Links 11/12/16

Brain Implants Allow Paralyzed Monkeys To Walk Slashdot (furzy)

New Zealand town builds underpass for march of the penguins Guardian

Newly discovered genetic code controls bacterial survival during infections PhysOrg

Avocados are driving deforestation in Mexico TreeHugger (resilc)

Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized Defend Democracy

Myanmar jails top media chiefs Bangkok Post

Trump Spells Trouble for Berlin and Brussels Der Spiegel

What Does Trump’s Victory Mean For NATO? NPR. Charles flags the close, which is an unusually pointed admission of the basis of our imperialist project.


EU warns May over Trump Times

Turkey is swiftly heading towards a regime of terror Bangkok Post (furzy)

Trump Transition. I am trying, and hope you will help in comments, in pulling the noise out of the signal regarding what Trump will actually do when he becomes President and whether it will succeed, “success” consisting first of it being implemented and second, making him and his Administration appear to be legitimate (as in keeping campaign promises, delivering tangible benefits to voters or powerful interest groups he needs on board). Despite all the changes in messaging over the course of his campaign, Trump was consistent on immigration, trade and lack of infrastructure investment, and depicted all three as ways to improve conditions for workers. And political scientist Tom Ferguson says that the data shows that the propensity to vote for Trump was highly correlated with voters giving negative answers to questions like whether the economy or the job situation had gotten better.

Trump and Sanders found power lying in the street by virtue of both parities abandoning high employment levels and wage growth as major policy goals. But if Trump is to deliver on his promise of delivering on those goals, he is at odds with much of his own party, which is keen to keep workers weak and preserve free trade (the corporate Republicans, particularly ones whose constituents include globalized businesses like autos, for the obvious patronage reasons; libertarians, out of ideology). Given that trade policy and immigration enforcement are areas in which the President has considerable latitude, whether and how he engages in these fights will be early tests of whether he intends to and is able to execute.

Finally bear in mind that Trump not only has a thin bench staff wise, but also intellectually. Many of his sources of advice are ideologues who like the Brexiters in the UK, may cheerily recommend changes which might sound ducky (to them) without having the foggiest clue that the operational implications are nightmarish. For instance, I’m told the Trump transition team on policy is apparently planning on recommending that the US exit Nafta and the WTO on the first day of the Trump presidency. Pray tell, have they looked into what this means for US customs, and for US exporters dealing with foreign customs?

In other words, the right wing think tank types that the Trump team is relying on runs the risk of being as clueless about issues of organizational capacity as the Greeks were who thought they had a trump card (pun intended) in a Grexit (for those new to Naked Capitalism, we had an extensive series of posts on this topic, see here, here and here for some examples).

So for instance, see this BBC story:

Trump likes main Obamacare provisions ‘very much’, specifically, covering pre-existing conditions and letting children up to age 26. The story describes how the Republicans might oppose Trump:

Complicating the matter is that a “revise and reform” effort may not fly with Mr Trump’s ardent supporters and the cadre of arch-conservative politicians in Congress, who want to tear up the law “root and branch”.

Mr Trump often broke with Republican orthodoxy while campaigning and didn’t pay a political price. He may learn that as president he won’t get far without his party establishment’s help.

In WSJ Interview, Trump Says He Is Willing to Keep Parts of Health Law Wall Street Journal. Note the heavy emphasis on job creation. This had been the Democratic party lode star through the Carter era. He also defines Pence’s job, which is to help on health care and sell Trump policies to Congress. This is similar to the role Joe Biden played. And he rejected the Administration “find those moderate Syrians” strategy.

Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump Will Have Terrifying Powers. Thanks, Obama. Intercept

Could Trump reform US foreign policy? Boston Globe

Donald Trump May Select an Architect of Bush’s Torture Program to Run CIA Intercept (resilc)

Trump Shakes Up Transition, Begins to Articulate Priorities Bloomberg. Notes the absence of two groups that wielded a great deal of power with the Dems: Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Reported in all the other stories, but having four family members on the transition team is, um, unusual, to say the least. If nothing else, it’s a way to assure he has loyal eyes and ears in all these meetings.

Insurgent Trump taps GOP insiders, lobbyists for transition Politico

Trump picks Pence to lead new transition team Financial Times. A colleague who spent years in DC and has to deal with Beltway inside baseball as part of his day job says Pence’s now leading the transition team has no information value re Pence, that the significance is what it means re Christie. Either he really has had his wings clipped or Trump and he have reached an understanding re what Christie’s post will be in the Administration and they decided it was better to reduce his profile given the fresh conviction of his Bridgegate buddies. The NYT contends that Pence may get the upper hand on Trump ideologically by virtue of having key relationships in the Beltway and knowing the process, but Trump has slapped down Pence every time Pence said something that contradicted something Trump has said. So until Pence contradicts Trump on something non-trivial and prevails, the idea that Pence will get the better of Trump is rank speculation. As Lambert says, “They are randomly seeking demon figures to confirm their views. Trump is not Bush. And these are journalists with no access to Trump insiders. They need to take a week off.”

Guess what, Dorothy? Now we’re ALL back in Kansas! Atlanta Journal-Constitution (furzy)

Autocracy: Rules for Survival Masha Gessen, New York Review of Books (Angela). Histrionic, but worth keeping in mind that a less severe version of what she foresees is possible, particularly if Rudy Giuliani winds up in a position where he can tie local policing into national efforts. Do not forget that that started with Obama, with his gifts of military equipment to cities and his 17 city coordinated paramilitary crackdown on Occupy. But Gessen misses that Trump may be making a big mistake if he persists with trying to freeze the White House press corps out of its usual role of following the President and being on the receiving end of regular briefings. If they aren’t kept busy with activities that generally have low information content and make them well disposed toward the President, they’ll have to do real reporting.

The legacy of the 2011 debt ceiling fight is the biggest issue Trump will face on day one Business Insider (furzy). Um, no. First, we’ve never had a problem with funding the next bombing run to Iraq. The DoD has a huge off-budget funding operation (I forget the name entirely….but it’s real). Second, if the word were to get to Trump (unlikely given his dependence on Republican information sources), he would be just the sort to do something unorthodox like the platinum coin. Third, this is not gonna be his biggest day one issue. If he has not already capitulated on major parts of his program, he’ll probably be in a pitched battle with his party.

Trump’s Presidency Could Upend the Way Silicon Valley Works Wired

Reports of Bias-Based Attacks Tick Upward After Election New York Times

2016 Post Mortem

A Divided and Pessimistic Electorate Pew Research

It was the Democrats’ embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump Guardian (Tom H)

The Fall of the House of Clinton Vanity Fair

The Podesta emails – After Hillary, John Podesta had been seriously warned about the Syrian chaos failed evolution

CAP Cancels Rollout of Project Aimed at Working Class White Voters Free Beacon. From 2014.

The Bar Fight Primary Matt Stoller, Huffington Post. Notice the date, and how accurate it proved to be. And the notion of a credible politician as a bar fighter is useful.

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Donald Trump’s Victory RealInvestmentAdvice

Jill Stein voters did not deliver Donald Trump the presidency Vox (resilc). In case you need a link to shut people up.

Amid Tide of Red on Electoral Map, West Coast Stays Defiantly Blue New York Times

Donald Trump Won Because of Facebook New York Magazine (furzy). Lordie. The story before the election was that FB was in the can for Clinton. Now it’s FB’s fault.

Podesta email bombshell: Clinton campaign was heavily funded by Monsanto Natural News

I said Clinton was in trouble with the voters I represent. Democrats didn’t listen. Washington Post

Why Some People Are Burning Their New Balance Sneakers Washington Post. Resilc: “Because they are dumbasses?”

How Letting Bankers Off the Hook May Have Tipped the Election Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. Please circulate!

Team Dem Rending of Garments and Gnashing of Teeth

Bernie Sanders: Where the Democrats Go From Here New York Times (Kevin C). Only 87 comments as of this hour, which does not look organic, and many angry ones from Clinton supporters accusing Sanders of not campaigning for her.

Elizabeth Warren: ‘We Will Fight for the Working People of This Country’ AFL-CIO

Keith Ellison Is the Leader the DNC Needs Nation

Paul Ryan just announced his plans to phase out Medicare with privatization using vouchers Daily Kos (furzy). Old people vote, and turn out at much higher levels than young people. Bush the Second increased Medicare spending. This is a risky ploy and I doubt there are enough Republican ideologues who are willing to risk voter backlash, particularly since the Republican base skews old. Supporting and expanding Medicare and Social Security polls very well no matter how the question is put.

CLINTON CAMPAIGN: We lost because of James Comey Business Insider. David Laxer deemed this to be funny.

Harry Reid Calls Trump “a Sexual Predator Who Lost the Popular Vote” Mother Jones. Wowsers. This was true of Bill Clinton in 1992, except no one outside Arkansas knew he was a sexual predator back then. And more important, another example of why the Dems suck. Jerri-Lynn: “If the Dems were more tactically competent, Trump would not have won…. I actually think they’re not completely cynical, and buy into some of this nonsense.” If you are gonna get some Rs in the Senate to join you to stymie Trump, this is not the way to go about it. Only good thing to be said is Reid is on his way out.

These Rust Belt Democrats Saw the Trump Wave Coming Mother Jones

Democrats begin fight against Trump: his election ‘does not feel like America’ Guardian. Resilc: “Jobs jobs jobs jobs, they don’t get it.”

Democrats see silver lining in release from Clinton grip Financial Times

It’s Time to Smell the Shit Cathy O’Neil. This sort of thing is why the Dems will continue to lose. They need to change course, big time. Lambert: “Because their shit don’t stink.” Moi: Doubling down on identity politics/racist meme will fail, and they refuse to consider that if Trump manages to deliver on jobs, he will be popular.

Veterans Against the War: 11 Perspectives on Ending US Imperialism Truthout

Judge Curiel Denies Trump Motion to Exclude Evidence of What He Said and Tweeted During Campaign Daily Kos (furzy)

U.S. election sparks ‘violent rotation’ to inflation plays: BAML Reuters

With Trump’s election, is stimulus spending back on Washington’s agenda? Los Angeles Times

Gundlach: Current Leg of Trump-Inspired Treasury Sell-Off ‘About 80% Through’ FINalternatives

Make Inflation Great Again! Is Trump the “Inflation President”? Spotlight on Bonds, Oil, Gold, Attitudes Michael Shedlock. EM:

FT: ‘If implemented in full, which seems unlikely, these bold pledges would add $10tn to the public debt in the next decade.’ Hey FT, we added $11tn to the national debt over the last 8 years and got very little to show for it other than more Wall Street crookery and graft and more neocon warmongering. Maybe ‘where the money goes’ actually matters? Of course we know where the FT’s interests lie in that respect. NYT, also quoted here, is equally clueless: ‘But when nearly all the people who want a job already have one, that spending just bids up the pay of people already working, eventually resulting in higher prices more broadly.’ Because there simply is not bettering the current best-in-history state of the employment landscape! Money’s take is – if that is possible – even more moronic: ‘If you include Trump’s threat to impose a new tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods, the cost of goods that Americans buy at Wal-Mart and Costco could rise by about 3%.’ Even were that true, having your income rise by oo% might just make that kind of cost increase more palatable, yes?

Beyond anger aeon (Micael). Important. But despite the fact that the author says his definition of anger is widely accepted, it does not resonate with my own experience. It is true that most of the time when I am angry, I do want the other party to suffer. But there are times when I am angry when I want things to change. I’m angry with myself because I have not been disciplined enough. I was very angry about foreclosures and wanted reforms. There were times when I wanted certain people who sabotaged reform to suffer, but the driver most of the time was that people were being hurt unnecessarily and there were things that could be done that would significantly reduce that. Similarly, the one time I intervened in a domestic violence situation, I went after the guy, yelling, because I knew instinctively it would take a show of force to get him to recognize that I was serious. But I didn’t want to hurt him, I just wanted him to let the girl get her purse out of his car (this was how he was holding her hostage) so she could get a cab and go home.

Antidote du jour. Margarita:

The sweet Cosmo is a beautiful Maine Coon with an out-sized personality (and unfortunately a killer instinct)

Whenever there was a party at the house, with people sitting around the table, Cosmo demanded his own chair…

If he did not get it, he’d sneak (sweetly) behind some unsuspecting human victim, and in 15 -20 minutes, he’d push the person out of the chair and proudly claim everybody’s attention


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. pretzelattack

      well if the dinos will go back to pretending to care about climate change maybe these people can be blocked.

      1. cocomaan

        Am I the only one that remembers how he ran his campaign?

        New chairs every month. Staffers being fired left and right. Others dropping out, of course, when he refused to listen to them for the umpteenth time.

        The way I’m looking at it, anyone appointed to the cabinet has a shelf life of about 6 months. Trump is clearly a churn and burn kind of guy. My prediction: the only constants in his cabinet will be family members. Everyone else is disposable.

        1. tony

          I’ve had the feeling he wants to build a political dynasty out of the Trump family. I think the heavy involvement of his family indicates that might be a possibility.

          Of course for that to succeed he needs to be a popular president.

          1. cocomaan

            I suspect the dynasty is going to be in business as well.

            With all the powers of surveillance at his command, and no actual rules on the books for conflicts of interest, Trump can frontrun everything and become the richest man in the world. What would stop him?

    2. subgenius

      Given the incredibly underwhelming action over the past, ooh, forty years….it was seem it’s business as usual.

      We are so far from the point of the population even beginning to understand how much change is needed that all we seem left with is trying to gain enough momentum to leap the chasm.ahead…

  1. Samuel Conner

    Don’t have a link handy, but a few weeks back there was some internet buzz about DJT staying in touch with his email list after the election. At the time these reports appeared, he seemed headed for defeat and the supposition appeared to be that staying in contact with the list was a for-profit concept, perhaps “Trump-TV” or something like that. IIRC, the writer(s) reckoned that DJT had damaged his for-profit brand and might launch into new for-profit ventures to rebuild. The list was a large pool of potential customers or perhaps eyeballs to sell to advertisers.

    If there is anything to these reports, DJT might do what BO failed to do with OfA and “bully,” via grass roots, his R congressional adversaries into cooperating with the agendas his voters elected him to pursue. IMO, it might work.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I was thinking that he might need something like that.

      The way I see it, Trump now has 2 choices:

      1. Become the de facto leader of the Republicans, and accept that this means he will frequently be dragged into doing many things he doesn’t want by the myriad internal interests represented by Congressional Reps.

      2. Be his own man, and face a battle over every single policy, using his public popularity to push, pull , bribe or bully Congress, the Senate, and every other interest group into doing what he wants.

      By instinct, I’m sure he would prefer ‘2’, but there seem to be a hell of a lot of people pushing him into becoming ‘1’.

      I think everything comes down to the decision he makes. Keeping his email list would be central to running the presidency as a permanent political campaign.

      1. craazyboy

        After his meeting with Ryan, I saw news of Team Trump indicating that repealing O care and the tax plan would be the first priority of Team Trump. So the obvious conclusion is they are prioritizing what will flow thru a R congress like shit thru a goose. They want to use the “Honeymoon” window. Unlike Obama, when he had the chance.

        The rest of it, we’ll have to see how that goes.

      2. dcblogger

        I imagine that Trump will stick to his original plan which is to use the presidency to enrich himself and his family.

        1. craazyboy

          Yeah, repealing the estate tax would be a biggie. And someone needs to oppose Chelsea in future presidential runs.

          1. John Zelnicker

            I read yesterday that the Clinton machine is already prepping Chelsea to run for Congress. Will they never quit?

          1. John k

            Sadly, there are a lot of washes, but we knew he wasn’t Bernie.
            I do expect to avoid no fly zone and some kind of skirmish with Russia, which of course would not get out of hand. Plus killing Tpp and similar useful.
            I liked family in transition, they don’t seem to be corp reps, more likely to think populist. Talk of Jamie hurt, still hoping this from twits and not trump, even better if this annoyed trump and caused the shuffle.
            Also fond hope for sister, maybe a sane voice in background? Are they friends? Best we could hope for at supreme or justice.
            Good thing about spec is can still be hopeful.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Let’s be serious, Trump will give us a smorgasbord of stuff to be against. And that’s a good thing.

              1. Aumua

                Man, talk about pretzel logic. It’s good that things will be so awful. We should be thankful for the smorgasbord of awfulness headed our way.

                It’s gonna be a long 4 years.. for all of us. But especially for the Trump apologists around here. Have fun with that.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Hate you too! There, now that is made clear,

                  I gotta ask: What “Trump apologists” are you telling the rest of us are apologizing “around here”?

                  Seems to me there are a lot of people who are well aware of what Trump portends, in the context of a couple of centuries of kleptocrats carefully building a comfy ruling and looting structure for themselves, by dedication to advancing their “interests” at the expense of the disorganized wealth-generating rest of us. So sorry if many here also are sickened and tired of the Democrat Party, a wholly owned (until recently?) subsidiary of the Clinton Family…

                  The question, it seems to me, is how to respond to the Warren Buffett laydown, now many years ago: “Of course there’s a class war going on, and my class, the rich class, is winning.” We mopes can continue to fight over places in the line to beg for table scraps, or maybe do something else that might have a chance of producing a better end or at least a slower death for all of us including young people and the children they may have.

                  1. Aumua

                    I was commenting on what I see as a continuing trend of minimizing Trump’s foibles, and reflexively pointing the finger and saying “Well Hillary..” It’s all true of course, Hillary’s awful. But Hillary and Bill are out of the picture soon, so let’s look at what we got.

                    I just wish the main stream media would stop copying me, it’s really annoying.

                    1. JTMcPhee

                      You need to look closer, in my view. And it’s silly to think the Clinton Machine will be “out of the picture soon.”

                      What have “we” got? Not enough energies aimed at developing the kind of organization and power that will keep the bad stuff from happening.

                      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

                      ― Warren Buffett

                      The rich class is counting on that diffusion and dissipation of energies.

                    2. Lambert Strether

                      One of the really bad things about the rash of naked YouTube links is that they allow assertions to be made that are putatively backed by evidence, but take five or ten or sixty minutes to be evaluated because they have to be watched, as opposed to text, which can be read and evaluated in the low seconds, or links to text, which take maybe a minute.

                      What should readers have learned from the video?

                2. hunkerdown

                  Traditionally, Democrats are at their best when in opposition. Which still isn’t all that good, usually not much better than a wash overall, even when they don’t have little fascinations of the moment like Third Wayism. But those among both parties who are inclined to punch their own, individual moneybags, and kick right in foul zones, and mean it, can earn valuable cred and prizes in 2018.

                  Glen Ford at BAR in March called out Hillary’s “purple party” thing:

                  Hillary Clinton’s corporate machine will move quickly to reposition the party to the right in November so as to absorb the white “moderate” exiles from the Republican rubble – thus, further alienating Bernie’s insurgents. Black voters, who are fully aware that they saved Clinton from ignominious defeat in the early primaries, will in very short order be pushed back in their “place”: the captive constituency. But this, too, is unsustainable if even half of the duopoly comes undone, because the duopoly system is the cage that traps Blacks inside the Democratic Party.

                  And what have we now but a sudden coordinated release about that mix of red and blue meaning unity (HuffPo, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue for bloody sakes). How white of them all.

                  Which is just the sort of thing neoliberals do, isn’t it: create new markets out of tripe, hope, and bullshit. The blue campaign at war with Russia, the blue campaign at moral war with whatever pseudo-outrageous thing red said this week, the blue campaign to corral and domesticate all us little Pokémon… “correct them all!”

              2. jrs

                Nah, not really even in the best case scenario it means most of the same people get silent all over again with a Dem in the white house eventually.

                There is no good thing, there is just Sisyphus or something equally futile forever and ever in the U.S. political system, angry protest when Dems are out of power and noone is listening to left protestors anyway, silence when Dems regain power.

            2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

              She’s too old to be a Supreme and the federal anti-nepotism statute would bar her from a Justice appointment but she might play a big role in guiding his choices of judicial and Justice appointees.

      3. Brucie A.

        There may be a chance he’ll pick option 2:

        Returning home to Trump Tower from the White House may not be Mr. Trump’s only embrace of the familiar. His aides say he has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide, and his aides are discussing how they might accommodate his demand.

        “I think Trump has discovered that these rallies are tremendous opportunities for him to get his message out,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media, a conservative website. “It’s actually sort of old-fashioned, that you want to actually meet people and press the flesh with him.”

        Yes, “old-fashioned” – seems like something one might have experienced in Germany in the 30’s.


        1. Brucie A.

          ‘course, a part-time president might be just what we need:

          Mr. Trump, a homebody who often flew several hours late at night during the campaign so he could wake up in his own bed in Trump Tower, is talking with his advisers about how many nights a week he will spend in the White House. He has told them he would like to do what he is used to, which is spending time in New York when he can.

          (from the same article).

          1. craazyboy

            Um, I imagine he will have orientation from the Secret Service. They will probably show him 8X10 glossies of dead presidents, and point out the similarities between Trump Tower and the World Trade Center.

            1. sleepy

              I heard/read that Trump Tower is problematic as a continued residence, that 5th Avenue would have to be more or less permanently blocked off which isn’t going to happen. His pleasure dome in Florida is considered more likely.

          1. Brucie A.

            Time will tell if it’s a bully pulpit or something else. But considering what the rallies were filled with, I’d be surprised if it’s mere preaching that’ll go on.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              He was reported to be in his bunker days before the election.

              The narrative seems to going backwards. Now, he’s going to hold rallies?

    2. Bugs Bunny

      The president elect has moved his policy positions to a government website:

      You can leave suggestions and apply for jobs in the administration!

  2. Jim Haygood

    NATO in fact could be described as an insurance policy for American prosperity,” says Bruno Lete. “Having these expensive U.S. soldiers in Europe basically guarantees that American business investments in Europe can operate in a stable environment.” — National Propaganda Radio

    This claim might have been plausible in 1946, when war-torn Europe was struggling to re-establish basic functions of civil government.

    Seventy years on, it’s ludicrous. Stability for foreign investors is provided by the host government, not by occupation troops.

    According to NPR, 23% of its operating revenues (FY 2013-2015) came from “corporate sponsorships”:

    As the late president Ronald Reagan used to say … “I am paying for this microphone, Mr Green.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is the justification for the entire American project. Just because it isn’t credible does not mean it’s not party line. They figure Americans don’t look at maps. And those nasty Rooskies do supply gas to Europe, which gives them too much leverage, so we need to make sure the Europeans don’t get too cozy.

      NATO does have maritime operations, although as far as I can tell, it does not seem to include the Baltic Sea.

      1. Cry Shop

        German & Polish navies have home ports in the Western Part of the Baltic. While Russia has the shortest coastline of any Baltic Nation, even when including the isolated Kaliningrad Oblast wedged between (hostile) Poland and Lithuania, these are the only European winter ports for Russia, They are particularly important for economic access to the aforementioned Kaliningrad.

        Bad acts by Nato are particularly silly and patently a lie as the shallow waters and tortuous route to the Atlantic from the Baltic makes the Russian ports completely useless for any offensive military purpose. During WWII Germany easily bottled up the Russian Baltic surface fleet and strung a submarine net across the Gulf of Finland that held until the last 3 months of the war.

