Links 11/29/16

Dear patient readers,


The price of being exposed as a Russian operative is that I’m distracted by having to devise new plots, as well as rethink my wardrobe.

Beluga whale deaths in Vancouver prompt call to end captivity BBC

Fukushima cost estimates nearly double, approaching $200 billion ars technica (Chuck L)

Sugar-free products stop us getting slimmer DW. Not “sugar-free” in general but aspartame in particular. ‘


China to clamp down on outbound M&A in war on capital flight Financial Times

Poor fiction from the OECD – the organisation should be abolished Bill Mitchell (furzy)

Singapore weighs up dual-class shareholdings Financial Times (J-LS)


Syria conflict: Aleppo defeat ‘not the end for rebels‘ BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

China’s New Tool for Social Control: A Credit Rating for Everything Wall Street Journal

Julian Assange Could Be Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’, And Is Also Still Not Dead Slashdot (furzy)

Trump Transition

Obama’s Use of Unreliable Gang Databases for Deportations Could Be a Model for Trump Intercept (J-LS)

Trump’s Economic Plan: This Isn’t Going to Work Mike Whitney, Unz Review (Wat). I’ve got mixed feelings about this piece. First, I differ with the framing, that Bannon is Trump’s key econ player. He isn’t. For instance, he didn’t devise Trump’s tax plan. And whoever is Trump’s Treasury Secretary will play a large, arguably determining role, and his head of NEA and Commerce Department could also be influential. The piece completely omits the areas that Trump has focused on most consistently: trade policy and curbing immigration. Having said that, the take on the issues it does cover is useful.

The Constitution lets the electoral college choose the winner. They should choose Clinton. Larry Lessig, Washington Post. When Richard Nixon knew in 1960 that he had lost the election to Kennedy due to cheating and could prove it, he decided not to contest the election because he knew it would tear the country apart. Here the Dems have no smoking gun despite the hyperventilating. The US system is not a popular vote system. But they are prepared to tear the country apart if it could change the outcome. But the fact that they were operationally incompetent enough to lose the election means the rearguard action is awfully noisy but not amounting to effective opposition.

Trump to appoint Obamacare opponent as health secretary Financial Times

Why Trump Is Wrong About His Conflicts of Interest Defense One

Report: Trump ‘Furious’ at Kellyanne’s Romney Attack Daily Beast (furzy). I wondered if she was acting without authorization. It looked like insubordination.

The High Cost Wilbur Ross Would Have To Pay To Join Trump’s Cabinet Trust Advisor

Noam Chomsky on Trump, Baltics, Crimea, Israel, Climatic Change Defend Democracy

The Stein Recount Needle and the Damage Done bmaz, emptywheel. Important.

Australia ceases multimillion-dollar donations to controversial Clinton family charities J-LS: “This is a damning piece, first in that it lays out issues comprehensively. And secondly and more devastatingly, it also makes it clear that the grifters were shaking down representative democracies as well the usual autocracies, etc.”

Oil-By-Rail Regulators Consider Crude Oil Volatility Limits That Would Require Oil Stabilization DeSmogBlog

Michigan Giving Nestle Rights to 100 miln More Gallons Water for $200 Permit Increase USUncut. Wat: “Here’s the SumofUs petition buried in the article.”

Elizabeth Warren blasts medical research bill as ‘extortion’ Chicago Tribune (Dan K)


Actor James Cromwell on DAPL — The Police are ‘Thugs’ Being Shielded By Corporate Media Free Thought (J-LS)

Standing Rock Pipeline Protesters Have No Intention of Leaving after After Authorities Issue Ultimatum Vanity Fair (martha r)

Corps won’t forcibly remove protesters from federal land Associated Press. Martha r:

AP felt they had to cover this, however minimally. I guess the “safer location” is the so-called “free speech zone.” When will somebody take that “free speech zone” thing to SCOTUS? Doesn’t the constitution guarantee free speech anywhere one is is the USA? last time I looked it wasn’t just certain areas of the USA.

If there’s “trespass”, does that make forcible removal “peaceful and orderly” as long as the “trespassers” don’t refuse to go? Hard to translate army corps orwell-speak without a dictionary.

High-Profile Private Investors Take Hit on Theranos Wall Street Journal

Anthem and Cigna at Odds Over Proposed Merger Wall Street Journal. Keeping my fingers crossed. As just about the last person in America to have a sorta decent health insurance policy (an indemnity plan!!!), despite Cigna throwing out 20% of my claims (which means I have to keep on top of them), I have a personal vested interest in seeing this merger fail. And in general, more concentration in the health insurance game is a bad idea.

Guillotine Watch

The elite’s Marie Antoinette moment Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times (Brian C). Money quote: “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.”

Class Warfare

Cornering Trump on Jobs, Sanders Announces Anti-Outsourcing Bill Common Dreams

China Cites ‘The Art of War’ as Trump Signals Trade Battle Bloomberg (furzy)

Bernie Sanders meets Spike Lee: ‘Where do we go? Where is the hope?’ Guardian. Dan K: “Dumb framing by the reporter, but some good stuff from Bernie. The efforts he’s pursuing have to push against a headwind of MSM noise and confusion.”

The shocking decline in Australian workers’ share of income MacroBusiness. You really need to look at the first chart. The once fiercely egalitarian Oz has become anything but. But the divergence between productivity gains and income started just around when I left.

Self-driving trucks will hit the road in Ohio CBS (furzy). Wait till they start being hijacked.

Unions, gig-economy firms gear up for New York benefits battle Reuters (EM)

Uber drivers in U.S. cities to join planned worker protests Reuters (EM)

Indians IT firms on hiring spree over Trump’s tighter US visa regime fears LiveMint (J-LS)

Pentagon is Now Deploying Reservists and Refusing to Pay Promised GI Bill Benefits Free Thought (J-LS)

‘Hackathon’ attempts to stem proliferation of fake news Financial Times. Today’s must read. The enemies of independent sources of information are moving quickly with their plans to become the arbiters of what is and isn’t to be read.

Antidote du jour. Warren: “Black ewe with her white lamb”:

black ewe and white lamb links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ChrisFromGeorgia

    It’s really a bit disheartening to see good folks like Lessig wasting their time and energy promoting a lost cause like Clinton. Not only is it a lost cause, but in fact Lessig himself must understand at some level that even if the dog somehow caught the car, what would the purpose be?

    Many of the privacy and liberty issues that Lessig holds dearest would have gotten trampled underfoot by a Clinton administration. He is a smart guy and must understand this. Her administration would have been stocked with neo-cons and enemies of the bill of rights like Sen. Diane Feinstein. Patriot act renewal, government mandated backdoors in encryption, all likely outcomes.

    Lessig and others should be spending their time and energy trying to convince Trump to put someone like Rand Paul on his cabinet. That might do actual good, though you could make a counterargument that Paul does more good in the Senate where he can use parliamentary procedures to stop the worst of the abuses of power.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Rand Paul is great for liberty if you aren’t a woman, child, minority, etc….

      Democratic officialdom needs to look like they are fighting.

      1. Plenue

        The Paul’s are great for a very narrow definition of ‘liberty’ that would put us all under the jackboot of the corporate Iron Heel. Though Ron Paul seems to have more in the way of genuine principles, dumb as they may be. The son is a pure weasel politician.

        1. Procopius

          See Charles P. Pierce on Crazy Uncle Liberty, Aqua Buddha, and The Five Minute Rule. I’m delighted to finally encounter someone else who knows about the Iron Heel.

          1. Plenue

            Odd how Jack London is famous for his adventure stories, but everything else about him is forgotten, isn’t it?

      2. Stelios Theoharidis

        There is a long, albeit unsuccessful, history of both outside groups, political candidates, or otherwise faithless electors deciding based on their own conscience. You get a couple every few elections. With tight races presidential candidates have lobbied electors, remember the Ford-Dole ticket? They lobbied electors. Based on polls done, it really has never been effective. All that aside, I think there is a larger fight here against elections fraud, gerrymandering, electronic voting machines that don’t leave paper records, voter disenfranchisement, the general stupidity of the electoral college, etc. Much like occupy this will probably do little to make reform, but it will bring attention to problems within our political system.

        Even if the recount efforts or the efforts towards moving members of the electoral college do not have success in preventing a Trump presidency. They will bring attention to these aforementioned subjects. The US is only an electoral college system because it was incorporated as part of the 3/5ths compromise in which slaves were counted as parts of persons so that the south could have greater voting powers. Hamilton suggested that it was intended to prevent the rabble from lording over the country, so it is innately an antidemocratic institution. I think of it mainly as a political appendix, an organ that exists but is not longer needed.

        The truth is that the electoral college is something that is nearly impossible to remove from our democratic system. Apparently, there have been over 700 attempts at dismantling it over the history of the United States. But, maybe we will get some other reforms. I think the voting reform folks like Lessig get more attention in these circumstances and should take advantage of the events to get their platform more mainstreamed. This is a political capital moment. I am quite surprised that other groups haven’t gotten behind it.

    2. jgordon

      Also on the electoral college thing: the EC was devised to discourage exactly the sort of campaign that Hillary and the Democrats ran this time around. Contrast that to Donald Trump respected and worked within the constraints imposed by the electoral college system.

      Democrats have no right to bellyache about it now–they knew the rules going in and yet they still decided to chase the popular vote even though that’s not what wins the election.

      Democrats: you nominated someone who almost lost the popular vote against a widely despised cartoon villain like Trump–and THEN ran such an inept campaign that she STILL managed to lose despite getting slightly more votes. Someone famous once said that you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality. This applies here.

      1. Gareth

        “the EC was devised to discourage exactly the sort of campaign that Hillary and the Democrats ran this time around”

        How is that? Clinton ran a campaign centered precisely around the states with the largest numbers of electoral votes. She lost due to the collective incompetence of the Clinton brain trust.

        1. yamahog

          Clinton seemed more focused on turning over red-ish states than retaining classically blue states, a fatal miscalculation.

          I think Clinton spent more money on Texas and Arizona than Minnesota and Wisconsin, and she campaigned in Texas and Arizona – I don’t believe she ever held a campaign event in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Very out of touch. She lost Wisconsin and I think she had the lowest margin of victory since 1984 in Minnesota. She won by 40k votes in a state with many 3rd party votes and a non-trivial amount of republicans who stay home ‘because it’s a blue state anyway’.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Clinton ran her coronation effort and tried to win “moderate suburban republicans.” The fatal flaw is suburban republicans are just waiting for jack boots to go back into style.

            The populations of the state’s aren’t going to be swayed by a rally. No one sat at home a day went, “I wasn’t going to vote Hillary, but she just hit Madison and said the same stuff she’s been saying all along. This time it was carried by WKRP. Now I’m convinced.”

            Her real problem besides her hideous record was Obama. He was a terrible President, and Hillary wanted to be his third term. People hate Obama style politics even if they make up ludicrous lies to explain Obama’s behavior. Since Hillary was never popular, she couldn’t get away with Obama’s behavior after eight years of a Great Recession. She never addressed these problems or even seemed to be aware there was a problem instead having her surrogates explain how she was so smart they can’t even come up with metaphors but if the voters go to know the real Hillary who they are too stupid to have seen in 25 years well then…

            She probably would have won if she wasn’t so darn insistent on having a coronation ride through the country.

