Links 11/28/16

A switch to daylight saving time could be lifesaving for koalas, researchers say LA Times

Markets Splinter WSJ. “Correlations are breaking down in the wake of the U.S. election, ending a long period in which assets’ tendency to cluster frustrated traders.”

Zinc Explodes With Lead in Surge to Highest Level in Nine Years Bloomberg

Record number of car buyers ‘upside down’ on trade-ins Detroit News

U.S. shoppers spend less over holiday weekend amid discounting Reuters

Charlie Rose Talks to Sebastian Mallaby Bloomberg. Much more interesting than the headline. Biographical details on Greenspan, and a call on Trump v. Yellen.

A week that could shake the world Australian Business Review


Brexit negotiators identify UK’s trump cards FT

An Investment Bankers’ Guide to Brexit WSJ

‘France wants action’: Thatcherite Francois Fillon promises radical reforms after winning presidential primary Telegraph

Italy market watchdog approves Monte dei Paschi’s swap Reuters

What Will Italy’s Referendum Mean for the Euro? Bloomberg

The outcome of Italy’s referendum may be decided in Castelnuovo di Porto LSE Blog. That is, by Italian expats, 8% of the electorate.


Syrian army seizes key Aleppo area from rebels: Observatory Reuters

Russian Campaign in Syria Exposes Moscow’s Defense Gaps WSJ. Raskolnikov!


China ‘Data King’ Tracks New Economy With Index Premier Li Likes Bloomberg

China lodges protest with Singapore after military vehicles seized by Hong Kong customs South China Morning Post

Cash crunch due to demonetisation crushes earnings revival hopes LiveMint

The president, the shaman and the scandal engulfing South Korea FT


People are treating the DAPL protest like Burning Man Dazed

Authorities say no plans to forcibly remove North Dakota protesters Reuters

Oregon Community Just Donated Tiny Homes and Solar Energy to DAPL Water Protectors Free Thought Project. But see the wish lists linked to and described here. Winter is coming, and I’m not sure that tiny homes and solar energy are on-point for the needs expressed by the protectors themselves.

Our Famously Free Press

The Fake News Fake Story The American Conservative

‘It was a fad’: Many once-hot viral publishers have cooled off Digiday

And then there’s this:

Trump Transition

The Manhattan White House, the Secret Service, and the Painted Bikini Lady Informed Comment. Good atmospheric piece. And parts of Trump Tower are “Privately Owned Public Spaces.” Like Zucotti Park…

Trump’s financial plans promise another Great Recession Barney Frank, Boston Globe (Furzy Mouse). “But the major beneficiaries of total repeal [of Dodd-Frank] are the largest financial entities. I understand why those who believe absolutely in an unregulated market advocate a return to the process that risks repeating 2008. I do not understand how this stance complies with Trump’s promise to vindicate the interests of average working people against those who stand at the top of the economic structure.”

Yes, Betsy DeVos Can Privatize Large Numbers of Public Schools, with the Help of Red States Diane Ravitch. Have I missed where @Deray and other TFA alums in the #BlackLivesMatter elite called out DeVos? And New book: Obama’s Education Department and Gates Foundation were closer than you thought WaPo (from August). Must have been really close, then.

Republican states that expanded Medicaid want it kept AP

Deal for Carrier to Keep U.S. Plant Open May Hinge on Tax Overhaul WSJ

Obama’s agencies push flurry of ‘midnight’ actions Politico

“FOIA superhero” launches campaign to make Donald Trump’s administration transparent Salon

Trump douses White House hopes of Cruz, Rubio and others Politico

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President NYT. In a way, this inverts the problem, which is not “conflict” but the class interests of the oligarchical faction dominating Trump’s cabinet.

For Trump son-in-law and confidant Jared Kushner, a long history of fierce loyalty WaPo

Can We Expect Courageousness From Our Elected Officials? Down With Tyranny

When Is Responsible Democratic Governance Possible? The Classical View: Never Bradford J. DeLong. I feared a liberal genre piece on why stupid voters should be disenfranchised; fortunately, I was wrong.

‘Calexit’: Just some flaky California dreamin’? San Jose Mercury News

America now looks like Rome before the fall of the Republic The Week. “On Tuesday, America rejected a patrician and elected a tribune. Let us hope we see some genuinely Gracchian reforms, and let us hope they work this time. Because if not, I fear that, though I might not, my children will one day see a Caesar cross the Potomac.”

2016 Post Mortem

Bernie Sanders Is Still Campaigning for Our Revolution Truthout

The liberal elite’s Marie Antoinette moment Wolfgang Münchau, FT. “The correct course of action would be to stop insulting voters and, more importantly, to solve the problems of an out-of-control financial sector, uncontrolled flows of people and capital, and unequal income distribution.” Not “would be.” Would have been.

For Democrats to recover, Nancy Pelosi and her team should go Dana Milbank, WaPo. Sad to see Milbank doing Putin’s work.

Why We Need a New Democratic Party Robert Reich, Bill Moyers

Election Therapy From My Basket of Deplorables MoDo, NYT

Not understanding the right Stumbling and Mumbling

A. Barton Hinkle column: The liberal postmortem is not going well Richmond Times-Dispatch. I like the Turing Test at the end.

* * *

Green Party Calls For Recount, Wants To Push For Open-Source Voting Machines Slashdot. No, no, no. No machines. Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. Not only has Stein raised millions on a recount drive that is highly unlikely to affect the electoral outcome, whatever money’s left over is going to go for a technical fix that will put more voting machines in place, and can’t possibly guarantee they won’t be hacked (bugs in well-known open source libraries have persisted, undiscovered, for years or even decades). What a year this has been!

The Democrats’ real strategy in launching recounts The American Thinker (Furzy Mouse). A novel theory.

Listening and Responding To Calls for an Audit and Recount Marc Erik Elias, Medium

Trump Makes Baseless Claim That ‘Millions’ Voted Illegally, Costing Him Popular Vote ABC (Furzy Mouse).

Guillotine Watch

Wilbur and Hilary Ross on Maintaining Their $125 Million Art Collection Haute Living

Class Warfare

North America is going to get a new billionaire every 6 days Business Insider

Bengal’s potato growers hit by demonetisation The Hindu (J-LS).

Android Malware Used to Hack and Steal a Tesla Car Bleeping Computer. Programming malpractice. We llcense plumbers. We license cosmetologists. Not programmers…

Physicists plan to test a new theory about the speed of light to explain what Einstein’s theory can’t Quartz

The Void Left By Apple Hackernoon

The World If … drugs become legal The Economist

Antidote du jour (AM):


AM writes: “Grasses and sheep (I think??) from County Sligo.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. voteforno6

    Re: DAPL Donations

    I’m not sure how effective those small houses and solar power will be. Most people don’t understand just how cold it gets there in the winter. Also, it’s not unusual for them to go weeks with very little sunshine.

    1. tyaresun

      I tried to donate but at the end of the process Amazon says that it cannot ship to the address on the LRI gift registered address.

      1. mad as hell.

        Which makes me wonder. They have to be pumping a lot of cash into the local economies. Doesn’t look like there are a lot of Home Depots or Wal Marts from the google map. So what does mom & pop hardware store, m&p grocer, m&p trash removal have to say about a new influx of cash. If in fact there is a influx. I would think that they would be supportive of the water protectors. Then again?

    2. Code Name D

      Some information that has come my way.
      Point #1. The Water Protectors are setting up camp away from useable resources, “off grid” basically. So, solar panels and tiny houses is deploying the best technical solutions availed to the problem of fully winterizing the camp. It’s a hell of a lot better than when Occupy Wall Street tried to use a bunch of tents.

      Point #2. The main function of the solar panels is to recharge cellphone and laptop batteries as well as provide some electrical light. While low light conditions do reduce the amount of energy available, but solar panels can still work in low light levels. For this function, solar panels would be a lot cheaper to operate than gas powered generators.

      Point #3: According to the video, the main source of heating will be wood burning stoves. (I suspect they are going to try to avoid using propane heaters to make a point against the fracking industry.) The tiny houses are (basically small sheds) are being modified with insulation. That seems to suggest these guys, if not being fully aware of what winter operations will mean, are at least thinking with a clear head and have given the mater some real thought.

  2. Frenchguy

    Re: ‘France wants action’: Thatcherite Francois Fillon promises radical reforms after winning presidential primary

    I would advise against facile comparison Fillon-Thatcher, those two have more than a few differences. But I want also to point out that, contrary to what many anglo-saxons seems to be assuming, Fillon’s win is not good for Le Pen. Sure his economic programme will revolt many on the left but he will not lose anyone there while his social positions could in fact peel off some support from Le Pen. Even she has not yet realized the danger but she will, meanwhile she is attacking Fillon’s inexistent left front while he is attacking her right. Bottom line: Fillon is not good for Le Pen and the first two polls post-primaries both show Le Pen below 25% for the first time in 3 years.

    Arun has a good longer analysis:

    1. Oregoncharles

      France is proof that a traditional runoff does NOT solve the “spoiler” problem (as does Louisiana). It merely transfers it to the first round, then restricts voters’ choices when it matters most. That’s why France’s left, what’s left of it, is contemplating voting for a destructive right-winger. Nor does it eliminate primaries, so France now has FOUR elections for president.

      In contrast, IRV/RCV can compress the whole process into one election, yield a majority, all without restricting choices or placing voters in a dilemma.

  3. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Muenchau’s column in today’s FT, it was interesting to observe coverage of Francois Fillon in the UK, French and Swiss (Romand) MSM over the week-end and this morning. His realist school approach to Russia, or detachment from the neo-cons, and “provincial Catholic” background were criticised, especially by the sons of Jewish and Ugandan Indian refugees who were guests on BBC Breakfast news today. There was no mention of the Bordelais Alain “Ali” Juppe and Ruritanian aristo Sarko. (Why is it so many immigrants / children of immigrants feel the need to ingratiate themselves with the local establishment? It’s not a non-white thing as Jonathan Charles and Michael Fallon are as bad as the Patels and Kwartengs of this world.) Needless to say, identity politics was laid on thick. Fillon’s attitudes towards Islam and homosexuals were often the only criticisms. His Thatcherite ideas were rarely, if ever, discussed.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      I apologise to readers outside the UK who don’t know to whom I am referring (Patels, Kwartengs, Fallon and Charles).

      1. clinical wasteman

        Silly me! I saw the start of an apology and thought it was meant for the tens of millions of “immigrants / children of immigrants” in the UK and France (just to start with) who “ingratiate” ourselves with no-one at all thank you very much. But perhaps we’re all just incompetent toadies, given the robust “ethnic pedigree” (my turn to apologise: to dogs) of both “local establishments”. A better question might have been: “why do so many privately educated monsters of middle class ambition (including only slightly fewer “immigrants” per head than the general population) so cravenly crave admission to the next class bracket up?”
        Then again perhaps I slept through some of the instructions: last thing I remember, we extracomunitari were ordered to be “aspirational”, i.e. to toady to our betters with all our funny foreign might. Just as well if that order no longer applies: ever since the news hit our welfare lines that we’re actually “metropolitan elites”, we can’t seem to find any betters any more.
        (Also: “Ali Juppé” is a Farcebook meme of the French “Fachosphere”, i.e. the sort of groupuscules who think Marine Le Pen has recently turned into Jill Stein or maybe Camille Paglia. (I don’t want to link to any of those sites, but just try a DDG/G**gle seach; or a glance here [], should be enough.) It was unofficially taken up by the politically near-identical electoral rivals of Juppé, a failed strike-breaker and Gaullist police-enabler, and is now probably cherished most of all by Eric Zemmour, the TV “philosopher” whose chief obsession is a national “crisis of virility”.)
        Well, here’s an audio antidote to all that: [].

    1. Lord Koos

      Yeah this was revealed on facebook awhile back. Maybe the CEO sings a revised version of Woody Guthrie… “This land was made for me and me”.

  4. timbers

    Trump Makes Baseless Claim That ‘Millions’ Voted Illegally, Costing Him Popular Vote ABC (Furzy Mouse). “Baseless” “Groundless” “Without providing any evidence” appear to be MSM favorite words regarding Trump, like Pee Wee Herman’s Word of the Day. NPR kept repeating them this morning just in case you didn’t hear it the first time Said it at least twice in the report and again in the voiced headline. They seemed to have become heavily used towards the latter part of the Presidential campaign when Trump appeared to be doing better in polls than he was supposed to.

    1. Anne

      But he did, actually, make a claim without providing any basis for it – or did I miss the tweet where he provided that information?

      Here’s what everyone has to know by now about Donald Trump: he just says stuff. And he doesn’t give a flying fig if what he’s saying is true, false or somewhere in the middle. He is hating that more people cast votes for Clinton, so how does he make all that go away? By claiming that it only happened because of massive voter fraud. And he’s made that claim without any evidence, at least so far.

