2:00PM Water Cooler 12/13/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is really too short! I’ll be back in a bit with some UPDATEs. Talk amongst yourselves! And thanks for carrying the ball yesterday in comments. –lambert


Gnashing of Teeth and Rending of Garments

The first podcast on this list, “David Brock: Clinton campaign allowed her image “to be destroyed” is said to include David Brock weeping at Clinton’s loss [Politico’s Off Message]. Readers, would it be possible for any of you to actually listen to it, and post the time-code in comments if he does? Normally, I wouldn’t post something I can’t find independent evidence for, but in this case the schadenfreude is too delicious. (I’ll cross it out, thus, if in fact Brock does not weep.)

“The Tainted Election” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. Oddly, or not, Operative K ignores the ObamaCare price hikes, and fires the blame cannons only at Comey and the Russkis. Aren’t pseud Nobelists supposed to be better with data? And then there’s this:

Personally, I’m still figuring out how to keep my anger simmering — letting it boil over won’t do any good, but it shouldn’t be allowed to cool. This election was an outrage, and we should never forget it.

I agree. I found Krugman’s columns swearing never to normalize the Democrat Establishment’s conduct during the Democrat Primary very inspiring. Oh, wait…

“The Roots Of The Democratic Debacle” [HuffPo]. Good survey:

Then, after an eight-year period of Republican rule under George W. Bush, who left office with one of the lowest approval ratings in modern history, Barack Obama won the White House in 2008 with the enthusiastic support of a multiracial coalition demanding fundamental—albeit not clearly defined—”change.” In an interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal ten months before he was elected, then-candidate Obama observed that “Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, that Bill Clinton did not,” adding that Reagan “put us on a fundamentally different path.” The message was clear: unlike Hillary Clinton, his foe in the battle for the Democratic nomination, Obama aspired to be a genuinely transformational president.

Eight years on, we can see that the Obama presidency proved neither transformational nor realigning. Coming into office in the midst of the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression, his first task was to avoid a total collapse. In confronting this task, Obama departed from one key neoliberal orthodoxy, rejecting austerity and sponsoring a $800 billion stimulus package that helped avert a second Great Depression. But in other regards, he followed neoliberal dogma: studiously avoiding any policies that might undermine “business confidence” and attending solicitously to the needs of capital, including the powerful financial institutions responsible for the crisis.

Thanks to WikiLeaks, we now know that Obama was seeking and following the advice of Wall Street even before he was elected; in a remarkable email dated October 6, 2008, Michael Fromer, an executive at Citigroup, wrote John Podesta, co-chair of Obama’s transition team (and in 2016 the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign), with a list of candidates for 31 cabinet-level positions as “recommended by various sources for senior level jobs.” The list bore a striking resemblance to the names that ended up in the cabinet, including Eric Holder (Attorney General), Robert Gates (Defense), Rahm Emmanuel (Chief of Staff), and Peter Orszag (Office of Management and Budget). For Treasury, the list had only three names: Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin. In the end, Geithner became Secretary of Treasury, Summers Director of the National Economic Council, and Rubin a trusted informal advisor.

UPDATE “This would not happen again, and everyone knew it. It was not just that there might never be another African American president of the United States. It was the feeling that this particular black family, the Obamas, represented the best of black people, the ultimate credit to the race, incomparable in elegance and bearing” [Ta-Nahesi Coates, The Atlantic]. Too bad Obama never put any banksters in orange jumpsuits, and had them do the perp walk on TV. Now that would been true elegance. It’s unpleasant to watch Coates gush.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Yglesias tweets on Clinton scheme to win the election in the electoral college (read this for background):

And from the “Hamilton Electors” themselves. Be sure to click on the full image:

The use of their donations funding seem about as sketchy as Stein’s grift.


What the heck does “will be used to help us spread our message” mean?

UPDATE ” What Alexander Hamilton Would Want” [Washington Monthly]. “[I]t is entirely appropriate for the electors to demand a full intelligence briefing on Russia’s role in promoting Trump’s campaign and Trump’s connections to Russia, including his susceptibility to blackmail. Their primary (really, only) job is to determine if the president-elect is loyal to the country and the Constitution or if they are controlled by a foreign power. Aside from that, they need to assure that the president has an “aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.” A hack job, and a sloppy one. Dahlia Lithwick summarized Federalist 68 better than Longman does. See here.

UPDATE “If I sound cynical then it’s because I am. The core of senators demanding an investigation of Russian involvement — Chuck Schumer, Jack Reed, John McCain and Lindsey Graham — are two Democrats who have votes to win on this issue and two Republicans who are prominent neoconservatives” [CNN]. “McCain and Graham opposed Trump throughout the primaries in part because he threatens the hawkish consensus that has dominated Washington for a very long time. A consensus that sees Russia as a perpetual and imminent threat to Western security. Trump’s people see things differently.”

UPDATE “A Brief Guide to Russian Hacking of the U.S. Election” [RealClearPolitics]. Shockingly bad. Not one link, and uncritical acceptance of intelligence sources. Contrast Marcy Wheeler here to see how pathetic this article is.

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, November 2016: “The small business optimism index rose a sharp 3.5 points in November to 98.4, significantly exceeding expectations” [Econoday]. And but: “Nice Trumped up spike, led entirely by expectations the new President would make everything better, but even with that low by historical standards” [Mosler Economics].

Central Bankers’ Zeal for the ‘Natural Rate’ Draws Skeptics WSJ

Import and Export Prices, November 2016: The improvement in year-on-year rates is welcome but reflects comparison effects for petroleum which began its price descent in mid-2014. Looking ahead, cross-border trade isn’t going to be a reflationary factor for the U.S. economy, not if the dollar keeps going up” [Econoday]. “By country, China is the greatest deflationary force for import prices, down 1.5 percent year-on-year with the EU right behind at minus 0.8 percent.” And: “At the current rate of moderation of deflation (trend line) – both imports and export prices should start inflating by the end of the year. What was interesting this month is that import fuel prices increased whilst total imports deflated – and export prices deflated month-over-month whilst agriculture imports deflated” [Econintersect].

Employment Situation: “Retailers added fewer workers through the first two-thirds of the typical holiday hiring period – and is down nearly 10% from a year ago” [Econintersect].

UPDATE Commodities: “A 30% increase in copper prices between October 24 and November 28 has been dubbed the “Trump rally” on the assumption the price rise had something to do with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s promise to go on an infrastructure spending binge that would boost demand for basic materials and metals” [Mining.com].

Political Risk: Politically, cutting more jobs is not the best move GM could make for the next few months. President-elect Donald Trump, who made a lot of noise about manufacturing jobs during his campaign for the presidency, has not yet waggled his finger at GM as he has at Ford. And the auto industry wants the Trump administration to review (and soften) the mileage and fuel standards they agreed to with the Obama administration in 2012″ [247 Wall Street].