            1. jawbone

              Reading the second to last article from the links, Pentagon is Now Deploying Reservists and Refusing to Pay Promised GI Bill Benefits
              at, reminded me of all the ways Obama has been a really lousy president for the majority of people in this nation. Good grief, in 2014, under his watch, the Pentagon deliberately screwed all those reservists activated overseas.

              My sister-in-law used to tell her kids to not tease the cat by pretending to offer treats, saying “It’s not nice to con the kitty.” Well, it’s not nice to con your military cohort.

              Well, people rationalized Obama’s actions, coming up with all sorts of excuses for his actions and lack of other actions. But, deep down, unless comfortably situated economically, people could feel how the One Percent are taking it all, with Obama sucking up to the Powers That Be.

              Why, indeed, would people so treated want more of the same?

              Too bad Bernie didn’t get fair play from the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media); it would have been too much to expect the DNC would play fair. But it people had learned earlier on…oh, well, that water is under the bridge and way, way downstream.

      2. zapster

        And again, all ignoring the very real and substantial evidence of election fraud in not only presidential races but *all* races. Dems have been steadily losing ground nationwide and in congress since the HAVA. Do we really want our elections to be a matter of who can purge the most voters and who can bribe the most voting machine companies? Really? The value of the recount is not in overturning anything, but in bringing clarity and solid proof to the public, and forcing the necessary changes to make them transparent and verifiable in *all* elections.

        1. Katharine

          Always assuming the recount is done by actual humans and not through the machines. That Stein should actually have to go to court to fight for this nicety does not bode well.

          Half a dozen academics and other specialists on Monday submitted new testimony supporting a lawsuit from Stein against Wisconsin authorities, in which she asked a court to prevent county officials from carrying out their recounts by machine.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What also is not boding well (for overturning the election or for discovering missing Green votes) is the news that Penn State Dept says Stein missed recount deadline there.

            1. aab

              If Jill Stein was seeking her missing Green votes, the obvious place to look is California and the West. Whatever is going on here, it’s not about efficiently for Green Party votes.

              And there’s apparently a schism developing inside the party. The party isn’t supporting the recount effort, if I understand what’s going on. There’s nothing at all about the recount on the GP home page, or press release tab. So whatever Jill Stein is doing with this recount, it also isn’t a Green Party initiative.

              Curiouser and curiouser.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Recounting the votes has nothing whatever to do with voter purges, since the purged voters never get to vote in the first place.

          Greg Palast’s work on CrossCheck is solid. Another consequence of Stein’s bogus and self-serving recount bait-and-switch operation is suck all the oxygen away from the issue of expanding the franchise in the first place.

      3. Propertius

        [T]hey knew the rules going in and yet they still decided to chase the popular vote

        I’m not sure that’s really the case. I think the truth is simpler: they concocted a strategy of winning sufficient “firewall” states to get to 270.

        They failed.

        Trump executed their strategy better than they did, because he actually made the effort to show up in person and took absolutely nothing for granted.

        He succeeded.

        End of story.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Don’t forget Ada, which seems to have dropped from the news.

          The Clinton campaign systematically misallocated resources because Ada’s algo gave bad recommendations. Nobody sought the ground truth of the election, either, to do quality assurance on Ada’s output.

          So the Clinton clusterf*ck wasn’t only a failure in strategy. It was a failure of execution, both technical and managerial.

    3. flora

      I fear Lessig, like so many academics, has accepted a false choice.

      1. Social left-of-center identity policies *and* economic right-of-center policies
      2. Social right-or-center identity policies *and* economic left-of-center policies

      Between those 2 choices the less evil look like option 1.
      Why, however, do Lessig and other ‘liberals’ stay stuck in this rut? Why not add a 3rd choice?

      3. Social left-of-center identity policies *and* economic left-of-center (or at least ‘center’) policies

      1. Propertius

        Social left-of-center identity policies

        I’m sorry but I just have a lot of trouble swallowing the notion of “identity politics” being socially “left-of-center”. I see it as inherently bigoted and exclusionary,

        1. flora

          I thought the left/liberal identity politics was supposed to be based on inclusion. How is it bigoted and exclusionary?

          1. Plenue

            Things like banning opposing views as ‘offensive’. And the idea that it’s okay to smear and dismiss million of people by declaring them ‘bigots’, which is what has happened in spades this election.

            I’m all for accepting gays etc. Want to dress as the opposite sex and use their pronouns? Fine, it costs me literally nothing to accommodate you. But don’t go declaring me a bigot because I failed to use the ‘proper’ hyper-specific special snowflake pronoun you self-invented for yourself to reflect you status as a lesbian-male-furry-attack helicopter.

            1. cwaltz

              If you can declare transgender as a self invented condition then I can call you an ignorant bigot.

              And I could at least substantiate the ignorant part by actually using the science of genetics and why exactly scientists now call gender a spectrum rather than cling to the quaint little 1905 notion that the Y chromosome is the sole reason someone is male(Hint: the Y chromosome is responsible for an SRY gene that starts a gene cascade that sometimes does not go off in a typical fashion which is why you have people who have aspects of both genders(a seemingly male person with female privates on the outside and testes inside or a person with male genitalia but a uterus as well.)

              Feel free to join us in the 21st century anytime now

              1. Plenue

                “If you can declare transgender as a self invented condition then I can call you an ignorant bigot.”

                I did no such thing.

                1. cwaltz

                  “Self invented snowflake pronouns you invented for yourself?”

                  Yeah you did.

                  Believe it or not some people don’t fit into the neat little boxes of he or she.

                  1. Plenue

                    That was very clearly in reference to the batshit insane end of the spectrum. There are literally people walking around calling themselves dragonkin and who get angry if you don’t call them scales.

                    There are people who for whatever reason don’t fit into a simple binary category. Fine. But there are also people who have adopted the most insane identifications, in large part because they exist entirely in a bubble where no one has ever told “stop, you’re being silly”, and who claim oppression if to don’t indulge their neurosis.

                    And then there are people who flit from identity to identity on a regular basis, and get mad when other people can’t keep up with the ever changing pronoun game.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It’s divide-and-conquer, they convince everyone that the most important distinctions are whether they are female or gay or black, when the most important distinction they should be worried about first is have versus have-not. Liberal politics splits everyone by gender and race and sexual orientation, then says “you’re all welcome here so long as you fight amongst yourselves and not against the primary enemy which is the 1% lords and ladies”.

            Everyone laments that the economy is stagnating. It’s not. It’s absolutely booming for the 1%, as their share of wealth and income hits the stratosphere. That we are divided and distracted by differences in skin color, cultural background, and genital configuration suits them perfectly.

          3. hunkerdown

            If they were inclusive, they wouldn’t be kicking leftist white males. In fact, it’s managerialism applied to social groups and membership. Not based so much on plain, unfettered inclusion, but always (as with all things liberal) contingent on the judgment of one’s soul. (Divide-et-impera is built into the rescue game.)

          4. clincal wasteman

            another way of looking at it — not necessarily clashing with either of the above (Propertius & Flora in case this appears lower down) — would be the following. (NB: I know this is MUCH too long. No complaint at all if that means it’s removed from Comments.)
            1. A lot, most, probably most by far of what gets called ‘identity politics’ is nothing of the sort. It’s about the fact that class is historically, economically structured by white and male supremacy: it wouldn’t exist in its current form without centuries of global division of labour by free/slave, civilized/colonized, male/female functions. Some of those categories have been officially retired, and all were always subdivided so that subsets of every group exploit each other, but the unmistakable result is the world the way it works now. Capital as we’ve known it since the 19th century couldn’t have been built up any other way. (CLR James is the best on this, but see also Loren Goldner, Rosa Luxemburg.) If that’s true — humor me for a moment — the only way to deny that the obscene 21st century consequences is to blame the victims. Refusal of which underlies the politics slandered as ‘identity-based’ since the first anti-colonial wars: i.e. refusal to be blamed OR to be victims, and refusal of top-down ‘help’ to learn to be like the owners of the top. A circumstance-specific type of autonomia operaia in a way, i.e. agreement among the afflicted to abolish the outrages unilaterally, rather than wait for those who have always benefited to surrender their bonus out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s a matter of simple human respect to acknowledge that I’ll never completely understand your experience: this is the same thing on a collective, historical level. It doesn’t replace the common experience of a class, it tries to abolish the real structural factors the turn one part of the class against another and therefore doesn’t tend to dwell much on ‘culture’: that’s the difference between, say, DRUM/ELRUM ( — the black wildcat unions in the Detroit car plans of the late 60s — on one hand, on the other, both the black cultural nationalists AND the white-paternalist UAW of the same time. Or between countless anti-colonial struggles (Algeria, South Africa) and what happened after they supposedly ‘won’. Or between the London riots of 2011 and a ‘race riot’ (last one in London: 1955, perpetrated by Teddy Boys of guess which colour).
            2. (If anyone’s still there…) Actual identity politics, which has run, uh, riot for a couple of decades now, is the exact opposite: social managers desperately trying to keep the structures in place and class fighting itself by grandiosely celebrating ‘culture’ (as defined by white, proprietor-class managers) and simultaneously blaming it — and therefore ‘minority’ working class behaviour — for everyone’s problems. ‘Culture’ as in ‘colourful national costumes’ in an Olympic parade is the as culture as in ‘dependency culture’: i.e. a senior social management invention and a stick to beat the noncompliant with, not least for failure to join in ‘national culture’ enthusiastically enough. If they can keep a national, white and manly cultural backlash going (outside their own gilded enclaves, where it never goes away), that’s a bonus: almost all the afflicted believe at once that their source of their material problems is, quite literally, imaginary (although embodied in other workers who imagine the wrong things). The UK has been a sort of laboratory for all this at least since Blair, with racism officially ‘stamped out’ for the first time by redefining it as a sort of personal deviance, so that everyone can sincerely “be non-racist” while whole urban areas are whitewashed, cops keep killing the same demographics (but mostly not with guns, so no front pages), and it becomes perfectly respectable to bay for the blood of Johnny Foreigner, preferably to be spilt in a privately run indefinite detention centre. Whereas the problem with ‘multiculturalism’ is not the ‘multi’ part but the fact that the ‘cultures’ on offer are few and handed down from above, with no bearing whatsoever on culture as lived and invented (also called ‘subculture’): that it pledges allegiance on your behalf to those people who come from the same place and look similar, in an attempt to blind you to what you have in common with ‘aliens’ whose material conditions you already share.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Identity politics is a form of neoliberalsism. Here is why. Adolph Reed:

          [Within the] moral economy [of identity politics’ a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people.

          It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class.

    4. cocomaan

      In both cases, the result violated what has become one of the most important principles governing our democracy — one person, one vote. In both cases, the votes of some weighed much more heavily than the votes of others.

      I’ve seen this argument thrown around quite a bit. Lessig is being intellectually lazy. It seems as if the Democrats realize they can never win the hinterlands and instead need to increase the power of the urban sprawl.

