FDA’s registration rules are ridiculous, cumbersome, contradictory and with regard to foreign plants often ignored.


    Could FDA Have Prevented the Situation?
    The circumstances surrounding the recent recall of heparin raised questions about FDA’s ability to fully assure the safety of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical ingredients produced outside the U.S. However, previous testing methods were not adequate to detect the potential contaminant. In investigating the most recent heparin situation, FDA learned in January 2008 that Baxter received FDA approval to use the API manufacturer, Changzhou SPL in Changzhou, China, although FDA did not conduct a pre-approval inspection of the plant. The plant subsequently shipped product to Baxter. As FDA has acknowledged, FDA’s failure to inspect the plant was the result of human error. FDA staff entering data into a database confused the name of the Changzhou plant with another plant that had been previously inspected.
    There is no justification for the theory that contamination of heparin would have been prevented if the inspection of Changzhou SPL had occurred in 2004. Intentional contamination is difficult to detect during an inspection and, in any case, the contamination appears to have begun long after the inspection would have been completed. Moreover, heparin contamination is not limited to product from Changzhou SPL, so timely inspection of that one firm would probably not have prevented the problem.

    Finally, FINALLY for real, it is an axiom in FDA (and any real quality control) that you cannot test quality into a product. The product passed all tests – the contaminant wasn’t tested for – YOU WILL NOT FIND WHAT YOU ARE NOT LOOKING FOR….

  30. Cry Shop

    JP Morgan fined for bribing China, but part of fine paid back to itself. (Morgan is a stock holder in the Federal Reserve)

    1. uncle tungsten

      Just as long as Trump misses out on the reincarnation cycle I will be comfortable. Once will be enough for this little planet.

  31. Jay M

    freudenshade, a dish best served “cold”
    The Trump team engaged in:
    message tailoring, sentiment manipulation and machine learning
    surprised they weren’t infused with AI and virtual reality
    weren’t they the enthusiasms of the eighty’s and ninety’s, the soft power of the Gates types while they imposed shitty software suites and crappy browsers
    How much does that VR headgear cost now?

  32. Kim Kaufman

    Here is what I know about the Jill Stein/recount. She was approached by John Bonfiaz and Bob Fitrakis because she has standing (and I guess Clintonistas wouldn’t do it). They need to raise about $2.5m for Wisconsin, “less” for Michigan and I don’t know how much for PA. You can hear her on today’s Brad Friedman Bradblog.com show. Someone else said: “The full costs are said to be $2m per state. Why? Nearly half is state filing fees. Then there’s the NYC law firm that will take the lead. Then, like 2004, there’s the independent investigative costs assocoated [sic] with researching/preparing evidence to be submitted to courts to get permission to examine machines, and then to observe the county-by-county counts (and train people), it gets to $2m per state. ”

    Here is the fundraising link: https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount

    Total now: $2,158,605.74 of the [first] $2.5m needed has been raised since about midday today. So looks like they’ll be able to file in Wisconsin on Friday. There have been a number of “irregularities” like more votes than people registered in a precinct kind of thing. Not just “Putin hacks.”

    I personally don’t give a crap who wins, they’re both wretched, but it’s a good opportunity to put a spotlight on what’s going on with our voting system. The one thing I don’t know is how it can be determined how many voters were “stripped and flipped” through the much reported by Greg Palast “crosscheck” scam.

    If Wisconsin and Michigan flip (and Michigan is only like 17k votes apart) then Clinton gets the electoral votes needed to be the next president. Things will then get very scary, imo.

      1. Isotope_C14

        I love that John Oliver sort of tone that the staff at NC parlay around third-party candidates. If only Jill would become a real professional and and accept money from Dyncorp and Northrup-Grumman!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Match for that straw? A party that first frames Sanders as a sheepdog, than pleads with him to take the top of the ticket, and then condemns him as a white supremacist isn’t a serious party. That’s really not the same as taking money from Dyncorp, right? (As if that was the only alternative, given the small donor model Sanders proved out, and everybody — including you! — is attempting to erase.)

          Smarter Greens, please. Oh, and on insulting the staff, see the moderation rules. Do you throw your drink in your host’s face at parties often?

