Links 11/21/16

Police Officer On LSD Attempts To Save Anti-Masturbation Dolphin Mascot From Imaginary Fire CNN. I know this is supposedly a family blog, but the headline is epic. Naturally, it was our Master of the Anti-Antidote, Richard Smith, who is responsible for this find. And yes, this is from a satire site. But stuff 90% this wacky is not unheard of in America….

Deadly mating battle Craig Medred (kj1313)

‘Unprecedented’: More than 100 million trees dead in California SFGate. One third of the trees in national forests are dead.

WHY JOURNALISTS LOVE TWITTER Current Affairs (chris g). The use of tweets in lieu of quotes based on original reporting has been noteworthy.

India Currency Train Wreck. All links from Jerri-Lynn

Aghast people bash PM Modi as ATMs dispense half-printed currency notes India Samvad

Farmers Can Use Demonetised Rs 500 Notes to Buy Seeds: Finance Ministry The Wire

Farmers Demand Note-Exchange At Co-Operative Banks; Warn Of Stopping Milk Supply NDTV. J-LS:

Just for context, Amul milk is the largest supplier of milk (and other dairy, e.g. cheese, butter, yoghurt) throughout India. Famers are pissed and have acted accordingly. Protests in India tend to be creative (my favourite was when some farmers were fed up w/ bribes, including a snake charmer, and went to the office of the offending bureaucrats with 3 bags of snakes– real snakes, too, including cobras– dumped the snakes on the floor and left) I include the relevant link as well b/c I can not resist and otherwise, you might nt believe me..

Moi: Maybe the Dems should start cultivating more snake charmers….

FinMin Sends Unclear Signals About Ink on New Rs 2000 Notes The Wire

Shocking: School kids in Madhya Pradesh photocopied Rs 2,000 note and successfully bought confectioneries with it Indian Express

Europe’s Successful Currency Changeover Highlights Everything India Did Wrong The Wire. Um, as we stressed with Grexit, it took eight years of planning and three of execution.

India’s Currency Exchange Gamble and the Curse of Cash The Wire. This is too funny. Rogoff just published a book calling forcefully for the elimination of cash. Per J-LS: “Kenny Rogoff weighs in on the India clusterfuck– and backpedals furiously.”


Denmark: UK ally takes hard Brexit line Financial Times

Scottish Parliament may have the legal right to block Article 50 entirely Business Insider

Tony Blair is ‘returning to politics’ because he thinks Jeremy Corbyn is ‘a nutter’ Independent (J-LS). Lambert: “Kill it with fire.”

Sadiq Khan asks Volkswagen to pay £2.5m in lost congestion charge Cities of the Future

Sarkozy out of centre-right primary BBC

Nicolas Sarkozy, in Upset, Is Knocked Out of Race for French Presidency Wall Street Journal. Fillon’s Thatcherite, pro-business policies seem almost designed to make Le Pen look good.

Trump’s NATO Spending Demand Would Break Denmark’s Welfare State Bloomberg (resilc)

New immigration rules make it easier for Americans to work and stay in Canada Global News

How Swedish literature reflects the benefits of a shorter working day The Conversation (J-LS)

Catholic bishops apologise for role in Rwanda genocide Al Jazeera (Judy B). Awfully late…


Obama Seeks to Bolster Iran Deal Wall Street Journal

Mosul offensive: Iraqi battle to take city from ISIS prompts fears of more sectarian violence CNN (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It. New York Times (resilc)

Hackers Program Bank ATMs to Spew Cash Wall Street Journal (J-LS)

Imperial Collapse Watch

“I don’t know how many people I’ve killed,” says US drone pilot Defend Democracy

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Clinton Foundation seen at a crossroads after Hillary Clinton’s dashed White House dreams CNBC. Lambert: “Dances all around influence peddling and won’t say the words.”

Trump Transition

The Right Wing Group Behind Donald Trump’s Rise Aims to Keep Fear Alive Pam Martens and Russ Martens. A good find but conclusion a tad overstated. They need to study up on Janine Wedel’s book The Shadow Elite, which sets forth the idea of “flexians”.

McCain warns Trump on torture, waterboarding Politico (furzy)

Don’t Bet On a Crash From a Trump Trade War Bloomberg

Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump’s triumph Guardian

Obama may weigh in on Trump after office BBC. More Dem sore loserdom. This will simply harden positions among the pro and anti Trump camps. And given Obama’s keen desire to blame anyone but himself, it will probably increase focus on counter-productive identity politics and take energy away from focusing on economic issues, where Trump is likely to underdeliver.

Kissinger: Donald Trump Is Unique, He Enters Office With “No Baggage,” “No Obligations” Real Clear Politics. J-LS wonders if this is a veiled threat.

Why The ‘Hamilton’ Dust-Up Matters American Conservative (resilc)

Percolator protest! Republican voters fight election backlash by telling Starbucks baristas their name is ‘Trump’ so they have to shout the name when their cup of Joe is ready Daily Mail. 1. Certainly not in NYC. 2. Most business in Starbucks outside cities (which are bluer than the country as a whole) is drive in.

2016 Post Mortem

The Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz New York Times (audrey). If you don’t know Faceborg makes nefarious use of everything you do, shame on you. But scroll down to read how the Trump team used FB. And it was widely seen as less savvy than the Clinton campaign.

America Called Bullshit on the Cult of Clinton Reason (J-LS). Reason is a really mixed bag, but this is a fine piece. The Dems have been big on promoting cultishness; Lambert has been talking about “authoritarian followership” for years. But the Hillary version has a long gestation. See the New York Times, 1993: Saint Hillary. And have a barf bag nearby.

Bernie Campaign Staffer: Sanders Can Be The Lincoln Of Our Times Huffington Post (martha r)

Class Warfare

Airbnb looks to secure 700 tax deals with cities Financial Times. Lambert:

So in other words, the business model really was to scale by breaking the law. Never occurred to me that the famous Silicon Valley saying (originally from Grace Hopper (!!) “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission” applied to the role of capital vis a vis and the State and the rule of law, so it’s nice to have that clarified…

Riderless Motorcycles Could Replace Human Meter Maids Wired (resilc). Moi: I am still waiting for my flying car. Lambert: “The meter maids can always find work supplying Peter Thiel with blood. The young ones, at least.”

An optimistic view of bot driven automation on the future of jobs Digonomica

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Quentin

        ‘We’re better than this’: President Barack Obama has made this deeply esoteric statement repeatedly. No Barack Obama, ‘That’s who we are, like it or lump it’, says Donald Trump.

        1. amousie

          Democracy Now plus Scahill on private security firm TigerSwan

          “We speak with Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill, who has spent years reporting on private security contractors such as the private security firm TigerSwan, which has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company. He discusses the company’s track record as more than 100 Native Americans and allies fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline have been injured by police in North Dakota. Many were attacked with rubber bullets, tear gas, mace canisters and water cannons in freezing temperatures. The attack began after the water protectors attempted to clear access to a public bridge, which has been blocked by authorities using military equipment chained to concrete barriers.”

      1. JohnnyGL

        I finally sent them some $$$. I’ve been meaning to do so for awhile. Seems there’s no time like the present.

        I hope they’re able to keep this up. They may yet win.

        I wonder how winter will factor into things. It might de-motivate the police and pipeline workers more than the protectors.

      2. Anon

        Local gathering of support for NO DAPL in my town over the weekend. Native American singer was hauntingly beautiful, with a powerful message. (Took some photos, but unable to share here.)

        The folks on the front line are courageous beyond belief.

  1. craazyman

    You have to be a good person at heart to risk your life saving a dolphin swimming in a YMCA in Arizona from a fire. Let’s not lose sight of that.

    1. jgordon

      Last time I thought I was doing a microdose and I ended up being dragged through outerspace by brilliantly glowing rainbow colored garden gnomes singing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island. You have to be careful with that stuff. Especially if there’s dolphins around!

      1. MtnLife

        Micro dosing – you’re doing it wrong. What that is called is dosing. Last time I microdosed, I got nearly two days of work done in one day including 3 projects that I had avoided for months due to them being a massive PITA plus doing a full cleaning/organizing of my shop. The following week also tends to have greatly increased productivity. I’d do it once a week if I had access.

        1. optmader

          Last time I microdosed, I got nearly two days of work done in one day including 3 projects that I had avoided for months

          I once owned a house wherein I believe the previous owner variously thought he was a plumber, carpenter or an electrician when micro dosing

          How long did it take to redo the work?

          1. MtnLife

            None, it was done right. Micro dosing, if done right, is essentially imperceptible. It just makes problem solving a little easier and the day flows a little smoother. Think of it as a really great cup of coffee. If you “feel” anything your dose is no longer “micro”. Those projects were completed beacause I was able to see the problems inherent in each in a new light and the solutions became readily apparent.

  2. RabidGandhi

    Patrick Cockburn: Trump’s Team Will Start New Wars in the Middle East

    The article is not as certain as the headline about the certainty of Trump renegging on his (nebulous) non-interventionist campaign messaging, but Cockburn does send up all the necessary red flags about Flynn, Bolton and Clare López (?). Cockburn does have an excellent track record and there is no one in the West who has an ear closer to the ground on Syraqistan than him, but it is also possible that he is drowning in a sea of European Trump hysteria.

    Here’s the article’s punchline:

    Optimists have been saying this week that Trump is less ideological than he sounds and, in any case, the US ship of state is more like an ocean liner than a speedboat making it difficult to turn round. They add privately that not all the crooks and crazies will get the jobs they want.

    Unfortunately, much the same could have been said of George W Bush when he came into office before 9/11. It is precisely such arrogant but ill-informed opportunists who can most easily be provoked by terrorism into a self-destructive overreaction. Isis is having a good week.

    So The Blob thinks it can steamroll Trump and it will be business as usual; whereas I read Trump as thinking he can slap down anyone who gets out of line as he did with Pence after the VP debate. But how will El Donaldo actually react when Flynn and Giuliani come to him with a slam dunk case and a vial of yellow cake?

      1. DarkMatters

        The Hill article adds context to Pompeo’s appointment as CIA Director. Not only is Brennan gone, regardless of threat of resignation (don’t let the door hit ya in the back), but his replacement Pompeo was concerned enough about intelligence integrity to be a member of the congressional JTF investigating CENTCOM intelligence failures and distortions in 2014-15.