      The union is not a formless mass of people. It is a set of polities that banded together to prevent infighting. Lessig is pushing a narrative that would result in several urban areas deciding the policies for vast swathes of America, it’s landowners, its resource extractors (energy, farming, etc).

      States in the interior would cease to matter, except for their inevitable exploitation. That exploitation would go far beyond what we see now. You can bet your last cup of arugula and that lump of coal you’re saving that interior states would be robbed blind by the urban areas, supporting the frenzy of consumerism and population growth in those places.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Anyone past a ninth grade civics class, much less a constitutional scholar who asserts we live in a Democracy is playing their audience like a stand up comedienne. And would deserve to be placed on any credible false news list. /s

        We the peeps never played a role in ratifying the Constitution. A document which requires two thirds of the establishment (not the peeps) to change it. Democracy the word is nowhere to be found in that document. The will of the people is not asked, unknown, by design and intent on a systemic basis.

        1. cocomaan

          Yep, that’s why I find this Lessig article to be so strange. Especially coming from a guy who made it much of his work as a public intellectual to confront issues of campaign financing. One of Trump’s repeated themes is campaign finance. Whereas we know where HRC’s money is coming from, or more accurately, we don’t.

          1. Jen

            Yes, a public intellectual with no tether to reality. Remember his brainchild, the superpac to end all superpacs? Raised a bunch of money to fund candidates solely on their support for campaign finance reform. I thought it was cool. I sent in ten bucks. His selections in the granite state were Carol Shea Porter for congress, and Jim Reubens for senate. I have no quibble with the former, but the latter? All well and good to be a single issue superpac, but ’tis a truth universally acknowledged in our fair state that everyone hates Jim Reubens. Since then, I pay the good Dr. Lessig no mind. Just another egg head.

      2. Stelios Theoharidis

        As the great bard once said, this is malarky. It lacks any thought into the vast value of real estate in urban regions, or states with large population concentrations. It misses their huge net tax contributions which fund the periphery regions which are mostly in a state of demographic decline because their population growth can’t catch up with the large elderly populations.

        Your states like New York, NJ, CA, PA, all of New England, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and Texas are the major engines of the US economy and are net contributors to the Federal Government. While periphery rural states are net debtors to the government in federal spending.

        God forbid the states that have the larger populations, the larger economies, and that on the net pay the larger share of taxes have greater power in elections. The rural folks might not get all the largess that the electoral college and Senate provides them. You might actually have to pull up your bootstraps.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Or the “rural folks” could cut off your water, cut off your food, sever your Interstates, and blow up your server farms. If we’re going to do the whole naked abuse of power thing.

    5. Propertius

      Lessig believes that electors from states like Wisconsin or Michigan should switch their votes to validate the choices of voters in other states, rather than the choice of the voters who elected them. He suggests this should be done in the name of democracy. Would he feel the same way if the tables were turned? Would he suggest that Clinton electors in New York switch their votes to Trump had she won the electoral college and he had won the popular vote?

      I think not. And I think that makes him a hypocrite, rather than “good folks”.

      I think Trump is an emotionally immature blowhard who has no business being in public office, but I was outvoted. I’m prepared to live with that – Lessig should, too.

  2. integer

    WikiLeaks releases more than half a million US diplomatic cables from the momentous year of 1979

    If any year could be said to be the “year zero” of our modern era, 1979 is it.

    In the Middle East, the Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world.

    The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan.

    Osama bin Laden would leave his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen.

    The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.

    The 1979 current of Islamification spread to Pakistan where the US embassy was burned to the ground and Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed.

    The Iranian hostage crisis would go on to fatally undermine Jimmy Carter’s presidency and see the election of Ronald Reagan.

    Saddam Hussein? Took power in 1979.

    1. RMO

      The CIA was already funding the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the U.S.S.R. invading. That was a pretty important revelation to me because at the time (at least I could excuse my gullibility because I was a child then) I bought the “evil Russians invading helpless Afghanistan” bit hook line and sinker.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Percentage of fantasy Uber drivers who deftly navigate Manhattan streets, agree with Friedman’s views, and make asinine metaphors (“the world is flat wasn’t coined by a cabbie, but it is a stupid metaphor) versus the equivalent fantasy medallion cabbies. I assume Friedman uses a town car service.

      1. integer

        The competition is being held in honor of Friedman’s excellence at producing meaningless graphs, so submissions don’t have to be Friedman related. Anything goes, as long as it is devoid of any meaning.

  3. flora

    re: antidote

    “Little Lamb who made thee
    Dost thou know who made thee
    Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
    By the stream & o’er the mead;
    Gave thee clothing of delight,
    Softest clothing wooly bright;
    Gave thee such a tender voice,
    Making all the vales rejoice! …”

    -William Blake

    1. KGC

      W/r/t black mother and white lamb, another Blake poem:

      My mother bore me in the southern wild,
      And I am black, but O! my soul is white,
      White as an angel is the English child;
      But I am black as if bereav’d of light.

      My mother taught me underneath a tree
      And sitting down before the heat of day,
      She took me on her lap and kissed me,
      And pointing to the east began to say.

      Look on the rising sun: there God does live
      And gives his light, and gives his heat away.
      And flowers and trees and beasts and men recieve
      Comfort in morning joy in the noon day.

      And we are put on earth a little space,
      That we may learn to bear the beams of love.
      And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
      Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

      For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear,
      The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice,
      Saying: come out from the grove my love & care,
      And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.

      Thus did my mother say and kissed me.
      And thus I say to little English boy.
      When I from black and he from white cloud free,
      And round the tent of God like lambs we joy:

      I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear,
      To lean in joy upon our fathers knee.
      And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
      And be like him and he will then love me.

      Please take this as I think it’s clear Blake intended it.

  4. Leigh

    The Michigan/Nestle story…disgusting and embarrassing.
    I signed the petition.
    And while the media sputters over trump on his Twitter account this a.m, truly horrific things are happening.
    Americans needs to put their fiddles down (iphones, etc.) and start a water brigade, because there aint gonna be much left around here in an other 15-20 years

    1. Quentin

      Nestle’s ultimate goal, with its friends and associates, of course, is to privatise all drinking water around the world because, according to them, access to drinking water outside ‘market forces’ (= manipulation) is not a human right. The next thing you know we’ll be required to walk around with an oxygen meter on our back to register our use of that corporate commodity.

    2. PNW_WarriorWoman

      I won’t be signing online petitions. What we learn over and over is that signing a petition does nothing. Utterly nothing. It’s not political pressure in the least. Neither are e-mails. What would do something is citizens of the State of Michigan to flood to phone lines of their state legislators.

        1. anonymous

          Burning down Nestle’s headquarters or tar-and-feathering its CEO and entire Board would get a still better response. Online petitions are worth less than nothing.

          1. local to oakland

            Not at all happy with rhetoric that basically translates to encouraging someone to get themselves arrested on felony charges. Arson is a big deal.

            That said, signing an online petition makes it easy for someone to catalogue and cross reference your political views via database.

            1. Mudduck

              On-line petitions (and others, probably) are ways to build mailing lists.

              I too dislike violent rhetoric — ‘So-and-so destroyed opponent in debate.’ It ain’t war, or not quite.

  5. Hana

    On Indian IT firms’ response to Trump’s election:

    “We have to accelerate hiring of locals if they are available, and start recruiting freshers from universities there,” said Infosys’ Rao, noting a shift from the traditional model of recruiting mainly experienced people in the U.S.

    “Now we have to get into a model where we will recruit freshers, train them and gradually deploy them, and this will increase our costs'”

    Huh. Trump’s strategy of threatening loudly and scaring the daylights out of everyone might already be bringing jobs back to America. Who woulda thunk it.

    1. Optimader

      Huh. Trump’s strategy of threatening loudly and scaring the daylights out of everyone

      Deserving of a Venn Diagram:
      Population of Planet Earth and People DT Scared the Daylights Out Of

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More locals (Americans, though the guy saying ‘locals’ was in India or an Indian, and one might think he meant Indians).

      The quote above seems to indicate they have always hired Americans, but instead of experienced Americans, now, they will hire fresher (younger?) Americans.

      If so, there is not net change, though elsewhere in the article, it seems they will hire more Americans.

  6. A Multinational Employee

    Anti-Outsourcing bill. I always thought conflating outsourcing, where companies contract with outside firms to perform business operations and make internal staff redundant, with offshoring, the sending of work overseas, to be particularly unfortunate. Each is a different cost cutting strategy leading to the loss of good-paying, stable, employment for workers. Each encourages an economic race to the bottom. But even if offshoring were to be slowed or even reversed, I think domestic outsourcing would still be a problem for workers because it continues the devaluation of labor. Or am I making a distinction without a difference?

    Any of the economists or business analysts here want to weigh in on this?

    1. Vatch

      I think you are correct. Outsourcing can be domestic or foreign (offshoring). The set of outsourcing contains the subset of offshoring.

    2. maria gritsch

      Absolutely correct. US auto manufacturers, e.g., besides offshoring production to Mexico and China, also outsource parts production to local (within MidWest) parts suppliers (many of whom are non-unionized) who offer inferior wages/benefits. Even the unionized parts suppliers have a different wage/benefit structure.

  7. linda amick

    The Noam Chomsky interview was ruined by the aggressive, rude interviewer.
    He would interrupt and cut Chomsky off so many times I quit counting.
    I would have walked out had I been the interviewee.

    1. RabidGandhi

      That’s Hassan’s trademark style, being hyper-aggressive, which is not conducive to long format arguments like Chomsky’s. Nevertheless, I find the style a welcome counterpoint to most interviewers (eg Charlie Rose) who invite on powerful guests and do not challenge them at all.

      For example here is Hassan conducting the same type of aggressive interview of Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador, highly recommended.

      1. Robert Dudek

        Chomsky is probably right that Clinton would have been better in climate issues than a Trump ( though not enough in my opinion to make a significant difference in reality), but on the issue of tensions with Russia she almost certainly would have been far worse. And Chomsky noted that reducing that tension was the most important issue facing the world right now.

        Chomsky says not voting for the lesser evil is morally wrong. From where I stand is if you are a member of a minority group in the USA, Clinton is the lesser evil. For everyone else on Earth, Trump is probably the lesser evil.

        But I reject the concept of lesser evil voting : it is that kind of thinking that has led to the deterioration in the quality of candidates over time and is therefore self-defeating.

    2. McKillop

      I agree with your assessment but rather than hope Mr. Chomsky walk away, I did by leaving the site.
      The aggression of a person scoring points in an interview or argument often appears to be narcissistic and arrogant. Better to allow complete answers and then to challenge, or have comments challenge, statements made . Or trust that those who listen to the interview presently or later draw their own conclusions.

    1. DJG

      pretzelattack: Poor Rebecca Solnit, always ‘splaining through very loosely structured arguments, and now gone into full-scale blithering. I could hardly follow along, especially after the first paragraph of bromides and gear-grinding, a Solnit trademark. Well, maybe there is an up side to a Trump presidency: People may expect commentary to make sense. (Not holding my breath, because writers like Solnit are, without a doubt, still much in demand for their ability at ‘splaining “naive cynics” and “jaded leftists” and other creatures that she has made up.)