Honey for the Bears: “oil capex spending is asymmetrical, in that it collapsed a lot faster when prices fell then it will recover with prices rising” [Mosler Economics].

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on financial unrest [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. It will be interesting to see what the Rapture Index does if the Electoral College defenestrates Trump.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 88 Extreme Greed (previous close: 87, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 77 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 13 at 1:23pm. Yee haw!

The 420

“The election of Donald Trump and his subsequent nominees to several key posts in his incoming administration have raised a lot of concerns in the marijuana industry. According to a recent online survey, more than half (57.4%) of industry players are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ concerned about their business prospects under a Trump administration. More than half that total (30%) are ‘very’ concerned” [247 Wall Street].


UPDATE “US EPA says fracking can impact drinking water resources” [Mining.com]. “On its long-awaited report on the safety of fracking, the EPA says the technique can, in fact, have an impact on drinking water under certain circumstances, but noted it can not say the same when it comes to a ‘national, systemic conclusion’ about the impacts of such oil and gas extraction method.”

“Mitigating the risk of geoengineering” [Harvard Magazine]. Don’t worry. The people who matter will always be able to escape to another planet!


“A New Study Shows How Severe U.S. Inequality Is — and How Little We’re Doing About It” [New York Magazine]. “We.” You know, us.

“Counties that are home to a land-grant university have lower unemployment rates than the U.S. overall and bounced back faster from the most recent recession” [Wall Street Journal, “There’s an Antidote to America’s Long Economic Malaise: College Towns”]. I should know; I live in one. But there can’t be a college in every town in Maine!

Economic growth in the United States: A tale of two countries” [Washington Center for Equitable Growth]. Posting this again, because it’s getting a lot of traction.

News of the Wired

UPDATE “The Rule of Silence” [LINFO]. Sounds introverted!

UPDATE “Vast amounts of data stored by the Australian Taxation Office have been lost in the crash that brought down the agency’s internal systems and customer service websites on Monday and Tuesday” [Sidney Morning Herald]. “All ATO external websites, client portals and tax agent portals, AusKey, ATO online, where taxpayers undertake their self-help transactions, remained unavailable and maintenance pages are up.” Hewlett-Packard….

UPDATE “What’s Wrong With Literary Studies?” [Chronicle of Higher Education]. This is very interesting, and Outis might have something to say about it. A sample:

Felski attacks critique’s stature as the most radical form of thought. Here she draws on the work of Bruno Latour, a French anthropologist and sociologist. Latour questions the assumption that being suspicious and critical makes you a progressive thinker, in contrast to the purportedly credulous and complacent masses. He points out that conservative thinkers are now just as likely to draw on the forms of suspicious questioning associated with critique. Think of climate-change deniers, or all those Trump voters so deeply suspicious of elites.

“What’s Happening to the Bees and Butterflies?” [New York Review of Books]. I see hardly any honeybees anymore, though I do see wasps and bumblebees, and butterflies are much more scarce than I remember them, though I have managed to attract some with wildflowers.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


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About Lambert Strether

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


        1. Steve H.

          Ginger Beer is AWESOME! But the variation by brand is huge. Some seem to just waft a ginger sprig over water. The best, you can feel your earwax melting.

  1. Skip Intro

    Hamilton Electors: another group with the presence of mind to solicit donations from Clinton dead-enders while they are transitioning from denial to bargaining phases of grief. How can we get a piece of the action, I wonder. Would be it immoral, or would it be a service to humanity?

    1. KurtisMayfield

      I am willing to bet that none of the Democrats understand the irony of them identifying with Alexander Hamilton. This was America’s first political conservative, he founded the New York Post, and was a staunch supporter of having a strong executive branch. Democratic party values personified.

      1. integer

        I am willing to bet that none of the Democrats understand the irony of them identifying with Alexander Hamilton.

        Don’t you understand that there is a totally awesome Broadway musical called Hamilton?

      2. auntienene

        Identifying with Hamilton? It looks like they are identifying with Republicans.

        If they are going to all the trouble of upsetting the EC vote, why not propose a Democrat? They’re the ones who care about women, right?

        Ultimately, they don’t care who gets hurt.

  2. Pavel

    Hi Lambert

    I listened to the Glenn Thrush podcast with David Brock last night in fact. After the Wikileaks revelations about GT’s collusion with the Dems I gave up his podcasts, but as a politics junkie (like most of us here) I couldn’t resist hearing what Brock had to say.


    * He said basically HRC didn’t do anything wrong — the media turned against her
    * He didn’t think to discuss possible Clinton Foundation issues with WJC
    * Re: the email server problems — she was the victim of “bad advice” from her aides

    As for the “weeping” — I don’t have the podcast at hand any more but shall try to find the timestamp and post later. It did in fact seem to me at the time that he was crying. That was when he wasn’t whooping it up with Thrush about various Democrat-insider doings in DC.

    Brock described how he had a non-profit outfit to get out the vote (IIRC) but also a for-profit venture to help get HRC elected (again, IIRC — it was all a bit complicated). KERR-CHING! But he kept saying how he needed George Soros or someone else to give him “a billion dollars” to defeat Trump.

    1. Pat

      A million just doesn’t go as far as it used to when you are expected to provide some results.

      Ummm. point one – wrong:
      point two – I vote for studiously avoid rather than didn’t think
      So no one wanted to tell Clinton it was a recipe for disaster and to just suck it up and be transparent? Why might that be? Some aspect of Clinton’s personality? Or a another way to respond to that is who picked those aides and who was the one to make the final decision – the buck still stops with Clinton.

    2. TK421

      It did in fact seem to me at the time that he was crying.

      Wait–you mean literally crying? With tears?

      1. Pavel

        TK421 and Lambert, I’ll update here.

        I listened again this evening (the lengths I’ll go to for NC!).

        Brock did indeed seem to “tear up” at 51:00 or just thereafter, but it was in discussing the “pizzagate” affair and the effects on his ex-partner James Alefantis (who is at the centre of the Comet Pizza scandal).

        I suppose that is natural enough, but just a reminder of how connected (or “incestuous”) the DC political establishment is. A pox on ALL their houses!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author


          I should say that the whole pizzagate thing — NO discussion, please — was as vile as any operation Brock ever ran, whether against Clinton (when funded by Republicans in the 90s) or for Clinton (when funded by Democrats in this century). That said, I shouldn’t have succumbed to the temptations of schadenfreude; that’s the trouble with snark. It dehumanizes. Did it for years, so the temptation is always there. AA would call it a slip.