      2. sunny129

        Somewhere I read that where ever there McDonald restaurants, any where in the World (out side USA), MacDonald air (defense industry) is nearby, for a reason!

    2. tgs

      Trump has backed off, at least somewhat, from his earlier negative statements about NATO. I hope, at a minimum, his sticks to his guns about the Europeans paying their own way.

      As it stands now, NATO membership allows Poland and the Baltics to maintain antagonistic relations with Russia at a fairly low cost. If that ended, then they would actually have to do the rational thing and negotiate for better relations with Russia – which would benefit all concerned (except the current establishment in DC).

      Looked at from the business perspective that we are told Trump has, NATO is a net drag on peace and prosperity – two things that Trump says he wants.

      1. megamike

        Close the bases! Ok Where do all the people that “worked” at these bases go when they come back to the USA?? What jobs will be waiting for them when the return?? I can imagine the Trump voters will not be to happy when these displaced persons return with little or no work for them; not to mention the huge infrastructure that supports these bases that will be unnecessary when these bases are closed.

        1. tegnost

          definitely better if we hired hillary and invaded russia, job creation and a booming economy awaited us, oh and by the way your beef is with residents of the rust belt and florida, not nc. Hillary lost because of hillary, what did you do to make her policies more palatable to the residents of those states? 8 years of democrats bailing out the bankers and throwing everyone else under the bus didn’t work, how surprising. The argument that we need to rule the world to keep our population employed makes you sound like a GWB republican, do you miss him yet?

        2. temporal

          Rebuilding our national infrastructure seems pretty smart. Unbuilding (rebombing?) foreign infrastructure not so much. Using the MIC as welfare is very unwise, in no small part because they don’t keep track of where their money goes. You can be sure that the pay soldiers receive is not the biggest component of MIC spending.

          Ds as defenders of the MIC. I feel like Alice in the Looking Glass.

        3. tony

          Pay them to hang out at the domestic bases. It’s cheaper than sending them abroad.

          Or employ them building civilian infrastructure.

        4. todde

          They can guard our border.

          Build a base in america as stimulus and then our soldiers wages will be spent in America, as opposed to Europe, stimulating the economy further

          1. Aumua

            .. and if there is no real threat at our border, then they can guard our cities. Against muslims, and other assorted terrorists and dissidents.

              1. Aumua

                Hey they can always use more help and equipment in their battle against the forces of.. of us. The poor police are under siege these days, it’s just awful.

                Blue lives matter, amirite?

          1. Waldenpond

            I’m going to ignore mega’s suggestion that there is benefit in accepting the mutilated bodies of war because jobs riff.

            If Clinton had won, many would have been declared saddened ‘I told you so’s’. It would have been endlessly tedious but the vengeful ‘you’re gonna pay’ (friends, family, neighbors waved off as Trump voters) is a whole other thing.

        5. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Puh-leeze megamike is that really the best you got? We should continue to fund paper-shuffling staff sergeants posted in Ramstein at $100K/year with subsidized PX and retirement at 50 because: otherwise they’ll be unemployed?
          Federal Express got a 10-year *no-bid* contract to fly palettes of bottled water from Seattle to Baghdad during the Iraq War, I guess you’re saying that was a clever use of funds, too?
          Army Core of Engineers says there are 89,000 bridges in the US in imminent danger of falling down, I say we hand that staff sergeant a shovel. And make him shop at TJ Maxx and Walmart like the rest of people while we’re at it.

          1. craazyboy

            Yeah, one or two segments of our economy has been dealing with what Greenspan termed as the “flexible American economy” for 40 years now. And it’s supposed to be a wonderful thing – making America strong and even Great.

            Get your yoga stuff on, dudes!

          2. Jason Gordon

            WRONG! Just to correct you a staff sergeant in the army could retire at 38. It’s true. Look it up, hehe

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Adjusting for life expectancy, does our staff sergeant fare better or worse versus a Roman centurion, as far as retirement age is concerned?

          3. JCC

            They don’t have it that cushy anymore. PX discounts/subsidies are long gone… Walmart paid Congress to get a law passed eliminating that so the staff sergeant (and the privates) could get familiar with shopping there instead (even on Iraq Bases where the nearest Walmart is a few thousand miles away). The only advantage now are no State Sales Taxes, even at the base gas stations.

        6. Dave

          Reassign them to the Army Corps of Engineers. They can rebuild bridges, roads and build new V.A. hospitals and public hospitals.

          PodDoorsHal, I swear to god I didn’t see your Army Corps post until after I did my reply to Megamike….Let’s call it a “popular meme”.
          Seabees, Army Corps of Engineers and Sea Lift Command to the rescue of infrastructure.

      2. Paid Minion

        Given Polish history, I don’t think they have any faith whatsoever in negotiations with the Russians to maintain their security. They would rather be NATO members.

        Ditto every other East European state.

        If the Russians want to see whose partly to blame for this attitude, they just need to look in the mirror.

        1. craazyboy

          I have a suspicion a true East-West European NATO would suddenly become realistic and pragmatic towards Russia – including Russia really not wanting global domination – if the US simply withdrew from NATO.

    3. Ignim Brites

      That Turkey is a member of NATO, indeed the second most powerful military member, indicates what an absurd alliance it has become now that the threat of Soviet Communism has collapsed. It persists mainly out of inertia. But when Marine Le Pen wins the French Presidency in the spring she will put an end to it.

      1. OIFVet

        Turkey under the Neo-Ottomanism of Erdogan is a menace to her neighbors, some of them NATO members themselves. Much as I dislike NATO, I am not ready to welcome its demise, not while Erdogan is in power.

        1. Synapsid


          Not just to her neighbors. Turkey, as the NATO member hosting them, is responsible for the safety and security of the US nuclear weapons there.

          1. OIFVet

            I had read that the US started to move the weapons from Turkey to Romania. I don’t know if it is true or not.

    4. oh

      National Propaganda Radio or National Petroleum Radio both describe NPR. Every time I try to listen to their “news” the “reporters” always participate with biased questions rather than simply reporting the news. They also rudely interrupt when the one being interviews tries to answer a questions they ask (it seems to me) because they don’t like the answer and where it’s headed.

      As far as I’m concerned, we should withdraw public funding to NPR and move the money to (local) community radio stations. Half their “news cast” is music, anyway. Let them compete with other commercial radio stations with overt advertising. We’ll see how long they last.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also known as National Partiality Radio.

        If no one is perfect, if none of us is infallible, then the public (made up entirely of us) is not perfect, either.

        And if you call yourself the National Public Radio, you have to represent all points of view, not just the (presumably) virtuous, progressive ones.

        The alternative is to call yourself the National Virtuous Radio to be funded only by virtuous Americans.

        1. jeremy Grimm

          I once was a long time listener to public radio. I hated the endless fund drives which seemed to start-up just as the last drive ended — but at least I didn’t have to listen to long chains of obnoxious commercials — but now the sponsor announcements before and after each show …

          One sponsor for NPR — the Barbara Brodsky Suites seems a fitting example of the kind of people NPR caters to:
          “When you’re resting in a spacious suite all your own, it’s easy to forget you’re in a world-class hospital. Our suites feature stylish living and dining areas, elegant bathrooms and personalized concierge services. With plenty of room for visitors and the finest in personal amenities, the Barbara Brodsky Suites provide an inviting space specially designed for your well-being and comfort.” [lifted from a Plastic Surgeon’s website: — “Please inquire during your appointment for pricing”. I guess this costs so much even the well-to-do have to ask.]

          I doubt whether the Obamacare most of us deplorables can expect will quite live up to a Barbara Brodsky Suites experience.

          1. JCC

            Too true…there was a Wells Fargo “sponsorship” blurb yesterday morning on NPR bragging about their outstanding customer concern and support that almost made me throw up.

      2. HopeLB

        Yes! Is that part of their training,cutting off dissenting views?Cable funded C-span is sometimes guilty of this as well and conversely will allow idiots to blabber on for quite a while, possibly to give the impression that they represent the US ie., philosopher kings (banksters and Davos Man ) must control these unwashed masses.

  3. Kokuanani

    Is that a little mouse or mole offering Cosmo has brought to us?

    And the significance of that would be . . . .

    1. ambrit

      Our cat, “Windowsill,” brings us such “offerings” on occasion. From the coarseness of the fur and the longer back leg of the carcass, I suspect it is a mouse. If so, the sub text is: “Oh my. That election certainly was a ‘squeaker.'”

      1. Synapsid


        Are you familiar with mole fur? it’s the most delightful stuff–it lies flat both toward the mole’s tail and toward its head, so the critter can back up in its tunnels, I guess.

        When brushed toward the tail the fur is dark, and when brushed toward the head it’s silver, on all the mole fur I’ve seen (one).

        1. ambrit

          Oh yes, we are indeed familiar with mole fur. Our area has thousands of the little burrowers pushing up their barrows. Sometimes, the front yard feels like a giant slab of spongecake. Also, I do love the feel of their fur. So, ah, decadent!

          1. polecat

            I’ll bet that they probably DON”T appreciate one iota you feeling up their fur ….. assuming you’re talking live moles, as opposed to a pelt ….. !!

            just sayin ….. ‘:[

            1. ambrit

              Woah there! They ain’t no pokemons fer sure! They have teeth! (I speak from painful experience.)
              Do you know how much a moleskin windbreaker costs? Where you going to raise them. The Taiga in Irkutsk?

      2. clinical wasteman

        More than 20 years ago now, but my two cats (Grendel and Vana Gloria, RIPx2, since you ask) in central Auckland, Aotearoa/NZ liked to present what they no doubt regarded as a degenerate household of late-sleeping musicians with wetas [] as a late-morning wake-up call. Most of the wetas were more alive than most of the musicians at the time.

        1. ambrit

          One of Phyls friends named her really wild looking cat Windowpane. That cat lived up to his name. He was a real trip.
          Not to get too mystical here, but cats can act as totem animals to “clear the windows of perception.” They will spot an evil character a mile off.
          We enjoy our furry friend. Hope you do too.

    2. polecat

      well .. Cosmo IS one huuuuuge Orange Coif, no?

      …and if you squint, you’ll see there’s an ‘I was with HER’ logo stenciled on the rump of that mousie pelt … ‘;]

    3. Ohnoyoucantdothat

      We have 4 cats, 2 dogs and 3 humans in our 600 sq. ft. flat. All cats, 1 dog and 1 human are ‘from the street’ so to say. Each one has their own, unique character. Puma is the oldest cat. I found her on the stairs one day when the rickety elevator was broken. She was full of fleas and worms, as were all the others. She has the most beautiful face with riveting green eyes. Not the most friendly and a loner but definitely the boss of the cat clan. Barsuk is a huge, orange tabby with a gentle disposition. He’s my buddy but lately has been fighting with our other male, Devik. Dave is a jet black witches’ cat with one bad eye. He’s the wife’s favorite and is always in trouble along with his mate, Sylvia, who joined us just last year. She’s a calico, somewhat small but the most docile of the bunch. She’s currently having problems with my wife’s latest acquisition, a Russian toy terrier. Beka, being a terrier, is a ratter that likes to grab the cats by the throat. We’re still trying to break her of that bad behavior but, as anyone who’s had a terrier can attest, it’s hard to get them to stop doing what’s part of their nature. Holly, the other dog, is huge. Much bigger than a German Shephard. At least 150 lbs. She’s the guard dog and pretty good. We have a serious break in problem in Crimea but no trouble with her on the job. Most strangers won’t even cross the threshold with her standing there giving them the evil eye. The one human is our kid who is adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage. A real handful but I love her to death. Never a dull moment in our lunatic assylum.

  4. cnchal

    Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized Defend Democracy

    Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the now Chairman of one of the biggest corporations and the largest food product manufacturer in the world, believes corporations should own all the water on the planet, and no one should be allowed to have access to it unless they pay.

    Is air a human right? When are air flow meters connected to our bank accounts going to be forcibly installed on our faces?

    I would like to see him go for a few days without water, perhaps he might change his mind. Failing that, somebody, please bash his head in.

    1. allan

      Bottled Life is a documentary from 5 years ago on Nestle, the bottled water business
      and the privatization of water more generally.
      Buying up water infrastructure has been going on for a long time, but accelerated under ZIRP.
      We will be living with the hangover from ZIRP long after Chairperson Yellen has taken away the p*nch bowl.

    2. Cry Shop

      Most governments don’t see it as a right either. Try not paying your water bill.

      For myself, I see water, air, and land all as the commons. Use and abuse there of should be a community decision. Most European and Asia capitalist societies see land as an individualist property, and the water (and air below a certain magical height) as property.

      I’m not sure there are any rights as well, as that implies the existence of a god figure who insures that the privilege is irrevocable. if it is revocable, then it’s just privilege.

      1. RMO

        Well, this is the same company that ran a brainwashing campaign in the poorest parts of Africa to get women to stop breastfeeding and buy their baby formula. Due to lack of safe water it did a nifty job of filling Nestle coffers and killing infants.

      2. Isolato

        I know this isn’t a solution for everyone, but all my water for the last 15 years fell on my roof, flowed into a large tank, was purified, pressurized and came out my tap. It isn’t that hard. And, double plus good!, no lead in the pipes…

        Also…one of my charitable follies was to donate two public drinking fountains to our local village. Less water shipped in from Fiji(!), fewer plastic bottles, and the extension of hospitality through the offer of a cooling drink.

      3. cnchal

        The greedy Nestle CEO is looking at it from his wallet’s point of view. What’s in it for him, personally, to be able to charge people by the drop. What’s the word? Oh yeah, psychopath. This is the type of person that get’s to the top in big organizations.

        . . . I see water, air, and land all as the commons. Use and abuse there of should be a community decision.

        There is a line between use and abuse that becomes fuzzy. It is abuse when you for instance do something to a stream of water running through your property that harms someone downstream.

        When you apply that to the planet, do we have an obligation to not pollute the future? If yes, then capitalism won’t work and if no, it’s use it up because markets.

    3. John Merryman

      My counter argument to the privatize everything meme is that as the medium which makes a global economy function, money and finance are the very definition of a public utility. We could have an organic public banking system, with local, regional and national systems to serve the respective layers of the economy, just like how democratic governments function.
      Banking actually started the process with the creation of the Federal Reserve, making responsibility for the stability of the currency a public responsibility. When the bubble of subsidized wealth finally explodes, we will either have to go back to a system where banks issued and were responsible for their own currency, or forward to a more, if not fully public system.

      Comebacks are a bitch.

      1. Alejandro

        Uncle Milty was mostly FOS, as is Peter Brabeck-Letmathe…rent extractions by definition are “free lunches”.

    4. kgw

      Excuse me if this is from NC recently:

      “That’s a mini-conspiracy compared with the one that the Fake War on Terror has distracted people’s attention from. The Privatisation of almost every Publicly-owned asset and piece of infrastructure in the West. The Neolib takeover was well-advanced in 1999 but slipped into overdrive in 2001.

      In Oz the Govt/people used to own all of the above, or a competitive participant in the ‘market’ in the case of banking, insurance, health clinics, airlines etc. In 2016 the govt owns only unprofitable burdens. Public Education is currently under extreme pressure to be Privatised for Profit.
      (The Yanks call it Anti-Communism, but consumers call it an Effing Expensive way to get much crappier service than in the Good Old Days.”

    5. jawbone

      Just seeing the headline about the Nestle CEO’s statement about water made me think of an article about some oil CEO stating that is was going to be SOOOOO GOOOOD to have Trump in office. And I thought, they’re coming out from under their rocks….

      Then I flashed on the video of the hatchling marine iguana and the attack of the incredible number of racing snakes, seemingly appearing from nowhere. Those snakes move amazingly fast, have learned to coordinate their attacks to a certain extent, and take every opportunity to benefit themselves.

      We, the non-uberwealthy, have the role of the hatchling iquana and the rapacious Big Corporations slither through our society like these snakes.

    6. craazyboy

      I guess they decided going to the real Mars is impractical, but you can always create Mars here on Earth.

      1. HopeLB

        Love it! And not only because it seamlessly fits with my own fantasy/conspiracy thoery that the Earth is through manipulation of the Elites’ greed being re-engineered by the aliens for their colonization. Methanate the atmosphere and They Will Come!

  5. Carolinian

    Whither Trump? There was some speculation here yesterday that we will be getting Reagan 2 but without the Russophobia and third world meddling. Here’s guessing that’s true and in particular that making a real estate developer president means that environmentalists will have a big fight on their hands.

    But the eighties were a fertile time for the left whereas the reign of Obama has turned the Dems into a puddle of nothing. So lefties don’t despair (and for gawd’s sake don’t march and whinge) and get moving. You now have a target to oppose and unlike “bended knee” Reagan times the press may help out (when they aren’t whinging). Above all drop the identity politics navel gazing. It was never about that.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Trump doesn’t seem to be telegraphing or blabbing a lot about what he’s going to do. A very experienced businessman, he’s not showing his hand. But he has always had a flair for the flamboyant. During the campaign he said he would meet with Putin even before he takes office. Now that’s he’s all buddied up with Obama I think he’ll hold off on that out of respect for the current prez.

      He’s right about NATO being an obsolete organization. It’s a huge waste of money. Many presidents, Obama included, have given up on their plans for changes in military strategy when confronted with the immense obstinacy of the Pentagon. But Trump is a different breed of cat. Maybe he’ll rattle some cages.

      Throughout his life Donald Trump has shown no inclination whatsoever to let other people push him around. Why would he start now? I saw a snip of Karl Rove, apparently still getting paid to bloviate on TV, rise up in angry defense of Paul Ryan, saying he campaigned vigorously for Trump and helped him win. Of course this is totally false. Ryan only jumped on the bandwagon at the last possible minute. We’ll just have to wait and see how he deals with Ryan and his other republican enemies. I think we will see more imagination from The Donald than from the typical pol.

        1. craazyboy

          He has got to go. He’s only there because of “re-districting”. The Rs somehow got his district cut down so small only Paul’s closest neighbors get to vote.

      1. oh

        I’m hoping he’ll cut Paul Ryan down to size like he did the Bushes. And he wasn’t shy about criticizing Obama while most others including Sanders were not ready to do so.

        1. MG

          Fat chance. Congressional GOP is going to drive the agenda. Pence is seeing fit to that. Just a question of how much angst huge tax cuts to the wealthy and big business generate and if enough of Trump working white class voters openly rebel against it.

          Basically what else will they be able to accomplish after that really depends but the tax cuts will pass by May barring any kind of major foreign policy incident or an economic shock.

          1. m

            Not so sure, Trump uses people to get his agenda through. Look how they treated him during convention and all the way till they (Ryan & his like) realized Trump was going to win. Trump will use them & toss them aside.
            Besides all those tea-party people hate Ryan because of this, they want him gone. Read comments on tea-party sites & see.

      2. HotFlash

        A very experienced businessman, he’s not showing his hand.

        Not showing his hand. Is that like that last guy playing eleventy-dimensional chess?

    2. ambrit

      From my worm’s eye view, it really is all about “the economy, stupid.” (No personal attack meant. The “stupid” is in the original Carville quote.) If Trump can deliver on decent jobs for the “pullulating masses,” he will have full public support. Add support for, and even some expansion to Social Security and Medicare, and he will have two legs of the tripod he needs to govern.

        1. ambrit

          We cool bud. The quote was from a campaign long ago and far away. Carville was actually admonishing WJClinton to be more attentive to the voters. The “stupid” was, I’ve read, to sharpen the mind. When one is not only “God’s Gift” to women, whether they want it or not, and the guiding light for the Democratic Leadership Council, whether the nation wants it or not, one must be constantly exhorted to evince humility.
          Indeed, I can imagine a SNL sketch where Carville acts as the slave who whispers “You are but mortal” into the ear of Trump whilst he has his triumph.

      1. Katharine

        Pullulating?? Where did that come from? If it was somebody’s notorious blooper, I must have missed it.

        1. Katharine

          Efforts to answer my own question have turned up Charles Beard. Definitely in the Homer-nods department. The primary meaning of pullulate is bud, germinate, send forth shoots. The secondary, metaphorical meaning is teem, but given the primary meaning one ought to be a bit circumspect in how one applies the metaphor.

          1. ambrit

            Ah, ambiguity! I’m so saddened when I hear these so called politicians of today. Not a denarius worth of Classical Learning in the very odd lot.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Maybe spell check replaced “Purulent” with “pullulating”?

            Purulent: Pertaining to pus. Containing or composed of pus.

            The term “purulent” is often used in regard to drainage. For example, gonorrhea in men usually causes a purulent discharge from the (member)

            1. ambrit

              I did not think of purulent. Good catch! Purulent pullulations?!?! Gad! This is heading into Neoliberal “identity politics” territory.
              I do see the ‘misspell’ warning program, the red underline, tag a lot of my otherwise off beat usages. Much more often than not, the program does not know a perfectly good word. When the style editor is a robot, we end up with ‘mechanical’ prose. Yet another reason to gently nudge children away from “software,” and towards “wetware.” (I never suspected that I would describe book learning in terms of physiological processes.)

    3. Jim Haygood

      Trump’s bio emphasizes how strongly he’s into golf, with a multitude of Trump courses not only domestically, but also in Ireland and Scotland.

      Anecdotal accounts suggest that golf and golf-course developments are losing cultural popularity. How will the new president react to this looming threat?

      If I were him, I’d put a driving range on the South Lawn. Then in the interest of national unity, I’d invite another great golfer, Barack 0bama, for a friendly round.

      Surely our political divisiveness is nothing that can’t be remedied at the 19th hole.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Except he particularly loves links courses and they will be the first to go with rising sea levels.

    4. uncle tungsten

      Rather they have a target to take over: the local and regional Democrat machinery. Don’t oppose it, seize it! Build the revolution.

  6. alex morfesis

    Maids and nannies…those who have them are disconnected from those who wait in line with them and the klownz that be seem to have a predisposition to refuse to allow/hire americans to have those jobs…the acelastanis either have or have many close friends, family and associates who have maids and nannies…

    that is the $tarting point of the great disconnection & discooperationalism that has reinfested this nation…

    Trump has only one hope if he actually imagines the person he sees in the mirror…

    he needs to start murmuring:

    President elect pocahantas…

    He needs to burp it out publicly everytime his “court jesters” decide to try to redirect his policy by making public statements like tv preachers “interpreting and expanding” scripture

    He needs to do a massive takeaway on the future of the demz by publicly giving sanders and warren an open door to the oval office and giving them as much as he can upfront so they have a very hard time biting the hand that fed them…

    It is the only card he can play…

    however…Will he take the thirty pieces of silver or will he remain loyal to his strength…

    his inauguration may not be too pretty if he so quickly throws his “date” in a cab after diner when she is a little “too shy”…

    Trumps negotiation style is simple…it is that he quits…he walks away…but he can’t walk away from his only claim to power…the bread and circus crowd…

    live by the mob, die by the mob(dear secret service…”die” in a political sense thank you)

    Foolishly his “court jesters” probably can not imagine both the democrat and republican parties falling apart in the 2020 “clarity” election…

    I do not imagine trump getting anything done on jobs with both wilbur ross and john paulson floating around him…

    if this is who he has convinced himself will have the vision thingee

    then countercoup2018 will be a cakewalk

  7. dk

    another 2¢…

    Trump has no idea what he’s doing (the dog that caught the car), effectively turns the reins over to Pence. Pence appoints cronies, Trumps as well as his own, this gives him cover with Trump. As already observed, appoints will be from the pool of far-right Rep/neocons. Trump effectively reigned Pence during the campaign, but that was a scenario with a single task; building and running an administration is complex and multi-directional, Trump can’t keep up. But he’s pretty much stuck with Pence, especially if appointees owe more loyalty to Pence (who picked them) than Trump (who only approved/accepted them).