      1. aletheia33

        reply to DJG: i agree about solnit’s presentation, but i will give her that one of her books (which i could not finish–tiresome reading) did offer some facts that i would not have known about otherwise. i think it was “paradise in hell” (not positive), asserting that governments’ fear of anarchy in crises is ridiculously overblown and counterproductive, and telling, with examples, how people really react quite competently and sensibly and nonviolently to understand and deal with what the crisis makes necessary for the well-being of all affected.

        i’m sure i could have learned that stuff elsewhere, but at a certain point in my “education”, that book was the right one at the right time.

        1. cocomaan

          That’s a great book. I learned a lot.

          Unfortunately, she seems to have become completely unhinged, talking about the authoritarianism of the new regime while saying that there’s a Russian conspiracy in the works and that Ukraine was somehow a wonderful series of uprisings similar to the Czechs under the Iron Curtain.

          Over the past few years, her writing for Harpers has become a little strained, a little hoarse. It’s one of the reasons I let my subscription lapse.

    2. Knifecatcher

      The only way the Dems could do more damage to the country is to aggressively challenge the election results after a sound electoral defeat. Which is why I expect them to do exactly that.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hillary should put together her cabinet now, in case Stein installs her in the White House.

        The business of the country needs to be taken care of. You can’t take over without a Secretary of Defense or a National Security Adviser vetted and chosen.

        She should start interviewing and announcing them now.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Ran across that one earlier and Solnit is really going off the deep end.

      What if the recount Jill Stein and the Green party have initiated finds that Trump’s small, surprising lead in three swing states vanishes when the ballots are reviewed? What if Alexandra Chalupa’s report now on its way to Congress presents compelling evidence that the election was hacked? What if the election investigations Republican senator Lindsey Graham and others have asked for reveal corruption or collusion?

      And what if the recount determines that thousands of votes were somehow added for Clinton and Trump won by an even larger margin? Maybe that’s why Clinton didn’t call for a recount herself and only sent he lawyers in just in case. Be careful what you ask for…

  8. nippersdad

    Love the new look, Yves: Rowrrr!

    Not sure it is worth taking one for the team, but if Trump is ready to trade up for another eastern bloc femme fatale, we may yet get the inside scoop that all of us fellow travellers have been waiting for since 1918./s

    1. aletheia33

      a toast to our russian agent extraordinaire! (vodka, of course)

      with a name like yves smith, how could you go wrong?

      your service is enthusiastically recognized!
      stay light on your feet.
      if necessary, we can generate a big diversion if you have to sneak out the back.

      1. nippersdad

        Zazderovje, Comrade Yvetski Smitherovna!

        Dear comrade aletheiaendrovnavitskaia, I am at your service, anytime. I can make a mean Molotov cocktail! Let the drinking games begin!

      1. KurtisMayfield

        Surely you can’t be serious!

        Lambert is definitely Boris, as he has been up in Moose country providing census for the alces alces population in hopes of running into his nemesis.

        1. ek hornbeck

          What about Squirrel?

          Also, reliably informed by IMDB Jason Alexander is Boris. Originally voiced by Paul Frees.

          1. integer

            Falls a bit flat in text form, though as a big fan of bad jokes I’m impressed that you managed to make an already bad joke even worse :·D

    2. Jim Haygood

      Having been born in Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1970, Melania Trump becomes the only First Lady from behind the Iron Curtain. From a lengthy GQ article:

      After leaving his job working for the mayor of Hrastnik, [Melania’s father] Viktor, then a member of the Slovenian Communist Party, became a salesman at a state-owned car company.

      Less bothersome than the First Lady’s father being a former communist, is the obvious euphemism “state-owned car company.” One suspects this may be a veiled reference to Zastava, maker of the infamous Yugo.

      Now that would truly be scandalous. Don’t we have a right to know about this automotive cover-up? ;-)

      1. nechaev

        Having been born in Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1970, Melania Trump becomes the only First Lady from behind the Iron Curtain.

        actually not – Iron Curtain being Warsaw Pact – Stalin went batshit over Tito’s heretical insistence on national self-determination (several show trials in east bloc europa later 40s / early 50s of “Titoite wreckers”)

  9. Optimader

    Fuku “cost estimate”: continue doubling at your pleasure, the remediation cost cannot be calculated in good faith because technology does not exist.

    The Japanese State beauracracy implies they have a stewartship handle on the mess by suggesting a discrete remediation cost even if that arbitrary value has to be “refined”.

    The closest to anything optimistc ive heard about is immobilizing radioactiveCesium and Iodine from contaminated water in zeolite media. That said they are still pumping huge amounts of contaminated water into the ocean in an ongoing effort to minimize ground water contamination.

    1. KurtisMayfield


      Ask them where exactly the fuel is from the #2 reactor. They can give you an estimate where it is, and are still working on sending a robot down to locate the fuel. That is scary.

      1. optimader

        Well. once it cooks its way through the Earths mantle , they can just throw all the rest of the stuff in the hole!

        Think big garbage disposal w/ carbide teeth.. chuck it all in while pouring in the contaminated water!


      2. andyb

        Well, the nuke industry is a very powerful lobby. The suppression of critical news about the unrelenting and totally unstoppable radiation from Fukushima is both criminal and psychotic. No mention in any MSM source about the ongoing elimination of all marine life in the Pacific, or the current radiation readings around the US that in ordinary times would call for evacuation.

    2. TulsaTime

      That is exactly right, the technology does not exist to recover from this accident. Triple reactor meltdown with total loss of containment, at a coastal location. It makes nuclear testing almost look benign. And talk about a lack of coverage, Bernie was a superstar next to the coverage this gets. But really, what’s one more contributing factor to AGW when you get down to it? This just adds a layer of sparkles to the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico has it’s layer of petroleum frosting.

      1. integer

        In the Gulf of Mexico, BP used Corexit to make the oil sink to the ocean floor, simply to make it appear less bad than it was. Corexit is significantly more toxic than oil and binds with floating oil particles before sinking. Many well-meaning volunteers who were involved in this stage of the cleanup have become seriously ill since being exposed to this toxic chemical cocktail. So many, in fact, that their illness has been coined “BP syndrome” or “Gulf Coast syndrome”. Oh, and BP and the EPA knew the score on Corexit’s toxicity before doing this. Unbelievable.

  10. Katharine

    You can’t write satire when reality looks like this (from the Trib article on Warren):

    No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas, on the Senate floor as Warren spoke, criticized her for making “a political speech” and launching “personal attacks” on senators and called her comments “beneath the dignity of the United States Senate.”

    Imagine! A political speech actually in the legislature, as if that were the place where they should be debating what constitute the right forms and functions of government.

    1. WJ

      Also this singular demonstration of journalistic idiocy from the same piece:

      “Warren is expected to try tugging her party toward more progressive policies, while some more moderate Democrats are emphasizing the need to appeal to the type of working-class white voters who helped Trump win Midwestern states carried in recent elections by Democrats.”

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Yes, because more “moderation” will win over the constituency that flat out rejected “leadership temperament”, “experience”, “political dynasty” and “status quo incrementalism”.



      2. RabidGandhi

        They voted for Obama last time but not HRC this time? Well let’s see what the MSM Moderate Consensus Playbook has to say:

        Lessons for Democrats:

        Lose an election: move the party to the right.

        Win an election: move the party to the right

        No election this year: move the party to the right.

        1. Roger Smith

          “Come ye cool cool considerate set
          We’ll dance together to the same minuet
          To the right, ever to the right
          Never to the left, forever to the right
          May our creed be never to exceed
          Regulated speed, no matter what the need”

          1. phred

            “Be careful sir, history will brand Mr. Adams and his followers as traitors.”

            “Traitors? To what sir, to the British Crown or the British half-crown?”

            Two hundred and forty years and its still the same argument.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But the Democrats can never reach the right endpoint.

          It’s known as Zeno’s Dichotomy paradox – “That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal.”

          Motion is an illusion.

          So is change.

          Thus, we have been duped. He is not a savior.


  11. Jeremy Grimm

    “The Stein Recount Needle and the Damage Done” — I voted for Stein and hoped the Green Party might provide a vehicle for someone as yet undiscovered to forge a second Party. Unless the Greens hope to get some magic 5% somewhere and unless that magic 5% counts toward something — I haven’t seen or heard mention of either possibility — I am sorry I voted for Stein. I already respected Sanders decision not to head a ticket in the Green Party. Now I respect it even more. I already wondered at the lack of political skills the Greens displayed in the election and my gut response to Stein’s recount effort is a strong confirmation of my sense of the Greens as older versions of the philosophy student Marxists in the college student council where I went to college. I guess the only possibility for a second Party will be to recapture one of the two existing parties.

    The assault on voting rights was started well before Trump’s tweets and will probably continue. Stein’s recount just adds noise — even made her look like a Hillary toady.

        1. Unorthodoxmarxist

          I’m a Green Party state chair and national committee rep.

          While I’m not sure the recount is the only/best strategy, the amount of hostility on the left to it and Stein because of it is mind-boggling. In the best tradition of the American left we point our guns at each other and fire.

          What is the problem with the recount? The money has to be used exclusively for recount efforts per federal law. Neither the Greens nor Stein is getting wealthy from this. Stein is being advised by Greg Palast and Bob Fitrakis on this, and Palast has done great work on voter suppression for years, including on the Republican-sponsored Crosscheck ( and

          The worst that this will do is publicize the Green Party and that there is an organization that wants to stand up for election integrity in this country, and that it ain’t the Dems or Republicans. It may also highlight the issue of voter caging, purging and the problems inherent in our patchwork voting system.

          Why is any of this bad?

          It just seems like the broader Left wants to take aim at anyone and everyone they disagree with, are angry with, or who may represent a different organization than their preferred one.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I have been up all night and so this won’t be as fully argued as it needs to be.

            IMHO, what the rest of the left objects to is the combination of Green tactical incompetence and righteousness. It’s the worst qualities of the Dems, amplified.

            For instance, Green boosters have alienated Lambert and me by your conduct in comment. You’ve taken up too much air time. You’ve acted as if we owe your our votes as a matter of right. No one has EVER presented Green policies, or made any kind of case as to why Greens deserve our vote. You seem to be relying totally on the positive Green brand name from Europe. Your advocates are negative value added by sucking up attention and not every making a positive contribution to the commentariat by providing links. You act as if Jill Stein was a reasonable candidate when, while being a nicer person, she managed the difficult feat of being even less qualified that Trump. From what I can tell, she’s never managed anything bigger than her desk.

            I could go on…..

            1. Unorthodoxmarxist

              If the recount is about the CrossCheck voter purge databases, the millions of provisional, absentee and overvote/undervote votes that were not counted (and not listed as being not counted) actually being counted or at least discussed, then it doesn’t seem to be harmful. Again, Greg Palast’s work on this is particularly illuminating. I recommend his writing in Rolling Stone and on his own website (

              I’m not sure why this is tactically incompetent or righteous; I don’t necessarily fully agree with the recount strategy but I don’t think it’s terrible, either. It’s kept the issue in the press, and put pressure on the Dems and the Clinton camp. Plus it’s brought in $7 million that can only be used for that specific purpose that no one predicted and for which the Greens and Stein would likely never have raised in such a short amount of time for anything else – unfortunately.

