Links 11/18/16

Our 86 Billion Neurons: She Showed It New York Review of Books. Why are humans smarter? We learned to cook.

Climate change in pictures Al Jazeera. Will those cooking skills come to naught? Sobering photos.

Why The Permian Just Got Even Hotter

CalSTRS calculates total fees in likely first for public pension Reuters

History revisited: How Tughlaq’s currency change led to chaos in 14th century India Scroll.  Modi’s not the first Indian leader to trigger chaos with an inept demonetization plan.

For the first time in India, the rich beg the poor to help them Sydney Morning Herald (Martha R).

Totally Out of Touch: Nicolas Sarkozy Seeks “Marshall Plan” for Africa Michael Shedlock. E. Mayer: “I was going to say something sardonic about the French role in destroying a relatively peaceful and prosperous Libya, but then it occurred to me that the original Marshall Plan started with devastated countries, so perhaps Sarkozy in his wisdom is proposing ‘destroy, then rebuild in our image’. Have they awarded this year’s Nobel Peace prize yet?”

Portugal: Fifteen years of decriminalised drug policy Al Jazeera

Snow leopard ‘rape’: what was really going on? The Conversation

Bogus claims by homeopathic drug makers will now face wrath of FTC Ars Technica

The Professor Who Had to Spend Half His Life to Make the Drug India Needs The Wire. Tale of Professor Sujoy Kumar Guha’s so far unrealized 37-year quest to develop and launch a reversible male contraceptive.

Inequality, Market Chaos and Angry Voters Der Spiegel. Much to mull here.

Another reason to ditch brain training: A declining mind may make you wiser Ars Technica

Steve Bannon And ‘Seinfeld’: Rob Reiner ‘Sick’ Over Deal With Donald Trump’s Adviser International Business Times


JPMorgan settles bribery case for US$264 million after probe into Chinese hires SCMP

The Indonesian fire play Al Jazeera

Government scraps plans for controversial nationality census for 2-5 year-olds in humiliating U-turn The Independent


How the House of Commons will fight Brexit Politico

Wolfgang Schäuble sets out tough line on Brexit FT

Barclays boss: London’s ‘gravitational pull’ on finance will not wane after Brexit Daily Telegraph. Wishful thinking will count for little if passporting is withdrawn.


‘Isis is full of killers, the worst come from Tal Afar’: Bitter fight for city ahead and the violence may not end there Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


Gnashing of Teeth and Rending Of Garments

Obama Is Warning America About Trump’s Presidency. Are You Listening? New Republic. About what you would expect, but one line made me chuckle: “Obama’s presidency was historically uncorrupt and free from major scandal…”–  that’s if we conveniently forget the FBI was investigating the SoS.

We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions Vox. Textbook example of the calm analysis we expect from our Matty (irony alert).

Eight steps reporters should take before Trump assumes office Columbia Journalism Review. File under: Isn’t this bleeding obvious? Do MSM reporters actually need to be told to do this stuff?  Oh, right, after their stunning success in illuminating the actions of HRC and her entourage, I guess maybe they do.

2016 Post Mortem

Hillary Clinton deserved to lose New Statesman. Well argued and right on.

How Obama’s Legacy Lost the Elections for Hillary Common Dreams

What Obama Got Right The Atlantic. I thought that one silver lining to the election of Trump would be to drive a stake through the heart of the legacy journalism vampire.  For it should be clear to any sentient person, there’s a straight line between the Obamamometer’s policy failures and the rise of Trump. I was wrong. The fawning tributes continue. Don’t read this with a full stomach.

Why Hillary Clinton deserved to lose Malaysia Outlook. I don’t agree with every sentence in this piece. But there’s much to ponder herein– much of which you wouldn’t  see in the US/UK MSM. And it’s in a source I doubt many Links readers see regularly.

Facebook Didn’t Tilt the Election Bloomberg.

Jesse Jackson: Obama should pardon Hillary Clinton Detroit Free Press Don’t agree that he should but still think he will.

In The Hollow Harper’s.  DK: “If I hear the words ‘flyover zone’, ‘stupid’, or ‘uneducated’ once more to refer to Appalachians, I don’t know what I’ll do. ”

Trump: a preposterous answer to a serious grievance Prospect

Trump in the White House: An Interview With Noam Chomsky TruthOut

Beyond the Hollow Ones Counterpunch

2020 presidential candidates, ranked by Vegas odds San Francisco Chronicle. For those of you who can’t live without campaign horse race coverage….

Whither the Economy?

Fed chief Yellen stands by central bank independence FT

Trumponomics: It’s Not All Crazy Counterpunch. Dean Baker’s take.

Trump Transition

FCC abides by GOP request, deletes everything from meeting agenda Ars Technica

Trump asks Flynn, a fiery general, to be top adviser and plans Romney meeting WaPo

#NeverTrump Neocons Try to Make Peace With “Unfit” President The Intercept

Donald Trump’s pledge to ‘drain the swamp’ and ban lobbyists complicates administration hiring Independent

Daniel Larison Giuliani Might Be Even Worse Than Bolton American Conservative

How Wall Street Firms Make Money From Donald Trump’s Prison Policy International Business Times

Donald Trump’s Children Won’t Have White House Roles WSJ. That’s settled then. Instead, they’ll  run his business empire.

What Happens if Trump Never Fills All Those Empty Positions in the Executive Branch? Vice

From the Shop Floor to the White House Jacobin

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Jim Haygood

    Here we go again:

    [Trump] proposed a tax cut that would cost, according to his own preferred estimate, $4.4 trillion. And to pay for it, his campaign proposed a new kind of analysis, an economic model radically more complex than what either academics or policymakers have tried in the past.

    All aspects of Trump’s plan, including trade and regulatory rollbacks, would be part of the analysis. Together, the campaign argued, they would create enough growth, and therefore enough tax revenue, to offset all but about $200 billion of those tax cuts.

    In 2017 dynamic scoring will let the Republican majority offer tax cuts without having to offset them entirely with spending cuts. It may even offer infrastructure spending—without having to renege on the promise of tax cuts. If the models are right, they’re right. If they’re wrong, the tax cuts will be a debt-driven Keynesian stimulus.

    “Radically more complex” … yeah, that sounds promising.

    While economists fiddle with their dynamic scoring models, markets have hiked yields on 10-year Treasuries nearly half a percentage point this month. This morning the yield reached a fresh high of 2.28%, up from 1.80% the week before the election.

    Given the incentives that face elected governments — front-load spending; back-load costs — debt inexorably rises. That dynamic models almost never assume a recession makes their output useless in the eighth year of an unusually prolonged expansion, except for marketing purposes.

    1. Procopius

      Well, if he wants to try a “yuuuuuge” deficit to get us to full employment I’m OK with that. At this point it’s not going to give us hyper inflation, and most economists seem to think that we need more inflation than we’ve got now. When I was a kid inflation was normally expected to be 3-5% a year. Then in the ’70s Volcker took advantage of the sudden high inflation caused by the two oil embargoes to crush unions, and since then the fat cats have been congratulating themselves that they learned how to control the economy. Then they set a ceiling ‘way too low and now we’re stuck at the zero lower bound. My only problem is that it might very well work and then we’ll be stuck with Trump for 8 years instead of 4.

    1. Mark Alexander

      I was one of those 5.67%. It was gonna be either Bernie, or Vermin Supreme.

      I have a relative who blames “Bernie purists” like me for Trump’s victory. Apparently this is one of the blame cannons deployed by NPR or the NYT — or maybe both.

      1. MtnLife

        Ditto on both counts. I usually go Vermin (I finally met him this year too!) but this year voting for Bernie felt like a stronger repudiation of the system, especially as a Vermonter where that vote would be counted.

      2. voteforno6

        Whoever said that victory has a 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan obviously never met the Clintons.

      3. Anne

        Yeah, I get that “purist” nonsense from people when I tell them I voted for Stein (I’d have written in Bernie if he’d been on the ballot in MD as a write-in candidate – figured I’d at least try to add to the percentage of the Green vote to get it to 5%), but I’m not taking the blame for Clinton’s loss or Trump’s victory. I tell them it isn’t that I’m any kind of purist, it’s that I can no longer participate in lowering the standards by always voting for the lesser of two evils – all that has gotten us is closer to the bottom of the barrel.

        My current state of mind can be summed up here

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          You should ask about the whereabouts of the “moderate suburban Republicans” Hillary courted so aggressively. I thought they were going to rock the vote for Hillary.

          1. Pavel

            Apparently in 2008 about 50K Michigan voters left the POTUS portion blank (“None of the above”). In 2016 it was 100K. And HRC lost Michigan by 13,000 voters. So maybe she should blame those “Uninspired” for her loss. Or maybe blame those $28,000 plate dinners with George Clooney. I’m sure those really impressed the Rust Belt working class folks.

      1. cwaltz

        They also may be one election cycle away from a filibuster proof majority.

        2018 they only have 8 of the 33 seats to defend.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Adelson and the Kochs and Waltons and such are beside themselves, peeing their pants, at the prospect…
          Won’t even need a constitutional convention — just a set of ‘business-friendly’ amendments and repeals… “Person” re-defined to = “corporation.” Stuff like that.

            1. UserFriendly

              That would involve admitting that tampering wasn’t enough to elect the queen of corruption over the pussy grabber.

          1. cwaltz


            They thought the Democrats were going to retake the Senate this year. I predicted they wouldn’t. I predict that unless something major happens and the GOP has learned nothing from 2000-2006 that they will keep the House and the Democrats will become more irrelevant.

            I will say their strategy of working with Trump on things like infrastructure is kind of a Hail Mary and might just play into the position that it’s Democrats blowing up the budget instead of the GOP. However, given the fact they now, with all their hubris of last cycle where they insisted they didn’t need independants and that those stupid kids would hold their noses and vote Hillary, they now control NOTHING and have little to no choice. They have to hope the GOP overplays its hands or that Trump throws them a few bones. Brilliant strategerying there.

            1. UserFriendly

              I’m not sure Trump voters are all solidly R’s for life. We had so much Split tickets, and we didn’t even have a senator on the ballot.

              Listen to “How Minnesota voted in the Presidential Race”

              We have 3 rural congressional districts (1, 7, and 8) that all went hard for Trump and elected D reps. At least one Nolan, MN-8, is a real progressive. Clinton lost all of those districts by 50-100k votes.