    1. John Parks

      These will not be wars.
      They will also not be humanitarian interventions to save the downtrodden.
      We’ve been given ample indications that this will be “just business.” Any interference
      in the affairs of sovereign nations will merely be hostile takeovers where we
      downsize the existing governments, gut the assets of the nation, and leave the remaining
      blow-back for the American people to deal with. Our US Dept. of Peace Expeditions
      (USDOPES) will stay in place to make sure proper tribute is duly paid.

  3. RabidGandhi

    Colombia update

    Not everyone has forgotten about Occupy, or at least the Bogotá police haven’t:

    ‘Peace Campers’ Violently Evicted by Colombian Police in Bogota
    After 46 days camping out to demand peace in Colombia, police cleared their camp to give way to a salsa music festival.
    Colombian police violently cleared the so-called “Peace Camps” Saturday who were occupying the main square in the capital of Bogota and demanding the second peace deal be approved.

    For those who came in late, a referendum was held last month on a peace agreement to end Colombia’s 50+ year old civil war in which various armed groups are trying to prevent the Colombian government and its paramilitary deathsquads from evicting peasants from rural lands to make way for palm oil and petroleum companies. The “No” side– backed by ex-Colombian president and paramilitary aficianado Álvaro Uribe– won the referendum by a mere 0.5%, but what marked the election was extremely low turnout (37%) and the fact that most of the No voters came from the areas least affected by the civil war, with rural regions voting Yes by large margins.

    Anyhoo, the Peace Camps were an attempt to maintain support for continuing the peace agreements, but Bogotá’s Giuliani, Enrique Peñalosa, evidently feels that a Salsa Festival is more important, so the camps were given the Occupy treatment (thanks Obama). Meanwhile, the beat goes on in the rural regions, as three more peasant/environmental rights activists were assassinated this week, including former Green Party candidate Erley Monroy Fierro, who committed suicide by riddling his own body with dozens of bullets and then throwing himself along a roadside.

    The bottom line, in Colombia you have a US-supported regime using US military equipment (cf Plan Colombia) and US training and tactics to maintain an Israel-style status quo where peace agreements are feinted at (eg, Human Rights Watch campaigned against the peace agreements) because the state of constant war allows corporations and their paramilitaries to continue evicting peasants from their lands.

    1. Carolinian

      If it’s any comfort USG interference in S. America in the not too distant past was far worse as I’m sure you know. Unfortunately the people who care about this are the ones who already know about it and have little power. The rest go on Charlie Rose.

      And sounds like Trump has picked a goon for CIA. Will he have any sort of a leash?

    2. Judith

      I have been trying to follow the Columbia story, but do not have enough background understanding to make complete sense of it. Can you explain the position of the Catholic Church in Columbia regarding the peace negotiations. And why is HRW campaigning against the agreement? Thanks.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I can’t speak for certain about the Catholic Church’s work on the ground, but I understood their official position to be “vote in the referéndum, but we’re not advocating either side”.

        As for HRW, they’re a much more complicated story. HRW has a long history of adhering very closely to the US State Department’s policies, denouncing human rights violations in official US enemies (such as Venezuela) and ignoring far worse violations in official allies.* Colombia, as the US’s most important ally in South America has therefore been a huge blindspot for HRW– which is a glaring omission when you consider Colombia has the highest refugee population in the world (surpassed now by Syria I think). Having the civil war continue in Colombia has been a great excuse for the US MIC to continue sending weapons to support corporations in their ongoing land-grab. When you add “war on drugs” + “war on communism, it’s a win-win that HRW can’t seem to refuse. The official line of the “No” party is that the FARC rebels are terrorists(TM) and no type of leniency should be granted to terrorists. HRW have, not surprisingly, duly fallen in line with this talking point, and thus supported a No vote against the referéndum.

        *James Peck gives an excellent history of the HRW/US Gov’t intertwinning in the book Ideal Illusions. There is also an excellent debate here between HRW counsel Reed Brody and activist Keane Bhatt.

    3. Inode_buddha

      Hrmm… sounds JUST like what the English did with their enclosure laws just prior to Charles Dickens. Also sounds like what the neo-whatevers are doing via dismantling the New Deal.

  4. I Have Strange Dreams

    ‘“I don’t know how many people I’ve killed,” says US drone pilot.’

    What a job. Murdering strangers by remote control from thousands of miles away. One part of me feels revulsion at this instance of “the banality of evil”; another feels pity for those who are “just following orders”. To sell yourself so cheaply as a mass murderer. But the Dow is up so who gives a shit.

    1. EGrise

      It’s particularly distressing to me that we’re turning our soldiers, volunteers whose duty is protecting the country, into professional murderers. Many, many of them are not happy about that.

  5. Carolinian

    Re Rod Dreher and Hamilton

    Let’s think about it in religious terms.

    No, let’s not. All art is at its most basic entertainment–stories and metaphors and images that take us outside of ourselves. Dreher continues

    At its highest, art, like the rites of religion, serves as an icon, providing a window onto the transcendent.

    He’s saying the true believers at Hamilton should not have cast out Pence from this temple of transcendence. The reality is that the backers of Hamilton may be worried that shift in the political winds are threatening their future grosses which depend, not just on Hillary voting NY audiences, but also on tourists and road show tours in the boonies. It’s one thing for the audience to upbraid the future VP–the show has no control over that–but for the cast to join in at the curtain call means we may have reached peak Hamilton. After all the show’s success probably has less to do with transcendence and more to do with identity politics and the cult of Hillary and her Hamilton project neoliberals which cult is now proving very fragile indeed.

    Here’s Peter Lee–who earlier debunked Hamilton’s bad take on history–on the recent fracas.

    In my opinion, the most revealing American political event in the last decade was the Democratic Party’s embrace of Hamilton, Not Just The Musical, and in the process doing a 180 away from Jeffersonian populism.[…]

    So you could say Pence was at the scene of the crime, examining the remnants of the elite bubble that popped electorally on November 8–as well as indicating his willingness to serve as Veep of All Americans, a bit of olivebranching that did not make it into the coverage.


  6. Eureka Springs

    My oh my… Even with fair warning it’s a good thing I don’t have close neighbors due to my howling laughs this morning.

    taken a mixture of LSD, cough medicine and antifreeze

    I kept telling him that I wasn’t actually a real dolphin but just a man dressed up in a dolphin costume.” Horner continued, “Besides being on drugs, he looked like a heathenish self-rapist too. I’ll say a prayer for him, not a full-prayer though, just a half-prayer.”

    Just what does a guy have to do to earn a full prayer around here?

    I’d much rather this cop be in charge of training than the report posted in links a while back of the cop trainer who said to his students – sex is better after you shoot someone.

  7. JTMcPhee

    Catholic bishops apologize for Rwanda, continue porking acolytes and choir boys…

    Yeah, that’s quite an apology, read closely… “Many of the victims died at the hands of priests, clergy and nuns…” apology (NOT) “timed to catch the tail end of the Pope’s decreed Year of Mercy…” So all ok then, maybe not even time in purgatory?

    The world is full of cheap grace, just not for little people…

    1. integer

      Here’s a glimpse into the vast intellect of Australia’s highest ranked Catholic, George Pell (YouTube video is Pell vs. Dawkins). He is currently refusing to return to Australia (afaik) from the Vatican to face child sexual abuse charges.

      Clearly a moral and intellectual pillar of society. /s

    2. savedbyirony

      “Year of Mercy”, notice they don’t attempt a Year of Justice.

      To cap off this Mercy Year, Francis has declared that any Tom, Dick and Harry Roman Catholic priest can “forgive” a woman for having had an abortion (none Mercy Years only Bishops and above can officially do so). Mind you, all the guys are still sworn to preventing the availability and use of contraception. (Don’t know if it “officially” requires a Bishop to forgive a female for the use of contraception or not.) “Years of Mercy”, etc. don’t apply to helping to decrease or prevent unwanted pregnancies by the best means known at present.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Percolator protest! Republican voters fight election backlash by telling Starbucks baristas their name is ‘Trump’ so they have to shout the name when their cup of Joe is ready Daily Mail

    What is it with americans, who never met an issue pressing enough to get them into the streets to protest, that they are so comfortable pissing all over Starbucks employees from their bmw’s in the drive-thru while buying a $5 “coffee?”

    My daughter, whose baptism of fire in the “service” economy involves selling “coffee” to these fools, told me about this the other day. Apparently word is the baristas are told not to “engage,” and to call the name of the drink instead of the name Trump. This strategy got her a barrage of vitriol from a “protester” the other day, including the accusation that she must be one of those hillary supporters.

    Thank you for your service.

    But I’ve gotta admit, I’m secretly thankful for this insanely misplaced abuse. It’s done something I’ve had trouble doing–motivate her to take school seriously so that she can get the hell out of that loony bin asap and get a decent job.

    1. Alex

      I understand the sentiment regarding academic motivation, but why the need to pass judgement on the value of her current job? Just perpetuates the notion of some forms of work being intrinsically less worthy of respect than others. Starbucks and their customers won’t change their ways by kicking down on the baristas.

      1. cwaltz


        There are tons of decent human values found by people who perform in the service industry with or without college degrees. Honesty, reliability, hard work, patience and kindness should be valued and rewarded. These values are worthy of respect and dignity(and better paychecks.) Some of the problems with our country is that we act as if intelligence and formal education are the only things that matter. In a country that values every shade of humanity, it should not be the case.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Not passing judgement on the “value” of her current job at all.

        But I definitely am passing judgement on the relentless, abusive disrespect with which some customers feel entitled to treat her. Harsh judgement. Who needs it?

        Show some common courtesy, or make your own effin’ “coffee.”

        1. JohnnyGL

          I agree with your feelings, but education is certainly no escape hatch (per my post below). There are a-holes up and down the economic value chain of all industries.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Agree with the ubiquity of a-holes. It seems to be one area of the american experience that does not want for growth.

            I suppose it is just coincidence that this ubiquity is becoming more apparent as we transition to a service economy. Service, from the verb “to serve.” As is the word servitude, with all attendant implications.

    2. JohnnyGL

      It’s always disappointing to hear stories of how people enjoy abusing low-skill service workers. That always bothers me. My theory is that it reflects class insecurities of those doing the abusing. They know they’re not much better off deep down inside and want to assert superiority to sooth their egos.

      However, I can honestly say that school is no escape from idiotic people.