          1. Isotope_C14

            Where are the links for these assertions?

            1.) “The Green Party: Framing of a sheepdog” (Which he was, but the party didn’t have a statement on it, now individuals may have, that doesn’t mean the party did)

            2.) Jill’s offer to Sanders to take the top of the ticket was probably a publicity stunt, and it worked. A ton of Berners defected to the Greens. Isn’t that grasping an opportunity?

            3.) “Green party claims he’s a white-supremacist.” Would love to see this one. Again, individuals have pointed out this, but the party did not. Anyone who reads Chris Hedges can figure out empire is inherently racist.

            Small donations work to some degree, but Sanders was allowed to debate. They wouldn’t even let Arn Menconi or Flowers debate at the Senate level, even though at the Maryland debate both D and R candidates were happy to have her included. We wouldn’t want to have another Jesse Ventura problem. Of course, “The Green’s don’t have a ground game”.

            You call it an insult, but it’s fact that the majority of NC staff comments regarding Jill or Greens has been exceptionally critical, even in comparison to Trump and H->. At least hold them all to the same standard, because that would be appropriate for (what remains of) journalism.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I had assumed, wrongly, that you were familiar with the material as a regular NC reader. Here are the links again:

              1) Sheepdog, from well-known GP activists at Black Agenda Report

              2) White Supremacy. “The Sanders’ campaign, like the Obama phenomenon before it, does not offer a program or strategic direction for addressing the current crisis and contradictions of Western capitalist societies. Instead, it is an expression of the moral and political crisis of the Western radicalism” [A Voice from The Margins] (his blog). “This crisis – which is reflective of the loss of direction needed to inform, vision, and fashion a creative program for radical change – is even more acute in the U.S. than Western Europe. Yet, what unites both radical experiences is a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and normalized white supremacy.” (quoted in Water Cooler, 8/5/2016)

              * * *

              With “sheepdog,” the GP continues squarely in the Clinton tradition of appealing to voters by insulting them. (After all, if Sanders is a sheepdog, that makes his supporters sheep, right?) Baraka, of course, insults Sanders supporters in a different way, calling them racist.

              With “stunt,” thanking you for confirming that the appeal to Sanders was a bait-and-switch operation. Good to know.

              Worse, if you accept Baraka’s statement, the GP was using a white supremacist as the bait!

              It’s irrelevant whether empire is inherently racist or not. The issue is whether the Greens are a serious political party, and, if so, Baraka can frame his points so as to appeal to voters.

              * * *

              You write:

              it’s fact that the majority of NC staff comments regarding Jill or Greens has been exceptionally critical, even in comparison to Trump and H->.

              Bullshit. I’ve just written six or it seven detailed posts taking down Clinton campaign talking points. Any criticism of Stein has been (a) fully deserved and (b) a love tap by comparison.

              * * *

              You write:

              A ton of Berners defected to the Greens.

              A ton is 2000 pounds. There seem to be 12.2 adults per “tonne.” That’s not a very impressive number.

    1. aab

      Michael Tracey reported today that Michigan votes entire with paper ballots, already did some version of a recount, which is certified but unofficial until the 28th, and Trump still won. He linked to a report from Reuters that covers the numbers. The difference between Trump and Clinton in Michigan is now a little over 10K. Stein got about 1%.

      I find this all weird. I get the electoral corruption beat dudes wanting to do it, and I get Stein wanting to find more votes for the Greens, and show that she can get something done that’s reform-related. But if there’s really a possibility this could flip the state for Clinton, why isn’t Clinton requesting it? Where the hell is she? All these people are demanding we change election process norms on her behalf and she’s nowhere to be found, as far as I know. Shouldn’t the Democratic machine in Michigan have a fairly good idea if this is plausibly going to help her? They apparently knew perfectly well that she was in trouble in the state before the election.

      Even if she flips Michigan AND Wisconsin, she still has to find 12 more electoral votes somewhere. Given the corrupt criminality of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, I really doubt there are legitimate extra Clinton votes just lying around the state.

    1. RMO

      Really? Maybe there really is some substance behind the hacking claims after all seeing as how ol’ Nate “Even A Stopped Clock” Silver has dismissed them.

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