              It’s not like the Greens (and Stein) haven’t been involved other ways over the last month, either. Prominent party members have traveled to Standing Rock. My local party has supported striking workers on their picket line. It seems like some of the problem is that the GP, for all its flaws, is the only national Left party with a significant national organization attempting to build at this point in the US. It therefore takes flak from everyone who wants a national Left party (but isn’t involved with the GP) because it’s the only game in town. I don’t begrudge criticism, but every org makes mistakes and has successes. The recount seems like it’s somewhere in the middle.

              1. Lambert Strether

                The recount is not about CrossCheck (since if you’ve been CrossChecked, you don’t get to vote in the first place.)

                > can only be used for that specific purpose.

                Read the fine print; it can also be used for party building — that is, the GP is running an open bait and switch operation.

              2. heresy101

                This long time Green Party member (last 25 years & voted for Nader 3/4 time) changed to No Party Preference to vote for Bernie in the Calif primaries but the Damnocrats didn’t even count my vote.

                After Stein’s antic’s to get the Warmongress elected, there is NO way that I will ever register or support the Greens again. It is a disgusting display of support for the the war parties of the 1%. If she had challenged NH and other states that were likely stolen from Trump, then I might not be so incensed because the elections are corrupt. After all, JFK won because Mayor Daly the 1st voted the cemeteries so the Democrats could win and even Alex Jones says that Al Gore had Florida stolen from him.

                We need a real third party: something like the Pirate Party, Podemos, Cinco Stella, or better yet a real Labor Party. The Greens are DEAD.

            2. Unorthodoxmarxist

              I’m not sure who has said the Greens are owed votes. I certainly haven’t, nor have I seen too many of us trying to take up bandwith. I know I’ve tried to provide links on occasion, too (often in the comments).

              Here in New York the Greens are better than others at presenting our ideas, and I would argue that Greens do present ideas – they are just mostly ignored. For instance the core economic agenda of the GPUS: It’s the Green New Deal, something Hawkins and the Greens developed over a number of years.

              As for Jill Stein not being a reasonable candidate because she hasn’t held elected office; I’m not sure why the commentariat has seized upon this. It’s very difficult for alternative parties to elect people to office, and it’s not clear that we always want people with establishment experience to run things. I think it’s important to have a candidate who is willing to do the hard work of running for president and be able to articulate the party’s message. Jill has attempted to do this – she’s not a flawless candidate by any means. But her run is also about maintaining ballot lines and breaking down barriers to entry in places like the media and debates so that in the future we will develop and recruit presidential candidates that are more experienced.

              I do promise that, in the future, if positive comments & link will aid in a better judgment of the GP, I can help to do that.

              1. Carla

                Thank you, Unorthodoxmarxist.

                I don’t understand the scorn for readers (and commenters) who believe we have to have alternatives to one-party, Republicrat rule. So the Green Party is pathetic — and the Democrat and Republican Parties are NOT? C’mon.

                1. juliania

                  I found anon’s comment at bmax’s link above to be a good one. Here is just part of that:

                  “… I cannot fault the recount for happening whatever Jill Stein’s motivations may be. And I cannot quibble with those in election security who are supporting it. Like it as not you have few opportunities to motivate change in electoral laws and this is one of them.”

                2. Lambert Strether

                  This reminds me of the “Bush did it too!” argument that Clinton supporters made during the email server saga (Bush did indeed have his own server and destroyed a lot of mail, in the scandal).

                  What I never understood was why Clinton sinking to Bush’s baseline was a reason to vote for Clinton.

                  > So the Green Party is pathetic — and the Democrat and Republican Parties are NOT?

                  This is the same argument. No reason to vote for Stein either, then.

                  Adding, at least for me, I don’t have scorn, in the abstract, for advocates of another party; it’s been my experience with the GP that turned me off. I’ve consistently viewed them as operationally incompetent — not getting to 5% this year of all years? — and now I find that when they run bait and switch operations, their own advocates applaud them. What a clarifying year this has been!

                1. Lambert Strether

                  I keep hearing rumors — I asked before, did I miss the answer? — that Stein was also freelancing on the recount scam, and that the Green National Committee doesn’t support it. Can you or anyone clarify?

                  Adding, this link does that. Thanks.

                  I am sure readers remember me saying quite often that, based on my experience in Maine, the GP was best thought of as a dysfunctional non-profit. Priors confirmed, sadly.

          2. Jim Haygood

            ‘Why is any of this bad?’

            Perhaps you could explain why the Green Party is NOT challenging election results in New Hampshire (which Hillary won by a skinny 2,732 votes), while it IS challenging the results in Wisconsin (which Hillary lost by 22,871 votes, an eight times larger margin).

            Why do the Green Party’s challenges depend on the vote totals of another party?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Should have filed before the NH deadline.

                I wonder if Trump would have declined had all recount states been in Hillary’s column.

                It’s quite coincidental that the 3 recount states together can change the election result.

                1. cwaltz

                  Yeah I’m sure she should have just whipped her credit card out and paid for it on behalf of Trump even though he is only arguing the popular vote was screwed up not the electoral one.

                  Why is that a coincidence? The point is to ensure the integrity of the election. If the election results change in any way shape or form it proves our system is not working. That’s kind of the point of the whole thing. Or has the whining from the left and the right for the over the past two decades just been because they like to whine?

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Maybe Trump supporters can contribute and help her out financially?

                    If not coincidental, it is intentional.

          3. cwaltz

            As per usual with the left, it’s darned if you do and darned if you don’t.

            They whine when no one requests a recount(see Gore or Kerry) and they whine if someone does.

            Cue the circular firing squad(that was used to shoot single payer advocates for being pie eyed idealists as well.)

            But hey whatever, I get the impression the left loves to lose.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > They whine when no one requests a recount(see Gore or Kerry) and they whine if someone does.

              Mere sophistry because the cases are different.

              I remember Ohio 2004 because I live-blogged it. There was evidence — I mean, when the building in Lucas County (IIRC) where they were counting the votes was put on lockdown because, they said, DHS told them of a terrorist threat. Checking with DHS, no such thing. And plenty more.

              Off the top of my head, what we have as “evidence” from Stein is (a) Russkis are evil, (b) one statistician has views other statistician disagree with, and (c) voting machines are bad (true). That doesn’t add up to a case for a recount, especially in states like WI or PA where there is already a recount trigger for close elections, and in those terms, the election wasn’t even close.

          4. Waldenpond

            Greens come across as a liberal environmental party. Not much issue with the systems as they are, just want less polluting growth like solar whose manufacture is environmentally destructive. Just a branch of the Ds.

      1. Bullwinkle

        At first I thought it was a photo shot of a scene from Grey Gardens. Jill does have a certain Little Edie air about her.

        1. ambrit

          More like Edie Sedgewick in “Ciao! Manhattan.” But without the charm of Isabel Jewell in a supporting role.

    1. Carla

      I suggest you and all NC readers consider the rationale for the recount put forward by BAR’s Bruce Dixon.

      Here’s just a taste:

      “Democrats didn’t fight for voting rights in 2000 or 2004. Hillary and her Democrats are not fighting for voting rights today. Democrats are not standing up for the victims of felony disenfranchisement. Democrats aren’t insisting on voting rights for the District of Columbia. In 30 years, Democrats have not meaningfully contested unfair state level redistricting schemes in states like Indiana and Texas which Republicans lopsided Congressional majorities elected by a couple million fewer votes than a minority of House Democrats. Democratic politicians had more than 40 years after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to consolidate their victory with a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote, which would have put voting rights in a place untouchable even by the Supreme Court, and prevented the entire panoply of laws and practices that currently infringe on that right.

      Democrats are perfectly content to keep Greens off the ballot entirely in Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Oklahoma, and force Green candidates to run without party labels in Tennessee, Alabama and many other states. Fighting for voting rights is just something Democratic shot callers don’t DO.”

      1. zapster

        Yes. Every election we ignore this cements the hegemony of the wealthy right-wing. Jill is courageous in launching this. She was asked to by the Election Integrity movement, after they tried to talk the mainstream candidates into it and were refused. There aren’t a lot of options here–they have to break down incredible barriers to transparency at the state levels. Here’s a good breakdown of the difficulties being encountered:

      2. Lambert Strether

        BAR is probably the best spokesperson the GP has, so it’s unfortunate BAR is not in a more visible leadership position. (In general, I like their work, so I don’t take they’re calling me a sheep all that personally). That said, I know the history of the issue from 2000, 2004, and 2008 (BAR does not mention the Obama campaign’s caucus fraud in Texas). My issue is this:

        The Stein campaign and the Green Party are filing for recounts because persuasive evidence exists that the vote totals were tampered with in several states. The researchers who uncovered these anomalies brought them to Democrats first. But since both capitalist parties are on the same team, Democrats were uninterested. But the Green Party and Jill Stein are NOT on their team.

        No explication of the evidence, no links, all taken for granted. I wasn’t persuaded by what I saw. I’m not sure a court would be. And that’s the only paragraph about 2016 in the article (which is couched in FAQ format).

        And no mention of Stein’s bait and switch operation on party-building, either.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        The problems with voting identified in your link are real and important enough. But I don’t see how the Green’s recount efforts do anything to address those problems. The recount project looks to me like a lot of money and effort spent “pissing into the wind”. That was the kind of effort my college Marxists were good at — even though they were completely unable to run the student government such as it was.

        1. Unorthodoxmarxist

          Dixon’s piece is great.

          I’m not sure how raising $7 million, pursuing the recounts and getting a ton of press to discuss the problems of the voting system is “pissing in the wind.” It’s doing the best with what we have in terms of challenging the voting sytem, even if that challenge isn’t perfect.

          Or is it better that the GP and Stein have done nothing and not raised $7 million for this plus done tons of media on election issues?

          1. bob

            “I’m not sure how raising $7 million, pursuing the recounts and getting a ton of press to discuss the problems…”

            Enough fund raising, enough “knowledge”.

            DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! At the very least, propose doing something about it. This is a backward looking campaign to — what exactly?

            Losing backwards, because knowledge.


        2. zapster

          How else do we fix it then? Only a candidate is allowed to file for recounts, and Fitrakis and Wasserman and others have been filing suits and writing books and uncovering evidence for 15 years now. The only way to prove the fraud conclusively is through recounts, and the hysterical resistance to them from all parts of the establishment is downright frightening. At this point, it’s a safe bet *most* of them are now fraudulently holding offices they were not elected to.

          This needs to become a highly-visible public issue. The numbers of ways our elections are stolen are staggering. We are losing Dems in congress steadily from stolen elections since 2000. progressives almost never win, and third parties are completely shut out. Do we want a permanent republican dictatorship, really?

            1. zapster

              Evidently Florida is just about impossible to file a recount in, now. After the last round, they closed every loophole they could. This should be a major scandal–the number of states that make recounts impossible. We *must* have a way to prove validity in every state.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Dixon’s take is excellent and I’m in favor of the recount, my main problem is the way Stein has framed it using possible foreign influence as a reason to do it among other things.