      If you get into, say, financial services, you’ll find plenty of clients and bosses who act obnoxiously. Usually in more subtle ways, instead of ridiculous ones, but not always.

      Education can’t save you from idiots! They’re everywhere!!!

      1. andyb

        Aint that the truth!! It’s going to be a rude awakening for the precious snowflakes currently in college when they have to encounter the real world. They will learn that they are “entitled” to the same trials and abuse that the rest of us had to endure. It’s called growing up.

        1. zapster

          90% of those “precious snowflakes” are holding down those jobs *while* going to school. Takes them a lot longer to get that ticket to more money, because of it. 10 years for my daughter.

    3. optimader

      …that they are so comfortable pissing all over Starbucks employees from their bmw’s in the drive-thru while buying a $5 “coffee?”

      Do people have to provide a name at a Starbucks drive through, that is subsequently shouted? If so, and if “shouting out” the name Trump is the biggest hardship of the day for the employees, I suppose smooth sailing.

      Now for some quiet reflection on why they are in service jobs rather than middle class manufacturing jobs.

    4. Stephanie

      Re: the confluence of this ancedote with the Digomonica reminder that computers will soon be doing all the work: My theory has long been that, with the exception of very small orders, retail customers will prefer to pay extra for human service just so they can have the satisfaction of venting all their frustration at a person who is capable of feeling humiliation rather than at a machine that isn’t.

    5. Sandy

      America – Land of the petulent overpaid immature overgrown children. On average dumber and more useless than their counterparts in the 3rd world and yet due to the dominance of the larger system these cogs are elevated to high incomes, but even this they manage to piss away.

      The ones in the BMW, not your daughter.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Over here, the ones in BMW can be American as well as from the 3rd world (usually their parents are in the top 1% in their home countries).

        I think we can put up with the latter, as they are often here to help our financially challenged universities with expensive administers.

  9. Foppe

    On the CF: one wonders whether all those nothing-to-see-here-citizen-liberals will catch on, and notice the oddness of the foundation’s decline even as the founders gained ‘free time to do Good’.

  10. JSM

    Re: ‘economic issues, where Trump is likely to underdeliver.’

    This may be true. It may also be true that the day Trump holds a press conference announcing his revisions to NAFTA is the day the value of ‘Democrat’ as a national brand goes to 0. You know, the way the Republicans were supposed to become a ‘regional party’ under Obama. (Though in this case the shell of the Democratic party will be an urban-island party – with red water in their centers if he really does deliver.)

  11. Steve H.

    : take energy away from focusing on economic issues, where Trump is likely to underdeliver.

    There was an article at Counterpunch a couple of days ago on Turchin predicting social disruption in the next few years based on elite overproduction, popular immiseration, and government indebtedness. Given the U.S. government cannot go bankrupt, and the only way I see for Trump to produce jobs is massive fiscal spending, I am wondering:

    Could enough government indebtedness pull the pink-slime runway foam back into the middle class to offset popular immiseration and avoid the predicted social violence?

    Noting that I am biased toward optimism…

    1. fresno dan

      Steve H.
      November 21, 2016 at 8:37 am

      I peruse Kruggy every once in a while, and the guy who suggested stimulating the economy by investing in weaponry to ward off alien invaders is now all concerned that Trump’s fiscal spending will be abused by people trying to game the system (HORRORS!!!)…inefficiently…………………because we all know that military spending on aliens – uh, from outer space (question: does Kruggy think ALL MILITARY SPENDING is great all the time, or just part of the time, or just when a dem is in the White House?) is great fiscal stimulus in a pinch…and you never know when those aliens will show up….uh, outer space aliens

      Now to be fair to Kruggy, efficient and effective spending would be great. But like the article in the links about how economists lost credibility because of their refusal to acknowledge the draw backs of “free trade” because of their own ideological blinders, I find it extremely tedious to put up with an Obama cheerleader who refuses to see any downside to ACA or that working people have been in a downward spiral for 40 years, due in part to policies advocated by these same dems

      1. Steve H.

        I swear I hope you’re kidding about the aliens. The Links on the 18th led to this:

        Rather, investors apparently have concluded that the economy can grow faster if the deficit grows, even if it leads to higher inflation and interest rates, and even the likelihood of higher rates from the Fed. This is exactly the fiscal medicine many liberals had been advocating.

        which sorta indicates Mr. Market sees a dish of cream off the top in the future. and Taxed at a Lower Rate!


      1. Steve H.

        juliania, I agree, Counterpunch continues to live up to its name and provide some some insight. There was a thread on the 18th about the Baker article, but I’m afraid the commenters were not as optimistic as we are.

  12. RabidGandhi

    Just to drive home the ridiculousness of MSM Venezuela coverage as discussed w/r/t Saturday’s bogus story on an alleged Venezuelan cash withdrawal limit, here is yesterday’s WSJ

    HOOVER, Ala.—Public Enemy No. 1 of Venezuela’s revolutionary government is Gustavo Díaz, a Home Depot Inc. employee in central Alabama.

    On his lunch breaks from the hardware section, Mr. Díaz, 60 years old, does more than anyone else to set the price of everything from rice to aspirin to cars in his native Venezuela, influencing the inflation rate and swaying millions of dollars of daily currency transactions.

    How? He is president of one of Venezuela’s most popular and insurgent websites,, which provides a benchmark exchange rate used by his compatriots to buy and sell black-market dollars. That allows them to bypass some of the world’s most rigid currency controls.

    Socialist President Nicolás Maduro has accused DolarToday of leading an “economic war” against his embattled government and vowed to jail Mr. Díaz and his two partners, also Venezuelan expatriates in the U.S. The Venezuelan central bank unsuccessfully filed suit against the website twice in U.S. courts. The government has also turned to hackers to launch constant attacks, Mr. Díaz said, forcing the site to use sophisticated defenses.

    Why would that crazy lunatic dictator Maduro want to persecute this poor unassuming Home Depot employee? Well good thing most people just read headlines and not full articles, because there is this little tidbit in the WSJ which might kinda sorta seem somewhat relevant:

    Mr. Díaz is a U.S.-trained retired colonel, and he indeed tried to overthrow Mr. Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, by participating in a short-lived coup in 2002. Mr. Díaz, who had been deputy security chief to the businessman who briefly took power in the ill-fated overthrow, said his conspiring days are over.

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not planning a coup for you.

    1. Carolinian

      Home Depot providing deep cover for CIA operatives? Is that a satellite phone in that nail apron? Say it isn’t so.

      HD’s Atlanta founders are big time rightwingers but more of the Koch/libertarian variety I think. Still I’ll have to watch my step on next trip for lumber.

      1. RabidGandhi

        For the record, I meant my critique to be an indictment not of HD but rather of the WSJ, for its thoroughly misleading Venezuela coverage (quelle surprise); although it sounds like you have plenty of other more than valid reasons for not patronising HD. In this case, what actually happened is the WSJ buried the lede with a shovel that incidentally happed to be purchased at HD.

          1. grizziz

            Don’t walk back so fast, Carolinian. Remember Koch and the Keystone pipeline were part of the plan to bring heavy crude from Canada Tar Sands to Gulf of Mexico refineries to replace the heavy crude to be sequestered until such time that Venezuela would be reformed into an enlightened ‘Capitalist Democracy.’

  13. financial matters

    This would be an interesting train ride.

    China-Europe freight train

    “”A freight train departed a pilot economic zone in the northern coastal city of Tianjin for the first time Monday morning.

    Loaded with 104 containers of construction materials, it is the first China-Europe freight train to leave the Tianjin Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) , and is set to arrive in Minsk, capital of Belarus, around December 4.

    The train will leave China via Erlianhaote Customs in northern China’s Inner Mongolia and head to the China-Belarus Industrial Park in Minsk, according to the administrative committee for Tianjin Dongjiang Port Area. The return trip will carry goods to China, including wood products from Belarus and surrounding countries.””

  14. Uahsenaa

    It’s hard to take McCain seriously on anything, particularly when he tries to take the moral high ground. I’d like to get behind a man who opposes torture–though his “it doesn’t work framing” is a lot more troubling than simply saying, “it’s wrong”–but he’s still perfectly willing to bomb the crap out of anyone and everyone who happens to be perceived as “our enemy.” I’m not sure it’s much solace to the 16 year-old Americans or wedding party goers who were droned into oblivion that we don’t waterboard or pull out the fingernails of the people we’ve captured through entirely dubious means.

    We just leave that sort of thing to the foreign nationals whose black sites we “render” them to.

    1. John Wright

      McCain jesting about “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb” Iran gives a snapshot of his wisdom.

      Imagine the uproar if a foreign candidate for their top post had joked about “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb the USA”

      McCain, son/grandson of admirals, is another “son of more successful father” like Wolfowitz, G.W. Bush and Bill Kristol.

      Why the news media asks him about anything is yet more evidence of the media’s bankruptcy of thought.

      1. fresno dan

        November 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

        McCain gives me hope that people see through things better than we give them credit for – I speculate that the lack of outrage with regard to Trump’s insult of McCain’s captivity was due to the fact that a lot of McCain deeds are not at all impressive.

    2. sid_finster

      As cretinous as he is on so many issues, McCain has consistently opposed the use of torture.

      I am not a McCain fan, far from it, but credit where credit is due.

  15. cocomaan

    The discussions happening around several moves, including “Trump to normalize relations with Russia”, “Trump to make countries pay for NATO,” and so on, are absolutely insane. I do not understand the Russia fear mongering. It’s a country with a declining population, declining oil reserves, and declining geopolitical influence.

    The bare bones of it is that Russia has a population of 143 million and the EU has a population of half a billion people.

    There is no threat. What is the hyperventilating about? Is it because we can no longer pursue a war? Good god.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sense is the Chinese can’t be an effective enemy because we have too much corporate presence there, too many Americans believe they are little foreign devils too primitive to fear, or would recognize fear mongering of another “color” of people so soon after the “brown” menace of Muslims and Mexicans.

      India is far too isolated to be turned into the next villain. Iran won’t fly. Muslim dictator of choice isn’t working, so they are going to the golden oldies. The only reason they haven’t tried an “alien menace” is there are to many religious types to tolerate it.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I’m young enough to remember the days when Ronnie “Fiscal Stimulus” Reagan put his cowboy boots on to appear on the teevee and inform us that the Sandinista hordes were a mere two days’ march away from Texas. That was before he deftly neutralised the strategic threat posed by the dasterdly Leninists in Grenada who had world-threatening stockpiles of nutmeg aimed straight at Miami.