    Trump will let things roll, then try to jump in and try to override decisions he doesn’t like, typical corporate know-nothing boss behavior. This may contribute mildly to gridlock, but much of the Rep agnenda will be green-lighted, with or without Trump’s volition.

    Eventually, Pence will push Trump out. Trump may pull a Palin and step down (who need’s the aggro anyway? not The Donald); and covert assassination is not off the table.

    Consider that the FBI rank-and-file, previously loyal to a concept of government-by-the-people, have now realized, having successfully forced Comey’s October actions, that they can start calling some shots. This makes them (and large sectors of law enforcement in general) a shadow power bloc that can be wooed (in some scenarios, by Pence) to support and execute a coup.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      dk, why do you say Trump has no idea what he’s doing? In case you weren’t paying attention, he recently defeated umpteen Republicans, Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartman, Allan Colmes, CNN, CNBC—in short, everybody who thought they were running things. Now there’s a new sheriff in town—-The Donald—and he does know what he’s doing. He just hasn’t told us yet.

      1. Steve C

        If the Democrats had a clue, the would home in on Trump’s stated differences with Republican orthodoxy and try to drive wedges between him and his party.

        They’re going to go with identity politics and drive him into the Beltway Republicans’ arms, thereby losing everything. But hey, that’s better for the donors anyway.

        1. Ignim Brites

          One problem with this thesis about the Dems. Trump’s economic program, focused on eliminating low wage competition to American workers means to break the Dems hold on the “black” vote. Since WWII the American Left has focused on racism as the soft underbelly of the American bourgeoisie. Trump has just exploded that strategy. While there is little doubt that the Dem Party leadership will try to maintain identity politics, the likelihood of success is nil.

      2. dk

        Winning a public relations battle and running a nation administration are two very different things. And Trump’s business history does not suggest to me that he’s particularly good even at that, beyond hiring clever tax lawyers.

        1. Tom

          Yet Trump somehow builds skyscrapers on prime NYC properties — billion- or 1/2 billion-dollar projects that are extremeley complex, multi-year endevaours that require legions of highly specialized people. He’s either very lucky or he has a few strengths somewhere.

          1. polecat

            Imagine having to live and/or work in a ‘Leaning Tower of Clinton’ …. talk about bad foundations …!

            1. River

              So what? He’s been in this business for 30 or 40 years. The fact that he didn’t start it is irrelevant.

              You’re really grasping at straws.

                  1. Steve C

                    Unlike W, Trump hasn’t been followed around by an army of minders cleaning up his messes.

                    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not happy with this turn of events but there it is.

                    1. EndOfTheWorld

                      Let’s call a moratorium on comparing W with Trump, and comparing Mike Pence with Cheney. Putting Pence in charge of the transition team doesn’t mean he will soon be walking The Donald around on a leash, feeding him doggie treats. Trump will decide who’s on his cabinet. I’m sure he was satisfied that Pence will support him in every way before he gave him the job, and indeed it’s almost always this way. The W/Cheney thing was an aberration. Pence will follow Trump’s lead and not try to usurp his authority in any way, and he’ll be young enough to be the top GOP candidate when Trump is finished.

                    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      If you’re really strong, you can afford to hire your critics, opponents and adversaries.

                      On the other hand, hiring such people is not proof you’re strong. It maybe just you thinking you’re strong.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              His father never built projects of the scale the son did. And you forget that The Donald got into new businesses: casinos, which are heavily regulated and even more political than developments, his TV show, and tons of licensing.

            3. John k

              A lot of rich guys that inherit dads business drive it into the ground. He keeps surprising to the upside, granted the dems not competent, ran a poor campaign, assist from wiki and comey barely enough to counter massive press oppo.

          2. Xihuitl

            My understanding from a NYC friend who should know is that others build the building. Trump puts his brand on it.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Even that’s not easy.

              I have been trying to get others to do things for me so I can put my brand on it.

            2. craazyboy

              In his early days he did “micro manage” his projects, unless his 1980s book was entirely fiction. Also, “others” are always architect firms, a general contractor and subcontractors, no matter whom does a RE project.

      3. Carolinian

        I agree that this is the wrong analysis although it’s one that the establishment prefers. They still aren’t taking him seriously. Trump is boorish and unlettered but hardly dumb and seems to be steaming ahead with the business of taking over the reins.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          Actually and factually, being President is not all that complicated. Could Donald Trump get a job as a brain surgeon, walk right into the operating room and succeed? No. Could he sign a contract with the NY Yankees and hit .300? No. But could Ike Eisenhower step into the White House and serve eight years? Yes.

          The President does have to operate within certain legal limits, yes. Trump has been studying this for a while and he has people to tell him what he can legally do. IMHO, he will be the one making the decisions and will not be pushed around.

          1. dk

            Ike had been working in the environment for decades, and knew all the players and where they stood. Trump hasn’t done it, ever, even if he’s studied it from the outside.

            And all of the D.C. Rep establishment knew this day could come, as it does with every new president-elect. This is inside baseball, and Trump is at bat.

            The chief executive is very dependent on their staff. Hiring, or in this case selecting staff and cabinet, is one of their most important tasks. The subsequent performance of their administration depends on it. Trump may be letting Pence set things up, then he’ll come in and start changing things around, fire people (televised, no doubt), and basically put on a non-stop version of The Apprentice. Effectively, this would be a gridlock configuration (like it or not).

            I’m not saying Trump isn’t smart or that he doesn’t have a plan, I’m saying he’s in a tough spot, and the stakes are as high as they get. Trump trusts Christie, they understand each other. But the Rep establishment could refuse to work with Christie, calling him tainted by Bridgegate (obviously that is just an excuse providing them leverage). So getting Pence to run the transition is already a point on the board for the Rep establishment, one can have the very highest opinion of Trump and still see that. It’s not the ballgame either.

            Pence not a person that Trump can trust. They’re at odds ideologically, stepping on each other throughout the campaign. Pence provides the Rep establishment with a back door into the Trump camp. They’ll fill policy positions that Trump never even heard of.

            Gridlock may be fine and well for a while, but it’s inherently unstable. It’s the kind of scenario where mutinies are born. And this campaign (not just Trump) has seriously changed the limits of politics in the US. When back-door politics is exposed, at first everybody acts shocked(!!!), then they keep doing it, only more openly because hey, everybody does it, I have to play the game. And behind the scenes, a new level of back-door opens up. More direct coercion, more absurd and blatant propaganda. Think of it as a reversion to the 50’s and 60’s in terms of simplified mentality.

            And the stakes are the highest. It takes magical thinking to think this will end well.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              dk, unless you got all their rooms and phones bugged, you are merely speculating when you speculate on the relationships among Pence, Christie, and The Donald.

              Yes, of course his staff is important. Trump is far from a novice at hiring and working with his staffs. He’s been an “executive” for many years. He’s dealt with politicians more than Ike, really. Ike was the Supreme Commander and dealt with FDR, but he was military so there wasn’t much dealing—it was more like taking and giving orders. Trump has dealt with city, county, borough, and various federal officials.

              The fact of the matter is the job of prez does not take a lot of prior experience. It takes the ability to solve problems in the here and NOW. The president has certain powers based on the fact that he was duly elected president, not on his resume.

              1. dk

                I think the relationship between Trump and Pence is well documented. Christie and Trump are from the same region and time as I am, I can read their signalling. Frankly it’s weird to me that people can’t see this.

                [Ike] was military so there wasn’t much dealing—it was more like taking and giving orders

                No, there’s quite a bit of dealing at the policy level. The DoD has a lot of cover, but they’re not immune at the highest levels.

                the job of prez does not take a lot of prior experience

                I think that’s incorrect, history suggests otherwise, and anyway, we’re about to find out.

                1. jsn

                  It’s easy to missunderestimate Trump because he’s such a rhetorical chameleon, and most chameleons have bigger vocabularies.

                  But he’s whip smart with people and power. Kahneman’s framing of “fast” and “slow” thinking defines respectively Trumps strengths and weaknesses. Systems thinking is entirely beyond his ken and while his instincts re personnel on the campaign proved decisive and good, that is a milieu framed entirely by his power and people strengths.

                  He relies on very competent subordinates, several of whom I’ve known over the years, to execute his projects. None the less I share Yves concern that personnel becomes policy very quickly at the center of systems and path dependent systemic impacts are rarely immediately evident even to those familiar with the system. Its even worse with those wedded to ideals of the system for which they are charged that are at odds with the realities of the system itself: in construction this kind of thing is forced to surface as ideas take physical form, a political analogue can take a generation to manifest.

                  Starting out with ideologues in some key positions is survivable with decisive corrections, as seen on the trail, but in other positions like Treasury or State or AG the consequences of a quick start in the wrong direction are likely to be debilitating because of both the damage and the reaction they cause.

                  We’re at one of those historical fulcrum points where small, non-obvious things can have huge consequences and huge blunders are about to be made (having been systematically made by the Dems for the last years) by a fissiparous Republican Party that won the Presidency by accident even as it fractured into competing fiefdoms.

                  1. Steve C

                    Trump seems like a pretty astute judge of people and I imagine he knows just what a jackass Christie is and what a back stabber Pence is going to be.

                    At some point he’s going to learn who he can trust.

                    1. sd

                      Astute enough to put his children into his transition team. I put that in to the plus column. He’s already telegraphed DC is filled with untrustworthy sycophants.

            2. uncle tungsten

              The harsh political reality is that to mighty large extent the President has the whip hand. The repugnants in congress want all their dreams to come true but will Trump sign them into law ? and at what price? how much of Trump’s agenda will they put through the house.

              Lets see if the man with the whip hand and experience of hard negotiating can have things his way more often than not. His appointment to Justice and the FBI will be fascinating to contemplate. There are some mighty soiled tracks left on the path to Congress.

              He sure as hell is making sure his trusted family are across everything.

              The cabinet within the Cabinet. Who are these family members and WTF do we know about them?

          2. craazyboy

            Actually, I think Obama is the perfect example of someone stepping into the job completely without any applicable skills and experience, and expected that you just have advisors provide you with a plate of nice solutions to choose from for every circumstance.

              1. hunkerdown

                From the future USTR no less, the office for advancing the American corporate interest in trade agreements, and a really good place to be if one wanted to “supervise” that sort of corporate takeover. I think Obama’s broad and deep alignment with the T-trinity agreements is a bit less open to challenge now.

                1. Steve C

                  Froman was the template for the kind of people whose acceptance and approval Obama craves. Smug Ivy Leaguers.

                  1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

                    That list didn’t come out of the blue. Froman was a classmate of the Obamamometer (HLS ’91), they served on the Harvard Law Review together, IIRC he was a major bundler for the 2008 campaign, and he introduced the Obamamometer to Robert Rubin early in that campaign. This is not a matter of Citi sending in its list of candidates at the transition stage. Froman was integral to the Obamamometer’s 2008 campaign success and he was involved up to his eyeballs long before the transition.

      4. flora

        “he recently defeated umpteen Republicans, Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartman, Allan Colmes, CNN, CNBC—in short, everybody who thought they were running things….

        i.e. the people in the upper 1% who forgot about the 90% of us.

    2. HBE

      DK does this interaction between trump and pence (last 30 sec), support your theory? I think not, pence might lead the transition team now but to say he has any real influence/power, means you have missed the dynamics between the two this entire election.

      Pence isn’t going to be doing much of anything on his own, he has been smacked again and again, this is not someone with power.

      1. Tom

        How weird is that? Was Donald flashing back to his heyday in the WWE ring?

        In this corner … the pride of Indiana … Mike “Hoosier Your Daddy” Pence!

        And in this corner,

        the orange Julius … the towering inferno … the Ayatollah of rock and rolla … Donald J. Trump!

        Okay gentleman — no handshake tosses, no grabbing below the belt and above all, let’s have a fair fight!

      2. lyman alpha blob

        What that my imagination or did Trump have the Stones’ You Can’t Always Get what You Want playing as he left the stage? Hilarious.

      3. dk

        He gets to set up the transition team which will in turn do the vetting on further appointments. He gets to stack the deck. That’s power, and Trump gave it to him. We’ll see what Trump does about it.

        And vice-presidents can wield a lot of power, there was a guy Dick Cheney… Bush trusted him, but eventually came to question him, and there was some infighting, Cheney was never completely dislodged, he had filled in too much of the lower level staff.

        1. oh

          The cabal that put Bush in office set up Cheney as VP and behind the scenes Prez. I don’t see the same pattern here.

      4. jawbone

        First time I’ve watched this speech, and I could barely take my eyes off the young boy (I figure it’s his son Baron?) who seemed so uncomfortable, so tired, so shaky. Poor kid. Or perhaps he just had no idea what to do with his body and face.

        I’d seen the handshake part, but, yikes, poor kid.

    3. Roger Smith

      I worry this is the story as well, however I strongly think would just start firing people that don’t listen and replacing them (I’m assuming that is an option).

      Look at how he ran the campaign, strategic, or at least necessary shifts of staff at various points. I think he cares what the public thinks of him, especially if he’s the narcissist everyone claims he is, and that public opinion and protest will be the best way to move him.

    4. KurtisMayfield

      The last President didn’t know what he was doing either. Remember he had no executive experience, and very little to show for his time as Senator.

    5. Bill Carson

      Let’s not forget that the last two administrations were defined by the president’s appointments to the new administration. George W. Bush’s biggest mistake was naming Dick Cheney as his running mate, and Barack Obama’s biggest mistake was naming Hillary Clinton to State. Consider how the legacies of Bush and Obama have been influenced by these appointments, and you will see how much is at stake for the Trump presidency. The decisions being made by Trump will have long-term consequences, and are some of the most important that he will make.

      1. Harrowing

        GWB’s mistake was putting Cheney in charge of the the search for his running mate. Cheney decided himself the best candidate for the job. ;-)

      2. jawbone

        Well, actually Obama also made a yuge mistake in naming Timothy Geitner to Treasury. And then going the Suck Up to Wall Street route. It laid the groundwork for working and middle class Democrats to realize the Obama type Dems would do nothing to help them. Indeed, the bankruptcy “rescue” plan actually drove people into bankruptcy.

        Almost like a plan the Big Banksters wanted???

        Oh, and whoever he appointed who told him to not let the Bush tax cuts sunset is also a monstrous mistake.

        But, people name those who are like themselves, and Obama was a True Blue Corporatist and he named other Corporatist to his cabinet and other positions in his administration.

        1. Steve C

          Don’t forget Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff. Obama’s appointments were pretty disastrous all around.

    6. Ptolemy Philopater

      While I do find his choice of advisers disappointing, one is reminded of the expression “:Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer:”. If, as I believe, he is a stealth New Dealer, he’s not going to let the cat out of the bag until he has the necessary backup, as in being able to mobilize his supporters to counter the inevitable opposition he will receive for his stated policies in the bought and paid for Congress. Meanwhile let the useful idiots think that they are in control. It is useful to recall how FDR managed his enemies. I believe FDR is one of Trump’s heroes. It is very possible that I am wrong, but I am sure not going to foreclose that possibility with rank demonization and drive him into the hands of the enemies of the people.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I keep reminding myself, you have to hire the best hackers to stop hacking.

        Of course, you also have to be a stronger alpha to keep the hackers in check.

    7. Waldenpond

      One of the crazies (boy?) pointed out, I think, accurately that the comparison of no experience is Obama. Obama didn’t turn the reins over to Biden. Biden didn’t push Obama out.

  8. Jim Haygood

    A near-universal consensus has formed that Donald Trump is the “inflation president.” — Mish

    As Mish points out, gold and broader-based commodity funds actually dropped in response to Trump’s victory. The reason is dollar strength. DXY chart:

    Haven’t we seen this movie before? Recall what happened when Ronald Reagan cut taxes while Tall Paul Volcker (6 ft 7 in) headed the Fed. The combination of loose fiscal policy and tight monetary policy drove the dollar so high that finance ministers met at the Plaza Hotel in 1985 to fashion a plan to bring it down.

    Meanwhile, annual CPI inflation receded from 10.3% in 1981 (Reagan’s first year in office) to a nadir of 1.9% in 1986, just after the dollar’s eye-popping runup crested in 1985.

    Should the Fed embark on a rate hike campaign in December — as seems likely — while the R party trifecta gov starts cutting taxes and pumping funds into military and infrastructural pork barreling, we get the same “loose fiscal, tight monetary” configuration of the early 1980s.

    A strong currency actually amplifies the effect of traditional tight money policy (rate hikes). Taken too far, tight money will tip the economy into recession, despite increased fiscal stimulus. Commodity prices almost invariably fall during recessions.

    1. johnnygl

      Disagree that tight money and loose fiscal policy will cause recession. It will hurt bonds (of all types) and some parts of finance, along with housing/autos, while helping other parts of finance. If the stimulus is big enough, it’ll improve the economy while squeezing bubbles. Commodities won’t drive inflation, there’s still a lot of overcapacity around the world.

      1. Jim Haygood

        We agree that rate-sensitive housing and autos will be hurt.

        Housing starts began sliding in 2006. Auto sales followed in mid 2007. Recession began in Dec 2007.

        If these leading sectors crumble, recession risk will rise — particularly with the Fed on a rate hike campaign, which could simultaneously pop some asset bubbles.

        1. johnnygl

          Fair point, but most recessions/recoveries are led by interest rate sensitive sectors like housing/autos. That’s the old way that business cycles worked, post WWII. Things are a bit different these days since monetary policy has been worn out a tool for fine-tuning. A big fiscal stimulus can offset, but it’s gotta be big and with items that offer big multipliers.

        2. griffen

          At this pace they hit a 2.0% targeted Fed Funds rate by what, December 2022? I’m not anticipating a swiftly higher, even if predictable, rate increase in their targeted spot of the yield curve.

          But a steeper curve, as is happening now, that I can believe. The pixie dust of ZIRP really needs to be addressed.

          1. craazyboy

            Plus the Fed hasn’t let $3.5 trillion in QE bought T bonds on the balance sheet “roll off” as they mature either. They are still buying longish bonds to keep the balance sheet constant. So they are still doing “mini QE” to avoid market interest rate reality at the longer end of the yield curve.

  9. Cry Shop

    Keith Ellison Is the Leader the DNC Needs Nation

    Based on his Twitter page, I’d say The Nation wants more of Hillary style identity politics. Sanders apparently gave Ellison his endorsement, so hopefully it can’t be all bad.

    1. edmondo

      Ellison is being set up by Schumer.

      In 2018 the D’s have to defend 25 of the 33 seats up for grabs in the senate including Indiana, Montana, Missouri and Virginia. When the D’s lose seats – how the hell can they gain them in a midterm? – Schumer can say “Well, we tried doing it Bernie’s way. We better go back to Wall Street and kiss some ass!”

      1. Cry Shop

        Apparently Schumer is outsmarting Sanders too if your model for the future election holds true.

        I do know that under Obama the Democrats got slaughtered in mid-terms, so it’s not always the incumbent president party that does well. In earlier water coolers/links there are quotes from Schumer where he indicates selling out the lower classes to get Republican votes is the way to the future. Makes me wonder whether he is not all that smart, or if he is such a brilliant, scheming sleazebag that to get the Clintons and their foundation out of his way, he set Hillary and her team on their losing strategy, apparently over Bill the Cigar Fetish’s objections.

      2. Jen

        Maybe. Or maybe Chuck Schumer’s thoughts are evolving on what’s best for Chuck Schumer. He could have been majority leader if the Dems hadn’t picked dip-shits like Evan Bayh and Patrick Murphy.

        And maybe some of the current delegation is tired of playing to lose.

        BTW – 1200 comments on Bernie’s op ed and the Times closed the comment section.

        1. allan

          “He could have been majority leader if the Dems hadn’t picked …”

          The problem with this line of reasoning is that Schumer (through sock-puppet Jon Tester)
          is the one who picked these losers.

          The current Dems will never tire of losing.
          The GOP plays to win and the (leadership) Dems play to fund raise and list build.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              With, say, Warren in his cabinet, she is not going to run against him in 2020, and he takes away a sitting Democrat senator.

              1. John k

                She would only take treasury or maybe Doj?
                Heads would explode at banks… would certainly signal a new direction. And that the demon rumor didn’t come from trump.
                worth losing a dem senator.

    2. Carolinian

      Based on his Twitter page? Well that settles it then.

      Exit polls seem to suggest that in the recent vote identity politics was a big fail.

    3. Katharine

      Ellison is a decent man who has represented his district honestly for ten years, serves as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, and is widely respected. Basing a judgment on a Twitter page seems like going out of your way to be superficial. Why not at least look up his record?

      1. hunkerdown

        The very capital by which you suggest we should judge officials is the very capital they set aflame when they, predictably, do their face-heel turn. Anyone with the slightest sympathy for the Party machine will be incapable of suiting our interests.

        Why don’t you treat people as volatile, sentient energy sources instead of symbols which you can abstract away?

    4. Waldenpond

      It’s not bad. It’s status quo.

      Not at all unexpected. Ellison went along with Clinton’s pied piper strategy to elevate Trump. He was the first Sanders supporter to endorse Clinton. He was recently tweeting Russia, Russia, Russia. The photo of Ellison and Alex Soros. He’s endorsed by Schumer. Ellison is status quo.

      The Sanders endorsement doesn’t do much for me… after declaring he was ‘Going to the Convention!’ and then leaving his supporters adrift and floundering, or silence regarding voters being purged from the rolls and DB givng debate questions to Clinton, or that niggling memory in the back of the mind that Sanders supported the drone program. Then there’s the chair of the DNC tweeting from a conservative conference this weekend.

      Same old, same old.

    5. UserFriendly

      Based on his twitter feed… Yeah. Ellison is my Rep and I tweeted him:
      ” Disappointed you are pushing identity politics narrative.”
      in response to him implying that #BernieOrBust was white privilege.
      He blocked me.
      I still vote for him because his politics are right but that was just petty. He’d still make a better DNC chair then the rest.

  10. scott 2

    Those of you who eat organic, avoid GMOs, and take herbal supplements dodged a bullet this week. It wasn’t talked about much outside the OCA, but a Hillary FDA was going to come down on the organic industry, outlaw GMO labeling, and treat herbal supplements like medicines.

    1. cwaltz

      Actually it wouldn’t be horrible if herbal supplements were treated like medicine. As it stands right now you have no way of knowing how much of a particular supplement is being consumed since herbals aren’t being regulated(may have tiny amounts or large amounts per individual pill) and these supplements do interact with some medications.