      So…as much as I think the media gets a lot of things wrong, and as much as I think that the media played its usual games, manipulating and shaping the messages they wanted us to have, I do not think they are wrong about this: Trump made a claim of massive voter fraud and failed to provide any basis for his claim.

      1. Pavel

        Not defending Trump here — as you point out he is essentially a pathological liar — but there is no more evidence for the same MSM’s repeated claims that “Putin was trying to hack the election for Trump”.

        Having said that, we are in for a rollercoaster ride based on Trump’s behaviour thus far, including his tweet storms and contradictory statements.

        1. Anne

          Pavel, I wish I knew how we were supposed to believe anything we see or hear from the media, other than sports and weather (and at least with weather, I know the forecast is little more than an educated guess).

          “Russia” is the new “Iraq has WMD” – proving that people still have not managed to learn anything from a coordinated disinformation campaign that led us to war and cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

          It’s appalling to me how many media outlets just regurgitate whatever they are fed, and never question the veracity of the information they are passing off as “news.”

          This new effort by the Washington Post, on behalf of a group no one has ever heard of, to keep pushing the Russia story, is going to new and dangerous levels in an effort – I believe – to shut down and shut out any outlet that dares to be critical of US policy.

          It’s such a shitshow, and it’s getting worse.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            On Russia, Sanders said this (from 2014,

            “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin. We’ve got to deal with sanctions,” Sen. Bernie Sanders had said in a television interview last…”

            Who is going to give peace a chance?

            1. oh

              I think we all know by now that Bernie is indeed a shill for the Democrats. His revolution has ZERO credibility with me. And he never was a peace candidate.oh

            2. CRLaRue

              Here is a sad, sad man who needs to go home and sit in his rocker.
              The burn is no different from all the other Washington swamp dwellers.
              Can’t come to grips with the Palestinian question. Refuses to see
              the genocide that is taking place!
              Who rules over you, me and the Burn? We dare not mention the obvious!

          2. Ian

            I think people have learned. Institutional trust is at a horendous level, which explains the fundamental rejection f Clinton and the rise of Bernie and Trump. This includes corporate MSM.

          3. Procopius

            To be fair, we don’t know if they question the veracity of the information or not. Back during Vietnam, I read that Henry Luce ordered his editors at Time to use the handouts from his friends at the Pentagon, even though they were contradicted by the reports from the field. Why he was paying to send reporters to Vietnam and then ignoring their work I do not know, but he was the son of missionaries in China and loved Chiang Kai Shek and the Soongs, so he believed anything which discredited the Communists. Maybe the editors in today’s newsrooms are in the same position.

      2. jgordon

        The more I see Trump, the more I’m positive that he deliberately puts out untrue and/or outrageous messages to troll his enemies. It can’t be a coincidence that somehow he always gets reactions that go to his benefit in either subtle or obvious ways.

        If you are a stickler for the facts and for playing things straight that of course is a huge problem. But let’s be honest here–if you are rational and fact-driven you’re in the extreme minority anyway and Trump would get no benefit even if he did tailor a message that you’d like and agree with.

        Just expect that his messaging is going to have little to no correlation with how he runs things. He says things to manipulate people, not inform them. In my opinion he will manufacture the illusion that he’s a right wing market-oriented bigot to keep his party thrilled with him while governing like an LBJ liberal.

        1. uncle tungsten

          In Australia there was a state premier of the loony right who referred to his press conferences as time he had to ‘feed the chooks’. That is precisely what Trump does, and in his case he includes his conservative voters as well as the press. Both react accordingly and run around in a pecking frenzy.

      3. escher

        I don’t think anyone objects to a skeptical media per se. Here’s the problem: the media publishes dubious assertions constantly, with little skepticism, indicating a double standard.

        Here are a few examples off the top of my head:

      4. hidflect

        Trump often looks like he’s just making stuff up. Like his bizarre claim that Anthony Wiener was a threat to national security. Until it turns out to be true. I think Trump just doesn’t cite his sources very much for whatever reason.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The strategy in the 43 White House was to be the last person in the room because W always agreed with the last person he heard. I believe Trump will be known for repeating what he just heard or read unless the claim has been contradicted by a trusted source.

            1. RMO

              I hadn’t heard that about Bush II but I have read that people who went to see Kaiser Wilhelm the Second would want to know who he was last with because then they would know what he was thinking.

              1. Michael

                The story I heard about Dubya is that you could get him to do anything by calling it the “tough” option.

                1. RabidGandhi

                  Great we’ve gone from an unsubstantiated “the strategy was” to a rumour entitled “the story I heard”. Next stop, Breitbart.

        2. tony

          He makes speculative statements that have some basis. They are then forgotten or proven right and remembered.

          Other times his statements fool his opponents to make arguments that benefit him.

          Like when he got Clinton to admit those emails were not just yoga schedules or when Obama responded to him that rigging the U.S.election is impossible.

      5. jgordon

        Part two of my comment that’s in mod at the moment: Trump knowingly lies/manipulates to create a coalition that will get the (unpopular with the powers that be) things he wants done done.

        Let’s look at how the Clinton’s and Obama fooled the left into gutting welfare, supporting war, etc, and imagine Trump coming from the exact opposite direction: fooling the oligarchs and other misc power structures into supporting policies that are better for society.

        I’m not kidding. Watch his interviews right up until he hijacked the Republican Party and he talks like an honest progressive.

        1. makedoanmend

          “…fooled the left into gutting welfare &&&&…”

          Since when did neoliberalists become Leftists? After reading the Guardian?

          1. jgordon

            I think the typical leftie is just a low information Trigglypuff identity politics voter who is easily propagandized to go along with whatever Democrats want to do. Things like ideology don’t have any meaning at that level.

            So HRC and her husband can call black teenagers super predators who must be brought to heel–then lock up an entire generation of black people following that pronouncement–and be cheered as civil rights icons by the minorities in question. Case in point that there’s not a whole lot of high level thought going on with identity politics people.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Politicians are neoliberals.

            Voters voting for Clinton and Obama the second time – and there were plenty – were they neoliberals or were they leftists, because they were sure fooled the second time?

            “…fooled (voters on) the left into (confirming, by re-electing) gutting welfare…”

            Not just re-electing, but still popular (today, for Obama, and when he left the office in 2001, for Clinton).

            1. makedoanmend

              Voting for either Clinton or Obama does not define one as being of the left. Far from it.

              And from people whom I talked to who voted for Clinton when I lived in NYC, the overwhelming impact on my understanding of the US political spectrum were that most people really didn’t identify themselves as left or right – at best vaguely liberal’ish on a few issues but mostly conservative on most issues. Many seemed to blow with the wind whilst others just seemed to be team players for a given party and would not be swayed by policy at all.

              But, then again, left in Europe used to be more easily identifiable – but that has changed as well for the time being.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I think people overlap the terms like left, progressive and liberal, and use them loosely.

                I know most people here know the term Left Coast. So, I am not sure people are not identified (and don’t identify themselves) as left or right.

                Perhaps time to define precisely, if at all possible for all to agree on.

        2. River

          I think he’s a RINO myself. The far right (read ‘alt-right”) will probably be very, very disappointed over the next 4 years.

          The problem is that he throws up a lot of noise to conceal his signal. Which makes him seem unpredictable, or more unpredictable than he actually is.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I’m not sure I even buy “alt-right” as a concept, not least because the Clinton campaign pushed it. I think it’s important to understand the right, I’m just not sure far right = alt-right is a place to start. I’d call Patrick Buchanan far right, but IIRC he’s a “paleo-conservative.”

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Me neither. What’s the difference between the radicals supporting Trump and those who supported the last idiot son of privilege Republican president?

              I believe this is just the Bush faction of ‘respectable’ republicans (and that includes the Clintons in my definition) now trying to distance themselves from certain Trump supporters to whom they’d been dog whistling for decades.

            2. River

              Couldn’t agree more on the “alt-right”. Seems more like an insult then anything. I should of meant those who identify themselves as “alt-right”. I think they are making the same mistake a lot of people did with Obama in 2008, projecting on what they want him, Trump, to be rather than who he is. Hence the coming disappointment.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The problem of lots-of-noise is best dealt with by watching what he does.

            I would like to know who the Trade Representative will be.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > May be some basis

          And, as Wayne says, “Monkeys might fly out of my butt.” Snopes says “Not proven,” tracing the meme back to one Gregg Phillips, and concluding:

          Based on these past statements, it seems likely that Phillips’ case that three million non-citizens voted in the past election is related to his claim that “illegals” are registering to vote via Obamacare. In the absence of supporting data, however, he has really made no case at all. The “three million non-citizens” figure may just as well have been plucked out of thin air.

          If Trump isn’t trolling (could very well be) he needs to brush up on his critical thinking skills.

            1. Optimader

              Trump seems to have a pattern of “you claim this, i’ll claim thatx2”
              We will see how the schtick plays out
              File under: Laurel & Hardy-fight schtick, escalation of

          1. ginnie nyc

            That depends upon your definition of Obamacare. If you include the expansion of Medicaid, some states do extend it to undocumented people. California certainly has; also New York State to some extent.

            For example:

            Undocumented immigrants may also be eligible for certain programs. For example, there are no immigration restrictions for children’s health insurance in New York (Child Health Plus) or for Medicaid for pregnant women. Immigrants who are ineligible for coverage because of their immigration status may also pre-certify for emergency Medicaid through the New York State of Health website.

            This is from the New York Immigrant Coalition website; I personally happen to know this is correct.

            1. marym

              Thanks. I was able to confirm ineligibility for the insurance portion. What I found on Medicaid seemed to confirm, but obviously I didn’t look thoroughly enough.

              The likelihood of “millions” of undocumented immigrants applying for Obamacare in some limited eligibility situations; somehow then masking their immigration status and registering to vote; then further jeopardizing their precarious lives by actually voting still seems far-fetched. Thanks again for the info.

      6. DarkMatters

        True that Trump didn’t say this, but isn’t the reason why Scott Foval and James Creamer were fired been forgotten? Foval was caught on film describing how busloads of fraudulent voters were transported from one polling station to another:

        “In the second video, Foval spends five minutes discussing how voters might be brought from outside Wisconsin to commit voter fraud, buying cars with Wisconsin plates to avoid looking suspicious. “We’ve been busing people in to deal with you f—ing a–holes for 50 years, and we’re not going to stop now,” he says.”

        From the WaPo article “Two Democratic operatives lose jobs after James O’Keefe sting” (Sorry, site url won’t copy; you’ll have to search title)

        Whether Trump is or isn’t exaggerating numbers is moot, but I thought this scandal was common knowledge; if not, it should be, like Crosscheck.

      7. Michael

        I think that’s a good piece of it. The other piece I see is, Trump says stuff which destabilizes his listeners in an intuitive way.

        He’s a classic domestic emotional abuser.

    2. escher

      Also, courtesy of Pravda on the Hudson: “Trump Claims, With No Evidence, That ‘Millions of People’ Voted Illegally.” (I won’t link, but you can surely find it with the help of your preferred search engine if you’re interested.)

      It’s almost as if someone is coordinating this story and telling the papers exactly what line to push, isn’t it.

      That said, to see mainstream journalists apply this newfound skepticism universally would be very welcome.

      1. uncle tungsten

        Probably proporno t. They are looking to flush out Russian propaganda or even create equivalent strategies?

      1. timbers


        Guess my Intended point (which I didn’t make clear) is: Presidents making baseless statements are not new, but these words the MSM is using are new.

        Where were the words “baseless” “groundless” “no evidence what so ever” regarding WMD, Russia shot down that plane, Russian aggression, Russia invaded Ukraine, Assad gassed his own people, Obamacare contains ways of bringing down healthcare costs, Social Security and Medicare are running out of money….etc etc.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks for the list of ‘dog not barking.’

          To focus only on Trump distorts.

          And we perpetuate their propaganda focusing on Trump.

          “The election may appear to be over on Nov. 8, 2016. But the fighting continues.” Here, we are talking about those defeated not quite a month ago, i.e. those who were with Hillary – the MSM, neoliberals, neoconservatives, etc. They are still fighting.

    3. Schnormal

      Trump Makes Baseless Claim That ‘Millions’ Voted Illegally, Costing Him Popular Vote ABC

      Both Trump and his buddy Roger Stone (“Stop the Steal”) have been working the voter fraud angle for months; seems obvious that this was the smokescreen behind which they were using Crosscheck to ethnically cleanse the voter rolls, among other voter suppression schemes. And this strategy worked great; I have relatives who actually believe there were hoards of people who drove for hours to vote twice.

      If Palast’s numbers are right, over a million voters were scrubbed from the rolls in R-controlled states. Why bother with hacking anymore? With Crosscheck there’s no danger of a recount changing the result, because the provisional ballots are already in the dumpster. At this point the recount would just legitimize the fraud.

      Are state govt’s really not required to publish the methodology they use to un-register voters? Can these varmint grassf’ers really override the election this easily? If so I’ll be voting Hell Yeah on any secession referendum that finds its way onto my next ballot.

