Links 11/17/16

Patient readers, today’s Links are still very election-heavy. I’m worried about what the heck the usual suspects are getting away with as we (and Politico (and WaPo (and the NYT (and the FT)))) focus on the drama in Manhattan and the Beltway. Those of you who send us links, please do feel to send us — in addition to links on the transition — other other signals from amid the noise. Thanks! –lambert

Pluto’s frozen heart may hide underground ocean that flipped planet over Telegraph

A secular trend away from public markets FT

How CalSTRS Investments Influenced Workers to Vote for Donald Trump East Bay Express. Must-read.

Tap or swipe? Banks identify quirks for added security FT

Facebook News Feed algorithm: How it works and why employees want to change it Tech.Mic. It’s worth remembering that the vaunted New York Times helped get the country into the Iraq War with fake stories on WMDs from the since-disgraced Judy Miller. Has Facebook done anywhere near that damage? To me, this controversry looks less like news-gathering organizations defending reportorial integrity and more like desperate publishers from the Acela corridor trying to nobble Silicon Valley’s Facebook. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

New York vows Islamic State will not ruin Thanksgiving parade Reuters. E. Mayer: “Maybe the parade organizers could appease ISIS by featuring a giant balloon mock-up of The Prophet? Just trying to think outside the box here.”

The Mysterious Recurring Case of Mexico’s Disappearing Governors Bloomberg


British Judges Can’t Escape Brexit Turmoil, Even in Malaysia Bloomberg

Trump’s Win, Brexit Vote Stem From Mishandling of Globalization, Obama Says WSJ


Abe to meet Trump in first bilateral with foreign leader FT

Why Trump won’t want China to stop ‘manipulating’ its currency Sidney Morning Herald (E. Mayer).

Vietnam PM backs off from U.S-led TPP, emphasizes independent foreign policy Reuters

Is China Getting Better at Charming Southeast Asia on the South China Sea? The Diplomat

China says didn’t invent global warming, vows to fight climate change Asian Correspondent


The largest oil deposit ever found in America was just discovered in Texas Business Insider. Well, I guess that should solve the capex in the Oil Patch problem. Whoever would have imagined that fracking was a bridge to more oil?

US Department Of The Interior Cancels 15 Oil And Gas Leases On Sacred Sites

New Front Line for NoDAPL Attorneys: Criminal Courts Indian Country

Canada’s proposed natural-gas plant stirs more controversy Nature


Former Turkish general: Trump could broker peace in Syria and end the civil war Stars and Stripes

Why Russia sailed its navy thousands of miles to Syria when doing so brings ‘nothing’ to the battle Business Insider. Note: The sitting duck aircraft carrier is accompanied by a tug, in case of breakdown. So let’s curb our enthusiasm just a little. Maybe it’s all a sales pitch for those keen-looking fighter planes.

Syrian child disappointed she won’t get to be drone-striked by the first female president Duffel Blog

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Yahoo scanning order unlikely to be made public: sources Reuters

Trump Transition

This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World Buzzfeed (TF). A transcript, not a screed; very interesting. Somewhere along the line Buzzfeed turned into a news-gathering organization. How do these things happen?

Why Rudy Giuliani Shouldn’t Be Secretary of State Editorial Board, NYT

The Trump Doctrine Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Trump’s vast web of conflicts: A user’s guide Politico. The advantages of a family foundation…

Donald Trump’s Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner, Could Get Key White House Role WSJ. Inside Baseball. Makes sense for Trump to have people round him he can trust, much like JFK made RFK Attorney General, given the snakes he has to deal with.

Jeff Sessions starts to emerge with bigger role in Trump transition WaPo. I think a lot of these Inside Baseball stories are churn at best, gaslighting at worst. Yves tells me that the motto in real estate is “Fire, fire, fire.” That is, you fire people until you get the right ones. That’s what Trump did with his campaign team, and based on results, he finally got the right team in place. So expect more churn, Democrat tut-tuttery, media pearl-clutching. Go long Rolodex cards… (Sessions, incidentally, was the only Senator with the stones to go into the locked room where the text of the TPP was kept, and read a summary of what he found into the record.)

Trump Transition Team Gives Detailed Update Amid Infighting Bloomberg. Infighting! Quelle horreur! These people should all take a vacation. In fact, there’s a vacation coming up. Maybe we can have a “national conversation” round the collective Thanksgiving table. Bringing this 1898 Caran d’Ache cartoon from the Dreyfus Affair era to mind:


Caption for top: “Above all, let us not discuss the Dreyfus Affair!” Bottom panel: “They discussed it!”

Two Senior Republican Senators Say the Filibuster Must Stay New York Magazine. The mud slowly rises under the treads of the Trump panzers…

Senate Democrats’ Surprising Strategy: Trying to Align With Trump NYT

Trump’s Team Makes Overtures to Democrats as Transition Push Ramps Up WSJ

Trump Team Floats ‘Infrastructure Bank’ Derided by Campaign Bloomberg

With Trump’s Signature, Dozens of Obama’s Rules Could Fall NYT

“Dear President-elect Trump: Congratulations on your recent election….” (PDF) Internet Assocation. This in particular:


Offer Consistent, Smart Regulatory Approaches: The rapid rise of this new sector of the economy, however, has been met by piecemeal regulatory approaches at the local and state levels that often feature misguided or overly burdensome rules driving up costs for consumers and workers. By steering clear of burdensome regulations, policymakers at every level can ensure this rapidly growing sector of the economy sees its full potential.

I believe I’ve warned readers that “smart” is a bullshit tell?

2 presidential electors encourage colleagues to sideline Trump Politico

2016 Post Mortem

You Are Still Crying Wolf Slate Star Codex. Must-read. Interesting to see I’m not the only blogger to have come up with the talking point/rebuttal format.

When The Shouting Stops The Archdruid Report. Useful, but Greer should read Thomas Frank. Then he’ll stop conflating “left” and “liberal.”

A Letter to a Friend in a Time of Trump Adam Gopnik, New Yorker. Every bit as nauseating as the usual “Letter to” genre piece. A sample: “The really great changes of our lifetime were all social and cultural in the first place, and political only later. ” Yeah. Gopnik’s mill didn’t close. Did it.

The Two Americas of 2016 NYT. Not seeing a Mason-Dixon line, here…

Mourning for Whiteness Toni Morrison, The New Yorker

Donald Trump and the New Morlock Nation (Google webcache). DNA Science Blog. “Being smart, it seems, no longer matters.” There’s that word again. You’d think that the party of smart people would be smart enough not to lose the Presidency, the House, the Senate, most of the state Legislatures, and most of the Governorships. #JustSaying.

Trump Was Always The Republican Candidate Best Positioned To Defeat Hillary Michael Tracey, Medium (PU).

This Ohio Town Voted For Obama By Huge Margins. Then It Flipped To Trump. HuffPo. Note the role of the state prison…

Florida 2016 in the rearview mirror Steve Schale

And the 2016 Ralph Nader Award Goes to… Bernie Sanders Time. Deploy the Nader blame cannon!

Dear Hillary Pundits, Own Your Terrible Candidate ShadowProof

Hillary Clinton: ‘There have been times when I wanted never to leave the house again’ Guardian. Hold that thought.

Swedish women get hotline to report mansplaining Independent (Furzy Mouse).

Explaining It All To You Current Affairs (PU). Thinking inside the Vox…

The Simpsons: University of Glasgow launches course on philosophy of Homer Simpson Independent. I’m so old I remember when the Simpsons were a sign of the impending collapse of civilization!

Antidote (via):


Normally, I deprecate cute cat pictures — too easy! — but there’s something about this one…

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Teddy

    Please fix the bolding (everything after the sharing economy drivel is bold too, including my comment) and the link to must-read CalSTRS article which now results in 404.

    1. Clive

      Sorry (to any early, very keen!) readers of Links. I guess I’m not the only one who hovers eagerly awaiting them being posted to get our daily update of woe / amusement…


      1. Clive

        Oh, I didn’t do that very well did I (apologies that you can see the “bracket not bold end bracket” after ON DEMAND OR SHARING ECONOMY). I don’t want to mess with it any more, please just ignore that bit. Hopefully the real, proper management will be along later to sort it out correctly. But at least we aren’t all looking like we’re shouting at each other from the peanut gallery.

  2. Clive

    Re: Trump’s Win, Brexit Vote Stem From Mishandling of Globalization, Obama Says

    “Mishandling” ? Is that like me spilling the tea or something?

    1. RabidGandhi

      Hey everybody makes the occasional mistake. For example, in Argentina the Macri government devalued the currency incorrectly leading to a 45% increase in the price of basic goods, laid off 100,000 public employees that cascaded into 500,000 job losses in the economy as a whole, and hiked utility prices by over 1,000%. When a reporter pointed out these “mishandlings” to Macri’s cabinet chief, he said “we’re learning as we go”. Last week a Macri supporter told me this was a positive thing– the previous lot, it appears, never had the humility to admit mistakes, whereas this new group (“the best government team in 50 years”) is able to learn from its whoopsie-doopsies (which just incidently have happened to hurl 2 million people into poverty). And for the record, this “learning as we go” has yet to result in a change in course away from austerity.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Then send your procedure to Japan, which has been trying fruitlessly for years to devalue the yen.

          Now “revaluation disease” is spreading to the Homeland … DXY at 100.47 this morning, a fraction off a 13-year high.

          Who would’ve thought military Keynesianism (as in Admiral Giuliani’s 350-ship navy) would do this to us? :-(

        2. RabidGandhi

          Yes there is a proper time and a correct way to devalue a currency, and the Macri regime showed us exactly what not to do.

          First, they announced the devaluation before they even took office, so before the exchange rate went down, the devaluation already hit consumer prices: the lesson being, devalue when you can ensure the least impact on CPI.

          Second, they failed to protect consumption, so aggregate demand took a direct hit. The lesson being: if you are going to devalue and a CPI effect is unavoidable, you have to protect domestic demand with government spending to protect employment, negotiated salary increases and cost-of-living increases to pensioneers/gov’t assistance recipients. Macri did the opposite.

          Third, timing. The Argentine government decided to devalue at a time when there was obviously going to be markedly less demand from its major trade partners, China and Brazil. The lesson being: the point of a devaluation is to make your products more attractive to international buyers because of their new lower built-in costs, that ain’t gonna happen in a context of China putting the brakes on exports and Brazil in deep recession/austerity.

          1. Jim Haygood

            A fourth lesson is not to dabble in multiple exchange rate regimes in the first place, as Cristina K did.

            Venezuela is the last holdout with such a policy. Its black market bolivar devalued 28% in October to BsF [signifyiing “bolívares fuertes” — I’m not making this up] 1,567 per dollar.

            Today it’s down to BsF 1,923 per dollar — another 18.5% devaluation in half a month. One of the official rates is BsF 10 (ten) per dollar — only off by a factor of 200. :-)

            1. RabidGandhi

              Just to be clear, are you saying that because of the previous government’s exchange regime, the Macri Administration had no choice but to break the 3 rules I listed above?

                1. RabidGandhi

                  In that case, the country would only need to borrow USD to the degree that its exports could not fund its import needs. But that would have nothing to do with its ability to issue its own currency. Argentina does not need USD to issue pesos, regardless of its trade balance.

                  JTM has it right. The answer is “corruption”.

                  1. optimader

                    In that case, the country would only need to borrow USD to the degree that its exports could not fund its import needs

                    But that would have nothing to do with its ability to issue its own currency.

                    Argentina does not need USD to issue pesos, regardless of its trade balance

                    US$ is the currency on convenience to reconcile trade imbalance.

                    1. optimader

                      FWIW, I think you need reread what I wrote. I made no claim regarding the amount of currency a sovereign country can create/print.

