2:00PM Water Cooler 11/29/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


NAFTA: “Mexico’s new ambassador to the U.S. says the country is prepared to ‘modernize’ the North American Free Trade Agreement and wants to restart a guest-worker system that could address concerns about illegal immigration” [Arizona Daily Star].

TPP: Despite the presumed demise of TPP, “[t]he Communist government in Hanoi plans to push ahead with more than 30 separate pieces of legislation proposed to comply with the trade deal, including rules on labour, business, foreign trade, and small-and-medium enterprises. Since a new Constitution was adopted in 2013, Vietnam’s lawmakers have passed more than 100 laws – a scale of change unseen since the nation introduced the market-oriented doi moi reforms in the 1980s” [South China Morning Post].

TPP: “Envoy Kenjiro Monji says Japan is still determined to save the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite president-elect Donald Trump’s vow to take the United States out of it. Japan hopes that Mr. Trump can still be persuaded to back off from his opposition to TPP before his Jan. 20 inauguration” [Globe and Mail].


2016 Post Mortem

“After the departures of Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and Donna Brazile, both deeply implicated in the sabotaging of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s loss, Democrats need a new face at the head of the Democratic National Committee, the national party’s executive body. Ideally it should be someone who reassures the funders and can help rally the base voters. The leading contender is Keith Ellison, just elected to his sixth term in Congress from Minneapolis” [Black Agenda Report]. “Keith Ellison seems a good fit. He was the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and current co-chair of the large and virtually impotent House Progressive Caucus. He was an early endorser of Bernie Sanders who did his duty trying to lead leftward strays back into Hillary’s big tent. In a decade on the House Financial Services Committee, Ellison managed not to deeply offend the banksters who flooded the market with predatory housing and student loans, or the payday lenders and credit card racketeers, and he didn’t embarrass or insult the colleagues who openly shill for them. In that target rich environment Ellison managed not just to keep from hitting anything, but not even to take aim.”

“The Trump thing looks to be going to go from bad to worse. I understand that sometimes it makes sense to vote in the village idiot. But then you do have to deal with him being the President” [Mosler Economics]. I disagree with Mosler here, in the sense that if Trump is an idiot, he’s an idiot who was able to make fools of both party establishments, and beat a dynasty that had been preparing for a second occupation of the White House for a good fifteen years, and was supported by the smart money.

“The host of journalists, commentators, pundits, and celebrities who took it upon themselves day in and day out to explain, scrub, polish, promote, praise, defend, and sell Hillary as the best thing that could ever happen to our blessed country, because she had an endemic inability to do what politicians are supposed to do: sell themselves to the public. Presidential candidates, especially those with Clinton’s record-breaking funding base, can pay consultants to promote their ideas and promise. We don’t need journalists to volunteer to do it for them, and we sure as hell don’t need journalists who are taking on double-duty as PR flacks to further their own careers in the liberal punditocracy’s cursus honorum from lowly scribe to editor-writer at a highbrow magazine or earnest millennial channel to White House press secretary—or the C-suite at a Silicon Valley unicorn. RIP, my Shillaries” [The Baffler].

UPDATE “Top Clinton Campaign Strategist & David Axelrod Talk What Went Wrong In 2016 Election” [Chicagoist]. Exactly what you would expect. Before a “packed” audience of “liberals,” “Benenson was light on critique over how Clinton’s campaign was run, but he listed several other challenges…” She had one job.

Trump Transition

UPDATE “President-elect Donald Trump is set to embark on a tour to thank supporters who carried him to the White House” [NBC Chicago]. “A source in the Trump camp confirmed to NBC News Tuesday that Trump’s “Thank You Tour” is set to begin on Thursday with a rally in Cincinnati.” Another single source story: “On Thursday evening, Trump will kick off a “thank you” tour in Ohio, with a massive rally at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, according to a source familiar with the planning” [Politico]. I think this is smart. People underestimate Trump at their peril; see Mosler’s comment below.

“Republican Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia, will be Trump’s Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, and consultant Seema Verma will lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a powerful agency that oversees government health programs and insurance standards” [Reuters]. Verma worked with Pence, the Indiana governor, on a plan to expand Medicaid coverage for the state’s poor with federal funding. The Indiana program requires beneficiaries to make monthly contributions to health savings accounts. Verma told the Times of Indiana earlier this year that Pence fought for the ‘personal responsibility’ aspect of the program.” Of course, ObamaCare labels the mandate “Shared Responsibility” (the other “sharers” being the insurance companies and the government, very much opposed to “Everybody in, nobody out” and Medicare for All), so it’s not as if Pence’s neoliberal ideology wasn’t baked into the program from the start.

“Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao is set to be announced later Tuesday as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Transportation, multiple sources familiar with the decision confirmed Tuesday morning” [Politico]. Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s wife.

“Since election, Trump has turned away all but two daily intelligence briefings” [Kansas City Star]. Like that’s a bad thing?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Each struggle, for Jackson, is part of a larger whole. He’s not making an individual appeal to black Americans or an individual appeal to white workers. He’s asking black Americans to see that their struggle is the struggle of white workers and vice versa. That higher wages and civil rights (and affordable education and programs for families) are inextricable. And to that end, Jackson proposed a broad agenda that linked material uplift for all Americans to a civil rights agenda, to the fight against South African apartheid, to the Equal Rights Amendment” [Jamelle Bouie, Slate]. And yet Bouie seems to deeply believe that Sanders was not trying to do just that. It’s very odd.

“What Jill Stein is doing is blatant self promotion, list building, reputational repair where it is undeserved, and slush funding for an incoherent Green Party. It is detestable to the extreme. Stein has glommed onto this recount scam as a way to serve herself, she certainly is not serving anything else” [EmptyWheel]. “[T[wo out of three of Stein’s target states already “audit the vote” as a regular matter of law without the need for Stein’s self serving injection into the matter…. there is still NO competent evidence whatsoever of fraud, mistake or other irregularity that could change the result. None. And that is the thing, unless there is fraud, mistake or systematic error, recounts can do nothing to legally support a challenge to the election results. A challenge has to stand up in court. It cannot be thin and based upon rote supposition and suspicion. Even if Stein’s folly turns up a minor discrepancy here and there, that will not suffice…. Jill Stein is a grifter and a fraud. And she is playing this opportunity to, first off, list build for herself and the Greens, secondly, resuscitate her and their name, thirdly, stay in the press, and lastly, create an amorphous slush fund to continue those things.” Just in case there are any readers out there who think I’ve been rough on the GP…

“On Friday, Stein filed the first of these recount requests in Wisconsin, in which her campaign alleges ‘evidence of voting irregularities’ even though there really isn’t any. It’s basically a made-up request that tosses in a dose or two of conspiracy theory about ‘foreign interference’ in the election. Again, while I’m all for election integrity and am concerned about e-voting machines, alleging fraud without any real evidence is just conspiracy theory mongering” [Tech Dirt]. “If you want some actual facts: there’s been almost no evidence of voter fraud, other than a few small attempts here or there. ProPublica has the best analysis of this, noting the many ways in which it has reviewed the data, looking for evidence of voter fraud and finding none at all. Here’s a sampling of what ProPublica had to say:

See the whole tweetstorm.

“Jill Stein’s Pennsylvania recount: These are the next steps” [Billy Penn]. Stein is using two of the three methods available to demand a recount: Candidate-initiated and Voter-initiated; these can later be combined. If I understand this division correctly, here is the candidate initiated claim:

Stein’s Bucks County attorney Lawrence Otter filed Monday afternoon in Commonwealth Court on behalf of more than 100 voters. The suit asks for a full, statewide recount of the vote in every county based on several issues, including:

The voters who are part of the lawsuit stated they also want a recount to determine whether any hacking of Pennsylvania’s electronic voting machines took place

The Podesta hack, at least, was a phishing expedition; Podesta’s password was “p@ssword.” To equate that with hacking a voting machine is simply frivolous. The voters’ portion of the suit is more substantive; Pennsylvania’s voting machines don’t even have a paper trail.

More from Billy Penn:

Now, in order for Stein’s lawsuit to result in a statewide recount, a judge would have to rule that there’s pretty significant evidence showing voter fraud or tampering with the vote. That was not offered in the original lawsuit filed Monday. But it’s possible the filing could be being used to buy some time for Stein and her allies to come up with evidence they need to get that recount.

“Stein’s lawsuit would have to present evidence that election fraud was probable in Pennsylvania. Democratic Secretary of State Pedro Cortes says there’s no evidence of voting irregularities during the Nov. 8 election” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “‘Absolutely not,’ Cortes told reporters. ‘There is no evidence whatsoever that points to any type of irregularity in any way, shape or form.” And here is the Voter-initiated claim:

Stein is promoting an “especially complicated” voter-initiated recount effort that involves three voters in every precinct or election district in Pennsylvania submitting a notarized affidavit to the clerk in their individual election districts.

Lawrence Otter, a lawyer for Stein’s campaign, said individual voters were filing petitions with boards of elections in several counties across the state seeking recounts in their precincts. Voters had already done so in Philadelphia, and Otter said they were expected to do so in Bucks County as well later Monday.

According to the Department of State, there were 9,163 voting precincts in Pennsylvania during the 2016 election. So Stein would need over 27,000 voters to file notarized affidavits, but it’s unclear if that avenue is even still available.

According to Wanda Murren, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, the deadline under the law for a voter-initiated recount at the county level had been Monday, Nov. 21. Many counties missed it but nearly half have already certified their results, precluding recounts there. That makes a lawsuit the only remaining option for initiating a statewide recount.

Note that it’s a requirement that 3 voters in each of the 9,163 counties voting precincts file.)

“No system in this state is attached to the internet in any way, so this whole notion of being hacked is farcical at best,” says [Washington County Assistant Elections Director Wesley Parry” [CBS Local].

“The Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed Monday to begin a recount of the presidential election on Thursday but was sued by Green Party candidate Jill Stein after the agency declined to require county officials to recount the votes by hand” [USA Today]. “It will be a race to finish the recount in time to meet a daunting federal deadline, and the lawsuit could delay the process. Under state law, the recount must begin this week as long as Stein or another candidate pays the $3.5 million estimated cost of the recount by Tuesday, election officials said.” “Buy some time” above, and “the lawsuit could delay,” here, both support the theory that a delegitimizing event in the Electoral College is the ultimate goal. Remember when a candidate not accepting the election results was a terrible problem?

“Consensus is the bedrock of democracy. For differences to get resolved in a properly democratic fashion, there needs to be agreement over the terms of the debate. Interlocutors must be aware of their shared rights and responsibilities, and they need to be capable of proceeding from a common set of facts and premises” [Think Progress]. Hmm.