        Finding ridiculous threats has never been a problem.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It works until it doesn’t. If you were 18 on 9/11, you would be 33 today. Let’s stretch this to people who are 40, but basically, everyone 40 and under has been told to be terrified of random foreign gangs for their adult lives. The relationship is breaking, and there isn’t a demand to be protected by our President anymore in light of far more credible threats such as global warming and the police (uniformed local gangs).

          Of course, Reagan never blamed “Bedtime for Bonzo” on Boris and Natasha either. The DNC tried to rename Alanis Morsette’s song, “Isn’t it Ironic” to “Putin, Yarble Garble” and claimed her song about Dave Coolier was about Putin. We are so far down the rabbit hole these days.

          1. fresno dan

            November 21, 2016 at 10:45 am

            Not to mention how much money was spent PRIOR to 9/11 by our “intelligence” (SUPER DUPER SARC) agencies that appear to have negative predictive value….

            HONESTLY, when Hillary mentioned the 17 intelligence agencies, I thought she was telling a joke….

            1. Lambert Strether

              > 17 intelligence agencies

              Did any government official ever go on the record about that? I may have missed it.

              The security firms issuing white papers don’t count, because they’re gonna say what they’re gonna say

              1. JTMcPhee

                How many intelligence agencies does it take to change a light bulb?

                Just asking…

                Collaterally, you think we USian mopes are the only folks who have problems? Is the current state of NZed widely like this little vignette, with lots of chime-ins from other afflictees? Courtesy of Neofokkingliberalism, or just universal Murphy Peter Parkinsonism?

                “Go die.” With all the richness that ambiguity and intent can import…

        2. Bugs Bunny

          People took the harebrained plot of “Red Dawn” seriously. I actually remember arguing with my family about it!

          R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

        3. oh

          These war mongerers with their bullhorn (MSM) keep brainwashing the guillible publlic so they can spend more money on weapons and steal the public treasure. When will this propaganda end?

    2. OIFVet

      Divide and conquer, that’s what’s going on. While our world is powered by fossil fuels, Europe will be in large part dependent on Russia. Lots of other raw materials, too. Russian demographic decline has leveled off for the time being, too, while Europe is now aging and facing it’s own demographic decline. Russia and Europe make sense as trading and potentially as geopolitical partners, except such alliance will spell US decline. Can’t have that, and with Euro neoliberal elites in Washington’s pocket and a big wave of elanti-establishment sentiment at the polls in both Europe and the US, the elites are throwing a temper tantrum. I don’t know where you see Russia’s declining geopolitical influence, the relative balance of power has recently improved in Russia’s favor as the US has gotten bogged down by its own hubris. We are on the precipice of a multipolar world, and the Washington Consensus doesn’t like that one bit. If Trump is smart, he will play to salvage as much of US influence as possible, and Eastern Europe is the place where his administration must start if he wants to keep Europe in its current form. The Baltics and Poland enjoy wagging the dog right now, but moving further south the contrived confrontation with Russia is not playing very well anymore, as recent elections have shown. Add the growing sense among the Eastern Europeans that they are treated as second class members of the EU and the backlash against the migrant wave from US regime change operations, and Russia suddenly becomes much more attractive as a counterweight to the US. Make no mistake, there is growing anti-US sentiment in the East, and while there isn’t that much love for Russia in most places, the return of realism in some places has resulted in a desire to cooperate with Russia, rather than antagonize it on behalf of the US and EU establishments with dubious benefits for the Eastern European buffer states.

    3. Mark P.

      ‘There is no threat. What is the hyperventilating about? Is it because we can no longer pursue a war? Good god.’

      Not a war, but Cold War-level spending. The military-industrial complex and affiliated politicians and lobbyists wants an enemy to justify more big-platform spending — i.e. aircraft carriers, subs, bombers, two-ton artillery — again. The GWOT isn’t making it as far as they’re concerned, and is getting kind of long in the tooth anyway. So ‘it’s the Russkis, again’ is the obvious ploy.

  16. flora

    re:India’s Currency Exchange Gamble and the Curse of Cash

    Ken Rogoff (ha!) declaring that in the long run getting rid of cash will be beneficial to all (of course he is). Getting everyone, including the rural poor, connected to electronic banking will make life so much better. Easier to get farmers, for instance, microloans. Which don’t work, according to Milford Bateman in his 2010 book Why Doesn’t Microfinance Work?. Mircrolending is subprime lending and creates disaster zones of debt and backwardness:

    …the increasing dominance of the microfinance models in developing countries is causally associated with their progressive deindustrialization and infantilization.”

    And Bill Gates is pushing digital banking for India (of course he is.)

    Between Rogoff and Gates I have an image of neoliberal “missionaries” bringing “banking enlightenment and technologies” to the poor people of the world. Very, very profitable for banks, the digital companies, and the think tank idea peddlers. Good for the rural poor? I doubt it.

    1. polecat

      Well …the ‘missionaries,’ who ever they are, have convinced the owners of a new barbecue that just opened in my little town, to ‘accept digital only/card purchases’ …… no cash !

      shakes head in dis-belief ……

      needless to say, I won’t be patronizing said new venue !!

    2. andyb

      The masters of the elite are on an inexorable march towards totalitarianism, with incremental, but significantly important gains along the way. The key players are part of the global banking cartel and a cashless society would be a crowning achievement, equal to the illegal establishment of the privately held FED, and its collection agent, the IRS (which most don’t know is not a legal part of the USG). The fact the government would have full control over your finances and thus you ability to survive is quite alarming.

      1. hunkerdown

        Not the “16th Amendment was never ratified” line again, please.

        We can make our own currencies by extending our own credit. The only trouble is getting them accepted — which, in a relatively closed group, isn’t necessarily such a hurdle.

    3. Mark P.

      flora wrote: ‘Between Rogoff and Gates I have an image of neoliberal “missionaries” bringing “banking enlightenment and technologies” to the poor people of the world.’

      With respect, you may have that image because you’re a Westerner and don’t know what’s happening on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa — Kenya and East Africa in particular — where they’ve leapfrogged laying down phone landline infrastructure and gone straight to cellphone networks. Overall, half a billion Africans are now subscribers to mobile services. It’s really interesting. One consequence is that Africans do 60 percent of the world’s digital banking, IIRC, and their digital banking services are arguably more advanced than America’s.

      Africans are driving this change. In 2003, for instance, when the Kenyan telecom Safaricom began selling mobile phones, its business plan was simply to have half a million users by 2013. Today Safaricom has 21 million customers – 42 times more that its business plan called for.

      So not to defend Bill Gates (and to hell with Rogoff) but here’s what Gates actually said: “… independent of demonetisation, digitisation is a good thing … I have no opinion about demonetisation. If you want Rs 50 transactions to happen on less than two per cent overhead, be able to send money to your relatives at a distance, sell your crops and save a certain amount for the next season, the digital platforms will let us to do great financial services for poor people in a way that the non-digital system will not let you do.”

      Is Gates wrong here?

      1. flora

        The technology by itself is neutral. How it is used is the question. What rules will be in place? Maximize profits? Will the big banks be prevented from over-indebting the lower classes or be encouraged to run sub-prime schemes that destroy the lower classes? Will the big banks be allowed to charge fees on fees or will they be restrained ? Will bribery end or be digitally “modernized”? Will banks be kept on a short leash or be allowed to run ponzi schemes using the digital platform as a “new shiny” distraction from the end results?
        I’ve seen this happen in the US, where we have good rules that go unenforced.

        About African countries: I have nothing against technology. It’s my field. But I’ve too often seen it used to run old-scams in new clothes under the pretense that if the process is digital it is, by definition, neutral positive.

      2. oh

        IMHO financial transactions using cell phones must be allowed only if the government operates a portal and transaction cost are zero. To hell with the FIRE sector that take a bite of every financial transaction. American Express in the US has a virtual monopoly on money orders that Latinos use for paying bills and to send money to their home country. I’ll bet that FOREX transactions carry a heavy fee.

      3. H. Alexander Ivey

        I have no opinion about demonetisation. If you want Rs 50 transactions to happen on less than two per cent overhead, be able to send money to your relatives at a distance, sell your crops and save a certain amount for the next season, the digital platforms will let us to do great financial services for poor people in a way that the non-digital system will not let you do.”
        Is Gates wrong here?

        To answer your (hopefully) non-rhetorical question (and hopefully non-sacastic one), technically, as an engineer; no, he’s not. As a person who lives in a real world, with real social and political forces, as well as engineering ones, yes, very much he is wrong.

        First off, he can not sidestep demonetisation. His belief in digitisation directly enables demonetisation, so he is immoral to state he has no opinion.

        Second, ‘less than two percent overhead’ is just a misleading rhetorical trick. He sneakily picks a small amount, Rs 50, so 2% appears to be a miniscule amount out of 50, but to the persons doing the Rs 50 transaction, that isn’t so small. Lots can be said about this overhead issue but the bullet to put to the horse’s head is cash has 0% overhead to the transaction. The cost has been covered by the proper functioning of the government in printing and distributing legal currency.

        Third, digitisation leads to lack of privacy and the overreach of others to track an individual’s movement and activities. Please don’t start with ‘if you have done nothing wrong…’ argument. That is too childish to bother with. Just tell the world your email and password particulars; and tell us why you have stopped beating your wife. That should stop that argument.

        Fourth, crops can be sold without digitalisation now, why change? And Mr. Gates is further indulging in rhetorical games here. He links the selling of crops to saving money for the future. These two actions are not linked together, now or in a future with digitisation. And there is never a compelling reason for them to be so linked by ‘interested third parties’ like Mr. Gates.

        Lastly, he does not say how digitisation can do things better in the future, he just says they can. Ah, yes, the old ‘trust me, I’m an expert in this field’ argument. Yes, he is an expert in the field of digitisation, it’s just that he is an untrust worthy one. He refuses to address the negatives of digitisation, like changeability, authentication, and duration. Any digital information can be easily changed, will be hard to prove that it is the original or unchanged information, and will become unreadable or un-understandable within a few years.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > “great financial services for poor people”

          “Great” is a bullshit tell. Silicon Valley types always use it when they’re shilling hard. They define what is great, their mission is delivering it, you will accept the greatness….