                      It does, practically speaking need US$ or at least euros(a widely accepted reserve currency) to reconcile trade imbalances in lieu of a perfectly balanced import/export market.

                    2. RabidGandhi

                      I read it again and I agree countries need to conduct most trade in USD. I still don’t understand why we ended up talking about USD for trade when the original threadjack (!) was about needing USD to spend:

                      November 17, 2016 at 10:02
                      If you are going to devalue your own currency, then you need to borrow USD to spend, not to trade.

    2. Benedict@Large


      Is that what Barry calls thievery these days? Him and his bubbies rig everything so the entire grift ends up in their pockets, and that’s “mishandling”?

      No, I think that’s handling it exactly as intended.

      1. Emma

        If one regards the use of might at the expense of the grasp with distaste, then ‘mishandling’ may well be apt. There is a probable disconnect between use value and exchange value. Maybe it is this which results in Beelzebubs stealing away from burning waters to go great guns with Pandemonium…….’Paradise Lost’ indeed!

  3. HBE

    The NYT editorial board (the same one that recently came out in favor of war with Russia) telling me I shouldn’t want Rudy Giuliani to be SOS (I most certainly don’t) almost makes me want Rudy Giuliani to be SOS.

    Why is this paper not dead and buried yet.

    1. timbers

      And European elites are horrified there could be peace with Russia and America might work with Russia to defeat terrorism instead of supporting it and the regime change that goes with it thus no more immigrants flooding Eurpoe and causing elites to lose elections.

      Seems the whole world has gone mad.

      1. rd

        It would be nice to have a rational dialogue with Russia.

        There was no way that Russia was ever going to allow Crimea and Sevastopol (Russia’s only warm water port) end up with a pro-western government. Once they had Crimea, they would also definitely want a land-bridge to it through southern Ukraine.

        So how much of what is going on in Ukraine is just Russia doing a rational self-defense positioning (think US and Panama with its canal) versus trying to reclaim a lot of territory including Baltic states?

        The US has the Monroe Doctrine and has used that concept frequently in managing the Americas. Eastern Europe is much messier politically than the Americas because it doesn’t have a moat and there are with many overlapping claims by past superpowers. So how can a Putin Doctrine be developed similar to a Monroe Doctrine that doesn’t leave the Baltic states, the rest of Ukraine etc. quaking in their boots?

        Its very difficult, but all sides have legitimate concerns and fears. Is Trump politically incorrect enough to actually get all of these put onto the table and re-organized into a comprehensive, verifiable set of treaty arrangements? The nuclear arms talks decades ago lead by Realpolitik people like Kissinger have held up well over the decades. Can we recreate that?

      1. KurtisMayfield

        The problem is his ego. Can he swallow it to do the bidding of the President? I don’t know.

        I have no idea whether there is any evidence that these cabinet stories are true or not. These stories don’t sound like they are well researched.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Be careful … pushing out Giuliani might bring in something worse — such as Giuliani’s successor “Mayor Mike” Bloomberg.

      Though Bloomberg prolly hangs out in his palatial London digs these days, waiting to be knighted. That’ll be “Sir Michael” to the proles.

    3. Brad

      Given that we’re stuck with Trump, I “*want*” Giuliani, he’s the perfect face of America Abroad. The rest of the world needs to disabuse itself of its remaining belief in America as a “beacon of hope and progress”, once and for all. Especially Europe and Japan.

      I want all the “wrong” people in all the “right” places.

      The truth may hurt, but the truth about the USA above all.

  4. Quanka

    I had an interesting dinner last night with an old college from who now lives in Louisville. Says that ACA is crushing rural America and this was an under-reported cause of Team Dem trouble in the election. Not that its surprising to anyone who reads this site, but thought it was something I haven’t really read much on before. Would make sense that Acela-type folks don’t see this as a problem. Would also lend evidence to idea that HRC doomed herself by hitching her wagon to all those “successes” Obummer achieved for middle America.

    Anyone else corroborate?

  5. Pavel

    Trump appoints son-in-law to key position… horrors! It’s almost as if, say, he appointed his wife to re-shape the American health care system, with a huge staff and done in virtual secrecy.

    1. RabidGandhi

      HRC was going to place Bill Clinton in charge of the economy, so it wasn’t nepotism, it was a quid pro quo.

      Besides, as with everything they do, Democrats hire their relatives with goodness and diversity in their hearts.

      1. susan the other

        Since it was Big Dog himself who told an audience that it wasn’t the banks’ fault, it was in fact capitalism that caused the GFC (which I happen to agree with), if Hillary had put him in charge of the economy we would have had a completion of the oligarchy – no capitalism required. With the Donald looking at an infra-bank, it might be a difference without a distinction. Where is the argument for a sovereign-money economy?

    2. JTMcPhee

      Just another facet of our increasing Third-Worldism… Hey, look how Saddam Hussein staffed his palace! One wonders if Trump will be as ruthless in disposing of anyone who does not toe the line… it seems to have worked for other US administrations.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Hey, just out of curiousity, does anyone know something about Kushner’s bona fides? One of the arguments Clinton put forth for tapping Hillary re healthcare reform was all her training and experience in the law. So, what does Kushner bring to the table anyway?

      1. aab

        He had the good sense to marry Ivanka, and persuaded his family to allow it.

        I think that’s honestly about it. He seems to be doing a pretty good job with the Observer, but I don’t read it regularly.

        I seem to recall he was VERY active in the campaign’s inner circle. So it’s possible his counsel proved out. In any case, I suspect the point here is to get POVs from outside the party establishment bubble, from people aligned with Trump, not the party. Given that the party’s leadership tried to dump Trump more than once, this seems wise.

        Jerri-Lynn’s reporting has reinforced my opinion that Obama was always a corporate Trojan Horse, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that some of his terrible decisions that first year were due to being a naif overwhelmed by party insiders. If he and Michelle actually had cared about non-elite black people, and non-elite people generally, might it have been helpful for her to actually work on the transition team? I found it weird that she went all First Mom, when she had actually had a much more successful career than he had up to that point. I’m sure she was doing a lot behind the scenes, but then, by doing it behind the scenes, she gave both of them more excuses for not being responsible for any problems. I like that Trump is signaling that he’s not going to be rolled. This is pretty old school, like Renaissance Royal Court old school. But given where we are now, why not? Like universal health care, it has a proven track record.

  6. FreeMarketApologist

    In other news (but isn’t everything political?):

    Released earlier this week from George Washington University School of Business: “Study Finds 1 in 3 Student Loan Holders With Payments Due Are Late With Payments and More Than Half Regret Their Borrowing”

    “Nearly half of young Americans start their working lives with student debt, and 43 million Americans carry student loans. A new study by the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University School of Business found that many borrowers are struggling to make student loan payments and regret their borrowing.

    GFLEC’s newly published policy brief reports that most borrowers did not fully understand what they were taking on when they obtained student loans. Additionally, 54 percent of student loan holders did not try to figure out what their monthly payments would be before taking out loans. And 53 percent said that if they could go back and redo the process of taking out loans, they would do things differently. ”

    (via the securities regulator, FINRA):

    Direct link to the paper: )

    1. Benedict@Large

      Odd. I was looking at the comment by Bannon about Spanish young adult unemployment (a serious problem, as he says) and thinking, well, at least we don’t have anything like that here.

      No, our young adults aren’t unemployed, are they? They are simply working to hand over major parts of their future to their debt bosses.

      And it really is so much better that way. After all, if ours were unemployed, they might take to the streets like the Spaniards are doing.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I think those unemployment comparisons are rough to make. First, thanks to changes to unemployment calculations, the US is very selective about whom it considers unemployed. If you get discouraged by a lack of jobs, then you’re no longer unemployed. Not so in Spain. The E-POP numbers for the two countries are a more accurate estimate.

        Second, being long-term unemployed in the US generally means no income, no health care, minimal services like food stamps. The recent austerity notwithstanding, Spain still has a solid unemployement benefits system (el paro), one of the best free public health systems, and other (now diminishing) public assistance programmes.

        This is why I doubt Case/Deaton would have the same findings in Spain of a vast decrease in life expectancy, despite the high unemployment. I disagree with Bannon, the US population is already under heavier attack.

      2. Katharine

        Young adults unemployed? Depends on which you’re talking about. BLS 16-19 year-olds numbers give unemployment rate of 13.8% for white, 25.8% for African American. Over 20 data aren’t broken down, but black men have an unemployment rate of 8.4%, black women 7.3% (4-5 points higher than white men and women over 20), so it’s safe to infer the employment problem does not magically disappear at age 20.

  7. Pavel

    From that “Ralph Nader Award…” post:

    In fairness, Sanders ran a surprisingly effective campaign tapping the same anti-establishment fury Donald Trump stirred. Although Sanders and Trump are very different, their campaigns were not. Each treated Hillary Clinton as a compromised, Wall Street–worshipping, Establishment sellout. Both demonized Washington insiders and free trade, rather than tackling the real structural problem: the United States deindustrialized because Americans refuse to pay what it costs to hire American workers and instead buy cheaper imported products. As a result, just as Ralph Nader siphoned tens of thousands of votes on Election Day 2000 in Florida from Al Gore, causing the deadlock and George W. Bush’s victory, Bernie Sanders’ similar vampire effect enfeebled Hillary Clinton.

    –And the 2016 Ralph Nader Award Goes to… Bernie Sanders

    I guess Sanders forgot that Clinton was The Anointed One and was set for a DNC coronation… he dared to run an “effective campaign”? God forbid! And imagine Hillary being treated as a compromised, Wall Street–worshipping, Establishment sellout… The Clintons finally learned that they can’t have it all.

    1. JSM

      Interestingly, Ralph Nader himself early on was trying to give congressional Democrats sound advice on campaigning against something other than…Vladimir Putin?! But they couldn’t be bothered to reply until mid-October, and then only in the most perfunctory way.

      So maybe in a roundabout manner the Ralph Nader award really goes to Pelosi or the DCCC or whatever.

    2. ChrisAtRU

      I have yet to make it through that entire article. It’s pretty much table flips all the way down …

      The opening: “Sanders distracted Hillary Clinton from creating a unified vision for the future”

      (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

      Paragraph #1: “His insurgency pushed her too far left …”

      (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

      Paragraph #2: “Both demonized Washington insiders and free trade, rather than tackling the real structural problem: the United States deindustrialized because Americans refuse to pay what it costs to hire American workers and instead buy cheaper imported products.”

      (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)


    3. Cynthia

      This: “…because Americans refuse to pay what it costs to hire American workers and instead buy cheaper imported products…” infuriates me. So many problems with this line of thinking. First of all, when there were American products to buy, we could afford them because we all good paying jobs. As a young adult, I made $12.00 per hour in retail in the 1980s. My sister worked in a unionized grocery store back then making far more than that with benefits and a pension plan. My Dad worked in construction, yet he could afford to shop where my sister worked. My brother worked in mining at a very good wage but has been under-employed in crapified, precarious work, moving from contract to contract since the mine closed. I am Canadian but the experience is the same. Americans who supported Saunders and Trump did not choose to ship all those jobs out of the country. They did not choose to become consumers of crap with a high tolerance for debt. They did not choose to have children who would be forced to get an education they can’t afford in order to not get jobs that wouldn’t even allow them to pay back their student loans even if they could get them. The current economic situation is the making of those who are benefitting from it and our governments facilitate it and the people who we elect because they lie to us facilitate it and benefit from it too. Americans and Canadians participate in the only economic system they have…. But, the buy local movements are strong everywhere. People do get it and they do want change. Sadly, I think Trump will not bring those changes, our “sunny ways” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not bring those changes and I suspect that Bernie would have failed us too. Not because he wouldn’t have tried but rather because the current system is so entrenched. Too many people have too much to lose. If I have one small hope it is that Bernie has started some awakening, and that socialists and lefties do manage to get organized while the duopoly is in disarray. There is a window open, let’s climb through it.