Stats Watch

GDP, Q3 2016 (preliminary): “The third quarter has gotten a meaningful upgrade. The second estimate is 3 tenths higher than the first, at a plus 3.2 percent annualized rate and which includes an upgrade for consumer spending and, in further good news, a downgrade in inventory growth” [Econoday]. “This report points to greater-than-expected consumer momentum going into the current quarter, helping to explain the big 0.8 percent surge in retail sales for October. The consumer has jobs and is the driving force of the economy.” And: Above consensus [Calculated Risk]. But: “Overall investment increased 2.1% for the quarter from the original estimate of 3.1%. Capital spending was bolstered by strength in non-residential structures, although there will be disappointment that spending on equipment declined for the fourth successive quarter with a significant downward revision to the first estimate. There was a slower estimated decline in residential investment at 4.4% from the original 6.2%” [Economic Calendar].

Corporate Profits, Q3 2016: “Corporate profits rose 5.2 percent year-on-year in the third quarter” [Econoday].

S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, September 2016: “Boosted by gains among the smaller cities, Case-Shiller’s adjusted 20-city price index rose a sizable 0.4 percent in data for September. Tampa and Dallas lead the monthly rundown with Seattle, Atlanta and Charlotte close behind. These are all outside the 10-city index where the gain is a less spectacular 0.2 percent” [Econoday]. “Still, the monthly gain for the 20-city is by far the best since March when the index first began to slow.” And: “Interest rates will, however, be watched closely in the short term as long-term yields have already moved sharply higher this month with 30-year rates trading close to 3.00%. Although still very low in historic terms, the sharp increase in rates and expectations of further Fed tightening will pose an important test for overall confidence in the market” [Economic Calendar]. And: “Although over the past few years there has been a moderate slowing of the Case Shiller HPI year-over-year growth – this month saw a marginal improvement. … It is my belief that IF the Fed begins to normalize the federal funds rate – it will slow the growth rate of home prices. But for now, the merry ride continues” [Econintersect]. But: “The seasonally adjusted (SA) index was reported as being only 0.8% below the bubble peak. However, in real terms, the National index (SA) is still about 15.7% below the bubble peak” [Calculated Risk].

Consumer Confidence, November 2016: “Consumer confidence rose sharply following the November 8 election [but see following] up 6.3 points to 107.1 for by far the best reading of the cycle, since July 2007” [Econoday]. But: “Most of the consumers were surveyed ahead of the Presidential and Congressional elections, but the small number of surveys received after the election did not suggest a major shift in the pattern” [Economic Calendar]. And: “Those saying jobs are hard to get, which is closely watched as a barometer for monthly jobs data, is unchanged, at a very low 21.7 percent in what is a favorable indication for Friday’s report.” And: “On a percentile basis, the latest reading is at the 77th percentile of all the monthly data points since June 1977, up from the 62nd percentile the previous month” [Econintersect].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, November 2016: Fell, driven by the Asian component [Econoday]. “The figures show institutional investors reluctant to embrace positive market reactions as global markets continue to decipher the economic and political effects of the Trump presidency on the back of Brexit.”

Manufacturing: “Leaps forward in computing power, imaging and 3-D-printing technology are allowing engineers like never before to develop bionics, also known as biomimetics, from the Greek for ‘mimicking life'” [Wall Street Journal, “Manufacturers Take a Page From Mother Nature”]. “In particular, additive manufacturing with metal alloys—3-D metal printing—enables an array of products to be built the way trees and bones grow: cell by cell, with minimal waste.”

Shipping: “Roads and railways are busier this fall as U.S. companies ship more goods and materials in response to improving consumer spending” [Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Shipping Demand Turns Upward on Consumer Spending”]. “Domestic freight shipments rose 2.7% in October from the same month a year ago and advanced 1% from September, according to the latest monthly survey by Cass Information Systems Inc., suggesting new momentum for shipping demand that has been in a long-term slump. October marked the first year-over-year volume gain in 20 months, freight analyst Donald Broughton said in the report.”

Mr. Market: “Banks and insurers have jumped 12 percent since Trump’s victory, almost double the next best performer in the S&P 500. At 1.3 times book value, the group was valued at a multiple that’s 60 percent above its five-year average” [Across the Curve].

Rail: “If coal and grain are removed from the analysis, rail has recently been declining around 5% – but this week was -2.1 %. This week the one year rolling average again improved – but it remains in contraction” [Econintersect].

Housing: “Note: There was a report of a ‘foreclosure spike’ in October. [Black Knight] data shows the opposite happened” [Calculated Risk]. “October’s 56,500 foreclosure starts is the lowest one-month total in nearly 12 years; Delinquencies see modest seasonal increase in October; still down nine percent from last year.”

Supply Chain: “For Apple and others, tin supply chain has ties to rebel-held Myanmar mine” [Reuters]. “The mine is controlled by the UWSA, the strongest of the myriad armed groups that have kept Myanmar in a state of near-perpetual civil war for decades.”

The Bezzle: ” Juno is a “driver-friendly” rideshare service that competes with Uber by paying its drivers more and giving drivers the ability to pick up a fare, get them to install the Juno app, and give them a discount.” [Boing Boing].

The Bezzle: “SEC takes Tesla to task over nonstandard and ‘individually tailored’ numbers” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch].

Rapture Index, November 28, 2016: Closes down 1 on liberalism [Rapture Ready]. (Remember, when the index goes down, the Rapture is less likely to occur.) Record High: 189 (October 10, 2016). Current: 187.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 71 Greed (previous close: 70, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 29 at 11:45am.

The 420

UPDATE “Hunter S. Thompson’s personal weed being developed to be sold in the US” [ShortList]. Friends, there’s good news tonight!


“As North Dakota governor orders “emergency evacuation” at Standing Rock, Water Protectors ask court for an injunction” [Boing Boing].


“The new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the recent pattern of cold winters — such as in 2014-15 which saw record snowfall levels in New York —was mainly caused by changes to the positioning of jet streams, small meandering air currents that flow about 9-16 km (roughly 6 to 20 miles) above Earth’s surface” [Business Insider].

News of the Wired

“Did a “Government-backed Attacker” attempt to steal your Gmail password?” [Medium].

“Scotland’s national dish — a savory pudding made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, mixed with oatmeal and spices and encased in sheep’s intestines — has been banned in the United States for almost half a century” [CNN]. “But the Scottish government has said the law on haggis may be scrapped as early as next year and the country’s haggis makers are already preparing for the big event.”

* * *

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 (Ben S):


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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. optimader

    “Manufacturers Take a Page From Mother Nature”]. “In particular, additive manufacturing with metal alloys—3-D metal printing—enables an array of products to be built the way trees and bones grow: cell by cell, with minimal waste.”

    and at something like the same speed relative 3D printing being applied to more than high value niche applications — investment casting models, proof of concept prototyping, architectural modeling (think printing 3d model of an oil refinery) and the like where only one or a couple pieces are rqd.

    So I think the whole cost analysis for repetitive commercial part creation will for the foreseeable future favor subtractive CNC processes + waste vs additive 3 D printing processes.

  2. JSM

    Ah, just scrolling through here before following a couple links, but if one had an axe to grind, there are certainly other more prominent targets than Jill Stein whose polices, platform and candidacy could be called ‘amorphous’ and ‘incoherent,’ or whom one could personally call ‘a grifter and a fraud.’

    Some rubes will just not understand Clinton was the messiah…

    Stein stay in the press… one chuckles to oneself… yes, Jill Stein was also seen running into supporters near Chappaqua, shortly after the election, after she had ditched the Secret Service and everything… Just an ordinary day, especially when one is so gifted with ‘the common touch.’


    1. Detroit Dan

      Actually Stein’s platform made good sense to me. I find your comment unintelligible. And EmptyWheel throws out a bunch of empty accusations, as far as I can tell, regarding Stein’s motivations.

      I’m with Stein.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        What garbage:

        [1][T[wo out of three of Stein’s target states already “audit the vote” as a regular matter of law without the need for Stein’s self serving injection into the matter…. there is still [2] NO competent evidence whatsoever of fraud, mistake or other irregularity that could change the result. None. And that is the thing, unless there is fraud, mistake or systematic error, [3] recounts can do nothing to legally support a challenge to the election results.

        None of those three “accusations” — I helpfully numbered them — are empty. If they were, it would have been trivially easy for you to refute them, since they are well known. Instead, we get a drive-by with no value add. I thought it was only Democrat and Republican partisans that did that. Guess not.

        And I love the hilarious echo in “I’m with Stein”….

    1. Clive

      … oatmeal mixed with offal shoved into an intestine

      Yes, that’s your basic haggis recipe. A glutinous mush made up from wonky cuts of meat from suspect parts of a cow / sheep / other ruminants’ anatomies. Served with copious amounts of waffle, you could not have a better metaphor for Obama’s legacy.

        1. uncle tungsten

          Or washed down with what we now must politely call a stout and beer, once referred to as a black and tan! ;-)

      1. CLBasso

        OK. Make fun of haggis . But when I was a kid, my parents, whose parents had just come over from eastern Europe,had a saying: everything but the oink. Back in the day, food was not something you picked up at the grocery store. It was something that you bought, whole hog in their case. You wasted nothing. Nothing. You found a way to use every part of that animal. We throw away everything that is “beneath” us. I wouldn’t do that. We may be going down that road again, by the look of things.

  3. nippersmom

    I’m sure people across the US are waiting in breathless anticipation for that haggis ban to be lifted.

    1. Hana

      Haggis is great! But for full enjoyment it must be carried into the dining hall in state, let by an escort of bagpipers.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

        My Scottish Great Grandpa Gow will continue spinning in his grave until I post Rabbie Burns’s
        Address to a Haggis:

        Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
        Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
        Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
        Painch, tripe, or thairm:
        Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
        As lang’s my arm.

        The groaning trencher there ye fill,
        Your hurdies like a distant hill,
        Your pin wad help to mend a mill
        In time o need,
        While thro your pores the dews distil
        Like amber bead.

        His knife see rustic Labour dight,
        An cut you up wi ready slight,
        Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
        Like onie ditch;
        And then, O what a glorious sight,
        Warm-reekin, rich!

        Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
        Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
        Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
        Are bent like drums;
        The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
        ‘Bethankit’ hums.

        Is there that owre his French ragout,
        Or olio that wad staw a sow,
        Or fricassee wad mak her spew
        Wi perfect scunner,
        Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
        On sic a dinner?

        Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
        As feckless as a wither’d rash,
        His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
        His nieve a nit;
        Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
        O how unfit!

        But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
        The trembling earth resounds his tread,
        Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
        He’ll make it whissle;
        An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
        Like taps o thrissle.

        Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
        And dish them out their bill o fare,
        Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
        That jaups in luggies:
        But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
        Gie her a Haggis

        To those readers who’ve made it thus far: Well-made haggis tastes much better than it sounds– served with neeps and tatties– and is best savoured with more than a wee dram of your favourite single malt.