      The GMO labeling part sucks though. People have a right to know if they are consuming something modified by science or in its natural form. They can then decide based on their own priorities whether or not to eat genetically engineered food.

      1. oh

        cwaltz, I appreciate most of your comments,but may I point out that nobody pushes anyone to take herbal supplements, unlike the worthless pharma drugs that are give “approval” by the FDA which overlooks drastic side effects and never follows up on a drug after approval until people start dying! Let’s not give pharma another leg up.

        1. cwaltz

          Yes, but just like medications you can get too much of a vitamin or herbal supplement and be harmed.

          Additionally if you take medications herbals can interact with those medications, which is why doctors always ask if you are taking supplements as well as medication.

          I definitely have my issues with the FDA and the abuse of fast tracking anything and everything when we already have drugs on the market but the herbal market should not get away by conning people into thinking they are taking St John’s Wort for depression when really the supplement contains NO St John’s Wort but instead soy powder.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I was at the co-op so I asked about their quality control. The response:

            First of all, they don’t buy cheap brands. The fraudulent ones your links describe are almost all Walmart house brands or the like. You might get what you pay for.

            Next: the stuff they buy is all certified by 3rd-party labs, not just in-house, including their own house brand, Of course, that’s only as good as the 3rd-party labs, but there is a good-faith effort to make sure. Later I’ll ask a manager what labs and how they choose them.

            Maybe it’s ironic, but this is all private-party, market-driven vetting. The supplement industry insisted on being on its own, so they worked out their own quality controls.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              One of the place I get supplements from similarly quality tests regularly and presents the results from an independent lab.

              And if you buy supplements regularly, there are brands regarded as reputable.

              The most problematic area is herbs, because the quality of the herb (where grown, how transported, how fresh, how processed) makes a big difference in potency. But again, many are standardized for the active ingredient you want to get out of the herb. And knowledgeable buyers figure out which companies are more stringent about sourcing and manufacturing their product.

              1. ambrit

                Oddly enough, the local dealer rep will often give the customer good information about the supplement. One man representing a manufacturer told Phyllis that he assumes that the customers he deals with might not know a lot, but that they are willing to learn.
                Our rule of thumb; avoid products that rely heavily on “feel good” anecdotes for endorsements.

      2. Waldenpond

        Sounds like the Greens plan…. they want holistics/alternatives covered by insurance.

        Dems and Greens can work together on this one. Greens want alternatives and regulation is the preferred route of progressives. Looks like this would naturally be shifted into the pharma sphere where it will be more accurately manufactured, tested and has an existing regulatory regime. Win-win for two parties.

      3. Oregoncharles

        There’s some history behind this. The herbal/supplement industry fought to stay out from under the FDA because the FDA belongs to Big Pharma and would have banned most of it. Congress’s solution was to tell the FDA to keep its hands off, but the result is that no one is making sure the labels are true and they’re not allowed to be informative – even when there’s actual research behind the claims.

        It’s nearly the worst of both worlds. There are a few supplements I take, which are really medicines, so I’d like to be assured of what’s in them. I have to depend on the store – a co-op, so I have some faith in it. But how do they know?

        There’s no reason to think a Trump regime will be better, but they may just leave things as they are. Better than banning most of it. Granted, that might cause an uprising.

        1. JCC

          I assume you are being sarcastic, right?

          Actually, I hope you are being sarcastic. If not, then I also assume you are shocked, no, flabbergasted, that the human race has survived all these thousands of years without a U.S. FDA.

          1. skippy

            Gastrointestinal illness was the big killer before Hinze pointed out that killing your customer base was a bad business plan, seems we have come full circle where better living by chemicals is resulting in the same man made problems….

            Disheveled Marsupial…. shareholder value demands it…. see nestle opinion on clean water being a public good or common pool resource… regardless of the capital formation proceeding our species arrival…

          2. cwaltz

            The human race did indeed survive for many years prior to an FDA, however the advent of medication wasn’t until the early 1900s and prior to that the average life span was much lower thanks to disease.

            They also used leeches and thought mental illness was possession in the good ol days of early medicine.

          3. uncle tungsten

            We have come a long way in the past century or so. Melamine in milk to boost its protein reading. Mercury in fish due to factory waste, lead in water due to untreated aggressive water in negligently unregulated plumbing. Dangerous residues in irrigation water from fracking. The questionable purity of many supplements, herbal teas etc due to unscrupulous manufacturers and suppliers. Radiation content of crops grown in the vicinity of nuclear facilities.

            In this time we are entitled to product certainty and the integrity of the production cycle whatever it is. There are many ways of achieving a reliable practice of purity assurance that is free from being colonized by big pharma. I am very discriminating as to the source and manufacturer of the products I consume because the herbal and supplements industry has its fair share of charlatans and thieves just as the pharmaceutical industry. Many people are less informed and less picky but they are entitled to product certainty.

    2. HBE

      When you say outlaw GMO labeling do you mean just remove any possibility of labeling something as GMO, or were they going to try and outlaw the certified non-GMO labeling as well?!

      1. sd

        Have you seen the new labels?

        “Produced with genetic engineering” – really makes you think twice about putting something in your mouth.

  11. Roger Smith

    Re: EU warns May over Trump Time

    So the overreaching body people were worried was negatively impacting their sovereignty, that they voted to leave, is warning them about what they can and cant do?

    I apologize if I am reaching the wrong conclusion here but the site would not let me read the whole article.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Me, either, but I agree with your interpretation.

      Furthermore, by issuing threats they revealed that they’re worried about it.

      Why would Britain need a trade agreement with the US? It’s practically a colony.

  12. Dikaios Logos

    Has anyone seen Clintonites offering mea culpas of any sort? It sounds like their doing their conventional damage control, i.e. pretending that things were unfair and a small change in strategy would have saved them. I’m pretty sure the country won’t move forward until folks on the inside start realizing their culpability, but the early returns point to that being a very long-time coming.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It’s too late for damage control to save the Clintons’ political careers. But can it save the teetering Clinton Foundation?

      Very doubtful. Without influence to peddle, this foundation has no edge or competency. It will have to revert to its original, modest purpose of funding Bill’s presidential library in Little Rock. Cash flow crisis dead ahead.

      Not that the Clintons won’t try. What can purple do for you? is one tagline under consideration, if UPS doesn’t object.

      1. Antifa

        The Clinton cabal grooming Chelsea for a Congressional seat (and eventually the White House) should never have been announced. After accepting $3 million of charity money (at least) for her wedding, she is an unconvicted felon.

        There are many persons in DC who would like to see this pursued, in order to bring the Clinton dynasty to an absolute end. The only reason the IRS wouldn’t pursue this, now that there are no Clintons to fear, is if Donald suggests they let the matter slide.

        Which has all kinds of blowback attached to it for him.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Agreed. I also think letting the cat out of the bag now was a huge mistake. Trump has gone into what amounts to “no comment” mode on whether he intends to go after Hillary. But it seems to me more likely that he will than won’t. If he’s not outfoxed by the corporate Republicans in the transition period, he’ll be at war with them. Going after Hillary or better yet, the Foundation, would be relished by Republicans across the board and would strengthen his hand. And around the margin, the fact that the Clintons have just said they aren’t leaving is yet another reason to pursue them.

        1. anti-social socialist

          Buyer’s remorse:
          I bitched about Clinton and all I got was this stupid privatization of medicare, roads, water…

    1. Roger Smith

      I am lost as to what the argument is in the first piece. Is the author trying to claim we are on the brink of total destruction unless the Democrats reform?

      Why is it that when the “left” loses that means everything is broken as going to hell in a hand basket? Nothing is stagnant, it’s like an ecological balance. Right now the Democrats completely failed, but sometime down the road it will shift again.

      1. flora

        Yes. In deep red Kansas last week the Dems won more seats in a single election than since the 1970’s. KS economics and the Brownback tax cuts (destroying the state) was the driving issue. KS still has a GOP controlled statehouse, but it’s swung back to the middle, the ultra-conservative wing having lost 14 members to GOP moderates in the primaries. The Dems won on pocketbook issues.

        In the US for the last 20 years *all* the productivity gains have gone to the top 10%; mostly to the top 1%. From about 1940 to 1980 productivity gains were shared more widely, with the bottom 90% of workers seeing 70% of the productivity gains reflected in their wage gains. Obama got elected on the promise to reform the FIRE sector and get the economy moving again. He didn’t do that, instead promising more awful trade deals and hinting at cutting SS. Jeb was going that route, too. Bernie promises to scrap bad trade deals and focus on the middle class. Bernie was railroaded (imo) by the Dem estab. The guy who won – the Donald – promised to scrap trade deals hurting US workers and protect SS. Purely economic issues. The elite talk about “ignorant voters”. Voters know what’s been happening to their incomes for the past 20 years.

      2. Waldenpond

        Newberry does some good writing but is presenting his preference for more share the wealth transfer payments (liberalism) and regulation (progressivism) with regards to banking and real estate with a constitutional crisis. He didn’t connect violations of law and the social contract back to constitutional violations instead it wandered into vague language. Basically, an essay on the need for a New New Deal and reliance on the D party to do it.

        We are at crisis.
        The Rs will not act to ameliorate the crisis therefore the Ds must.

        I don’t see it. The D chair resigned in disgrace. The current chair was leaking debate questions and the weekend after a historic loss is tweeting from a conservative conference. The first proposed chair is one backed by Schumer and tweeting Russia, Russia, Russia and the second is a lobbyist.

        1. jawbone

          Stirling Newberry’s writing can be challenging to read, esp’ly to those not familiar with his style.

          He needs a good editor — and back at one of his previous sites (name escapes me) he had one. Made a big difference. She had standing to ask what he meant when the meaning wasn’t clear. Like antecedents to new terms. That kind of thing.

          1. hunkerdown

            jawbone, Newberry had a pretty major stroke a few years back. He’s come a long way, but I haven’t seen all that many stroke cases that shift one’s politics leftward.

    1. apber

      When the line forms for the guillotine, Holder should be near the front. His Traitor-in-training started with the Mark Rich pardon and culminated with the gun running Fast and Furious

      1. Baby Gerald

        I can’t wait to watch– I dvr’d this last night. The past three months I’ve been tuning out Bill Maher and all the late night talk because the one-sided, tone-deaf anti-Trump message they were pushing. It started when Sam Bee started railing on Sanders supporters.

        Lately it’s been fun to check in again to watch all the hand-wringing and where-do-we-go-from-here discussions among the smug set. They are really at wits’ end. So far, sexism, bigotry and resentment is all they can seem to agree on. Anything that allows them to maintain that conceit of a psychological and moral higher pedestal over their opponents.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Lately it’s been fun to check in again to watch all the hand-wringing and where-do-we-go-from-here discussions among the smug set.

          Feel the same way. And joy-ann reid, msnbs, is on fire this morning with all her greatest hits. She played the Access Hollywood tape twice within the first five minutes, and dragged out the latest gloria allred demand for Trump to take back his charges that the accusers lied or face a libel suit.

          She’s now talking to Khrushchev’s granddaughter, a regular, who is claiming that those of us left on the planet after the nuclear holocaust will all be speaking Russian.

          So much for graciously accepting the results of the election for the “good of the country.”

          1. OIFVet

            Ah, how I miss the good old days of the early aughts, when liberuls used to denounce fear-mongering rather than sling it! I am a dinosaur and I ain’t even 40 yet: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The liberul electorate has become a bunch of scaredy cats, to the point where I now think that the repubs were right when they talked about the pussyfication of America.

            1. hunkerdown

              Foucault seems to have made a decent case that liberalism has always needed fear, in order to have something against which to act. Often this takes the fear of a lack of purity or excellence these days, or occasionally a convenient, manufactured enemy *ahem*. Perhaps FDR determined the people were fearing so much that they might act independently of the liberal state to its detriment.

        2. polecat

          Well …Whoopie Goldberg supposedly rescinded her earlier declaration to emigrate to Canada if The Giant Orange won ……

          … so to Miley, and celebritydom et al ….. Why u no do what u promised ??

          1. jrs

            these people have money enough to immigrate wherever they want, meanwhile most U.S. citizens facing an unaffordable healthcare system, little safety net, no labor protection, rentiers run wild, and yes a warmonger government don’t have nearly as many choices (basically 1st world countries are out, some 3rd world countries might take them). But these celebrities joke about chances many people would LOVE to even have (to move to Canada). Completely clueless.

            1. temporal

              Yeah, but moving means finding a new job and there only a limited number of Wallmart greeter positions available in New Zealand.

              If you can’t attend the right parties you will probably be replaced and there’s a lot of people waiting in line. Pretty certain there were plenty of Hollywood types that were just hoping for a few jumpers.

              Harry Dean Stanton once remarked that the main reason he never became an A-list was because he failed to attend a few of the right parties.

              These “promises” came from the clearly empty threat department.

          2. BecauseTradition

            Why u no do what u promised ??

            Is there any answer but lack of integrity? Except maybe Canada won’t take them?

            1. Crestwing

              They wouldn’t last, even if we did take them.

              One day of -40C in Winnipeg in January with a 40 km windchill would send them scurrying back to California.

              To be fair, few Canadians like Canadian winters either.

              1. BecauseTradition

                To be fair, few Canadians like Canadian winters either. Crestwing

                But could California have produced a, for example, Joni Mitchell even though she moved there?

    2. Lee

      The willful helplessness of the Dem establishment was best expressed IMHO by Thomas Friedman when he said that globalization and automation were leaving the traditional working class behind and that neither party had any answers for them. I am not sure if he was saying that there was no answer or that there were indeed answers that no major party was putting forward. I suspect the former, which might be summed up as “you backward fuckers are doomed and we don’t care.”

  13. Whine Country

    From the article: “If this is in turn the case, then it means that Americans need to be American first and a member of whatever minority or special interest group second, but for decades it has been the other way around.”

    Were I more articulate and possibly less angered by what I believe to be a key factor on why there are so many angry white voters (as opposed to the Democrat conventional wisdom that they are just a bunch of stupid, racist redneck low-lifes – aka deplorables, the post that I presented, which was removed in moderation, would have made put forth this point.

    1. jrs

      Maybe if the criminal justice system hadn’t taken the turn it had (into imprisoning massive amounts of blacks), if old LBJ’s war on poverty was continued and expanded (including massive investment in inner cities), this might have been the case. They still would have needed to have pursued policies that didn’t screw all workers as well. Who knows maybe even Trump would like to invest in inner cities, this doesn’t of course mean it will happen.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Trump has repeatedly promised to “fix the inner cities.”

        The term “inner cities” makes me wince, since it’s a pre-gentrification code word for “black ghettos,” coined at a time when suburbs were still sucking higher-income cohorts out of urban areas.

        “Inner cities” also invokes unpleasant memories of urban renewal, a Sixties program of top-down urban chemotherapy accomplished by punching freeways through formerly viable neighborhoods.

          1. craazyboy

            In LA city council meetings someone always piped up and asked, “What will we do with the poor people?”. Then everyone looked at each other, tabled the discussion, and drove home to the suburbs.

            I still don’t know the answer to the question.

            1. sd

              Push them east into the LA River is what they’ve been doing for the last 10 years. This is not an exaggeration.

    2. Ché Pasa

      Unfortunately, this kind of analysis — which is proliferating throughout the media — completely misses what actually happened in order to present yet another comforting narrative to the comfortable about what ought to have happened.

      Hillary’s lead in the popular vote continues to grow. One estimate I saw yesterday suggested it may top out at 1.5 million, far in advance of Gore’s lead in 2000, but since there are at least 5 million votes left to count in California, her lead could conceivably be double 1.5 million. That is not “nothing.”

      Despite all the efforts to cite EC Rules to irrelevate the popular vote margin — whatever it turns out to be — a lot more Americans voted against Trump than voted for him, and the efforts to prop up his legitimacy in office will not work (except for his partisans), any more than they worked for Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. Clinton and Bush2 were both considered by many Americans to be illegitimately elected, and that will be the case with Trump as well. Nothing he says or does will change that.

      While I’m not in favor of Hillary taking office (Please), I’m not in favor of Trump in the White House, either. As Sterling says, we have a real constitutional crisis on our hands, and it won’t be resolved by anything Trump says or does.

      Focusing on the flaws in Hillary’s campaign — and there were many — isn’t particularly productive at this point. She won the popular vote and she won by a growing margin. In other words, the voters were not as put off by those (many) flaws in her campaign as they were by Trump’s appalling threats, statements, incitements to violence and overall behavior in business and life.

      It’s simply false to say she was “unelectable.”

      Mish says: spending more money does not buy you more votes — except for the fact that she got more votes, way more…

      Political rot and endemic corruption are deeply embedded in the American system of rule. That’s not going to change with Trump in the White House; he’ll merely change — some — of who gets to feed at the trough, with he himself taking the first bites.

      There is a common misconception that he will open up access to the trough to the masses, and I am all but sure that won’t happen as that is not his way of business or life. He will select only his loyalists for whatever benefits he may choose to dispense.

      That’s why so many people have taken to the streets. They are not his loyalists and they refuse to be. Of course Mish and most other analysts simply ignore them — because who cares, right? They’re the losers and nobody has any interest in them. And of course, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

      This was a major error of the Bush2 Regime. They chose to ignore the protests and their critics, because they had the Power and who cared what anybody else thought. Millions and millions took to the streets. They didn’t care. Why should they? Media collaborated with them to ignore the protests and the critics, because who cared what they thought. And then a mourning woman sat in a ditch in Crawford, Texas, and the Bush2 Regime’s authority began to crumble. The wars were seen for what they were, exercises in futile power against phantoms; death machines creating nothing but havoc and pain and profits for the bloodthirsty few. The economy trembled and ultimately collapsed.
      Millions and millions of Americans were forced into poverty where most of them still are and will remain for the rest of their shortened lives.

      Trump is not likely to correct any of that, any more than Obama did.

      The American people are in for another round of exploitation and suffering in a Trump regime, and all the happy talk about the new day dawning under Trump or piling on more Hillary blame is not going to change that.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        The popular vote count is completely irrelevant. The rules of the game are such that each candidate concentrated on the battleground states. Trump won the game. If it was strictly a popular vote contest, Trump of course would have campaigned vigorously on the East and West Coasts, and he still would have won the election.

        Of course HRC spent a lot of her time and limited energy doing fundraisers in CA and NY, and Trump didn’t.

        It’s amazing how long this crybaby stuff is going on, but it will end some day.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Heard it put this way this morning:

          “It’s like saying the Cubs didn’t win the World Series because the Indians got more hits.”

          1. Jim Haygood

            … and then adding for good measure, “The efforts to prop up the Cubs’ legitimacy will not work (except for Chicago partisans).”

            We have a baseball crisis on our hands, Katniss. :-0

          2. Ché Pasa

            No it isn’t. It’s not a game. It’s real life and full contact politics. Efforts to make Trump legitimate in office will fail.

        2. Ché Pasa

          The popular vote is the basis of delegitimizing his regime. Look at political history for the past 25 years if you want proof. Ignore it at your peril.

          1. DJPS

            Che, Would you agree that if it were actually a popular vote contest, instead of the current EC system, it would have been a totally different final tally because more Trump voters would have turned out in densely populated areas where he had no chance of winning EC votes?
            I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

            1. Ché Pasa

              No. Trump alienated a huge number of voters simply by being the asshole he is. It’s clear enough that a significant number of voters were unhappy with Clinton (and I don’t blame them), but enough of them voted for Clinton in the end that I doubt Trump could have won a popular vote contest. There simply weren’t that many Trump partisans in urban areas or on the coasts.

              As Clinton’s popular vote margin grows and the protests in the streets grow and spread, Trump can only enter office as the most delegitimized president in our history, and that cannot be a good thing for the people or the nation.

              1. ambrit

                This would be precisely the “gridlock” that Lambert pines for. The problem with this is that Trumps win de-legitimized both political parties. Power is lying in the street for some astute politico to pick up and run with.

                1. aab

                  I’m thinking if Trump is too de-legitimized too quickly, both establishments win. Ideally, Trump makes some inroads doing the stuff he promised his voters that he’d do that the Republican establishment doesn’t want. If he’s absorbed by the R-borg immediately, the Clintonites will assume all they have to do is run another neoliberal without a private email server but with more melanin, and they’ll keep running their con as the Republicans run the country.

                  Watching all the trial balloons for Cory Booker, Kamila Harris, that Podesta Group lobbyist for DNC Chair, etc. would be hilarious if it wasn’t horrifying. It’s the Iron Law of Oligarchy in action. They are NOT giving up.

                  Oh, and I’m not going to bother to post separately to Che Pasa, but can we please try to keep in mind that Clinton must have flipped/faked AT LEAST five percent of the vote in Democratic strongholds? We have plenty of data from the primaries to extrapolate from. So no, she didn’t win the popular vote. The Rs suppressed, the Ds fabricated. You know if she hadn’t committed election theft, she’d have called for a recount.

            2. jrs

              It’s impossible to know, because in solid states both red and blue voters got more careless, left the top of the ballot blank (we don’t even know how many), voted 3rd party (although those totals are pretty pathetic especially for Jill Stein, Johnson did better), wrote in someone, because they went in knowing their votes didn’t count. States like California might have given even more votes to Clinton if people didn’t already know it didn’t matter.

            3. Ché Pasa

              DJPS, I did reply, but it’s stuck in moderation for the time being. The essence is that no, I don’t think that Trump could have won a popular vote contest because he made it such a point to alienate as many blue state and urban voters as he could. They weren’t his natural constituency because they recognized the con when they saw it.

              But as our elections are dicey no matter what, you never know.

              1. DJPS

                Thanks for your reply Che. You’re probably right. I think we would have a different total in the end though. Who knows. Apples to oranges?

          2. Carolinian

            Given that the whole system is rigged and to some degree illegitimate it’s a bit silly to suggest that Hillary was robbed. On what level playing field would she ever have been the candidate in the first place? Her entire strategy was to make sure that “there is no alternative” and therefore this lousy politician would become president. Trump on the other hand was up against the entire establishment.

            The bottom line is that he won within this rigged system anyway. If you want to make a case that the entire system including the candidates it produced are illegitimate that’s one thing but don’t pretend that Hillary is some kind of Joan of Arc. Trump will be the president. Futile protests over legitimacy will just antagonize the public and waste the time the left should be using to rebuild.

            1. Ché Pasa

              Dear me. I think you completely misunderstand my post. I am not defending Hillary and am certainly not comparing her to Joan of Arc. Get over it.

              I am pointing out that because of the popular vote which Mish and most of the media, including many on this site, choose to ignore, Trump goes into office as perhaps the most delegitimized president in our history.

              People are in the streets — and will continue to be — because of that. They are not causing it or precipitating it. It’s already a fact.

              1. Carolinian

                The people who are in the streets are the people who were never going to support or consider him legitimate in the first place. The popular vote thing is just an excuse. As Yves has pointed out their numbers are not that great but given that some have suggested that this is one of Soros’ color revolution ploys who knows what is to come.

                Trump will be “legitimate” because he won by legal means–end of story. Your are confusing that with what is called “a popular mandate.” For example Bill Clinton won in 1992 but had less than 50 percent of the vote and the Republicans used this against him. However I don’t recall any of them marching in the streets or calling the election a fraud.