  5. Stu from New Jersey

    On the matter of voting machines, they might be required for ranked choice voting, and those of us who vote for minor parties do not consider first-past-the-post as a legitimate voting method.

    As far as affecting the outcome, it *might*. Ballot access in most states is set by the major parties as a certain percentage of state-wide races. If Stein’s vote in Wisconsin turns out to be considerably higher than was first reported, the GP can (and should) then sue in several states for ballot access on the grounds that their actual vote in *those* states is probably also much higher.

    This, of course, is another meaning to “affecting the outcome”, and is one invented by the major parties themselves. They have only themselves to blame.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      Why would they be required for ranked choice voting? You put a “1” next to your first choice candidate, a “2” next to your second, etc. Have we so quickly forgotten how the world worked without computers?

      1. Stu from New Jersey

        For counting, not for voting. Choice voting method counting by hand is a pretty stupendous task.

        Actually, on the matter of voting, you *could* provide a machine that allowed you to vote with an interface, and would then give you a piece of paper whose punches could be seen and checked by you before placing in the ballot box. I like that idea because it would allow me to change my mind once or twice while setting up my choices.

        Of course, for legislative elections I prefer proportional representation, which would need no machines whatever. Just paper and people (several sets of eyes – the word “trust” does not come into play there).

        1. hunkerdown

          But this is business. Shiny toys are for playtime. We would be better to stick to something anyone can verify and anyone can trust. Computing devices bring nothing to voting but places to hide mischief and an emotionally cathartic, on-cue end to a pseudo-event.

          All that said, what kind of self-respecting American can’t rate something on a 0-10 scale, and how much harder is it to simply total all of those numbers up? That would take the “pledge of allegiance” aspect out of politics and break a lot of Beltway rice bowls, effects that can only be salutary by my lights. What don’t they want to know, or what don’t they want us to know they know, one wonders.

      2. paul

        Because,after a soul shrivelling 2 year campaign, the people demand an immediate result.
        Also, can you think of a better way to ‘influence’ outcomes?

      3. PhilNC

        Most have, but that’s not the main problem. American fascination with applying first mechanical, and later digital, processes to every task is an impediment here. I may advocate for devops at work but don’t think everything can, or should, be automated. The time limits for finalizing tallying the vote built into the US Constitution presuppose hand counting, not Wolf Blitzer’s need to announce a winner on election night. If the networks really want instant results they can spend some more on adequately staffing their exit polling efforts. Public election authorities should do what’s in the public interest: hire more staff to do public hand counts rather than invest in more tech that continues to obscure the process.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Hand counting, and messages carried on horseback. It’s absurd that there IS a “lame duck” Congressional session to worry about.

      4. Stu from New Jersey

        I’ll try to comment on this (my last one did not make it onto the board.)
        They’re not required for *voting* (although it might be nice to have one that allows you to get set up and then punches the paper ballot that you’ll actually put in the box.)
        However, counting the votes over an entire state (say, for Governor) for choice voting would definitely require machines, at least when running the artificial “runoffs”.
        Some other commenters say that the counting is simple. I think they’re forgetting that ballots contain voting for local candidates, as well as county, state legislative districts, congressional districts and statewide.
        Setting up the counting is not simple. However, once Maine solves it, there may be some good ideas to be had for free.

      5. Carla

        The UK uses hand-marked paper ballots. They had their Brexit results pretty quick, and nobody questioned the accuracy. Sure, their electorate is “only” 46 million, but we have more people to throw at the counting/witnessing process, so we wouldn’t necessarily have to take much longer than they did.

        If voting matters AT ALL, hand-marked paper ballots, tallied in public, are the only way to go.

        Get with it, Greens!

        1. jrs

          It took 2 weeks to get the California election results anyway. Granted these are often machine counted paper ballots, much of California is not fully electronic.

    2. Ed

      “On the matter of voting machines, they might be required for ranked choice voting, and those of us who vote for minor parties do not consider first-past-the-post as a legitimate voting method.”

      I’m pretty sure that Australia, which uses both ranked choice voting, plus (semi) proportional representation for one federal chamber, uses paper ballots. Australian readers can correct me.

      Use of voting machines is rare to non-existent outside the US, despite open list proportional representation and similar systems being fairly common, and being familiar with nineteenth century US electoral history, I suspect they were put in precisely after the adoption of the secret ballot to facilitate fraud.

      With ranked choice or alternative voting systems, you count up the stacks of ballots the normal way, looking at the first choices, and record them. Then if there is no majority, you go to the smallest stack, count the second choices, and redistribute as appropriate to the other stacks. All this is done in view of observers, the lack of provision for which is the real problem with American electoral practices.

      1. integer

        I’m pretty sure that Australia, which uses both ranked choice voting, plus (semi) proportional representation for one federal chamber, uses paper ballots. Australian readers can correct me.

        You are correct. For anyone interested, here is a research paper on Australian electoral systems.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Ranked choice voting is easier to process with computers, but does not conflict with a paper ballot – as Benton County, Oregon is about to demonstrate.

      I’m sorry to see Greens call for the use of voting machines. I don’t mind so much the optical scan counters, because you have paper and can check up on them. Assuming that someone does. In Oregon, the ballots are a public record; I hope they are everywhere.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Markets splinter” — WSJ article

    Three daring fijos [financial journalists] take on the technical subject of asset class correlations … and fluff it.

    An essential parameter of correlations is the period over which they’re estimated. The period can be as short as a moving range of 20 days of daily data, up to decades of monthly data.

    From the rapidly shifting correlations in the WSJ’s graphical eye candy, one can infer that these are 20-day moving correlations of daily data, although nowhere is this stated.

    It’s a bit like asserting that “the average temperature is 50 degrees,” without specifying whether the average pertains to yesterday, last month, last year, or the last 30 years.

    Maybe their next article will be about DIY brain surgery. Mind the correlations!

    1. Inode_buddha

      Yeah, but think, they maybe doing it on purpose. Like lawyers, to give themselves wriggle room in the future, just in case they need it.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Possibly. My preferred explanation is this:

        The most recent PISA results, from 2012, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science. Among the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 27th in math and 20th in science.

        Math is hard. This doesn’t prevent the innumerate from becoming MSM journos and reporting numbers they don’t understand.

        1. Skip Intro

          Math is hard. This doesn’t prevent the innumerate from becoming MSM journos and reporting numbers they don’t understand.

          I think it may be more accurate to say ‘Math is hard, that encourages the innumerate to become MSM journos where they don’t need to understand the numbers they report.’

          1. Arizona Slim

            Higher math is hard. Very hard.

            And here’s something else to think about: Very few occupations require it. Including many that are in the much-vaunted STEM fields.

            For most of us, a good grasp of arithmetic is all that’s required.

            Additional heresies can be found in Andrew Hacker’s recent book, The Math Myth.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The only math one needs is inequality.

              A billion dollars > $10/hr.

              Choose your mate carefully.

              Or you reject math. And go with your heart.

              “I just love you.”

              But not completely.

              “Hey, I paid $1,000 less for the same brand new car by shopping smartly.”

              Here, X <<<< (X + 1000),

              And, futhermore

              Joy(X) is greater than Joy(X + 1000)

              in plain English, your joy of paying X dollars is greater than your joy of paying X + 1000 dollars.

    2. craazyman

      I don’t think it’s even correlation they’re measuring. Although they do have whatever they’re measuring ranging from +1 to -1, so that part is right.

      It looks like they’re measuring returns for 20 assets each day and calculating something and calling it the correlation on that day. That’s a bit odd, unless it’s some sort of minute by minute returns during the day to create an adequate time series for each 2-asset pair with enough observations. I don’t get how they come up with a “correlation” from 20 separate assets each with a single return number per asset– for one day. Since correlation is a measure of 2-dimensional linearity and you need more than one point per asset to make a line for that asset on the x-axis and another asset on the y-axis.

      Maybe a mathematician can explain it. I don’t get it.

      But the graphics are snazzy and make it look like you’re a social scientist doing a lab experiment when you drag the little box to the right and watch all the numbers and colors change.

      1. Jim Haygood

        A detailed procedure for calculating the 20-day rolling correlation between asset pairs is presented here:

        You can do it the hard way, summing up the squares, taking roots, and such. Or just use the CORREL function in Excel. Popping out a number is easy. Interpreting it is another matter.

        Everybody’s freaked about the sudden pop in stock-bond correlation. But long term (say 30 years), stock-bond correlation runs at a mild 0.10 or so, suggesting these asset classes are largely independent.

        Break down the long-term correlation further, and there seems to be a “phase change” at a bond yield of about 5 percent. Above that level, inflation fear predominates, and stock and bond prices are highly correlated, as in the late 1970s.

        Whereas at the zero bound, where we were during 2009-2015, deflation fears predominate. Stock and bond prices show strong inverse correlation.

        Since we are nowhere near the 5 percent phase change, the current alarmingly high 20-day stock-bond correlation is likely to recede back toward neutral. That is — in the vernacular — bonds prolly are effed up enough to buy. :-)

    3. cnchal

      Maybe their next article will be about DIY brain surgery.

      A couple of mirrors and a hand drill and they should be good to go.

    4. RabidGandhi

      I recall WSJ having similar problems with budget estimates: eg saying “this programme’s going to cost $500bn!” but omitting to say that the figure is over the next 20 years. Obviously, putting numbers in context would be retrograde to the positions WSJ wants to advance, such as cutting social security, so this makes sense.

      BTW: fijos = “plazos fijos” = certificates of deposit (CDs).

      1. Jim Haygood

        Standard practice on Capitol Hill is to cite 10-year totals for budget deficits, tax cuts, tax increases, etc.

        Almost never is this vital assumption specified, allowing implausibly large numbers to be slung around with abandon in the MSM, supporting or vilifying one branch of the Depublicrat party.

        Naturally, no recession is ever assumed, though the NBER’s business cycle dates going back to 1854 contain but one (1) example of a 10-year economic expansion (Mar 1991 to Mar 2001).

        1. RabidGandhi

          If you sling about Ginormous Numbers people can’t put them into context. Any figures must be expressed in gazillions or bejillions, because indicating them as a percentage of GDP might give the proles too much context, which might make them rambunctious.

          1. cnchal

            I like using Nimitz class aircraft carriers as coins of the realm. It puts a perspective to big numbers, whereby with a trillion dollars, 217 of them could have been bought, leaving out the jets and bombs on board. Kind of like a house, without the furniture and swimming pool. Can’t have one without the other.

            With that number in mind, for instance, Apple could afford about 20 of them, fully stocked, to protect their own supply chain from China, with just their “offshore” money.

            If the cost of one of them were spread out amongst all the families in the US, it would come to approximately $55 each. Pocket change, really.

  7. JSM

    Re: New book: Obama’s Education Department and Gates Foundation were closer than you thought

    It’s not hard to find evidence supporting a nefarious view of the influence of billionaires on education, and of Common Core – with its emphasis on lifelong surveillance, its datamining of minors which necessitated workarounds of federal law, its clear failure to produce students who are better prepared for college, the tidy side effect of suggesting privatization as the cure for ‘failed’ schools – as its most grotesque production. Dystopians should have no trouble envisioning a program designed to produce a few decades of political compliance while sacrificing the longterm viability of the country – sound familiar?

    (Apologies for the Breitbart link but they are one of the few outlets who have been directly and consistently critical of this program.)

  8. JSM

    Note to Robert Reich:

    The ‘New Democrats’ are, according to Wikipedia, ‘also called Centrist Democrats, Clinton Democrats or Moderate Democrats, are a relatively conservative ideological faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the victory of Republican George H. W. Bush in the 1988 presidential election.’

    The new name is the old name for the thing you’re trying to get rid of.

  9. fresno dan

    For example, the most common way to find a job is through family and friends. That holds true for all of us, but it is immensely more likely for the kids of the very rich. About 40 percent of young Canadian men have at some point worked for exactly the same firm that at some point also employed their fathers.
    Bad nepotism promotes people above their abilities by virtue of connections, and it erodes rather than enhances economic productivity. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution encapsulates this intuition when he speaks of a “glass floor” supporting untalented rich kids, a floor that at the same time limits the degree of upward mobility for others.

    There is, however, an even larger cost. Social mobility is about a lot more than just using job contacts to make it into the top 1 percent. It is also about making investments in the health, education, and opportunities of all children and supporting families in a way that complements their efforts to promote the well-being of their kids. If the rich leverage economic power to exercise political power, they can also skew broader public policy choices—from the tax system to the education system, and other sources of human capital investment—in a way that limits possibilities for the majority.