        1. ChrisPacific

          There is a local butcher here that makes it, and we have had it brought in for Robbie Burns day before. An abridged reading of the poem is generally included, minus all the bits about dismembering Englishmen out of consideration for our English staff.

          It’s a bit like meatloaf, but stickier and with a more, um, ‘robust’ flavour. People who don’t like organ meats such as liver or kidney might want to give it a miss. Personally I thought it was pretty good.

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

            I’ve only had it in Scotland, where on one occasion I even prepared it myself and IMHO is only worth buying if one can source it from a local butcher. I agree with you about the taste: I think it would only appeal to those who like organ meats and robust flavours.

  4. Clive

    Re: Japan urging Trump to save the TPP

    Ha. Abe must be more desperate than I thought. Unless he has compromising pictures of Trump being beaten on the bottom by Janet Yellen with a copy of Das Capital in the master suite atop of Trump Tower, I simply don’t know what Shinzo could be smoking.

    It’s all grist to my mill about the TPP being a proto-security treaty in disguise — if so, and without the TPP, Japan will just have to sort out its territorial squabbling with China on its own; it can’t drag the US in. Good.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Abe would only study up on the Art of War and develop some Zen patience, by betting on the US and China to confront each other at some future time. He might get to dictate his terms on the territorial squabbling.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    Regarding the recount and at the risk of spamming, I want to point this out again – the widely used optical scan machines do not count all the votes cast due to people not filling out the ballots properly. I was a vote counter in a recent local recount and we counted by hand about 1-2% more votes than the machines did because people are better at determining voter intent than machines are.

    There is also the fact that the optical scan machines we used were programmed to spit out ballots and give voters another chance if they weren’t filled out correctly. This is fine if you are voting at the precinct on election day but not at all fine if you are voting absentee and mailing your vote in. If you filled it out improperly it will just be wasted when it’s run through the machine by someone other than the original voter. We saw a much higher percentage of wasted ballots coming from absentees than came from election day votes.

    This is the type of thing Stein or anyone demanding a recount should be pushing and it’s precisely why we asked for one in our local election. The claims of foreign hacking etc. are not going to look good if the result doesn’t change, which it most likely will not.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The claim of foreign hacking leads back to motivation.

      If she’s not aware of the type of thing you mentioned, and if, on the other hand, foreign hacking claim can be ruled out based on common sense, then she is a hack for Hillary.

      1. Stephen Tynan

        Foreign hackers, take a number, get in line.
        The hacking of our machines is done by domestic entities.
        Holding back the results of large urban areas like Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia is an intrinsic part of electronic ballot flipping. Please see the work of Bev Harris. http://www.blackboxvoting.org

        The other party relies on voter suppression.
        Please see the work of Greg Palast.

          1. Detroit Dan

            Yeah, I’m disappointed with Yves labeling emptywheel’s nonsense “important” (from morning Links I believe). Emptywheel seems like just another apologist for the recent election results. She was wrong and blames those who were right, like Stein.

            1. Yves Smith

              Wow, you’re behaving just like a Democrat, offering a partisan drive-by complaint without any supporting evidence. Apparently you don’t like dealing with factual-based, well argued pieces that show that your favorite’s strategy has been 1. misrepresented by her and her fans;, 2. won’t accomplish its stated aims; 3. has been executed in a half-assed manner; and 4. therefore looks pretty suspect.

              1. cwaltz

                Calling someone an opportunist and guessing their motive for running for President was based on vanity isn’t a factual statement in any way shape or form.

                Additionally misconstruing the testimony of a tech expert and taking his words out of context to suit the argument that there is absolutely no merit to concerns about the vote being hacked borders on what you accused posters of- misrepresentation.

                I actually included the ACTUAL testimony and words of Mr Halderman- THEY INCLUDE THIS-

                Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for a recount.

                1. Yves Smith

                  You ignore that what Haldeman has said is a misdirection. The recounts will not and cannot get at the issue of hacking. It merely redoes the vote counting process. At most, in some districts, they might get it done a tad more stringently.

                  Moreover other experts have said that the Haldeman assertion is fundamentally bogus: if the election were tampered with, you’d expect to see markedly different results in districts where the polling methods made doctoring results the easiest. Yet in swing state districts across states, the results were remarkably similar in districts with similar demographics, irrespective of voting method. So Haldeman chooses to say, “Maybe we should assume a can opener, as in a cyberattack” with no basis whatsoever for that view.

                  Moreover, as Lambert documented in Water Cooler and you chose to ignore, a recount will NOT do forensics of any kind of voting machines, nor did the Stein initiative present anything other than what the courts would regard as innuendo, as opposed to evidence, of that claim.

                  In addition, you also misrepresented the emptywheel piece. It labeled the recount gimmick as a vanity project, not her Presidential bid. Given that it appears to be a pointless PR exercise by Stein that other Green party officials denounced as not being authorized by the party, it’s not an unreasonable charge.

                  1. cwaltz

                    I didn’t ignore what Halderman said. You seem to be ignoring the fact that they actually asked for a hand recount which would have given them the actual access to paper ballots.

                    No they were not given that- however that WAS what the lawsuit requested.

                    Can I have the name and links to the other experts? This certainly isn’t the first year there were questions on how secure the voting process actually is. Additionally they actually KNOW that state voter databases were hacked this year.



                    I’d be interested to have the names of security experts that think “hey state databases were hacked(not by Russia I’m sure) but I’m sure that everyone’s vote is completely secure.”

                    Did she even read the filing?


                    The premise for the election fraud charge was that state databases WERE hacked.

                    If you tamper with the voter database then you can tamper with absentee ballots.

                    We could go round robin on emptywheel. I found her piece to be smug, condescending and filled with bloviations. That’s my OPINION. Just as it is her opinion that Stein is a self serving opportunist. The piece wasn’t factual. It was opinion and for every statement she made or expert she found I could counter with one of my own and an expert that says differently. Additionally, the hypocrisy of calling Stein an opportunist when Clinton ran her entire campaign media collusion, fundraising , get out the vote efforts,around fear mongering on Donald Trump is beyond ridiculous. Boohoo, Stein is using an issue to fundraise. It’s not fa–ir! She’s gathering names(as opposed to what?- the online petitions you all use to gather them for the DNC?) How horrible!

                    Green Party officials statement include this but I’m sure that it was overlooked.

                    The reason for this is that as the author notes, “as a candidate, Dr. Stein has the right to call for a recount. However, we urge the GPUS to distance itself from any appearance of support for either Democrats or Republicans. We are well aware of the undemocratic actions taken during the primaries by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Greens cannot be perceived to be allied with such a party.”

                    In other words, they feel that calling for the recount is about giving the Democrats the election instead of about the actual process.

                    “The Green Party cannot build the political power necessary for the transformative changes we need by allying with two capitalist parties that serve the interests of the wealthy. That is why it is imperative that the Green Party is independent of those parties. We stay independent to give people an alternative to the corruption of two money-based parties. Greens reject donations from corporations and their political action committees to ensure we are accountable to the people and so that the people’s agenda is not superseded by the corporate agenda.”

                    I’d also argue that Flowers(the author of the letter), in terms of strategizing is wrong IMO, if her viewpoint is that the Green Party needs to be separated entirely from the two major parties. The Green Party needs to appeal to the voters of those parties. They need to get involved in what they care about and show that they fight and care about what those voters care about. That’s the way to become an alternative to the corporate party IMO.

          2. Kurt Sperry

            Yuggh. I just read that Wheeler piece on Stein. Stuff like,

            “[Stein], once Bernie Sanders lost, became the go to darling for ill advised voters and activists that were far too willing to wreck the world with Donald Trump than consider the circumstances and vote for an eminently qualified, albeit terribly flawed, candidate in the form of Hillary Clinton. It is hard to argue with anarchist, blow it all up, demagogues when trying to protect a lame, and status quo, candidate. Even when the ultimate opponent is a raging racist, bigoted, misogynistic, female choice hating and torture loving shill like Donald Trump.”

            was definitely in the genre of the scolding indignant DNC boilerplate posted by clueless Hill-bots I scroll hurriedly past on my FB feed. Not all the piece is that cringe-worthy, but that quoted bit is, for me, more like must not read.

            1. cwaltz

              It’s beyond amusing to be scolded for voting for a “vanity candidate” running a vanity campaign.

              Stein actually offered to step aside and let Bernie lead the Green Ticket.

              Meanwhile your candidate’s campaign disenfranchised independent voters during the primary because you didn’t need them. You could win without them

              You ridiculed your opponent’s voters as being naïve and politically unaware. You didn’t even bother to offer something to them because you didn’t need them either or figured they’d have no choice. (So ironic that it turns out THIS was the politically naïve position.)

              Instead your candidate was going to win by having the media talk up an opponent like Trump and win over the GOP voters because he was so polarizing(nevermind that YOUR CANDIDATE was equally polarizing.)

              Talk about a vanity campaign. Heavy projection going on there.

              Then there’s the whole entire “she’s an opportunist” thing. I don’t think anyone should hold their breath waiting for emptywheel to scold the Democrats for hollering Trump as the rallying call to donate to Hillary. At least with Jill she’s picking an ISSUE instead of a personality as a reason to fundraise.

              1. Foppe

                The claims, made by someone inside the party, that she offered Bernie ‘her’ spot when a. this was not her offer to make, and b., this was not talked over at all within the party prior to her extending the offer, don’t puzzle you, or strike you as disturbing? To me, it suggests either that she sees the party as irrelevant, or that the party is just a collection of people who barely interact except at election times, and barely at that.

                As for the rest, if election fraud is something the GP cares about, I still don’t see a. why this wasn’t filed sooner, and b. why it was only filed in these states. (The claim that they only heard these allegations recently doesn’t strike me as very believable.)

                1. cwaltz

                  I believe the offer was genuine. I also believe he should have taken it.

                  (and yes there is a process to get on the ballot that I would imagine Bernie would have gone through, one Stein is familiar with since she has actually gotten on the ballot for them a time or two now.)

                  The filing was made when they were able to collect the money for the effort and file an affidavit. She did so on the 25th. The election was on the 9th. That means it took exactly 2 weeks to file. Hardly what I’d call a great length of time.

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  a. why this wasn’t filed sooner, and b. why it was only filed in these states. (The claim that they only heard these allegations recently doesn’t strike me as very believable.)


    2. uncle tungsten

      In Australia a vote is valid up until the point of being undecipherable. Eg: where a person votes 1,2,3,4,4,5 against each preferred candidate, the preferences are allocated to the point of the repeated 4 and then the ballot is considered exhausted.

      It is simply bloody minded to invalidate the entire persons effort through one error at some point. Admittedly Australian ballots are nowhere as complex as in the USA.

      The ballot system in the USA is truly deplorable and it is a good thing to challenge it but from my perspective Stein appears to have committed a Clinton having polled so poorly. I find it hard to believe that in a race as conflicted and so motivated by Bernie Sanders that she failed to benefit from any spill over to the Greens. Stein went backwards. That is worthy of some serious analysis.