              She did very well in urban MN-4, and MN-5 (Ellison); better than Obama.

              And Clinton won MN-3, a suburban district that re-elected a Repub.

              Suburban MN-2 was the only open seat, was a slight D favor and R won (A former right wing radio nut), not sure how Clinton did but if the D didn’t win, with no incumbent I’d say Trump carried.

              No word on suburban / rural MN-6 (Bachman’s old district) but since it’s the most R one in state I’d bet that is how it went.

              Overall I think this was a rejection of Clinton, not an embrace of the GOP, unfortunately they took it out on the state house and senate too, but that was largely about Obamacare, from what I can tell.

    2. ocop

      I wrote him in here in Tennessee, lot of good it did, but I felt like the D’s needed one last explicit middle finger after the primary.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Thank you. I seriously doubt it will be the last one needed. They aren’t even zombies yet, much more, Whigs.

  2. Steve H.

    Brian Phillips at mtv may have been reading Outis:

    “So if the left found itself in the strange position of supporting science on the one hand while insisting that truth was a cultural construct on the other, the right found itself in the even stranger position of investing in meaning even as it dissociated itself from fact. Evolution was a myth and climate change was a hoax, but philosophers still had access to objective truth, provided they had worn curly wigs and died enough centuries ago.”

    In fairness, he was exploring the theme last April:

    “Yet the forms through which we’re having this explained to us are the same old forms, and the cracks are showing, and it sometimes seems like the cracks are all that’s left. So we’re in a moment when an emoji feels like relief, because an emoji hasn’t been around long enough to be totally hollowed out by overmanipulation. Defiant nonsense feels like a better representation of the moment than carefully thought-out sense, because this is 2016; sense is suspect.”

    1. H. Alexander Ivey

      More from Brian Phillips at mtv (the lead-in are the statements from Facebook that they don’t do editorial work…)

      Facebook’s algorithm, which promotes some links over others and controls which links appear to which users, likewise reflects a series of editorial choices, and it is itself a bad choice, because it turns over the architecture of American information to a system that is infinitely scammable. I have my own issues with the New York Times, but when your all-powerful social network accidentally replaces newspapers with a cartel of Macedonian teens generating fake pro-Trump stories for money, then friend, you have made a mistake.

      Simply amazing! This old geezer never thought MTV would be capable of such insight on today’s culture—but then, old guy, they are today’s culture – eh, yeah, guess so…mumble mumble…

      Anyway, the posting is full of some excellent comments, several related to the ‘need to know’ in order to fight tyranny. It’s a sign to this old geezer that the young aren’t all lost in FB land.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Law ‘n order in California:

    James Lambert Otis, 52, made headlines on Oct. 26 after video of him taking a pick-axe to [Trump’s Hollywood] star went viral.

    A felony complaint filed by the D.A.’s office alleges Otis “did unlawfully and maliciously damage and destroy” property belonging to the city of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in an amount exceeding $400. If convicted as charged, he faces up to three years in jail.

    Ain’t that America — a $400 property damage threshold for a felony rap. Pieing a politician also brings a felony rap now.

    The Gulag is the health of the State.

    1. Waldenpond

      CA passed a threshold for theft felonies. When new laws are proposed, legislators are adding loopholes to the laws…. ex: the background law that just passed excludes ammo from the threshold for theft felony. The challenge isn’t trying to move forward to include other acts in the threshold amount, it’s a two-front battle to prevent the D legislators from defeating referendums piece by piece.

    2. Carl

      Ok Jim, that threshold seems a bit low but the fact is, the Lege has to keep on top of inflation and such when rewriting criminal statutes, and if they neglect it for a few years, you get results like this. Clearly, the CA Lege needs to revisit the felony thresholds for criminal mischief or whatever that crime is in their next session.

  4. johnnygl

    Can i just say that it is ridiculously warm for this time of year? It’s mid-november?!??! My pet theory is this is the lagged effects of the massive fires in indonesia’a peat bog forests a year ago.

    1. Ché Pasa

      Predicted cold here (Central NM) was 17 overnight. It never got much cooler than mid-20s. Been like that for most of the month, and day after day unseasonably warm, sometimes setting records.

      Forest and other fires have become so common, they’re normalized.

      The cumulative effects are stark.

    2. Carolinian

      Western North Carolina is on fire and we here to the south are waking up to smoky mornings. Supposedly Atlanta is also getting lots of smoke from fires in Georgia. Most unusual.

      As for Indonesia, wouldn’t smoke in the upper atmosphere block the sun and make the weather cooler? The reports I’ve seen blame it on El Nino.

    3. ambrit

      Warmer here in Mississippi as well. We’ve noticed that the weather prognosticators “predictions” are consistently coming in lower than the later actual observations. The meteorologist’s base line climate models seem to be out of date. The multi year trends will tell the tale. “Hottest winter” on record multiple years in a row is telling us something. The ‘killer’ is going to be when air conditioning becomes too expensive for “ordinary” people to afford. Electricity rates are rising as a share of household budgets, anecdotally that is. The underlying methodology for figuring out the financial side of basic infrastructure fees is highlighted in this squib from the University of North Carolina.
      /sarc on/ Of course, there is no “Global Warming,” just a reversion to the historical average. Average that is if you include the last several hundred million years. /sarc off/

      1. Lemmy

        It’s not just that AC becomes more expensive — it also puts a huge strain on our aging electric grid and increases the chances of more and longer outages. That long overdue investment in infrastructure is not just some amusing political football to be kicked back and forth — climate change is putting added stress on already weakened and vulnerable systems.

        1. Aumua

          I’d say the real issue is not that AC becomes expensive, or that there will be stress on our infrastructure, but that the surface of the planet will become too hot for life as we know it to survive in some places, and possibly over the entire planet if a runaway greenhouse effect kicks in. It’s not a given, but it is in the realm of possibilities.

          1. Lemmy

            Agree — skyrocketing AC usage is just another symptom that will add to the overall downward infrastructure spiral. Higher electricity demand = more coal-fired electrical-generation plant activity = more harmful pollutants = more global climate change.
            Similarly, more frequent torrential downpours innundate areas with inadequate storm drain systems, causing numerous sewage treatment plant overflows that allow 10’s of millions of gallons of raw sewage to discharge into rivers, lakes and watersheds.
            Or take the case of rising sea levels and the pressure they put on infrastructure in places like Miami Beach and new Orleans. Hundreds of pumps costing 100’s of millions of dollars are being installed and even so, they may not prevent the rising sea levels from reclaiming land currently occupied by millions of people and billions of dollars of real estate.
            Climate change puts additional stresses on aging or outdated infrastructure, greatly increasing the chances of a cascading series of failures that could set the country back 100 years in terms of power distribution, water supplies and sewer treatment and a host of other ammenities that make life as we currently know it possible.

        2. HotFlash

          It’s not just that AC becomes more expensive — it also puts a huge strain on our aging electric grid and increases the chances of more and longer outages. That long overdue investment in infrastructure

          Hadn’t thought about the infrastructure investment, and/or lack thereof, but of course that is how it is in the US, where private, for-profit ownership of utilities is the rule. In that case, even a massive (govt-pd) infrastructure push won’t help much, although I expect the electric companies’ private owners will find it a *HUGE* bonus.

          Here in Ontario we have publicly-owned Ontario Hydro and in my burg, publicly-owned Toronto Hydro. IOW, “our” grid really is our grid, and we can fix it for cost. Our infrastructure is pretty good, thanks, there is not much incentive to cut corners when you don’t have a profit motive. The service is pretty good, the rates are fairly reasonable. It’s not perfect (see former CEO’s Tom Parkinson and Eleanor_Clitheroe for just a couple of the scandals) but da-yum, we still get our electricity. Oh, and since they are us, they can happily urge us to use less energy — what for-profit utility could ethically do that?

      2. Carl

        Down here in South Texas, we still have 80% humidity and mosquitoes. We had to get the hell out a couple of weeks ago and went to Tucson, where we enjoyed 80 degree days and 50 degree nights with no humidity.

    4. Laruse

      It has been really warm in Central VA this autumn. Most years, we have thermostat wars amongst the family as I fight to keep the heat off before November 1. This year, the first time anyone even considered turning the heat on, it was the second week of November, and so far, it has been rare for the heat (set at 65 (F)) to kick on. We have had one light frost and no hard freezes. Tomorrow’s high is set to be 70 degrees. The average temp is 61. It has been absolutely beautiful weather, but it feels unnatural. Not quite as unsettling as the 83 degree high temperature on Christmas Eve last year, but it feels more like late September here rather than mid-November.

      1. Anne

        Supposed to be 70 by this afternoon, then snow flurries on Sunday, here in northern Maryland. Less use of the heat pump, for sure, and more time outside, which is nice – but it’s hard for the plants/flowers to go dormant when it doesn’t get cold and stay that way. On the other hand, a hard freeze, after an unusually early and extended spring thaw, kept the hydrangeas that had started leafing and budding last spring from blooming this year – though they did survive.

        1. Katharine

          While as for those cherry saplings that bloomed in January…!

          You could probably do a quantitative study of what trunk diameter saves them from that mistaken action. It was quite clear that thicker trees did not respond so disastrously.

        2. Gaianne

          In New England we lost a lot of our apples this year: Warm, early spring followed by late frost. Blossoms frostbit–no


    5. nippersdad

      The trees here in W Ga agree with you. They usually lose their leaves around Halloween, but they are at their peak color right now. It is going to be nearly eighty degrees today, and we haven’t had any rain for over two months.

      It is getting freaky out there.

      1. Gaianne

        Here in southern New England, the neighbor’s roses are blooming. I think they may be confused.

        The leaves have finally peaked here in town, and are starting to come down–fully a month late.

        It is warmer now than when I was a kid growing up outside of Washington DC.

        I am not complaining: The way of things is already clear. When coconut trees grow on the beaches people will say: “They have always grown here.” And “Sugar maples are just the figment of some fantasy novelist–maple syrup was just a pleasing story.”


    6. cocomaan

      Golden age of global warming, before your feet start getting wet from the meltwater.

      Deer hunting has been kind of lousy. They all have on their winter coats and don’t feel like taking a stroll. Add to that the availability of forage until the leaf drop last week here in PA. Seems like you have a bunch of big fat critters who don’t want to get up and walk around.