                And forgive me if I show virtually no respect for people who can only be gotten out to demonstrate because of their hurt feelings (see link to Lena Dunham’s reaction in one of my comments upthread). Indeed for some of us this whole election was about rationality and stopping the crazy person. Hillary is the very embodiment of “shoot and cry.”

                1. Ché Pasa

                  I think you are really missing the point of electoral legitimacy. Legality is only secured when the people validate the outcome through their votes, and they haven’t done that in this case. Nor did they do it in Clinton’s case (whose plurality was too small to grant him legitimacy), and absolutely not in Bush2’s case, who was given the presidency by a lawless Supreme Court.

                  Examples of validation include Obama’s two elections — or Reagan’s. Neither of them faced electoral illegitimacy because they both received a majority of the popular vote as well as the EC majority. Trump is nowhere near a popular vote majority, and his EC majority is finally being questioned, though there’s as yet no way to be sure that the totals in the states that mattered are accurate.

                  Both Reagan and Obama have faced a different kind of illegitimacy, but not over their elections. Reagan was afflicted with Alzheimers and he and his staff engaged in appalling misconduct in office, while Obama is a Negro, over and above anything else, and to many (mostly white) Americans that is illegitimate by definition.

                  It’s not correct to say that the numbers in the street “are not that great.” They are many tens of thousands as of last night, and the numbers grow every day, their persistent presence is a destabilizing factor in every city where protests are taking place. The protests are spreading, too.

                  Of course, Trump and the media could ignore them, as happened during the Bush2 regime. But that will backfire, as it did during Bush2.

                  Citing Soros is a move of desperation. ActualIy, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some background or funding role, but declaring them to be “color revolution”-type protests ignores the fact that — for better or worse — Color Revolutions have been extraordinarily successful. If that’s really what’s happening (and I don’t think it is, at least not yet) Trump is toast. I can’t name one target of a Color Revolution that has survived the um… process. Maybe you know of one.

                  The people in the streets and their many allies who are not in the streets — yet — are not acting out of “hurt feelings.” That’s simply a slur. They are acting out of real fear (actually terror), pain and anger due to Trump’s actual threats toward minorities and those who he even suspects of disagreeing with him, his numerous incitements to violence, his belligerence toward anyone who he thinks is in his way, his unmasked misogyny and racism, and the obvious con he’s been running throughout his campaign. Add in the fact that he is being forced on majority of Americans who didn’t vote for him, and it’s easy to understand what motivates the people in the streets.

                  Ultimately, Trump and Obama will be faced with the choice of crushing the revolt or finding some kind of accommodation with those who refuse to accept what they sincerely believe is an illegitimate president.

                  I don’t envy them. It’s damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

                  Finally, my point is not a defense of Hillary. Period.

                  1. hunkerdown

                    Electoral legitimacy includes the system by which elections are conducted and counted. First-past-the-post has lost the election, 53-47 (Carl Beijer).

                    Electoral legitimacy also depends on the legitimacy of the organization running it. Now that we have not only clear evidence of bipartisan structural capture, but cryptographically signed evidence that the Democratic primary was a stage-managed sham, and plenty of unapologetic entitled complaining on courtiers’ part that the rabble don’t deserve the vote unless they use it to ratify bourgeois liberalism, pretty much nothing the Democratic Party or their class do, nothing they say, no deal they make can be trusted. And therefore, everyone whose address appears in the Podesta emails ought to be blackballed from any left party unless hostages can be taken to ensure compliance.

                    1. Ché Pasa

                      I don’t call the Democratic Party “left” at all. It’s as thoroughgoing a rightist and aristocratic party as their supposed rivals on the other side. They may have different focuses and interests and different constituencies, which they exploit but rarely serve, but on most “important” policies (to their sponsors and owners) they are united.

                      So we have two rightist aristocratic parties, one radical, one “moderate”, and the electoral choice is always between one or the other rightist aristocratic candidate. In this case, many more of the voters chose Hillary. Ultimately, more of the People chose neither.

                  2. witters

                    That damn Putin managed to to do it (defeat a CR). Now we know the source of his evil! (And Che, such long posts?)

                  3. JCC

                    I agree that your post is not a defense of Hillary, but I think you’re wrong on your thesis here.

                    Carolinian stated that you’re confusing legitimacy with popular mandate, and I think that may be correct, based on what you’ve said anyway.

                    For example, you say “Of course, Trump and the media could ignore them, as happened during the Bush2 regime. But that will backfire, as it did during Bush2.”

                    Where was the backfire? Every Mainstream newspaper, radio and TV station backed him 100% when he led us to war in Iraq and knowingly lied to the American Public in his favor. This even included the supposedly liberal Democrat supporting NYTimes… and that’s just one example.

                    Trump legally won, and legally is all that matters. Sure, there will be pushback, and the “popular mandate” issue will be used against him, but this is not a crises of legitimacy, this is U.S. politics. It’s been used before and it will probably be used again.

                    And my thesis should it, unlikely, become a crises of legitimacy, would be that if HRC had won, the same thing would have happened (probably a greater chance considering some of the statements he made on rigged elections) and that it would reflect a much larger issue, the illegitimacy of our legal system and Govt as a whole and a completely divided nation. I don’t see us at the stage of Civil War yet.

                    1. Ché Pasa

                      It’s a crisis of electoral legitimacy when millions of Americans refuse to accept his elevation (rather than election) to the Presidency.

                      If he were accepted — even though he lost the popular vote — that would mitigate some of the damage, but so far there is little sign those who don’t want him in office are willing to accept him despite all the media and professional pols saying they must.

                      We’ll see what happens, but it’s pretty ugly now, and it’s getting uglier.

                      The mandate issue is something else again.

                  4. craazyboy

                    So, yer say’n illegal immigrants protesting (because their vote didn’t matter – just guessing) are saying the president is illegitimate?


                  5. TheCatSaid

                    Validation is not an “official” report of certain percentages. Rather it is auditing by the public of the actual votes cast to ensure that the results are true. (It’s only recently become known that Ballot Images, taken automatically by almost all US vote counting computers, could provide images off all the original ballots.)

                    There are exceptions, of course. Even though the machines’ manual say the Ballot Image facility is there to enable audits and the public’s ability to inspect the votes cast, some states have apparently disabled this security facility without there being any legitimate reason to do so.

            2. jrs

              that level playing field where Sanders got equal media time to Trump and Trump didn’t dominate R primary media coverage, where AP didn’t call the primary before California and several other states voted, where 100k Brooklyn voters weren’t disenfranchised, where you didn’t have to register as Dem nearly a year ahead of time in New York to vote in the Dem primary, where all caucuses were replaced by primaries (if it’s democracy we want), where there was enough polls that people who have to get to work the next day didn’t wait in line past midnight to vote in primaries, where Donna Brazille wasn’t stealing debate questions and giving them to Hillary ahead of time (unless Trump somehow had the same advantage), where 3rd parties were allowed in the debates and the debates were run by an impartial group, where certain states didn’t always vote first in the primaries (I could deal with them not all being the same day if we alternated which states went first and it wasn’t always the south). And maybe where we had ranked choice voting so people had a chance to vote for something other than the lesser of two evils even when they prefer one evil to the other.

                1. pricklyone

                  And by whose hand are these wonderful innovations unfurled?
                  The Democratic Party.
                  That kinda makes them illegitimate, no?

              1. hunkerdown

                Ranked choice voting still perpetuates the presumption that the Position Must be Filled, and that only relative comparisons among the options presented are legitimate.

                I suggest considering the reasons behind the Party’s particular wiring and settings before adjusting, with the presumption that they’re that way for a purpose, and that purpose may be unconscionable, rather than frantically twiddling knobs on a pre-wired machine hoping for some correlation to a favorable result at the output. If the Party does not serve the people’s interests as the people see it, and cannot serve the people’s interests, why prostrate ourselves to some manufactured god-idol?

                1. TheCatSaid

                  Peter J. Emerson, an expert in various election methods who has many good articles online, says that Ranked Preference voting is one of the best methods–but only if the options presented come from the voters themselves or a genuinely representative sample.

            3. Ptolemy Philopater

              You can certainly blame Clinton for the whole Trump phenomenon, the Pied Piper Candidate that the press set up as her rival with billions of dollars of free publicity. Pied Piper indeed! The ironies of this election are legion. Clinton thought that Trump was an easy win. It turns out that Clinton was the only candidate that Trump could beat. The entire electoral process is a fraud beginning to end. Apparently it is going to take another 4, 8 , 10 years of wealth extraction before the people wake up to the fact that there is no democracy in this nation and take matters into their own hands.

          3. Waldenpond

            That’s a legitimate argument only if you support eliminating the EC. The arguments for eliminating the EC are just weak, they are wrong. Politicians focus their campaigns on targeting the electoral votes in certain states. It forces them to spread their attention and appeal to differing interests. If you remove that, it will concentrate the focus even narrower to just large cities in large states. CA, NY, TX, FL would rule.

            Tyranny of the majority…. just a reminder, the majority of this country likely do not support your positions. Ignore that at your peril.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I am not sure if the UN is legitimate, with China getting one vote, the same as Monaco.

              Of course, the legitimacy of the UN is undermined by veto power of a few selected nations, but the same shakiness applies to all other international organizations that operate on one-nation, one vote.

            2. Paul Boisvert

              Let’s check: if these rationalizations supporting the EC are valid, why is a similar geographical criteria not used in any other democratic election, either outside or inside the US? Why don’t we elect governors by whoever wins the most counties, or mayors by whoever wins the most city council districts, or my state legislator by whoever wins the most “neigborhoods” in my district? Answer: because democracy by definition means one person one vote, not “one tiny state gets the same two senatorial electors as one huge state.”

              Saying “CA, NY, TX, FL would rule” is false. States don’t rule, people (should) rule democratically. The people in those states might rule, but only if there were enough of them to win democratically–precisely how people are, by definition, supposed to rule in a democracy.

              If you don’t like democracy, say so explicitly, explain why you prefer that a minority of voters should have their opinions count more than the majority–and advocate that we change all other elections to geographical criteria, instead of democratic ones.

              And if you want to speculate counterfactually that Trump would have won under an actual democracy, without the EC, wonderful–put your money where your mouth is and advocate eliminating it, so that next time we don’t have to speculate without evidence, and instead can be sure that we have a democratically valid outcome.

              Btw, I didn’t voter for hrc, but I still support democracy, rather than the tyranny of the minority…and the Cubs analogy is so off-base that I hesitate to even dignify it with the obvious point that baseball games are meaningless and by definition not decided democratically–politics is life-and-death, and is (precisely for that reason) supposed to be democratic.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The UN’s HQ is located inside the US, but is really international (outside).

                The UN is one state, one vote.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The senate is another place to look.

                Vermont gets 2 votes, the same as California’s.

                Does 51 votes in the senate always equate 51% of the population?

                In the House, it’s likely to be so.

                1. Paul Boisvert

                  Yes, the UN and Senate are undemocratic as well. But the UN is not a formal government–powerful states (like the US) feel free to ignore its decisions.

                  And the Senate should be abolished, too, if you want democracy. But the only real democratic solution is proportional representation, a la European parliamentary processes, though even they aren’t sufficiently representative. Gerrymandering happens there, too, though not nearly as badly as here. And of course the real obstacle to democracy is money, over and above the procedural issues.

                  But the point is that if you had real democracy, from bottom to top, the interests of the current “angry white Trump voters”, as well as the angry people of color who have historically (and still do today) had much more to be angry about, and all the other 80%, would have already been addressed, and would not have to be addressed by voting for a capitalist plutocrat whose pathological lying they have desperately decided to give some credence to… The EC is thus but a small cog in this chain of impedance, but it is one of the most obviously egregious ones, and you can’t claim you want democracy unless at a minimum you oppose it.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I have written about getting rid of the Senate here.

                    But even with proportional representation, the problem remains.

                    To illustrate with a rather simple example.

                    Rep A (for 100 voters) votes Yes (in the district, 51 are for yest, 49 are for no).

                    Rep B (for 100 voters) votes No (in the district, 100 are for no).

                    Nominally, it seems like a tie (1-1) at the House of Representative level (a rather simple example, let’s remember).

                    In fact, there are 149 No-voters, and only 51 Yes-voters.

                    Do we get rid of congressmen too? Voters vote directly on every single issue?

              3. Waldenpond

                [Let’s check: if these rationalizations supporting the EC are valid, why is a similar geographical criteria not used in any other democratic election, either outside or inside the US?]

                Your first paragraph was confusing, EC, geography, one person one vote, but I’ll start with:

                Germany (using what is similar to the House which provides geographic representation), India (using what is similar to the House) Pakistan (using provincial assemblies for geographic representation) use an electoral college. Maybe others, I don’t feel like taking the time to look.

                As far as one person one vote, there are monarchys, and quite a few parliamentary elections of the head of state so those aren’t one person one vote.

                [Why don’t we elect governors by whoever wins the most counties, or mayors by whoever wins the most city council districts, or my state legislator by whoever wins the most “neigborhoods” in my district?]

                The campaign of a governor is an example of what would happen on a national level. Candidates for governor spend the most time campaigning in large cities and spend less time in rural areas (time and money). Reverse that view: if a state had electors, a candidate would be forced to appeal to a larger area of the state and would develop knowledge of a broader platform.

                [If you don’t like democracy (haha!! what?), say so explicitly (aren’t you demanding), explain why you prefer that a minority of voters should have their opinions count more than the majority–and advocate that we change all other elections to geographical criteria, instead of democratic ones.]

                We have regions of governing to balance power. We have levels of governing to balance power. Just as we have branches of government to balance power, the election of the President because of the power that specific office wields, was provided with a degree of protection for smaller states.

                Under the primacy of one person one vote, the population shall vote to govern itself on all issues. There is no need for governors, representatives nor legislators. Just someone to type, print and count the ballots.

                Let me say this explicitly, I reject your absurd notion in this case that democracy is limited to the simplistic definition one-person one-vote and assert it is representation of views not individuals.

                Also…(tongue in cheek)

                If you don’t like representative democracy, say so explicitly. If one person one vote and rule by majority is superior, put your money where your mouth is and advocate that we abolish all elected office and determination shall be only by initiative.

                I wasn’t speculation about Trump on anything. Do you have me confused with someone else. Are you responding to multiple people with this comment? I hope so otherwise I would also hesitate to dignify a response to a Cubs analogy as I did not make one.

          4. hunkerdown

            Delegitimizing his regime? So the rules don’t matter when the outcomes don’t favor Democratic oligarchs? You nihilists’ only argument is “It’s not fair”?

            Liberals are simply incapable of honoring an agreement.

          5. Yves Smith Post author

            Bill Clinton got an even lower % of the popular vote in 1992. Yet he served two terms.

            If Trump creates jobs, he will be popular. You ignore that at your peril.

            1. Ché Pasa


              That’s the basic problem, isn’t it? We don’t know, we can’t know, what he will do or who or for he will do it.

              The people in the streets, now numbering hundreds of thousands, are there because they are 1) angry, 2) fearful — because of his campaign emphasis, rhetoric and behavior — that what he will do will bring enormous harm to them and to the earth.

              If he does X, maybe they’ll settle down, but there is zero sign he will.

      2. Cry Shop

        Meh, even 1.5 million is less than 1% of eligible voters. All of this is part of an active distraction campaign that you either bought hook, line and sinker; or have a axe to grid that you’re not showing us.

        Electoral, Popular, etc; It’s mostly a distraction from the real issues at hand.

        If any candidate was capable of speaking to the working and middle class, then the 1% of the population that opposed, and the 0.01% who compose the oligarchy could do nothing. What is really needed is to eliminate either the two party system, or democratize their methods of selecting candidates. Think Hillary played an unfair hand to Sanders? That was nothing compared to the shenanigans that get played at local level, state level, and Congress level to filter out populist candidates and replace them with machine / oligarchy pets.

        1. Ché Pasa

          Ignore the facts of who is winning the popular vote at your own peril. Trump like Bush and Clinton1 will go into office delegitimized in the eyes of many millions of Americans who don’t buy the crock of hooey about his electoral “victory.”

          Right there is the essence of a destabilized regime.

          You can’t escape it, no matter all the efforts to pretend it isn’t real.

          1. argon

            Bush 43 entered office with obvious corruption of the voting process in Florida, and it made no difference on his approval ratings when he entered office or on his claims for a mandate from the public. We will see something similar with Trump because though most Americans did not vote for him, I think there is always some optimism for the unknown possibilities of a new person as well as hope that whoever the President is that they succeed.

            1. Ché Pasa

              Bush faced huge protests right out of the gate, even as he was being installed in an office he did not win legitimately. He and those who were responsible for his installation were able to get away with it — for a while — because of the shock and because he was generally considered to be likable enough– if a bit dim. Not so, Trump.

              Nothing like Dubya’s installation had ever happened before. But the resentment and anger never abated. They grew — except for immediately after 9/11 — when the issue of his illegitimacy in office was replaced with a widely shared sense of unity and a need by many for revenge. He granted that.

              But at home and abroad millions and millions took to the streets in opposition to his invasion and destruction of Iraq, and the only way he was able to get a majority of Americans to apparently agree to the invasion was through endless lies and propaganda.

              That convinced the ruling clique that they would get away with just about anything if they told enough Big Lies and filled the media with their propaganda.

              And then Cindy Sheehan sat in a ditch in Crawford and she shamed him, day in and day out, and it all started to crumble. When the economy collapsed, it was over. He remains one of the most reviled presidents in our history — though the Obamas seem to love him dearly…

              1. JCC

                But at home and abroad millions and millions took to the streets in opposition to his invasion and destruction of Iraq

                I remember those days well… millions overseas maybe, but in Upstate NY I don’t believe I saw more than 5 or 10 in any one of the four fairly sizeable towns I commuted through every day.

                When the economy collapsed, it was over

                It sure was, his 8 years were up.

                No offense, Che, but I think you are seeing what you would like to see, not what’s really happening, at least not yet.

                Other than the Occupy movement, there hasn’t been a decent sized national protest in the country since the Viet Nam days when protests were common on every college campus in the country and in every small central park in every town in the country and included not just kids, but middle-aged adults, too.

                So far we’re seeing a few thousand, mostly younger people, in 10 to 20 major cities, and another 100 to 500 in some smaller cities. I’ll grant you, that is pretty serious. If they last for months, like Occupy, or longer and in every small town in the U.S., and with middle-aged adults too, then I’ll buy your argument, but right now you are over-reaching.

                1. Ché Pasa

                  I think we all see what we want to see; human nature and all that.

                  There were millions in the streets in the United States prior to the Iraq invasion. There had never been such huge demonstrations in the US and there haven’t been such large and widespread ones since. I took part in the demonstrations in San Francisco in October 2002 and February 2003. There were estimated 60,000 in one, 100,000 in the other. That was one city, two times. There were many other demonstrations besides the ones in October and February, and they took place in many other cities. One of the demonstrations in New York was said to have had over 1,000,000 participants.

                  The trick with these demonstrations is that the media mostly ignored them or discounted their attendance and importance. Ultimately, of course, they didn’t stop the insanity.

                  The current round of protests have just begun. They may not be any more effective in the end than the anti-Iraq War protests were. But the current ones aren’t quite as polite either.

                  We’ll see.

                  1. integer

                    But the current ones aren’t quite as polite either.

                    Assuming a 0 to 10 spectrum of politeness, with 0 being impolite and 10 being polite, how would you rank the politeness of each of these protests?

                    1. Ché Pasa

                      I don’t know. If you were part of the anti-Iraq War protests, you know how extremely organized and “polite” they were. People marched — or in New York, stood still — in the streets obeying police control efforts with little complaint or question, carrying their signs and chanting their chants and listening to rally speakers covering all kinds of topics besides the war, topics that caused a lot of us to say “Whut?” and then they all went home. Quietly.

                      Not so much with the current protests, during which there have been hundreds of arrests, police have fired on the crowds, and at least one unknown sniper has used live ammunition to wound a protester.

                      Not polite at all.

              2. Waldenpond

                Bush popularity rebounded. He was unpopular when he left but in 2015 his approval rating was at 52 compared to Obama’s 45 at the time.

                To what degree that is time or Obama normalizing his acts for democrats I don’t know.

          2. Beniamino

            So you’re saying Trump will be in the same position of delegitimacy as two-thirds of the Presidents over the course of the prior 24 years? Seems like the regime has been destabilized for quite some time now, it’s practically the status quo.

          3. FluffytheObeseCat

            Che, W Bush was likewise non-legitimate from the get go, and it made no difference in his tenure. The significant organizational changes he oversaw – in the surveillance state, the military and taxation – were untouched or actually strengthened under Obama.

            We need an actual, organized left-of-center political party (or similar) to effect change. And by “left-of-center” I don’t mean over-credentialed, preening, religiously vegan language-police (the sort who stand in for the left now). The closest thing to it is Sanders and his sparse support network – people like Tulsi Gabbard.

            1. jawbone

              Well, it did take 9/11 to give him greater “legitimacy,” alas. BushBoy was doing what he could with presidential power, but having a yuge catastrophe is what gave him the Patriot Act and his wars.

            2. Ché Pasa

              I agree. Defending Trump of giving him the benefit of the doubt, which is basically what we’re being told to do, won’t accomplish that, any more than it did with Bush2.

            3. TheCatSaid

              We also have to audit the votes cast in all elections.

              No more election tampering by anyone or any party.

              If we don’t address this it won’t matter how effectively anyone organizes.

          4. marym

            The president is elected by winning a majority of the popular vote in enough states to win a majority of electoral votes. Regardless of whether one is dissatisfied with either the system or the 2016 results, there’s no Constitutional crisis. There was nothing illegitimate.

            If there’s a legitimacy crisis it should be about policies. Then it’s not the million vote difference that matters. It’s the 10’s of millions of Clinton voters who thought they were voting against the bigotry unleashed in this election cycle, along with non-bigot Trump voters. Once there are actual policies to consider, it’s the 10’s of millions on both sides who thought they were voting for a better chance at jobs, healthcare, and trade policies that don’t harm them. If there’s going to be a “left” to stand with and protect the vulnerable, and to fight for good policies, it has to be all of us. Whining about the “legitimacy” of the election is as counter-productive as birtherism.

            1. DJG

              marym: Thanks. That said, the demonstrations here in Chicago, which are being led by grass-roots groups like Black Lives Matter, No DAPL, and Gay Liberation Network, are effective. They “change the narrative.” They won’t change the constitutional results, as you say, much as the results in the Illinois General Assembly races don’t change Rauner’s problems (luckily, legally).

              1. marym

                Thanks so much for this. Been sort of looking around the web for signs of whether this was more as you describe rather than just pouting about election results. I should have known Chicago would come through!

                More local news:

                “About 200 people gathered Saturday outside an Oak Lawn church to offer interfaith prayers and speak out against Islamophobia, then went door-to-door along 95th Street asking businesses to take a stand against hate. hate.”

            2. TheCatSaid

              No, the president and many others are elected by stealing elections through a combination of methods.

              Wake up and start demanding to audit the Ballot Images for every election.

              1. marym

                No one here is unwoke about the problems in the electoral process. Within the current parameters of that process Trump legally won the election. It’s not going to be reversed.