  6. justsayknow

    “No system in this state is attached to the internet in any way”

    So how does he know this? Sure. not a cat cable connection but there could be wifi chips or bluetooth chips on the computer boards in the machines. Hundreds of voting machines need to be seized and publicly inspected by say, university students who are majoring in the proper electronics courses to know what they are looking at.
    And if we must use expensive electronic machines at least use open source code. It is not complicated. Just counting.

    apologies for my hurried writing. Should be working.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        Voting machine companies claim the software is proprietary. So no one gets a look-see. Plus, manipulation of votes does not need internet connection. A usb drive with the programming desired, that will not activate until election day (and avoid the pre-election tests) and then disappear after the count is pretty easy I am told.

        1. Foppe

          I’m sure they do. The question is why it isn’t a requirement to have OS (or at the very least externally audited)machines, though. The people who write the laws are perfectly within their right to make that demand; and capitalism guarantees that someone will meet the demand,once the rule exists. No need to rush, after all, there is a perfectly viable artisanal alternative.

        2. Jeffrey Radice

          Voting machine companies quite likely practice roughly the same level data security as the DNC or OMB, Sony, Mossack Fonseca, Hacking Team, et al. Perhaps worse security than some of these shining examples, perhaps better than others. Can’t say I’ve explored.

          Had one such an inclination, proprietary software source code could be exfiltrated from where it reposits. Then one might get a look-see. Perhaps in so doing, one might find bugs that lead down exploitable avenues by which to hack the vote either by USB or some other means.

          The conditions, techniques and motivations are present. Unclear whether tactics have thus advanced among the more dodgy elements who fringe elections (e.g. Brock). Certainly there are precursors. In as much as election machines are not networked, it would require a significant amount of coordination and conspiring at the precinct-level. There is no evidence any of this took place this November.

          From what I observed through the prism of the internet during the Democratic primary, most vote rigging is still done through old fashioned machine politics, or disenfranchisement due to party voting rules (i.e. open v closed primary), although possible voter database hacking (ref. Anonymous & sql injections in Arizona) but also registration changes via postal means (by way of aforementioned machine politics) did reap confusion and likely disenfranchisement.

          Absentee ballots are also tried and true (see Franks v Hubbard Sept. 2016 St. Louis re-vote).

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > In as much as election machines are not networked, it would require a significant amount of coordination and conspiring at the precinct-level. There is no evidence any of this took place this November.


        3. uncle tungsten

          Like any security system it can be as weak as where the machines are stored. Do we know how many have been stolen over the years, who stole them and were they recovered? Have any been given to university groups for research and development for the manufacturers and were they secured against after hours experimentation?

          A competent techie would only need to get hold of one for a week or two and all would be revealed and lots of vulnerabilities tested. Maybe even a wifi chip added but that is unlikely. I understand the fraction magic line of thought only applies to a centralized collator which will by definition be web connected.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Do we know how many have been stolen over the years, who stole them and were they recovered?

            What matters is what the Stein suit alleges, and what the judge buys. Everything else is speculation of the most baseless sort.

            Yes, voting machines suck. HAVA was a debacle. Bent technicians steal votes. You’ve still got a make a case before a judge.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          He’s not talking about software. He’s talking about hardware.

          And he’s talking about hardware where that “could be” chips on the voting machines that nobody knows about (assuming the specs for the voting machines have already been examined).

          Pennsylvania already has a recount threshold. Clinton lost badly enough to not trigger the threshold. Now we are supposed to do the recount because of things that “could” be? My guess is that won’t sit well with a judge. And it doesn’t sit well with me, because the sloppiness of the Stein effort could discredit the need for hand-marked paper ballots hand-counted in public.

      1. Daryl

        The Iranian nuclear program was massively damaged by an “offline” hack. Air gapping is not a security guarantee, especially in a world where most computer components are effectively computers with microcontrollers.

  7. Gary

    “No system in this state is attached to the internet in any way, so this whole notion of being hacked is farcical at best,”

    Neither are automatic garage door openers, baby monitors, car ignition systems, etc… if it is electronic, it can be “owned” or at the very least disrupted.

    1. RMO

      Yeah, Putin “disrupted” my bass pickup and amp just the other day. That’s why I sometimes was a little out of tune when I shifted to first position for the D-flat on Blue Bossa.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “can be”

      Lots of things can be. The guy says its farcical because the logistics are difficult and there’s no sign of it being done.

      It “can be” Russkis, too. And everybody believes that’s ridiculous, which it is.

  8. cocomaan

    Interesting part of Trump skipping daily intelligence briefings:

    Vice President-elect Mike Pence, by contrast, has set aside time for intelligence briefings almost every day since the election, officials said.

    I wonder if Trump is actually going to delegate foreign policy and military responsibilities to the VP and SoS while he focuses on what seems to be his real interests: domestic policy and trade.

    I was hoping Pence would be a Biden, but I’m beginning to doubt that.

    Here’s a radical idea: how about the intelligence agencies give the American people the briefing?

    1. Iowan X

      Actually, I like that idea a lot. It’s all “classified” of course, but damn it, we paid for it, we ought to get a non-classified summary of the issues, players, and regions discussed. Every damn day!

    2. TarheelDem

      Pence is a prime minister.

      Trump is a president making America great again.

      Pence deals with the executive agencies (COO?) Trump is CEO. He depends primarily on Bannon and Pence and his personal circle. Priebus makes sure the documents come out on time, the phones get answered, etc.

      Does it create a tight bubble or cut through the clutter? Time will tell.

    3. uncle tungsten

      Multiple daily intelligence briefings are a very easy way of insidiously framing a debate. Trump should pare these down to a lower buzz otherwise he will be captured by the persistent pro war/ pro ‘them and us’ fevered madness arising from the gaseous bowels of the security state.

      The national leader can lead without the MAD team pissing in his ear every 90 minutes.

  9. Jess

    That ThinkProgress quote:

    “Consensus is the bedrock of democracy. For differences to get resolved in a properly democratic fashion, there needs to be agreement over the terms of the debate. Interlocutors must be aware of their shared rights and responsibilities, and they need to be capable of proceeding from a common set of facts and premises.”

    You mean, like having the establishment predetermine what are the permissible boundaries of debate? Taking single-payer off the table? Or impeachment? Or that “There Is No Alternative” to globalization, financialization, etc?

    Frankly, I think the one thing this election showed is that there are other premises and other facts besides those which the established elite favors, and the American voting public is determined to be heard on those concerns and policies.

    1. Roger Smith

      Clinton should have had a safe space, so unfair! Next debates will come with Play-doh and Crayons.

  10. Benedict@Large

    “… blatant self promotion, list building, … and slush funding …”

    All along I kept thinking, “What the heck is Stein doing?” I just couldn’t see any reason for it. Now I find out it’s “blatant self promotion, list building, … and slush funding”.

    Good for her! Why should the Greens always have to be the only ones who come to the table without an ante?

    1. cwaltz

      Don’t you understand she’s cutting into the Democratic action?

      I mean the poor dears are already going to have fundraising problems since they blew the Presidency AND Congress and going into 2018 will have 435 House seats and 25 of the 33 Senate seats to defend.

    2. a different chris

      It seems like there’s been more posting about Jill Stein on this site this week than… than the entirety of the time I’ve been (virtually) here. Years and years (love you guys, btw, even though I am certainly in a minority on this particular subject). I have walked by – I don’t watch much – TV’s twice in the past two days and I read/heard “Jill Stein” in both those tiny windows of time. I can’t say I have *never* heard her name on TV in my life – although it may well be true – but at the end of November? And looking like it will go into December?

      Yup, you go girl. Just spell (her) name right as somebody said.

      1. HopeLB

        I respectfully disagree with Yves. Jill Stein was/is even better than Bernie on foreign policy and about the same if not better than Bernie on domestic policy. There was zero coverage of Stein except for attempts to paint her as a crackpot. The US needs non-politicians with policy ideas such as Stein’s. She knows who the policy experts are unlike Small Hands. And any investigation into our opaque voting system is most welcome. If a third party is to ever have a chance we need to demand verifiable voting.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry, I have never seen the Greens on this site make policy arguments. They’ve repeatedly acted as if people should vote for Stein…why exactly? Because the Greens are not one of the legacy parties? Neither Lambert or I can recall a single instance of a Green telling us what the Green policies are, let alone linking to or providing extracts of policy positions. While it is possible that this may have occurred, even then it would represent <1% of the comments from Green boosters.

          Greens have never acted as if votes need to be earned. They seem to think the Greens deserve them as a matter of right for their obvious superiority.

    3. TarheelDem

      Do you think Greens are anteing up the bucks for the recount? or despairing Clinton supporters?

      Without PA, nothing changes. But even with evidence of vote flipping, it will take some 50,000 votes changing to change the outcome. As ProPublica maintains, something that widespread most likely would have been noticed. Or if not widespread, the totals should have been noticed already.

  11. Skip Intro

    “If you want some actual facts: there’s been almost no evidence of voter fraud, other than a few small attempts here or there. ProPublica has the best analysis of this, noting the many ways in which it has reviewed the data, looking for evidence of voter fraud and finding none at all.”

    This is either sloppy or intentionally misleading. The concern is with election fraud – tampering with the machinery of the election (including kicking registered voters off the rolls), not with ‘voter fraud’ – fraudulent voting by individuals. References to ‘voter fraud’ from someone claiming to be concerned about election integrity is a screaming tell. Of course it seems impossible that the available recount/audit remedies will be able to expose any election fraud, but that is by design.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At BillyMoyer.com, I found the definition of voter fraud as you have described.

      Googling ‘voter fraud defnition,’ I found this at the very top of the search result, from AmericanThinker:

      Voter fraud, also known as vote fraud, election fraud, and electoral fraud, refers to the specific offenses of fraudulent voting, impersonation, perjury, voter registration fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, bribery, destroying already cast ballots, and a multitude of crimes related to the electoral process.

      I previously would have thought they meant the same.

      Is it still that, that many people use the terms interchangeably, and is acceptable, or is it more narrow than that?

      1. pricklyone

        A more specific term is required, in light of the widespread attempt by ALEC, and so-called conservative press to define it as non-citizen voting, and legislate voter ID laws to combat it. Fraud perpetrated by voters is surely different than that perpetrated by election officials (aka Political Parties )!
        All the focus is on the voter, and not on TPTB, if you lump those things together. I think they are different beasts.
        Trump just made this clear with his “millions” who voted illegally, and denied him the popular vote.
        This seems to be the popular idea of what voter fraud means.

        1. marym


          Fraud perpetrated by voters is surely different than that perpetrated by election officials (aka Political Parties )!