  3. thepanzer

    The Hamilton Electors are calling for a coup. Nothing more or less. It should be stated as such, that the Democrats are calling for a coup to stop the President-elect, who won the elector college tallies by a very wide margin, from becoming president. I don’t agree with the EC system but that’s the current system we have. To pretend you can circumvent it is to call for a coup against the current form of US government and the constitution.

    They have well and truly lost their minds. They better hope this comes to nothing, because if the EC was foolish enough to go along with this madness it most certainly will lead to violence. Trump isn’t the type to stand down. It will go nuclear in the courts, the press, and in the streets. The military and DOD agencies will have to pick sides, likewise the governors of each state, police departments, national guard units, state legislators, family members, businesses, the whole shebang. It could get ugly fast.

    1. V.N.

      I don’t believe there’s a chance in hell these people are going to attract enough support to flip the election. (If it had been an eight or nine-vote margin in the EC and a significant popular vote loss, and the incoming EC winner were obviously preparing to ignore constitutional norms, maybe. But an EC margin of this magnitude, with no genuinely popular alternative candidate? Seems like too much of a stretch to be a credible threat.)

      But having said that, I’m not sure I understand the argument that faithless electors would be a blow to the constitutional order in a way that repeated EC victories for candidates who lose the popular vote isn’t, or that the lawlessness (by all previous standards) of the Bush v. Gore decision wasn’t. The mechanism is sitting there in the constitution, after all. It’s always been there, just as the backstop House vote mechanism to deal with failure in the EC has always been there. We’ve had the opportunity to address it by getting rid of the EC for a couple of centuries now, and we haven’t.

      I don’t like the system either, and yes, it would be destabilizing if this thing somehow succeeded; but I don’t see how it’s any more outrageous or coup-like than other anomalies the system has produced and continues to produce. It wouldn’t be tanks rolling down the streets, or the arrests of duly-elected officials. It would be the established rules functioning to produce an anomalous result, but it would be within those rules.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe the globe warms naturally, but if you see Man Made Global Warming (on top of it), you still call it and try to address it.

        So, yes, this is a Big Lie right in front of us…so big, many don’t see.

      2. Waldenpond

        You might be interpreting the rules to your benefit…. I am sure many small states that have just had their constitutionally agreed to representation stripped by the CA vote will disagree with the self-proclaimed reasonableness of your position. I don’t think the attitude of ‘just get over it’ is going to fly and would note the vast number of over-weaponized National Guard armories and police forces that, if they don’t react, are still resources for those that will. All it will take is one person at those sites to open the gates and supply the keys.

        1. sleepy

          There’s no prohibition in the constitution–the electors are free to vote for anyone they want to within the legal provisions of the particular state they represent. In other words, unless a state legally binds an elector to vote for the candidate that won that elector’s state, they are free to vote for anyone they want. The unbound electors could meet next week and vote for Yves or Lambert if they wanted to and if either got to 270 we’d have a president.

          Would that be fair? democratic? No. Destabilizing? Yes. But imho it’s a constitutional non-issue and not a matter of “interpreting the rules” to someone’s benefit. It’s just what the rules are, asinine as they might be.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And electors usually are chosen for their reliability to represent state results.

            If they change their minds, from spontaneous natural causes, that is one thing. And how likely is that they vote otherwise, without outside interference, monetary temptation or pressuring?

            This is campaigning after the election. This is tampering.

          2. Waldenpond

            I can’t express how much I am enjoying reading and listening to mostly liberals and progressives abandon representation of minorities… which is specifically what the electoral college was founded to do…. protect the minorities of the small states from exploitation and being denied representation.

            It is clearly a myth that small states are experiencing outsized representation or others would be moving there to take advantage of those sweet, sweet benefits but I just don’t agree with the hand waving away people’s concerns as ‘the rules’ is going to work. People are already very angry with corruption, this is just more.

            We would never get Lambert or Smith as president. The thought that the people would tolerate that is so odd to me, I don’t even know how to address that.

      3. Optimader

        We live in a Republic. There is nothing inappropriate with an electoral college in this context.
        What arrangement would work better?

        Much fury and gnashing of teeth in the Democrat cat herd. I think its more a case of perpetuating the narrative of the long suffering Democrat party being cheated by mean bullies that are not as smart as them. The notion that the MSM was ANYTHING but in the bag for HRC amazes me!

        1. Praedor

          What would work better is to simply change the rules on the EC so they are proportionally distributed based upon a given state’s general election results. No winner-take-all, and better than a two-way split vote that makes permanent the two-party duopoly.

          If Indiana voters went 48% for candidate A, 32% for candidate B, and 20% candidate C then that is how the electoral votes would be split. You wouldnt even need Electors anymore since it would be a simple math formula applied to the number of electoral votes your state has. Use rounding up and down to make it all come out even and set a floor for the division (you have to pull at least 2% to get electoral votes awarded). This method respects the general election voters on a PER STATE basis, thus protecting the representation of smaller states, without giving in to a dictatorship of the majority by going with the national popular vote. Screw the national popular vote.

          I sure and shit do not want Los Angeles and New York essentially picking MY President every 4 years. That is what going off the national popular vote would do.

      4. LT

        They don’t care about changing the election.

        They care about Russia. If they aren’t in, they want pressure on Trump administration.

    2. alex morfesis

      plenty of elections have been stolen in this wondrous u.s. of aywassup…there will be no revolution…but it would spell the end of the democratic party in 2018…so those in the party who are not living on cou(p)madin(tm) and little blue pills for thrills will deal with the grumpy gramma and put her out to pasture…or the glue factory…

      forget joining a revolution or the resistance…

      there are no dictators and royals between these two oceans…

      join the insistance…

      don’t allow a few idiots and dingbats who hate the world because no one wanted to play kickball with them in kindergarten and now spend their days on the acela make a mess of this republic (if we can keep it)

      join the insistance…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Beheading a cancer patient is still murder.

        Plenty of mutant election result-cells, but this tampering with electors is still a coup.

    3. LT

      I think it’s more about trying to keep pressure on Russia, even without being in the executive office.
      They really do not give a rat’s butt about Trump in office, that administration or their domestic agenda.
      The insider Clintonites and never-Trumpers will never feel the bad side of any of those plans.

    4. clarky90

      I found this over at reddit. I have edited out most of the text and left the main headings. The Dems think that having a massive temper tantrum will change their parents’ minds. (It has always worked in the past!) Nothing could be further from the truth. They are not dealing with Mom and Dad.

      “The United States Government has extensively studied the concept of second American Civil War.