    1. Anne

      Smart cat defeated by yarn in disarray; rendered paralyzed by failure of traditional methods to rectify the situation.

    2. ambrit

      M.I.T. alum, Schroedinger Cat tangled up in string theory quandary. “Now I know how Skinner’s daughter felt half of the time!” Physics Department vows to investigate, “Our pride is engaged!” Decision expected by Boxing Day.

        1. ambrit

          That’s from OUR frame of reference. In the other “possible” universe… mayhaps a black cat with white yarn. Of course, it all might be due to a simple category error.

      1. rd

        You are simply imagining that there is a cat caught up in the yarn. We don’t actually know that there is a cat or ball of yarn there at all.

  8. Quentin

    The noise has just begun and will last at least four years. Earplugs are a human right. Not water (ask Nestle).

    1. ambrit

      I wish I had invested in “Noise Reduction Units” last year.
      Still, making any sense out of all this will be a signal achievement.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I blew my earplug allocation on a raft and lifevests to ride out the coming flood of “if HRC woulda won” counterfactuals from the non-deplorables.

        1. ambrit

          You didn’t tell us that you lived next to, or in, the Pantanal. Oh my. Talk about “floating” currencies!

          1. RabidGandhi

            Guess it depends on what you mean by “next to”. I live at 1200 m above sea level, so that should tell you the extent of the coming BS inundation.

            And why is it the floods are never enough for the currencies to float up to me?

            1. ambrit

              The theory is “Trickle ‘Down'” RG, not float up. It goes some of the way to explaining why Politicos are one of the lowest of life forms; they scavenge at the bottom of the pond.
              And, good heavens, “coming” BS inundation? I thought that that phenomenon was an ongoing thing. Doesn’t BS act as a fertilizer in the Politico Sphere? Also, it will work in a pinch as a smelly lubricant for the wheels of the tumbrils wending their ways through the streets of the pueblos.

  9. funemployed

    Re: canceling “leases on sacred lands,” did anyone notice that all the cancelled leases had been held for 30 years without being drilled? methinks “…cancels leases on sacred lands the planet killers don’t want anymore” sounds like a more accurate headline.

    1. Tyaresun

      As a Hindu, the entire universe is a divine embrace of the male and female principles. If they separate in disgust, the entire universe will disappear into nothingness.

  10. hemeantwell

    Re the Buzzfeed bit on Bannon, Steve does another rewrite of WW2

    But the thing that got us out of it, the organizing principle that met this, was not just the heroism of our people — whether it was French resistance fighters, whether it was the Polish resistance fighters, or it’s the young men from Kansas City or the Midwest who stormed the beaches of Normandy, commandos in England that fought with the Royal Air Force, that fought this great war, really the Judeo-Christian West versus atheists, right?

    It could be argued that the Soviet polity was informed by Christian ethics freed of a putative divine inspiration. So maybe Steve thinks a god was secretly ensconced in every Soviet foxhole. And then there were those French resistance fighters, inspired, no doubt, by a subtle synthesis of the gospels and Capital?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, I was gobsmacked by this. Erasing the role of the Red Army and its 11 million casualities, along with 20 million or so Russian civilian casualties, certainly demands a certain degree of intellectual agility!

    2. rd

      I am glad that my previous thoughts on history have been corrected. I always thought it was the combination of the US industrial machine and the Russians sending millions of people in the snow to fight the Germans that really turned WW II around. I also thought that having some gays and women helping to crack the Enigma probably helped too, but that can’t be correct now because that would have been against God’s plan.

      However, it is clear that God was on our side. If the four US aircraft carriers had been in Pearl Harbor that day, the Japanese would probably have owned everything west of Hawaii pretty quickly (including Australia and New Zealand). Only God could have been responsible for the Japanese not having good intelligence on when the aircraft carriers would be in harbor.

      1. ambrit

        That God also gave the “Allies” the Purple Code, and other top Japanese encryption methods, from before Pearl Harbour.
        John Toland’s “Infamy” lays out a controversial but plausible theory that the future “Allies” knew about Pearl Harbour in advance and allowed it to happen. This posits that the carriers were out of the harbour on purpose to protect them from the assumed medium damage the Japanese were expected to inflict on the Pacific Fleet. The general view seems to be that no one in the West of any influence expected the Japanese Naval Air arm to solve the problem of launching areal torpedoes in a shallow harbour like Pearl. The Japanese did solve that technical problem and proceeded to sink about everything in sight. One of the great “what ifs” is if the Japanese Naval Air had been allowed by Admiral Nagumo to launch a ‘Third Wave’ and destroy the oil tank farm and naval infrastructure of the naval base at Pearl Harbour. Such would have rendered the American Pacific Fleet useless for, by general thinking, at least another year. The Battle of Midway might not have happened, and from there, the ‘alternate history’ timelines branch out in kaleidoscopic tangles.
        Even the Gods, it seems, are at odds over Man’s Fate.

  11. craazyboy

    Musical interlude

    I Want My MIC – Dire Straits
    [ If these lyrics seem strange, it’s because they’re based on the original lyrics. It’s not my fault]

    Now look at them bozo’s that’s the way you do it
    You get the Congress to fund the MIC
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothing. Bucks for free.
    Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
    Maybe wrap a Dollar ’round your middle finger
    Maybe a Dollar and they will come

    We gotta install ours by the dozens
    Been the Free World history
    Don’t matter if they be dictators
    We gotta all support our MIC

    See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
    No buddy that’s her own hair
    That little faggot got her own jet airplane
    That little faggot serves a millionaire

    We gotta install ours by the dozens
    Been the Free World history
    Don’t matter if they be dictators
    We gotta all support our MIC

    I shoulda learned to fly an airplane
    All they gave me was this god damned gun
    Look at that mama, her airplane broken in the hangar
    Me in the foxholes like some bum
    She’s not up there, what’s that? Explosion noises?
    Bangin’ ’round the foxholes and I’m overseas
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothing. Bucks for free.

    We gotta install ours by the dozens
    Been the Free World history
    Don’t matter if they be dictators
    We gotta all support our MIC

    Now look at them bozo’s that’s the way you do it
    You get the Congress to fund the MIC
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothing. Bucks for free.
    Money for nothing. Your bucks for free.

  12. Marco

    Barry Ritholz links to a post at VisualCapitalist titled End of World Poverty in Sight regarding global labor arbitrage and the shifting fortune of China’s underclass. It’s so dubiously PRETTY! I wish the left could manufacture the same kind of slick data-visualizations targeting the millennial mind-set.

    1. Marco

      A rice bowl for every piece of globally-focused blather pointing to the bright-side of globalization whilst the middle / working classes are thrown to the wolves. The irony is how a defacto communist economy is the main driver behind the reduction in global poverty (however that is measured).

      1. craazyboy

        The way it’s measured now is the capitalists overproduce until saturating global demand, and “trickle down” gets 1% of the ultra poor up a notch on the poverty scale. Progress!

        Recessions are still a risk, but the Central Banks can always make free money available to the capitalists and head off that risk. Then the middle class can borrow some money and raise up the poverty stricken another notch. Rinse and repeat.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Trump Doctrine Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

    A couple of my favorite things Pat Buchanan thinks Trump should say:

    The compulsive interventionism of recent decades is history. How nations govern themselves is their own business. While, as JFK said, we prefer democracies and republics to autocrats and dictators, we will base our attitude toward other nations upon their attitude toward us.

    No other nation’s internal affairs are a vital interest of ours.

    Maybe Trump should be considering Buchanan as secretary of state. “Change” you can believe in.

    1. Carolinian

      Buchanan s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde but on foreign policy he’s good even though he did defend Vietnam because of his staunch anti-communism. But hey they’re history.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I had to read your comment 3x till I realised “defended Vietnam” means “defended the US attack on Vietnam”.

        As to the merits, I think Buchanan has been sufficiently stained by identity politics that the Dems would have a field day with his confirmation hearings. Heck they might even do one of their principled “sit-downs”– this time sitting down in favour of a war with Russia.

        1. Carolinian

          Sorree. Need coffee.

          And I think she was just kidding about nominating Buchanan, who is still a controversial figure to say the least. There are some who say–including Buchanan himself–that he created the template for Trump’s approach to running and winning.

          1. RabidGandhi

            No worries, and for the record, there’s always a cup of joe waiting for you down here if you should ever want to visit The South.

  14. cripes

    So Barry, Hillary, Harry and Nancy used their overwhelming 2008 mandate for Hope and Change to shrink the democrat party down to nothing, holding just 18 governorship’s and 0 houses of congress and executive branch, and buried their only viable candidate by rigging primaries, but racist voters are responsible for Donald Trump.

    On the bright side, after the repubs decimate healthcare, social programs, environment and privatize everything, we can look forward to a rump democrat presidency in 2020 stoking more international conflict with Iran, Russia and elsewhere. Managed by the most diverse executive team in history.

    1. polecat

      Don’t forget that righteous defender of Big Security State .. Dianne ‘Nosferatu’ Feinstein … always doing what’s best for/to the little people ….

      As her friend and fellow Senate member Nancy said : ‘Embrace the Suck’ !

    2. Waldenpond

      Not just privatization. Rs may soon control enough states to enact a constitutional challenge. I’m guessing they won’t be focusing on the EC.

      Remember 2008? The Rs are dead, the Rs are dead. I didn’t see that. I watched the D president rehabilitate the duopoly and they roared back.

      The argument that Ds can emulate Rs and take over everything from dogcatcher has a flaw…. the establishment moves right. The strategy works with an R base, R party and R money that wants to move right. The issue of emulation hits some speed bumps as the D base has purged the left, the D party is moving right, the D money wants to move right.

      So yeah, if the Ds get back in power, the NFZ mentality is back on the table.

  15. Kokuanani

    I believe I’ve warned readers that “smart” is a bullshit tell?

    And “burdensome” [used twice!!!] really seals it.

  16. tinheart

    What struck me most in the Bannon transcript – which I recommend – was his answer to a question that was basically about how to counteract anti-capitalist movements.

    “I think in Spain it’s something like 50 or 60% of the youth under 30 are underemployed. And that means the decade of their twenties, which is where you have to learn a skill, where you have to learn a craft, where you really start to get comfortable in your profession, you’re taking that away from the entire generation. That’s only going to fuel tribalism, that’s only going to fuel [unintelligible]… That’s why to me, it’s incumbent upon freedom-loving people to make sure that we sort out these governments and make sure that we sort out particularly this crony capitalism so that the benefits become more of this entrepreneurial spirit and that can flow back to working-class and middle-class people. Because if not, we’re going to pay a huge price for this. You can already start to see it.”

    Note that Bannon really doesn’t have an answer to the question. His answer is sort of a version of “Capitalism can’t fail, it can only be failed.”

    If you read the entire transcript – which I heartily recommend – you come to the conclusion that Bannon believes that his brilliance in the market management of social media means he’s actually a genius, a brilliant mind in all things. This seems to happen a lot to businessmen, who increasingly think that growing shareholder value by x percent per quarter means that they are the next Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein.

    In that sense, he and Trump have a lot in common. I suspect Trump will put the lie to the believe that successful (or loud) businessmen make the best leaders of governments.

    1. craazyboy

      Judeo-Christian Libertarian Capitalists are the nice ones. Also, crony capitalism is a new thing….

          1. Oregoncharles

            Bannon doesn’t appear to be a Protestant, since he refers to the Pope as “Holy father”. Nor do I think they’d let Protestants speak at such length to a Vatican conference.