    4. ChrisPacific

      Surely you are not suggesting that Rogoff should adapt his economic theory to allow for possibly suboptimal real world conditions? He’d never be able to show his face at an economic conference again!

    5. wilroncanada

      Many years ago, in Nova Scotia, Canada, when banks were abandoning small towns, I wrote a story (it was supposed to be humorous) about the new mobile banking model those banks would surely introduce. The banks would hire sales people who would call door-to-door like vacuum salesmen, or Fuller Brush sellers. They would wheel their mobile bank machines to the door and explain to the householder, or small business owner, that she could make her deposit just as safely at that little machine as they could at that former bank building on the corner. The salesman could help the client access all the same services.
      There would be just a couple of caveats: the machines can not provide change for your small business ma’am, and you can only withdraw a small amount at a time, say $100. But I guarantee I’ll return at least once a month to service all your banking needs. Now we have ATMs doing the same thing–with almost zero maintenance–and they are being withdrawn from the same small towns by the same banks because they do not produce enough profit.
      Of course, in the US, the service agent would also have had to carry a gun, say, an anti-tank weapon, in case some kid threw a snowball at his truck.
      At the time I thought it was funny!

  17. Tom Stone

    The CNBC article on the Clinton Foundation had me laughing out loud.
    And then I got to thinking about the Clinton Pardon, there have to be some pretty intense back channel discussions going on right now.
    What’s the best timing, TDay?, Christmas?, Obamometer’s last day in office?
    Obama is still pissed at HRC over Libya and she’s been putting part of the blame for her loss on him…and accepting a pardon would be a further humiliation for Hillary.
    The personalities and the political/financial considerations make granting a pardon a complex matter. But the bottom line is that our Elites should never be held accountable for the crimes they commit, which makes a pardon all but inevitable.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      A pardon for what?

      She hasn’t even been formally accused of anything, let alone indicted, tried or found guilty. In fact, just the opposite.

      What does a “pardon” look like under those circumstances? A blanket statement that no matter what crime hillary clinton may have committed, she can never be punished?

      1. RabidGandhi

        That ‘blanket statement’ is exactly what Ford granted to Nixon:

        Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

        If HRC knows a pardon is coming she should ramp up the CF looting to 11 before her blanket immunity ends.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield


          But note this pardon applies only to offenses against the United States— aka federal crimes. The President only has authority to pardon someone for federal offenses. So, she still could be prosecuted for state and local offenses.

          If the Obamamometer does pardon her– as I argued he will do in this post– Pardon Power: The Obamamometer’s Options— he will likely limit the time period that the pardon covers. Another key question: if he pardons HRC, will he pardon anyone else?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Well, not Edward Snowden, apparently, whom the constitutional scholar prez thinks must first “present” himself to a court:

            Obama replied: “I can’t pardon somebody who hasn’t gone before a court and presented themselves, so that’s not something that I would comment on at this point.”

            Of course, obama has been known to “evolve” in his thinking.


            Presumably Julian Assange won’t get the nod either. It’s not like he’s marc rich or anything.

            1. RabidGandhi

              Obama is literally making sh*t up so that he won’t have to say that he doesn’t want to issue a pardon for Snowden; there is absolutely no truth whatsoever to what he said there.

              That said, if Snowden were to be pardoned, should he accept it? He did absolutely nothing wrong with his whistleblowing and should be given a medal, not a pardon. Same could be said of Assange, who isn’t even a US national, making whatever charges are made against him (treason, ffs Joe Lieberman?) even more outlandish.

            2. Katharine

              That is a really striking contrast. Jerri-Lynn, can you provide any insight into whether “circumstances alter cases” here or whether he is being arbitrary in saying he can’t do this?

              1. cocomaan

                Well, Obama assassinated American citizens with a drone, ignoring due processes.

                If Obama wanted to pardon Snowden, I think he could do it. They’d push paper around in the justice department to make it work. Same goes for something GTMO. With the will to actually follow through, these things are totally possible.

                1. Propertius

                  Perhaps, then, he will pardon himself for torture and other war crimes.

                  Or, as Richard Nixon himself famously put it, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.”

              2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

                I agree with the comment above. He was just making sh*t up. And I would add: He was counting on his interviewer not to call him on it. (Because only DJT gets fact-checked.) No one challenges the Obamamometer to his face.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Please tell me what state attorney would have the resources and would bother. This is an enormous task that would come at the expense of other state priorities. New York has a much bigger state AG’s office than most states and it has all of a dozen attorneys.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Could Trump order an investigation of the Clintons and the Clinton foundation even if Obama gives them a pardon?

        1. optimader

          I’ll add, Clinton is probably not on Trumps active punchlist at this point. Investigation/prosecution is no advantage to him until it is.

          Presumably he ceases to see her as an advisory, so nothing to be gained at the moment.

          Maybe when something blows up on him, he could use the deflection

          1. oh

            He probably want to “look forward not backwards”; therefore she’s an advisory (person)not an adversary. Good freudian slip, optimader!

            1. optimader

              Ha that’s spell check helping me out! But indeed, crooked hillary was probably his best “advisor” in a backhanded sort of way.

      1. Code Name D

        I suspect there is a cloak & dagger game going on in the Whitehouse. If I were Trump, I would play further investigations close to the chest in hopes Obama would not feel the need to pardon Clinton. And Obama is using his “mentor” status to gage how likly Trump is to procede and now necisary a pardon might be.

        But yes, Obama must pardon Clintion, and likly severl others assoceated with the foundation. This isn’t just about the Clintions, but the corupt head of the Democratic Party as a whole which would likly lead back to Obama himself.

        The Rep are in a position to completly dismantle the Dems through scandle. A Clintion pardon would be the last-best hope of staving off the inevitable. Assuming the Repubs even want to persue the mater.

  18. fresno dan

    President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to label China a currency manipulator, and has floated the idea of imposing large tariffs on Chinese imports. This sort of policy is considered beyond the pale in mainstream economics and media circles. It is subjected to epithets like “protectionism” and “mercantilism.” Almost everyone says it’s a bad idea.

    Naturally, major economics media outlets are freaking out.

    But it’s no simple matter to predict the effect of trade restrictions on economic activity.
    Recent experience shows that trade can fall on its own after a big financial crisis and recession, without any assistance from policy. Trade plunged in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, and has been declining ever since:

    Coming from Bloomberg, I find this amazing – although refreshing that an economist owns up to the fact that so much is nebulous and not nearly as clear cut as some with a “free trade” agenda would assert.
    Still, he can’t bring himself to even consider “distributional effects” and by that I mean wages and income quintiles, i.e., winners and losers.

    1. djrichard

      I remember coming across another article like this from Bloomberg, where it seemed like the writer was being let off the reservation, lol.

      Regarding the impact to GDP, less off-shoring (move supply chains back inside the US), would lead to reduced US dollars going to China. Which would make the US dollar stronger in China, all things being equal.

      But look at the amount of playroom we have. From . For 2015:
      – net US imports from China was $483B
      – net US exports to China was $116B
      – net deficit was $367B

      So we could reduce the supply of dollars to China by $367B without impacting their demand. Which of course begs the question: if we’re sending excess dollars to China now, what’s happening to them? Up until 2015 or so, the answer was straight-forward: the PBoC takes them out of circulation by printing yuan to buy them. And they in turn repatriate the US dollars by buying US bonds.

      But since then it seems that the PBoC’s machinations have been exceeded by capital flight. To the point that the PBoC itself was performing reverse QE to keep the peg (selling their US bond holdings for US dollars and then selling those US dollars to their merchants for yuan).

      So one in theory could say that that capital flight is resulting in balanced trade with the US. But it’s really no different than the PBoC buying US bonds; one could say that that results in balanced trade as well. They both simply result in bidding up asset prices in the US (bonds in the one case, stocks? property? more bonds? in the other case). At the end of the day, it’s not the same as goods flowing to China, which would put demand on US supply chains.

    2. cocomaan

      I love that the supposed experts on this are coming to stupidly obvious conclusions using complicated models:

      International economists have a pretty reliable set of tools, called gravity models, that predict the amount of trade between countries. These models show that protectionism, in general, reduces trade.

      Wow, you don’t say?!! Incredible conclusion!

      What flabbergasts me about the chart further down in the article (global trade as % of GDP) is how it directly correlates with the massive reduction in American citizen’s purchasing power, their wages, and basically every other measure of worker earnings. At this point, I’m all about imposing tariffs and beginning a protectionist shift if it means the people around me have better lives because of it. So I share Fresno Dan’s amazement that Bloomberg actually cites data that mild protectionism can increase domestic successes.

      But then the concern trolling over a war in the S China Sea is back to the fearmongering aspect.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trade plunged…2008…

      If you make more stuff that you know you can make, and you did make them before, you will trade less.

  19. olga

    On Airbnb and tax deals – isn’t that exactly the strategy Citigroup used when it merged with Traveler’s? Do an illegal act and then wait until the law catches up? And, of course, Clinton obliged…

  20. barrisj

    Surely we all of us are enjoying the delicious spectacle of The Donald, Il Capo dei Capi, summoning his vassals and petitioners to the Torre d’Oro to grant them an audience and perhaps even benediction; for me, this evokes a strong cinematic reference, and where, truly, Life is imitating Art:

    “Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me”.

    Marlon Brando (Don Corleone), “The Godfather” (1972)

    1. fresno dan

      November 21, 2016 at 10:15 am

      I can see the scene where they deliver Sonny’s body to the mortician for whom the Godfather had a boy beaten who had assaulted the mortician’s daughter. (the scene actually was hilarious when you see the look on the mortician’s face when he sees what a job he will have making Sonny look presentable in death)
      Ah, to be a fly on the wall when Trump vassals visit Mitch McConnell ….

      1. barrisj

        Fresno Dan…one of the very few who got it…I’ m about to give up on NC,,,who are these people, after all? Oy vey, don’t they read their Guy Debord? Oh, well, it is what it is…cheers.

  21. Carolinian

    Re Reason link on the Clinton Cult. The other day Dunham even said women voting against Hillary “may be self hating.” Yours truly had suggested such an accusation in a comment but as a joke. One does not indeed want to put too much focus on Dunham as it simply gives her the attention she seeks. However this article speaks truth about the wacky portion of the left that makes Trump appear almost reasonable by comparison. Culture shift ahead….

    1. fresno dan

      November 21, 2016 at 10:20 am
      My definition of self hating is voting for a dem or a repub….