      Their conclusion is as follows: They don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning. The moment civil war is declared, the government loses. No scenario or outcome ends in their success. Period. It’s just a matter of how long it takes.
      A longer analysis will follow, but here are the salient points.
      30% of the American population will actively revolt.
      This alone is enormous and damning. Historically, you only need 10% of the population to actively participate in a rebellion to successfully overthrow the establishment: We only had 15% of the population actively attempting to throw out the British during the Revolutionary War; roughly 70% of what remained was neutral and simply stood by. By contrast, 30% of Americans in modern America would support a revolution to stop their own government if it happened tomorrow That’s how discontent the people are and how much the people don’t support the government.
      The government would need infrastructure more than rebels would.

      Taking America in a land war is almost impossible.
      The United States is absolutely full of natural terrain chokepoints

      A significant majority–between 55 and 70%–of the military would defect to the side of the citizens.
      The problem with suppressing the people with a military, that literature and fantasy tend to overlook or ignore, is that the military is the people, too.

      At least 10% of the people who defect to the civilian side would not do so openly, and they would not abandon their posts.

      The media fearmongers because it’s profitable.
      The media, for all of its paid shillery, would give coverage of everything the resistance does because it is immensely profitable for them to do so.

      American civilians are armed and dangerous.

      The last resort Catch 22.

      The United States has an enormous stockpile of munitions and explosives, up to and including a massive number of nuclear warheads. But they cannot use any of this in this Civil War.”

      1. LT

        A USA Civil War would take place online.
        And the joke is on anyone taking a bullet for any of these politicians.

    5. Bugs Bunny

      And their graphic design is atrocious. Though I am annoyed by most political graphic design of our era.

    6. Toolate

      Is this tempest in teapot:
      A) neocon maneuvering to get trump to toe line
      B) distracting attnetion from Democrats fail
      C) sour grapes

    7. dcblogger

      I assume that this will go nowhere, but if it did happen it would mean violence. Trump supporters would get their guns long before anyone asked them to. The people driving this are in complete denial. So many people I used to admire are pushing this.

    8. Michael

      After two elections in which the deranged system threw it to the second-highest vote-getter and another, in ’04, which Diebold probably selected, I think the idea of a “coup” has kinda sailed. Certainly the idea of “elections” is beginning to.

      Let’s apply the same level of compassion we give to the average teabagger who votes to strip children of health care to folks who are legitimately trying to understand why the world is so awful.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        In your second paragraph, “the teabagger who votes to strip children of health care” (Republicans?) is juxtaposed with “folks who are legitimately trying to understand why the world is so awful,” by which I assume you mean the Hamilton electors.

        Rather incomplete descriptions, and they naturally pose a question. Do you have “the same level of compassion” for both groups? Or do you think the people in one of the groups don’t deserve as much empathy, given how they voted?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > legitimately trying to understand why the world is so awful

        That would be the left, who the liberals and conservatives are both trying to suppress by combining a war scare with a Red Scare.

    9. zaster

      Well, since he sued to stop the recounts and succeeded against much evidence that they were highly compromised, we actually cannot assume he won at all. When they can’t or won’t verify–or even count most of–the vote, there was no election. It’s a farce and a crime. We may be about to crown the wrong one.

      1. Foppe

        So “much” that the Ds couldn’t be bothered to make a fuss? Or did they stay silent because of blackmail? Anyway, this won’t be reformed until one of the parties starts to take this seriously, though even then I doubt they could engineer a R win if the Ds came up with a candidate with an actually appealing political program. (Like, you know…)

  4. fresno dan

    The first podcast on this list, “David Brock: Clinton campaign allowed her image “to be destroyed” is said to include David Brock weeping at Clinton’s loss [Politico’s Off Message]. Readers, would it be possible for any of you to actually listen to it, and post the time-code in comments if he does? Normally, I wouldn’t post something I can’t find independent evidence for, but in this case the schadenfreude is too delicious. (I’ll cross it out, thus, if in fact Brock does not weep.)

    I would say I have paid my dues with all my reporting on the repub debates……but on the other hand, I’m the guy who said too much schadenfreude is………wonderful.
    His tears will be like glistening drops of Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002 — $899

    1. Optimader

      Ill wait out the revolution w my10 cases of Oktoberfest, a stack of canned mackerel fillets, mayo,capers and a box of unread books.

      If marshall law is declared and all the Starbucks are occupied there will be no revolution , it will be like depriving the Wehrmacht of its fuel o/

  5. Altandmain

    The Equitable Growth study showed all we need to know.

    Obama during the 2016 Democratic Convention said that America was already great. Only for the social class that he associates himself with.

    This smug, self-congratulatory tone helped seal the deal for Trump and stands in contrast to candidate Obama in 2008. He knew what the situation was and what voters wanted. His entire campaign in 2008 reflected that. It’s a story of betrayal.

    Maybe American didn’t deserve Trump, but the Clinton family did not deserve to win.

  6. Pat

    I sort of love that the following tweets on the #hamiltonelectors link can’t make the leap from the majority of the people in the country voted for Hillary but the majority of the voters in various states voted for Trump and that electors represent their state. IOW, the excess voters from California do not mean anything. I’m almost tempted to resurrect my dormant twitter account and point out to them that the electors being targeted for this do NOT represent California, and the voters of say Wisconsin might be pissed if their electors blew off their wishes and voted Clinton. Just as most CA or NY voters would go ballistic if their electors voted for Trump or Kaisch or …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A faithless elector can always claim it was an act by his clone (made without his/her knowledge by Putin).

      Should electors be sequestered between Nov. 8 and Dec. 19?

      Even without cloning, it’s possible to get a convincing double (just ask the real Louis XIV or the Prisoner of Zenda).

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      As I keep saying, Clinton racked up votes on states she didn’t need, and didn’t get votes in the states she did need. She never visited Wisconsin, flew home every night, and spent most of August schmoozing with donors. And we know, from the Ada debacle, that her campaign relied on an algo that systematically misallocated campaign resources. So there are reasons Clinton butchered the election in the way that she did. She had one job.

    1. Portia

      even his homies turned their back on him, except Welch. they knew how popular he was then, but what do the voters know???

    2. V.N.

      If I were a Republican elector someplace like Michigan, that would likely be the play I’d try to make.

      “My state’s voters rejected Clinton, and I’m damned if I’m going to help you install her against their expressed will. But I’ll tell you what, I think Sanders would have won here, and if you Democrats will switch to Sanders I will too. If we’re going to do something this extreme at all, we need to pick a candidate that half the country doesn’t already hate, and ideally one who isn’t either a Republican or a Democrat so it’s not obviously partisan — yeah, crazy thought, huh?”

      1. zaster

        I don’t think we did elect Trump tho. And since he did everything he could to shut down the recount that should have simply confirmed his win, I’m more convinced that he knows he didn’t win in MI. His observers even went so far as to make so much noise people couldn’t concentrate, made so many bogus challenges that one polling manager lost it and refused to write any more of them down. Trump was absolutely terrified of the recount.