    7. DJG

      We had a couple of seventy degree (F) days in Chicago this week. I enjoy summer and the warmth, but this mid-autumn warmth has something about it that is eerie. We are in a cooling trend. Rain and thunder, both welcome, this morning.

      Forecasts are for serious frosts over the weekend, which are timely (on time, and typical of this time of year).

      I’d say that we are seeing the effects of global warming / climate change. The reports from those of you in the South are worrying. Have weather patterns moved toward desertification?

      1. nippersdad

        It sure looks that way to me. All of the weather patterns that we would normally expect have appeared to move North this year. We have always had a Mediterranean climate, but this is starting to look more like the African side of the Med than what we are used to.

    8. Waldenpond

      October and November. We have our first frost before Nov 15. Nowhere in sight this year. More warm weather and rain on the way.

      Interesting though, the local weather people present the required models, and give the required reporting based on them and then are clear to state what is likely to happen in the real world.

    9. jrs

      Yes it’s unseasonably warm here in Southern California. It doesn’t get really cold here anyway, but it’s not just “not cold”, rather it was boiling hot on election day and for a few days after, if that’s not a sign of the apocalypse what is. It adds to the general bleakness of the times.

    10. HotFlash

      Toasty 11C (52F) here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Yeah, that’s Canada. We are told to expect cooler this weekend, so I am getting the last of my tomatoes, potatoes and peppers in today, planting my squill and fritillary bulbs for spring bloom. Some of my tomato plants are still OK, I will bring in some (parts) of them for basement hydro growing, as well as the tarragon and basil. The lettuce seeds I will bring to see if they ripen enough to plant in the spring (nothing ventured…)

      I will leave the kale, parsley, thyme, beets and late-planted peas until whenever.

      Hello, Donald, the Chinese are not making this up!

    11. mitzimuffin

      I have Spring asters, zinnias, and one clematis bloom in my garden. I live in Middlesex Co. NJ and we should have had a snow storm by now.

  5. cocomaan

    Obama’s admin free from scandal? I realize that some of these are “constructed” scandals, but Obama’s presidency had a lot of nonsense. I’m just going off the top of my head here.

    * Deepwater horizon disaster: the covering up of true spill information, capitulating to a foreign oil company, corexit nonsense
    * ATF gunwalking/Fast and Furious: this was what Holder is going to be remembered for. Obama kept documents secret, proving the good old hermeneutics of censorship: if you have to censor it, something is wrong.
    * Benghazi attack: For half the country, this is a big deal, even if it’s a “made up scandal”. Libya in general was a disaster, but perhaps not scandalous.
    * Clinton emails coming out of Benghazi investigation: Enough said.
    * Syrian WMDs: John Kerry talking about WMDs used in Syria as a justification for war. Later revealed to be less cut and dry than he made it out to be. The country called him on this in a severe way.
    * Solyndra: Government funds startup, startup craps the bed.
    * One enormous 404 error, mismanagement, lies, keeping your doctors.
    * Trump being president: I’ll count this as a scandal. Complete failure of Obama leadership, the final evidence that managing your party by email and rhetoric doesn’t actually count as leadership.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Scandal free and not corrupt”?

      Biggest seller of Guns and Bombz to everyone, weapons to lots of “moderate terroeists, $50 million or whatever to “trainandarm” what, all of 4 “friendlies” who then melt away, bumper crops of opium poppies/heroin out of Afghanistan where locals and Stealth Imperial GIs are still dying, ignoring all those rules of international law about drone murder and invading other countries and overthrowing and destabilizing governments, every kind of massive corruption and gross almost treasonous incompetence and venality from the MIC, Netanyahu and the Likudniks spying on us and pissing on his leg, not even a stab at enforcing even the weakenened environmental and public health laws on the books, no securities or bank regulation or enforcement, CRUSHING the Occupiers, Ocare(less) of course after secret gaming, corruption, Bezzle and more crapification everywhere one turns………. (it’s an irrational number, like pi– on and on)

      And that’s just off the top of my head. Not corrupt, no scandals? BS, BHO. BIG TIME.

  6. jgordon

    Obama didn’t do much good in the White House. In fact, he was all around pretty miserable. But let’s give credit where it’s due: he did keep Hillary out in 2008, and so in all likelihood we have him to thank that America still exists. My stomach couldn’t handle anything beyond the headline in that Atlantic peice, but hopefully that was in there.

    Second, Democrats have done it again! Keith Ellison for DNC head! Dark skinned? Check. Muslim? Check. Corrupt Wallstreet warmonger? Check. Looks like we have our nominee for 2020! What could go wrong?

    Time for a new party guys.

  7. Carolinian

    Re Chomsky interview–the normally view-from-above Chomsky is really letting it all hang out. Consider this bit

    One of the difficulties in raising public concern over the very severe threats of global warming is that 40 percent of the US population does not see why it is a problem, since Christ is returning in a few decades. About the same percentage believe that the world was created a few thousand years ago. If science conflicts with the Bible, so much the worse for science. It would be hard to find an analogue in other societies.

    Yes that must be it and the dubiously religious Trump will now be their standard bearer, Of course blaming global warming on US religious wackos ignores the fact that more enlightened portions of the globe aren’t doing much more about the problem than we are (the Volkswagen emissions cheating but one example). Could it be that the root is less the Christ worshipers and more the multi-denominational money worshipers who rule our economies? It’s the entire system that is driving this, which is the sort of thing Chomsky used to say when he wasn’t blaming the ignorant peasants. As that other Bostonian said, “the fish rots from the head.”

    1. Waldenpond

      ‘Religion’ is just an industry and language to hide activities that individuals would replace with another industry and it’s language in the absence of the infrastructure and language of religion. Indoctrination, coercion and demanding others conform to a narrow band of behavior and belief (norms) doesn’t just reside in religion.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes. I’d say to people like Bill Maher: “you can bash other people’s non rational beliefs as long as you give up your own.”

        1. RMO

          Well, the VW diesel emissions cheat resulted in higher than permitted levels of oxides of nitrogen in the exhaust in exchange for more power and better mileage. The cars made the air worse to breathe and increased the formation of smog compared to what the exhaust effect would be if they had met standards but didn’t result in increased carbon dioxide output due to the cheat. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions you pretty much have to burn less fuel.

          I’m agnostic myself but I would point out that being Christian doesn’t of necessity mean one believes that global warming is a hoax, evolution didn’t happen, the Earth is only a few thousand years old etc.

          1. different clue

            I have read that NOXs are stronger greenhouse warming gases than CO2 is. If that is true, then the Volkswagen cheaters have probably caused more Global Warming with greater release of NOXs than they reduced with less release of CO2. So Volkswagen’s actions added a little to the Great Warmup rather than subtracting a little from it.

    2. jrs

      it’s both/and … I mean yea it’s a problem addresses it the issue via the population, but how much influence they have on the ruling class is debatable anyway.

      Most of the world is not doing enough, but they actually don’t rival U.S. levels of carbon use, even though it’s still too much.

  8. temporal

    Obama’s presidency was historically uncorrupt

    If a law is broken in the forest of Wall Street and the government and no one pays attention was it prosecuted? I’m pretty sure the author meant notoriously rather than historically. Protecting those on the top while going after the little fish does not prove a lack of corruption.

    1. andyb

      Lots of corruption; so little space to list it all; from persecution of whistleblowers, stalling of FOIA requests, Lois Lerner, Fast and Furious all the way to Hillary’s “pass”. Perhaps the first indication was Holder’s refusal to prosecute the Black Panther thugs who so obviously intimidated voters. The message was sent.

    2. ocop

      Not to mention the song and dance associated with the surveillance state. Given the content of Obama’s actions this all just reinforces my pet theory that the Trump hate is a function of class embarrassment and not some content-driven sanctified crusade against various*phobias and *oginies.

    3. jgordon

      You’re right. Obama’s regime should be remembered in history as the time when corruption and law-breaking became so all pervasive among the elite that they simply stopped seeing it. And so we’re now seeing odes about how scandal free and honest Obama’s regime turned out. Let’s include the press among those engaged in the corruption and crimality shall we. In a way it is kind of sad that Hillary didn’t win; for America to be run by someone who is the absolute apotheosis of corruption would have been fitting–if terminal.

    4. nippersdad

      I don’t know what their definition of “uncorrupt” is, but the guy let all of his friends off for obvious frauds and war crimes whilst gutting the Fourth Amendment. That seems pretty corrupt to me.

    5. human

      Heh … another auto-complete error? /s

      Of course we have to overlook Treasury Secretary Geithner’s little tax return oopsie, the revolving door that picked up speed, non-prosecution of admitted criminal activity, Holder, Clinton, Powers, Nuland, his own catalog of lies …

    1. cocomaan

      Jeff “I’m a big fan of the DEA” Sessions. Another notable: “empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.” Kind of likes torture. Really likes war. Was second in line for the Veep spot behind Pence.

      This is going to suck.

      1. edmondo

        Yes, Sessions has a lot to prove to match up to the integrity, moral clarity and legal scholarship of predecessors like John Mitchell, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Janet Reno and Eric Holder.

        1. Katharine

          I attempted to post that update but had another computer glitch. Interestingly, CNN posts the new information but gives no history on Woolsey, which suggests they were simply wrong before. As I said, if someone can provide a better link, it would be welcome.

          I have tried repeatedly to post this reply but have gotten a message saying I am posting comments too quickly, slow down. This, to a connection as slow as mine, is somewhat puzzling.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Don’t know much about Pompeo, but just heard he was one of the people in the House looking into the Benghazi fiasco.

    2. rd

      Everything is good. Anthony Scaramucci was on NPR Morning Edition this morning informing us that the Wall Street best and brightest are on their way to save us by serving in the Trump Administration. These are all very responsible people who know what need to be done. I am sure that this was high on the list of outcomes that the voters in Michigan and West Virginia were looking for.

      That Financial Crisis thingie? Mainly the fault of the US government although Wall Street did have some role in it. But Main Street was also equally to blame because people simply shouldn’t have believed the hype.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He wanted Dimon for Treasury, but the latter did not take his offer.

      Wonder if it was about hiring hackers to stop hacking, with of course a strong alpha boss overseeing; otherwise, the hackers will just eat you alive.

      Was Trump ‘too constraining,’ asking Dimon to do too much ‘hack prevention?’