    Its not what you know, but who you know…
    The race is not to the swiftest, but he who gets a 100 yard advantage

    1. RabidGandhi

      This is so true in my neck of the woods, where unemployment has skyrocketed (500,000 jobs lost this year). I am now surrounded by literally dozens of acquaintances and relatives who cannot find work and are endlessly self-flagellating themselves, thinking that they are doing something wrong, that they lack the entrepreneurial smarts/initiative of the rich people they see on TV, or worst of all, who are getting into debt trying to start-up self-employed businesses or to pay for ongoing education that has little prospects for subsequent employment.

      Yet there are two factors enabling/exacerbating this autoflagellation mentality: (1) the macro-economic misinformation dished out by economist/witchdoctors in the media ensures people do not understand the actual macroeconomic situation and how it affects their personal economy; and (2) the predominant dogma about meritocracy which is completely groundless as Dan points out, but which is pounded into our heads nonetheless, especially to prevent us from questioning whether The Masters of Mankind really deserve their overflowing loot.

      1. Johnny Lunch Box

        Most of those rich bastards look good on paper but thats all it is. (Paper) try and sell ten billion shares of microsolft in a world of 7 billion people of which 90% have a hard time putting a meal on the table. Do that while competeing with tens of thousand of companies world wide who also want to sell their billions of shares. The village idiots are broke and the greater fools are less foolish.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Something we’ll never know — since the academic transcripts are “marked classified” — is who sponsored Barack O. as a ghost student at Columbia, followed by law review editor at Harvard.

      This was long before the Pritzkers took the young Chicago community organizer under their wing.

      The actual facts being unascertainable, I’m sticking with the story that he was a CIA test-tube baby, culturally engineered to be elected by the Mighty Wurlitzer when the time was propitious.

    3. solary

      In my experiences, there is also a cultural aspect. The children of the wealthy acquire certain social markers that allow them to navigate the high-powered levels of society, while those from less wealthy backgrounds are deemed to not have the “right cultural fit” for high-powered institutions. Even things like which sports or musical instruments you played in high school are being used to discriminate against the less wealthy in college admissions under the guise of admissions selecting for “well-rounded” students.

    4. John Wright

      I particularly like the Podesta email from UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong trying to get a job for his son at the Centers for American progress.
      Date: 2015-07-31 15:42
      Subject: So my 25-year-old Michael DeLong has applied for a Firearms Safety Policy job at CAP…
      Dear Neera (and John)—
      So my 25-year-old Michael DeLong has applied for a Firearms Safety Policy job at CAP…
      I think he is a very, very strong candidate on the merits, given what he has been doing in Portland at
      Ceasefire Oregon in the three years since he graduated from Reed College, and how effective he has
      been there. But I find myself somewhat anxious the somebody already in Washington and with better
      connections might crowd him out…
      May I beg you to reassure me?
      Brad DeLong


      Even the well-connected must grovel for jobs for their families.

        1. Anonymous

          This holds true to an astonishing degree in academia. There are dynasties in many social science (and prolly other) disciplines, and examples abound of crass nepotism. Takes “schmooze or lose” to a whole other level.

          ps: and this is separate from the equally otiose practice of finding spouses of prospective hires their own plum tenure track positions (purely on the basis of spouse-hood)

    5. jrs

      meh I’ve never gotten a job through family and friends (once through a mere acquaintance from a single class I took) and likely never will (I like to socialize with people I actually like not people at work). I’m only middling by though and really find it a very difficult job market out there, feel stuck.

    6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For example, the most common way to find a job is through family and friends. That holds true for all of us, but it is immensely more likely for the kids of the very rich

      Is that statement mostly true for all of us?

      If so, then, to rid of racial discrimination on the job front, we have to track the numbers of interracial friendships and marriages over the years, and find ways to increase them.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From “Zinc Explodes With Lead” Bloomberg article:

    Copper for three-month delivery added 1.2 percent to $5,947 a ton as of 10:43 a.m. in London.

    No. More clueless fijo sloppiness. As one can easily ascertain from London Metal Exchange contract specs, the LME copper futures contract is for 25 metric tonnes, weighing 2,205 lbs each — not US tons of 2,000 lbs.

    In the more familiar units of the US Comex copper contract, the LME price converts to about $2.70/lb. As recently as Oct 24th, Comex copper closed under $2.10/lb.

    So the old red metal has cranked pretty good. As chastened curb traders said after the Panic of 1907 supplanted the great copper stock mania of 1906, “Every bull market has a copper roof.

  11. Brizie

    Reich. Why We Need a New Democratic Party

    Among the postmortems I’ve seen, it’s one of the better ones. Yet, it is pathetic…because it stops so far short of what the left needs. Reich offers a very nice summary of the problem. It’s better than most of the crazy examples of denial and ludicrous finger-pointing we’ve seen from faux-lefties.
    But, where is the solution for Reich to point to? Where is the manifesto that lays out the competing alternative to the neoliberal-context Reich correctly identifies? We need a competing narrative. But we don’t have one.
    Someone like Jaimie Galbraith could bang out a serviceable draft within hours. But, we don’t even see the left calling for such a manifesto. And, if it was drafted…it would fall far enough outside the Overton Window, most media would laugh it off. But, we need to start somewhere.
    The closest thing we have now is Bernie’s agenda, which is a stealth manifesto. It draws in large numbers of people with very popular and highly desirable specific programs the oligarchy has prevented Congress from enacting. Then it slips in the critical piece, the beginning of an attack on Buckley v Valeo. It was well calibrated to move the Overton Window as far as could be done at the time it was introduced.
    But now that the left edge of the window has been stretched, we need a manifesto, an alternative to neoliberalism, a solution to point at, to stretch the Window a lot further.
    Or, does it exist, but somehow I’ve missed it?

    1. Oregoncharles

      A few years ago (4?), James Galbraith was proposing splitting the Democratic Party, which is essentially what your “new manifesto” would do. I pointed out that we’d already done that, but he was still hoping to do something within the old party. Haven’t heard much from him since, except in the Greek disaster.

  12. cocomaan

    American Thinker, the real strategy behind the recounts:
    The recount/audit extravaganza, plus the pressure on electoral college delegates to vote their conscience — funny how that’s now a really important consideration — shows that this election is not over until inauguration day. Maybe not even then.

    There is constant chatter now about how those delegates can be swayed and that there is still a chance for Clinton. I think the article misses that people are actually taking that idea seriously.

    But I totally buy the deligitimization angle. It also lays the groundwork for a Trump impeachment on the number of event risks raising their heads as he heads into the office.

    The 2016 election is like one of those nightmares that you wake up from to toss and turn a bit, only to fall right back into it when you close your eyes.

    1. Pat

      And to think people thought I was accused of being a Clinton hater when I said that first off the question about accepting the election was a bag gotcha question where Trump gave the correct answer (c’mon no one agrees to that unconditionally when there was so much evidence of tampering in the Democratic primaries). Of course that was because I added that anyone who thought that Clinton would not be fighting tooth and nail to overturn the election if she lost must also be interested in buying this bridge I’ve got in Brooklyn. I admit that fight is far more strategic than her campaign was, but I feel I can now claim psychic status regarding much of this election.

      (And I still think that one straw vote early on that had Sanders winning with a record number of electoral college votes would have turned out to be right if he had been the candidate. So maybe not psychic…)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Popularity is the necessity for impeachment. Trump is more popular than Congress. The rest is noise. Did any Republicans win more votes than Trump? My guess is no. Republicans vowed to stop Trump in primary after primary when they came to their state, and Trump beat their brains in, often insulting favorite sons.

      Given the GOP’s actual popularity, impeachment is a pipe dream of the Washington class desperate to believe they are popular at some level.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Interesting bit from the article:

      If a state never gets to name electors, the number needed to win goes down; a majority of those named is enough. Even with 260-232, Trump should win unless there wee[sic] lots of faithless electors. Now had the Democrats or Green Party also challenged Florida with 29 Electoral College votes, then it could have been 232-231 for Clinton.

      However, Florida’s vote total is final and certified (and maybe Electors already picked).

      So, the core of the “delegitimization” argument seems to be removing the electoral college from the process and throwing the decision to the congress by denying the voters of WI, MI and PA their participation. Trump won the “popular” vote in these three states.

      I honestly don’t see how this makes Trump’s election less legitimate.

      If most of clinton’s popular vote excess comes from one coastal state–CA–and the votes of three rust belt states must be negated in homage to that circumstance, it just doesn’t seem that it would be Trump’s legitimacy that would be called into question. imnsho.

      More likely the conclusion would be that no mechanism of the government of this country, no matter how sacred or longstanding, can remain unchallenged when a clinton in involved. imnsho.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘no mechanism of government of this country, no matter how sacred or longstanding, can remain unchallenged when a clinton is involved’

        Yes. And this makes Jill Stein and the Green Party … what, exactly?

        [Please don’t use dirty words in replying.] ;-)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          As hillary clinton said during the campaign, with practiced presidential solemnity, when Donald Trump refused to say with certainty that he would unquestioningly accept the election result:

          “He refused to say that he would respect the results of this election. (Crowd boos.) Now, make no mistake. By doing that, he is threatening our democracy.

          So, I guess that makes them “democracy threateners.” Or useful idiot democracy threateners, if you prefer.

        2. Skip Intro

          Yes. And this makes Jill Stein and the Green Party … what, exactly?

          Clever opportunists exploiting the massive denial and bank accounts of Clinton loyalists going all in to avoid the derailment of their gravy train.

        3. Optimader

          I maintain Trump is the first successful third party candidate to win Potus.
          Just need to come up with a snappy party name

          1. djrichard

            I think Bannon would agree. He sees a 50 year reign for this new thing they’ve established.

            I still see Andrew Jackson as being the precedent, for when he swept the Democratic Party into power. I bet at the time, the powers that be viewed the populism that Jackson harnessed as a threat to democracy (a la Caesar).

        4. a different chris

          I don’t need to use dirty words… I went down to get lunch today and on CNN I saw the words “Jill Stein” on the crawl. Jill Stein, on CNN, after the election.

          I’ve made this point already, what don’t you people get? She is getting the best publicity she has ever gotten. She gives a f’ing f’ck over whether Trump continues or Hillary prevails, her name and face is on the TV and once you get on if you don’t actually wet yourself you usually stay on.

          It’s time, over time actually, that she finally started acting like a politician not some member of some noisy college student group. I would have voted for Bernie Sanders. I did vote for her. But the funny thing is, her trying to get Sanders to take the Green Party nomination almost made me not do it. Stand up for your freaking self, do something actually shady and political once in a while to scare your enemies and get your name on the news, maybe she finally gets that.

          As somebody said, politics ain’t beanbag.

          1. Tom_Doak

            the funny thing is, her trying to get Sanders to take the Green Party nomination almost made me not do it. Stand up for your freaking self, do something actually shady and political once in a while to scare your enemies and get your name on the news

            Perhaps you do not recognize the latter when you have previously seen it [the former].

          2. djrichard

            It will be interesting to see how the Green Party defines itself after the failure of the Democratic party. Especially since the Trump party is filling in part of that vacuum through it’s populist appeals to the working (and want-to-be working) class.

            If the Democratic party doesn’t re-establish itself it, it gives the Green party opportunity to capture what’s left over. That might be Jill’s ultimate play here: to be a home for the remnants of the Democratic party. And enough dividing the spoils between the Green party on the left and the Trump party on the other side, and the Democratic party could be rendered moot.

              1. uncle tungsten

                I am not the least surprised at these shenanigans by Stein et al. This party seems to have an unaccountable elite that plays financial roulette too. I could never figure Stein’s call to Bernie and this account by Brandy Baker explains the oddity.

                Bernie’s immediate refutation of Stein’s siren call was entirely correct. The Greens have simply minimal electoral credibility, whereas Bernie Sanders would have out-polled them 15 to1 in his own right (had he been able to run as an independent which he couldn’t). The political math simply did not equate numerically but more importantly, the elite players in the Greens were less than perfect company for Bernie Sanders.

                There are many global examples of Green parties being colonized by conservative shills.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If Stein succeeds with reversing the current results of those 3 states, the Green party will not be a home for the remnants of the D party.

              The D party will not have to re-establish itself.

              And no need to soul search, much less myths about the Clinton defeat (defeat, what defeat) to debunk.

              In fact, the D party will be strong – I was the victim of fraud. She will claim. Why? Because I was born a victim. But this ends here and now!!!

              Does she know what she is doing? Is this a Faustian bargain? Is she playing 12 dimensional chess?

      2. Carolinian

        Clinton outspent Trump by like 10 to 1. How legitimate is that? Given the crippled state of our democracy you could make a case that no result will be legitimate on some level.

        Therefore the only meaningful legitimacy is conferred by the consent of the governed to the rules now in place. Are the Clintonistas arguing that a majority of the country wants the Electoral College to overturn the result? Any polls or other evidence to support that? If not they should shut up.

        1. optimader

          Clinton outspent Trump by like 10 to 1. How legitimate is that? Given the crippled state of our democracy you could make a case that no result will be legitimate on some level.