    2. johnnygl

      Thanks for that snippet. On the plus side, at least the guy has some grasp of the problem, even if his solutions aren’t up to the task. Recent comments from elites in the Dem camp show that they have not even figured out what Bannon seems to grasp.

    3. JustAnObserver

      Lost him at “freedom loving people”. Am I the only one who reacts to this sub-Reagan verbalising the same way Lambert reacts to “smart” ?

    4. LarryB

      All capitalism is “crony capitalism”. To think otherwise is to believe that the rich and powerful won’t use their wealth and power to protect their wealth and power.

    5. Waldenpond

      I think the Rs could get electoral success by tossing out a few jobs. Unemployment is bad enough that everything but capitalism will be blamed – corporate taxes, environmental regs, employee protections etc will more likely be stripped just for those few jobs. It’ll be a temporary cycle in decline but people will have to disregard that and the lies because the need for money to have the immediate necessities of a roof and food. Those few jobs could cut the left out in 2020. There will be an abandonment of solutions like co-ops (a reduction in the power of private ownership/corporate charter) if you can do just a few infrastructure jobs and/or a tiny increase in manufacturing.

  17. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: the Dreyfuss Affair cartoon—the great lawyer, writer and JFK assassination scholar Mark Lane, who died in May of this year, always equated the Dreyfuss affair with the JFK assassination. Just as France could not regain its soul until there was justice in the Dreyfuss affair, so America has no soul unless and until we finally admit, as a nation, what happened in the JFK assassination.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve found the attachment towards President Agent Orange without acknowledging JFK’s Presidency beyond his pretty words to be revealing. Much like Obama, JFK was a best friend for many voters, and it’s much easier to blame shadows than to take a look at one’s friend.

        Don’t you remember when JFK stood up to those guys he hired and promoted? A genuine profile in courage, telling the staff what to do.

        If JFK wasn’t shot, how would Kennedy fanatics deal with his refusal to acknowledge the civil rights movement or his continued involvement in Vietnam? Did the Republicans make Kennedy slash taxes on the wealthy? They would probably blame Ralph Nader and explain politics is too complicated for plebes to understand.

        Even though MLK was assassinated, he never gets quite the press, or Bobby for that matter. I think it goes back to the “Camelot” mania. Conspiracy theory allows for Kennedy of Camelot to exist. JFK was always just about to shut down the CIA before he was shot during a campaign event. Obviously Jack was going to push for major government changes during the campaign season.

        Why did Hillary lose? It was clearly the fault of racist, mysoginists and not Frau Hillary. She was the victim, but if you could see the Hillary behind closed doors, you would love her. It’s the same nonsense.

        It’s all connected. Irrational attachment to a leader pushes people into all kinds of justifications.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          MLK and RFK got a lot of press. JFK got more because he was prez, he was the first to get killed, and his murder was more spectacular and captured better on film. Also his murderer was murdered in a police station while handcuffed to a policeman, on national TV, which garnered some attention.

          The JFK murder was a coup d’etat. It changed the course of US and world history.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            My mistake. I should have said his ACCUSED murderer was murdered….etc. There is no evidence Lee Oswald killed anybody.

      2. diptherio

        Didn’t find it at all odd that the apparently super-human rifleman denied that he did it (unlike any other political assassin I can think of) and was then murdered by a well-known mobster before he had a chance to testify, huh? Well, each to their own, I suppose…

        1. alex morfesis

          oswald was an alien…just ask podesta…secret ancient alien technology…stopping time and space so that he could run down the stairs…caught the bullet between jfk & connally and was able to then redirect it and quickly get back to drinking his soda pop…obviously an alien force…but that might make cruz the first multiplanetary…

    1. Carolinian

      Sounds like the O!iver Stone theory.

      On the other hand Pauline Kael did say she retired from criticism so she’d never have to watch another movie by Oliver Stone.

      Stone has mellowed more recently, done some good stuff.

      1. voteforno6

        I actually enjoyed JFK. As a film, it’s a very-well crafted story of paranoia and conspiracy-mongering. As a work of history, though, it’s an abomination.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          I tried to defend myself after being called nonsense, but the moderators wouldn’t let me. Oh well.

        2. EndOfTheWorld

          I tried to defend myself after being called “nonsense” but the moderators won’t let me. Oh well.

          1. Katharine

            Never mind. It’s one of those points where those who agree with you will continue to agree with you and those who don’t won’t. Few minds change at this stage, and there are other things to discuss.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              I still think Mark Lane was right, though. America will have no soul until everybody comes clean about the JFK assassination. Trying to just sweep it under the rug and go on with business as usual means we have a soulless country.

    2. George Bailey

      Yes, but how? Maybe Trump and Bannon will do an opening of the John Foster Dulles CIA vault thingy on live TV with Geraldo Rivera? The smug and frantic closing of the American mind on this key event is evidence of a certain kind of American exceptionalism.

    3. RabidGandhi

      When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dissension began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.

  18. Benedict@Large

    “— other other signals from amid the noise.”

    There’s an awful lot of noise out there, particularly considering this is the ninth (!) day after the election, and it’s really hard sometimes to tell what is and what isn’t noise. Take this recurring tory that Soros is funding the street protests. Why? Is it even true? If so, what would be in it for Soros to fund what’s essentially vanity parades of spoiled losers? Soros is hardly going to throw money at something in retrospect. The past is after all fixed. There would have to be a forward angel.

    So what if the point actually is to simply create noise? Noise is after all a distraction. What if the point is to distract Democrats (and suck up the news cycle) with useless protests while the Clinton Dynasty reestablishes itself as the head of the party. Things likes putting Schumer at the head of the Senate minority while sidelining Sanders and Warren to what seem to be cheerleading positions meant to keep them busy. That all seemed to happen before anyone could do anything about it, didn’t it?

    Just thinking out loud.

    1. hunkerdown

      DemocracySpring, a MoveON-influenced production, did just that while the primary was running and the Bernie bashing was rolling, during a critical juncture in said primary.

      Also, let it be noted that the Color Revolution playbook includes popular protests against unsatisfying elections as one of its first ground moves, and that “put the Party back together” was part three of Clinton’s primary strategy, which part appears to be ongoing.

  19. cocomaan

    In looking for something other than election news, I found this gem:
    CEO of Mercedes Benz says Human Drivers will Bully Robot Cars

    Human drivers already speed, drive erratically and cut in line. Driverless cars will be programmed to be polite and follow the law.

    When someone tries to cut in line at a traffic merge, humans won’t let them in. But a driverless car will be programmed to stop when it sees an obstruction — like a line cutter. “They’ll look for the autonomous car and that’s where they’ll cut in,” he said.

    Theoretically, robot cars could be programmed to be more aggressive, but he doubts regulators would allow that to happen.

    Oh? I don’t think so. The biggest advances in robotics are in the military. The military is already programming them to violate Asimov’s First Law of Robotics (do no harm to humans) and thus the rest of the laws in turn. Since crap rolls downhill, I imagine we’ll see aggressive automatons sooner or later.

    On a related note with autonomous vehicles, I’ve seen a lot of chater about how they will:

    * Ruin the trucking industry, a huge source of jobs
    * Ruin the industries supporting truckers, such as rural rest stops and the like
    * Thus flatten the rural economy in many places not reliant on things like resource extraction.

    Interesting future we have in store.

      1. cocomaan

        Holy crap. Thanks for the source on that.

        While I don’t think the autonomous car revolution is as near as the futurists think it is, it’s definitely of concern for, ugh, disruption.

        1. Lemmy

          Fear not, the disruptors are on the case.

          Otto, founded by ex-Googlers, is bringing self-driving technology to trucks.

          That’s right, Otto was founded by former Googlers Anthony Levandowski, Lior Ron, Don Burnette, and Claire Delaunay, who wanted to “rethink” the commercial trucking industry.

          Apparently their thinking was so darn disruptive that Uber bought Otto this summer. Their intention is to enter the long-haul freight business in 2017, with trucks retrofitted with self-driving technology.

          For now, these trucks will still require drivers, but we shall see.

          After all, trucking is a $700 billion-industry, and driver compensation accounts for about 1/3 of that total.

          1. River

            Hackers will love these trucks. Roaming bot-nets. You know they will have next to no encryption.

            Easier to rob too. No humans on board will remove a large psychological barrier for most people. Look for your local black market, coming to a disrupted rural community near you!

            1. Pat

              Most will steal them, but personally I’ll be waiting for the pissed off hackers who start plowing semis into the homes of various tech geniuses starting with the owners of Uber and Google. Largely because someone other than me has to know that the idiocy of this and its dangers won’t become real to these jerks until they start losing something they value to their unstable and insecure means of ripping off the public.

        2. a different chris

          Autonomous car, no. Autonomous long-distance trucks, probably here by spring. Kidding, but that is actually an easy well-bounded problem. Of course it was already solved (they called it something like, um, “railroading”) but supposedly visionary people these days can’t see beyond their noses.

    1. Waldenpond

      As profit making is, by far, given the most legislative representation and mercs spend the most time defending, I believe dv will be provided privilege by law. There are many obstacles drivers are required to avoid, moving and stationary. Dv (profit activity) will be given right of way over some schmuck traveling or shopping. Effectively slapping a yield sign over them.

      They will also accrue to themselves parking rights, designated lanes, ingresses and egresses, to increase efficiency (profit).

      If an individual wants to participate in the traffic (profit) stream, a person will have to pay for a driverless ride that will record their every move. Also, people that use dumb phones to avoid this? Bikes.

      Whiny luddites.

    2. uncle tungsten

      That is exactly what the human drivers will do. Then there are the hackers…. driving will become an automated dodgem car fun fair. Just how difficult is it to demobilize automated military vehicles? One intense nearby pulse of wireless signal should do the trick, or hack it and turn the vessel/vehicle back on its source.

      Already munitions are incorporating the principles of intense microwave blasts. The possibilities for demobilizing driverless vehicles are immense. Trains are a mighty good way to move freight long distances.

  20. Jim Haygood

    CPI came in hot this morning — its first 0.4% monthly gain in awhile.

    Monthly readings are volatile, so I watch the year-on-year change. It’s quickened to 1.6%, up from around 1.0% earlier this year. Not a runaway by any means, but a welcome uptrend to deflation-phobes at the Fed.

    Meanwhile initial unemployment claims dropped to 235,000, the lowest since 1973. It’s more evidence, along with strong retail sales reported a couple of days ago, that the economy is nowhere near recession.

    Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now estimates 4th quarter GDP growth at 3.3%.

    Neither the dollar index DXY nor Treasury yields are spiking higher on the news. Evidently, Wall Street is not surprised … and all’s well with the world. /sarc

    1. Andrew Watts

      Good lord. The Fed might actually hit their inflation target?


    2. Dave

      Wait until the avalanche of discretionary spending in February as all the people that have been methodically and strategically withholding spending in the Obama administration go hog wild!

  21. EndOfTheWorld

    Will they be programmed to give the friendly hand signal of “go ahead” to their friends and neighbors. I think not.

    What happens when they experience road rage? Will they retaliate if penetrated by a bullet from their neighbor’s .38 Special?

  22. Jim A.

    Before the election, I told my cousin that Trump was a terrible enough candidate to get Clinton elected. Turns out, I had that backwards.

  23. Jim A.

    Re: the Russians sending an aircraft carrier to the Med. So far, with only one aircraft crashing, it has worked out better than when the decided to redeploy the Baltic Fleet to Port Arthur in 1904. As for why? Well never underestimate the importance of inter-service rivalry.

    1. Optimader

      Wouldn’t “Russians massing entire Aircraft Carrier Fleet to Med despite hull loss of 25% of Carrier Air Wing” express more gravitas?

    2. Andrew Watts

      Russia seems to be using their Syrian intervention in no small part as a training mission for their armed forces. It’s better to keep a clunky old carrier and planes around to build experience and confidence for the time when a modern aircraft carrier is ready for deployment.