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        How do you know he wanted Dimon for Treasury? My sources say Dimon was just self-promoting. Was never considered.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right. We don’t really know. I was just going over what-might-have-been of the rumor.

          If the rumor was made up and spread to benefit someone by gving the perception ‘he wants a banker now,’ that is defeated by ‘maybe he’s hiring a hacker to stop hacking.’

      2. DJPS

        I wondered if these hideous appointment leaks are Trump’s way to identify moles in his camp. Confidentially, they tell each potential mole about a different appointment idea and wait and see what ends up where… Followed by the catchphrase “you’re fired” if it gets out.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Don’t really know enough about Sessions to be properly horrified–yet.

      But I can’t help remembering the narcolepsy that greeted obama’s nomination of eric holder, whose “justice” department oversaw Fast and Furious, hounded Aaron Schwartz into suicide and let wall street completely off the hook, among other things.

      And I can only wonder at the reaction had hillary been elected and reappointed tarmac tryster loretta lynch.

      At least now, people are paying attention. I’ll be interested to see if, the next time one of those late night hosts goes “jaywalking” and asks millenials who Jeff Sessions is, they’ll actually know.

      1. Anne

        I was not looking forward to the gushing praise for Clinton nominees who would have just been more of the same kind of acceptable-to-Republicans, beholden-to-special-interests, comfortable-with-all-things-authoritarian, committed-to-ignoring-the-4th-Amendment types she would no doubt have offered up.

        That being said, I have to also say that the Trump nominees – rumored or otherwise – are simply in a whole other universe of bad.

      2. JohnnyGL

        If Sessions does basically nothing, but appoints a Special Prosecutor and digs into all those creepy crawlies scurrying around the rot of the Clinton Foundation, then he’s already a success compared to Obama’s AGs. We need to bury the Dem Party elites as quickly as possible and I feel like digging into the Clinton Foundation is the best way to do that in a hurry.

        Cocomaan mentioned his love for the DEA, but I don’t think there’s any public appetite to step up the drug war. If he tries that, he’ll likely sour public opinion fairly quickly.

        1. Anne

          “Does basically nothing?” Are you kidding me? There’s a reason Sessions is being rewarded with this position, and I don’t think it’s to bring the Clintons to justice as much as it is to return to and enshrine the kinds of racist bias Sessions seems to regard the Constitution as giving him permission to perpetuate. He’s not real big on privacy and 4th Amendment rights if those get in his way, either.

          Here’s a little something that may give you an idea of Sessions’ interests, and here’s Marcy with some food for thought:

          In other words, if this amendment had passed, it would have created a black hole of surveillance, in which authorities could obtain content simply by declaring an emergency (remember, from 2002 until 2006, there was a highly abusive FBI phone metadata program that worked by invoking an emergency).

          I raise this not to minimize the biggest reason Sessions is unsuitable to be AG: his racism and his regressive ideas on immigration.

          Rather, I raise it to point out that in addition to selectively pursuing people of color (and delegitmizing those who defend their due process), Sessions would undoubtedly seek tools that would make it easier to do so without any oversight.

          All Trump’s named nominees thus far save Reince Preibus couch their racism in terms of claims of “emergency.” Those claims, tied to Sessions’ views on legal process, would make for an unchecked executive.

          And here’s Charlie Pierce:

          But nothing puts the rotting fish atop the cholera sundae quite like the nomination of Sessions, a rank segregationist and career opponent of everything for which the Civil Rights movement stood for, to run the Department of Justice. Sessions is a thoroughgoing horror, and he’s also a product of the rather successful attempts by the Reagan administration 30 years ago to pander to the detritus of American apartheid, and to reinstate white supremacy by any covert means necessary, from having Reagan launch his campaign with a states rights speech across town from where murdered Civil Rights workers once were buried in a dam to the nomination in 1985 of William Bradford Reynolds to be assistant attorney general. Reynolds was a protégé of Edwin Meese, that deathless old authoritarian yahoo who’s now advising the staff of Camp Runamuck. Reynolds was a determined foe of “quotas,” and he wasn’t real fond of federal efforts to protect the franchise on behalf of his fellow citizens who happened to be African-American.


          But there’s also another sad factor to be considered. The attitude toward, say, voting rights held by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is almost exactly the same as the attitude demonstrated by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court when that worthy declared the Day of Jubilee in the Shelby County decision that gutted the VRA. Not to fight someone like Jeff Sessions is to surrender hard-won gains that, quite frankly, were won by people with their blood.

          Do not get me wrong: I would like nothing better than to see the whole stinking Clinton Family and its rotten Foundation exposed for the cesspool it is, and for those involved with it to be held accountable, but trust me when I tell you we do not need an Attorney General who would be happy to find ways to deny people the right to vote. He is going to bring all of his ugly sensibilities to an agency that will have the power to negatively affect millions of people, and will be setting this country so far back I fear it will never return.

          Not everything is about the Clintons.

        2. Aumua

          Oh, they care about public opinion? I hadn’t noticed. These appointments are almost comically bad, like Idiocracy level. If this wasn’t reality (or if I didn’t live in the U.S.) I might laugh. As it is, a nervous chuckle is all I can muster.

        3. Anne

          Sometimes, everything isn’t about the Clintons, and as much as I would like to see the Clintons and their cesspool of a foundation exposed, and those associated with it held accountable, it’s important to understand what Sessions really stands for – and putting that in as the head of the DOJ is putting this country in reverse, with no guarantee we can come back.

          I am not exaggerating, especially when you consider that the kind of mindset Sessions brings to the DOJ is a mindset which seems to have some commonality among the named and floated nominees. Not sure if there is a worse form of groupthink, actually.

          Charlie Pierce shed a little light:

          This Isn’t About Partisan Bickering. This Is About Protecting Civil Rights.

          But nothing puts the rotting fish atop the cholera sundae quite like the nomination of Sessions, a rank segregationist and career opponent of everything for which the Civil Rights movement stood for, to run the Department of Justice. Sessions is a thoroughgoing horror, and he’s also a product of the rather successful attempts by the Reagan administration 30 years ago to pander to the detritus of American apartheid, and to reinstate white supremacy by any covert means necessary, from having Reagan launch his campaign with a states rights speech across town from where murdered Civil Rights workers once were buried in a dam to the nomination in 1985 of William Bradford Reynolds to be assistant attorney general. Reynolds was a protégé of Edwin Meese, that deathless old authoritarian yahoo who’s now advising the staff of Camp Runamuck. Reynolds was a determined foe of “quotas,” and he wasn’t real fond of federal efforts to protect the franchise on behalf of his fellow citizens who happened to be African-American.


          But there’s also another sad factor to be considered. The attitude toward, say, voting rights held by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is almost exactly the same as the attitude demonstrated by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court when that worthy declared the Day of Jubilee in the Shelby County decision that gutted the VRA. Not to fight someone like Jeff Sessions is to surrender hard-won gains that, quite frankly, were won by people with their blood.

          Trump’s nomination of Sessions tells you exactly who Donald Trump is, and where this country is headed under his “leadership.”

          If you can, please spare me the Clinton-would-be-worse claims. There’s just no point in ignoring or closing your eyes as he trots out a rogues’ gallery of racists, climate science deniers, completely wacko national security people, Christian dominionists determined to make over the government in their God’s image, fanatical anti-choicers who want to deny women the right to control their own healthcare – and he’s only just getting started. I didn’t want Clinton to be president, either – I’m well-versed in all of her flaws, both ideological and internal, but wallowing in the fiction that she would be worse only enables the fresh and more painful hell that appears to be headed our way.

          1. nippersdad

            While your points are valid, there is something to be said for the politicization of the Justice Department at this time. Under the Obama Administration it was allowed to waste away in in the shadows; if people are now paying attention to it that would be a good thing, IMHO. Not that Sessions would be great, but that his deficiencies would bring attention to a department that has been notably underutilized to the point of atrophy for the past eight (or sixteen?) years.

        4. Uahsenaa

          Jeff Sessions is a nutbar. I imagine he’s exactly zero !@#$s whether hoi polloi like him or want to toss him in a dumpster.

        5. cocomaan

          True, stepping up might be difficult, but stalling it in its currently absurd and abusive form would be extremely easy, easier than going either way (that is, bad or better).

          Plus, this guy is all over torture.

          As much as I dislike the Democrats and despise HRC and friends, if Sessions even remotely follows the moral compass he’s already established in his record, we are in for some really awful stuff.

      3. neo-realist

        As far as the AG position, I will give the Obama Administration and Holder credit for assigning Federal Monitors to police departments around the country that showed a pattern of police brutality, particularly against POC.

        Republicans tend to be authoritarians who see police brutality as SOP, e.g., Nixon’s call for Law and Order and the War on Drugs, also known as open season on blacks and the left. This is not to say that Obama was springtime for anti establishment activists, e.g., War on the Occupy Movement. But maybe with this incoming republican administration, the police state will be swinging a much bigger stick and doing so against a wider range of perceived opponents to the system.

    5. nippersdad

      On the plus side, Jeff Sessions was the only guy in Congress saying that the ISDS sections of the TPP et al were akin to treason; that they would gut the sovereignty of any country that ratified it. He, it may be, is the one we have to thank for Trump’s killing of O’s trade deals.

        1. different clue

          But when the Clintonite Obamacrats worked as hard as they could to hide this acorn deep under the layers of TPP sludge, this pig deserves some credit for finding it, after the Clintobamacrat scum went to such lengths to hide it.

          Remember, if Trump had lost the election, TPP Clinton would have won it. Sometimes life gives us a Hobson’s Pastry Tray of bad choices.

  9. David

    Sarkozy is perfectly in touch with his current exclusive priority – winning the 2017 Presidential election by any means possible. The “Marshall Plan” reference is a throwaway, reflecting a long-standing idea that there would be less economic migration to Europe from Africa if conditions were better there.
    Sarkozy is carefully hedging his bets by (1) not condemning the British decision in standard terms (2) Being ultra orthodox as regards the Euro and “sound” (i.e. neoliberal) “economic governance”, whilst also (3) proposing to clip the wings of the Commission – a popular idea in France, though not among the political class. In that way he hopes to both steal some of the clothes of the “souverainistes” (including but not limited to the Front national), whilst also reassuring the financial and business community that he is rigidly orthodox on the economy. Sarkozy has always been capable of saying anything too anybody, with apparent sincerity.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Totally agree – it also plays into the belief that Africa can’t manage its affairs without the civilizing role of La Grande Nation.