        1. Skip Intro

          Giving Clinton PA and MI still leave Trump the winner. If democrats cared about election integrity, Obama would have done something about it.

      1. aab

        The only enjoyable thing that would come out of this power play if it worked would be watching all these elite media feminists explaining why they’re happy to get anti-choice John Kasich or Mike Pence as President.

        And it would probably stop being fun before I well and truly drunk, so it would be a very limited delight.

  7. Portia

    giggle. when I read that Hillary’s campaign “allowed her image to be destroyed” I had an immediate mental image of her picture, with somebody drawing a mustache and beard and maybe horns, or pimples, whatever. When someone has already had an extensive public life, they are the ones who have done the “destroying”. That “image” horse has left the barn.

    1. TK421

      Darn it, people would think of Hillary as a *good* purveyor of destruction, disorder, and death if it weren’t for that meddling media!!! Coup in Haiti, war in Libya, support for Nafta–just a little better spin and she’d be golden!

    2. Katharine

      Decades ago, the back cover of the Junior Scholastic used to have ads for hair coloring (“Does she or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”) with a blond in profile. Everybody decorated those: it was part of the ritual of getting the magazine.

      And why they were advertising hair dye to seventh graders I shall never understand.

  8. thoughtfulperson

    Apologies if these two links were already posted, but I did not see them and think they are pretty strong evidence against all the hot air about “Russian hackers”. Apparently all the mainstream media journalists are taking the CIA’s word for it, but, where’s the evidence???

    This first link is from the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and includes a number of x-NSA type experts on hacking data. They are’nt going for the case for “Russian Hackers”:

    The second is an interview with Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and former Univ of Dundee Rector. He says he has met a leaker in person, of one (or both) of the DNC and Podesta email leaks and that said person (or persons) are not Russian but are US insiders from the Democratic Party and/or the NSA:

    Speculation: Why all the fake news about “Russian Hackers”? Combined with the efforts to convince electors to vote for other than the candidate they are pledged to, could there be an effort to install a more military industrial complex (MIC) friendly (in other words, under the thumb of), candidate? At the very least, all the propaganda will weaken the legitimacy of a Trump presidency… Or maybe this flailing around will backfire and strengthen Trump? Or could that be the point of it all? So far I am betting on option #1, attempt to replace Trump by MIC.

    1. flora

      another possible point: creating the appearance of a reality to bolster any future legal defense, should it be necessary, for Hillary mishandling US classified emails so badly that they may have ended up on Huma’s ex-husband’s computer. Now that’s mishandling govt intellegence. heh.

    2. Hana N

      “Why all the fake news about “Russian Hackers”?”

      This will be used if Trump makes any “Russia friendly” move like, Heaven forbid, reaching a Syria deal, cutting waste at defense or renegotiating some NATO commitments.

    3. JustAnObserver

      If we take Craig Murray’s word that it was an inside leaker then the level of hysteria and political craziness would be explained by:

      (1) They – the CIA/FBI/XXX – have been trying desperately to find whoever it is and have, so far, completely #FAILED.

      (2) Said – putative – leaker may have far more, and more damaging, material than any released so far. Or at least that’s what is feared. Even that the leaker is so close to the center of the Dem/Clinton cabal they may even *still* have access … or perhaps had access to the 30000 or so deleted emails.

      => So what we’re seeing is a preemptive attempt at discrediting any future leaks.

      Even if this is the case I think what may have happened is that what was supposed to be a controlled exercise in damage limitation got amplified far beyond that by the Hillbot’s despair and rage against the `deplorables’. They latched onto the “Putin dun it” like a newly hatched chicken latching onto the nearest chair leg as mummy.

      Now we have the spectacle of the CIA/Obama/Neocons/ upping the ante in an attempt to `get ahead of the mob & call it a parade’

      1. pricklyone

        The heat is really on whomever gave emails to Wikileaks, I guess!

        If you look at the first link @thoughtfulperson gives above, the premise is that it is impossible for the info to be hacked, because the NSA would know where it came from. Therefore it had to be leaked from inside.
        This group (VIPS) includes Larry Johnson, who 4 days ago said:

        “What they can say for sure is that the DNC and Podesta emails were hacked. Those hacked emails were passed to WIKILEAKS. Those emails were then released to the public. What the intel community will be hard pressed to prove is that the Russian Government conceived of and directed such a campaign. This is the true information operation to meddle in the U.S. election, but that isn’t Russia. That’s Obama.”

        Now he states that any hack was impossible, because NSA would be able to track easily!
        Whatever the facts are, these guys need to get their story straight. If the NSA is so infallible at tracking IP, then how do all these hackers keep stealing CC info, and personal info from GOV
        servers, as well as commercial servers?
        Russian interference in our elections is a bogus construction, for sure, but these guys are sounding just silly. A bunch of NSA and CIA alums who are relying on Snowden revelations?(Read first part of the link)
        Why would they need Snowden to tell them what they should know already?
        The second link is the Craig Summers story, already linked here prior. He is an associate and friend of J. Assange. He says it was a leak, not a hack and corroborates Assange.
        That is fine as far as it goes. More info would certainly be welcomed.

        1. integer

          The heat is really on whomever gave emails to Wikileaks, I guess!

          Assuming it wasn’t Seth Rich who did the leaking, of course.
          He has already felt the heat.
          In the back of his head iirc.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

      Good group back in the WMD days.

      We linked to Murray a couple of days ago. A plausible alternative narrative, but in the absence of compelling evidence, just, and only that.

  9. Roger Smith

    Re: “”Hamilton”” Electors — Like the broadway play? How neat!

    I hope that 37 electorates do abstain, I hope that the House has to decide, and I hope Trump wins anyways. A lesson in humiliation would serve them right.

    1. cocomaan

      There’s nothing good about it going to the House. That would escalate what’s already a bit of a crisis in the system’s legitimacy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “If I can’t have it, you can’t either.”

        I saw a play like that when I was 5 year old (my memory is faulty, so perhaps it was from a dream).

        It’s depressing (and a sad commentary on humans as a species) to think that many kids are born thinking that way and have to be taught to act otherwise.