          Haven’t seen the numbers but I believe you.. Fantastic that she (anyone) lost to trump (anyone)for just that reason of a lopsided spending disparity. Voter driven campaign finance reform.

        2. uncle tungsten

          For the declining MSM elections are harvest season, their own little thanksgiving and Trump was a wowser at their little party. $hillary was obsessed with announcing how much money they had raised through all her petite soirees. She was purchasing the MSM devoted allegiance for the coronation and beyond. Sad that but they are still trumpeting the sad loss of their favorite gal.

        1. Katharine

          This is the line that dropped my jaw:

          “It’s a felony to disclose or expose the contents of any ballot … and that’s even if the voters’ names are redacted,” Kobach said.

          They have names directly associated with votes? What ever happened to the concept of a secret ballot?

          1. annie moose

            That’s what Korbach says. They are pretty strict with gets to vote here. Next step will probably be facial recognition software comparing your photo id to what’s in the database.

            1. Katharine

              I wouldn’t be so concerned if it were only about who gets to vote, but what he says implies they can check how you voted. That is amazing.

            2. RabidGandhi

              Yes. Facial recognition that links you to your F**book profile, connects to your vital signs wristband and tweets the results to your Amazon and BnB accounts. What could go wrong?

          2. jrs

            yes of course they do, for many a provisional ballot. How else can they verify that the person has the right to vote when they cast a provisional ballot? (assuming honesty).

            1. Katharine

              There’s no of course about it. In my state, both provisional and absentee ballots are placed in envelopes with identifying information for checking, but separated from that information before being counted. Voters are explicitly warned not to put any identifying information on the ballot itself.

    4. marym

      State parties choose party loyalists for electors. It seems unlikely their “consciences” would tell them to overturn their own state’s popular vote. Also, Clintonistas looking to change the outcome of the election based on “conscience” ought not to have selected a corrupt war-mongering elitist to carry their banner. Now their time, effort, and money (the Stein effort alone has raised $6.25M so far) would be better spent organizing around the actual issues of conscience that we face (war, hunger, healthcare, neoliberal looting of the commons…), whatever the election results.

      1. John k

        Corrupt war mongering elitist… I woulda been moderated out… the answer to those asking why… can’t repeat too often.

        1. John k

          And another why…
          Why were the dem elite all with her?
          They’re all card carrying members of the C-W club, they all admired the Clintons’ success, and wanted to be more like them. Wouldn’t everybody if they had the chance? We’ll, except crazies like Bernie.
          Gonna be hard to turn that bloated ship around. Let’s see if Keith, a little warlike himself, makes it…

      2. a different chris

        How would you raise that money and how would you spend it? What normally happens is that, instead of taking on power, you wind up spending the money directly on hunger and healthcare – and when it runs out you have to ask for more.

        Meanwhile the looting continues.

        PS: not to mean that it isn’t wasted on the Clintonistas themselves, but the (hopeful) awakening Stein’s money — wow, that’s an expression I never expected to use — might bring…. ugh, it will probably fizzle to nothing but anyway plenty money has been spent “organizing around…” and it’s gotten us nothing but Rethugs/Clintons as far as we can see so maybe we need to do something else.

        1. marym

          It’s a fundraising and action question for the millions of Clinton supporters. There are already organizations and movements to fight for things about which they think Clinton would be less evil than many of the worst aspects of Trump. Now these “liberals” ought to liberate their time, money, and effort toward those causes.

          1. Pat

            And by voice vote so no record exists of who voted for it. Nice.

            At least there is a chance it might not pass, since it still has two major hurdles to cross. Unfortunately we have a whole lot of idiots who seem to want this declaration of war.

              1. integer

                Ellison was also one of the first to back 0bama when he initially wanted to bomb Syria after the (Turkish) sarin gas attack.

                From MinnPost (09/01/13)

                More than a week before President Obama asks them to authorize a military attack on Syria, members of the Minnesota congressional delegation are beginning to stake a position either for or against the strike.

                Only Keith Ellison has come out to fully back a strike on Syria, something pushed by Obama after an alleged chemical weapons attack there on Aug. 21. Sen. Al Franken has indicated he’ll support a strike, while a trio of House members—Democrats Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan and Republican Michele Bachmann—is strongly opposed. The rest are either neutral, noncommittal, vague or otherwise keeping quiet so far.

              2. UserFriendly

                He’s my rep just sent him a message:

                Subject: H.R. 5732

                Why on earth are you a cosponsor of legislation to start a nuclear war with Russia?
                And it was on a voice vote so you are proud to support pointless aggression.
                Why is the Democratic party becoming the war party? Wall Street and war. There is seriously no one in office that cares about us plebeians anymore.
                Try sponsoring something that would actually help people like Stephanie Kelton’s Job Guarantee.

                I asked for a response too.

      3. oh

        If the Green Party is smart they’d collect the money and put it in their general fund instead of spending it on this nefarious effort.

    5. RabidGandhi

      For me the demasking of the US system’s farcical democratic facade is a net positive. It is an accepted intellectual class dogma that the US is not just a democracy but a role model for other countries. But there are three facts that have long been swept under the electoral carpet that this election has made too blatant to ignore: (1) the electoral college is anti-democratic; (2) most people don’t participate in this sham democracy anyway, with less than a quarter of the population voting for any given leader; and (3) US elections have the same propensity to shennanigans as third-world elections (or worse: see Venezuela).

      1. John k

        System provides a little extra clout to small pop states that slightly favors conservative rural areas, just as founders intended. Japanese system set up by us more so. Pretty democratic, in this case facilitated turning the corrupt rascals out when rural pain ignored for decades.
        One man one vote Gerrymandering locks in incumbents forever, far less democratic.

        1. a different chris

          Not ready to agree with you but supporting your point — the President just wasn’t supposed to be nearly as powerful as he is today.

          Against – now we have a much bigger force multiplier with the Senate and the Presidency both picked by a “my vote is N times your vote” system.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Democracy: Two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for lunch.

        66% is such an overwhelming “margin.”

        I must have missed the discussion of this definition of “democracy” in all the kvetching about the electoral college.

        1. RabidGandhi

          I never liked that definition of democracy because it smacks of the Hamiltonian urge against “mob rule”. The founding fathers drafted the constitution specifically to prevent the unwashed masses from encroaching on the aristocracy’s property rights, with the rich painting themselves as the poor sheep about to be devoured by the two wolves.

          Of course, the true teachings of Madison and the other framers are never taught in US civics courses, where the terms “democratic” and constitutional” are used interchangeably, even though they are often diametric opposites. This leads to the common misconception that “democracy means having elections”, but this election has shown that although elections are necessary for democracy, many elections in fact are very undemocratic.

          A better gauge of democracy is to verify whether the policies a government is implementing are the policies the people want. In the US this is very easy to do, because fortunately it is the most highly polled population in history. And the polls are clear: the main policies promoted in Washington are policies that are consistently opposed by the population. Polls time after time show the popluation wants expanded social security, national healthcare, expanded social safety nets, less international interventions, less funding of dictators, and so on down the line. Since the US government consistently opposes its own population on these most basic policy issues, the US is a very undemocratic country.

          1. John k

            Yes, great point, but..
            Eu run by self appointed elites, can neither throw them out or leave.
            Russia, china, many countries much worse.
            We don’t deliver what people want, only good thing is many much worse.
            Hopefully war monger pendulum swinging back, maybe next cycle we can work on neolib and banks… actually I’m still hopeful AG will throw at least some tokens in jail.

            1. RabidGandhi

              Yes I agree, it is a spectrum and the US is somewhere on that spectrum, but it’s not in last place, so yes there are less democratic countries.

              That said, the countries that are more democratic are not that way because they were born that way like Lady Gaga. They are that way because they have active populations and labour unions that have forced popular policies onto the government agenda. For example, that is how most countries have socialised health care, while the US with its decimated labour movement does not.

              Your comment that “Hopefully war monger pendulum swinging back, maybe next cycle we can work on neolib and bank” makes no sense to me, because no matter who is in office, any changes that get implemented will be implemented due to popular pressure on whomever is in power, not by electing the “right” person. Thus waiting for next election to change things is the essence of an anti-democratic system.

            2. hunkerdown

              Makes as much sense as throwing people out of a relay race. C’mon. Where’s the recourse? Where’s the making whole?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In that case, either we get Clinton (popular vote) or Trump (the Electoral College), and we’d still not be democratic.

            Do we then say

            1. the electoral college is anti-democratic
            and (also)
            2. the popular vote is anti-democratic

            Or that fact that policies implemented by the government are not what the people want as shown by polls has nothing to do with showing the Electoral College is anti-democratic (the popular vote winner would have carried out similar undemocratic policies)?

            What makes the electoral college problematic is that it does not always reflect the popular vote.

            But then, neither does the Senate, nor the House of Representatives. We can work out cases where they don’t reflect the popular will.

            1. RabidGandhi

              The points about (1) the EC not being democratic and (2) the government not being democratic as seen by polls, are two separate points. They can both be true or false independently of each other.

              Congress has historically shown a greater tendency toward bowing to the public will, when the public manages to organise itself and make its voice heard. This becomes even more evident as you go down to local levels, where local representatives are much more responsive to letter writing campaigns than the president is.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I agree with (2) and (3), but I don’t see how the electoral college is necessarily anti-democratic, at least any more than in a parliamentary democracy where parliament elects the executive. Relatively few countries have executive branches elected on a ‘pure’ majority vote. In most countries that I’m aware of it is at least theoretically possible for an executive to be elected by a minority vote, especially in countries with non-transferable votes, where geographical concentrations of support can skew an election.

        One thing, btw, I don’t think has been discussed is that HRC’s popular majority is actually evidence of a badly run campaign. Back when looked like a near certainty she would win the Dems I suspect they put a lot of effort into trying to make it a landslide by spending resources on relatively solid Rep States.

        High votes in the wrong constituencies is often a sign of poor vote management. In Ireland, with its multi-seat proportional representation system, its generally seen as a criticism, not a credit to a politician to get too high a personal vote – its an indication that the party didn’t spread its vote among its candidates in the most electorally efficient manner.

        1. RabidGandhi

          While I agree with much of that, my comparison was not to other systems; it was rather this basic question: would the US presidency be more democratic if the electoral college were to be removed and replaced with direct voting. I have yet to see a cogent “no” answer to that question, with the only responses i have heard being that the EC helps under-represented regions– as if democracy were one-region-one-vote instead of one-person-one-vote. Personally, I live in a small rural part of my country, but my vote counts the same as anyone else’s. Why on Earth should it be otherwise? As for how that plays out in a parliamentary system, in that regard Parliamentary systems are far less democratic. Who the samhell voted for Theresa May anyhow? (“executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony”).

          As to HRC’s failure to win the EC whilst winning the popular vote: I agree, that is yet another sign of incompetence. What the heck was she doing in frickin’ California when she was fighting for her life in Wisconsin and Michigan? Then again, her incompetence shows an inability to win at a system– a system that is undemocratic anyway. I’d actually rather she’d spent her energy on not killing the working class and not warmongering instead of focusing on how to best work the system.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            In terms of the basic question, I agree, there is really no good argument for the electoral college system in isolation.

      4. Cocomaan

        It’s a net positive for me if it leads to good results.

        Unfortunately I have no confidence that is what will happen. It just puts us further down the runway to totalitarian liftoff

    6. Anonymous

      The Establishment wants HRC. The House just quietly approved her insane No Fly Zone for Syria, at the same time that Syrian gov forces are gaining against HRC’s rebels in E. Aleppo. T, on the other hand, supposedly wants to align with Russia to fight the rebels.

    7. Oregoncharles

      He isn’t legitimate because he lost the popular vote, and by a wide margin. Raising questions about the count adds to the effect.

      Of course, Bush II wasn’t legitimate, either. It was very “clarifying” that the Dems refused to challenge him on that, but he was still failing until 9/11 came along. Which raises some questions.

      Delegitimization is good; makes it harder for the Republicans to do the really outrageous stuff. I agree with Lambert on that point.

  13. Katharine

    Regarding Tim Ryan, I find it amusing that a representative from northeast Ohio is being billed as from the middle of the country. I admit it’s west of the eastern continental divide, but not by much. Maybe the coastal geographers are still using Columbus’s value for the earth’s circumference: if India is that close, the U.S. must be really narrow.

    1. RabidGandhi

      When I was learning Geography as a young[er] pup, MLB’s Cincinnati Reds were in the National League West division. When I asked my teacher about this, he said it was because that used to be the western extent of baseball. When I then asked about the Atlanta Braves, who were also in the NL West, he said it was because they were previously based in Milwaukee, which I assume must be somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

    2. a different chris

      You are using the wrong geography. :) A land-based geography, rather than a commerce based one. He *is* from the “midwest”, aka the Rust Belt. Using your geography, I would say Philly is in New Jersey but then everybody would laugh at me. It’s not physical location, it’s the economic sphere.