                There are good reasons for people to put energy into working for changes to the process; or standing with and protecting vulnerable communities; or making demands related to Trump’s appointments and policies. Putting energy into “not accepting” that Trump will be the president is counter-productive.

          5. Whine Country

            Mr. Pasa – I would say, What part of the Constitution do you not understand? But maybe a better question is what parts you do understand? If you want to make a point, maybe it should be that when laws are taken to mean whatever each individual says they mean (with the Clinton Mob at the top of the list) they mean nothing. The idea “We are a nation of laws and not men”, has never been abandoned to the best of my knowledge. If you are saying we should be on notice that many people who unquestionably support the Clintons do not recognize that fact and do not respect our laws, then you are insulting our intelligence.

            1. Ché Pasa

              I understand that the Constitution is part of the problem as it was designed to be.

              Look, this is not about the Electoral College, and it’s not about Hillary. It is about Trump and the fact that because he is slated to enter the Presidency with a (much) smaller popular vote than the other major candidate, he is destined to be considered and treated as illegitimate in office by millions.

              1. cwaltz

                He’s facing the same crap as Obama did when others claimed he never should have been allowed to be President because of questions about his birth certificate. In other words, he’s facing whiny people that would have opposed him for any reason real or otherwise because of their own personal bias. Popular vote, birtch certificate, potato, potatoe…..

          6. Cry Shop

            Didn’t read past the first line, did ya — that makes you part of the problem. Or if you did, then you’re the problem in an even worse way..

      3. flora

        I dunno. Trump and Bernie both came out against the TPP and TTIP and cutting SS, against the estab postions in both parties. Bernie was shut out. Trump was elected. Looks like another pocketbook election to me. What will he do? No idea. I thought Obama was going to clean up Wall St. and rein in the FIRE sector. Fooled me. Hope Trump does shut down TPP and TTIP.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          Trump was always against NAFTA, GATT, and TPP. He supported Ross Perot. TPP, I believe, is dead in the water and I don’t think it will be revived under Trump. It’s speculation to what degree he can re-negotiate other trade deals, but he has been unwavering in his declarations that the US has been getting screwed in trade deals. Of course, like all presidents, he can if he choses forget everything he’s ever said and start anew. No law against that, but IMHO Trump wants to accomplish some things.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Unlike Clinton, Gore also won the EC too by winning the popular vote in FL. But who’s counting….?

      5. fosforos

        “Mish says: spending more money does not buy you more votes — except for the fact that she got more votes, way more…” Even ignoring the enormous amounts spent by the national corporate media promoting her and denigrating (to put it mildly) her opponent, Clinton spent much more on her campaign. And it was targeted spending–not in the “Solid Blue” states that gave her huge majorities but in the “Swing” states where everyone knew the election would be decided. And it was precisely in those states, where she overwhelmingly outspent him, that Trump got his majorities.

      6. Buttinsky

        …a lot more Americans voted against Trump than voted for him,…

        Your kind of argument is driving me crazy these days. It’s not only arithmetically challenged, it is so wrongheaded in its very assumptions, it makes me want to scream.

        First, a lot more Americans also voted against Clinton than voted for her. To say she “won the popular vote” is a rhetorical flourish and nothing else. Both Clinton and Trump each have about 47% of the vote, meaning the majority of those who voted voted against each of the two leading candidates. And it’s silly not to think of that as truly “against” in the strongest sense possible given the highly polarized electorate. The people who didn’t want Clinton really didn’t want her, and the people who didn’t want Trump really didn’t want him. Moreover, judging by the energy visibly expended in convincing reluctant progressives to vote for Clinton, one could argue that a lot more people voted reluctantly for Clinton than voted reluctantly for Trump (what might be called the “voter enthusiasm” index).

        Much worse for your argument, however, is that we don’t have quite legitimate elections to begin with: There are about 219 million eligible voters in the U.S. and only about 56% voted in this election, just over half. That means both Clinton and Trump each got only about 27% of the support of the populace as expressed by a vote of those who felt they had any reason to vote at all. When and if a majority of Americans ever actually start voting for something, then and only then can one sensibly, or convincingly, speak of who “won the popular vote.”

        If the people who are protesting in the streets are protesting a loss of legitimacy in our government, I say more power to them. But where have they been all these years? And would they be there if that lack of legitimacy had nevertheless served Clinton’s “victory”?

      7. hunkerdown

        Since when have Democrats been concerned about popular opinion? The total popular vote is irrelevant, no matter how few selling points your used oligarch has left.

        According to the Podesta emails, the DNC was in no way forced by the Republicans to run a sham primary. Kindly explain this or stop yammering about the kayfabe on the field.

      8. knowbuddhau

        “She won the popular vote.” “Focusing on the flaws in Hillary’s campaign….”

        Your argument would have a lot more merit, as in any, if, before winning the PV, she had been the legit nominee. She and her DNC co-conspirators stole the primaries from Sanders and his supporters.

        That’s kind of a big flaw to overlook, but you did it anyway. Well played.

        1. katiebird

          Yes. I am wondering how many of the Dems purged from the voter lists during the primaries would have voted for her this fall if that hadn’t happened.

          How did all those provisional ballot games in the spring affect the vote in the fall?

  14. Marco

    Regarding Jill Stein Voters and NOT delivering a Trump presidency. I am perplexed why the Left is not proud of this as a possible outcome. Voting 3rd party In American absolutely requires the threat of electoral sabotage. What is so wrong with the Left cultivating the “Nader” narrative? What is wrong with 3rd party leaders unequivocally stating “yes this IS is a game of chicken and we don’t care if a Trump is elected”?

    1. pricklyone

      Exactly! This IS where your voting power lies, the threat to the “establishment”. If they know you are able, and WILLING to vote against both duopoly parties, they may just have to listen to you!
      At least in theory.

    2. Waldenpond

      It isn’t true. Greens are already accused of living in lala land by the myth making of outsiders. The way to counteract that is not to indulge in myth making from the inside.

      1. meeps

        Waldenpond @ 1:37 pm

        “It isn’t true. Greens are already accused of living in lala land by the myth making of outsiders. The way to counteract that is not to indulge in myth making from the inside.”

        Agreed. And the truth is that I did care about my role in electing either Trump or Hillary. So much so that I withheld my support from both and voted Green (President and House). I consider that to be tactically legitimate. No threat necessary.

    3. John k

      Stein did. She said hill greater evil quite clearly, might have encouraged some to vote trump instead of green.

  15. Bunk McNulty

    “Yes, the DNC needs new blood. But assuming someone is found who can articulate a crisp clear message of what Democrats stand for—and who’s telegenic, personable, and entertaining to boot—how would that change the stranglehold that Republicans have on state governments, state legislatures, and the US Congress? The clear majority likes the status quo, having no problem with gerrymandered districts, voter suppression, or bought-and-paid-for legislators who enjoy an incumbency rate of 90%+. And the infotainment complex is likely to help keep it that way by making sure that its customers are never overtaxed by complicated thoughts. There will still be people, adults, who read, think, and have constructive ideas about matters of public import, which they’ll express in complete sentences. But they’ll be increasingly outnumbered and marginalized in a Twittered world.”

    What Becomes Of The Broken-Hearted Dems And Clickbait Complicit Media Who Got Us Here? (emptywheel)

      1. John k

        Governorships have nothing to do with gerrymandering, they’re statewide. Definitely helps for dems to win the governor to avoid congressional seats being gerrymanded.
        But they don’t pay much attention to this or voter suppression…
        Greens often said to be dysfunctional, is the implication that dems are better?

    1. DJPS

      I think Tulsi comes out of this as the only high profile Dem who had a spine when it mattered. She will have credibility where the numerous HRC sycophants will not.

    2. jrs

      “But assuming someone is found who can articulate a crisp clear message of what Democrats stand for—and who’s telegenic, personable, and entertaining to boot—”

      that they had and threw him under the bus (he’s as telegenic as any of the senior set we have running)

  16. EndOfTheWorld

    The Democratic Party will die when some of its strongholds proceed from near-bankruptcy to actual factual bankruptcy (a la Stockton and Detroit.)

  17. CRS

    Unfortunately, in regards to Medicare, Trump is at least using Ryan’s ‘Medicare modernization’ language. From WaPo:

    In contrast, the transition website says the Trump administration will “modernize Medicare so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation — and beyond.”

    By adding Medicare modernization to the list, Trump is now employing the vocabulary of Republicans, notably House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Wilensky said. Ryan has long advocated converting Medicare from an entitlement program and giving its beneficiaries a certain amount of money to help buy private health plans.

    For his part, Trump is borrowing “language that Ryan . . . has used about modernizing Medicare, but not with any specificity,” Wilensky said. She also noted that the president-elect’s time frame was slightly skewed, since the first baby boomers began to retire five years ago.

    Trump Health Care Agenda Evolves Toward Core Republican Thinking

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Somebody needs to clue him in that “modernizing” = “cutting” and if that happens, old people in Florida will have less money to spend on golfing.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Not a problem in The Villages:

        The Villages® Community is the only place in the world where you can play complimentary golf for the rest of your life, on all of our executive courses.

        Free golf for life! Doesn’t every American deserve this basic entitlement?

        1. Ivy

          And being Florida, the seniors exercise program also includes avoiding alligators around the water hazards and runoff retention ponds. Think of the potential health care and social security savings through selective reptilian application, as that gives new meaning to death panels ;p

      2. johnnygl

        Trump needs dump paul ryan, not talk like him.

        If he tries to mess with medicare, he’ll meet his waterloo very soon, and the clinton wing of the dems will bounce back before they’ve been cleaned out, even a little bit!

      3. meeps

        If someone can convince him that “modernizing” = “improving and expanding it to all” we’ll be getting somewhere!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Keep in mind, this is wapo, which has not magically become more insightful, truthful or in-the-know than it was four days ago. Same goes for the nyt, ft, salon, the nation and the rest of them.

      The Trump “coalition” contains a healthy dose of previous obama voters who did not cast their votes along party lines as the dems expected them to. IMHO, despite the fact that Trump ran as the “republican,” he is more independent than repub and will seek congressional support for his policies accordingly.

      He is in the same position that Bernie would have been in had he been elected–an independent using the system to change it.

      That the msm, pundit intelligentsia and other organs of political manipulation cannot accept the fact that Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall and “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again” does not make it so.

      wapo has a lot to answer for. They’re clearly not ready to own it.

      1. Carolinian

        We’ll know what he’s going to do when he does it. Perhaps he should tell us and close down the speculation. Lots of people claim to speak for Trump.

        1. SoCal Rhino

          Information ops continue, agreed. And Trump will float trial balloons to gauge reactions.

          I’d think Dems would start voter registration drives with an eye on 2018 while the gears grind away to determine the coalition that will driv the party.

          1. Gareth

            Outside of actual campaigns I don’t think Dems do voter registration drives as a normal party operation. Rather they rely on public service announcements and try to pass laws like “Motor Voter” in which people are registered automatically when getting a driver’s license. Setting up an actual party structure that methodically registers voters seems to be outside their abilities. Maybe the political consultants think it’s a waste of time or counter productive as they might register the wrong people.

            1. pricklyone

              I just want to speak to “motor voter”. At least here in IL it isn’t automatic, as such.
              They give you the option, but you do not have to register. Just for clarification.
              I have heard stories, not in any way backed by hard evidence, that workers at the SoS facilities(our version of DMV) have failed to ask that question of certain minority voters, as required.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Perhaps in combination with issuing people universal biometric ID-cum-cash-replacement cards.

              “You use this to dine at any 5-star restaurant, vote and board a train.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Once you have tried to spread fear, it’s hard to kick the habit.

        For our august newspapers and media organizations, the least resistant path, to me, is to issue some apology letters.

    3. cwaltz

      Making America Great Again apparently also means hiring a lobbyist that wants to privatize it.

      But the man heading the Trump transition team’s Social Security effort? Michael Korbey, a former lobbyist who has spent much of his career advocating for cutting and privatizing the program.–politics.html?ref=gs

      Who here wants to take bets on how long before Trump “evolves” his opinion on Social Security?

      He is a Republican so he’ll want to find savings to pay for his tax cuts. The federal workforce is already down to it’s lowest levels since the 60s. He’ll have to go after social programs or federal contractors.

      1. tgs

        I saw a parts of a couple Trump rallies in the week before the election and at each one he emphasized that he would not touch SS.

        If he evolves on this, a fair amount of his base may evolve on him.

        1. pricklyone

          Well, first time it was “we’ll try our best” not to touch SS and Medicare. Of course, after you have done all the revenue slashing, and infrastructure spending, and military build-ups, the ‘money just isn’t there’ and ‘gotta cut that giant entitlement ‘.
          Still maintain he is no different than the other R or D neolibs, just more confused.
          And ruder/noisier.
          Hope to be proven wrong, believe it!

        2. Octopii

          So what if they evolve on him? He’s in — F ’em.

          Cabinet picks to date are disheartening…. especially Ebell.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            This. Trump doesn’t need the base any more. He’ll shamelessly go back on every one of his populist promises the nanosecond he hits any opposition from his own side.

            1. ambrit

              His own side??? He does need to fill positions quickly. The evolution of those picks will show if he is a quick learner or not. If he makes missteps, the ‘roar of the crowd’ will herd him back into the populist line quickly.
              Do not underestimate Trump. So far, he has exceeded all expectations.

  18. Horatio Parker

    Trump is a deficit hawk with a typical monetarist understanding. Which means any job creation plans will likely be of the indirect supply side variety i.e. ineffective. He’s not going to reverse the trade deficit, so where is the spending going to come from?

    OTOH, his immediate partial walk back of his Obamacare repeal suggests he’s malleable.

    He understands his appeal was populist, but does he understand that his party is even worse in that respect than the Dems?

    Progressive forces need to get noisier. Trump will listen, if only to calibrate his own greatness.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Uh, no, the Dems went crazy early on when Trump said he’d spend and the economy would go up, and if it didn’t, Treasuries would get cheap and he’d buy them back at a discount. They acted as if he was proposing defaulting.

      Who knows what he believes, but he certainly has learned to talk so as not to get the deficit police riled up. He doesn’t have to fight that fight until he has his budget worked out.

      As I keep saying, Trump may wind up getting captured by bog standard Republicans, but he has said so many things to so many audiences who knows what he really stands for. But he does have things he wants to spend a lot of money on. Whether he allows himself to be hemmed in remains to be seen. Also remember he fired his campaign team twice, which was considered to be horrible and a sign of certain failure, yet his third team did well with and by him. Trump regularly engages in rapid changes in position based on new information, like saying he’d look hard at preserving some parts of Obamacare after talking to Obama. He’s way more fluid in his views that anyone prominent in politics has been.

      1. Horatio Parker

        He hasn’t raved about the National Debt and the trade deficit? He hasn’t proposed raising interest rates in the face of inflation? He hasn’t said govt vastly overspends, that entire Depts are a waste and a fraud? It all sounds like monetarist CW to me.

        Granted, he’s so inconsistent who knows for sure, but considering who he has to work with, it’s difficult to conceive of any jobs spending that will make a measurable impact.

        My point, again, is to use his narcissism against him. If the face of appeal is populist and not identity driven, he will be vulnerable to it.

        It’s trying to make the best of the situation.

      2. Steve H.

        Did the best liar win? I don’t know, but the best A/B tester did. We knew what Clintons would do, but Trump specifically said he isn’t going to say what he’ll do. A lot of wise successful people have said they wished they’d fired more people, there’s support in the literature, and Trump tried and failed to get his catchphrase trademarked.

        First set of priors is status quo. So we will see.

        1. Horatio Parker

          I don’t care about the moral test.

          But I do care that climate deniers will be in charge of the EPA.

          That CFP will be toast.

          Net nuetrality gone.

          Rents, fees, usury of all kinds lionized, not just tolerated. Privatization. Deregulation.

          And I’m supposed to project Trump’s occasional progressive-friendly utterances onto this?

          Lurching to the right to create a progressive-friendly environment is a rationalization. I can imagine the Communists saying the same thing in 1933.

          1. Steve H.

            Project nothing. We will not know what he is going to do until he has the actual power to do it. There was a moment during the election I was talking to an ethicist about what I was to do with the time I did have, and he said “You can’t know the future even if you get what you want.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Yves is right – Trump will change personnel (and personnel is policy).

              I hope he hires the best hackers to preventing hacking.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Sanders is not likely to run against him in 2020, if he’s in Trump’s cabinet.

                  That also means that many good domestic programs are likely to be put in place.

      3. polecat

        Good on the ‘new rube’ ….. I truly hope he does right .. for the most people ! If not, then it’s the beginning of the end for the Republic !!

      4. pricklyone

        Yves, if T is indeed fluid in his views, then the people who have his ear, and can influence those views, are the ones to watch, no?
        So far they are a scary bunch, to me.
        Of course, he could change them like bathwater, too.
        Here’s hoping.

      1. polecat

        Why should it be a given that only Union Members benefit from ‘good outcomes’ …. and not the greater public, because I have seen absolutely NO good outcomes for me and mine, as a result of all this Big Union(or any union for that matter) Horsetrading …….??

        It really has me steamed !

        1. sd

          Union leadership are members of the 1%. By the time they get to leadership, they haven’t been working as rank and file labor for years.

    1. Uahsenaa

      This is the way it’s always been with labor in the US: locals fighting the fight and national organizations doing everything and anything they can to maintain access, including fighting the locals tooth and nail on things that actually matter to them.

      What the AFT did in the primaries was downright shameful, especially when it became clear the national organization supported Clinton over the loud objections of the membership.

      1. Katharine

        Not quite always. When stirking Wobblies were asked who were their leaders, they reportedly answered, “We don’t have any leaders. We’re all leaders.” And when the auto workers in the great Flint strike won, it was because they took the same attitude.

  19. Mark John

    Harry Reid Calls Trump “a Sexual Predator Who Lost the Popular Vote”

    How charming! Harry Reid thinks he can win a game of “Mean Girls” against Donald Trump.

    1. Kate Sims

      To equate Clinton with Trump as a “sexual predator” is to miss the chemistry that Bill has and Donald doesn’t (they both have the aphrodisiac of power/celebrity). It is also to deny, intentionally, the agency that young women like Monica Lewinsky have to take the initiative.

      My one source of amusement during the homestretch of the election: I asked several female friends whether they would rather be sexually harassed by Bill Clinton or Donald Trump.

      Everyone laughed and got my point. No one said “Trump.”

      BTW, I have never been personally in proximity with either man. Nor do I politically support either of the Clintons.

      1. SpringTexan

        You are exactly right, Kate. Well said.

        It was shameful that Clinton tried to make Lewinsky out someone deluded and didn’t just say we were somewhat involved get over it. But consensual relationships are different from sexual harassment. And Clinton definitely has some mojo.

        1. JamesG

          In order not to imperil your delusions, do not ever read the facts about Juanita Broaddrick’s account of Bill Clinton’s alleged rape when he was the Attorney General of Arkansas.

          Not “date rape” not a misunderstood flirtation not a non-violent encounter but a forceful (he bit her lip) rape by a virtual stranger.

          Christopher Hitchens believed her and so do I.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Did Bill earn that mojo or does he have it via luck?

          And has he used it to benefit others or for self-gratification?

      2. Eclair

        Umm, your presentation to your female friends of a binary choice resembles the binary choice presented to voters; chose one, TINA.

        Well, there is an option: to not be sexually harassed by any male when the power relationship is unequal in favor of the male. Actually, to not be sexually harassed by a male. Period.

        As long as women think it is ok to be made the object of a powerful male’s lust, as long as that male is deemed ‘sexy,’ women will be victims.

        Just play a thought game, and imagine how we would react to the revelation that a powerful woman sexually harassed an 18 or 20 year old subordinate. Hillary Clinton doing it (a leave it to your imaginations what ‘it’ might be) with a cute college freshman volunteer on her campaign. Or, if we want to name a genuinely ‘hot and sexy’ female politician (I typed in ‘hottest us female politicians’ and people are actually spending time compiling lists!), Tulsi Gabbard.

        Are such unequal relationships ever truly ‘consensual?’

        1. Paid Minion

          As Jim Rome said about female teachers having sex with 15 year old male students:

          ” Don’t know about you, but if I was a 15 year old having sex with my female teacher, I’d have thought I’d won the Lottery”

          Guys are just different, I guess. Of course, much of this depends on how “hot” the teacher was. To the average 15 year old, “hot” is defined as “any woman under 45 who’s willing to have sex with me”.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I would have thought so, too, but….not always. There was a local case where the boy was horrified and reported her. Sad; people said she was a good, dedicated teacher.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Maybe the special prosecutor will find out what was behind those tender late-night messages from Hilary to Huma and vice versa and we can find out what was “consensual” about that unequal relationship.
          Goose/gander etc

        3. Oregoncharles

          I don’t think we hear about the ones that are. Powerful people usually marry people who are less powerful.

          The difficulty in your post (and not just yours) is the term “harassment.” As long as it hangs there undefined, you’re unclear and so are relations between the sexes.

          The problem is that there’s a very hazy line between “harassment” and normal courtship behavior in our culture. If you make it depend on power inequality, you rule out a lot of romances and leave out a lot of bad behavior. Talk about “unwanted advances” makes it retroactive, which fills our lives with land mines and certainly isn’t just. How do you know what’s wanted if you don’t ask?

          I think there are decent legal definitions of non-sexual harassment. Can those be extended usefully? Asking somebody out doesn’t qualify, even when power is unequal, as long as the power isn’t used. “Power is sexy,” remember? And that goes both ways. Maybe we should ask Madonna or other powerful women about that. Grabbing someone without the proper preliminaries does qualify – but those preliminaries are variable and personal, so you’re still in a minefield.

          Is there a clear set of rules? I haven’t seen one. Laying them down ad hoc makes for chaos. Most of it is pretty obvious – we all know not to be rude or threatening,let alone use force, even if some of us choose to violate those basic standards. But then there are the subtleties. Believe it or not, there are men so intimidated by the minefields of dating that they won’t enter at all. I happen to know one, and he’s pretty miserable about it.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bill probably inherited that magnetism somewhere in his DNA double helices.

        So, if there is ever wealth equality, the world will still be filled with other inequalities.

        Some people will still dominate the rest of us, either through involuntary or voluntary submission.

      4. aab

        I read NC on my phone in the morning, and made it policy not to comment from that platform, in part because I was afraid of Brad DeLong and his ilk. Often, I read something and would forget to come back later on my laptop to reply. I felt so strongly about this I made sure to come here as soon as I could just to say:

        I find Bill Clinton sexually repulsive. Always did. Did back in ’92 when I basically bought the Kool-Aid that he was promiscuous but not predatory. And now? I have read the testimony of some of his victims, thank you. I respect that Monica Lewinsky may have consented, to the degree that a young woman has much of a choice if the ruler of the world wants her. Only very clueless people (male and female) would think consent under those circumstances is really possible. Claire McCaskill, bless her poisonous heart, said she wouldn’t allow her own daughter to be in the same room with him. So we know she’s at least a decent parent. I knew Eleanor Mondale superficially in high school, and I will just say, I strongly doubt that was a healthy relationship, either. Predators gotta predate. He attacked a woman in the White House when she came begging for a job. He enjoys that sort of thing.