      That’s killing two birds with one stone.

      1. optimader

        for the time when a modern aircraft carrier is ready for deployment

        Don’t hold your breath on that eventuality

    3. salamander

      It’s a stupid article. Really. So the carrier doesn’t bring a new capability? Then it brings more capability. Why not just fly from shore? Gosh a floating airfield is harder to track. Air strikes are less predictable. More, sealift is still the cheapest way to move anything, including a battery of cruise missiles. Also, navies that don’t train and fight kind of suck.

      So while yes – the Ruskies no doubt want to demonstrate their power projection capability both for geopolitical reasons and -the bastards! – as an advert for their arms industry, there are a raft of other good reasons for them to deploy the assets… that is, if they are actually trying to win something.

      That any Western journal could write of those reasons in such dismissive and disparaging tones, with no sense of self awareness or irony whatsoever boggles the mind.

      Propaganda op. They do it, they’re stupid. We do it… global force for good, world’s finest, pure patriotic self sacrifice… and comforting to our allies.


  24. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    The Bannon transcript is fascinating, thank you so much. There’s a lot that he says, a lot of his frame of analysis, that I agree with. I think he’s too dismissive of the racist movements and I reject pushing a Judeo-Christian/anti-Secular/anti-Islam solution to our moral decay–both of those aspects of his analysis I see as very dangerous. I agree believe our society has a moral crisis, corrupted by greed, that needs a morality-centered response; I just don’t think that enforcing morality rooted in religion is the answer. As a Trump watcher, I think it’s great that Bannon defines ‘the enemy’ domestically as the Republican establishment and corrupt crony capitalism. I don’t like Bannon’s code words like “hard nosed” capitalism, even as he calls for a more moral capitalism that doesn’t commodify people; does that mean no social security/medicare/medicaid?

    This transcript makes me less interested in separating Trump & Bannon, even as I believe we must stand up to and confront the rising hate of all kinds that is empowered by Bannon. To be clear: I am not apologizing for or excusing Bannon’s inflation and empowerment of racist/homophobic/sexist movements of all sorts. But I believe we can (and must), as a nation, confront and defeat those aspects of Bannon’s empowerment regardless of whether Bannon’s in the White House. In some ways the exposure of the hate is helpful, because we can confront it much more directly, which ultimately leads to better responses and solutions.

    On another note, I agree that focusing on the transition team and all tea leaves at the moment is misguided. I think Trump is temporarily over his head–I think he’s having a personal crisis of confidence–has reflexively surrounded himself with people he trusts for self-protection, and will do what ever it is he does to regain his confidence. Once that happens, he’ll re-emerge, and give orders, and at that point we’ll get a much better grip on what he’ll do as President in the near term.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Perhaps Bannon thinks of an aggregation of hate in the body politic as an asset or a sort of natural resource (“strategic hate management”).

      One of the things I noticed about the 2008 campaign was that many of the hateful tropes devised by Republicans to attack the first first Clinton administration were redeployed by Democrats against Hillary Clinton in 2008. (It’s been a long time, so I don’t have the details at my fingertips; I could dig them up on request.)

      1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        I can’t decide if he’s being sincerely dismissive or playing to his audience. If it’s sincerely dismissive, then it’s probably tactical, as you suggest. if it’s tactical, then perhaps his elevation of Frank Gaffney and the idea that Grover Norquist is a secret Muslim Brotherhood person (according to Daily Kos) is similarly tactical.

        I mean, there’s an awful lot of crazy swirling around Breitbart and in Bannon’s wake/circles. Is he that loony/dangerous, or is he that level instrumentalist/dangerous?

        1. craazyboy

          The only thing I can figure, since Bannon’s only area of expertise is blowing dog whistles to the “alt-right” – the ones Trump catered to early in his campaign – is Trump will use Bannon to keep a hold on that part of the R base, which does seem substantial. This way he can keep the R party in control by making them fear congressional elections in two years. It’s his leverage over the R establishment.

      2. JSM

        Yes, but don’t forget the Clinton campaign was out in front of the Republicans in 2008 when it dug up & disseminated a photo of Obama in what was more specifically reported to be Somali garb.

        To think that either party has an exlusive lock on bigotry, soft or hard, requires ignoring a lot of American political history.

  25. Jim Haygood

    Slow-motion meltdown of the presstitutes:

    While the entire newspaper industry has been hammered by print circulation declines in recent years, the drop-off by Mort Zuckerman’s Daily News in September was much steeper than the declines at The Post and the New York Times.

    The News saw its weekday print circulation tumble 11.2 percent, to 207,680, almost double the 6.8 drop at The Post, which fell to 230,634. The Times reported a decline of 5.5 percent, to 551,579.

    The Post was the No. 1 seller on newsstands, with 169,543 copies sold in September, down 9.9 percent. The Times sold an average 77,994 newsstand copies, down 3.5 percent. The News saw newsstand sales crater by 11.4 percent, to 115,923.

    So much for the self-serving claim that NYT subscriptions rose after its paywall-free election coverage. The ink-stained wretches are in a long-term secular decline which has carried on for years now.

    1. optimader


      ugga buugga.. How much would someone have to pay you throw yourself into that menagerie?

      It describes the essence of what gives me hives.
      The two takeaways to me are
      1.) only $5.00 for an beer ina “upscale manhatan hotel bar?? Is that possible Yves?
      2.) Trump hustling tchotchke in the Hotel lobby! HAHAHA.. Nature of the cat..

  26. L

    Among the election post-mortems The Jacobin has published one that should also be read in detail A Losing Coalition

    Unlike many of the speculative bromides that have been published along the lines of: “why don’t the poors like us?” This one points out that the main losses were due to policy disaffection not racism and it indicates that many of the people HRC assumed or counted on just didn’t see a reason to show. It also indicates that Trump’s support in these regions is a lot thinner than many in either party assume.

    The white working class is more complicated and diverse than those in West Virginia. But let’s look at West Virginia, in particular McDowell County, a coal county featured in a recent video at the Guardian.

    The video touted McDowell as Trump country and interviewed assorted people expressing support for him. But the reporters neglected to examine the primary results. If they did, they would have found that although Trump won McDowell on the GOP line, Bernie Sanders beat him 1,488 to 785. Even Hillary Clinton outpolled Trump with 817 votes.

    Isn’t there something more complicated going on here than racism, sexism, and bitterness? Yes, in the general election, Trump won McDowell handily. But only 36 percent of registered voters cast ballots (compared to about 58 percent nationwide). This was hardly a rousing Trump victory.

    I’ve given up imagining whether Sanders would have won but it is clear that there is space for an actual candidate, and an actual party, that serves actual working people. If only such a thing would be allowed on the ballot.

    1. flora

      The New Deal was about economic equality for the little guy. Equality initially for white working men. (unions, bank regulation, tax rates and structure). LBJ was the last New Deal pres. He expanded the area of economic equality by signing the Civil Rights Act and the Medicare program. The Civil Rights act said economic opportunity, hiring, being able to by a house in the neighborhood you like, being able to go the the school you want, should be open to all citizens. The neoliberals have been trying to dismantle New Deal programs for the past 25 years. end unions (labor wages), end bank regulations (restraining predatory Financial sector), tax rates (ending progressive taxation), privatize SS and MC (loot the main financial support for the lower 50% class of old and infirm).
      Neoliberalism holds up not civil rights but its shadow – identity politics. In that shadow the neoliberals support equal opportunity in hiring and send jobs out of the country; let anyone buy a house in any neighborhood and then let the banks steal those houses and put honest people – black and white – out on the street. etc.
      Identity politics is the sheeps clothing the neoliberals wear to prey on the unwary.

      My 2 cents.

      1. shinola

        “Neoliberalism holds up not civil rights but its shadow – identity politics.”

        I like that framing.

    1. Bjornasson

      Thanks for this. An amazingly rich thought piece that doesn’t require hand-wavy analysis of empirical data to communicate an easily forgotten but enduring truth.

  27. fresno dan

    A person gets sick. She knows how tricky health insurance can be, so she does the smart thing. She goes to a hospital covered by her plan — “in-network,” in the parlance of health care.

    Weeks later, she opens her mail and feels unwell again: An unexpected bill that puts her on the hook for hundreds of extra dollars because, it says, some of the care she got was out-of-network. How could this be?
    The answer is simple but frustrating. Doctors who work in hospitals agree to accept certain kinds of insurance. Those may — or may not — be the same insurers that their hospital has decided to accept.

    While 99 percent of the visits were in-network, a fifth included treatment by out-of-network emergency physicians.
    Zack Cooper, a health economist at Yale University who led the work, said that he was shocked by the result.
    “One of the reasons you don’t see policy [to fix this] is no one knows this is happening this frequently,” Cooper said.

    “One of the reasons you don’t see policy [to fix this] is no one knows this is happening this frequently,” Cooper said.
    LOL – man, those economists are funny – the reason this is happening this frequently is BECAUSE THEY DO KNOW….
    Seriously, is there any other business that as a matter of course that is so allowed to bait and switch?

    1. fresno dan

      fresno dan
      November 17, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Those numbers were dismissed as “ludicrous” by Rebecca Parker, the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The study relied on data indicating that emergency physicians charged, on average, nearly 800 percent of Medicare rates for out-of-network care. That is “totally out of the realm of what’s true,” Parker said.
      Parker said her organization has been examining the surprise billing issue for more than a year and often found that patients who receive surprise bills are dealing with the unwelcome discovery that their insurance plans simply cover very little. She said that analysis suggests such bills stem from high deductibles — and that the amount billed to them because of out-of-network care is small.

      People, PEOPLE – your both right – both the physicians and the insurance companies are trying to screw patients…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will Trump keep firing physicians and insurance companies until he gets health care cost under control? Not sure he has that authority.

        Still, there’s plenty to do if he wants to cut better deals to deflate the medical bubble.

        “Screwing patients, I thought my doctor was on my side?”

        1. optimader

          Not the expert, but I do know a few MDs RNs and my BinL is responsible for interpreting the ACA moving target for a large insurance entity. My conversational takeaway -and my eyes quickly glaze on this subject (hat tip to Lambert for being able to wade through the Hcare bog) –I don’t think the actual Care Provider are the center of mass for dysfunctional whole cost of healthcare delivery. they are employee deers in the headlights these days

    2. Jim Haygood

      Imagine you take your car in for an insured collision repair. Your deductible is $500.

      When you go to pick it up, they tell you, “Well, the bodywork guy and the paint booth guy are both out-of-network for your auto insurance carrier. So your out-of-pocket cost is going to be $5,000 instead of $500.”

      State attorneys general would go berserko at a scam like this. Why do they stand by silently while the health insurers cartel does the same thing, at a hundred times the scale?

      A few health insurer CEOs going to jail on RICO charges would set a whole new tone. :-)

      1. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        November 17, 2016 at 10:16 am

        Your question is perfect Jim
        Your analogy is perfect Jim
        Forget it Jim … its medical town….*

        *From the movie “Chinatown” Forget it Jake – its Chinatown

    3. Anne

      Every medical provider should then be required to provide each potential patient, prior to any delivery of service, with a list of those who participate in the individuals plans; it should be the responsibility of the facility to maintain current information, and whether it is current or not, reliance by the patient on the information should guarantee coverage.

      Exempt from this in/out-of-network boondoggle should be anyone arriving in the ED unconscious or in an altered mental state, or with symptoms so potentially serious that time is of the essence.

      In the alternative, the controlling factor for coverage should be the in/out-of-network status of the hospital/facility: if it participates in a plan, every individual involved in patient care and treatment, whether an employee of the hospital/facility, or a provider with privileges granted by the hospital/facility, should be deemed an in-network provider and all care, services and treatment should be eligible for coverage.