      He at one time advocated revising standard French history teaching texts to emphasize the “benefits” of France’s colonial practices.

      A certain part of the French right just laps this stuff up.

      If we’re lucky he’ll be out of the picture by Monday morning.

      But then I’m learning to be very careful what I wish for.

    2. Synapsid

      Jerri-Lynn Scofield:

      Wasn’t Libya in the Italian sphere of influence, not the French? Or am I simplifying?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        True. There are persistent rumors that Banco UniCredito owed Libya billions they borrowed in 2009 to tide them over which they did not feel like paying back so they called in the NATO debt cancellation squad. Goldman is also probably not unhappy because they sucked out and vaporized a cool billion and the Libyans were headed for the courts. (My stepbrother spent the last five years at a top NGO post based in Tripoli, he says this is all completely acknowledged locally, as are the gold-backed pan-African dinar plans Gaddafi had. It’s just sad that Hilary / the ‘Merkans and NATO also saw fit to bomb the world’s largest irrigation project which benefited millions).

  10. jsn

    First two links:

    First link: so, while cooking made us human, it also made us the “energy capture” animal: we require external fuel, pre-digestion outside the body in the form of cooking, to keep our genome going.

    Second link: can we control that genetic impulse or will it drive us to extinction despite our awareness of it?

    1. Optimader

      Cooking AND the opposable thumb!
      That allowed woman to firmly grasp and threaten their husbands with fryingpans to get them outta bed and go hunt, gather and design better sliding side doors for minivans

    2. JTMcPhee

      Most of the human population might, if we cared to, take advantage of all that sunlight streaming down 8 or 10 hours a day except in the high latitudes in winter months of course, maybe accept a little inconvenience and the requirement for pre-planning and changing diet preferences away from eating sh!te from Mass Convenience Market. It ain’t all that hard to make a solar cooker, lookie here:

      At the other end of the alimentary canal, there’s this issue: One in five people in cities worldwide live in areas with no safe toilet, Hey,the Chinese and other people have been eating rice and other crops fertilized with composted Humanure ™ for millenia, try this for inspiration and scale: Add the caveat that there’s a history of Bezzlers kind of cheating on the composting process, so the fecal pathogens don’t get altogether cooked, and adding toxics from industrial sources to the mix to ‘get rid of it.’ Irreducible quantum of evil in the human population…

      And of course the Market is all over the potential rental takings from charging us to drink our own “recycled ‘black wastewater,” here’s a little assortment of context, starting with this:

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated in 1992 that $137.1 billion is needed for
      wastewater treatment over the next 20 years. Partly in response to these funding needs, the EPA
      established the Public-Private Partnerships Initiative (now Partners Rebuilding America program).
      This move toward privatization offers the prospect for improved compliance of wastewater treatment
      standards, more cost-effective wastewater treatment service, and greater accountability in the design,
      construction, and operation of facilities.

      Despite these benefits, Congress and the EPA may not discontinue federal funding programs for
      wastewater treatment in 1994 as originally planned. In 1991, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) proposed a
      partial return to the grant system that funded many facilities over the past several decades. And several
      bills propose to extend federal funding of state-revolving funds beyond 1994.

      Extension of these federal funding programs all discourage communities from discovering innovative
      ways to meet their treatment needs. Federal grant programs created disincentives for local
      communities to comply with water treatment standards, since failure of the federal government to
      provide funds was an acceptable excuse for noncompliance. Moreover, grant regulations slowed the
      process of constructing or upgrading facilities to comply with wastewater treatment standards, adding
      an average delay of two to four years. Finally, the process made it difficult to identify and hold
      accountable those responsible for provision of inaccurate or improper advice. (concluding that privatization is more effective than enforcement against municipallities by EPA for violations, in the context of the federal Clean Water Act construction grant program — which I can attest, from personal involvement at US EPA was pretty corrupt and inefficient as “managed” by the Corps of Engineers with all the political games and scamming that went on,



      Hey, all it takes is the will power to carry it through! and a certain clarity of mind to overcome the repugnance we are taught, which as much as anything is a tenet of what you might call our ‘secular religion’ — almost everyone (see pron and psych exceptions and infants) recoils from contact with excretory materials though of course we all drink, eat and inhale molecules that have been through the bowels and kidneys of the worst of us, every day…

    3. cocomaan

      There are a few other animals that capture food externally, process it, and then save it for later. I’m thinking of honeybees desiccating nectar and adding enzymes to create honey for heating fuel. Ants “farm” aphids. Squirrels store nuts. Foxes store carcasses.

      But yeah, we definitely process our food much more than other species.

      1. jsn

        Bees and ants are great prototypes for how a social species could adapt to sustainable resources.

        The human relationship to fire and our so called “intelligence”, once exposed to fossil fuels, seems to have set us on course to effectively burn the world.

        The same inherent tendency in the pre-industrial world was self extinguishing when resource depletion, as happened on Easter Island for instance, wiped out the perpetrating societies.

        Now the perpetrating societies simply wipe out remote and less powerful ones, and that “powerful” has almost entirely to do with carbon foot print: fire power in every sense.

  11. Otis B Driftwood

    I’ve always liked Dean Baker’s analysis, and I hope he’s right about the one possible good thing that may happen during Trumptime. But I’m afraid it reads a bit like a kid looking for a pony in a pile of horse manure. We’ll see, but I rather expect the budget hawks have already talked Trump out of his wild ideas about deficit spending and infrastructure investment. Again, I sincerely hope that I’m wrong.

    1. Dugless

      I think you are right. If you look at the appointments he has made and is considering, it looks like he plans to govern as a conservative Republican for the most part. While I do think that we are likely to see an explosion in the debt, I would guess most of it will come from tax cuts. Most of the infrastructure spending will come from public/private partnerships that will allow continued private looting of the public coffers (more for the rentier class). While I also hope that I am wrong, I believe Mr. Baker is engaging in wishful thinking.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If Trump’s argument is that he’s a better deal-maker, and this time, the government will get better bargains in those public/private partnerships, how do we respond to that?

        Never or let’s see the details?

      2. Katharine

        I wouldn’t say wishful thinking so much as best-case scenario. Something may depend on the people. At present, protests are only coming from the left, but if Trump clearly and comprehensively betrays the people who voted for him that could change. We are in a time where the past is not necessarily a good indicator of people’s future behavior.

      3. Lemmy

        For all the talk of public/private partnerships being integral to Trump’s infrastructure investments, the recent track record isn’t all that encouraging, according to a cnbc article titled Trump’s plan to rebuild America will be a lot harder to pay for than it sounds (bold added):

        In the last 25 years, for example, there have been 36 privately financed road projects that are either completed or under construction, according to a report last year from the Congressional Budget Office. Of the 14 that have been completed, three of them declared bankruptcy and one required a public buyout of private partners, the report said.

        But even when those public-private projects are financially viable, they represent just a tiny fraction of the funding needed to maintain and upgrade existing roadways and bridges. Those 36 projects generated total investment of just $32 billion, or less than 1 percent of the roughly $4 trillion in highway spending during that period, the CBO found.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “….a public bailout of private partners…”

          If you are a tough negotiator for the public, you wipe out the equity stake of the private partner.

          That’s like nationalization, like you get money from your private partner free and, afterward, you yourself (the public) own it 100%

          1. JTMcPhee

            …and how hard is it to suborn the “public negotiators?” One recalls the Colorado office of the federal Minerals Management Service:

            .RESULTS IN BRIEF

            The Office of Inspector General (DIG) initiated this investigation in late 2006 based on the allegations of a Confidential Source (CS) regarding misconduct by Gregory W. Smith, Program Director, Royalty in Kind Program (RIK), Minerals Revenue Management (MRM), Minerals Management Service (MMS), Lakewood, CO. The CS·alleged that Smith had engaged in outside employment that conflicted with his RIK position, that he accepted gifts from the oil and gas industry, and that he engaged in sex and drug use with subordinates.

            Our investigation disclosed that between April 2002 and June 2003, Geomatrix Consultants, Inc. (Geomatrix), an environmental and engineering consulting firm, paid Smith over $30,000 for his work in marketing Geomatrix to various oil and gas companies, most of whom, because of their business relationships with RIK, were considered prohibited sources.

            We also confirmed that Smith received almost $1,000 in gifts from the oil and gas industry and engaged in sex with two subordinates and drug use with at least one subordinate. When interviewed by the DIG, Smith minimized the drug use and sexual activity. In addition, we learned that he also suggested to other RIK employees that they should lie to DIG investigators.

            Smith retired from MMS during the course of this investigation. The results of this investigation, to include a substantial amount of information obtained through the federal grand jury process that is not included here, were provided to the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in March 2008 for prosecutorial consideration. In May 2008, DOJ advised that it was declining to prosecute Smith on various charges.


            Yeah, “negotiate.” A plea deal, or like here, a “diversion from prosecution.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Drug use?

              Fooling with subordinates?

              DOJ diversion from prosecution?

              Don’t trust the government? Run it like a household and watch it carefully?

      4. nippersdad

        “….it looks like he plans to govern as a conservative Republican for the most part.”

        The Pence effect?

      1. Baby Gerald

        This article is undone early on by the now-obligatory disclaimer in the second full paragraph:

        ‘Don’t get me wrong, Trump is a racist, misogynist, and confessed sexual predator who has legitimized dangerous street-level hate. Most of all, Trump is a fraud. And his administration will almost certainly be a terrible new low in the evolution of American authoritarianism.’

        I guess if you expect to keep your job at NYU, you have to insert these crypto-elitist and terror-mongering claims.

        But the author hoists himself on his own petard. The basic point he makes– that if you listened to more than the 10-second soundbites the mainstream fed you on repeat [usually to the beginning or conclusion of the very sentence or paragraph from which the soundbite was extracted] you would hear the populist themes that Trump brought to his rallies and what won him votes in places the democrats thought they had locked down– is nothing new to anyone here.

        The new twist is to attempt to explain Trump’s success on an I’m-smarter-than-you Roland Barthes ‘writerly discourse’ premise about saying two seemingly incongruous statements about the same subject that different audiences can take in different ways. To prove this goofball claim, the author doubles down on his disclaimer.