        1. Aumua

          It’s ok for a toddler to think that way, cause they’re a kid! It’s not ok for people to keep thinking that way as adults. We’re supposed to grow out of it, but a lot of people don’t, and that’s because they don’t have any need to. It’s an issue that crosses all boundaries of race, class, and what-have-you. We don’t grow up, and it leaves us crippled as beings. I think it’s especially true for the .01%

  10. cocomaan

    The honeybees are victims of globalization. True, pesticides don’t help, but given their wild roosting in tree cavities, honeybees should be able to weather some of it. Unfortunately, it’s the varroa destructor mite that has killed off wild honeybee populations. Varroa copulate incestuously and drain the blood of bees when they are still in the growth stages of imago, then burst out of the cocoon pregnant. It’s disgusting. Things are, agonizingly slowly, getting better. Breeding, rather than medicating, is now seen as the way forward against the pest. There are other threats abroad (Asian Giant Hornet) but for now I am hopeful. One should remember, too, that honeybees are an invasive species to N America.

    Regarding the butterfly populations, any cause applies also to the wild bee populations. I think this is largely a function of tapis vert and the obsession with green lawns instead of weedy ground. Most sod grasses are invasive species, though often the state extension systems don’t list them as such. We need more visually modest ground to support the native insects. They love humble spaces.

    That article describes the loss of biodiversity very well. I liked the author’s critique of McCarthy and “He is calling, really, for a heightened state of awareness and the kind of testimony that almost anyone can offer.” That’s a new agey bullshit prescription. Raising awareness won’t do anything unless you drag someone out into the wild and that doesn’t always work.

    It’s much better to support projects like American Prairie Reserve which are seeking to create natural ecosystems.

    1. Gareth

      Supposedly Russian bees imported from Siberia are resistant to the mites. A couple of bee keepers in northern Wisconsin have been breeding and selling them. I’m sure others around the country are as well. Or it might just be an ingenious Putin plot to genetically brainwash us through honey consumption.

        1. cocomaan

          You guys are cracking me up.

          Absolutely, Russian bees are resistant. According to my club’s experts, though, they do weird things. One guy told me that they hide their virgin queens in cells, which sounded a little like Anastasia so I wasn’t sure if he was kidding. But I plan to experiment with them at some point because Russians evolved next to the asian honeybees and thus coevolved with the mite to an extent.

  11. Plenue

    What legal grounds do the electors even have for voting for someone other than the candidate who won the area they represent? Voters voted for Trump, not for some other Republican that electors can pick on a whim. If the electors can just choose whomever they want, than the electoral college is revealed to be as much of an utter anti-democratic joke as the meaningless popular vote.

    1. Aumua

      If it happens, then it really is a coup. It really is an overthrowing of the government .. by the powers that be! With the backing of what is supposed to be the liberal left! It’s so backwards, it boggles the mind.

      I’ve always considered myself to be liberal in the classic sense of the word. I support rights and freedoms for the individual, and I support regulation and restriction on those who would exploit us all. I mean that’s what our founding fathers were kind of aiming for.. I think? But to see Trump turning out to be just as awful on the actual issues as they said he would, and at the same time to see that he represents what’s left of legitimate democracy here in the U.S.. that is being ruthlessly assaulted by the truly evil elites, in the name of the oppressed..

      How can any sane mind not be experiencing some level of cognitive dissonance right now? Drugs and booze I suppose.. but I don’t use them. Cheers to you I guess, if you do.

      1. zaster

        Because Trump’s hysterical opposition to a recount that should have simply confirmed his win tells me that he knows he didn’t win. And mountains of evidence back that up, contrary to the statements by the judges he appears to have bribed.

        1. integer

          And mountains of evidence back that up

          And yet here you are making this claim while offering precisely zero evidence to back it up.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are those electors going to vote via web-connected machines?

      Can those machines be hacked?

      How does one go about requesting a recount of that election?

      Best two out of three? “If you are so good, surely you can beat me again.”

      1. marym

        The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.


        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The vulnerable link, then, is probably during the transmission, sealed, to the seat of the government of the United States.

          Is that Putin-proof?

  12. hemeantwell

    Re the CNN piece defending Trump’s turn to Russia:

    Trump supporters are sharing a Los Angeles Times article from 1996 in which American political strategists boast about their role in helping re-elect President Yeltsin in the recent Russian presidential election

    I’m delighted! Principle I in The American Citizen’s Basic Guide to International Relations should be: put yourself in the nefarious opponent’s shoes, consider their history, and then reconsider your outrage. Over the space of about a month the Yeltsin election story has gone from being something that Mark Ames has to dig up from his archives to an argument used by supporters of a president-elect.

  13. ginnie nyc

    Tell me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that if the electors do not certify the election and it’s thrown into the House, the reps can only pick from the top 3 presidential candidates and the top 2 vp candidates. If that is so, why is the ‘Hamilton’ project blithering on about people like Powell and Rice? They are ineligible to be considered.

    1. marym

      The House can only pick from the top 3 in electoral votes. If the electors vote for someone other than Trump or Clinton that person (or one of those persons, if the electors split their votes) will be in the top 3.

    2. alex morfesis

      hamiltonian coup…gotta get them googlemonster eyeballs…get that 15 seconds of adword money…

      can we just go back to lucha libre(late 1970’s – 1980’s)…the world was much more fun when daddy mcmahon senior spoke spanish and andre the giant was not a light post stencil and lou albano was not doing voice over work…

      although it was hamilton who tried to stop burr and “insulted ” him about his illegal coup…

      great view of manhattan from the spot where hamilton let burr shoot him in new jersey

      suspecting this is just some fundraising, list building operation

    3. Vatch

      The top three candidates aren’t the three people who got the most popular votes in November. They will be the candidates who will get the most votes in the December 19 election by the members of the Electoral College.

      If Trump gets 260 electoral votes, Clinton 232, person A gets 30, and person B gets 16, then person B is not eligible, but person A is eligible to be the next President. Person A could be any one of the people that the Hamilton Electors are babbling about.

    4. sufferinsuccotash, normalized

      See 1824. Clay won more popular votes than Crawford, but Crawford did better with the EVs so the House vote came down to Quincy Adams, Jackson and Crawford. The entire exercise would be absolutely pointless because it would come down to a straight vote between Trump and Clinton (just as it did with Adams and Jackson), which Trump would of course win because the GOP controls the House. So, aside from gratuitously crapping on the floor, what’s the point of denying Trump electoral votes? The only other consequence would be to generate a lot of misplaced sympathy for this goon. Of course, it also distracts the Democrats from facing the consequences of the party’s decay over the past eight years.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Entirely possible. But let’s stick with today. The Dow set another record high of 19,911 (sounds a little ominous, don’t it?).

      The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite (thousands of stocks) and Nasdaq 100 (large cap stocks) also set record highs. The Russell 2000 small-cap index took a break.

      Dow 20K watch: 0.44% away.