      Hope this is taken in the spirit offered.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela enters the Zimbabwean endgame: this morning it takes 3,480 bolivars to buy a dollar, compared to just 2,000 bolivars a week ago.

    Although Venezuela stopped publishing inflation data (or any other economic data) two years ago, the IMF projected in July that Venezuela’s inflation would reach 480% in 2016 and 1,640% in 2017.

    When countries “go Weimar” in this fashion, the monetary pathology tends to burn out pretty quickly, typically by deposing the clowngov and putting economic policy back into competent hands.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Phrases like “go Weimar” really need context otherwise they become just another Boo Word.

      Using the IMF projection for 2017 we’d get a monthly inflation rate of ~27% , well below the standard definition of hyperinflation @ 50%/month and a very long way below Weimar’s worst case of 29500%/month.

      So Venezuela maybe *trying* to `do a Weimar/Zimbabwe’ but they’ve a long way to go yet.

      The real question is whether the bolivar has been repudiated enough that people have started using alternative `hard’ currencies as happened in Zimbabwe with the SA Rand.

    2. RabidGandhi

      The little boy who cried Weimar.

      This is numbers silliness of the exact sort you were just complaining about with the WSJ.

      Zimbabwe and Weimar? Didn’t Venezuela reach that point when their inflation went over 20%? How many more breathless “Weimar!” alerts do we have to get? Every time a new figure gets published by someone (in this case, dolartoday, a site incidentally conducted by a US operative who participated in the 2002 coup against Venezuela’s elected government– really scraping the bottom of the sources bucket there, eh Jimbo) suddenly it’s the de rigeur apocalypse shouting. But economic stats are not like that. What is the red line for inflation? 2%? 20%? 2000%? What about the redline for unemployment? Why does rampant inflation inevitably trigger your Zimbabwe turrets, while high unemployment or high poverty figures never get the same sensationalism.

      It reminds me of the braindead deficit hawks who always say “well X is a boatload of debt. We’re crossing a line at X trillion.” (eg Howard Dean cited in today’s Bill Black article). Or whatever. But those numbers mean nothing unless you put them in context. Put them into context with the EPOP, poverty, GINI and mean household income stats, then we’ll talk.

      Furthermore, you tip your hand by saying “putting economic policy back into competent hands”. Pray tell when was Venezuela’s Economy Ministry ever in “competent hands”? Give specific examples please.

    3. uncle tungsten

      Zimbabwe end game is a looooooong game it seems. Will Venezuela take as long or have they got oil?

  15. Optimader

    Android Malware Used to Hack and Steal a Tesla Car Bleeping Computer. Programming malpractice. We llcense plumbers. We license cosmetologists. Not programmers…


    Actuarially reflect the theft risk in insurance premium and Tesla will be on the software hole.

    Re:the plumber, less interested if he is coughing licrnsing fees, more interested if he is bonded/insured. Ambrit?

    1. Skip Intro

      Recall that unlike Apple that uses software to sell hardware to customers, the Android/Google business model is to use software to sell customers to advertisers. If security were in their interest, it would be there.

    2. ambrit

      Hi Optimader;
      My experience has been that the “insurance” requirements are now connected to licensing directly.
      Basically, a Masters License is needed to open a “legitimate” business in most trades. As part of the Masters License process, proof of liability insurance, a million dollars of liability being the requirement in Louisiana for example, is required. Thus, a financial filter is imposed on new business formation. Now, as I have found out from a painful experience occurring to my Dad, liability can be manipulated for less than ethical purposes. This happened even after Dad jumped through all the hoops that South Florida required him to transit. One such hoop was a Standard and Poors rating! So, if I were to open up a shop, insurance would be required, if only for my peace of mind.
      So many things can go wrong with the plumbing, the electrical system of a house, the heating and air conditioning system, that one either has to have complete confidence in the person doing the work, or confidence that potential damages will be made good.
      The other “rancid underbelly” of small business formation is the corruption endemic in small local political entities. Our Idyllic Certified Retirement Community in which I reside has a consistent undercurrent of rumour to the effect that the City limits licenses so as to protect long established businesses from the much dreaded “Free Market.” Whether true or not, the existence of such a rumour bespeaks a non trivial level of distrust of City Hall on the part of the denizens of “Our Fair City.”
      As an example of the above, an anecdote. I personally was present at a garage sale, on a recent Saturday, when up drove a City truck. The functionary was checking for “unpermitted” garage sales. The sale’es were required to obtain a permit to sell their own property from their own property. Four times a year were free, with subsequent sales requiring a ten dollar fee be paid to the City per sale. A sale could last three days subsequent, in effect, a long weekend.
      So, to be somewhat contrarian about it, the true small businessman or woman is fighting not only the competition, but also City Hall.
      Regulation is all about the control of behaviour. Thus, the composition of any regulatory regime will confer power over others to whomever is ready, willing, and able to expend the resources needed to control that regime. Hence, to segue back to more mainstream NC territory, who controls national regulation, and how diligently they perform their jobs, is of critical importance to the health of the Nation.
      As above, so below.

      1. polecat

        perhaps people should learn how to do more things themselves, thereby bypassing the whole regulatory morass ….. CONvenience is often anything but, as a matter of thrift and learning !!

        Confidence in one’s own abilities .. rather than convenience at one’s expense.

        1. optimader

          there is a Rubicon that shouldn’t be crossed w/ being Mr handy.. particulalty w/ ppl that think they are shade tree electricians. that said I did a lot of (re)plumbing and (re)wiring to get things to code.
          Present house -all trades people. All good guys (who enjoy good bier)
          As a matter of fact, Thr ,Fri, Sat Sun finally today they figured out a subtle vent leg seal failure drip drip drip. from a second lloor bathroom into a pantry.

          That alone is reason enough not to plumb IMO. I would have not found it, and am disinterested in doing consequential drywall and paint repair. I told my guy I promise not to plumb if he promises not to do process engineering.

            1. Optimader


              It was worth the price of admission to see how fast one of them (the assistant of course) could drain a bottle of Spaten Oktoberfest! Hey, its the holidays

      2. hunkerdown

        ambrit, have you erased managers, financiers, and marketing from the accountability picture, with their respective values and demands all at odds with sound practice and minimizing technical debt, i.e. taking whatever time it takes to do it right? Imagine if 20 years experience were more relevant to the “fit” than being cool down the pub Thursday evening.

        Seems maybe cars can’t be trusted to drive themselves, and that careful consideration may be a better basis of deciding what to automate than the compulsion to mechanize and automate as PhilNC mentioned upthread.

        1. ambrit

          Well, if those same managers, financiers, and marketing people drive the bus into a ditch, let us place the blame where it belongs. I have personally been told to do something “the fast way” or let someone else have the job. (I let that someone else have the gig. I was also hungry for a few weeks afterward. Virtue has a price.)

    3. ambrit

      Earlier reply in limbo.
      Short answer, yes to liability insurance. Too many things can go wrong, even for the best craftspeople.

    4. CRS

      Computer programmer here. First, the title is misleading as it doesn’t appear that any Tesla was actually stolen. Instead, the hackers showed how a Tesla could theoretically be stolen.

      Second, it’s unclear who made the mistake here. Check out the second comment on this page for the four basic approaches to password storage:

      four approaches to password storage

      Note that storing a password in plain text and controlling who can access the file is a viable option.

      As the article above says, the whole Tesla hack wouldn’t work unless the user installs malware. It’s difficult to protect a phone that has malware on it.

      Third, I’m not in favor of licensing programmers. It would just be another headache for programmers and probably wouldn’t help much.

      Since this is an economics blog, how about we focus on licensing bankers? If you are an attorney, you have to be licensed by a state to practice law in that state. Further, if you breach an ethical violation as laid down by your state bar association, you can be barred from ever practicing law again. Wouldn’t it be great if we could bar bankers from working in finance ever again if they breached an ethical violation?

      As it is, it appears we have to get them on a criminal violation, which hardly ever happens. Ethical violations should be easier to prove.

      Finally, I agree with Yves on voting machines. Closed-source machines are terrible especially since we are always hearing stories about Dick Cheney or George Sorors owning stakes in companies that make them. Open-source machines are better, but who’s going to want to inspect the thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands (millions?) of lines of code? The best way to go is with paper ballots that are each hand-counted. We may not know the results for a couple of days, but I think everyone would feel better about the integrity of the system.

  16. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The antidote.

    Yes, they are sheep, or very possibly, sheep goat hybrids. They are the sort of mongrel sheep you get on the poorest farms in the west of Ireland. I’d guess, if it is from Sligo, the photo is from somewhere above the 200 metre contour well inland, in the Ox or Bricklieve Mountains.

    My father grew up on a mountainside sheep farm in County Sligo*. He used to tell us that during the war years the father of the poorest family in the townland used to trap and kill wild goats and sheep-goat hybrids (and of course, possibly sheep who’s owner couldn’t be identified) for food. In school they’d always ask the mans son what he had for dinner. ‘Mountain venison stew!’ he’d say. So it became the local joke that anything unidentifiable and vaguely goat-like spotted up the mountains would be called ‘mountain venison!’. So I guess those are a pair of mountain venisons.

    *it didn’t do his family any harm – I’m going to Sligo this weekend to celebrate his older sisters 100th Birthday. She is promising to sink a few pints in celebration. I don’t know if its mountain venison for lunch…

    1. makedoanmend

      Are they not the equivalent to Scottish Blackface sheep? (I’m assuming this picture was taken during the summer, as they appear shorn of their fleeces.) Do not appear to be geeps (goat-sheep hybrids). Crossed with Suffolk, they make very fierce and protective ewes.

      And yeah, mutton, according to my paternal grandfather from Mayo (I come from a mixed race of Mayo and Tyrone) was the main source of dietary meat in his time – especially in a soup-stew concoction.

      Goat eating, however, must be a Sligo thing. But, then again, we’re talking about Sligo :-) [but must confess my surname antecedents stretch from mid Mayo right up through to North Sligo – so can’t throw the slag too hard.]

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, they are basically black-faced sheep, but from what I know about Irish sheep farming (very little), most farmers aren’t too particular about maintaining good bloodlines, which is why I say they are a bit of a mongrel. Maybe they’d look better with a good winter coat. I’ve certainly nearly run into very similar looking sheep on my bike going around Lough Easkey in the Ox Mountains (they aren’t very bright, they tend to jump in front of bikes for no obvious reason). I think most of the native breeds of sheep in Ireland more or less disappeared in the early 19th Century, when population pressures meant even the most marginal land was cultivated for the potato, so they probably are descended from Scottish stock.

        And yes, even Sligo people looked down on goat meat – they were only kept for milk, and even that was rare. Most just ran wild on the high bog. My fathers family were poor, but they would never have dreamed of eating goat, it would have been too much of a humiliation. It was a sign of desperation for the neighbouring family to do it, hence the jokes about venison.

        1. Alex morfesis

          So I don’t have to worry about you elbowing me for some stewed goat at easter in ithaki…more for me…gizzards for all…kokoretsi and magiritsa

        2. River

          On people not eating goat, this reminds me of burying lobster shells in the trash in Maine. Once upon a time, only the poorest of the poor would eat lobster and it was viewed as humiliation.

      1. makedoanmend

        I rise you one: “Rare goat-sheep born on Irish Farm”

        However, I’m sort of sceptical as well, but Geep do exist as in vitro chimeras. I’ve actually used Geep cells in the lab:

        “Institute, Palmerston North

        Cell Line Origin: Goat x Sheep hybrid, skin.

        Culture Medium: EMEM α (nucleotide enriched) + 2mM Glutamine + 10% Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS).

        Subculture Routine: Split sub-confluent cultures (70-80%) 1:2 to 1:4 i.e. seeding at 2-4×10,000 cells/cm2 using 0.25% trypsin/EDTA; 5% CO2; 37°C.

        Cell Line Description: Skin fibroblast derived from a 6 year old female goat x sheep interspecies hybrid (Capra Lircus x Ovis Aries).”

        best regards

    2. uncle tungsten

      Goat Sheep hybrids also in Himalayas. Read The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen for a broad discussion of their research in Nepal.

  17. Anonymous

    The FT article on Brexit read to me as though large parts of it had been dictated by the British Government – all about how strong the UK’s position is. I am unsure what the objective of that is, as I am sure all the involved parties are capable of forming their own views on the relative strength or otherwise of the parties’ positions.

    FWIW I find it difficult to see the EU27 agreeing on anything other than a few options that are available off the peg: the Norwegian model and/or the Turkish model, maybe the Canadian? (but I have my doubts here). Otherwise, I suspect, they will likely just be shown the door.

    Talk of the EU27 being afraid of a Hard Brexit because of the damage it will do them will have them laughing out loud, given how much more damaging it would be for the UK.

    It seems the UK may want a bespoke deal. If that is the case they will almost certainly need more time than they have got, in which case the question becomes ‘what will you do for us to make it worth our while agreeing to give you more time? It will have to be really good’.