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      You can sign up for dunham’s “newsletter” called Lenny, which will deliver “content” to your in-box twice a week. Which is why I don’t pay much attention to email–its “content.”

      I know this because I clicked through to the “content” provided by someone named virginia heffernen that was referenced in the Reason piece, and found dreck like this:

      “I love Hillary Clinton. I am in awe of her. I am set free by her. She will be the finest world leader our galaxy has ever seen.”

      Our galaxy. No hyperbole here.

      However, some breaking news from msnbs for dunham and heffernen to put in their pipes and smoke: Trump to meet today with, wait for it……… Tulsi Gabbard.

      I’d tell dunham et al. that they may be jumping the gun, but that would probably trip another dogwhistle trigger or three, so I won’t.

      1. polecat

        Maybe Dumham, seeing this on her device (tablet, I-phone, or whatever) will have another meltdown as whilst doing her ‘desert vision thing’, and thereby do us all a favor and leap of a cliff !!

        what a self-absorbed twit ……

        1. epynonymous

          I find racism in the oddest places. Jeff Dunham’s entire routine is Mexican schlock. To create his ‘dead terrorist’ charachter, he just went to 70’s mexican-drug film stereotype “I Kill You!”

          The new HBO Sesame Street is a nightmare too. It’s always talking about food, like as a source of conflict, and I feel it can’t be good for kids.

          Elmo has also been doing what I can only reference as black-face by doing a scary-thing with his eyes and yelling “Boi!” The halloween episode featured a song where they everyone else had a costume, but he just wore his ‘scary-face’ he uses together with ‘urban’ slang.

          Kill your televisions. Maybe it’s elitist, but I hear Bill Clinton hasn’t sent an e-mail in years. He doesn’t have to.

          1. MLS

            I hear Bill Clinton hasn’t sent an e-mail in years

            Are you sure? Maybe Bill’s are the missing 33,000 from the Clinton server….

    3. temporal

      Reading all these explanations for why people other than neolibs and elite Ds are at fault has been very entertaining. Unfortunately virtually all of them have truly missed the true cause. The group that came up with the HRC logo. “I’m with her ->” is interchangeable with an older and more popular tee shirt that we all used to see at fairs. “I’m with stupid ->” was biggie back in the day. Most voters unconsciously remembered the older usage.

      It was the logo team pairing HRC with stupid. When will these logo designers ever learn?

      After all a person couldn’t very well vote for someone that lacks confidence in themselves.

      1. Arizona Slim

        And here I thought I was the only one! Whenever I saw that Clinton logo, I was reminded of being With Stupid.

    4. Montanamaven

      I thought that was well worth the read. I remember the Rolling Stone cover with Obama and a halo around his head. Politicians are no angels, no messiahs. Don’t fall in love with them. They are all abusers to some degree. Certainly they are users.
      I also recommend the article on why the Hamilton cast lecturing the Vice President elects family in a closed room was a bad move. Plays, at their best, are meant to challenge convention and our morals and ethics. The actors should have let the play speak for itself.

  22. Steve H.

    : Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.

    “The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — persistently throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.”

    Better article than the title suggests.

    1. cocomaan

      That article put to words some things I’ve suspected for a long time.

      Truthfully, I was able to start writing novels when I put down social media. Now, they’re not making me money directly (yet), but other professional writing opportunities are opening up elsewhere, and it’s exciting. Not to mention all the hobbies I’ve also developed.

  23. Leigh

    Off topic, but I have to ask: What is the line of Economic thinking out there that sees no issue with the rising income inequality in this country?

      1. UserFriendly

        lol yes. They would call themselves Neoclassical,

        New Keynesians don’t see a problem outside of political instability.

        Post Keynesians are the only ones that have a brain.

  24. fresno dan

    Kurtz recounts from her book the charge that there were pro-Donald Trump TV hosts who “would arrange with Trump in advance to ask him certain critical questions or do certain hits on him so they would appear to have some credibility.”

    Howard Kurtz spoke with his Fox colleague Megyn Kelly this morning about her book Settle for More, and he picked up on one detail that hasn’t received much press attention.

    Kurtz recounts from her book the charge that there were pro-Donald Trump TV hosts who “would arrange with Trump in advance to ask him certain critical questions or do certain hits on him so they would appear to have some credibility.”

    He (Kurtz) asked if she (Kelly) means they were “play-acting.” Kelly responded, “Yes. It was acting.”


    I am shocked, shocked to learn that manipulation is occurring in the media…..

    Next thing you know, it will be revealed that PBS uses fluffers…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I suppose the argument will become, which side started it first.

      “You cheated first.”

      “No, your side did.”

  25. vidimi

    re the india currency train wreck

    i know it’s just a coincidence, but this metaphor feels inappropriate given the real train wreck that just happened in india over the weekend, killing hundreds.

    1. Carla

      Thanks. I had already watching the video here, but it’s great to have the transcript of Blyth’s remarks…

    2. UserFriendly

      Wonderfull, the relentless sharing of it that I have been doing (and I’m sure many others around here) has paid off. I personally like the one without the lady who is on the identity politics train.
      With the caviat that he misinturperts Kalecki. The reason for stagflation was Opec’s Oil shocks, not labor having to much sway in the pursuit of full employment. And just like Kalecki predicted TPTB hate full employment targeting. Stagflation was just a convenient excuse to ditch it.

  26. fatmoron

    One thing that I’ve wondered since the election results came in: What sort of aftermath is there at the Clinton Foundation? Pretty much all of the polls and standard political machinery were predicting a win for Clinton, so I imagine the Foundation was quick to promise the moon and stars to anyone who could cut a big check. “Write the check now, before I’m in office! That way it’ll appear less corrupt!!”

    What happens when all the people who cut the checks want recompense because they didn’t get what they were paying for?

  27. Ranger Rick

    That “CNN” link at the top of the page is what people are talking about when they rant about fake news. Sure, the tiniest bit of critical thinking will reveal that is a German domain and “Jimmy Rustling” is a joke used as an author name, but there are people who won’t even think twice.

  28. L

    Kissinger: Donald Trump Is Unique, He Enters Office With “No Baggage,” “No Obligations” Real Clear Politics. J-LS wonders if this is a veiled threat.

    That depends upon how you define “Baggage”. He certainly owes the Alt-Right a great deal. And his own far-flung business empire will weigh down much of what he does.

    And then there is the fact that his campaign to “drain the swamp” depends upon the resident’s of that Swamp. When asked about lobbyists as he said “they know how it works”.

  29. crittermom

    RE: More than 100 million trees dead in CA
    The pictures really do tell the story.
    I saw a great documentary (“the Big Burn”) a while back where the US Forest Service admitted they now realize they had been doing it wrong for the past 100 years, by suppressing wildfires. The result has been ‘super fires’ worse than any in history and only slated to get even worse.

    I’ve observed the small lake near where I currently live in western NM dwindle from a 130-acre lake to little more than a ‘pond’ in the 4 1/2 yrs I’ve been here.
    If we fail to get an epic snowfall this winter it may be little more than a large ‘puddle’ come next summer.

    Maybe if Trump lived out west rather than in the city of NY, he’d have a better understanding of climate change.

    Then again, maybe not. Probably never in his view, having lived his life looking out the window of limos or down from his towers onto a sea of cement and buildings.

        1. optimader

          Well, higher twenty somethings and give them axes? People pay for exercise like this. Sell “adventure vacations” to city folk.

          Cutting the dead ones down will perhaps present a lower risk to the live ones and be a reasonable compromise w/ the federal forestry folk that are compelled to manage forests. Gotta know the forests are dependent on humans to survive and flourish /s

          I presume felled trees laying on the ground providing a ecosystem at ground level will at least present less of an unnatural desiccated surface area waiting to be hit by lighting.

          Can’t do anything about the drought, but getting the forests back to a natural ratio of live vs dead standing trees would probably be a good start to a more enlightened forestry stewardship, and I presume more organic material on the ground could improve water retention?

          1. Steve H.

            : Well, higher twenty somethings and give them axes? People pay for exercise like this. Sell “adventure vacations” to city folk.

            Perfect! That can provide the fiscal stimulus to give axes to the country folk and put them to work on the other side of the mountain from the city folk. Win-Win!

      1. Waldenpond

        It’s many issues. Multiple long-term mismanagement with the forests. Trees are weakened when there are no small fires. Ash strengthens the trees to resist insect infestation. There are people removing dead trees, burning them off site and then transporting the ash back and dumping it around trees. Small fires remove the lower branches so that the tree has a greater chance of surviving the next fire.

        Dams prevent fish from reaching their spawning grounds and dying. People collect dead fish, transport them past blocked rivers and streams and dump them so the dead fish can rot, get dragged off into the forest and feed the soil.

    1. Pajarito

      I’ve been noting the number of dead trees in the NM woodlands and forests with alarm for several years. A lifetime (biologist, hunter) of seeing the same woods year after year, and change is visible. In most areas at least 25% (and I am being conservative) of trees are dead or severely stressed (e.g. brown needles). It ranges from Pinon-Juniper woodland up to high elevation spruce-fir forests and all in between. Many of the lower elevation trees the dead are likely over 250 years old (slow growing, arid environment: I’ve cored some (Pinon) and counted rings), and conditions for replacement may not occur again.

      Plant community composition is changing and likely communities will retreat upward in elevation, what climate scientists have predicted for decades. Our mountain island communities will suffer species losses in both plants and animals.

      1. Synapsid


        There are places in New Mexico forests where what you mention is happening. Some areas of Ponderosa forest see pine-juniper, from lower elevations, replacing Ponderosa after a burn, signaling warmer, dryer conditions moving up.

        A recent pika survey in mountains of the Basin and Range in Nevada found many areas at high elevation that had hosted pikas no longer have any. Pikas require fairly low temperatures. A surprise bit of good news is: pikas are living in boulder fields along the Columbia River where it cuts through the Cascades. That’s practically at sea level; it looks like boulder fields in cool rain forest can be pika land. No one had ever thought to look there.

        1. Pajarito

          Pikas: those at the top of elevation gradient have nowhere to go as climate changes, I imagine marmots in the same category in the Rockies, especially south. Our mountain islands with their isolated stands of mixed conifer on top stand to lose the unique chipmunk species that evolved on each habitat island.

          Many people don’t know what is lost, or to be lost, sadly.