  14. thoughtfulperson

    Thanks to WikiLeaks, we now know that Obama was seeking and following the advice of Wall Street even before he was elected; in a remarkable email dated October 6, 2008, Michael Fromer, an executive at Citigroup, wrote John Podesta, co-chair of Obama’s transition team (and in 2016 the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign), with a list of candidates…

    Perhaps a technicality, but it is Froman not Fromer per this article (and wikipedia):


    Which happens to end with a few lines about Russia – interesting to compare to today’s situation:

    “Hillary Clinton has promised a third Obama term. What she failed to mention was that Obama actually delivered the third and fourth terms of the Clinton administration.

    Given this reality, it is easy to understand why the Clinton team is anxious to assign nefarious motives to Russia for the WikiLeaks revelations. From our viewpoint, the hacked emails must be viewed as a critical window of light into how American democracy has been hopelessly corrupted under corporate campaign financing.”

    Not sure it’s the Clinton team at work today though the rhetoric is similar. More like the “establishment” whoever they may be.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Hey cw,
      Sorry to be annoying but I remember recently seeing you comment mill’s DID vote for H, boomers did not. I don’t remember if there was a link but can’t seem to find your comment.

      Could you point me in the right direction? It’s an interesting point of fact…

        1. integer

          Very few NC readers have any trust left in the NYT, or MSN for that matter. I hate to have to ask this, but are you living on the same planet as the rest of us? Don’t you get tired of being outspokenly wrong all the time? To me at least, your comments seem to consistently be driven by emotion rather than critical analysis. “Feeling strongly” about something counts for exactly zero, especially when one is starting from faulty premises and/or assumptions.

          1. cwaltz

            What planet are YOU living on?

            What “faulty premise” or “assumption” am I making?

            I was asked for data, by someone other than you I might add, and I provided it.

            You don’t like that?

            Tough noogies

            I’m not interested in your opinion on my feelings.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          thank you, I did see that chart. since there was a low turnout among millenials I probably wouldn’t call that millenials voting for Hillary. but I agree boomers didn’t, cuz they are the ones old enough to have known better times and these aren’t them.

          and integer wtf is the matter with you, you are like on steroids lately, just barely this side of personal attacks in your remarks about others’ comments

          1. integer

            I have watched the comments section closely for a long time and am simply expressing views I have formed over a long period of time. You are correct that I’ve been more outspoken about these things lately though, as until recently I had held myself back from mentioning these types of things. I guess I’m just tired of the bs, especially when the world is dealing with such serious issues at the moment. Ymmv.

            1. cwaltz

              “Expressing views” is that code for “feeling strongly?”

              You might not want to toss rocks if you are going to live in a glass house.

              I too am tired of BS and my intent is going to be to call hypocritical behavior out. Feel free to avoid me in the comment section if you don’t want to “hear” my opinion but don’t expect me to back down from expressing it since I have as much a right to an opinion and to express that opinion as you do. I don’t like bullies.

              1. integer

                “Expressing views” is that code for “feeling strongly?”


                I don’t like bullies.

                Nor do I.

                Feel free to avoid me in the comment section

                It’s a deal.

          2. integer

            wtf is the matter with you, you are like on steroids lately

            “And now the icing on the cake, the ubersteroid that makes it all mobile: wireless. Wireless is what allows you to take everything that has been digitized, made virtual and personal, and do it from anywhere.”

            Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you a Thomas Friedman metaphor, a set of upside-down antlers with four thousand points: the icing on your uber-steroid-flattener-cake!


            Sorry ChiGal. Couldn’t resist. Apologies in advance to but I’m just joking around. Hope there’s no hard feelings.

  15. Paid Minion

    Yeah, I voted for “change” in 2008.

    Change #1 being letting the Banksters hold the s##t bag, instead of bailing their azzes out. Whatever pain that was inflicted on the economy on the whole, it would have been worth it to have seen some of these guys end up getting food stamps.

    Ninty days in, and it was obvious who the s##t bag holders were going to be. Nothing is going to be fixed, when you promote the stupid effers who created the problem.

    What made it worse was that they were “offended” when they got a little flogging with a wet noodle. While at the same time saying Roosevelt’s decisions in the Great Depression were a mistake.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Seriously? You don’t remember Obama out right-flanking McCain (who officially cancelled his campaign at that point) and Bush Jr. before the ’08 election by running to D.C. to encourage helping the banksters out as if he had already been elected? Playing Pres. far earlier than anything we’ve seen this year.

      That wasn’t writing on the wall, that was a red hot iron brand bailout(tm) pressed upon your forehead, and you still expected change with your vote for him?

      Two months before that he urged immunity for the telcos.. A month before that, the very first day he had the D nomination sewed up… the very first thing he did was run with glee, side by side with Rahm Emmanuel up the stairs of some place in D.C., like little boys… to bow before AIPAC.

      And you said yesterday you were an old firedog, so you had to know these things.

    2. Michael

      Bailouts were fine; I just also wanted jumpsuits. The guy with the printing press can use it to solve some problems.

  16. Kronosaurus

    I realize that evidence of Russian hacking is inconclusive. But come on folks, we sat through years of Benghzi. We launched countless tribunals based on the fact that Obama didn’t forcefully enough declare the event pre-meditated. In other words, the Republicans thought it was a scandal that he spun the event. So by that measure alone I do not begrudge the Dems for wanting to take any scandal and use it as a pretext for launching tribunals. This is payback.

    Obviously that is deeply cynical. But if there was ever a time to launch a witch hunt, this is it. We have a couple of key facts. Important emails were hacked. That is a fact. The said emails were then exposed during a hard-fought election. Again, fact. So it is obvious that they were hacked and/or exposed for the sake of influencing the election. And it is not lost on me that maybe we should have access to this info because transparency is always good. But the big contextual issue here is that Trump did not get equal treatment. Contextual whopper number 2 is that he never did release his tax returns. Contextual fact number 3 – his Russian connections. His calls for Russia to hack Clinton. Sure, he may have been joking, but at some point that man has to be responsible for words that come out of his mouth. So I’m seeing a lot of smoke here. And when there is smoke, we should investigate.

    Unfortunately, the Dems are not as good at calling for witch hunts. They have already gotten off to a bad start. Sites like Naked Capitalism are spending a lot of time critiquing the intel and avoiding the smoke. It is starting to look like many people are piling it on to the Dems once again, just like Benghazi and emailgate. Which is amazing since, as per the campaign, Trump is still sitting on a pile of scandalous facts. If he were a Democrat folks would have no problem finding a good scandal to impeach him on. But as soon as the Dems find one to latch onto, curiously, the alternative media folks tend to want to attack the Dems. This false equivalency debate being conducted by the alternative media will distract the internet while Trump embeds himself further into this presidency. Sadly, everyone agrees he is not fit for presidency. Let’s start the tribunals now. Let’s use this smoke as a reason to subpoena Trump’s minions. By the standards set by the Republicans in the past there are enough facts and smoke to warrant one . It does not matter if Russia is behind the hacks or if Trump is connected. He might be, and that is good enough. Before you know it, with the power of the subpoena we will start to collect official lies and be able to impeach him. This shouldn’t be hard folks.