          Fraud perpetrated by voters, which, as you say, is the claim used by the right to justify voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting, etc. which in turn become tools of voter suppressionis practically non-existent. There have been studies and court cases over the course of many years. I’ll add a second comment with a few of many links, though it may get delayed in moderation.:

          1. marym


            The Brennan Center’s ongoing examination of voter fraud claims reveal that voter fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud in elections relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators. Our report “The Truth About Voter Fraud” reveals most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless — and that of the few allegations remaining, most reveal election irregularities and other forms of election misconduct. Click here for additional resources on fraud.


            A Republican National Lawyers Association effort to discredit the NAACP backfires by showing voter fraud – impersonating other voters – barely occurs.



            The state signed a stipulation agreement with lawyers for the plaintiffs which acknowledges there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.”

            Additionally, the agreement states Pennsylvania “will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even argue “that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absense of the Photo ID law.”



            A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent




            In 10 years, just 100 federal prosecutions and 50 state convictions — in a colossal state [Texas] with a population of more than 25 million people.


  12. I Have Strange Dreams

    I am inclined to agree with Mosler. Trump was predicted by HL Mencken:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    It is what it is, folks. In a nation of hustlers, Trump out hustled the competition. There is nothing much going on in the man’s head. This is a post on Morris Berman’s blog:

    “This is hearsay, and not surprising, but still worth sharing… A work colleague today told me he’s related to one of the many lawyers employed by Trump. His relative told him that Trump doesn’t give two fucks about anything he said on the campaign trail, and that he simply picked out scripted lines that would get the most votes to win. For Trump, all that matters is winning. It’s all about ‘the deal,’ about getting as much wealth and power as he can, while basking in the adulation of as many people as possible. He’s not Hitler. He’s not Caligula. Trump is the oversized digital billboard at the cross roads of Capitalism and Narcissism.”

    That’s all Trump is; a common grifter hustling the rubes.

    1. Propertius

      he simply picked out scripted lines that would get the most votes to win.

      Or, to recast that into Clintonese, he has a “public face” and a “private face”.

    2. fresno dan

      I Have Strange Dreams
      November 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I don’t disagree with you about Trump – indeed, I think its highly likely to be all there is to him.
      And although I like Mencken a lot, here I disagree with him because he implies that the moron will be a future event. Even by the 1930’s the US had elected a few morons and plenty of mediocrities.

      It strikes me that so much of our coverage of the president is simply because it is the easiest and cheapest, as well as a degree of desire for ONE simple story and the presidency, providing one simple story to tell is what FITS the American corporate structure NEED for fast, simple, and easy product (i.e.,stories)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A comment for all seasons.

      Would have been great to read it in 2008, 2000, 1992, 1988, 1980, 1976, 1968, 1960, etc.

      And will be great to read it again in 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, etc.

    4. Carolinian

      It already happened with George W. Bush. However dumb you think Trump is, he’s arguably smarter than Dubya.

      As for Mencken, he doesn’t get quoted much these days. All that man and superman stuff Mencken was fond of seems a bit dated, like ole H.L. himself.

      1. polecat

        The genetic dice, they be a rollin ,,, backwards ! …. Just wait a few centuries ….

        ‘The Honorable President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho’

    5. different clue

      Well, what was Clinton then? A common silk-stocking grifter hustling the lifted-pinkie china-teacup rubes.

  13. fresno dan

    “Since election, Trump has turned away all but two daily intelligence briefings” [Kansas City Star]. Like that’s a bad thing?

    think of how many weapons of mass destruction he is not being informed about…..
    and without this background, he MAY not understand to increase the defense budget by 6 trillion dollars and enact YUGE tax reductions for weapons investors, to incent them.

  14. Unorthodoxmarxist

    The Emptywheel article on Stein’s recount is very angry but wrong in a number of points.

    The recount monies CANNOT be used for anything but the recount. Afterwards they can be donated to a charity or a very few other types of groups. See here: http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/election-recount-2016-jill-stein-green-party-deadline-missed-law-fundraising-donations-website-costs-attorney-lawyer-fees-funds-refund-where-is-the-money-going-clinton-trump-wisconsin-michigan-pennsyl/.

    I’m glad that Stein is building up a donor list! Greens are often criticized for not doing this well – now one of our candidates is building up a list of people who – guess what – made conscious political donations knowing they’d be put on a list of donors. Great! Build and fund the party by asking for more to actually go to the state and federal party afterwards. Those people don’t have to give again if they don’t want to.

    Stein is being advised by Greg Palast, who has done great work on voter suppression. I’d recommend people read his website (www.gregpalast.com) and look at his work on voter suppression in this election (http://www.gregpalast.com/exclusive-jill-stein-just-called-green-party-filing-recount-michigan-wisconsin-pennsylvania/ and http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/)

    As Palast points out, there are millions of voters who are given provisional ballots and don’t have their ballots counted (2.7 million issued in 2012 and 1 million tossed), absentee ballots thrown out (30 million issues in 2012 and 500k-1 million tossed) and many more where the machine overcounts/undercounts due to a stray mark.

    He also points out that CrossCheck, a company used in 28 states and founded by Kansas Sec of State Kris Kobach (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890) has purged thousands of voters from the rolls and possibly many more simply for having a similar name to a felon or someone on a voter roll in another state. These people tend to be minorities as well.

    Finally there are voter caging operations that send mail to voters with a Do Not Forward label on them; if a voter doesn’t return them these private corps send a notice to groups like CrossCheck that those voters should be purged as well.

    It’s worth investigating this at the very least. Remember the Greens have been doing this for the last few election cycles (notably in Ohio 2004) while the Dems & Reps sat by. It’s only now that we’re getting any media attention for it.

    1. Yves Smith

      I am letting this comment through and banning you. Agnotology is against this site’s written policies.

      You provided a link to the story from Heavy and then misrepresented it. It does NOT say that Stein cannot keep excess funds or must give the funds to a charity. This is what it says:

      Stein’s website pledges to use any “surplus” funds toward “election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.” The website does not specify specifically how that would be done.

      Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner told NBC News that it was not clear whether FEC rules would allow Stein to do so. He said recount monies raised could be used for recount costs and legal matters but not other campaign purposes, according to NBC, which quoted him as saying, “Whether recount funds could be used to pay for ‘vote integrity’ programs would need to be decided by the FEC, but I would doubt that the FEC would find that to be permissible.”….

      Fortune Magazine says Stein could donate any surplus money she raises to a charity or political party, per FEC rules. The article says that Stein would not be able to use the money for her own personal benefit, but quoted an expert as saying there is some flexibility beyond that.

      So what the article says is:

      1. Stein’s stated plans for the future uses of funds may violate FEC rules.

      2. It’s not clear how much wriggle room she has regarding its use but the sources indicate she has more than you described

      Your long quotation regarding Palast and the various forms of voting abuse is utterly misleading and in no way disproves what the emptywheel article stated. The fact that that these abuses occurred and may have taken place in the swing states is IRRELEVANT as far as the recount is concerned. The recount is NOT going to do any forensics that will get at these issues. None. Zip. Nada.

      So not only fail to deliver any proof that the emptywheel is wrong, you engage in paragraphs of misdirection in your efforts to mislead readers and defend Stein’s stunt.

      1. cwaltz

        Violate FEC rules?

        You mean the quaint little “political rules” that Clinton and Trump violated by coordinating with their SuperPACs?

        Emptywheel blathered a whole bunch about her OPINION that this was a stunt and Stein was an opportunist(as opposed to the Democratic Party who I can almost bet is fundraising on the back of a Donald Trump victory by the way. Talk about hypocritically holding someone to a standard that you aren’t holding others to.)

        How exactly was the poster supposed to disprove an opinion? Emptywheel is as entitled to the opinion that this is self serving of Jill Stein as I am to the opinion that Emptywheel is wrong. That’s how opinions work.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This bit is interesting, from emptywheel:

          There is NO evidentiary basis for fraud or mistake that I have seen. The guy who started it, [J. Alex] Halderman himself, admits as much legally when he says he thinks it is most likely poll inaccuracy, not anything nefarious.

          It’s emptywheel’s opinion that Halderman ‘admits as much legally,’ that he says he thinks (I hope this is a direct quote), that ‘it is most likely poll inaccuracy.’

          Here, one opinion has more weight than the other.

          1. cwaltz

            I’d like to know what her position is when she says that there is no basis for fraud or mistake “that I’ve seen.” Is she someone who actually was an election official in Wisconsin or is that “that I’ve seen” hyperbole? I mean I haven’t seen a signature gatherer forge signatures or absentee and marked ballots thrown away either. However, that does not mean those problems have not occurred. It just means I haven’t seen them occur.

            Halderman testified this in court in Wisconsin,

            A computer expert testified Tuesday that Wisconsin’s voting machines are susceptible to cyberattacks. University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman said that he believes the optical vote scanners that most Wisconsin municipalities can be hacked with screwdrivers, by inserting malware into them through portable media or when they receive updates at county offices.

            By the way THIS happened to the Wisconsin State elections Board website-


            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Did Halderman really also say ‘it’s most likely poll inaccuracy?’

              (For that reason, I asked, if that was a direct quote.)

              1. cwaltz

                Full context:

                Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for a recount.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Both are seemingly unlikely, (almost equally, though being hacked is less likely, just not overwhelmingly less) .

                  Two (more or less equally) seemingly unlikely causes do not constitute a reason to recount.

                  We can add a third unlikely cause, and we would still not have a reason.

                  Or a fourth seemingly unlikely cause…

      2. Octopii

        “I am letting this comment through and banning you.”

        In the style of Kos, essentially. I hope you reconsider.

        1. Yves Smith

          We are stringent about accuracy. It’s one thing to make a good faith mistake. This commentor made three deliberate misrepresentations in his remark: the emptywheel piece had substantial errors, that the Heavy piece said things it did not in fact say, and strongly insinuating that the recounts will address vote fraud issues when they will do no such thing.

          And you are advocating for other commentors to willfully mislead you? Seriously? You may not realize it but we’ve not been letting obvious disinformation by Trump or Clinton boosters through either. We aren’t giving Stein fans preferential treatment just because you may like them better.

      3. Detroit Dan

        I’ll go with Stein over EmptyWheel and Yves. And I read through everything because Yves marked it “important”.

        I looked through EmptyWheel’s posts leading up to the election and saw nothing of interest.

        On the other hand, Stein takes stands, promotes good (Bernie-type) policies and programs, and speaks clearly.

        1. Yves Smith

          This is not a popularity contest. This is about whether what Stein is doing is competently executed and in good faith. Emptywheel presents evidence that it isn’t and all you do is handwave: “Oh, I like her, so it’s all good.” That’s bogus argumentation as well as a textbook example of halo effect (a cognitive bias).