  30. RabidGandhi

    I’m tempted to quote this entire NYT article (“Many in Milwaukee Neighborhood Didn’t Vote — and Don’t Regret It“) on the racist KKK supporters in Milwaukee who helped elect Trump– oh and 84% of whom happen to be black. Some choice quotes:

    The biggest drop [in turnout] was here in District 15, a stretch of fading wooden homes, sandwich shops and fast-food restaurants that is 84 percent black. In this district, voter turnout declined by 19.5 percent from 2012 figures…. It is home to some of Milwaukee’s poorest residents… and has one of the nation’s highest per-capita incarceration rates.

    “I’m so numb,” said Jahn Toney, 45, who had written in Mr. Sanders. He said no president in his lifetime had done anything to improve the lives of black people, including Mr. Obama, whom he voted for twice. “It’s like I should have known this would happen. We’re worse off than before.”

    “Give us loans, or a 401(k),”

    [RG: ugh] he said, trimming the mustache of Steve Stricklin, a firefighter from the neighborhood. His biggest issue was health insurance. Mr. Fleming lost his coverage after his divorce three years ago and has struggled to find a policy he could afford. He finally found one, which starts Monday but costs too much at $300 a month.

    “Ain’t none of this been working,” he said. He did not vote.

    This was the first general election under new state laws that required voters to produce an approved photo ID card, and that stiffened the requirements for new voters to prove their residence. This was particularly onerous for the poor, who move often [in spite of the DNCs steadfast GOTV efforts /sarc].

    One exception was Justin Babar, who said he voted for Mr. Trump as a protest against Mrs. Clinton. He blamed her husband’s policies for putting him in prison for 20 years. [who coulda known that someone would hold a grudge for that?]

    As for the claims of racism that have dogged Mr. Trump, Mr. Babar wasn’t so worried. “It’s better than smiling to my face but going behind closed doors and voting against our kids,” he said.

  31. Michael

    American Conservative is that variety of abuser that contradicts himself in two paragraphs right next to one another and dares you to call them on it. Either they get to berate or gaslight you.

    One of the blessings of civil society, when it’s working as it should, is the ability of people of different, and sometimes antagonistic, views and backgrounds to gather in the public square as a community.

    One reason why the no-platforming, safe-space p.c. craziness on campus is so destructive is that it makes it impossible for a university to do what it’s supposed to do.

    These are directly contradictory — the whole point of safe space, etc. is to maintain basic civil society standards as applied to POC instead of just white folks.

  32. paul

    Anthony Lynton Blair’s second coming?

    The red tories are insane if they think exhuming his political corpse would work.

    No-one likes to be reminded they had been mugged off.

  33. barrisj

    Important article here in the NYTimes, on the disproportionate influence of the “rural vote” on US national politics, and how the Senate, which constitutionally had given greater voice to small states, has now even exceeded the 18th Century in granting ungainly power to what is now “Red State America”:

    Vote’s Disproportionate Slice of Power

    In 1920, for the first time, the Census Bureau counted more people living in urbanized America than in the countryside. This hasn’t been a rural nation ever since.

    Yet the idea of Thomas Jefferson’s agrarian America has receded slowly despite demographic change. We still romanticize the family farm, though few of them exist anymore. We view even suburbia in pastoral terms — the “crabgrass frontier,” as the historian Kenneth T. Jackson put it. And, as the recent Electoral College results make clear, we still live with political institutions that have baked in a distinctly pro-rural bias, by design.

    The Democratic candidate for president has now won the popular vote in six of the last seven elections. But in part because the system empowers rural states, for the second time in that span, the candidate who garnered the most votes will not be president.

    Rural America, even as it laments its economic weakness, retains vastly disproportionate electoral strength. Rural voters were able to nudge Donald J. Trump to power despite Hillary Clinton’s large margins in cities like New York. In a House of Representatives that structurally disadvantages Democrats because of their tight urban clustering, rural voters helped Republicans hold their cushion. In the Senate, the least populous states are now more overrepresented than ever before. And the growing unity of rural Americans as a voting bloc has converted the rural bias in national politics into a potent Republican advantage.

    “If you’re talking about a political system that skews rural, that’s not as important if there isn’t a major cleavage between rural and urban voting behavior,” said Frances Lee, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. “But urban and rural voting behavior is so starkly different now so that this has major political consequences for who has power.
    “And it’s not just in terms of policy outcomes,” she continued. “This pervasively advantages Republicans in maintaining control of the U.S. national government.”
    The challenge for rural voters now is that their electoral strength, and even these funding formulas, have not translated into policies that have fixed the deep economic problems they face, from high unemployment to declining wages. And it’s unclear how Mr. Trump will do that for them, either — even if his major infrastructure proposal comes to pass and helps rebuild their roads.

    If he can’t, rural voters may stray from his party again. In that future, the rural bias in American politics would persist. But Democrats might yet have a chance to blunt its effects.

    Protecting the minority from the “tyranny of the majority” sounds well and good in theory, but today the gross imbalance between conservative “rural” and progressive “urban” is only deepening the growing fractures within the US polity. And, of course, the Demo Party apparently still sees only Identity Politics as the fits-all, cure-all for this dilemma.

    1. allan

      In 1789, the ratio of the largest to smallest state populations was less than 12 to 1.
      In 2010, it was more than 66 to 1.
      Would the Founders have designed the Senate and electoral College as they did
      if the ratio had been so large back then, or if they had know it would grow so large in the future?

      Sadly, we’ll never know, because Antonin Scalia isn’t around to tell us.

    2. flora

      The Dems had no outreach program in rural areas, none, for the past 5 years. They dismantled their 50-state program. Is it any wonder, then, that the GOP is picking up seats? You’d be surprised how many lefty or not-conservatives there are in the flyover states. Too bad the neoliberal Dem estab doesn’t think flyovers are important enough to talk to or build electoral infrastructure for. They ignored the Dem/Bernie voters. Of course, the flyovers aren’t the TBTF banking or financial or digital “future” centers. Again, Dems blaming everyone but themselves for this election’s outcome.

      1. flora

        “The challenge for rural voters now is that their electoral strength, and even these funding formulas, have not translated into policies that have fixed the deep economic problems they face, from high unemployment to declining wages. “

        Yes, they’ve been lied to by the party that’s supposed to be for the little guy.
        Voting for Bill C. when he said he’d fight for the little guy against the big money resulted in NAFTA, gutting the industrial midwest. Voting for Obama who said he’d renegotiate NAFTA and put a leash on the the big banks that were preying on homeowners resulted in protection of the big banks, attempts to push thru even worse trade deals, and trying to cut SS.

        If the neoliberal Dem estab wants to win the flyovers back they can stop pushing policies that hurt their working class base, imo. As long as the Dem estab is run by neoliberals it will be the party of the big banks, not the party of the little guy, imo. If the Dems want to start winning again they need to purge the neoliberal DLC cant from the Dem leadership. We already have one “big business” party. We don’t need two.

      2. Michael

        Not just that, but Obama’s hatchet man for dismantling the 50-state strategy was Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine.

    3. Susan C

      These days I shy away from the New York Times and their articles – their bias is nauseating. But this is the game that is played in politics – to get the Red States to vote Democrat – and HRC was too busy at her .1% fund raising parties to give a hoot about the “rural” Americans. I guess she was following an algorithm or something about where to show up. Even Bernie commented on that – that she wasn’t campaigning in the right places. Plus nobody really liked her anyway. So all this seems like sour grapes from the Democrats and they once again want to overthrow the Electoral College or so it seems. I think the divide is even deeper than thought – and it seems like this article writer is talking about a rural America that hasn’t existed since Rockwell’s time. People in the Red states wanted change and they are going to get change. I think they want a more conservative America and that is the reason they vote the way they do.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Glad to see you put the word rural in quotes. We haven’t been an agricultural society/economy for a long time. The democrats have, since the election, constantly used “rural” to describe the voters clinton failed to influence or appeal to.

        Former manufacturing workers and their families in the rust belt are not “rural,” which is defined as “characteristic of the countryside rather than the town.”

        I’m guessing this word is code for “stupid rubes who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.”

        1. Susan C

          I never noticed that before – how the “rural” word was being used by HRC. Why do something like that – it confuses the mind on some level and that was probably their intention – to confuse all of us and minimize the importance of these people. I noticed the new word of the week is “despair”. I am hearing it all over the place – it’s like one person uses it and then everyone has to buy in and use it as many times as they can.

          1. barrisj

            People, so easy to smoke out…the Clintonistas “basket of deplorables”, who no upstanding Demo politician could even appeal to…they are the classic “write-offs”: usually don’t vote, usually may or may not vote Demo IF they show up…so, doing the maths, not EVEN worth appealing to…because, seriously, what indeed can the Demos credibly offer, already? Nobody is saying that the Donald is in reality going to “do something” about the plight of – you know, “swing-state”- voters, but – in the very least – he acknowledged their very existence, for god’s sake.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Why and how have our cities grown so far from our rural communities and vice versa? Is the city mouse truly so different than the country mouse? Something — I don’t know what to point at — is simply wrong about this growing separation.

  34. flora

    re: America Called Bullshit on the Cult of Clinton – Reason

    Thanks for the link. Listening to the MSM meltdown over Trump’s election has been like listening to their collective responses to a rorschach test. It’s been a clarifying election, as Lambert says.

    adding: if Obama weighs in on the Trump presidency he’ll be breaking with an unbroken line of courtesy and deference given to incoming presidents by former presidents, and that includes Reagan, his hero. He’ll show himself to be little more than a lobbyist if he goes this route.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama wants to be a celebrity. He isn’t one anymore, and he doesn’t have the character or intellect of Carter to remake himself to where people might care what he says. The best way to get in the spotlight is to criticize Trump which I imagine will be relatively easy. He can be the toast of late night hosts, also wannabe Hollywood types.

    2. polecat

      I ‘hope’ he scam …..

      Time to lift that presidential invisibility cloak …

      ‘Come on Obama … Show yourself for who you really are !’

  35. Code Name D

    I am sure some of you know of Mark Blyth. But I came across this one day on the Jimmy Dore Show. (Oh and he ends with the baddest mike-drop you are ever going to witness.)
    This is taken from a larger conference also attended by Wendy Schiller, who is obviously Hillary apologist.
    Her contribution is a classic example of everything that has gone wrong with “the left”. Wendy tries to spin the outcome of the election strictly to its demographics. Trump “won” because he “played one demographic against another”, which is code for racism. But when confronted with Mark’s point on the issues, she simply can’t respond (she has to run back to the demographics.)