    1. a different chris

      >given how much more damaging it would be for the UK.


      If I trip and bang my head I don’t laugh just because somebody somewhere else got in a serious car accident. If I know them, and I think the “Continentals” have a few British acquaintances here and there, I would naturally feel bad.

      But if I didn’t, then my attention would be on my bumped head.

      In no case would I “laugh out loud” because my damage was less than theirs.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There is a reason Schadenfreude is a German word….

        But on a more serious point, there has long been real resentment in the corridors of Europe about Britains behaviour within the EU, especially its refusal to see any need to cultivate allies. My understanding from people I know who know these things is that there is a general feeling that ‘they made their bed, now they’ll find out how uncomfortable it is’.

        1. Irrational

          Agree with Anon and PuKun.
          Unfortunately I think a lot of the debate in the UK has gone religious with the Remain side coming up with extremely pessimistic studies and the Brexit side rubbishing them, when the correct answer should be that “given the complex interlinkages and network effects we have no clue what will happen”.
          The FT article did not particularly persuade me that the UK has an unbeatable hand.

          1. Anonymous

            @a different chris

            My comment referred of course to laughter at talk of Hard Brexit rather than the reality.

            To my mind it is still very unclear which way the UK Govt will try to go. Plotting by such as Johnson to replace May will probably complicate matters.

            The hard line Brexiters of course favour Hard Brexit. If they think about matters clearly, they should probably be more cautious. If going for Hard Brexit crashes the economy it could cause a savage backlash both against them personally and against euroscepticism, even if the tabloids will as usual blame everything on the EU. If there is a hard landing, the UK public could be hammering on the EU door by 2022 begging to be allowed back.

            But if the Government opts for soft Brexit, with continued freedom of movement for an indefinite further period, UKIP and probably Johnson will cry betrayal and try to ride to power on the back of renewed xenophobia.

            All in all it is IMO a pretty toxic mixture.

            Perhaps Fillon’s plans to reform the EU will give May an out by allowing her to put everything on ice as discussion switches to reforming the EU rather than UK departure.

  18. shargash

    “Programming malpractice. We llcense plumbers. We license cosmetologists. Not programmers”

    The bulk of the problem isn’t the programmers. It is the organization that employs the programmers. Programmers are usually under intense time pressure and are encouraged/ordered to cut corners to meet deadlines. Quality is almost always the first thing to be cut.

    What we need for self-driving cars is the kind of regulation we have for medical devices. No corporation is permitted to sell, say, an MRI machine without going through a certification process overseen by the FDA. Granted the FDA is not perfect, but licensing programmers isn’t likely to fix anything.

    1. temporal

      Programming has been bleeding from a thousand cuts over a long period of time but I doubt licensing would help in any way.

      Since I can’t escape moderation I’ll leave it at that.

    2. visitor

      No corporation is permitted to sell, say, an MRI machine without going through a certification process overseen by the FDA

      About twenty years ago, I was involved in a project with a firm developing software for controlling production plants in the pharmaceutical industry.

      The resulting equipment, including control software, had to get an FDA certification.

      At about that time I was also involved in a study of the loops one had to go through in order to get signalling software and equipment for railways approved. Certification again — and plenty of strict rules from the CENELEC about how to develop and test the software (there was even a list of forbidden programming languages).

      So that idea of certifying software, or hardware-software products, is already implemented in several fields, mainly safety-critical ones. In the pharmaceutical industry everything in a production line must be certified, approved, and re-certified whenever something significant changes by various national agencies anyway.

      Mass consumer and industrial products, on the other hand…

        1. visitor

          It was not, but I have doubts insulin pumps are certified in a stringent way by the FDA anyway. The actions by the FDA to address problems with what are called “infusion pumps” comprise

          (1) increase user awareness, (2) proactively facilitate device improvements, and (3) publish new guidance for industry.

          Maybe the FDA terminology hides measures with some genuine bite, but on the face of it, all this appears to be pretty tame.

      1. oh

        AFAIK, FDA certification only looks at whether there are procedures, not whether the procedures are any good!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Take electricians for example.

      The parts must be safe…maybe UL approved or some other measures.

      And the electricians must be licensed.

      Is the equivalent 1. certification on the entities making self-driving cars parts, and 2. licensing the programmers?

      1. Clive

        This is such an interesting point — the situation with electricians is exactly as you say, they need to be licenced. More than that, the licencing requires they follow state or local codes. Someone had to draw up those codes. And the codes are not infinite in their scope, different codes cover different aspects of electrical supply and installation.

        (My dad was an electrician and could tell you all about this subject and the read-across to computer code; to cut a long story short, even if you started to manage computer programming in the same vein as electrical engineering today it would take an age to bring the standards to anything approaching what you’d call maturity. Sorry I don’t have a good knowledge of US equivalents, but, for those interested in what it would entail, this gives a flavour of the U.K. requirements and how detailed they have to be (and that’s just for “domestic” work; HV is even worse)).

  19. Tom Stone

    I’m not going to believe anything I read here until I see a certified copy of Lambert’s birth certificate.

  20. Antifa

    And the Ukranian government is still trying to provoke Russia into a military response that NATO can start a war over.

    On December 1st and 2nd, the Kiev government will conduct live fire missile tests (surface to air) over Crimea and over portions of the Black Sea patrolled by Russia. All commercial flights will have to be grounded or diverted for those two days. Moscow has, of course, objected but Kiev says their decision to test their missiles over Crimea is unilateral.

    In realpolitik terms, Ukraine is making it plain that they still do not accept Crimea’s referendum to join the Russian state, nor do they recognize Russia’s claim to Black Sea waters off the Crimean coast. Russia clearly has no interest in being drawn into an overt military conflict over the Crimea or the Donbass region, which means Kiev will have to keep being ever more provocative toward Russia until they get their war. Then NATO will come save them. That’s the plan.

    Since they are firing directly over Crimea, if these missile tests go awry in any way, and harm comes to civilians below, the situation will instantly become a flash point for war. Here’s hoping those missiles have all their bolts and screws and washers put in place correctly, and don’t fall on Russian citizens. This is, after all, rocket science.

    1. Ohnoyoucantdothat

      Yes, we are concerned about the reliability of those missiles. Not sure what Russian government will do about the possibility of an errant projectile falling in the Crimea. Putin isn’t showing his hand so it’s all conjecture. Technically, I think it’s a violation of Russian airspace and could be construed as an act of war. If Putin so wished I’m pretty sure he could be in Kiev by supper time as the Ukrainian military is pretty much worthless. Don’t expect anything that drastic but it is a possibility. More likely is a renewed push in Donbass and political moves in Kiev. Wife tells me Arseny Yatsenuk, ex prime minister of Ukraine, is now living in Russia. He has extensive contacts in Ukraine government which might be useful. Ukraine is in difficult situation with Trump and seems to be flailing around searching for some traction. Actually expect a right wing move to grab power in the near future. Seriously bad times ahead for those people. Feel really sorry it has come to such a terrible place.

      1. integer

        I feel sorry for all the decent Ukrainians too, who I’m sure make up the vast majority of those who are suffering. I have seen heartbreaking footage of interviews with elderly (Eastern) Ukrainian women who just could not believe that they were caught in the middle of yet another war. Their pensions had been cut off too. My description does not do it justice. I’m sure there are many decent people in Western Ukraine too, though I imagine there is a lot of pressure to conform to Svoboda’s ideology.

        Nice going Victoria Nuland and co., you’re all fucking pieces of shit.

  21. Michael

    Hey, my comments always seem to go to moderation. I’m a grumpy fella, but I think I’m generally reasonably civil and on-topic?

  22. Brad

    ” In a way, this inverts the problem, which is not “conflict” but the class interests of the oligarchical faction dominating Trump’s cabinet.”

    The Trumpists are not an oligarchy, but a nepotic *camarilla* of political cronies from an odd kooks and wierdos corner of the ruling class. That’s why virtually the entirety of the real oligarchy opposed Trump and backed Clinton.

      1. polecat

        Yeah, but they’re now ‘our’ weirdos … for better or worser !

        Maybe they’ll actually do something right by the plebes vs the other freaks on either side ….

    1. uncle tungsten

      There is no room for optimism. Trump is about to severely rat f*ck the people and caress the oligarchy once his terms are met. It wont take long.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The question is whether the already ratf*cked people will take it again. It took eight years to shake off the Obama spell (in the districts that switched). I doubt it will take as long with Trump (though pockets of diehards will remain, exactly as with Obama). Whicah is why the focus should be on concrete material benefits — especially jobs — since that’s the central Trumpian contradiction: He will have promised something that he cannot deliver; I’m assuming that the infrastructure stuff goes off the rails because the Public Private Partnerships mean looting and all kinds of horrid resource misallocations. And he can deliver needs to be framed immediately as “not enough.”

  23. Dave


    “the real oligarchy opposed Trump and backed Clinton.”

    Reading about Kushner,

    Father did time, from New York metro area, close connections to political in laws, Orthodox Jewish, gets his wife to convert, major player in financial markets.

    Where have I seen this before?

    Sure sounds like Mr. Chelsea Clinton; Maybe he’ll get his chance in 8?

    The East Coast is a strange place.

    1. cwaltz

      Are we really suggesting Peter Theil, Sheldon Adelson, J Joe Ricketts and Carl Icahn aren’t the “real oligarchy?”

      Both sides had billionaires in their corner and I can almost guarantee that a few of them probably hedged their bets.

      1. Dave

        Of course not, I’m just pointing out the coincidences in personality between the Kushners and the Mezvinskys.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is utterly ignorant. The dollars are not overseas. They are in US banks. Apple for instance manages its cash in an internal hedge fund out of Nevada. They are “overseas” only for tax reporting purposes.

      1. allan

        The assets might be in US banks, but are they in dollars?
        Since they were earned [sic] as Euros, etc., is it possible that they have never been exchanged for USD?

        I have no idea, and the article might simply have been some forex guys talking their book.
        But the irony that tax repatriation, ostensibly to turbocharge U.S. manufacturing, could in fact make it even less competitive by strengthening the dollar was too good to not point out.

        1. John Wright

          To say nothing that the signal to the corporations is manufacture overseas, book profits overseas, and eventually you can bring the profits back to the USA at a low tax rate.

          The corporation simply has to wait and pull the right strings.

          Meanwhile the US Military will protect your overseas operations, (note that we don’t have wars in a countries with heavy US investment that might get destroyed, or if a country has some US investment presence, say Cuba, we will embargo/sanction you forever when US interests are countered).

          How this repatriation, at an assumed low tax rate, will help turbocharge US manufacturing makes no sense.

          More hollowing out of the US manufacturing sector.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    The concluding sentence of Sebastian Mallaby’s interview by Charlie Rose about Greenspan’s political success in carving out Fed independence caused me to reflect on the friction between Fed Chair Janet Yellen and President-elect Donald Trump, and the Fed’s success in suppressing interest rates and elevating financial asset and real estate prices.

    In considering the clear need for increased federal deficits to fund domestic fiscal spending weighed against continued Fed independence, Trump might want to reflect on political strategist James Carville’s observation at the beginning of the Clinton administration: “”I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”

    Absent profound ideological and structural changes, perhaps Carville’s expressed desire for his reincarnation should be modified “to come back as Fed chair”, rather than as the bond market.

  25. ambrit

    Brad @ 12:16 pm;
    “A nepotic *camarilla* of political cronies.”
    If we’re talking oligarchy, why not, for an example, calling the walking dead of the H Clinton campaign a “necrotic concatenation of political cadavers?”
    Leafing through the vellum pages of my Book of Ye Terms of Venery, I can find no proper word for a congeries of zombis, which word, zombis, would be the right term with which to describe the neoliberal nomenklatura haunting the halls and underground vaults of the palaces of today.
    Well, the centre did not hold…the gyre widens…Bethlehem on the Potomac awaits…’slouch, slouch’…

    1. susan the other

      I didn’t follow it but I’m a fan anyway. I failed to understand the distinction of the speed of photons and gravity. So photons are faster than gravity (is that gravitons? gravitational waves? what?) and didn’t the expansion of the universe cause space itself? And more! When they recently claimed to have evidence, finally, of gravitational waves, they were described as being everywhere in the universe and very tiny and faint little waves of energy. I sometimes wonder if the red shift is just a mirage; if gravitational waves have tricked us into thinking the universe is expanding. Because they would shimmer around every object in the universe more than in the space between. Are gravitational waves closer to red on the spectrum? Never mind.

        1. craazyman

          How can you be stardust and strings? Is there even a thread of logic in that? whao! Rim-Shot

          Why was the physics professor always late for string theory class? He kept getting tied up! Whoa. Rim-shot

          Untangling string theory isn’t hard, as long as you can cut right through it.

          Whoa I was afraid I’d fail my string theory test because I forgot to bring scissors to class. But the professor said ” Knot a problem!” Whoa!