        He deploys the ‘They’re sending their rapists’ quote to support his allegations, but when expanded to the beginning of the sentence or thought sequence whence it derived, we hear Trump saying something to the effect of ‘They’re not sending us their best people, folks.’

        The implication here isn’t that there are no good Mexicans, which is what I would assume a Mexican-hater would say with conviction. Instead, he’s saying that of all the great people of Mexico, the ones crossing the border illegally are, on the whole in a desperate situation and thereby prone to desperate means to survive, often resorting to illegal means to do so. What is racist in that statement now?

        1. UserFriendly

          Therein lies the crux of the -ISM problem. The Neoliberal party is all to eager to call out what most would consider ignorance or insensitivity as full blown racism. The right and the rural parts of the country think KKK when you say racist. Neoliberal racism has lost intent. Many good decent people with different backgrounds say something stupid and we get a team of SJW’s deploying the appropriate -ISM.

          That is the biggest problem I have with Identity Politics. These all or nothing labels and the horrible ‘action plan’ to deal with -isms. Either you’re a feminist or a sexist. The absolute worst way to accomplish anything towards ending sexism, racism, etc is to call it out immediately every time you see it in the loudest most public way possible. That does way more harm than good.

          Ignoring the most blatant and obvious displays of -isms (which I think warrant immediate attention) if you go around labeling and denouncing every action, no matter how slight, as a clear case of an -ism, you put people on the defensive. Most people don’t think of themselves as actively perpetuating -isms. To quote Avenue Q , “ Everyone’s a little bit racist.” Everyone is a little every -ism.

          That is why there is backlash against PC, safe spaces, etc. If you can’t find a way to politely and privately point out that something was insensitive; you are doing more harm than good. Reserve the public shaming for people that ‘don’t see the problem’ or refuse to change.

          Lobbing accusations will get a defence. Pointing out that something might be problematic is more likely to cause reflection. People need to start to try and assume good intentions and make that evident if they insist on calling people out. eg. “I’m sure you weren’t trying to be sexist, but the way that came out was problematic” /rant

          1. Lambert Strether

            If indeed public shaming doesn’t work — do we have any (good) studies on that? — that would make the whole micro-aggression industry a self-licking ice cream cone, wouldn’t it? (There’s a game in Games People Play that’s spot-on for this, but I can’t call it to mind. As a substitute, I’ll quote this:

            [There is a] strong tendency for recent graduates to have an exaggerated respect for what they call “Genuine Feelings.” The expression of such a feeling may be preceded by an announcement that it is on its way. After the announcement, the feeling is described, or rather presented before the group,as though it were a rare flower which should be regarded with awe. The reactions of the other members [of the therapy group] are received very solemnly, and they take on the air of connoisseurs at a botanical garden. The problem seems to be, in the jargon of game analysis, whether this one is good enough to be exhibited in the National Feeling Show. A questioning intervention by the therapist may be strongly resented, as though be were some clumsy-fingered clod mauling the fragile petals of an exotic century plant. The therapist, naturally, feels that in order to understand the anatomy and physiology of a flower, it may be necessary to dissect it.

            Kos is full of such stuff. And irony is a very useful tool.

  12. Tom Stone

    IMO there’s a one in three chance Obama will pardon Clinton. Obama is not someone who rocks the boat and it would stir up a lot of controversy during the last months of his term with no financial reward in the offing.
    He’s thinking about settling into his humble new $5MM abode and making some serious coin in Silicon Valley.
    And then there’s Hillary, she just got humiliated on the world’s biggest stage, she’s seriously pissed off and from all indications she doesn’t believe she did anything wrong.
    Ever. In Hllaryworld she lost the election because she was sabotaged by “The RUSSIANS!”, Jim Comey and the irredeemable Bernie Bro’s who stabbed her in the back.
    If there was a conversation between HRC and the big “O” about a pardon I Don’t think HRC would accept gratefully.
    As far as Bill or her advisers talking sense to her, she is enraged and humiliated…good luck with that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does Bill ‘talk’ to her, or does he write love letters, with an assistant delivering them to her?

    2. Gareth

      Chelsea might need a pardon if Robby Mook’s allegation in the Podesta email that she siphoned money from the Clinton Foundation to pay for her wedding, taxes due on cash gifts and various other expenses is true. Then again since she’s Ivanka’s buddy, Trump might pardon her. He could pardon the entire family and that would be very big of him.

    3. crittermom

      Tom Stone–Sorry, but I disagree, tho’ it’s my understanding she has yet to be charged with anything to be pardoned for? (Since Comey gave her a pass on her choice to thumb her nose at our national security and do as she pleased).
      Even Trump has now walked back on his promise to prosecute.

      Obummer endorsed Hellary, so to then approve charges against her would make him look bad.

      It’s reported that she won the ‘popular’ vote, so he wouldn’t want to upset her/his supporters and risk damaging what he apparently feels is his reputation as ‘best president ever’. (And what is it he gonna put in his ‘presidential library’? Volumes of his broken promises about ‘hope & change’? Or an entire encyclopedia of how his HAMP program failed us?)

      Chelsea is being groomed to make another Clinton stab/grab at the WH in the future, and the Clinton Dynasty no doubt still carries a lot of influence. The Dynasty would frown upon any attempt by Obummer to tarnish that.

      I strongly suspect that if any charges are brought against her, the pardon is already signed. Just not dated yet.

      1. Yves Smith

        You don’t need to be charged to get a Presidential pardon. Ford’s pardon of Nixon was prospective, not retrospective. Jerri-Lynn has written specifically on this issue.

    4. Optimader

      It would almost be worth his pardoning her just to read the mindfk way she would contextualize recieving a pardon for behaviour she engaged in that wasnt illegal.

      I can imagine BHO leaving her to the carrion vultures tho. His MO has been the Vanity of Perfection in thought and deed.
      Maybe inconsistent at this point to square that self image with feeling obliged to give his SoS that was involved his worst FP decisions a Pardon??

      I can see a case for BHO dropping the word that HRC has complete confidence in her ethical behaviour and would never accept a pardon blahblah

      The botton line for the BHO calculus is how he thinks a pardon affects his position with his anticipated post potus patrons.

      There had better be a investigation into the activities in the DOJ and the FBI though.

      In particular, the FBI being upfront that it intentionally destroyed computer evidence in a felony investigation is unprecedented as far as i am aware/told. Way way out there, and of course without media scrutiny.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If Obama pardons Hillary, how does this open his friends up? If there is a Hillary pardon, the country will investigations into everyone connected to the Clinton’s and the White House. An innocent person doesn’t need pardons after all.

        Republican voters will go nuts, and by extension, the GOP in Congress will go too. The Democrats don’t need to move mountains to win the House in two years, and the Senate is in play if they can hold. Obviously, they need to purge the Clinton elements and the anti-Sanders types, but winning is possible. The Republicans took the House before the 2010 based redistricting. Gerrymandering is an excuse for a poor performance. If the Republicans let Hillary slide, watch out.

    5. Harris

      Nothing would bore the minds of most of Americans than to investigate Hillary for the next 4 years.

      Americans hate re-runs.

    6. different clue

      If the Clintons go down, how many members of the Elite could they take down with them? If it was illegal for SecState Clinton to sell influence for donations to the Clinton Foundation, was it any less illegal for all the people who bought influence with donations to have done that?

      How many of the Great and the Good flew to Pedo Island along with Bill Clinton, over and over and over again, on Mr. Epsteins Lolita Airlines? Mr Clinton could take all those people with him if he goes down.

      I believe Obama will pardon whomever his owners and sponsors order him to pardon . . . if he wants to recieve any of the money he expects to recieve after leaving office.

  13. a different chris

    >She had started at the Federal University in Rio with undergraduate studies in virology, undertook graduate studies in the nervous system at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, and then completed a Ph.D. in visual neurophysiology at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt before returning to Rio.

    Sad but instead of simply marveling at this woman’s accomplishments I now just think about how much debt she would be in if she was from a American working-class family.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The great American higher educational system.

      If a student could out-slam-dunk an NBA superstar or out-throw an NFL quarterback, he or she would not only be debt-free, the college would have probably given out money…’an honor to have you in our school.’

      It’s the American Way.

      1. polecat

        Bring out the Bone Crusher …complete w/ mega monster truck …..

        we’ll get there … in a few hundred years, give or take ,,,,, you just wait ..
        Scrot !

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Her debt would have been hellish, but it would have been all for undergrad. Neurophysiology grad students at upper tier US research universities have RAs and TAs that cover living expenses, tuition and healthcare fees. The stipends aren’t usually enough to pay 100% of a student’s cost of living, but loan burdens like those taken on by law and med students aren’t common in the sciences. For now.

      After the incoming administration gets done gutting science grant funding at NIHs, NSF, DoE, etc. that may no longer be true.

      1. cwaltz

        Meh. Trump wouldn’t be the first to cut spending only to find that the universe has conspired against them. I suspect that we’ll have some ebola or Zika like epidemic that ensures that the NIH continues to get funding.

        The rich get sick too.

    3. John Wright

      I believe not enough has been made of the capital “investment” required, by society or the individual, for a US college graduate.

      Just as the USA imports less expensive manufactured goods, it is importing less expensive college graduates (via H1B visas) or hiring them via outsourcing overseas.

      If foreign countries can produce an economically valuable college educated worker at vastly lower costs than the USA, that will tend to arbitrage down the American educated college worker’s value to the employer.

      Even free college, assuming that the high cost is simply shifted to the taxpayer, may not be a good national policy.

      I know that companies are doing the math, because more than 10 years ago I heard a new venture capitalist mention that when his company was acquired by a US firm and he remained at the company for a time, his instructions about future hiring were “you can hire one US engineer, or six engineers in India, your choice”.

      The cost of US college needs to be lowered, and not artificially by shifting the high cost onto the middle class taxpayer.

      But the cost of USA college, like USA medical care, seems only to be increasing..

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    JPMorgan $264 million bribery case.

    Foreigners pay with money. Guilty Chinese nationals in bribery cases often get a bullet in the back of the head, or used to be, now death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

    I doubt $264 million = 3 years in prison. Perhaps someone acquainted with Chinese math can do the conversion.

    1. inhibi

      Didn’t you hear? Damaging the “Trump” placard in Hollywood, worth $400, is equivalent to 3 years in prison.