  15. Propertius

    “No system in this state is attached to the internet in any way, so this whole notion of being hacked is farcical at best,” says [Washington County Assistant Elections Director Wesley Parry

    Stuxnet begs to differ. It’s quite possible to infect air-gapped machines. It’s difficult as hell, and very unlikely when the systems are heterogeneous and geographically distributed, but it’s certainly not “farcical”.

    1. uncle tungsten

      It is all very well to make a statement that ‘no system in this state is attached to the internet…” Who works on the state systems? How vulnerable are they to coercion? How is that vulnerability countered? I remember that hapless Platte River Systems dude who forgot to wipe the $hillary disks, then went to Reddit to seek some assistance a few months later. IT systems are really vulnerable to human weaknesses. Millions of dollars are at stake with elections and the coercive allure is extreme to corrupt parties.

      My guess is that there are gaps in security procedures that one could drive a bus through. The stuxnet attack on Iran’s centrifuges are only one recent example of air-gapped systems being hacked. The tools available to malign individuals and states are brilliantly sophisticated and Podesta uses p@ssword for his security!

      1. Yves Smith

        *Sigh* You’ve fallen for the recount misrepresentations.

        None of these issues will be addressed in a recount. They will simply take the data and/or forms from the election and repeat the process used to count them. At most (and this is pretty unlikely), they might be forced to use somewhat better methods to redo the original count. This is why Lambert and I are so annoyed:

        1. The people pumping for the recount have bene sold a bill of goods at to what it will accomplish

        2. This is consuming a lot of energy and media air time that would be vastly better directed to devising strategies to oppose Trump’s bad policies (likely to be many). In other words, feel good and unproductive virtue signaling.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s difficult as hell and very unlikely.

      Sounds “farcical” to me. Leaving aside the quibbling over terms, it’s all just speculation. I mean, you’d think at least somebody would create a plausible scenario for which voting precincts would be the most likely to attack and how it would be done. Then we could get some idea of the scope of the work. But no. All we get is “could,” “could,” “could.” Lots of things could be. Heck, dastardly Russkis “could” be!

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    And that is the thing, unless there is fraud, mistake or systematic error, recounts can do nothing to legally support a challenge to the election results. A challenge has to stand up in court. It cannot be thin and based upon rote supposition and suspicion. Even if Stein’s folly turns up a minor discrepancy here and there, that will not suffice

    That is new.

    “We will have replay, like Major League baseball. But this is the legal system, not baseball.”

  17. fresno dan


    This is the Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind. We’ll tell you what’s “true” and what is correct to think and believe. Any deviation from the party line is a threat and must be discredited, marginalized or suppressed.
    Where is the Post’s hard evidence of Russian ties or Russian influence? There isn’t any–but like Stalin’s henchmen, the Post has no need for evidence: merely going public with an anti-Establishment thought “proves” one’s guilt in the kangaroo court of America’s corporate media (a.k.a. mainstream media or MSM).
    While The Washington Post is owned by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the vast majority of what we read, watch and hear is controlled by a handful of corporations loaded with cash and connections to the ruling elite.
    This concentration of media control creates the illusion of choice– the same elite-propaganda spin is everywhere you look; our “choice” of “approved” (i.e. corporate) media is roughly the same as that offered the Soviet citizenry in the old USSR.
    This is why the billionaire/corporate media is so desperate to discredit the non-corporate media: if an alternative to the corporate media’s elite-propaganda catches on, the corporate media will lose its audience, its advert revenues and a substantial measure of its influence.
    The cornered elite-propaganda beast is lashing out, undermining its waning credibility with every attack on an independent free press. As I noted in a recent conversation with Max Keiser, democracy requires the citizenry to sort out who benefits from whatever narrative is being pushed.
    That’s what terrifies the elite-propaganda mainstream media: the status quo narrative they’ve spewed for years doesn’t benefit the bottom 95%– rather, it actively impoverishes and disempowers the bottom 95%–and the citizenry is slowly awakening to this reality.

    I remember when I was a kid I watched a TV show …. “The Outer Limits” which began with this voice over:

    “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. WE CAN MAKE YOU THINK THERE ARE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION*** For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your BIG MEDIA.You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.”

    Its only been a few years that I’ve come to realize that voice over actually is true STILL….

    *** Capitals added to increase truthiness….

    1. RWood

      Though Greenwald provided a stimulation:

      In other words, the individuals behind this newly created group are publicly branding journalists and news outlets as tools of Russian propaganda — even calling on the FBI to investigate them for espionage — while cowardly hiding their own identities. The group promoted by the Post thus embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy, but without the courage to attach individual names to the blacklist. Echoing the Wisconsin senator, the group refers to its lengthy collection of sites spouting Russian propaganda as “The List.”
      Glenn Greenwald

  18. Foppe

    re: baffler piece: I must say that “Next begins with you” is like the best inkblot ever. Might I suggest NC adopt it as its official motto?

      1. aab

        Damn it. Now I have an image in my mind of a dollar bill reclining with a come hither gaze that I can’t shake.

  19. Optic7

    Quick question for the esteemed folks here at Naked Capitalism: with Trump being elected US president, do his business properties, particularly the buildings blatantly branded with the “TRUMP” name, become associated with the US government to such an extent that they could become targets for violent attacks? Will they need similar protections to what federal buildings receive in the US, and US embassies and consulates receive abroad?

    I had this sudden thought that if I lived or worked in a Trump Tower in, say, Istanbul, Turkey; Mumbai, India; or Manila, Phillipines I would be pretty nervous right about now. In fact, I would probably be a bit anxious to live or work in any Trump property right now.

    If you have read any analysis or commentary on this idea, I would really appreciate links to read them.

    For reference: http://www.trump.com/real-estate-portfolio/

      1. Optic7

        Or is the government technically privatized? Or perhaps it’s a big jumble that no one will be able to figure out and it will all be open to interpretation?

    1. bob

      He’s already taking proposals for ways to better capitalize on the winning brand of the US military.
      First step- Red camo.

      1. Optic7

        It seems that the people who usually think about stuff like this have already been thinking about this possibility. I found this blurb on the much talked about NY Times story (dated before my question – I hadn’t read it yet) about Trump’s potential conflicts of interest around the globe (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/us/politics/donald-trump-international-business.html?_r=0):

        “Another question is, who will be responsible for security at the Trump Towers around the world, especially in the Middle East, which terrorism experts say may now become more appealing targets as symbols of American capitalism built in the name of the president?”

  20. Jim Haygood

    Calpers prepares to bite the bullet:

    At a Nov 15th committee meeting, Andrew Junkin [of Wilshire Consulting] and CalPERS CIO Theodore Eliopoulos said 6% is a more realistic return over the next decade [than the current 7.5%].

    Previously, CalPERS officials had said that any return assumption change would not occur until an asset allocation review was complete in February 2018. But Mr. Eliopoulos on Nov. 15 urged the board to act sooner, saying the U.S. could be in a recession by that date.

    Only a year earlier, CalPERS investment staff and consultants had agreed that CalPERS was on the right track with its 7.5% figure.

    Mr. Eliopoulos and the consultants are scheduled to make a specific recommendation on the return rate at a Dec. 20 meeting.

    “CalPERS is the largest pension system in the country; definitely if CalPERS were to make a significant reduction, other plans would take notice,” said Thomas Aaron of Moody’s.


    US public pensions have been underestimating their liabilities for years, using flimflam accounting that’s not acceptable under Erisa (from which they, conveniently, are exempt).

    Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Contribution increases for public entities (cities, school districts, counties) will be brutal.

    “Pension envy” is going to be the theme of the next decade, as the irresistible force of public pension underfunding collides with the immovable object of unbearable taxation.

    Eliopoulos seems to have 2018 penciled in for the next recession, as I do. He’s feeling uncomfortable about Calpers’ 51% equity exposure, which could suck cash-flow negative Calpers into an unrecoverable death spiral if a deep bear market occurs.

    Save the whale!

    1. fresno dan

      “Pension envy”
      All the pensiomaniac women in bars I have talked to tell me its not the length of your actuarial estimates, but how fat your return is…..

  21. Timmy

    So Uber and Lyft will replace the tobacco industry as the meal ticket for the McConnell household.

    Drain the swamp!

  22. What are the drums saying, Jamelle?

    Demoralized Democrats have a road map for success in Trump’s America. It was written by Jesse Jackson, who when he failed to set off the gunfight that was going to kill Martin King in the fake crossfire and cop Frank Strausser had to hide in the bushes and blow King’s face off but Strausser missed and only winged King in the neck, so Breen Bland had to smother King with a pillow in the hospital, after him and two feds ceremonially hocked big greenies on King’s prostrate body… bridged the divide!


  23. Kurt Sperry

    The thing about this election that is most astonishing is that, as stupid as Trump is–and I believe he is–how much stupider must the high-up Democrats have been to lose to him? To get beaten by this absurd cartoon character with negatives to the sky, the Democrats had only one possible path: to nominate someone so widely reviled and disrespected that even a ridiculous buffoon like Trump could beat them. And that, astonishingly, is what they decided to do. I can only conclude that the elites running both major US parties are complete and total idiots. Seriously, the stupid on display here is momentous, epic, almost unimaginable in scope. I think it comes from having a two party system where two completely inbred, entitled, corrupt parties have been unchallenged so long that they begin to believe they are there on merit rather than by inheriting a rigged anti-meritocratic system that endlessly rewards incompetence with continued power. The whole narrative that the Washington elites are smart or wise or intelligent in any way shape or form is a lie. They are none of those things, but they cannot lose collectively because the entire system is built from the ground up to make it sure that no alternatives can be given any chance. Trump, as stupid and coarse and offensive as he is, was–and this was all he had going for him–not a long-gestated product of a political system people knew was corrupt to its very core, and *that* was all any candidate with a D or R after their name needed this election cycle to prevail. The voters weren’t stupid, they are just trying to break the cycle of corruption embodied by the ridiculous duopoly in the only way they possibly could. Now obviously, choosing Trump won’t accomplish much–or likely any–of that, but electing Clinton was *guaranteed* to do nothing but continue the corrupt, self-serving idiocy of the Washington elite without pause. Two horrible choices: heads I win; tails you lose.

    If a Trump presidency frightens you–and it damn well should–you need look no further than the elites of the Democratic party to lay blame at the feet of. it wasn’t the Russians, it wasn’t Bernie, it wasn’t a suddenly stupid, racist electorate–the same electorate that had just solidly given Obama two terms. No. It was the Democrats, being so incredibly stupid they made Donald J. Trump look smart. Made *Donald J. Trump* look smart.

    1. Skip Intro

      A great indication of this faux-meritocratic entitlement is that they fervently believe that being married to a president is the same as being experienced and qualified to be president.

    2. RUKidding


      I am thoroughly disgusted with the hand wringing and whining going on amongst Democratic Party politicians, elites and their handlers and what have you, along with voters, who whine and cry about Trump.