          Whoa it’s another bad day for science. Every time they try to prove string theory they get all tangled up! Whoa

          I looked at the moon through a telescope and thought I saw lots and lots of string! Maybe I’m coming unraveled. Whoa!

          Oh man,. Wasting time. Again but only for a few minutes.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Enjoyed the article, Portia. Thanks. Read recently that based on string theory and unified field theory, space and time are emergent or derived concepts, not fundamental; similar in concept to how a change in temperature is the product of the movement of atoms and is derivative, not fundamental.

      “The universe is a hologram” theory is intriguing, although it raises questions about whether life itself is just information. Ditto photons? Fun stuff!

    3. integer

      Skynet sure doesn’t like my comments on physics :(

      (A very small issue in the scheme of things though. All good.)

      1. integer

        Adding: Thanks for the Quartz article as it has sparked a thought or two! Perhaps losing my comments was a good thing as it kept me thinking about relativity. I like this sort of stuff but unfortunately I find it very difficult to imagine any significant breakthroughs in physics being utilized for the right reasons, primarily due to the current political climate, and I wonder how many people are not bothering/holding back because of similar thoughts.

  26. James O'Keefe

    Re: The Void Left By Apple

    I loved this line “I see them unnecessarily choking the HomeKit ecosystem” and especially the article it cited. What is the problem with Apple HomeKit taking security seriously? That their devices might actually be engineered to not be taken over so they join a BotNet to run the next massive DDoS attack or steal my credentials sounds like a plus to me.

  27. fosforos

    “Calexit?” Except for the politicians(!!) and Courts (!!!!) Californian independence is not only perfectly feasible economically and politically but also legally (though, alas, not militarily). The US’s claim to sovereignty over California is based on its seizure in a war of unmitigated aggression against the Republic of Mexico and a “treaty” imposed under duress with its Occupying Power. Inasmuch as the Act of Nurenburg defined the prohibition of Aggressive War and Crime Against the Peace as having retroactive effect, the US’s claim of sovereignty over California has no legal basis whatsoever and the peoples of California have the untrammeled legal right to declare independence (or, perhaps, rejoin or annex Mexico with the consent of the Mexicans).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The key to the case is to show it was unmitigated aggression.

      And of greater significance is the extension of the reasoning to the claim of the US itself – was it based on aggression against the 500 Native American Nations?

      Or other countries like Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

    2. Yves Smith

      Huh? California does not have its own electrical grid. It gets its water from out of state.

      None of the biggest data centers are in CA.

      No pharmaceuticals are manufactured in California. California also imports energy in a big way.

      The switch for all telecom traffic to Europe is located in NYC.

      I could go on.

      1. Synapsid

        Yves Smith,

        “California…gets its water from out of state.”

        Water from the Colorado River is water from out of state. That water serves agriculture and population centers in the southern part of the state. The rest of the state gets its water from rivers draining the Sierra Nevada, the Coast Ranges, the Klamath mountains and from groundwater (wells.)

        The great agricultural industry in the Central Valley is supported by flows from rivers in-state and by groundwater.

      2. John Wright

        Yves, I do not believe it is fair to say CA “gets its water from out of state”.

        Southern CA gets some water from the Colorado, but probably most from Northern CA, via the Sierra Nevada watersheds to the Sacramento Delta and then down near I-5 to LA.

        A lot of the states surrounding CA are very dry (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico) so there is not a lot of water to import..

        The Colorado is fought over by many states, so it can’t account for much of the CA water.

        Now if we ever split into two states, NorCal and SoCal, that would be a different story.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. shoppers spend less over holiday weekend amid discounting Reuters”
    Maybe the buy-nothing movement had an effect.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Nothing is better than something.”

      And as Hillary ‘I outspent Trump’ Clinton can attest – money can’t buy you happiness.

  29. PhilK

    I found the comments to the “Not Understanding the Right” article quite worthwhile. Part of a comment from Timothy:

    Economically, whether you examine Trump by counting his money or by his relationship to production, Trump is not at all working class. Social class though, Trump is of the lower social classes, and I think understands them excellently. Meanwhile the Democrats have been huge on upper social class white people shitting on lower social class white people. A few days before the election I ended up reading a pretty lengthy exchange online – in a general forum having a political discussion composed mostly of Hillary supporters, not a fashion forum – basically about how Trump purchases expensive, high quality, Italian ties, but being basically white trash, he ties them with the simple such and such knot. Apparently these fancy Italian ties are longer, allowing for more fabric to be used to tie the more complex this and that knot, but Trump, only slightly above a redneck, was doing it wrong, resulting in his ties hanging some inches too low. This was apparently revelatory of character and fitness to rule.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      All I know about these upper social class people is that they don’t, will never, share the coast with the deplorables.

      And here in S. Calif, being on the coast means the only escape from unhealthy air. All air-born pollutants get blown inland (except when the Santa Ana winds are on).

    2. jrs

      I like this one:

      “6 in 10 Americans are non-college educated and they voted for Trump. Democrats should be winning that vote but instead they’re lecturing us about how everyone needs a college education while Obama pushes the TPP corporate trade agreement.”

      yea really. trade agreements that will impact those college educated jobs as well as non-college educated jobs.

  30. Lambert Strether Post author

    Good argument, but I dunno. I’m remembering that “computers” were once actual people (mostly women) doing calculations on paper. So I’m not sure there’s a prima facie case that ranked choice voting can’t be done on paper (or, alternatively, with a mechanical process. It’s the digital aspect of machines that enables the hacking (yes, old-time mechanical machines were vulnerable). Perhaps there’s a link upthread. It’s also simply untrue that open-source software eliminates bugs; as I keep saying, bugs in open-source software have persisted for years, even decades.

    I do think if there is a trade-off, it needs to be explicit. I go for simple, rugged, proven every time. I don’t think a new generation of improved electronic voting machines is the answer at all.

  31. Plenue

    Latest battle map of East Aleppo:

    I thought the SAA was going to create a pocket in the north that would have to be ground down, but that hasn’t happened. Instead the militants simply ran. The Syrian government now controls more than a third of the East Aleppo cauldron. They’re also well on their way to creating a line linked to the Old Citadel, slicing the remaining territory in two. This fight is basically over.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its good news for Trump – it allows him something of a blank slate to deal with in Syria and reject the previous policies (assuming the battle does finish in the next few weeks as seems probable). If Aleppo had turned into a long running quagmire it would have been the first thing on his agenda to exercise his diplomatic skills. Not a comforting prospect.

      Its also excellent news for Putin, so all NCers must rejoice! (quietly)

      1. Plenue

        Trump seems to be genuine in his desire for a change in policy regarding Syria. The State Department certainly seem to think the jig is up, having reversed course and admitting that Jabhat al-Nusra is al-Qaeda within two days of the election.

        Of course Pence seems hellbent on a war with Iran, but for now we’re backing off on the mid-east somewhat.

        1. uncle tungsten

          This is good news for the people in the east of Aleppo and hopefully there will be a major pushback on the western areas where the US backed wahabis are bombing the suburbs daily.

          If Trump is true to his public agenda there will soon be 51 senior State Department people that signed that outrageous ‘we want war’ letter to Obummer looking for a job. I wont hold my breath.

          If Trump needs to practice some diplomacy skills there is always the Philippines and the delightful Duterte. Then he could move on to building a casino in Pyongyang or even Mexico City.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > a casino in Pyongyang

            I imagine Ryugyong Hotel, the famous but unfinished and empty 105-story skyscraper in Pyongyang, is available.

            Worlds Largest Abandoned Hotel -105-story Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea

            I’m seeing a big gold “T”, right on the apex. It could light up at night.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I consider myself a “NC’er” but no, I do not “rejoice” just because something goes Putin’s way.
        Reminds me of the quote “he doesn’t just want to win, he wants to be sure the other guy loses”. I don’t feel that way.
        Two other random ones, both definitions of a W.A.S.P.:
        “Loves animals; hates people”
        “Gets out of the shower to pee”

        1. Plenue

          How about rejoicing for the people of Syria, whose 5 years of being a battleground for proxy forces is coming to an end?

    1. oh

      Once a sycophant, always a sycophant. Reich doesn’t have the guts to get out of that that corrupt party called the Democratic party. It’s time for him to shut up.

  32. dcblogger

    call me paranoid, but I wonder if all those white people pouring into the camps are being encouraged by corporate interests

    1. aletheia33

      i have read (sorry, no link, but i can try to go back and find it if requested) that the water protectors are very much on guard against infiltration by the usual suspects (FBI, police) because there are the usual amount of them at the camp.

      the burning man types who are visiting as tourists seem to me to be unlikely FBI/police infiltrators as they do not desperately need jobs; i think the FBI generally hires more down and out people to serve as infiltrators. i would imagine it is not too hard to discern who is which (burning man type or FBI infiltrator type), with some practice.

      of course, it depends what you meant by “encouraged”, and on how/whether corporations (as opposed to “corporation interests”–i.e., ones p;aying the FBI and police for their services?) might actually want to get in on the infiltration agent hiring business. and on another level, once it becomes “cool” to be there, the media (who also serve “corporate interests”) certainly can do a lot of the work to “encourage” entertainment/thrill seekers to make the pilgrimage so they can brag about it to their friends.

      at any rate, it does seem that dealing with infiltrators and agents provocateurs is becoming increasingly essential to any movement on behalf of “the people.” i think the camp leadership at standing rock may be handling this problem better than any earlier such campaign has–but that is just an impression i have right now based on one or two sketchy remarks i’ve come across (and really will not be able to find a link to at this point). …i’ll keep an eye out for more info on this topic going forward. hope others can weigh in with info they may have.

      white people from all over did pour into the deep south at a certain point in the civil rights movement. not being at standing rock, how can we know how many are actually arriving, how many are serious, how many are just touring, how many are suborned and by whom and in what way. what i like about standing rock is that conditions will soon discourage touring. burning man types who bring their own buildings and heating systems, i think, will simply not be tolerated.

      purely speculating, i would not be surprised if most of the tribal representatives at standing rock have had their fill and more of phony “native american spirituality.”

    2. ambrit

      It’s a test run for the FEMA re-education camps. Not too many people around now who remember how the Internment camps for holding the American Japanese people, really, many were citizens, were run. Also, most of the Operation Paperclip alumni have died off. Now, the Soylent program -could- be an offshoot of the FEMA camp program, but that would be a little too “tinfoil hat” for me.

  33. Daryl

    > Yes, Betsy DeVos Can Privatize Large Numbers of Public Schools, with the Help of Red States

    Even in hardcore red states, courts have often come down hard against garbage like this. Hopefully it can be tied up in court until some sanity can be injected into the government.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will Trump blame them on Democratic obstructionism, as Obama did on un-cooperating Republicans?

  34. djrichard

    When Is Responsible Democratic Governance Possible? The Classical View: Never — Bradford J. DeLong

    Cracks me up to read the bit he quoted from Thuycdides.

    The most alarming feature… is [our] constant change of measures… and our seeming ignorance of the fact that bad laws which are never changed are better for a city than good ones that have no authority…. Gifted fellows… are always wanting to appear wiser than the laws…. [But] the persons to blame are you who are so foolish as to institute these contests; who go to see an oration as you would to see a sight, take your facts on hearsay, judge of the practicability of a project by the wit of its advocates, and trust for the truth… the clever strictures which you heard; the easy victims of new-fangled arguments, unwilling to follow received conclusions; slaves to every new paradox, despisers of the commonplace; the first wish of every man being that he could speak himself, the next to rival those who can speak by seeming to be quite up with their ideas by applauding every hit almost before it is made, and by being as quick in catching an argument as you are slow in foreseeing its consequences; asking, if I may so say, for something different from the conditions under which we live, and yet comprehending inadequately those very conditions; very slaves to the pleasure of the ear, and more like the audience of a rhetorician than the council of a city…

    Strikes me that we’re no different now. Just that the decision process is more “exclusive”.

    This seems to me to be the very nature of what Ben Hunt is getting at in his treatments on game theory and how the “common knowledge” game spins on public statements (as opposed to statements made in private).

    So in Hamilton’s world (and presumably DeLong’s), the way to make that more manageable is to make the process more exclusive through empire of the elites:

    The science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement. The efficacy of various principles is now well understood, which were either not known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients. The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election: these are wholly new discoveries, or have made their principal progress towards perfection in modern times. They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided. To this… I shall… add… the ENLARGEMENT of the ORBIT within which such systems are to revolve…

    Hard to tell in the last sentence (caps by DeLong) whether Hamilton is throwing a bone to the plebs or merely envisioning grander empire building.

  35. evodevo

    “U.S. shoppers spend less over holiday weekend amid discounting”
    Duh! When you look at the s&*t storm of incompetence going on in the President-elect’s realm, and think about whether or not you will still be employed in the “shook up” economy by the end of next year, you tend to pull in your antennae and put the money in the mattress.

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