        But it’s not just that. Whenever he waves his fingers in people’s faces, I genitally recoil. He’s disgusting. I would never voluntarily sleep with either of them, but if I was forced to choose at gunpoint, I’d choose Trump, because I’d figure at least I’d get a nice gift out of it. Does anyone here believe Bill Clinton is a giving and thoughtful sexual partner? Anyone?

        And to dial it back to your actual question, I have been sexually harassed, by more than one man in the course of my life. One of them was actually quite attractive. Guess what? That didn’t make it better. The kinds of people who think rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are somehow “better” when the person doing it is goodlooking are the kinds of people who forgive the Clintons their many forms of exploitation and abuse, I guess.

        I was astounded that women championed Hillary as a feminist, even AFTER she did not divorce Bill and conspired with him to sell government access via the Foundation. She was facilitator and accomplice to his serial sexual predation of other women (and probably girls) for decades. She rode that monster to power, and while riding him, helped him starve and kill other women and their children here and abroad. Then did it herself on behalf of the Foundation that enriched them both. There is literally no version of feminism that can include that kind of behavior, and all those elite “feminists” who supported her — Steinem being the most shameful — have revealed themselves to be neither feminists nor decent human beings.

        TL;DR: Sexual harassment isn’t funny. The relative level of the harasser’s attractiveness is irrelevant. And I would side eye any woman (or man) in this day and age telling me Bill Clinton is doable. Really? Like, you’d expect to have fun?

      5. Yves Smith Post author

        Juanita Brodderick says Clinton raped her and has contemporaneous witnesses.

        Bill Clinton flew on the Lolita Express 32 times, including a trip that included a weekend at a spot where Esptein refuels his underage sex slaves.

        Your are totally making it up to claim that Clinton was only having consensual sex. And as Lambert has repeatedly pointed out, having sex with an underling and one as young as Lewinsky can hardly be considered to be consensual. The power disparity was too large.

        And you must not read the tabloids. Plenty of models date rich men, including ones who are much older and more decrepit than Trump, starting with Anna Nicole Smith. And look at the cringe-making age disparity between Wendy Deng and Rupert Murdoch at the time they were married. Melania looks almost age appropriate by comparison.

        1. Cry Shop

          Just as disturbing is how Jeb Bush’s Florida let Epstein’s case get kicked into Federal Courts, and then Epstein got only a couple of years in a white collar country club estate prison from where he could still run his empire(and he was let out early for good behavior – no kiddies to tempt him I guess). Hidden video cameras were found all over his Island Resort for pedophiles as well as the Lolita express, Nothing came out about who was captured on those videos.

          Is it hard to speculate that Epstein cut a deal by twisting a lot of arms. Hillary even made “free” speeches at Jeb Bush’s education conference where promotion of charter schools and privatized curriculum development (neo-con K-12 Corporation) were the soup-du-jour. With Hillary nothing’s free, so this must have been payback for a favor, but what favor?

    2. kimsarah

      Fortunately, hapless Harry Reid has been irrelevant for a long time.
      And the past year has exposed a whole lot of neoliberalcon Clintonites who are now irrelevant as well.

  20. Wade Riddick

    You can’t have open borders and generous social insurance programs, as the British and the Germans are discovering. National health insurance may be what’s behind Trump’s deportations… but I doubt it. It’s more likely that in neutralizing the issue via deportations, he will have neutered (eventually) the right’s most potent arguments against universal benefits for a future administration.

    1. Gareth

      We don’t have open borders any more and Obama has already been deporting people like crazy. Do you really think Trump plans on instituting nation health care once he gets rid of all the Mexicans? I think people are mistaken in assuming that Trump will be the first Presidential candidate in history to make good on campaign promises.

    1. Ivy

      Rahm buys off communities with the connected real estate reverends, shifting funds from one part of the community to another.

    1. allan

      Repeal of Obamacare could bust NY’s budget [D&C]

      President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could have steep fiscal implications for New York, which has 3.3 million people enrolled in its health exchange.

      Since New York’s health exchange launched under so-called Obamacare in 2013, Medicaid recipients rapidly increased as millions of low-income New Yorkers signed up for health care.

      The federal government subsidized much of the cost, and last year New York launched a new program, the Essential Plan — an off-shoot of Medicaid that in part provides coverage to immigrants otherwise ineligible — that has seen its enrollment soar.

      The state Budget Division estimated that the federal subsidies for the Essential Plan alone this year would exceed $1 billion, which could be wiped out under Trump’s proposals. …

      New York’s exchange has 2.3 million enrollees on Medicaid, 565,000 on the Essential Plan and 227,000 on Child Health Plus — a plan for children. …

      A feature, not a bug, for the GOP. And just a few days ago Andrew Cuomo was saying that
      having New Yawker DJT in the White House would be a `bonus’ for New York.

  21. HBE

    My question is, If trump remains true to his rhetoric on hammering China over trade practices, how do they react.

    I don’t see them taking that challenge laying down but what can they realistically do about it?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Rabid american consumerism–to the point that americans will mortgage their houses to buy stupid things–is probably our greatest “natural resource.” And we just give it away. At least we could have made some money off it.

      The Chinese probably figured that the party couldn’t go on forever, consider themselves lucky that it lasted as long as it has, and that they have benefited to the extent that they have. After all, how could they have hoped to build a manufacturing empire to surpass america’s unless we just voluntarily folded up shop and handed it over to them?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        China wants to move away from her reliance on exporting.

        This should dovetail with that plan. Besides, how can they really stand up to the US if their defense funding depends on earning dollars?

        Wouldn’t it be nice, they dream, if their money is the international reserve currency? Then, America can serve the Middle Kingdom by making things and exporting them?

        The mountain will come to China. China does not go to the mountain, in this utopia future of theirs.

        1. John k

          Last thing they want is reserve currency, which means running massive trade deficits because foreign savers want to .save your currency. Other side of this coin is that few want to save yuan… would you? Or Russian?
          We’re stuck with it, nobody else with a large economy wants it.

  22. MtnLife

    Thousands of Vermonters write-in votes for Sanders

    According to unofficial results compiled by the secretary of state, Sanders received over 18,000 write-in votes for president. That’s almost 6 percent of the total and more than the Libertarian and Green Party candidates combined.

    Mine among them. Pretty impressive for not being pushed by the candidate.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Here, the electoral college is important, as far as the 6 percent is concerned (6% of, I assume, Vermont total).

      18,000 out of (60,000,000+ 60,000,000) would be much, much, much smaller.

  23. timbers

    At least some good things are happening. These are the good things that seem to be happening due to Trump winning instead of Clinton. As it happens, they are very big issues close to the top the list for many – the death (for now) of TPP and de-escalation of war and tension w/Russia – a co-worker from Belarus (“Russia’s little brother”) says people back home and in Russia are happy and relieved Trump won instead of Clinton.

    Obama Administration Give Up on Pacific Trade Deal(WSJ)

    A sweeping Pacific trade pact meant to bind the U.S.and Asia effectively died Friday, as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress told the White House they won’t advance it in the election’s aftermath, and Obama administration officials acknowledged it has no way forward now.

    And this:

    Nusra On The Run – Trump Induces First Major Policy Change On Syria(MoonofAlabama)

    The first significant step of the new administration comes while Trump is not even in offices. Obama, selfishly concerned with his historic legacy, suddenly makes a 180 degree turn and starts to implement Trump polices.

    The Obama administration, through the CIA led by Saudi asset John Brennan, fed weapons, training and billions of dollars to “moderate rebels”. These then turned around (vid) and either gave the CIA gifts to al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al Nusra) or joined it themselves.

    That changed the day the president-elect Trump set foot into the White House. While Obama met Trump in the oval office, new policies, prepared beforehand, were launched. The policies were held back until after the election and would likely not have been revealed or implemented if Clinton had won.

    The U.S. declared that from now on it will fight against al-Qaeda in Syria:

    President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to find and kill the leaders of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria that the administration had largely ignored until now and that has been at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government, U.S. officials said.

    And this:

    Russia will continue to implement ‘humanitarian pauses’ in Aleppo but won’t let terrorists take advantage(RT)

    The Russian military will continue staging ‘humanitarian pauses’ in the Syrian city of Aleppo, but their length won’t be increased. Otherwise terrorists would use them to restore their own battle capabilities, Russia’s defense ministry said.

    According to the ministry, it received a letter from Senior Adviser to UN Special Envoy for Syria, Jan Egeland, earlier this week, in which he requested that the length of future Russian “humanitarian pauses” be increased.

    Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, acknowledged that “humanitarian pauses” are, “certainly, necessary.”

  24. Synoia

    Not this again:

    For instance, I’m told the Trump transition team on policy is apparently planning on recommending that the US exit Nafta and the WTO on the first day of the Trump presidency. Pray tell, have they looked into what this means for US customs, and for US exporters dealing with foreign customs?

    Step 1: Define the Procedures on Paper
    Step 2: Throw People at the problem
    Step 3: Automate (Computerize) the simple repetitive stuff
    Step 4: lay off people, More programing
    Step 5: Re[eat step 4 for 10 years.

    It is NOT like grexit, where the Greek banks have to be kept running in real time, connected to the world wide web of rent extraction, without slip up.

    And a solution for Greece is to go and pick u[ the Czeck (or Check) banking software wholesale.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Should that be Czech?

      The Czechs have banking software that would solve the problem? that could be big, because it’s a bigger problem than just Greece. We should know about this.

      Further thought: Complex lenses require an enormous amount of calculation. The first complex ones were computed by (literally) a gymnasium full of artillerymen (Austrian, IIRC). People are capable of standing in for computers, but it does take a lot of them. Maybe a solution to our jobs problem?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      You are missing what Trump’s team is saying. They intend to exit these trade pacts immediately. That means the new regime is in place immediately. We’ve written at length about how the fact that invoking Article 50 in the UK, which effectively will have the UK out of the EU no matter what in 2 years (there is a provision by which the time could be extended, but it requires unanimous approval, and the UK is so not liked by the EU that everyone agrees that is not gonna happen) and that isn’t remotely enough time to get new trade deals in place or deal with the needed customs upgrade. Under existing single market rules, customs has to process 50 million transactions a year, and that would increase to 350 million. I have no idea of the trade volume with the Mexico and Canada, but the problem is exactly analogous.

      1. aab

        But other aspects of it are not. The US is the power partner in NAFTA, isn’t it? Once Trump triggers NAFTA exit there’s six months until it takes effect. But couldn’t he trigger the exit, and declare at the same time a twelve or eighteen month transition period to deal with customs? The problem with Brexit isn’t Article 50 per se, it’s that the EU is in the position to say no to literally everything Britain wants to negotiate. But that’s not true here, is it? Mexico and Canada aren’t in the position to say no to the United States, are they? If I’m correct, and it’s a transition and technology timeline problem, that ought to be manageable. I’m not saying Trump WILL definitely manage it well. But it doesn’t seem perfectly analogous to Brexit. Britain wants to eat pie without vegetables, and it’s not in charge.

        I realize it’s important to acknowledge and education on the structural complications involved, but if the US can’t disentangle itself from NAFTA, it means neoliberalism can’t be undone without violent revolution, and that simply doesn’t seem logical to me. The United States is a world power. It has the largest military in the world and I believe is still the largest market. We’re not a tiny island. There has got to be a way to undo trade agreements that have impoverished the people of the nation. Here we’re basically in the EU’s position, aren’t we?

  25. craazyman

    I smelled the turd today oh boy
    Laid by a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the air was rather bad
    Well I just had to laugh
    He couldnt’ do the math

    He didn’t notice that the fights had changed
    The crowds of people didn’t care
    They’d seen has face before
    Going round and round and round
    in the revolving door

    I read the news today oh boy
    The librul army had just lost the war
    Their little labels didn’t play
    I couldn’t stand to look
    At the liberties they took

    Woke up got out of bed
    Punched a redneck in the head
    Went downstairs got riled up
    At all the things my mind made up

    I smelled the shlt today oh boy
    Ten thousand petty slights across the land
    And since their minds were rather small
    I guess they had to count them all
    Now they know it won’t amount to shlt in an election brawl
    I’d love to turn them off

    1. Jim Haygood

      Hilly Clintoon checked into her room
      Only to find Gideon’s Bible.
      Hilly had come equipped with a gun
      To shoot off the legs of her rival

      Hilly burst in and grinning a grin
      She said, “Donny boy, this is a showdown”
      But Donny was hot, he drew first and shot
      And Hilly collapsed in the corner

      Now Hilly Clintoon, she fell back in her room
      Only to find Gideon’s Bible
      Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
      To help with good Hilly’s revival

    2. craazyman

      oh man I just typed out a lot of yada — that was sort of a genius level of yada — and it got lost.

      I left out 1 line in the fake song. If you’re gonna copy songs and change the words you have to copy the whole thing

      He blew his fart out way to far
      He didn’t notice that the fights had changed.

      what a waste of time this is. But so what! it’s good to have time to waste. When it’s all gone, you’ll regret not having wasted more of it.

      1. voxhumana

        as a professional (mostly classical) singer who has memorized and sung thousands of songs in (at least) 8 different languages I insist that you stop with the false modesty… your lyrics are always brilliant… Tom Lehrer worthy… and certainly not a waste of my time to read ’em! not much makes me laugh anymore but I can always count on craazyman

        I was trying to figure out the line that was obviously missing but I’d never have imagined flatulance hahahahahahahaha!!!!

  26. Robert Hahl

    From CLINTON CAMPAIGN: We lost because of James Comey:

    “We believe that we lost this election in the last week. Comey’s letter in the last 11 days of the election both helped depress our turnout and also drove away some of our critical support among college-educated white voters — particularly in the suburbs,” Nayak wrote. “We also think Comey’s 2nd letter, which was intended to absolve Sec. Clinton, actually helped to bolster Trump’s turnout.”

    That seems right. Also, nobody is talking about war with Russia all of a sudden. Comey deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I still think Democrats should go to all those Trump counties in PA, MI, IN, OH, WI, get on their knees, beg for forgiveness, and ask what they can do to earn back their trust.

      Penance is in order, and people like it. Maybe even give you a 2nd chance.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s a bit too Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

          I think if CNN, MSNBC, WaPo, NYTimes will station ‘journalists’ permanently in those counties and report from there, they might redeem themselves a bit.

          Apology letters would also be nice.

          “I am sorry that I conspired with Hillary, by feeding her questions pre-debate, among other shameful acts, in order to seize power of the US government by rigging the last election.”

        2. MG

          This is kind of tripe that has doomed the Democrats in these areas including where I’m from in Reading, PA (Berks County – SE but still very white and red once you get out of the Latino portions of Reading).

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So, I guess it was Comey who posted that sign on Brooklyn’s wall:

      “It’s NOT the economy, stupid.”

      1. Whine Country

        The real reasons are too painful for the Clinton machine to bear because it would make it very obvious that Trump did not win, but instead the Democrat Party machine just plain blew it. This will end like Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express – the victim deserved it and no one is going to really try to find out who the culprit was. The Democrat leaders should be ashamed and humiliated but we’re in that never happens any more. The 10% receive the gains and the 90% get the losses – anything else would tamp down those critical “animal spirits”.

    3. Isolato

      I have to say this was one of the most masterful political shankings I have ever witnessed. Mashing HRC up w/Anthony’s Weiner could not be “unseen” once it was done. Perfectly timed too.Willy Horton…eat your heart out!

      What that means, however, is that the FBI is deeply politicized and that there are many strings that remain invisible to us.

      1. John k

        Rumor has it the first letter was deeply unpopular, comey buckled and tried to make it all better… of course still no way to get justice to indict.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Brain implants.

    Can we use them to double our IQs?

    “I want 2 extra analytical modules for my upcoming post-presidential spin discussion and 5 extra memory chips – logic yields to timely examples or anecdotes.”

  28. temporal

    Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the White Working Class Alternet

    The only people who were shocked by white people voting for white supremacy is other white people. Muslims, black folks and other people of color have been petrified of this outcome for a long time now, because we know how white power will do anything to preserve itself. We have seen it, worked beside it, watched it on the news, lived next door to it, witnessed it call itself our friend and then question our experiences with racism when we recount them.

    The author appears to believe that HRC intended to help minorities while forcing the white middle class whites farther down the rung. Certainly helping any part of the middle class was never a part of HRC’s announced agenda and Trump at least said he intended to support better jobs in this country. The author thinks that voting against neoliberalism (without naming it) is the same thing as voting for racism and oppression. Yet most minorities over the past eight years have been even worse off economically than the white working class because pushing the middle class down doesn’t pay attention to other factors. Failing to connect the dots has been a problem all through this election cycle.

    There are plenty of reasons to be worried about Trump’s future goals, especially with respect to the environment and the acceptance of the usefulness of trickle-down economics.

    I doubt promoting divisiveness ends up with people standing together to fight the man.

    1. Paid Minion

      Is it racist to suggest that in a zero to negative growth economy, and a total lack of political will to have the top 10%ers participate in “spreading the wealth” or “trickle down”, that any discussion about “giving/paying more” is automatically going to mean a money transfer from the (mostly) white middle class who draw paychecks?

      A bunch of us can still do math.

    2. Gareth

      The term “white privilege” seems to have morphed into an all purpose insult devoid of any serious meaning. If not voting for a privileged, wealthy, white woman makes me a white supremacist, then in response I could turn things around and accuse those who didn’t vote for Stein as doing so out of anti-semitism. But I won’t because that would be effing stupid.

      1. temporal

        The real reason I posted this was the title.

        Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the White Working Class.
        Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the Black Working Class
        Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the Asian Working Class
        Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the Hispanic Working Class
        Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the (pick your group) Working Class

        If she had said “Stop Asking Me to Empathize With the Powerful Elites” we might have actually had something to agree upon but then she might have had to admit that included her preferred candidate. For that matter she might have had to admit that the current President is in the same club and we’re not in it.

    3. tgs

      I actually followed the link about empathy that angered the author. It was an interview with a liberal Berkeley sociology professor who went to live in rural Louisiana for five years and discovered that the white people there were not sub-humans irredeemable racists, caring only about guns and the Bible.

      One of her points was one made quite often of late – the Democratic party needs to reach out and find common ground with these people in order to win elections! Her conclusion is that empathy is the first step to finding common ground.

      Blatant white supremacism, right?

  29. TarheelDem

    Short of completely eliminating agencies or functions through legislation, the senior civil service managers will determine how implementation of anything goes. Most have the political skills to not be fired for cause when they sabotage Presidential agendas.

    If federal agencies, such as EPA and Department of Education, get eliminated, those states with the political consensus to do it can reorient their agencies against the trend.

    The GOP in the House and Senate is still fragmented in three constituencies. It is possible that the interests behind those constituencies cannot be reconciled and the necessary legislation will not be forthcoming.

    Trump will have surmount those three obstacles to implement his own vision.

    1. cwaltz

      My part of SW Virginia is supposed to get a pipeline through it and there has been a lot of opposition to it. However some of the problems with issues like state and regulatory control of environmental issues is that Federal Energy agencies have the means to go around them.

  30. Uahsenaa

    As per usual with the Times, the reader picks are overwhelmingly positive on Sanders. The Times picks, on the other hand, try to make it seem like a balance between positives and people calling him a traitor. Even after the election, the Times can’t help but put its thumb on the scale.

  31. Steve H.

    : I’m angry with myself because I have not been disciplined enough.

    1. o ffs makin the rest of us look bad here.

    2. Oblique references suggest you are razor sharp already. You hit the gym, have limited your familial obligations, play to your Pareto 20% as well as anyone I (kinda) know, and drive yourself hard at all hours. Who are you comparing yourself to? (Non-rhetorical)

    3. The only thing, are you getting good sleep? You go odd hours and have indicated overdoing it in the past. Poor sleep, negative stress, over-responsiveness to internet all interfere with higher cognitive function and productivity. [Source] You take care of us, who takes care of you?

    1. Steve H.

      : “He reported that during his 27 years of imprisonment he had to practise a disciplined type of meditation to keep his personality moving forward and avoiding the anger trap.”

      Upon reflection, I find an answer to question # 2.

  32. Jim Haygood

    A defiant non-apology from the lying liar presstitutes of the Hillary campaign newspaper:

    We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign.

    You can rely on the New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.

    Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.

    Gahhh! Off with their heads!

  33. Baby Gerald

    I don’t know if this has been posted here yet, but NPR of all places offers this more sober evaluation of what we can expect in the first months of Trump’s office:

    FACT CHECK: Donald Trump’s First 100 Days Action Plan

    It’s not as pearl-clutching as our friends at The Intercept and Mother Jones, who seem to have totally lost all handle on things and are in full-on Chicken Little mode. The folks at Intercept are alleging that Deutsche Bank might suddenly see recent fines levied against it erased and bemoaning Obama’s unfettered ability to spy on and kill people getting passed on to his successor, to name just a couple gems appearing today.

    1. pretzelattack

      i’m still surprised at greenwald (and he’s the most objective writer i’ve seen there) claiming that trump is much scarier than clinton. clinton was benevolent?

      1. Baby Gerald

        Yeah, me too. I’m not sure where Greenwald is basing his reasoning thinking that we’re any worse off without that careerist warmonger taking the reigns. He seems to be going with the flow over there at TI with the doom and gloom predictions, but at least he is willing to call out the DNC and its elite leadership for their mistakes instead of blaming the outcome on a disillusioned and angry white populace that blames foreigners for everything.

        The idea of regulating national border crossings is one that goes back to the dawn of civilization. Ask China about walls. While physical walls are often foolish and easy to bypass, the idea of national boundaries and immigration restrictions– particularly in an age of fear from random terror attacks– is not motivated by xenophobic or racist tendencies. It’s simply a survival instinct and the federal government meeting its primary obligation– keeping the physical and economic security of its citizens its top priority.

        Besides, IIRC, Trump said (if anyone remembers the second part of his famous ‘wall’ soundbite) that this wonderful wall would include a big, beautiful [likely gold-plated] door, for legal immigrants to enter and work here.

      2. neo-realist

        Arguably more socially conservative surpreme and federal district court picks, if he gets a shot, from Trump—-abortion, civil rights, civil liberties.

  34. Katharine

    Though I admire much of what I have read by Nussbaum, I part company with her on the subject of anger. I think she has confounded it with desire for vengeance, which to me is different altogether. Anger is an emotion, a motivator, to start the communication that hurt has been experienced and change of the circumstances producing it is desired. Vengeance is merely retaliatory and does nothing to change the underlying cause of trouble.

    Anger is not something to get stuck in, as that’s contrary to the nature of emotion, which ought to keep moving on to something else; but it’s surely not to be denied or repudiated. While I hesitate to generalize from my own experience, I doubt that anger turns into desire for vengeance unless there is a fixed belief that constructive change is impossible. If that happens, I would think that what needs to be examined is the defeatist belief.

  35. Oedipa

    Another example of gnashing of teeth (with apologies)

    I know this is meant to be a humor piece, but at the heart of it are the same assumptions about Trump’s win and the usual suspects: third-party voters, Comey, the electoral college. I agree the media is at fault, but not in the way mentioned in the piece. People who were apparently not to blame: the DNC, the Democratic establishment, Clinton herself.