      I never liked the Clintons, and I held HRC in very low disregard. When I witnessed what happened with Sanders, I figured the election would be Clinton’s to lose, although I still thought Trump surely couldn’t pull it off at that point. However, around about August, after witnessing Clinton’s putridly ridiculous “campaign,” I figured she was gonna lose… bigly. And she did.

      What a flop. I’ve spoken and written to anyone and everyone who’ll tolerate me that Clinton ran a shit rotten campaign. She completely ignored and pretty much spit on the very voters she should have gotten offa her entitled butt to talk to – the “deplorables” – but she chose to INSULT them instead. And then pivoted RIGHT to try to gain votes from Republican elites.

      OMG. I’ve been “yelled at” online, called names, and told that I’m repeating Trump’s talking points. Yeah, NO. I’m spelling out factual reality, but a lot of Democrats simply don’t want to see reality for what it is.

      It’s NOT always Republicans’ faults, and it’s NOT always the fault of our horrid terrible media. And in this case, Hillary was a lazy, lousy, condescending, stupid campaigner. I could NOT believe what a lousy job she did. 16 years to prepare, and that’s what she came up with.

      Not sad that Clinton lost. Not. At. All. Phooey on the fake phoney greedy grubbing Clintons. But thanks to them, we’re stuck with Trump.

      Well Clinton go live in her baronial splendor and face the music that she LOST BIGLY to a buffoon like Trump. Chew on that one for a while Hilbot.

      1. aab

        My only disagreement with you is that Hillary Clinton did not pivot right. She has always been right wing. Always. She has occasionally exploited Boxing Day level manor house liberalism, pretending to care about children, the poor, or the otherwise marginalized when it benefited her personally in her march up the status hierarchy. (Do I need to provide more proof than how she did NOTHING for the female workers when on the Walmart board, and that her advocacy of the “Welfare Reform” bill as First Lady led the head of the Children’s Defense Fund to repudiate her, until Clintonian power became so great Edelman was forced onto her knees?)

        She is and has always been a Goldwater Girl, as she admitted in an interview as First Lady. She set up a campaign where her financial incentives and personal beliefs perfectly aligned; the strategy was designed to enable her to gain power without having to even pretend to care about the non-wealthy, and not even have to make empty promises to help them. Then Bernie happened, and so her sclerotic campaign staggered ever so slightly left, as little as it could for as brief a period as it could, before retreating back into the comfort of her true neoconservative, neoliberal beliefs and base once she got the nomination.

      2. John Wright

        I wonder if HRC believes she lost after all.

        There might have been considerable pressure for her to run to justify the money flowing into the Clinton Global Initiative and to Bill + Hillary personally.

        She probably had a lot of hangers on pushing her to run and the Democrats thought she would work well with the wealthy elite donors, certainly far better than Sanders.

        Team Democrat was willing to lose with HRC than win with Sanders.

        Perhaps the condescending attitude of Hillary and her willingness to tick off Bernie supporters were luxuries HRC permitted herself, figuring if she won, that would be ok, but if she lost, at least she didn’t compromise her (neocon/neolib) principles.

        She would not do what Bernie supporters wanted with the non-binding platform, chose Tim Kaine as a running mate, and let the Bernie supporters be marginalized at the convention.

        There may be a sense of honesty in right wing HRC that prevented her from amping up the pandering to the left.

        The people who should be most unhappy are the true believer Hillary supporters who gave time/money to her campaign. This is similar to the disgraced televangelists, who enjoy the ride, and survive their fall, while their followers are poorer in time and money as a result of following their fearless leader.

        HRC may be little concerned that she lost to Trump.

        She can now sit in her “baronial splendor” and watch the show….


    3. RUKidding

      Agree. Clinton ran a crummy campaign. She pivoted to the right, after everything that happened with Sanders & what his voters wanted, and she tried to appeal to elite Republicans to vote for her! She didn’t do much campaigning at all in the Rust Belt states and chose, rather, to campaign in TX and AZ. Pretty much ignored the very real economic suffering of the middle and working classes.

      No wonder she lost. 16 years to prepare, and that was her “best.” Not. Good. Enough.

    4. Ben4343

      It’s becoming clear that the media had a disproportionate role in Trump’s success – and their promotion of him continues to this day. The top SIX articles on Salon.com on Sunday were Trump, with photos of his face, edge to edge. He is a spectacle and his visage most surely sells ads.

    5. fresno dan

      Kurt Sperry
      November 29, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      We used to have the “best and the brightest” who told us we should BE in Vietnam, and lied to us about how we were doing.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Of course, use it or anything I write with or without attribution. Take full writing credit, I don’t care.

    6. Brad

      1) Trump ain’t stupid. He had to learn a long time ago in his business that a portion of the US populace craves identification with his amply noted narcissism where the compass always points to moi. The US has been the most commercially oriented social organism in human history until recently; Individuals who grow up saturated with commercial propaganda are likely to develop into mini-Trumps. Half the country are characters out of The Music Man.

      2) “Bash the Russkie” neo-Mccarthyism. Now that was a load of stupid. Talk about your troglodyte move. Clinton banged that drum loud and clear, and it was by far the most vile and evil moment in the campaign. Far worse than any of Trump’s sins. Trump was just lying. Clinton was dead earnest. And like the Energizer Bunny, they’re still banging that drum via “fake news”, WaPo and PropOrNot! That’s how much they hate us.

      Trump promotes the dream of returning to the *good parts* of the 1950’s, at least for white people; Clinton promoted the worst feature of that time, not as a dream, but as concrete policy for today.

    7. uncle tungsten

      Both parties are so corrupted by their status and the electorate’s lack of recourse that they remain there by orchestrating diversions and blood and gore at the stadium. They scream about the Russians coming or desperately create terrorists to maintain their totality over the system. They are stupidly vulgar. Good luck brothers and sisters.

      See Brasil by Terry Gilliam.

  24. Edward

    “President-elect Donald Trump is set to embark on a tour to thank supporters who carried him to the White House”

    This is a sign that Trump wants to build a political movement. If he can continue to engage the voters as President he may breathe new life into American politics and sideline the dysfunctional establishment. It is the kind of thing standard politicians miss; once they are elected it is business as usual for most of them. This is what Chavez did in Venezuela. Of course the big question is what is Trump’s agenda.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Judging by Trump’s staffing choices thus far, on other than trade issues his agenda seems to be pretty much boilerplate, extreme right wing fringe Republican crazy. I’m honestly pretty much scared shitless. His prior history to my knowledge gave no clue how extreme right wing he would turn out to be in practice.

      1. cwaltz

        The GOP is so gracious. If that is the case they may singlehandedly save the Democrats from their stupidity. Heaven forbid we have anything other than stupid because the two entitled parties are offering only that over and over and over(and wanting other alternatives means you are a political naïf or a pie eyed idealist.)

      2. jawbone

        Trump won, which was really all he was after. Governing? Only when something piques his interest and for whatever time he can concentrate on that interest.

        I wonder when his voters will realize Donnie took the football away before they could get near to kick it?

        So far, Trump seems focused on taking care of the Big Money. I can’t imagine he’ll be able to not give into temptation to make sure his own ventures do extremely well. A guy’s gotta build up the wealth while it’s a sure thing.

      3. Edward

        I don’t like his appointments either, but then I am not a Republican. I think it is still too early to know how this will play out. During his campaign, Trump ignored his advisors and fired people. Will this continue? How much control will Trump have over his staff?

        “His prior history to my knowledge gave no clue how extreme right wing he would turn out to be in practice.”

        Trump is not an ideologue. He will say what he thinks Republicans want to hear. This is someone who would be comfortable writing articles in the World Weekly News about UFO abductions.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > boilerplate, extreme right wing fringe Republican crazy

        Like Bush. Of course, I remember making the case that Bush’s combination of executive and judicial power under the warrantless surveillance program made him a tyrant in Madison’s sense, but then Obama normalized everything Bush did, so that can’t have been right [snort].

        But not like, say, Hitler or Stalin (except insofar as there are systemic tendencies that each party, in its own way, participates in, the Democrats generally with more layers of indirection than the Republicans).

        So as you can see, I’m looking on the bright side!

    2. curlydan

      Yes, it will be very interesting to watch these rallies. And I don’t mean watch the CNN 30 second clips of them, but the full streamed end-to-end comments. It could be a volatile audience. At some point, Trump might have to cool off his own supporters–not sure if he’s capable of that.

      1. Jim Haygood

        What’s Donnie gonna do, when his peeps start chanting “LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP!” — like they did back in the good old days?

        Only 25 days left for my Hillary piñata to be delivered for Christmas. I’ve already got the baseball bat. :-)

        1. cwaltz

          If he delivers her than he better not nominate Petraeus as SoS.

          The chanting after that will be

          Hypo-crit! Hypo-crit!

          Like I said earlier the only one who can save a floundering Democratic Party at this point is a whole bunch of good old fashioned GOP hypocrisy and overreach.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              Indeed. Trump is setting up a situation where his policies will be so extreme, so far to the nutbar right, so unrepresentative of the wishes and views American people, never mind the voting electorate, generally hold that there will inevitably be huge backlash. He seems hell bent on going 10% fringe extreme right and could sink the Republican Party with his sheer stupid inability to connect with the voters. Trump is going to seriously alienate about three-quarters of the country. I’m, in fact, afraid that the next four years will be so horrifically bad that the Democrats will feel confident they can win going forward without changing their neoliberal, corporate neocon spots, and not only return to power but also keep the corruption gravy train that Bernie was trying to derail on track and dishing up graft/lobbying gigs/campaign money/speech bribes etc. etc. indefinitely.

              Remember, as disastrous as this loss might be for the Democratic elite, it was still far preferable for them compared to having Bernie win, even if that meant a Democratic Senate and possibly House on Bernie’s coattails. That Democratic elite are all rich and, unlike most Americans, safely insulated from the consequences of Trump’s likely disastrous policies. If Bernie had won, their rice bowls were in danger in a way no Republican administration could ever threaten them. Losing elections is no big deal; losing the party to the rabble would be exponentially harder for them to navigate.

              If anything is to improve longer term we either have to tear out the corrupt neoliberal, neocon heart of the corporate Democratic Party root and branch and burn it into white ash, or to build an alternative from scratch and make it work. Neither will be easy to do and the resistance will be fierce and it will be bottomlessly funded either way.

              1. pretzelattack

                exactly so. i think the rot has taken such a grip on the democrats it will be very difficult to reform it. neither alternative is easy; on my pessimistic days, neither looks likely.

              2. cwaltz

                It’s so much easier though to shake our fists at people and call them names if they disagree with us then collectively work together to get rid of corruption from BOTH sides of the aisle.

                I’m real partial to pie eyed idealist but politically naïve also has a rather sweet ring to it.


                For the record, your summation is pretty much what I see. Hope I’m wrong. The Democrats deserve to go the way of the Whigs and we’d do much better with a real party that doesn’t just make noises towards the general citizenry but actually represents their interests and I don’t see that happening unless they get trounced in 2018.