      It is intolerable and unacceptable that individuals will otherwise have to solve a Rubik’s Cube of coverage status before being diagnosed/treated.

      I mean, suppose you successfully navigate the network status up to the point where the physician who ultimately will be responsible for your care advises that he or she is not in the network. You tell the doctor you cannot authorize care – you tell whoever assigns such things to find a doc who is in the network. Suppose you are advised that there are no other docs who are in the network – what do you do? Leave? Get discharged/released against medical advice? And what guarantee do you have that you will not encounter this same problem, perhaps at some different point, somewhere else?

      The only conceivable reason for patients to have to wend their way through this bureaucratic thicket is to benefit the providers: it is clear that it is not to benefit in any way the patient, or to improve the quality of care, or the outcomes of treatment.

      It’s like, “I’m sick, something is seriously wrong with me, I’m paying $1,000/month for coverage and will be out-of-pocket another $5,000 before you people cover anything, so just fking treat me, now.”

    4. grayslady

      This is a better article on the issue from Reuters. Actually, it is interesting to read the two and see how WaPo skews its reporting.

      An interesting inclusion in the Reuters article that is not featured in the WaPo article:

      “Dr. Jim Augustine, an ACEP expert on out-of-network issues, said billing used to be a package deal until the federal government demanded separate billing in the 1970s and 1980s. What has changed, he told Reuters Health by phone, is that the insurance companies have decreased what they will pay for and set up narrow networks of providers.”

      1. Carla

        Reuters points out the abuses occur frequently in McAllen, TX and almost not at all in Boulder, Colo.

        So just another problem with turning Medicaid back to the states… geez…

        We need EINO — Everybody In, Nobody Out — Expanded, Improved Medicare for All.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “We are from the federal government, we’re here to help (with demand for separate billing).”

        Here, Reagan was sometimes right and other times, wrong, because the federal government can be good, or bad, depending on your luck or the year.

    5. Waldenpond

      At hospital: present your card and ask are you in-network for my insurer?
      A triage nurse. Ask are you employed by the hospital or are you a contractor? If a contractor, are you in-network?
      The ER physician. Ask are you employed by the hospital or are you a contractor? If a contractor, are you in-network?
      The phlebotomist. Ask are you employed by the hospital or are you a contractor? If a contractor, are you in-network?
      Will all vials go to the same lab? Is that lab billed as a contractor? Is it in-network?
      The pharm tech. Ask are you employed by the hospital or are you a contractor? If a contractor, are you in-network?

      The point is, each and every task at a hospital may be contracted out. They continuously cycle between in house and contracting out so a patient has to ask at every transaction.

  28. Schnormal

    Senate Democrats’ Surprising Strategy: Trying to Align With Trump NYT

    After Syriza took power, I didn’t understand why they allied themselves with a right wing party. It now makes more sense, as we see the Sanders wing furiously trying to keep Trump from permanently stealing the working class voters that Clinton abandoned. He knows that if Trump delivers them tangible benefits, it’s over for the Dems. Clarifying!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope Sanders won’t oppose Trump initiatives that will genuinely help the working class, if we argue that the Sanders wing is furiously trying to keep Trump from permanently stealing the working class voters that Clinton abandoned.

      Of course, the questions are, (1) are there any Trump initiatives that will genuinely help the working class, and (2) if there are some, will the media distort them to be otherwise?

      Maybe even (3), will Trump offer a position to Warren or Sanders and (4) will or should they accept?

      1. Anne

        I suspect that what will happen is that Republicans will craft working-class-“friendly” legislation and salt it with provisions and amendments designed to benefit the wealthy or back-door undermine the working class (infrastructure deals that would create jobs, but have anti-union provisions that would depress wages, for example), forcing Sanders and others to make a Sophie’s Choice: vote for it and be branded a traitor to the working class (Clinton used this on him in the primaries), or don’t vote for it and be branded a hypocrite who says one thing and does another (i think she used this one, too).

        I’d rather see the Dems offer their own legislation that does not even pretend to throw any bones to the GOP, than see them try to “work with” the GOP on the GOP’s own offerings.

        But I expect the Dems will fall for it again; they have shown an almost genetic inability to learn from their failures.

        1. marym

          In addition to anti-union, anti-workplace protection, and anti-environment provisions, these projects will likely be public-private “partnerships”: with public wealth transferred to private for-profit companies; failure to tax corporate and personal profiteers; and socialized risk. Neolib Democrats won’t even see this as a problem, let alone try to address it.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not sure if it can be traced to a specific Trump initiative, but I just read on Marketwatch that Foxconn is considering moving Apple phone production from China to America.

          Hopefully more jobs for working class voters.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Manufacturing stuff in the US is surprisingly cost competitive. The labor cost component in most manufactured goods like electronics is much smaller than you’d probably expect. I read somewhere that it’d cost something like five dollars more to make an iPhone in the US versus the PRC. If the companies were willing to eat the markup difference–i.e. take the same total profit from marking up the US labor that they currently do marking up Chinese labor–consumers would barely even notice the increased retail prices.

          2. Waldenpond

            If the power structure isn’t addressed, a jobs program is a temporary transfer payment. If the owner doesn’t get public funding of manufacturing facilities, tax breaks, regulatory and labor exception, the owner will have a tantrum and move to another state or out of the country.

            Infrastructure (if it’s limited to US corps haha!) that is configured as a transfer of wealth upwards, is simply shifting money from one group to another.

        3. a different chris

          >they have shown an almost genetic inability to learn from their failures.

          Sanders isn’t a Democrat so this doesn’t apply, but again we need to wonder if they really regard their situation, the “losses” that led to it, as a “failure”.

          1. Anne

            I don’t think the Chuck Schumers and Nancy Pelosis and Dianne Feinsteins and usual suspects like that are even minimally aware how many ways in which they have failed because they have so many other people to blame and a grab bag of excuses at the ready.

            For my money, the Congress seems to be institutionally wired to avoid accountability; I’ve looked, but I haven’t spotted, any shock collars, ankle- or wrist- bracelets that could possibly be delivering a jolt every time one of them veers too close to actually taking responsibility for anything. Maybe it’s a special chip implanted at the base of the brain.

        4. Schnormal

          We need to have viable alternatives ready to challenge the neocons (in both parties).
          It’s too bad the single payer bills, for example, were never scored by the CBO (or, better yet, as Lambert wrote back in Jan ’15, given an analytic study). Then Bernie et al could hold them up against whatever crap the neocons will try to pass off.

    2. jrs

      yes probably if he delivers tangible benefits no matter how bad the rest of his governing is (even if we’re screaming about his civil liberties, environmental, racial, foreign etc. policy) it’s the modern making the trains run on time pretty much. And even though even if the Dems had really wanted to (and few did except for Sanders) they would not have been in the position to deliver as the odds of capturing a majority in all 3 branches of government were low (they could done this when they had that in 2008 but not now).

    3. John k

      To permanently steal the forsaken middle class the reps would have to permanently adopt positions important to them, I.e. Less military and more domestic spending, less interventionist, NATO countries pay their share, etc. just seems easier for dems to revert to their historical positions even (though it means walking away from all that corp cash) than for reps to do more than fake it.
      To what extent, if any, will reps follow trump with massive deficit spending given Ryan oppo?
      Granted they want to goose economy for mid terms… and they followed Reagan with massive deficits… but reagans tax raising/spending policies have been anathema in rep circles for years. Certainly infra will need dem votes, but maybe abolition of hastert rule too… will this happen? (I think trump gets his way, but how long will it be before spending kicks in? A year? And recent good sales are entirely on line, lots of brick mortar malls and their workers going under in Jan… sears kmart of course, but many others.)

      1. hunkerdown

        John k, why are you conflating working class and middle class? The middle class is too few to matter.

  29. JCC

    You’re right, Lambert, “Stop Crying Wolf” is today’s Must Read.

    An excellent slam on cognitive bias and a healthy reminder of what MSM and our divisive politicians and pundits go out of their way to take advantage of – a lack of time and effort on the part of the general population for critical reasoning.

    From Breitbart to the NYTimes we have been surrounded by bullshit for ages, not just this election.

  30. DJG

    Gopnick letter: I will take a pass for now. Sorry. I received yesterday the latest New Yorker, which contains much clueless maundering about the election. I did read Toni Morrison’s essay (also cited above) and found it impenetrable and poorly written.

    But if Gopnick is evoking Albert Camus and his series, Letter to a German Friend, well, I’m all for bringing Albert Camus into the discussion, even though, of course, he is a Dead White Man. Camus lived a life full of doubt and self-doubt, but when he wrote, he was able to ask questions that still vex us. And Camus didn’t even have an M.F.A.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Glad I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed with the Toni Morrison essay. I got the point but it was overwhelming in execution.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I didn’t find the Gopnik piece as bad as I expected (admittedly my expectations were set pretty low). There is a fair amount of ivory tower liberalism, but the process he describes for taking political action when you don’t have any representation is more or less the same as moving the Overton window – even though he doesn’t put it in those terms.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I didn’t read the piece, but i also don’t really get the strong objection to the cited quote,

        “The really great changes of our lifetime were all social and cultural in the first place, and political only later. ”

        It’s pretty subjective, but I agree with the quote that hierarchically, culture is situated above and drives politics more so than the opposite. It’s obviously a two way street in real life though.

  31. temporal


    And Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 was as rigid and empty as it was when she lost in 2008. Still, Sanders helped Clinton lose. His insurgency pushed her too far left to prevent an effective re-centering in the fall, while goading her into wooing different constituencies rather than uniting the nation.

    Negating Trump’s populist rhetoric with Reaganism on steroids would have won the day for sure. If she could have only run as Ted Cruz or maybe Rush Limbaugh she would have taken the ribbon.

    I remember all those lefty positions she was forced by Sanders to take like it never happened. If only Bernie hadn’t endorsed her, HRC would be awaiting coronation. That was the big problem right there.

    Some history professors apparently being significantly less informed than others.
    ( I had to remove a bunch of text to get past the moderation-borg. )

    1. OIFVet

      The Time piece is no doubt one of the most obnoxious paeans to Third Way centrism that ever assaulted my intelligence. The credentialed perfessor’s complaint that Sanders forced Madame Secretary into placating “loyalists” that she “should have been able to take for granted” was a hoot. I weep for the future of the young minds at McGill that have the misfortune to be miseducated in the perfessor’s lecture hall.

      1. fred

        I notice that Ctrl-F doesn’t bring up any reference to “immigration”. Surprising how that was not a topic of concern to anyone this year.

      2. Katharine

        “Should have been able to take for granted.” Dear God. Does he still not understand that taking people for granted is the problem?

    2. Wombat

      Times article: “…..that it was “our time” as women to win the presidency—an appeal that, surprisingly, bored younger women.”

      To paraphrase Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem from earlier in the year- There is a special place in hell for these young ladies. Clearly they are just hanging out with the Bernie crowd so they can get the young boys.

      And we have our newest scapegoat: the “bored” young women who used their free will at the ballot box…. so outlandish they weren’t with Her.

    3. Tonto2

      “Some history professors apparently being significantly less informed than others.”

      Very politely stated. My first guess was that Professor Troy must have taken a stupid pill the size of a manhole cover just before writing that garbage

  32. Bill

    Senate Democrats’ Surprising Strategy: Trying to Align With Trump NYT

    Trump’s Team Makes Overtures to Democrats as Transition Push Ramps Up WSJ

    Trump et al providing cover to select Dems to supplement their salaries more widely too, while on the public dole ?