    I note that she sights sources for invoking Trumps pitting one demographic against another. This is a tell that she knows this hypothesis is in trouble and feels compelled to name drop to lend it credibility. How has this division manifested? What are the mechanism at work? Have these mechanisms been observed and documented with the Trump campaign? Is the hypothesis even falsifiable?

      1. Code Name D

        However, what I found more interesting was Wendy’s response. Just as economics is mostly pseudo-science, I am becoming of the opinion that many aspects of political and social science are also pseudo-scientific. Including those that involve racial and gender studies. At no point did any notion of an issue ever pass through Wendy’s ears, or depart through her mouth.

        In the coming weeks, when we realize the dems haven’t learned a damn thing. We will know it was because acedia enabled them.

  36. Anonymous2

    Brexit: I see the pound is up today. Do markets think a Fillon presidency makes a hard brexit less likely?

  37. fresno dan

    In other words, the selection pressures on an entrepreneur are very different from those on a corporate manager or bureaucrat: Entrepreneurs and risk takers succeed or fail not so much on their ability to talk, explain, and rationalize as their ability to get things done.

    While the two can often go together, Nassim figured out that they frequently don’t. We judge people as ignorant when it’s really us who are ignorant.

    When you think about it, there’s no a priori reason great intellectualizing and great doing must go together: Being able to hack together an incredible piece of code gives you great fitness in the world of software development, while doing great theoretical computer science probably gives you better fitness in academia. The two skills don’t have to be connected. Great economists don’t usually make great investors.

    Hard not to read this and not come to the conclusion that it is applicable to the Hillary campaign…or for that matter, so much stuff spoken and written in the media.

      1. Edward

        So it was! I think the big question now with global warming is whether we will have “runaway global warming”; the initial global warming produces changes which produce more global warming which produce changes which produce… Vanilla global warming might be survivable but the runaway version is another story. How stable is the climate? Have conditions been similar in the past without producing runaway warming?

        1. Vatch

          Well, I suppose a gigantic volcano eruption would cause global cooling for a couple of years (or more, depending on how big the eruption is), because the particles in the atmosphere would block sunlight. The 1815 eruption of Tambora caused 1816 to be the year without summer:

          That’s bad for agriculture and the food supply, though. The eruption of Taba about 75,000 years ago may have directly caused two centuries of global cooling. The catastrophe was so severe that some scientists believe that the human species came close to becoming extinct.

          1. tegnost

            on a related note,my cloud scientist friend says global warming will bring on another ice age because the cloud cover it produces will block solar radiation.

          2. Edward

            I wonder if global warming could trigger an eruption of the Yellowstone caldera. Global warming may be linked to increased seismic activity.

        2. polecat

          Oh please ! .. The earth is not Venus … nor will it turn into one …. at worst, humans (some) will have to adapt to changing climate … our species might become much smaller as a result, or we might diverge to become various different off-shoots from the family tree, as has happened from time immemorial. We might not survive what’s ahead of us, but other animal species will. The idea the ‘we’… ‘must do something’ is laughable, considering humanity cannot agree on much of anything, and will always remain ‘tribal’ in nature …. all this banter about ‘stopping climate change’ is just that, because it would mean living a greatly reduced life-style, which is impossible for most westerners, let alone those countries w/ emergent economies who want to ‘modernize’, to fathom because it doesn’t comport with their idea of energy usage, which is predicated on cheap energy. So people need to stop the talk, and do what they can within their means, within their local, to downsize and become more resilient. Don’t expect big governmental bureaucracies, or large corps to do it for you!

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Interesting beginning to your comment “The earth is not Venus”. Wasn’t the outspoken climate scientist James Hansen originally a planetologist studying the planet Venus for NASA.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I strongly agree with what I understand as the heart of your comment — “‘we’… ‘must do something’ is laughable, considering humanity cannot agree on much of anything”. We each must do what we can. Waiting on big government could be a long wait.

            But I still expect a cathartic event which might lead to more concerted human action. We are past the point of “stopping climate change”. I hold hope we might discover the will to act as a community to help mitigate the coming disasters. As for “living a greatly reduced life-style” I think that is something we can all look to for our future. It were much better if we might embrace that future a little sooner than the time it is forced upon us — for our sake — and also for the sake of others forced to accept that future before us.

            We may not reasonably expect big government to help — but too many of the problems of climate change will need the action of large cooperative groups — I think big government among them — leading and coordinating the efforts.

          3. Edward

            Global warming doesn’t need to turn the earth into Venus. It just needs to dramatically increase the temperature.

            “all this banter about ‘stopping climate change’ is just that, because it would mean living a greatly reduced life-style”

            The Carter Administration had a program to promote solar energy which was shelved by the Reagan administration. More recently, China has promoted renewable energy in its territory. Americans sure seem to be able to tolerate a “greatly reduced life-style” to bail out Wall Street and enrich the 1%. With that said, I don’t feel optimistic about the efforts to combat global warming.

        3. UserFriendly

          It’s hard to say just where the runaway point is. In the past CO2 increases were blunted by vegetation growth spurts, but we have cultivated much more of the land now. There are other CO2 sinks that are all bordering on being maxed out too, but it is hard to say just when or if they will give up.

          The literature is mixed. Here is one study that says the tropics are already in a localized runaway greenhouse held at bay by circulating wind.

          And here is another study staying that we can burn the shit out of the planet before runaway would happen.

          I’d rather not have to find out. In my general opinion this wing of science really, really, likes to polish turds while wearing rose colored glasses. If we hit 3C rise that will be society ending regardless. Europe and California will be deserts; Bangladesh, the 5th most populated country, will be 90% underwater. Those are not things the world can cope with.

          1. aab

            Well, the “world,” as in the planet, would cope. It wouldn’t explode. Humans can’t cope with it, and maintain anything like the planetary hegemony we currently enjoy.

              1. UserFriendly

                Apologies for my imprecise language; I meant civilization. If we hit the runaway point that would almost certainly be enough to sterilize the planet (see Venus). Just increasing the temperature a few degrees would be enough for a mass extinction but not enough to wipe out life. The p-t extinctIon had a huge temperature spike (maybe 8 C) and caused the largest extinction, but didn’t cause sterilization. It didn’t cause a runaway either, but the landmass, currents, and ice caps were all different back then so a 1 to 1 comparison isn’t relevant.


          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I think you’re expressing the precautionary principle — a principle which should be embraced by all reasonable humans. The problem is that the corporations driving us toward the cliff may be persons — but there is little truly human about them.

          3. Edward

            I looked at the second article and I agree with you, it doesn’t look like the science behind runaway global warming is settled.

            “I’d rather not have to find out”

            I also agree. Where is the Y2K panic when you need it?

            1. aab

              If only the climate crisis stood to wipe out electronically-stored wealth overnight. Apparently only that will concentrate the elite hive mind wonderfully.

              1. UserFriendly

                Well it would completely stop the entire global economy. They probably are thinking their $$ can save them and their progeny, but I don’t think they have taken into account the peasants with pitchforks factor yet.

              2. Edward

                I think there was a certain humor about the Y2K “crisis” that caught the public imagination. Also, it was a cheap story for the press to report on which did not threaten corporate power.

              3. Edward

                I think the Y2K scare had a certain comic appeal to it that caught the public imagination. Also, it was an easy story for the media to report which did not threaten corporate interests.

  38. Edward

    “Obama may weigh in on Trump after office”

    I believe there is an unwritten rule in the U.S. where ex-presidents are not supposed to interfere with current presidents. Obama would be violating this rule.

    1. paul

      …but if he did it would cement his reputation as a fearless,groundbreaking maverick.

      I suspect he is desperately disappointed at Trump’s win, Hilary would have made him look so much better.

        1. aab

          Honestly, I don’t think he cares about public policy at all. I think he cares that the rich people he has worked to make his social set are displeased with him. He could yet be socially shunned and stripped of his capacity to earn big. I suspect that’s what’s bothering him.

          The funny thing, of course, is that he did everything they wanted him to do.

          1. Edward

            No, I don’t think Obama cares much about public policy either. At the same time, if Trump fixes relations with Russia and this is popular with the voters, it will make both Obama and the Democrats look bad. It will be one more reason for voters to turn on the Democrats.

  39. Oregoncharles

    “Trump’s NATO Spending Demand Would Break Denmark’s Welfare State Bloomberg”
    So Denmark has a sovereign currency, but its deficits are nonetheless regulated by the EU? No wonder the Brits wanted out.

    The thing is, Trump has a point: militarily, most of Europe is getting a free ride on US military spending. That’s nice for the domestic war profiteers, but not really a viable situation any more. The root problem is that NATO itself is a waste that’s turned dangerous, at least to others. Western Europe doesn’t really need all that much military power, but there’s no reason for the US to help pay for it. Unless it’s to keep them as a colony, as one German NATO official (Lete, I think his name was) inadvertently admitted.

    Of course, one reason for all this, including the EU itself, is to keep Germany from rearming and starting a 3rd European War. That’s precisely why the Germans found this demand so alarming; they can probably afford it, unless their workers start making more demands, but if they do rearm extensively, all their neighbors start getting very, very nervous. Tiny, adjacent Denmark included.

  40. Jeremy Grimm

    The Public Radio station I listened to during a long drive from here to there and back –WHYY — seems to be voicing the same DNC/Hillery view of the news they did before the election. Every other story was a critique direct or indirect of Trump. If Trump is the President-elect and NPR depends on public money for support — will it have to change its tune or at least move toward more piano variations? How closely does the funding for NPR match to the funding that supported Hillery and the DNC? Will formats change as the winds from D.C. change direction or is NPR like a counter weight supported/owned by one faction of our Elite against conservative talk radio — supported/owned by a competing faction of our Elite?

    I wonder what Public Radio might sound like.

  41. hunkerdown

    Jerri-Lynn never told us Mumbai had city leopards! So many beautiful antidotes here. The fluency with which these big cats navigate their not-so-wild neighborhood is remarkable.

    Few people can associate the bustling metropolis of Mumbai with forest and diverse wildlife, let alone the presence of a large cat in the by-lanes of the city. Yet this unexpected situation exists in the middle of Mumbai with more than 35 wild leopards living in the centre of the city in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

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