    It’s interesting since I’ve always thought the Coen Brothers were some of the more politically astute filmmakers working today. Beyond Clinton being a “yes, she was a flawed candidate but…” could they really fail to see, for example, that in foreign policy she was a more put-together female version of Walter Sobchak? The criticisms to “all our media friends” aside, the piece swallows the media narrative hook, line, and sinker. Perhaps this is a case where the art is more insightful than the artist.

    1. dk

      Better late than never:

      CommunityMod 53s ago
      Staff 0 1
      Comments on this article will shortly close. Thank you for your contributions.

    2. pretzelattack

      then there are the other articles stressing the need to defend neoliberalism from the ravening populist hordes. these days, the guardian is very selective about allowing comments.

  36. Carey

    I was once surprised but lay and brooded, my
    life at my back now, my discourse like weeds far
    out on the lake. It must have come to me, it
    always does, part of my profound business.

    I think in the think tank, always elegant in my
    thinking, far away. Far from what I consider.
    Once it was all grace in the lifting. Awkward,
    yes, and not a little disconcerting.

    From John Ashbery’s ‘The Water Inspector’, ca 1999.

  37. Daryl

    > Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized Defend Democracy

    Comedian Bill Burr: “This guy wants to own the rain”

    1. Ivy

      Wait until Nestle asks you to pay to clean their rain to get rid of all that coal ash residue to maintain a proper pH for their customers. That would break new ground, or sky, with privatization of the heavens on the horizon.

      1. Daryl

        Seems reasonable to me. All you have to do is pay a toll to get on the dirt road off your property and fight your way through a couple miles of raiders to buy a filter. Then the same back home.

  38. flora

    re: How Letting Bankers Off the Hook May Have Tipped the Election – Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times.

    Thanks much for this link. After reading I bookmarked it for future reference. This describes the election in a nutshell, imo.

  39. barrisj

    We are of course now getting the “It’s time for healing”, and “Let’s bring us back together” faffing from the usual suspects, but quite frankly, the winners don’t want no stinkin’ healing, they want their opponents routed and left bleeding in the road…all these scattered reports across the US of racist incidents aren’t just the usual casual, quotidian random acts that occur on a regular basis, but rather have been stimulated by Trump’s win, and what he heralds re: “political correctness”, i.e., civility and mutal respect. That’s the first casualty of Trumpism, and I don’t believe I’ve as yet seen any comments by the Donald disavowing such conduct…why should he, as he set the tone early, and that tone resonated with a yuuuge number of white people, and they have no intention of “reaching across” the racial or ethnic divide to “heal” animosities unleashed during this presidential campaign. Absolutely foolish for people to believe that Trump and his supporters can be mollified, or that their animadversions and scorn for The Other can be tempered by willful compromise or accommodation for the sake of “Bringing us together”…the whole upshot of the Donald’s win is that the one-half of the country that has been excluded from having their voice heard for many years now has the microphone in hand, and are in no way going to give it back.
    So, enough of this “healing” rubbish from the Dems and establishment figures, it’s game on, people…La Lutta Continua!

    1. Ivy

      At least there have not been articles with pictures of politicians staring thoughtfully into the middle distance, although give it time and the past lamentations may be used again.

  40. fresno dan

    It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

    Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.

    Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

    There are many arguments to make that Trump was an extremely poor choice as president. And NC readers are familiar with the counter arguments. People will differ…

    But what is amazing about this is what is really a rather amazing lack of perspective with regard to the market, and even more disturbing, how little stock (whoo boy – what a pun!!!) one should put in the…uh, stock market anyway as a indicator of anything.

    One can have any opinion, but if your writing an opinion on baseball, and you write, “The Cubs won the world series due to their coterie of great quarterbacks, who bowled one perfect game after another….” – – well, your just unfit to be a sports commentator.

  41. Katharine

    A touch of unintentional comedy in the Clinton campaign’s response to criticism:

    Matt Barreto, Latino Decisions’ principal pollster to the Clinton campaign, told the Guardian that in his opinion Palomarez’s criticisms were reflective of widespread frustration at Trump’s victory.

    “If Clinton had won,” he said, “people would now be praising the campaign’s Latino outreach – they are frustrated not with the campaign, but with the outcome of the election.”

    If Clinton had won, it might have been because Latino, and other, outreach had been better than it was in fact and there was some reason for praise. Don’t look to these people to learn from their mistakes.

  42. hemeantwell

    There’s no emotion we ought to think harder and more clearly about than anger.


    The emotion we need to think hardest about is shame and what constitutes it. He gets to this, but only in passes and without sufficient focus. You don’t start an article on emotions with a mislead that prioritizes the defensive overlay. He’s not doing therapy, in which case you’d deal with the most manifest affect first. Instead of seeming to be just another writer fretting about the anger level in society, he should be talking directly about what is causing the shame that is driving anger.

    In a strong sense, this was the mistake of the Clintonites. They tried to shame “the deplorables” for their anger instead of understanding the shame they were trying to free themselves from. But that would have cost money — jobs, higher wages, etc.

  43. fresno dan

    Poll expert Sam Wang is eating his words.

    Wang, a professor at Princeton University, ate a bug live on CNN Saturday after host Michael Smerconish asked, “Really, what about the bug?”

    On Oct. 18, Wang tweeted: “It is totally over. If Trump wins more than 240 electoral votes, I will eat a bug.”

    President-elect Donald Trump won the election with 290 electoral votes.

    “There are things that can happen that could bring the country together, but I don’t think the bug thing is one of them, I just wanted to point it out,” Wang said, after detailing how there are more important issues to discuss, such as who Trump will nominate to the Supreme Court.

    Smerconish, however, said it was time to “put it to bed,” in regards to the bug promise.

    “After all, I was wrong. A lot of people were wrong, but no one made the promise I did,” Wang said, before eating a single cricket from a bowl of gourmet crickets mixed with honey.

    Considering how full of sh*t most pollsters were, it might be more appropriate to eat s dung beetle…..but not me, I’m GRACIOUS in victory.
    I’ll leave the dung beetle suggestions to the peanut gallery….

    1. polecat

      I would’ve slipped a live ‘whip’ scorpion’ in that bowl .. and see the look of abject terror on his face ! …. ‘;]

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why must he kill a bug by eating it to make up for his own incompetence?

      “Little mosquitos, suck on my leg, so you may live. I want to atone for leading the blind blindly.”

  44. JSM

    Re: Trump Spells End of Normality for Europe

    Establishment panic. The simple choice is for the left & center to take up the banner of the working class, or throw away their political power. The same choice was open to American Democrats. The language games & hyperbole are intriguing. The fact that they suggest obvious answers means the political intransigence is not really on the right:

    * Populist Threat
    *”Not even Henry Kissinger could help us,”
    *”Josef Stalin was the first unifier of Europe,” he says. “In a certain sense, Trump has the opportunity to be the second.”
    *”Trump appears to view foreign policy largely from a domestic perspective,” (Heaven forbid!)
    *”Some people have come to think that the institution of European (sic) has nothing to do with them,” Juncker lamented in a speech in Berlin on Wednesday. (Where’d they get that idea?)
    *”The corrupt establishment is being punished by voters step-by-step and voted out of a number of decision-making roles,” (Oh no!)

    So the solution again is…go right without the ‘racism’: ‘CSU leader Horst Seehofer believes Merkel has steered the CDU too far to the center, thus creating a vacuum to the right for the populist AfD to fill. He wants to combat right-wing populism with what you might call right-wing populism light.’

    …pushing the extreme right right-er and probably convincing no one to vote for the party of ersatzism.

  45. Waldenpond

    Autocracy and Giuliani…. we live in a police state under the patriot act, our policing (i call them mercs) are fully militarized, states use tax dollars encouraging citizens to spy and report on each other (if you see something, say something)…… so watching the further entrenchment of the system should be interesting. National ID may come about again.

    The media will be kept busy with reporting on the conspiracy-based fact-devoid investigations into the Ds.

  46. Plenue

    >Amid Tide of Red on Electoral Map, West Coast Stays Defiantly Blue New York Times

    Not really. Not unless you emphasize the literal coast part. If you look at the county breakdown of Washington, Oregon, and (to a lesser extent) California, what you see is a coastal line of blue, and a whole lot of red as you go further inland.

    Colin Woodard’s 11 Americas is really just a starting point. What you have on the West Coast is a socially liberal bubble of smug stretching from at least San Francisco up to Seattle. One giant Portlandia, full of hipsters and coffee houses. But if America were to fracture tomorrow, what I very much suspect would happen is that the liberal coastals would suddenly find themselves without any food, as the eastern farmers in Washington and Oregon, the people they mock and belittle (when they don’t outright ignore them altogether, which is most of the time) split off and join with Idaho.

    1. Andrew Watts

      You’re reading the New York Times so automatically any conclusions you draw from their stories will be wrong. It’s like saying the Sun revolves around the Earth and then trying to do astrophysics. A couple of things you’re missing,..

      – A sea of Red States? What would’ve happened in a Trump v. Sanders election.

      – All those rural counties in Oregon/Washington are under-populated.

      – Taxes collected in the Portland Metro Area support the rest of the state. I don’t know about Washington and it’s Cascades divide. Does Idaho want to inherit that fiscal burden?

      – The Willamette Valley grows a lot of food and doesn’t have water issues like the eastern part of the state. Strict land-use laws has ensured that if food production need to be amped up it could. Also there’s a lot of grassroots experience with… growing… stuff.

      – We’re all going to die of cancer when Hanford starts to leak into the Columbia.

    2. Waldenpond

      There is a reason CA keeps proposing dividing itself up, that coastal band of blue is really narrow in some regions along the whole coast. And yeah, those cities look incredibly vulnerable to me. Commenters have mocked the elite for believing they could bug out and note the ease in cutting their communications cables and fuel. Cities are in the same predicament. Good grief, they freak out when twitter is down for a short time.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The California coastline, like any, is limited.

        To ensure all Californians have a chance at waking up to the soothing sound of lapping waves, perhaps we need a mile wide private-property-free zone along that coast.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Most of Oregon’s food is grown in the Willamette Valley, the liberal enclave. The countryside tends conservative, of course, but wouldn’t do any better without customers than the city would without food. And some of the farmers are hippies (literally or figuratively.) The east side grows wheat and a lot of cattle, which we’d rather not do without, but could if we needed to. Not many people over there.

      That’s Oregon; can’t speak for the other states. Washington has more development on the east side than Oregon, and no Willamette Valley.

  47. Oregoncharles

    Compare and contrast: and

    Both from Links. Somewhat different topics, but the same problem: Europe is still, to a considerable degree, an American colony (at the same time that it’s a potential rival great power). Trump may want to change that, because it’s very expensive. But at the same time, it means that if Trump does side with May on Brexit, he can undercut the EU’s position. Ultimately, he can apply tremendous pressure, just as Obama did for the sanctions against Russia – which were not in Europe’s interest. That’s why the EU is now threatening May – but the truth is, while they can retaliate, they would then have to deal with the imperial power. there’s a lot of posturing going on, on both sides.

    Germany’s already in trouble, in lots of ways, if Trump reduces the American military presence. Germany’s been relying on NATO to make their defense very cheap. Not only would they have to greatly increase their military budget, but if they did, alarm bells would ring all over Europe. Germany having a weak military is implicitly part of the deal. I assume Germany knows that.

    If the US also backs Brexit, the EU has big problems. No wonder Merkel wanted to get on the phone with Trump; her whole legacy is at stake.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, Trump cannot undercut the UK’s position because the lead time on getting trade deals done is basically forever. They are complex negotiations. CAFTA took seven years to negotiate. The UK does not have that kind of time.

      Please read our Brexit posts before opining on Brexit. You are very much behind the curve, and the UK press is full of pro-Brexit fantasies.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I don’t think I’ve missed any. The US would not be directly involved in trade deal negotiations, but would be in a position to apply pressure to either party. Just how much is an open question, but threats to withdraw from NATO on the grounds it’s obsolete might be part of it.

        In making threats about it, the EU revealed that they’re worried. They think US interventions will matter.

        There may not be formal negotiations going on, but there are plenty of informal ones, including threats of retaliation. That’s a bargaining position, right until you pull the trigger. And that’s just what gets into the press.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, I read the EU “threat” as yet another effort to try to penetrate the UK Brexit delusion bubble. The US deal fantasy pumped it up even bigger.

          The UK is about to cut off one of its legs, while the damage to the EU will be more like losing a few fingers.

  48. Oregoncharles

    “For instance, I’m told the Trump transition team on policy is apparently planning on recommending that the US exit Nafta and the WTO on the first day of the Trump presidency. Pray tell, have they looked into what this means for US customs, and for US exporters dealing with foreign customs?”
    There’s an obvious solution to this problem; whether it occurs to Trump or his administration is another question. The solution:

    On Day One, you announce that the US is out of each agreement, AS OF (eg) two years out – the middle of his term. Then you start negotiating, and building up your customs capacity, under a deadline. Seems to me replacing NAFTA shouldn’t be that hard: that’s the next door neighbors; they can’t cut off the US or even give us a hard time without wrecking their own economies. Assuming they’re rational players, they’ll deal. (But will Congress? For that matter, will Congress be involved? Trade agreements aren’t treaties. And Fast Track is still running.)

    The whole world is a harder lift; they aren’t all dependent on the US economy. The key question will be to what extent the Washington Consensus is just that – a policy driven by Washington, against most other countries’ interest. That’s the left-wing position on it; we might be about to find out. If so, making changes might not be that hard. The toughest antagonist might be the EU – which has its own problems, as I observed just above.

    Will Trump take that tack? I doubt he or his people read NC (might be wrong, there), but he claims to know how to make a deal. We’ll see.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, no, no, you apparently haven’t read our work on Brexit. If Trump really exits these deals immediately, customs procedures change massively at all places in the US where we receive goods and also at all foreign nations that take US imports. Moreover, all customs clearing for commercial systems is systems dependent. Merely developing decent specs for the changes in the computer system is at least six months on a rush basis. God only knows how long the coding and testing would take. And let us not forget that the failure rate on big IT projects is well over 50%.

      1. Waldenpond

        Yes, yes, yes… I think Charles has read your work. Charles is proposing an immediate ‘announcement’ for an event TWO YEARS in the future.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Yes, I’m proposing a solution to the dilemma, because it applies to more than Trump. And if preparations are under way, you’re in a much stronger bargaining position.

      2. craazyboy

        Depends on the scope. We have an import duty system in place now. Everyone pays 1 – 1.5% import duty. We have customs now screening incoming and charging the money. They can change the percentage on any product, or country, at any time. What is “legal”, per the WTO and NAFTA is a different thing of course. But say, in the case of China, the TSec can declare them a “currency manipulator” anytime they want, in accordance with WTO rules and the tariff could be raised up as high as 40%, or whatever level(20%?) may allow US mfg. to be “competitive”. To my thinking, a negative bilateral trade deficit is all the proof you need.

        Not sure what reversing NAFTA takes. But Mexico doesn’t have nukes.

        The real problem is retaliatory actions. China has put themselves in a global single source position on some products. So none of this without pain, including staying the present course.

        OTOH, China may stop buying our subsidized ag products and almonds from CA. Could be a twofer!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          China’s first retaliatory move is likely to be the banning of laminated flooring to the US. When they stop shipping rare earth metals, that will sting.

        2. polecat

          the honey bees might get a reprieve in any case, assuming less almond production ….. so there’s that ….

        3. Oregoncharles

          2 years might not be enough; might be assuming more competence than there is, there.

          But,as the Der Spiegel article about Germany indicates, everyone is now waiting for the other shoe to drop. They might be grateful to get 2 years’ warning.

          I know it takes a long time to negotiate new deals – but that’s without a deadline.

          Yves is again raising the possibility that IT is a form of paralysis; certainly it has been in a number of cases, especially when they tried to replace whole systems (used to be my brother’s job; maybe I should ask him.) That’s an alarming, maybe even hair-on-fire problem in the big picture; but does it really apply in this case? As Less than Prime pointed out, they transitioned into the present state, and there already is a customs service.

  49. FREDDO

    So the big question which will determine the next four years, and possibly the rest of our lives, is whether the Donald is going to start pussy-grabbing Paul Ryan. If the Congressional Republicans don’t give him what he wants, I don’t think he’ll have any choice. The only way he can maintain his popularity is to start fighting with his own party. The base will love him. And why would the Donald care if Democrats did well at the mid-terms? Popcorn time.

  50. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Elizabeth Warren is full of it. I’ll never believe a thing she says. She can triangulate herself into the White House on someone else’s vote.

  51. Pookah Harvey

    A poll funded by Alan Grayson just before the election shows Sanders would have beaten Trump 56% to 44%, a blow out.

    The establishment argument will be that Repubs never got a chance to negatively attack him (Clintonites still argue that Hillary never did… yeah right) But on the flip side Sanders never got a chance to further explain to the American people what his plan incorporated. The more the people heard and understood the greater was his support. My guess is that he would have won by a larger margin.

    1. UserFriendly

      nice. Going into the poll details is interesting too. They also had a question with Clinton. with her beating Trump by 2%, which is rather close to the actual result. So the Sanders up by 12% is meaningful. Also, throughout the primary Garvis was the outlier poll that always showed much better for Clinton.

      In the demographic brake down it is noteworthy that Sanders beat Trump with white people.

  52. UserFriendly

    Second, if the word were to get to Trump (unlikely given his dependence on Republican information sources), he would be just the sort to do something unorthodox like the platinum coin. Third, this is not gonna be his biggest day one issue. If he has not already capitulated on major parts of his program, he’ll probably be in a pitched battle with his party.

    I have no clue how effective this is at putting something in his ear, but I already sent in a Job Guarantee.

  53. pricklyone

    Well, you cannot complain about anyone mocking and belittling, if your gonna mock and belittle.:)
    Personally, I’d rather not think that the whole rural population took there cues from Cliven Bundy, either.
    This divide is as much a product of social media amplification, as it is the lyin’ MSM.

  54. Waldenpond

    Re Beyond Anger. Oh, uh, oh dear.

    I reject the position that anger is defined by retaliation (vengeance seeking). The emotion is misdefined and then termed problematic. The author then artificially constrains a rape victim has three pathways: 1. status seeking (author: If we think closely about anger, we can begin to see why it is a stupid way to run one’s life) 2. payback (author: If we think closely about anger, we can begin to see why it is a stupid way to run one’s life.) 3. if she is rational, she can turn to the future…. deterrent rather than retaliatory. Nelson Mandela fought against retaliatory anger during imprisonment.

    As with Sterling’s essay missing the mark… The rape analogy response was limited to anger. The anger was misdefined. The misdefined anger was artifictially constrained. The essay was less about anger and more about crime and punishment.

  55. barrisj

    My (Green Card/non-voting) wife made an interesting observation after the election results were in, showing HRC with a plurality of the total vote, even though she did rather badly in the EC. Since only about 55% or so of eligible voters actually showed up, she wonders if the abolishment of the EC would in fact cause much larger participation by potential voters, as they would see their votes actually “count” as part of one’s candidate’s total national vote; as it stands now, why indeed bother to vote if one lives in a strong Red or Blue state, where a “minority” vote is essentially completely wasted and in reality “doesn’t count”. And for most voters, that is in fact the reality of it all, and why voter participation remains static or even declining, especially in an era of “sorting” according to political/cultural preferences.

    1. Daryl

      I would be interested to see how many people understand what the electoral college is and does. Because my impression is that most voters are unaware of how it works.

  56. allan

    Hillary Clinton Blames F.B.I. Director for Election Loss [NYT]

    … In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.

    “There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks. But, she added, “our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.” …

    The Big Mo – that brings back memories. GHWB approves of this message.
    File under Clueless in Versailles.

    1. craazyboy

      IIRC, “stopped our momentum” was the p*ssy tape momentum?

      Not that the voters don’t deserve better.

  57. bob

    It’s Time to Smell the Shit Cathy O’Neil. This sort of thing is why the Dems will continue to lose. They need to change course, big time.

    “How do we document and protect? It starts with citizen journalism. As individuals, we need to use our phones, our blogs, and our conversations as opportunities to speak clearly about what we witness.”

    More homework. Because who doesn’t like homework?

    Nucking futz.

  58. UserFriendly

    If anyone starts complaining about 3rd parties throwing to Trump Here is a way to shut them up:

    Evan McMullen threw Minnesota to Clinton.

    MN and WI are very similar states, WI has a slightly larger population, they had 28k more votes this election, which isn’t much. Stein and Johnson each did slightly better in MN then WI, but not enough to change anything. McMullen however, wasn’t on the ballot in WI.

    Clinton had more votes numerically and by percentage in WI then in MN.
    HRC 1,382,210 .. 46.94%
    DJT.. 1,409,467 .. 47.87%

    HRC 1,366,676 .. 46.86 %
    DJT.. 1,322,891 .. 45.36 %
    McM …. 53,080 .. . 1.82 %

    There is really no arguing that Mr establishment GOP was stealing votes from anyone but Trump.

    1. UserFriendly

      It’s also interesting that MN was the 6th closest state yet no one ever treats us like a swing state. Also, the state with the highest turnout.

  59. alex morfesis

    and furthermore, trump loves illegal aliens…now that the election is over…might we notice 2 of 3 wives were illegal aliens…

    1. John k

      I think of the times as a very parochial rag domestically interested only in the city, plus DC and at most Albany.
      Neolib neocon to the core. In short, useless beyond wrapping fish.

  60. Roland

    Eisenhower had a great deal of political experience, in a variety of difficult situations, prior to becoming a presidential candidate.

    Eisenhower did not only deal with his political superiors in the USA. From 1942 onward, he dealt face-to-face with Churchill, a variety of British cabinet ministers, various Allied governments-in-exile, de Gaulle, Weygand, Darlan, Giraud, Badoglio, etc. etc.

    Eisenhower also was the chief executive of what soon became large civil administrations in North Africa, Italy, the liberated parts of Europe, and occupied parts of Germany.

    Eisenhower built and maintained an international military high command, and conducted a series of successful offensive campaigns of great complexity, on the grandest scale, with much at stake.

    After the war, Eisenhower was C in C of NATO, with a lot of political involvement in that job.

    Then to think that nowadays you can find some fool that tries to tell you that HRC is the best qualified candidate to ever run. WTF?

    It is no accident that in the course of a decade, DDE rose from being a Lt. Col. on a planning staff, to the most powerful single person on Earth. DDE was a gifted politician.

    And don’t be deceived by the seemingly unintellectual amiability of the man. DDE was one of those very smart people who often got his way by letting other people think they had gotten the better of him.i

  61. Procopius

    Regarding the Republican (and Clinton wing of the Democrat) Party ” … which is keen to … preserve free trade …” I understand language evolves, and the meaning of words changes over time, but I am not ready to change the meaning of “free trade” from its traditional sense of “trade unencumbered by barriers such as tariffs,” to “government protection of wealthy monopolists.” That’s what the current usage of the phrase “free trade” means. Please stop using this phrase when speaking of the policy goals of the corporatist political parties.

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