        I participated in a local recount a few weeks ago and did the actual counting. We found that optical scan machines do not count all the ballots because people don’t always fill them out correctly – we counted about 1-2% more than the machines did because humans are better than machines at determining voter intent. This can’t be new info – the Greens and any number of other people have to realize that this is the case.

        IMNSHO if we are going to use these damned machines (which we shouldn’t be), recounts should be absolutely mandatory when the margins are slim, for example under 1%. No one should have to demand and pony up the money for a recount and that is the argument I’d like to see Stein making now that she’s getting some publicity. Once the count is over and nothing changes she won’t have the chance as no one will be pointing a camera her way again any time soon.

        1. zapster

          I’m sure that isn’t what she believes–but it *is* the rhetoric that Clinton has been using as an excuse. And of course, the establishment shows no interest in actually *investigating* whether their boogeyman actually did it. :D

          Michigan uses those opscan machines, and the red flag here is 10s of thousands of votes in a number of counties around Detroit that had no vote for prez. Normal rate of that is 1% or less, and this is in the realm of 3% or so. Enough to flip the state. Could be machine misreading–but *only* president? Could be a lot of disgusted voters, too–but the only way to know is to look and see.

      3. Kurt Sperry

        I voted for Stein, she was easily the best candidate based on policy rather than sniffy, elitist credentialist fluff. I have no doubt whatsoever that she, in spite of her lack of governing or managerial experience, would have been a far better leader than Hillary or Trump–by a huge margin. The argument that she could never win leaves me utterly unmoved, that’s a one-way ticket to pre-emptive defeatism. Voting for Stein was the only vote I could have cast that actually counted me.

    2. Lee

      IIRC, Yves once stated that Stein voters would (should?) be dismissed as political naifs. Alas, I too voted for her.

      1. cwaltz

        I think it’s funny that it’s Stein voters that are being dismissed as political naïfs when the other option of taking over the DNC power structure seems to be equally if not more naive based on wikileaks evidence.

        And I say that as someone who likes Sanders.

      2. zapster

        Between election fraud and lesser-evilism, here we are. There were so many dems purged to make it entirely irrelevant.

      3. Massinissa

        So if people voting for Hillary are political naifs, and people voting for Trump are political naifs, and people voting for Stein are Johnson are political naifs, when what the bloody fuck are people supposed to vote for? Stay home?

    3. nippersdad

      What does it cost to take her at her word? That she is seeking to find out if the Green votes were uncounted or diverted? I am perfectly happy with my Stein vote insofar as it gave me the protest vote that I was looking for and an opportunity to potentially put the Greens on ballots across the nation.

      I, frankly, have more of a problem with Sanders not hitting Clinton harder when he had the chance to do so. I am aware of the “inside game” he is playing, but I also believe he could have won had he elected to really go after Clinton and the Democratic Party’s neoliberal/neoconservative soft underbelly. They really did not deserve such consideration at his hands.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To search for diverted Green votes, wouldn’t it be more productive to look for them in big states, like New York or California?

        More voters there – Green, Red, Blue or otherwise.

        1. nippersdad

          True, but I cannot even imagine what it would cost to do a recount in either NY or California, nor would there be the easy excuse that the small margins in Michigan and Wisconsin provide.

    4. Eureka Springs

      When is the last time a Clinton or a Democrat demanded credible scrutiny of the voting system? I was denied a vote (no paper ballot) this year. And though the Greens disappoint, their ideals are far better than any other, including Sanders, who proved to be far more feckless.

      I agree with much and appreciate BAR’s take on these efforts by Greens. Wish I could have voted for them. And I do wish they would change their platform to hand counted paper ballots only.

      So Why is the Green Party’s Jill Stein Filing For Recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania?

        1. zapster

          The Greens have a good record at recounts. Their efforts sparked a complete overhaul of New Mexico’s system. Their research also was the basis of a major report presented to congress–which was then ignored. This needs major public mobilization around.

    5. zapster

      This is crazy. We have more than 15 years of stolen elections, and we’re *still* arguing about whether we should check to see if they’re accurate? Beggars belief.

      1. Lambert Strether

        At least in PA and WI, there are existing and automatically triggered recount levels. Clinton’s vote failed to trigger the recount because Trump got too many votes for that to happen. So Stein raised the money to sue, among other things (and I haven’t ever seen an explanation of why those levels aren’t right).

        1. zapster

          Well, it’s not working in WI. 3 precincts were caught by online observers and badgered into discovering the machines were recording more votes for Trump than ballots. Trump lost 5000 votes instantly in *just* 3 precincts from it. Enough votes to flip the state can very quickly pile up at that rate. And nearly all WI rural counties are showing improbably high voter turnout percentages (more than 100% in some.) And complete voter registration counts are *not even available* until after the election is certified. And in PA, there are no ballots. Period. They *can’t* trigger a recount there. It needs forensics. This is much more serious than people seem to be aware of. Flipping large numbers of votes is very easy, and there’s a great deal of evidence that it’s happening, and there’s no way to prove it without a hand count that these states are fighting tooth and nail to prevent. The red flags are so large the place is starting to look like China.

    6. Jess

      As I noted yesterday, if, as some suspect, 95% of those recount donations came from Dems, isn’t it possible that Stein just increased the GP’s email database by a significant amount?

  12. Jim Haygood

    Trump nominates orthopedic surgeon Tom Price as HHS secretary. Well, that’s different — putting an actual physician in charge of health policy.

    After all, current HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell — who came to us via Hahhhhhvid and McKinsey — is doing such a great job practicing medicine under Flight Surgeon 0bama.

    If you like your HHS secretary, you can keep your HHS secretary. :-)

      1. Charger01

        If the person is an ideologue, then their profession is moot. I’m reminded of Bill Frist during the Terri Schiavo fiasco.

    1. Anne

      Tom Price fits in perfectly – a founding member of the Tea Party caucus, opposed to abortion, opposed to same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, eager to repeal the ACA, block-grant Medicaid and voucherize Medicare: he and Paul Ryan will make a great team in the systematic destruction of what little safety net remains.

      But, but, Trump said he wasn’t going to touch Medicare and Medicaid – apparently, the new euphemism for all-but-killing them is “modernizing.”

      Here’s a summary, courtesy of Robert Reich’s (yeah, I know, but it’s a good summary) FB page:

      Price is a fierce right-winger who:

      1. Opposes abortion. Price supported the proposed Protect Life Act, which would have denied funding to health care plans that offered abortion and allowed hospitals to decline to provide emergency abortion care. He has a 100 rating from the National Right to Life Center and a 0 rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

      2. Opposes gun control. He has an “A” grade from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, a 92% approval rating overall from the National Rifle Association and an 83% approval rating from the Gun Owners of America. And he has a 0% approval rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Price praised the Supreme Court’s decisions in “District of Columbia v. Heller,” which held that the prohibition of handguns in the District of Columbia was unconstitutional, and “McDonald v. Chicago,” which held that the Second Amendment applied to the states.

      3. Opposes gay rights. Price voted against a bill prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation and in favor of constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. He has a zero percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization.

      4. Wants tax credits and deductions for purchasing health insurance, instead of federal subsidies. Tax credits and deductions are not useful to most of the poor and working class, because they don’t earn enough to take advantage of them.

      5. Has introduced legislation that would make it easier for doctors to defend themselves against medical malpractice lawsuits and to enter into private contracts with Medicare beneficiaries. Under such contracts, doctors can, in effect, opt out of Medicare and charge more than the amounts normally allowed by the program’s rules.

      Price is likely to be the Trump Administration’s point man on turning Medicaid into state block-grants, and Medicare (and Obamacare) into vouchers for private insurance — proposals Paul Ryan is championing in the House.

      Seems like a rather oxymoronic pick for “Health” and “Human” Services, given he’s not particularly concerned with the health of those with limited means, and his world view doesn’t seem particularly human.

      1. hunkerdown

        Tax credits and deductions are not useful to most of the poor and working class, because they don’t earn enough to take advantage of them.

        Yet the Earned Income Credit, W’s Making Work Pay credits, and any number of corporate tax breaks were and are perfectly refundable. And the Human Rights Campaign is only interested in bourgeois LGBT matters, because fast food workers don’t have desks to put family photos on. I’m pretty convinced Reich’s barking for the Party, nothing more.

        1. Anne

          You’ve hunkered down so far you’ve completely missed the point: this has nothing/zip/zero to do with Bob Reich. It has everything to do with the kind of people – like Tom Price – that Trump is installing in his administration. People who want to cut Medicaid and give seniors vouchers to buy health insurance. People who are opposed to women having control over their reproductive health. People who believe in gay conversion therapy, who oppose rights for all people, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

          This is the kind of person Trump wants to run Health and Human Services.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Isn’t this just the right-most side of the Overton Window? I’m asking not to minimize, but because of the “Trump is a fascist” meme. Reagan — that friendly man who could work across the aisle — began a run for the Presidency in Philadelphia, MI, in Neshoba County.

            Is Trump something old, or something new? It’s not academic knowing who your enemies are….

    2. cwaltz


      Why not Frist in charge since the criteria is doctor? We can all get our examinations over the internet and our care based on doctor’s gut feelings instead of actual diagnostic information.

      For the record everything I’ve read on Price’s plan is going to make health care a disaster. Oh and he’s pro Medicare health vouchers……LOL

      The Republicans must really want to lose in 2018. Governing is such hard work.

  13. Schnormal

    Trump to appoint Obamacare opponent as health secretary

    Tom Price’s proposed replacement of Obamacare, however useless, at least seems to be based on a recognizable right-wing ideology.

    Seema Verma otoh, Trump’s (or probably Pence’s) pick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, seems more like the kind of mercenary swine we’d expect to find feasting at the Trump trough.

    For more than a decade, the little-known private consultant has quietly shaped much of Indiana’s public health-care policy. The state has paid her millions of dollars for her work — amid a potential conflict of interest that ethics experts say should concern taxpayers.

    Largely invisible to the public, Verma’s work has included the design of the Healthy Indiana Plan, a consumer-driven insurance program for low-income Hoosiers now being touted nationally as an alternative to Obamacare. In all, Verma and her small consulting firm, SVC Inc., have received more than $3.5 million in state contracts.

    At the same time, Verma has worked for one of the state’s largest Medicaid vendors — a division of Silicon Valley tech giant Hewlett-Packard. That company agreed to pay Verma more than $1 million and has landed more than $500 million in state contracts during her tenure as Indiana’s go-to health-care consultant, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.

    Verma’s dual roles raise an important question: Who is she working for when she advises the state on how to spend billions of dollars in Medicaid funds — Hoosier taxpayers or one of the state’s largest contractors?

    But she’s a woman, so it’s all good!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Seems all bad for Trump on the Verma pick.

      Must have some reason for selecting her, not covered in there.

      Did she have to sign off on Trump’s pledge of 5 year ban on lobbying?

  14. optimader

    Oh well… who needs this sorta industrial infrastructure anyway when we can peck away at keyboards producing cool phone Appsfor smart refrigerators and thermostats and toilets….. and other stuff…. instead!

    Day 1 of 2 Day Online Auction.
    Massive ONLINE Auction Of Historical Columbus Castings!