  33. funemployed

    Held my nose and entered the faceborg out of sense of civic duty to educate my sheltered coastal friends. wrote this on July 21. Reposted today. Don’t expect many likes. (proof available on request)

    “Just watched Trump’s speech. Before that, I had been regretting not trying to beat the odds in political futures markets, but it just got a whole lot realer than that. I no longer see a viable path to a Clinton victory. The pundits will surely focus on all the inanity and falsehoods, but they have been 99% wrong about everything for close to a year now, and anyone who still takes their opinions seriously does so only out of fear and blind faith. There were more than a few political masterstrokes, including the not at all unintentional leak of the script.

    Funny thing is, Trump off the cuff is actually much more effective than Trump reading a speech (anyone who talks shit about how he talks but hasn’t sat down for 45 minutes and listened to him do his thing, stfu until you do – Hillary can’t hold a candle holder that couldn’t hold a candle, and that’s from someone who wants her to win). Script reading awkwardness didn’t matter though. Multiple shout outs to Bernie Sanders were well received. As was one of his few improvisations where he talked about how happy he was, as a Republican, to hear cheers for protecting LGBTQ people from “foreign ideologies.” Shout outs to the critical rust belt states (particularly the workers therein) also got much applause. There were a bunch of other things in there that signal a fundamental shift happening in the Republican party, but like the inclusion of Glass-Steagall in the platform, the “smart” people will ignore their significance. It’s not their fault, none of the people they talk to on the Acela train get it either. And why would they talk to anyone who doesn’t ride that? I mean, those people are barely even human.

    It’s time for all of us who call ourselves progressives to spend some time alone with our mirrors. It was the Clintons who oversaw financial deregulation, an end to “welfare as we knew it,” an unprecedented expansion of the carceral state, the new bipartisanism of neoconservative foreign policy, and the final abandonment of labor by the Democratic party in favor of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. They are masters of political correctness who used that mastery to do more harm to black and working-class America than Trump ever has or ever could. We supported them all the way. Now a right-wing nationalist has moved to the left of the “democratic” party on trade, foreign policy, banking, and rhetorically, lobbying. We sowed the shit out of some wind. Now it’s time to reap the whirlwind. God help us all.”

    1. Pat


      And not many of the people I am around would listen to it either. Too bad. They might learn something, but they are too smart.

    2. OIFVet

      Ha! Forget the likes, challenging my liberal friends’ blind loyalty to Clinton by juxtaposing FDR’s famous “I welcome their hatred” with Clinton’s de facto “I welcome their money” behavior got me disinvited from a wine and cheese gathering. How could good liberals engage in guilt-free virtue signalling in the presence of a crank?

  34. Optimader

    New York vows Islamic State will not ruin Thanksgiving parade Reuters. E. Mayer: “Maybe the parade organizers could appease ISIS by featuring a giant balloon mock-up of The Prophet? Just trying to think outside the box here.”

    Retool Pinocchio? That should get the no image of whathizname in the Holiday Spirit! They can have a Turkey courtesy decapitation kiosk! ( the bird not the country)

    1. JohnnyGL

      I was thinking it would be easier if we could just tell the CIA to stop giving them weapons, but we can try your approach, too! :)

    2. Carolinian

      Really. Let’s not go Charlie Hebdo around here. Depictions of the prophet are considered sacreligious by many Muslims, not just ISIS. Making fun of that is….?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was thinking the same.

        Perhaps here, we can hope that economic self-interest will trump religious fanaticism.

        To be sure, economic self-interest has conquered many a high-minded (sounding) politician. Perhaps it’s universally useful.

  35. Paid Minion


    Timken is Exhibit A for why the private equity vultures should be the first guys to meet the “Torch and Pitchfork” crowd.

    Maybe a story should be done on Signature Flight Support. Even the cellphone companies could learn a thing or two from them about pizzing off almost all their customers, and treating the employees like shit.

    And by getting away with all of it, by being the “only game in town” for services.

  36. John Zelnicker

    “(Sessions, incidentally, was the only Senator with the stones to go into the locked room where the text of the TPP was kept, and read a summary of what he found into the record.)”

    This is the one and only reason I am proud of my Senator. He has been opposed to TPP from the beginning.

  37. Altandmain

    The fatal flaw is that the Democrats don’t “want” to do the right thing, which is to acknowledge that it was a vote on the failings of the Democratic Party in its appallingly poor ethics, in the Democrat’s neoliberal direction which has failed so many people, and in literally going out of their way to discourage people from voting for them.

    They made no attempts to reconcile with the truth and that is that they have nobody but themselves to blame. Looking at these links, what I don’t see is any prominent Establishment Democrats recognizing that Bernie Sanders and the left had a point, much less proposing real corrective action. There is also the matter that I don’t see very many people acknowledging in the Party itself how bad her campaign was run.

    Behind the closed doors, the dark side of this is that they would rather have lost with Clinton than won with Sanders. It is what their donors wanted. Had a grassroots campaign won with Sanders, it would have fundamentally changed how the Democrats did business. Instead they are using literally everyone else as a scapegoat and trying to pretend that their party is not so rotten that people don’t see right through them for what they really are.

    Clinton was literally the antithesis of Sanders. She accepted money from sources that were rightfully questioned and adopted a pro-war, pro-Wall Street platform at odds with what the left, along with independents wanted.

    Unless the left takes the party, there’s a high probability that 2020 might be a nasty surprise for the party.

    1. cwaltz

      2020? Try 2018. They are already facing a really difficult map in 2018. 25 of the 33 seats up for election are theirs. If they don’t get their collective crap together they may be facing extinction by 2020.

      Right now 48 seats are held by them or people who caucus with them. If they lose 10 of them (See Hill, Town Hall and Politico articles) they lose the means to even filibuster President Trump and the RNC.

      They think they are irrelevant now? If they don’t give the electorate a reason to vote for them by 2018 they can kiss their sweet cashola goodbye since they’ll be no reason to buy them off.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Er, had you actually read the links, you would see this item is first under Post Mortem. Consider doing that.

      I don’t know what you mean by “Obama’s radical supporters.” I didn’t know he had any.

  38. inhibi

    On “Mourning for Whiteness”:

    Always liked Morrison’s books, but I wouldn’t have thought she would write such a useless column in the New Yorker. Blacks are 12% of the population and there focus really needs to extend past the illusory realm of equality in numbers and more on escaping the black hole that is the welfare state.

    I’ve always wondered: with Hispanics perceived to have 30% of the population by 2050, why isn’t there larger media attention given to the lack of Hispanics in elite circles?

    1. craazyman

      she’s lost her marbles. Eventually people unshackle themselves from the past and see the present in all its complexity. sometimes it take a while

      I was in the wine store yesterday and saw a bottle of white wine called “White Girl”. No kidding!

      It’s on the internet too! Some gonzo marketing dude who’s evidently Jewish, as his PR describes it, cooked it up and is making it a brand.

      I thought at first — “wow what if somebody cooked up “Black Girl” wine? How far would that fly? About as far as a lead pipe with feathers. I almost said something to the cashier, who I sort of know, but she’s a black girl making a hourly wage working hard, and she’s young. It would just not have been appropriate. I didn’t buy it anyway. I bought a bottle of Portugese red. But it frankly sort of shocked me to see it — “White Girl Wine” — a little anyway.

      That may be the true test of sanity — when Black Girl and White Girl wines are side by side in the wine store and nobody cares. Or maybe they care enough to say “C;mon man! Call it something else. Really. Maybe “Hot Girl” wine — Or “Cold Girl” wine ” Frankly that’s the way it is on the street & I always like them both! hahahahahah. Hot is hot.

      And cold is cold. Some people are just cold and it’s not their skin.

        1. Clive

          No, please don’t do that! Believe me, you’re not doing yourself or anyone else any favours. That’s not the way these sorts of filters work. It might fool the algos in the short term but you’re more likely to hit another, different, tripwire that’s much less forgiving.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Clive is correct. What you are doing is training skynet to believe you are a bot, because you are doing something that bots do.

          Skynet will let you get away with that once or twice, but once you’ve trained Skynet you’re a bot, it’s very hard to untrain it.

        3. craazyman

          I’m not that desperate! hahahahha. LOL

          I would never do something that ridiculous. That’s just trying waaaaay to hard.

          Also I’m just whining for the fun of it.

      1. Clive

        I’ve just released you and some other non-ne’re-do-wells who are usually mostly harmless. There’s far more than usual that I can see in Skynet’s clutches and I assuming this is due to vastly higher traffic, because, well, you know, the election.

        There’s a fair few others which I’ve had to leave and it is a really tricky task to moderate with compassion but not taking any crap. For a start, you need cultural knowledge. I moderate a specialist patient group blog and I can tell in an instant who is trying to make a legitimate point but perhaps has gone a bit over the top with the links or is letting their frustration show in their tone vs. who is blatantly trolling. But I can only do this for English people commenting on English matters. When I look at US people’s comments, I often try to get the underlying motivation behind their comment but I simply can’t read the vibes behind their choices of words. Yves and Lambert, conversely, can pick that up in a flash and either mete out a well-deserved whacking or respond appropriately. So please be patient if you’ve been modded. And I think I can see why the above got modded.

        And I get modded too! (slightly more than usual in the past week or so). There is really nothing behind this, the Skynet algorithms are what they are. There’s nothing that the management can do to make it less intrusive so please go easy on them if they don’t spend every waking minute working the queue.

        Also, you should see the cesspool that Skynet keeps from your tender eyeballs. If you could suss out what’s lurking (mercifully trapped in backstage), you’d be appalled. Honestly, it makes me question my faith in civilization.

        1. ambrit

          Just a glimpse of the creepy crawlies entrapped in the Skynet Pentacle will make a good Fundamentalist turn Manichee.

  39. Brad

    On the white supremacy in the USA question, I’d recommend the current PBS (yeah I know) documentary on the Civil Rights Movement to gain some perspective on the vastly improved situation today.

    Most interesting was what happened when King decided to move his campaign North to Chicago in 1967. King was stunned by the ferocity of the reaction when he and supporters held a rally in a white neighborhood. Worse than anything he’d ever saw in the South. Another march in the working class suburb of Cicero was planned, but King was pressured by Daley into calling it off. It went forward anyway with a dissident faction led by Jessie Jackson that was also not pledged to non-violence. There they were greeted by thousands of that peculiar species, the Howling White Race Monkey, jumping up and down like crazed baboons. If that seems gratuitous, go see the documentary and tell me that “monkey” doesn’t come to mind. Cicero today is Latino.

    That doesn’t happen much anymore these days.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Not sure I can stomach the PBS, but my take on MLK has always been that he was pretty much acceptable so long as he was targeting deplorable racist southern sheriffs (played by Rod Stieger, naturellement). But when he pointed his guns northward, and took aim at the Vietnam War and poverty in general, he suddenly became persona non grata. This is borne out in all of the history textbooks I have seen, where his history seems to stop with the “I Have a dream” speech– totally omitting his Riverside Church Speech and the Poor People’s Campaign.

  40. Little Dan

    re: “Somewhere along the line Buzzfeed turned into a news-gathering organization. How do these things happen?” I’m convinced that Jonah Peretti had a master plan to create a juggernaut media organization. Maybe this will be old news to you all but this paper he wrote during undergrad seems very illuminating.

    “My central contention is that late capitalism not only accelerates the flow of capital, but also accelerates the rate at which subjects assume identities. Identity formation is inextricably linked to the urge to consume, and therefore the acceleration of capitalism necessitates an increase in the rate at which individuals assume and shed identities. The internet is one of many late capitalist phenomena that allow for more flexible, rapid, and profitable mechanisms of identity formation.”

    memes -> viral engagement -> huge ad money & corporate sponsorships -> complement the dum stuff with “serious” (expensive) journalism.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for that link!! And identity politics + late capitalism. Ben Norton summarizes Adolph Reed: “Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism.” Reed himself:

      race politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature. An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do. As I have argued, following Walter Michaels and others, within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people. It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class.