      Of course, as we all know, the billions in fraud perpetrated by banks each year is worth 0 years of jail time, because corporations “aren’t people”.

  15. hreik

    We were going to be in a whole heap of doo doo no matter who won, unless it was Bernie. I am not hopeful about Trump. He’s not curious, he never had any interest in governing, he talks b/f he thinks, and most worrisome to me is the people with whom he’s surrounding himself.
    HRC was the devil we know. DJT is the devil we don’t know.

    Going to be baking a lot of bread and reading reading reading. Will volunteer and fight tho. That’s key also.

    Very depressing.

    1. Pat

      Pretty much. With Trump, I can say I will not know where the manure is coming from for awhile. Bovine, Elephant, or Hippo? I am not hopeful, but I don’t look at it with quite the same terror as I did Clinton, largely because his election has lessened the chance of war with Russia and thus WWIII AND the death of TPP has slowed the complete corporate destruction of our means of governing ourselves. However I’m betting we will now witness the day to day destruction of what little has been left standing of everything else I value in our system.

      Novice bread baker, add in knitting and crocheting,and seeking the better ways to be activist.

    2. Inode_buddha

      We would have been in a whole heap of doo doo anyway, even with Sanders, for the simple reason that Congress would absolutely not have cooperated. OTOH, he would definitely have changed the national discussion perhaps into more humane terms.

  16. rd

    Re: What happens if Trump never fills those empty positions?

    That could be a good thing if the non-filling is done on a rational, thought through process but a bad thing if it is just random. It is likely that Parkinson’s Law has been at work for decades and periodic housecleaning is good, but only if non-essential positions are eliminated the focus is on essential positions.

    1. River

      Those positions weren’t needed to begin with. The workload can be redistributed. That’s what a corporation would do anyway. Might be good in The White House, give the appointed a taste of what the governed have to deal with.

  17. Paid Minion

    From “In the Hollow”

    “Straight white men……….are doing fine in America.”

    Well, it was a good story, but he blew it at the end.

  18. Katharine

    Sorry, moderators, I don’t intentionally make work for you, but I really thought an observation on the untimely blooming of fruit trees was innocuous and pertinent to the thread it was in. I may never master the art of avoiding triggers.

    1. flora

      I have no data to support this idea, but, I wonder if the jam-traffic has gone up since the election. NC was one of the few, decent sites that posted links not always flattering to Hillary (or to Trump, or to Bernie, for that matter), and kept the comments section open and lively. I’ve been dropped into mod-limbo several times, more than usual, lately. My guess is a large number of people unhappy with the outcome of the election are “Brocking” this site. But I really don’t know.

      1. Carolinian

        Tend to view these discussions under the category “not my blog” but does it seem blocking has become a bit more arbitrary. It may be that the filter is reacting to something other than content such as what it thinks is a funky originating IP address.

  19. DJG

    A crow: A bird with many associations, most of them positive. Tool users. Talkers. Adaptable and smart. Indestructible. And they dress elegantly in basic black.

    The cropping of the photo makes it look as if the crow is a man dressed as a crow. Maybe a dancer, seen from shoulders up. So we can perceive the intersection of two worlds. Maybe more than two worlds, because crows and masked dancers can evoke the spirit world.

    So: A good antidote for our times as we reconsider our path through this world. A reminder of the resilience of other creatures on Earth, some of them willing to cooperate with human beings (even as they remain skeptical of our pretensions).

    1. Rhondda

      I had a similar perception of the crow as a man. I felt as though he was looking at me as I looked at him. I felt his “person-ness” and a sense of sardonic wisdom. He seemed almost about to speak!

      1. Katharine

        It’s interesting you both reacted that way. I had a related but slightly different response, suddenly thinking that if one saw the world from the bird’s perspective the bird would be the one with the normal, natural appearance and humans would be those rather odd-looking mammals.

    2. SoCal Rhino

      The crows in my neighborhood are well acquainted with my poodle. When he ventures outdoors when they’re on our street, one will sound an alert and then they lift off en masse and move one block over. They know he can’t catch them, not sure if the barking bothers their ears or he just pisses them off. Maybe just annoys them. Very different than his interaction with doves or other small birds or the pigeons at the harbor.

    3. temporal

      Definitely going with Common Raven

      Being out in Arizona a few years back we saw some Ravens and signs telling visitors not to feed them. They acted as if they might just eat some of the smaller visitors instead.

      1. Lee

        In Yellowstone a raven landed on my car’s side mirror and eyed me expecting a tidbit. I reached out to gently stroke his belly. He hammered the back of my hand with his big sharp beak producing an impressive puncture wound. The farther north you go, the bigger they get (Rapoport’s rule). In Alaska they are known to carry off small children ; )

  20. Ignim Brites

    “We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions”.

    One thing that seem obvious but has not been remarked upon is that MSM contributed mightily to Trump’s victory, especially in the Republican primaries, by allowing themselves to be played. Trump took on two pious believes promulgated by the guardian class. First, that the major problem in the US is (white) racism and the second biggest problem is (white male) misogyny. The MSM tried to win the election for Sec Clinton by casting the campaign narrative according to these pieties and Trump egged them on. So if progressives want to begin to reform left liberal politics they could do worse then to call for the resignation of prominent names in the MSM nomenklatura. Anderson Cooper comes to mind because he was the least egregious. If he would resign it might shame several other more worthies to follow.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      I wish I could concur, but having spent too much time working in newsrooms, I have to say the arrogance of those who firmly believe they know more about what we the people need to know than we do is so ingrained any idea they might have misunderstood the question is not going to register.

      When you combine that attitude with a belief that having unbiased reporting means having complex and/or technical subjects covered by those reporters with the least understanding of said subject, you can clearly see the disconnect with reality.

    2. cwaltz

      Allowing themselves to be played?

      They were conspiring with the Democrats. They thought if Trump was the nominee then Clinton had this in the bag.

  21. fresno dan

    Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist, suggested Thursday that an “alliance” between a faction of the FBI and Russian President Vladimir Putin swung last week’s election in favor of Donald Trump.

    The head of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael Rogers, said on Wednesday there shouldn’t be “any doubt in anybody’s mind” that there was “a conscious effort by a nation-state” to affect the outcome of the election.

    “So it looks more and more as if we had an election swung, in effect, by a faction of our own security sector in alliance with Putin,” Krugman wrote in a subsequent tweet.

    In further news, 17 US intelligence agencies said they have found Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction at a garage sale outside of Istanbul….

    And this is before the inauguration. So I imagine Kruggy will be saying shortly that he has discovered irrefutable evidence of pods* in the basement of the Rayburn office building, shortly before the guys in the white suits come to take him to the lunatic asylum

    * reference to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”

  22. Ranger Rick

    My jaw dropped to see this opinion piece about identity politics maybe not being so great in the NYT this morning.

    “Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by “political correctness.” Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.”

    1. flora

      Thanks for that link. Pretty good on the whole. There’s a whopper in there about Bill Clinton’s policies benefiting everyone.
      Aside from that, not a bad essay. The one and the many.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’m thinking that, in time, Clinton’s loss will be treated the way Jimmy Carter’s 1980 election defeat was. Recall that Carter was ostracized by the Democratic Party. And, in a certain way, he still is.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The problem wasn’t even identity politics. The campaign was a cult around Hillary from day one, not even identity solidarity. “I’m with her” is the glaring example. The campaign was always based around the wonders of Hillary. She was going to win Republicans and women, two groups who never speak. How? I don’t know. She’s really experienced or something. They even admit she’s a terrible politician in the emails, but somehow Hillary had to be the standard bearer. Of course, she might be the best bet to keep the crooked out of jail.

      You could accuse Obama of a similar ego centric campaign (he never claimed to speak for minorities), but that was eight years ago before Democratic betrayals.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Somebody somewhere (NC link I think) summed up the difference between the 2 campaigns/candidates at the gut level like this:

        Hillary Clinton: I’m with her. (Explicit part of her pitch).

        Donald Trump: He’s with me. (Largely unstated).

        Says it all really. Note Sanders and his team were basically going for the same approach as the Donald.

        1. Iowan X

          Bernie Sanders: It’s not about me. It’s about us. (Often stated). Better than Donald, in my opinion, and the polls at the time showed it.

    4. fresno dan

      Let’s look at political correctness and identity politics through the lens of class warfare and class consciousness. Those enjoying enormous gains in wealth and income have a problem: they must fragment and distract the bottom 95% who have lost income and wealth to the top 5%, lest the bottom 95% realize:

      1. We have lost the undeclared economic war

      2. We have more in common economically with others in the bottom 95% than we do with our neofeudal technocrat/ managerial overlords.

      The great thing about the virtue of identity politics is that it is so cheap…..for the wealthy

  23. anonymous

    Identity politics will morph, mutate and live on until the next financial crisis at which point a new version will somehow spring forth. Was ever thus for Americans.

    Sad, indebted former students will be begging for jobs washing Overton Windows when they should have concentrated on gaining critical thinking skills instead of feelz. They may look at classmates years hence and console themselves with discount beverages of the bitter variety.

    There are alternatives to such outcomes. Learn to think for oneself. Save for a rainy day. Kill your television. Try to see the world through the eyes of others, even contemplate the Golden Rule and apply it.

  24. Lee

    Our 86 Billion Neurons: She Showed It New York Review of Books. Why are humans smarter? We learned to cook


    An amusing bit of dialogue from the most recent episode of HBO’s Westworld.

    I read a theory once that the human intellect was like peacock feathers. Just an extravagant display intended to attract a mate. All of art, literature, a bit of Mozart, William Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and the Empire State Building… Just an elaborate mating ritual. Maybe it doesn’t matter that we have accomplished so much for the basest of reasons. But, of course, the peacock can barely fly. It lives in the dirt, pecking insects out of the muck, consoling itself with its great beauty.

    Read more at:

    I can attest to the amount of energy it takes for the brain to operate properly. I have a chronic disease that severely limits physical and mental energy. I will generally have a couple of good hours in the morning, during which time I generally read at this site. The energy it takes to read and wrap my head around the often challenging content gradually wanes, then I shift to listening to the radio and then to tv. If I have something mentally challenging that I must do on a given day, I must with regret limit my reading here.