    110 Year old Foundry & Casting Facility; Auction highlights to Include CNC Floor Type Boring Mills (2); Vertical Boring Mills; Haas VF 8 CNC VMC; Large Selection of Manual Engine Lathes; Vertical Mills, Radial Arm Drills; Grinders, Surface & Cylindrical; Welders; Material Handling including 100’s of Rigging Chains; 50+ Arc Welders; Rohmer CMM Portable Measuring Arms; Pattern Shop; Maintenance Shop; Large Stores area including new Carbide Inserts & Tool holders; Cables, PPE; Tooling Storage; Cranes, Both Overhead Bridge and Jib Type up to 50 Ton; Precision Instruments; Perishable Tooling; Welding Supplies; Forklifts; Office Furniture; OVER 2000 LOTS!

    This Featured Online Auction will take place on Wednesday and Thursday December 7 & 8th 2016, starting at 8:00am and will start closing at 6:00pm the same day (local time).

    Good riddance People get hot and dirty doing this kinda stuff….

    Metal manufacturer MetalTek International plans to close its facility in Lakeland, Fla., east of Tampa, by the end of this year and lay off approximately 109 employees.

    The Waukesha-based company notified the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that it will begin staff reductions at its nearly 40-year-old facility, the SMCI Division, in early November. It will end operations by Dec. 30. The division produces fabrications and provides machining for nuclear, energy and industrial markets.

    The majority of positions affected include welders, machinists, mid-level officials, laborers and helpers. Employees will be paid any earned wages and benefits to which they are entitled, the company told the DOE.

    A major employer in the Waukesha area, MetalTek cut 13 percent of its workforce in late 2015 due to reduced demand for its products . A company statement said “broad softness in industrial markets has been driven by low oil prices, unfavorable exchange rates that limit exports, and a declining Chinese economy.” At the time, MetalTek employed about 1,300 worldwide.

    Most recently, MetalTek shut down a 45-year-old machine shop in Chattanooga, Tenn., according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported in June.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Australia ceases multimillion-dollar donations to controversial Clinton family charities J-LS:

    Thats quite amazing. How on earth can any democratic government justify routing development money through a foreign foundation? Is this big news in Oz I wonder? It makes me wonder how many other countries have been surreptitiously doing this to get on the right side of the Clintons.

    1. optimader

      I think these CF stories will keep on giving as the worm turns. then the Clintons will get nasty(er) as the income stream collapses.

      Having a bunch of money with a constant income stream is different than just having a bunch of money under a magnifying glass.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Neither Clinton is the personification of health. The Clintonistas might get nastier, but I suspect they won’t enjoy the tribal loyalty Obama and both Clintons have enjoyed.

        What good is a James Carville type now? They don’t have access to the White House, and the vaunted Hillary lost to Donald Trump. If she’s the best they can offer…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think I read a story about Norway doing the same.

      But they will be sorry, if Stein scores a trifecta.

      “Now, you have to be pay double.”

      1. Cry Shop

        kind of why they are deperate to run little ms. for a rotten burough, if the rumours are true. Having a daughter senator or even representative will help stem the tide.

  16. DarkMatters

    “The price of being exposed as a Russian operative is that I’m distracted by having to devise new plots, as well as rethink my wardrobe. ”

    Your new look is sooo chic. I’m looking forward to hearing about your new schemes. (Appropriately encrypted, of course).

  17. fresno dan

    Report: Trump ‘Furious’ at Kellyanne’s Romney Attack Daily Beast (furzy). I wondered if she was acting without authorization. It looked like insubordination.

    From the Megyn Kelly show 11/28/2016:

    KELLY: Joining me now, Jason Miller, communications director for the presidential transition team.

    Jason, good to see you. So, what’s the story? Did Kellyanne Conway go rogue with those comments or not?

    JASON MILLER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM: No. Not at all. In fact, the President-Elect and Kellyanne and myself along with Hope Hicks were sharing a chuckle about that earlier this evening. Kellyanne chatted with the President-Elect in advance of going out and offering her comments, and asked his permission if it was OK to go and voice her opinions on the matter and he said go for it. And I think that’s one of the great things about what we’re going to see with —

    KELLY: So, the MSNBC report that Trump was livid, that he’s furious with what she did, that’s not true?

    MILLER: No, not at all. In fact the President-Elect gave her permission to go out and do that and she did. And I think that’s one of the great things about this White House is, the President-Elect and our future president will take in a number of different viewpoints and opinions and he’ll form his own decision, decides how he wants to go forward. One thing I would want —

    KELLY: All right. Let’s talk about that.

    MILLER: Let me push back on one thing that Mr. Rove side a moment ago though.

    KELLY: Sure.

    MILLER: There’s a difference between going out in advance with permission and voicing your opinion as the President-Elect goes to collecting number of different thoughts on the matter and decides who me wants to go with particular position and then doing it after the fact.

    So I was switching back and forth between the Packers/Eagles and MSNBC and Fox and this from the Kelly File made my jaw drop….

    “MILLER: Kellyanne chatted with the President-Elect in advance of going out and offering her comments, and asked his permission if it was OK to go and voice her opinions on the matter and he said go for it. And I think that’s one of the great things about what we’re going to see with —

    KELLY: So, the MSNBC report that Trump was livid, that he’s furious with what she did, that’s not true?

    MILLER: No, not at all. In fact the President-Elect gave her permission to go out and do that and she did.”

    Curiouser and curiouser. Quantum curious in fact.

    Either Trump likes chaos, Trump really wants to humiliate Romney, or Trump has some kind of mental defect.
    My own theory is that Trump is waging a concerted war on the media, and by playing the background leak story and than so discrediting the leaks Trump hopes to demolish the media. And I mean not demolish the media’s credibility, I mean strike a fatal blow by ruining them financially. Think that actually ?95? or ?99? percent of the cable news “news” is pure gasbaggery. If Trump can make all that stuff look ALL wrong ALL THE TIME, why pretty soon the only reliable** “news” are POTUS tweets….

    ** this is not to imply Trump is reliable, i.e., the tweets are merely a reliable record of an unreliable man….

    1. Dave

      Trump is a master showman and has taken a seat at the National Mighty Wurlitzer.
      “I mean strike a fatal blow by ruining them financially…” Sounds good to me!

      “Don’t cry for the media, they betrayed us a long time ago…”

      I wonder if you could set that to music? :-)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m going to go with Trump is in panic mode. He never expected to be President and is throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Arguably his whole campaign was this, but his opponents were misfits in a sane society. Now he is sinking. He has no friends or vision, so he will go back to messing with the only group less fit than Hillary and the other Republicans, cable news.

      The msm’s credibility was so destroyed Jon Stewart was the most trusted man in news. Anyone who doesn’t play the msm game will look brilliant in comparison to a group of luminaries such as Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams, and David Gregory.

      1. optimader

        group of luminaries such as Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams, and David Gregory.
        the aholes that take pieces of silver to pose as jurnos in shtty ultraviolence movies. Demonstrating their respect for the profession.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does anyone know what is going on in Trump’s mind?

        Is he panicking now?

        And from before the election:

        Was he not really interested in running for the White House?

        Did he run to help Hillary?

    3. Anne

      Either Trump likes chaos, Trump really wants to humiliate Romney, or Trump has some kind of mental defect.

      Is there some reason why it can’t be all of the above? Because that’s how it’s looking to me.

      He clearly enjoys making people dance to the tune-of-the-moment; he’s so all over the place that it’s impossible to get a handle on what he means or what he believes, or what he wants that it may end up paralyzing the media, the people who work for him and those who have to work with him. He is as likely to call someone a loser for being an ass-kissing toady as he is calling them out for saying mean things about him. There’s no way to deal with that.

      So, my guess is he will be overly-indulged in a rhetorical sense, while the far-right loons he is stocking his administration with just go about the business of getting all their pet projects and goals accomplished. Likely with the help of colossally stupid Democrats who, failing to push a better agenda, or learn anything from their inability to connect with real people, will just pitch in and help shovel dirt on the mass graves of the old, the sick, the poor, the brown, the non-Christian, the women, the children that the GOP’s policies are going to hurt the most.

      I have no doubt that Kellyanne Conway was sent out on Sunday on a mission to horrify the media and humiliate Romney. I don’t believe there’s a single person in line for any of these major posts who won’t spend most of his or her time trying to figure out What Would Donald Do, and being sure whatever he or she thinks that might be, it will be wrong.

      I don’t think most of them will be able to take it for long, and just like his campaign, the faces will change frequently, and chaos and instability will reign. Maybe some do their best work when they don’t know whether to sit, shit or turn to page 4, and maybe that will be our best protector against the insanity that seems poised to be implemented across all levels of government, but instability, fear and uncertainty on top of a list of “-isms” that bring their own ugliness to the table, seems like a recipe for disaster.

      1. fresno dan

        November 29, 2016 at 3:08 pm

        I think everything your saying is pretty plausible.
        One point I didn’t make in the above that I did in reaction to a Charles Huge Smith column I posted in the Watercooler about the media is that modern American corporate media is a business (duh!) and that it simply wants to get out lots (does anyone besides me see the ever increasing size of soft drinks and portion of french fries and the ever increasing number of cable news shows and see a parallel???) and lots of “product” (i.e., media “news” reports or gasbaggery) which just happens to be very cheap to make…

        I have no idea how smart Trump actually is – but if I had to posit a strategy, I would say Trump is simply going to try to make the media look ridiculous – much, MUCH more ridiculous than they already look – by REPORTING and REACTING TO EVERYTHING TRUMP SAYS OR TWEETS and than leaking constant contradictions. If Trump can make ALL things reported in the media suspect, well, that would be something. I do think if some “right wing loons” go after Trump, Trump prevails – do not get in an argument with a man who can generate tweets by the barrel….

        My second point is that we are sort of indoctrinated to believe that the earth revolves around the POTUS. I think this is due to the fact that the daily white house briefing supplies a cheap, easy, and almost limitless amount of raw material for the US cable gasbag industry. The fact that there is limitless gossip from the white house doesn’t mean its noteworthy.

        The fact is that the federal bureaucracy is vast, is responsible for an incredible number of things, and is under the control of no one man, one group, and often as not, no one mindset and is almost entirely self directing.
        The fact remains that Obama deported people, and Trump will deport people, and I doubt that the numbers will substantially differ. (hopefully everyone here knows Obama deported more people than any other president)

        In my life, the election of every president has elicited hand wringing. Is Trump really worse than Nixon hand wringing wise??? hmmmmm….hard to know, but I would suggest it is mostly due to the fact that we have more media now.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am not saying it’s good or bad, but he seems to me to be a fighter.

          He’ll bite back, but not often by sneaking up from behind.

      2. Oregoncharles

        That would be a very odd way to run a rather successful business, which he has until now.

        I would repeat Lambert’s warning not to underestimate him.

    4. PQS

      Well the rumor going around before he actually won was that he was in talks to start his own television network – Trump TV. Perhaps this is his idea to push that along.

      If so, it appears the US will finally get State Television. I can’t wait.

  18. fresno dan

    “The price of being exposed as a Russian operative is that I’m distracted by having to devise new plots, as well as rethink my wardrobe.”