      This perspective may help explain why, the more aggressively and openly capitalist class power destroys and marketizes every shred of social protection working people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations have fought for and won over the last century, the louder and more insistent are the demands from the identitarian left that we focus our attention on statistical disparities and episodic outrages that “prove” that the crucial injustices in the society should be understood in the language of ascriptive identity.

  41. cwaltz

    I think a truer statement would be, being SMUG, no longer matters. The overly credentialed ,excessively proud, self congratulatory liberals lost. They lost because it never occurred to them that you can be intelligent and disagree with them. It is possible to be smart and hold a job that might make the trade policies forwarded by the democratic party unpalatable. It is possible to be smart and recognize that ACA hurt many people by increasing premiums and deductibles making health care as unaffordable as ever. It is possible to be smart and have concerns about how our foreign policy might be impacted by someone who ignored national security for her own convenience and potentially to avoid FOIA and who took sizable donations from foreign nations and who also seemed to benefit from those donations in terms of foreign policy. See Yemen and Syria. All in all there were very reasonable and intelligent reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton and the DNC that have nothing to do with the isms that are bandied about as the excuses for a Trump win.

  42. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Simpsons: University of Glasgow launches course on philosophy of Homer Simpson

    Finally! An important topic worth exploring in an academic setting.

    “I won’t apologize, Lisa. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way that I am.” -Homer Simpson

    Homer resolves a potential existential crisis by reconciling two conflicting thoughts/feelings within the span of seconds. Amazing!

    Click here for more quotes.

  43. Jim Haygood

    Hard times for one of Hillary’s biggest billionaire backers, Haim Saban:

    The Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications will lay off almost 6 percent of its workforce — between 200 and 250 people — after it slipped into the red last quarter, the company announced Wednesday.

    The layoffs, along with a planned restructuring, “are in response to difficult times, challenging times,” Isaac Lee, Univision’s digital, entertainment and news chief, told The Washington Post in his first public comments on the moves. “We need to position ourselves for the future.”

    Univision had a third-quarter net loss of $30.5 million on total revenue of $735 million, down 8 percent.

    As its traditional audience of Latino television watchers becomes older or cuts the cord, the company will also continue to chase what it sees as its savior: the English-language, digital, millennial audience.

    Univision is privately held. Its chairman is billionaire investor Haim Saban.

    Turns out the Spanish-speaking perros won’t eat their politically-correct comida either.

    Who could’ve known? Whatever happened to ethnic bloc voting? /sarc

  44. Brad

    Trump’s lobbyist ban threatens to hobble transition

    This might have something to do the Christie shuffle and “turmoil” commentary. Also the “conflict of interest’ line.

    “While Trump first proposed the five-year lobbying ban during his now-famous’ [NOW it’s ‘famous’!] “drain the swamp” speech in October, few expected him to actually follow through on the pledge” [because few expected Trump to win] ” — which is more stringent than Obama’s lobbying restrictions. Obama banned administration officials from contacting their former agency for two years, but they could still lobby other parts of the government.”

    “Top-tier talent” in “the influence sector” worried. I’d guess these are a key part of Politico readership. Not that the Trump Admin isn’t fully capable of the nepotic – crony circle form of corruption, as opposed to systemic Versailles corruption. In a potential irony for Bannon’s Judeo-Christian Capitalist White Knight vs. Evil Crony Capitalism (Putin) theme. On Bannon, please note the “Eurasian miscegenation” theme taken with the Russkies in the transcript, one prevalent in Eastern Europe and Ukraine. “Semi-Asiatic halfbreeds”. Don’t be naive about the ideology in play here.

  45. Dave

    CWaltz, This really is the Snicker Season for

    “The largest oil deposit ever found in America was just discovered in Texas…”
    I wonder if they held off on announcing this until after the election?
    Note, Texas has an oil extraction tax.

    California does not have an oil extraction tax. Governor Jerry Brown’s family owns huge amounts of Occidental Petroleum stock in a blind trust. Ah, the smell of Democratic corruption in mourning. ;-)

    Now that the west coast stripper wells are running dry and producing in some cases, four to five gallons a day of crude, less than the cost of the electricity to run the nodding horse head wells, a state senator finally proposes a tax.

    Water in California is the equivalent of oil elsewhere. Plenty of shenanigans from the governor toward his donorshed around that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Water in California.

      Californians will be using more water to clean those reusable grocery bags, and instead of getting free ones from the market and using them for trash, they can purchase their own by getting thicker bags.

      1. Anon

        Well, it’s not just the litter of “free” plastic bags that pushed the approval of the bag ban. ALL the plastic in cups (and the sugared-coffee contained there-in) and fast-food “plates” seems to end up strewn across the landscape. (When you have 38 million residents a 5% litter rate makes for a helluva’ mess.)

        I re-used the “free” bags as waste containers and will miss them, but the landscape and coastal zone I live in will not.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          More that just those.

          You got plastic toys, plastic or glass jars, plastic medicine bottles. etc.

          Washing any of them will require water. Perhaps outright ban on all of them.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Probably got everything:

            Deflated balloons
            Syringe tubes
            Milk bottles
            Ping pong balls
            Dry Laundry bags
            Joint/Cigarette lighters
            DVD disks
            Adult diapers
            Discarded condoms

            Basically, products required for your ‘modern living.’

            Hopefully, they don’t ban one-use condom.

  46. Brad

    OK last one. “Obama urges Trump to stand up to Russia”. Obama hasn’t read the Bannon transcript apparently.

    Laugh line: “But Russia also diverges sharply from the U.S. on values like democracy, freedom of speech, international sovereignty and territorial integrity, he noted.”

    Obama, and everyone, needs to read Seth Ackerman’s piece on the reality of the US political system up on Jacobin:

    Here Ackerman ranks the USA with Belarus and Singapore on the democracy scale and indeed explicitly characterizes it as a Russian-like “soft authoritarian” regime. I’ve always thought the USA possessed a distinct “Russkieness” to it, not surprising for a continent-country with a historic background of relative labor shortage and rich in natural resources.

    However, I think the USA’s political restrictiveness *does* directly stem for the founders and their constitution. It’s an 18th C vintage Whig clique constitution in neo-classical dress.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ve always thought the USA possessed a distinct “Russkieness”

      Yes, we are a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual empire of continental scope, that acquired contiguous territory by accretion, ruled by a decadent police state. There are many similarities, including waiting in line a a lot, and mordant humor.

    2. JSM

      JSM was struck by the same line in the Jacobin piece. ‘Authoritarian democracy’ was making the rounds in the primaries.

      When Jill Stein can be zip-tied to a chair for hours on end, all for merely attending the 2012 presidential debates, why quibble about whether parties are banned by law, or as in the US, laws ‘not directly intended’ to achieve that de facto result, ruling power conspiracies, and arbitrary police action.

  47. Jeff W

    “Being smart, it seems, no longer matters.”

    Well, I’d say “being smart about the wrong things probably doesn’t help much.” You can be smart about shifting your policies from supporting the, uh, people to supporting your corporate donors because that’s where the big bucks are. You can be smart about being ever-so-slightly less evil than the other party so that you garner the support of people who feel forced to choose your party over the more evil one. You can be smart about differentiating yourself on “identity politics” because it’s better to have people not paying attention to your neoliberal, corporatist policies or those endless wars. But then, after a while, people figure out that maybe you’re not acting fully in the public interest, and, since, ostensibly, you still need the votes of people to get into office, the whole thing turns out to be, well, not so smart.

  48. Jim

    “The Archdruid report is useful but Greer should read Thomas Frank. Then he will stop conflating “Left” and “Liberal.”

    The “Left” as well as the center-left/center-right (Hillary/traditional conservative Republican crowd) both are strong supporters of a social-cultural liberalism, that since the 1960s has heavily promoted individual rights and an equality of opportunity for self-expression.

    The “Right” since at least the early 1980s( along with the Hillary crowd) has supported an economic political liberalism that champions “free markets” liberated from the bureaucratic State.

    Put together, these two trends have served the purposes of the highly centralized State and the globalized market that has resulted in an unprecedented concentration of power and wealth.

    The liberal left and significant portions further left tend to celebrate a negative cultural and sexual liberty while the Liberal right tends to celebrate an economic and political negative liberty.

    The Left’s defense of existing negative liberty (and not being willing to think beyond it) ends up undermining all modes of freedom because it tends to shut down debate about substantive ends.

    It ends up bringing about exactly the kinds of intolerant liberalism(blatantly on display these days) it ascribes to all non-liberal positions.

    Is there anyplace for a positive concept of liberty in 2016?

  49. Synapsid

    That 20-billion-barrel oil “deposit” in Texas, isn’t.

    What the USGS announced was undiscovered, technically-recoverable oil. That means that the geology is consistent with there being 20 billion barrels of oil there that would be recoverable with current technology if, in fact, there is oil there.

    The only way to find out is to drill. That’s an economic decision to be made by oil companies.

    Undiscovered technically-recoverable oil is counted as possible resource. “Resource” is not the same as “reserves”–reserves can be reported to the SEC, and there has to be economic justification for the classification according to SEC rules. Reserves are what Wall Street pays attention to. “Resource” says nothing at all about whether the oil can be recovered at a profit; that would require supplying a price per barrel, and the USGS does not deal in economics of oil extraction nor should it.

  50. ewmayer

    o “Why Rudy Giuliani Shouldn’t Be Secretary of State Editorial Board, NYT” — Lemme guess: Because Vicky Nuland and her hubby Robert Kagan would be sooo much better? But silver-lining-wsie for the NYT: y’all have no credibility left to lose, so keep the pompous inanity coming!

    o “Swedish women get hotline to report mansplaining Independent (Furzy Mouse)” — Dear Swedish women: the best way to get a man to stop ‘splainin’ was well-known to your female ancestors: hand him a horn of mead or other potent potable. (“I was gonna say “hand him his bow and quiver and tell him to get dinner”, but I suppose nowadays that modality might be frowned upon. “Tell him to fix X on the family car” might still work, though – men instinctively feel useful when holding either a weapon or its modern substitute, the socket wrench.)

  51. Plenue

    The Admiral Kuznetsov isn’t really comparable to our supercarriers. It’s not an aircraft carrier for one thing; it’s a heavy missile cruiser with a flight deck and a small number of aircraft. Its primary function is as a cruise missile delivery system. The idea that it’s adding nothing to the fight is pure nonsense, it’s been demolishing militant infrastructure for the last few days. It isn’t really necessary though, and was likely deployed for a combination of reasons: to give crews experience, as a show of force and weapon advertisement, to allow weapon designers the chance to observe gear in active use, and as an internal political matter to appease the navy by letting them take part in the war before its over.

  52. Jim

    The long, difficult but necessary road(in order to induce a genuine shift of power) of moving towards a potential merger of right and left populists is in its first preliminary stages.

    Once concrete example is the relatively recent collaboration between Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts on economic issues.

    On cultural issues, a discussion of secular and nonsecular conceptions of capitalism/socialism seems to be a extremely contentious but also necessary debate between these two camps.

    Such a debate would highlight the fundamental ethical/moral assumptions of both camps and the possibilities of finding common ground.

    1. ambrit

      So, Bloomberg can get things right! The man accomplished what he claimed to want to get done. This entire Bannon controversy, (is he, perhaps related to ‘Race’ Bannon, the (in)famous “Right Hand Man” to the secretive Dr. Quest,) begs the politico-sphere to begin re-imagining what it means to be “Right Wing” in America. The so called Leftists are now acting like authoritarians while so called Rightists are acting like grass roots populists.
      The election night H Clinton “party” should have ended with a rousing version of “The World Turned Upside Down.”

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