              3. Edward

                I find some reassurance from the fact that Trump has so many enemies. Even the Republican party is against him in some ways. I am hoping this will force him to up his game.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              They always overreach. So it’s really a smart move by the Democrats to be developing a simple list of programs that will bring concrete material benefits to all working class people, including the people who once voted for Obama and flipped to Trump. So they have it ready. Oh, wait…

        2. integer

          Apparently Trump is planning on encouraging countries that have donated to the Clinton foundation, including Australia, to launch their own independent investigations. Note the “apparently” in the previous sentence as the source is an unnamed person who is “close to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team”.


          Foreign governments will be encouraged to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s finances, as many are already turning off money spigots to the scandal-scarred group, The Post has learned.

          A source close to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team told The Post that the new administration plans to pressure the US ambassadors it will name to bring up the foundation with foreign governments — and suggest they probe its ­financial dealings.

          Trump said last week that he would not order an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server or her role in the foundation.

          But Trump’s statement didn’t preclude the backroom moves to investigate the group.

          “Haiti and Colombia will be key diplomatic posts for this ­because of all the money ­involved,” said the source.

          There are a couple of other articles floating around, but they all seem to be based on this one source.

  25. Kim Kaufman

    Interview with Jonathan Simon, long time election integrity advocate:


    One thing I didn’t know before listening to this was that during the primaries, the exit polls all matched the Republican votes. Only in the Dem race were the exit polls “adjusted” with what the EI watchers call the “red shift” – when these adjusted polls always seem to be adjusted towards the redder candidate, i.e., from Bernie to Hillary in this case. This has been historically tracked. Of course, they simply quit doing exit polls during this election. Who knows? Let’s count the freaking votes and start with some transparency so people will stop speculating as to the motives of those asking for transparency, OK?

    More from Bradblog.com http://bradblog.com/?p=11942

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      BradBlog is the only source on this I trust. Certainly not the statisticians, not most certainly not statisticians who blame the Russkis. I like stuff. I don’t like “coulds” and “woulds” and “cans,” which is all I’m seeing from Stein.

  26. jawbone

    Chao — turns up like a bad penny.

    This Think Progress piece looks at Betsy Devos’s influence on the Detroit school district.

    For someone who wanted to “drain the swamp,” The Donald seems caught in the 20th Century….

    1. Jess

      Regarding Betsy DeVos, a FB friend posted a screen grab from her organization website which shows…a drum roll, please…Cory Booker on its board.

      1. jawbone

        No surprise there. Booker is one of my senators and a good Ivy League Corporatist Dem.

        I did hear him recently trying to sound like an economic populist. Didn’t seem to fit with his earlier persona….

  27. none

    Virginia Heffernan (Nov 15):

    Hillary Clinton’s name belongs on ships, and airports, and tattoos. She deserves straight-up hagiographies and a sold-out Broadway show called RODHAM. Yes, this cultural canonization is going to come after the chronic, constant, nonstop “On the other hand” sexist hedging around her legacy. But such is the courage of Hillary Clinton and her supporters; we reverse patriarchal orders. Maybe she is more than a president. Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself. The presidency is too small for her. She belongs to a much more elite class of Americans, the more-than-presidents. Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Fucking Hamilton.

    Hillary Clinton did everything right in this campaign, and she won more votes than her opponent did. She won. She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second. Instead, she will be decorated as an epochal heroine far too extraordinary to be contained by the mere White House. Let that revolting president-elect be Millard Fillmore or Herbert Hoover or whatever. Hillary is Athena.

    Kill me now.

      1. nippersdad

        It is Lena Dunham’s site, though. If this is parody then Lena is going to be really annoyed about being trolled on her own dime. Had it not been for that then I agree; masterful would be an understatement.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        No, it’s a long form Chuck Norris type joke. It’s gotta be. Nobody is that stupid. You’d need a ventilator and a feeding tube.

    1. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

      I would love to see someone conduct a poll of oh, let’s say 1,000 actual presidential election voters for “Hillary Clinton” to see to whom whatever the resulting percentage knew the name “Rodham” was connected to.

      I bet the number of people not equating Rodham to HC would be pretty surprising to people like Ms. Heffernan. Might be a pretty stupid name for Broadway show in that case, LOL.

  28. ewmayer

    “Manufacturing … In particular, additive manufacturing with metal alloys—3-D metal printing—enables an array of products to be built the way trees and bones grow: cell by cell, with minimal waste.” — That seems to consider only material waste, as opposed to energy waste, as well as ignoring that much excess material from existing production methods is in fact re-used. (Ask yourself – is it cheaper to re-smelt metal cuttings or dig for ore and refine new material from that?) For largish-volume production existing technologies (e.g. casting, forming, extruding, milling) will remain hugely less energy-intensive than 3D printing. I’ve no problem with 3D per se, it’s the oh-so-predictable “universal and will displace all extant technologies” overhyping aspect of the marketing that annoys me. Like all new tech, 3D will find its niche – mostly custom low-volume and in-the-field-as-needed production – alongside the older tech, not “completely disrupt it”. But then again, I’m not in the business of peddling unicorns to eager investors.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I agree. I hope nobody voted for Trump hoping for the best that has ever criticized people for getting taken in by Obama’s “hope and change” schtick. Because Trump’s con is a hundred times more transparent than even Obama’s was.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Because Obama’s was less transparent, the fall for the victim is more painful.

        With transparency, there is no excuse to not wear knee pads or other similar protection.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think the hidden assumption in this talking point (“the con”) is that all Trump voters were taken in. But I’m not sure that’s so. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that people who voted for Trump saw right through him, but found the Clinton alternative so unacceptable and repellent that they voted for Trump anyhow. I don’t see that as irrational or crazy or stupid, or take your pick of any coastal elite epithet. Cf. Chris Arnade’s notion of “volatility voters.”

    2. two beers

      With HRC, there was a 100% chance (a dead certainty) that the candidate was a Wall St tool.

      With the Orange One, there was maybe an 80% chance (a considerable, but not guaranteed, likelihood) the candidate was a Wall St tool.

      With Stein, slam her as you may, there was a near 0% chance the candidate was a Wall St tool.

      What would you have the rubes do?

      1. Synoia

        I’m positive that Trump has a very different relationship with Wall St than Clinton. Perhaps a little more adversarial?

        I’m unaware of any Trump speeches for large amounts of payola.

        Please correct me if I’m wrong.

        1. ggm

          You’re not wrong. Bannon is no fan of Wall St., either. Wasn’t surprised to see him get the most vitriol from the media out of all of Trump’s picks.

          Mnuchin was savaged for working on Trump’s campaign, but stuck with him and apparently was rewarded with Sec Treas. Anyone who thinks Trump supporters are going to be distraught over this pick has spent no amount of time around Trump supporters. I went to his rallies, I talked to his base on line and inside the venues. They know he will have to work with the system. Only about 5% of the people I encountered were expecting him to radically disrupt the political establishment. Most were simply thrilled to have a politician acknowledge they exist and that their “managed decline” is real.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      The Carrier episode is a perfect illustration of Trump conning the people who naively voted for him as a hopey change agent. Probably the single defining economic issue of his campaign is/was to keep American manufacturing jobs here by making companies offshoring those jobs pay a price for doing so. Remember the speech in Detroit where he threatened a Ford executive face to face with punitive tariffs if Ford outsourced vehicle production to Mexico and reimported those cars? It was brilliant theater, and would have been a truly significant moment if it weren’t a transparent con put on for the rubes. But con is naturally what it was.

      So Trump does his bait and switch where he went from threatening punitive tariffs (stick) to tax concessions (carrot). He’s completely flipped his position on perhaps the single signature issue of his campaign before he even takes office. Now every CEO with more than two functioning brain cells will be threatening to move their operations to Mexico/China/wherever with their hand out blackmailing the government to offer similar tax concessions as incentives to remain.

      This is a complete and total repudiation of his campaign’s central defining focus, from courageous protector of American jobs standing up to imperious offshoring villains in five thousand dollar suits, to cowardly no-fee ATM for those same villains, dishing out favors in the form of tax breaks to everyone threatening to leave. This, before he even is officially elected!

      Trump goes from crusading economic populist promising to bravely act against those ruining our country’s economic base to the BFF/candyman of those same putative villains.

      Quelle surprise huh? Who could’ve predicted he would be a total fraud slinging hopium to desperate voters who bought his economic populist sparkle ponies while never for a second meaning a word of any of his populist rhetoric? Maybe anyone paying the slightest attention would.

  29. Rajesh

    Trump won period. This vote count business will go nowhere. Petraeus has pretty good chance of becoming the next SoS imo.

  30. Brad

    Potential for a privatized presidency of unprecedented depth and international scope.

    “As ethics lawyers warn about potential conflicts of interest facing the billionaire businessman’s presidential administration, the kingdom reserved space for a reception at the president-elect’s flagship property less than a mile from the White House, according to an invitation from the country’s embassy obtained by POLITICO on Tuesday

    “Before Trump’s election, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte had already named Jose Antonio, Trump’s business partner, a special envoy to Washington for trade, investment and economic affairs. Antonio’s company, Century Properties Group, is building a $150 million, 57-story Trump Tower apartment building in Manila.

    “And in India, Trump’s business partners — Pranav Bhakta and Atul Chordia — are developing a pair of 23-story Trump Towers buildings in Pune. The two met with Trump at Trump Tower in New York after his election”.


    Trump family could get a global commercial RE empire + a newsnoise competitor with Fox via Bannon out of this POTUS racket. What a deal.

    1. rajesh

      Real estate, esp residential real estate in India is overdue for a price correction…if they are smart they will wait for the correction before buying up the land parcels to construct. wrt the ethical nature of the transactions…well…

  31. robnume

    I really believe Trump will attempt to privatize everything in sight. But what I’m most worried about is social security and medicare.

  32. Altandmain

    I’m at a loss to b e honest to explain – what could Jill Stein possibly hope to get out of a recount?

    Can someone literally explain this to me?

    At this point, Trump is pretty solidly the president. It would take probably 3 states to flip, depending on the number of electoral votes. There is also the matter of the states that Clinton may have won too.

    The Democrats have only themselves to blame. They could have picked Bernie and likely would have defeated Trump. We will never know now, but it seems very probable.

  33. JTFaraday

    “And yet Bouie seems to deeply believe that Sanders was not trying to do just that. It’s very odd.”

    It’s not odd. I understand it perfectly. They really, really need black co-leaders WITH some clout who tell them it’s okay. NOT white Bernie Bros and Uncle Tom Reeds who belittle their concerns as “identity politics” and tell them it (and they) are bad.

    What everyone wanted to do this time around** will never work. Never ever ever.

    **ie., basically moan and whine and throw a liberal version of the Trumpertantrum.

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