    Now that I have admitted to being a communist infiltrator spy (in bunny slippers, the bunny ears surreptitious antenna to receive instructions directly from Putin, riding a horse bare chested….and so is Putin), it really is amazing how many drinks people buy me. Who knew there were so many people p*ssed at the running dog imperilistic capitalistic pigs running the country?

    1. ambrit

      At the rate the drinks keep coming, you’re the one who will soon be “pissed.” (An equitable and honourable objective, I might add.)

  19. Jim Haygood

    Today S&P announced that its national housing index finally busted out to a nominal new high, exceeding its former July 2006 peak. The more urban-focused 20-city and 10-city indexes remain 7 and 9 percent below their respective records.

    Since 2006 the Consumer Price Index has risen almost 20 percent. So this is not a new high for housing in real terms.

    It would seem appropriate if stocks and housing went parabolic in tandem, for the final fireworks display of Bubble III. As Robert Shiller (echoing Tom Petty) told the WSJ this morning,

    It creates an atmosphere that the sky is the limit.

    *dusts off his old copy of Nothing Down*

  20. Dave

    Re ‘Hackathon’ attempts to stem proliferation of fake news

    It’s interesting that the “one screen shot” in the article has a sports figure above that of the president.

    Aren’t all sports stories fake news?
    Steroid freaks in plastic uniforms and helmets all made in the same factory with only a layer of paint differentiating them, who move from town to town at the behest of billionaire team owners, from stadium to stadium, fungible products for advertising logos, supposedly to inspire pride and local chauvinism in the dollar depleted masses that pay to watch them throw a ball back and forth for 11 whole minutes out of dozens of hours of hype?
    How can that be “genuine news?”

    1. flora

      re: Hackathon

      Fbook swearing to carefully vet stories now, eh? Who can forget this little nugget:

      2014: Fbook tinkers with users’ emotions in newsfeed experiment, stirring outcry.

      “But last week, Facebook revealed that it had manipulated the news feeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts they saw. It was part of a psychological study to examine how emotions can be spread on social media.”

      The original “experiment” was done in summer 2012 and only reported in 2014
      Then there’s fbooks development of censorship tools to get back into the China market. It was an experiment in user manipulation. Is the threat to clock some news sites a new attempt as user manipulation? Don’t know.

      Here’s a reasonable take on the whole ‘fake news’ hysteria:

      “The answer is not first to turn to technology and risk the censorship that First Amendment freedoms have prohibited. The answer is for us to remember that the hard work of democracy is ours alone.”

      An aside: If Fb and Goog censor financial or political news, that would open new business opportunities for other news and social media sites. Capitalism 101.

  21. Jess

    Having seen you on the Bill Moyers show, I can attest that your wardrobe is just fine and you’re better looking than Natasha anyway.

  22. Pelham

    Re the crackdown on “fake” news: More than ever, the medium is the message isn’t it? Having platforms (social media) that spread stuff like a raging fever virus probably isn’t the best model for an informed democracy.

    Not that I was or am a fan of mainstream media, locked as they in neoliberal cement overshoes. But the digital age has proved that it’s actually possible to go from bloody awful to bloody far worse.

  23. Lynne

    So the No DAPL protest is a little more murky than we’ve been led to believe. I am NOT a supporter of the pipeline and my experiences with the KXL proposals left me more than a little jaded about pipeline company propaganda. Nevertheless, I suspected something was off when I started seeing fantasies like the articles claiming that thousand of “wild buffalo” (actually part of a privately owned herd) just showed up, and neglecting to mention that the herd had been pushed there by protestors who cut the fences.

    Or the one that made the rounds last week that a herd of wild buffalo was corralled and left with no food or water, when the video posted as “proof” showed waterers and it turned out that it was also a privately owned herd. See Note that the “wild” buffalo herds are vanishingly small and some of the footage was apparently from Custer State Park, which maintains a non-commercial herd.

    And it seemed a little off that papers like the Rapid City Journal, a reliably right-wing paper, was printing stories supporting the protesters, while the Mitchell Daily Republic, a Democratic-leaning paper with a reputation for actually fact-checking their stories, was a little more leery.

    Then there’s this:

    Reportedly the woman who started the protest camp also is one of the owners of land next to it. That land has been leased to a family for some time. She notified the tenants that she was terminating their lease and then a few months later, she established this camp next to the leased land. The lease termination is being challenged. Some time after they challenged the termination, the tenants started having cattle and horses turn up dead or wounded and left to die. The landlord accuses the tenant of cutting fences, which for some reason she claims he did shortly before the “miraculous herd of buffalo” showed up at the protest site—the same ones which the HuffPo reports happened after protestors cut the fences. Follow the money?

    1. hunkerdown

      Following the money back to the Democratic Party’s relationship with fossil fuel concerns, and the plebeian tenancy notions of “you work it, you own it”. The vested interests seem plain enough (and no, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted, after they were shown to be nothing more than a PR firm running a fake primary).

  24. Lynne

    The No DAPL protest is a little more murky than we’ve been led to believe. I am NOT a supporter of the pipeline and my experiences with the KXL proposals left me more than a little jaded about pipeline company propaganda. Nevertheless, I suspected something was off when I started seeing fantasies like the articles claiming that thousand of “wild buffalo” (actually part of a privately owned herd) just showed up, and neglecting to mention that the herd had been pushed there by protestors who cut the fences.

    Or the one that made the rounds last week that a herd of wild buffalo was corralled and left with no food or water, when the video posted as “proof” showed waterers and it turned out that it was also a privately owned herd. See Note that the “wild” buffalo herds are vanishingly small and some of the footage was apparently from Custer State Park, which maintains a non-commercial herd.

    And it seemed a little off that papers like the Rapid City Journal, a reliably right-wing paper, was printing stories supporting the protesters, while the Mitchell Daily Republic, a Democratic-leaning paper with a reputation for actually fact-checking their stories, was a little more leery.

    Then there’s this:

    Reportedly the woman who started the protest camp also is one of the owners of land next to it. That land has been leased to a family for some time. She notified the tenants that she was terminating their lease and then a few months later, she established this camp next to the leased land. The lease termination is being challenged. Some time after they challenged the termination, the tenants started having cattle and horses turn up dead or wounded and left to die. The landlord accuses the tenant of cutting fences, which for some reason she claims he did shortly before the “miraculous herd of buffalo” showed up at the protest site—the same ones which the HuffPo reports happened after protestors cut the fences. Follow the money?

    1. pretzelattack

      the money’s on the side of the oil companies. you make a lot of vague insinuations without stating clearly what your points are.

      1. Lynne

        Thought it was clear. Things are murky. There are no angels. It’s a typical mess in which people are exploiting it for personal gain. This business of actors and minor celebs popping off and credulous repeating of obvious fantasies as fact are making the protest look like a bad Hollywood movie and harming it. Aapparently well-meaning people are being exploited in ways that discredit the protest.

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” When Richard Nixon knew in 1960 that he had lost the election to Kennedy due to cheating and could prove it, he decided not to contest the election because he knew it would tear the country apart.”

    See also, 2000, Bush v. Gore. However, it’s a dubious premise. The founders knew these things would happen and provided a solution: the contest goes into the House of Representatives. It isn’t a very good solution, especially if it’s the lame-duck House, but it’s been used and the furor died out. The logic here is the same as saying that Ford was right to pardon Nixon because a trial might have “torn the country apart.” But pardoning Nixon left a bleeding wound that led directly to the Bush II/Cheney regime.

    Allowing electoral cheating to stand in the name of “unity” (snicker) and domestic peace has become a USian tradition, but all it really does is make the cheating worse. The real premise is that the outcome doesn’t matter much, and given the Page & Sigel study, which established that votes aren’t dispositive, money is, that is probably true. But it means that we have a fake democracy.

      1. witters

        They all involve “voting”. (It is in this context we should situate the debate above – “Do We Need The Green Party to Make Voting Work?”)

  26. Plenue

    “Syria conflict: Aleppo defeat ‘not the end for rebels‘ BBC”


    Eastern Aleppo was THE big prize for the rebels. The hit to morale alone from losing it will be massive. A lot of people are calling it Stalingrad 2.0, which is correct, but it’s not the full story. Many historians feel that Stalingrad itself wasn’t actually the turning point of WW2, rather it was the later Kursk battle that permanently put the Germans on the defensive in the East.

    The battle for Aleppo is like a combination of Stalingrad and Kursk. Stalingrad for the fighting in the city itself, Kursk for the failed offensives to break through the siege of the east that incurred massive casualties for the militants. And not only have the jihadis been severely depleted, but once the fight for Aleppo City is over, something like 25,000 Syrian Army troops, and thousands more of allied foreign militia, will be freed up to join operations elsewhere. The SAA is already at least holding steady everywhere else, and in several cases advancing (the last two ‘rebel’ strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of West Ghouta surrendered yesterday, another 3,000 jihadi fighters moved to Idlib province, leaving their heavy weapons behind).

    Unless outside forces intervene in some drastic way, the outcome of this conflict seems decided. The US seems to be backing off, but Erdogan is being completely insane now: he outright announced today that Turkey entered Syria to remove Assad.

    1. uncle tungsten

      The Aleppo battle is clearly near its end. Most of the terrorist groups funded by the US and its proxies will be bottled up in Idlib province and that will turn into a turkey shoot (no pun intended but its possible). The lunacy of Erdogun will be pushed over the top in the battle for al-Bab. I guess there will be many savage twists in that region as the Turkish army is pushed out of Syria.

      Turkey has now has lost it’s proxy front in Iraq and can no longer take Mosul which seemed likely a few months ago.

      It is clear to most that there is not one scrap of joy to be had in any engagement with Erdogun. The EU must be screaming at his insane manipulations.

      Perhaps Russia can yet find some means for a grand bargain with the EU now that it has the Turkish chip nearby. Mind you don’t burn your fingers.

      Hopefully Trump will stay well away from this dog fight while it appears he could recognize Israel’s complete annexation of Palestine while the fog of war obscures the horizon.

  27. norm de plume

    ‘The once fiercely egalitarian Oz has become anything but. But the divergence between productivity gains and income started just around when I left’

    Come back Yves!

  28. Darthbobber

    “When Richard Nixon knew in 1960 that he had lost the election to Kennedy due to cheating and could prove it, he decided not to contest the election because he knew it would tear the country apart.”
    Actually, his allies aggressively challenged the results in numerous states, and Nixon’s claim that Ike and others urged him to go further but he refused rests on the testimony of only one man, Richard Nixon.
    A summary of the issues, from a 2000 article:

      1. Darthbobber

        Even James Buchanan looks better than he once did, though its hard to top conniving with secessionists and traitors on your way out the door, and letting them start shipping the contents of the arsenals southward.

        In fairness to Mr. Nixon, he didn’t have the same opportunities to wreak havoc that the president-elect and his cronies will have. The foundations of the Republic were considerably less rickety and he was faced with competent opposition that he pretty much had to collaborate with.

        The majority of Reps from his own party on the impeachment committee voted articles of impeachment, which I suspect would not happen today with either party. A watergate-level imbroglio today would almost certainly lead to a near-straight party line vote.

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