  25. Optimader

    At first i was going to speculate who really gives two shts what JJ thinks about anything? then i thought oh what the heck and clicked.
    Lo ‘an behold this variation on faint praise gem:

    “It would be a monumental moral mistake to pursue the indictment of Hillary Clinton,” Jackson said. He said issuing the pardon could help heal the nation, like Ford’s pardon of Nixon did.”

    Hahahaha HRC= Nixon!!!
    Wow Et tu JJ?

    Would love to see the GoPro slomo camera footage at the Clinton Thanksgiving Day dinner when HRC starts flinging the flatware! Or maybe she will be giving Huma item and targeting instructions, she probably has a stronger arm.

    1. temporal

      Of course Jackson also chooses to forget that the Democrats pursued Nixon until he felt it necessary to leave the office. The pardon happened after the investigation revealed the bad stuff. Maybe President Trump would be magnanimous following the investigations, after all he did donate to her previous run at the office.

      Is there some sort of rule about get-out-of-jail free cards when you’re not playing Monopoly? Why shouldn’t every Governor and President give themselves and their friends one at the beginning of their term? Would it make politicians as a general rule seem less trustworthy?

      I’m not sure what Ford did healed the nation. Part of the admitted reason the Rs went after Mr Bill was payback.

    2. Tonto2

      If memory serves, the Nixon pardon did anything but “heal” the country. There was a huge backlash to the pardon that was the main reason Ford didn’t get elected.

      I don’ t have time to dig up a link, but Ford admitted after the election that he and his advisors grossly under estimated the outrage that resulted from the pardon.

        1. John Wright

          At the time, I remember the widespread disgust with the Ford pardon with people I knew.

          I don’t remember anyone pushing the “healing” aspect.

          Eventually, in 2001, the Kennedy library gave a “Profile in Courage” award to Ford. closing political ranks with the Republicans.

          As I remember, the country and economy were not doing poorly at the 1976 election.

          Ford lost the election with 50.1% for Carter and 48.0% for Ford.

          The pardon could well have caused Ford to lose the election…

          1. pretzelattack

            i remember the healing meme, and thinking it was bullshit. same as “move forward not backward”.

            1. Iowan X

              Exactly correct! Personally, I think the preemptive “get out of jail free” card that Ford gave Nixon was an important marker–“Blind Justice” ain’t exactly “blind”. Pretzel is right–it was the first “forward, not back” meme, before memes were invented.

              “If a President does it, it’s not a crime” has now been degraded from US Presidents to TBTF corporations, of all stripes (and their Sar-Box leaders). Now “cost of business” fines have become the norm, and the Justice Department has neutered itself v. the money class. DOJ still happy to work cases against slam-dunk powerless, and run up a “scorecard”.

              Thank you, BTW, for continuing to feature posts from Bill Black and others like him. There is Gresham’s law, there is fairness, there is justice,and maybe there may at some point be restorative justice. May the seeds of fairness and justice sprout in my lifetime. Not expecting much for the next 4 years.

  26. b.

    “[Obama’s] humanity and greatness are probably only just now coming into true focus.”

    The man formerly known as Matt Taibbi. This has been a wonderfully clarifying election.

    1. geoff

      Altrnatively, from the same article:

      “In Philadelphia in April of 2008 Obama told the AFL-CIO in no uncertain terms they could trust him not to sign bad deals like the South Korea Free Trade agreement. “You can trust me when I say that whatever trade deals we negotiate when I’m president will be good for American workers,” he proclaimed. Four years later he was aggressively lobbying that same deal and promising that it would create 70,000 jobs, and supported the even worse Trans-Pacific Partnership to the end.

      He told us repeatedly he would never have a registered lobbyist in the White House, and practically minutes into his presidency he was making Mark Patterson, a Goldman lobbyist, the number two man at Treasury. He promised to support drug reimportation from Canada and gave up on that after a few discussions with Pharma bigwigs. [Taibbi does not even mention the Podesta e-mails’ revelation that Citi’s Michael Froman essentially picked Obama’s economic team.]

      He pledged to push for “a world without nuclear weapons” at the beginning of his presidency, and was pushing for a brand-new trillion-dollar program by the end of it. He pledged to clean up Wall Street and then presided over a historic stretch of regulatory and prosecutorial inaction. The betrayals on security-state issues like drone assassination, secrecy and surveillance have been breathtaking.”

      I think Taibbi, like myself if I’m honest, drank a bit of the Obama koolaid. Personally, O seemed a breath of fresh air after W. Alas, politically, where it really matters, it was just another scam.

      “On all these questions Obama seemed either to be unable to assert himself in the center of a hurricane of interests, or else he was really just a run-of-the-mill corporate Democrat regressing to an insincere mean one once Election Day was safely in the rearview mirror. ”

      I’d go with the latter, Matt.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yet Taibbi, knowing all that, regressed to LOTE and endorsed voting for Clinton.

        The Kool-Aid must be strong stuff.

  27. Carolinian

    If it’s Friday it must be St. Clair. I’ll only quote the below bit which for SC liberals falls under the category of “be still my foolish heart.” While Haley did handle the Charleston shooting well she is otherwise a GOP trog. If picked by Trump the country’s loss will be SC’s gain. Still, this seems wildly unlikely.

    + Team Trump floated the name of Nikki Haley for Secretary of State. Resume: Degree in accounting, experience in the fashion industry, governor of small southern state. Not much bloodshed on that CV. Probably a less lethal choice than Hillary, the worse decision Obama ever made. Still would she take it if offered? It would give her an excused absence for leaving the country as often as possible over the next four years…

    Also this Tony Wikrent via Ian Welsh is most interesting and covers lots of things that get discussed at NC. Very recommended.

  28. JohnnyGL

    UN-REAL, Clapper admits they don’t know who was behind the wikileaks emails!!!

    Obama seriously had his Homeland Sec. Director round up all the heads of intelligence agencies to sign on to that weird letter about Russian interference in the elections. They were all completely full of manure. They pulled out all the stops to save Hillary’s bacon and it didn’t work!!!

    “No matter how bad you think it is….it’s worse” — that quote about Lehman is so widely applicable.

    After Greenwald and Snowden showed the intelligence agencies were mostly about attacking political opponents and barely about stopping terrorists, I realized how politically compromised they were. But this is really a new low with the fear-mongering about Russian influence of our elections.

  29. larry

    Jerry-Lynn, the New Statesman article is ambiguous in one respect, the financing of infrastructure. The US, being a sovereign country with a fiat currency system, can pay for anything priced in its own currency. His problems, if he has them, will be political, not economic. I don’t think the NS writer knows this.

  30. paul Tioxon


    I don’t know why at this point in time, the educated and well informed NC site persists in throwing out Oil Cartel Propaganda. From the article:

    “While this report shows a staggering volume of oil in the Wolfcamp, the reserves are “undiscovered, technically recoverable,” which does not mean that they are necessarily economically viable, just that THEY PROBABLY EXIST AND THEORETICALLY COULD BE PRODUCED.” Emphasis MINE!

    Cue the David Bowie song, “LIFE ON MARS” a different dose of “Hope Springs Eternal” for the inquiring minds who still, for some god unknown reason, want to know about the oil industry as it declines.

    Now for something completely different: News.

    The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends.


    While scaling back production or idling wind turbines, solar and wind power will still increase from 2015 levels by 2020. Presumably, they will get cracking with inverters, battery storage and other stuff compatible for the distribution of the new power source. In the meantime coal mines are being closed by the hundreds yearly. Older, smaller and functionally obsolete mines are being shut down due to safety concerns as well as inefficiencies. Most of the coal mining will be coking product used for steel production and not fuel for power plants. The story is very similar in the US where there are now fewer than 60,000 coal miners left. More people are making potato chips than mining coal.

    1. Harris

      I first heard about the Wolfcamp shale back in ’08 from a friend in the industry. That was when oil prices were in the $150/barrel range. As soon as oil dipped down below $100/barrel he said attentions drifted to other areas.

  31. Vatch

    Bogus claims by homeopathic drug makers will now face wrath of FTC Ars Technica

    Good, it’s about time!

    I’ve noticed some strange misunderstandings about homeopathy. Some people seem to associate it with the proper consumption of various micronutrients, which is definitely not homeopathy.

  32. annie moose

    “Sessions only bad people smoke marijuana”, more slaves for the industrial prison complex. Crocked Hillary is starting to look better and better.Congrats on the protest vote.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Hillary was going to legalize weed?

      Remember public opinion, which favors legalization, so still unlikely to go after the legalized states.

    2. cwaltz


      The solution is next time for the DNC not to elect someone who people will protest.

      It’s the DNC’s job to elect a good candidate for me to vote for. You don’t get to whine if they fail to do that and I fail to vote for their candidate as a result.

    3. different clue

      As long as we are not dead from thermonuclear war with Russia, we have hope of reversing the Trump decisions and actions . . . IF! . . . we can purge, burn and exterminate every trace of Clintonite and Obamacrat personnel from the Democratic Party. But if a single one of those Clintonite-Sh*tobamacrat scum are still left alive within the Party, they will work their gangrenous magic and give us yet another piece of feculent Clintonite filth as “the candidate” in 2020. In which case, the Trumpistas will win again.

  33. Oregoncharles

    From Inequality, Market Chaos and Angry Voters:
    “And that globalization, with its open borders and freedom of movement for both goods and people, is to blame for it all.”
    The article is making some interesting points, but it’s larded with flagrant propaganda for “free trade,” like this. That isn’t exactly a complete description of “globalization” – and the “free movement of people” part invalidates Ricardo’s theory of Comparative Advantage, which is the theoretical justification for the whole thing.

    I was especially struck by the dateline: it’s contrasting 2006, when Bush had been president for 6 years and the Democrats won Congress, with 2016, when the Democrats have been in power for 10 years, two of them with the whole trifecta. Not a pretty picture. No wonder they just lost big.

    1. Oregoncharles

      PS: Obama, from the same article: “Isolation and attempts to defeat globalization, he said, were self-defeating.”
      Again, flagrantly deceptive: Fair Trade is not isolation, nor is isolation what anybody is promoting. Mild protectionism, maybe, but that isn’t isolation.
      And factually, globalization hasn’t led to huge increases in trade or prosperity, though it has shifted it around a good deal. It HAS led to huge increases in inequality – though I hardly need to remind NC readers of that.
      Interestingly, there’s no name on the article. It’s “Staff.” No one wanted responsibility for it?

Comments are closed.