    1. Plenue

      I thought Correct the Record had been shutdown?

      Also I’m pretty sure the Benghazi scandal as presented was always kabuki theater to discredit even the suggestion of anything untoward happening at the US Embassy, to cover up its involvement in gunrunning to Syria.

      1. Waldenpond

        It has. These are committed volunteers (or really bored CIA employees). Is it bad that I chuckle at how bad it is?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I dunno. We hear CTR has been shut down, but I’m seeing the usual suspects doing the usual things. So I’d speculate that at least some of the money flowing through Brock has been redirected to another entity.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I disagree with your suggestion that the Dems should act more like the Repubs in an attempt to get rid of Trump. They’ve been trying to act more Republicans since Slick Willy was elected and it hasn’t gotten them very far and has been awful for the rest of us.

      Sure the Republicans went nuts over Benghazi but the thing is there was a scandal there that should have had some serious consequences, just not the one Republicans were harping on. Seymour Hersh reported that the ’embassy’ was basically a front for spooks to run arms from Libya through Turkey and into Syria to arm the ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad which were actually a bunch of jihadis. But the Republicans didn’t have a problem with that scandal – they agreed with it!

      The Republicans looked stupid to all but the most diehard rightwing fanatics and that’s how the Dems look with the Red Scare they’re throwing up. We are not at war with Russia and it’s not against the law to have diplomatic relations with other countries. It should be encouraged actually.

      And what exactly are the scandals Trump is sitting on? If he done something really serious we’d have heard about it. Sure he’s had some shady business deals – so have the Clintons and most other politicians. Being vulgar doesn’t count – if it did we’d have impeached any number of presidents.

      Once he takes office, if he starts shredding the Constitution (what’s left of it anyway after the last few decades of POTUS wiping their asses with it) then go after him. Like the Dems should have done with Bush, except that like the Republicans and Benghazi, they actually agreed with Bush’s lawbreaking and flouting of international law. I suspect something similar will happen this time too – that powder is going to stay dry just as long as the Dems get their cut of the loot. Trump isn’t stupid – he’ll make sure they do.

      Trying to impeach Trump before he takes office smacks of sour grapes. If the Dems do try it after Jan 21 it will only be because they actually like the idea of president Pence which would be disheartening to say the least.

      It’s time to accept the fact that we are totally screwed until this whole rotten system is replaced and that probably won’t happen until it collapses.

      1. fresno dan

        lyman alpha blob
        December 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm

        about as perfectly stateed as possible!

    3. hunkerdown

      Why do you not begrudge a corporation made of rich people lying to poor people? After the email release and the digitally signed #FeelTheMath information buried therein, the Democratic Party should be RICOed out of existence, and those who think that rich people should be allowed to do that should be taken into the street and given a spirited talking-to.

      Tell me why a ruling class that lies shouldn’t be punished.

    4. cm

      Can you state the law that requires the President to release their tax filings? Or do you just like making things up?

    5. voxhumana

      Obviously “everyone” does not agree that Trump is “not fit for presidency”… he got a lot of votes, huh?

      He did not get mine, by the way, but neither did Clinton – a lot of people agreed that they were both unfit for the presidency. And I didn’t vote for either of them.

      Your comment about NC and the alt-media is as preposterous as it is disingenuous.

      There is never a right time to “launch a witchhunt.” Witches aren’t real. Indeed, witch hunts are usually accompanied by mass hysteria.

      Hate to tell ya, fella, but your (partisan)slip is showing… and it’s ugly

    6. aab

      There is so much wrong with this.

      1) No, it is not fact that the emails were hacked. Assange says no; he says it was a leak from an insider. A former British Ambassador says he met the person who gave Wikileaks either the DNC emails or the Podesta emails, and it was an insider — a leak, not a hack. That matters.

      2) No, there is no evidence that Russia interfered in the election. The way Clintonland is getting around this is by claiming that Russia hacked the emails, and gave them to Wikileaks. Problems: first, see “1” directly above. Second, even IF the emails came from Russia, not a single one actually published by Wikileaks has been even disputed — forget about being proved phony. Instead, various high level members of Clintonland have in various ways confirmed that the content of the DNC and Podesta emails are ALL VALID. ALL REAL EMAILS. ALL REAL COMMUNICATIONS AMONG AND BETWEEN DEMOCRATIC INSIDERS.

      So even IF Russia had a hand in getting those emails out there, they didn’t make these people rig the primary. They didn’t make these people corrupt and bully journalists into letting Clintonland control what stories were written (and what were not) in the media. Russia didn’t force Hillary Clinton to put a server in her bathroom and run all her confidential communications through it, then lie about doing it, then obstruct justice to cover up the lawbreaking and the lying.

      Russia didn’t decide to use an algorithm that wasn’t field tested to control where and how Clinton campaigned. Russia didn’t tell her to seek Republican votes even though political science and electoral history proves that almost never works. Russia didn’t tell her to prioritize sleeping in her own bed at night over campaigning in the Midwest. The people who either flipped to Trump or, more significantly, stayed home instead of casting a vote for Clinton didn’t do it because of the emails anyway. What concrete evidence we actually have indicates they already didn’t like Mrs. Clinton, in part because of her longstanding history of lying and being unpleasant, and because she is the wealthy wife of the man who jailed their family members, took food out of their babies’ mouths, or shipped their jobs overseas. Others refused to vote for her because Obama, the man she claimed she was running to deliver a “third term” to, had protected and enriched the bankers who stole their pensions or their homes, or destroyed the companies they had worked for, or helped poison their water or soil, and who betrayed all the promises they cared about and voted him in to deliver.

      Trump is no less fit for the presidency than Mrs. Clinton. These fact-free assertions do tremendous harm to our national conversation and our body politic. We cannot reform and move forward moving on tide of deceit and manipulation. That is how the bad guys operate. Witch hunts have traditionally been considered bad things BECAUSE THEY ARE BAD.

      No, “everyone” does not agree he is not fit for the presidency. That key ingredient of your argument is like the bottom Jenga piece — the rest collapses once that falsehood is removed. You are literally suggesting we use Stalinist tactics — to achieve what positive end, exactly? The installation of a corrupt, warmongering criminal? Or the installation of a Goldman and Koch approved Christianist? Who is it you think will rule us as the result of your proposed actions that will be a meaningful improvement for average Americans that will be worth shredding our governing norms and risking a civil war over?

      Trump is not going to be impeached. Please read the Constitution of the United States and learn how to count beyond your fingers and toes.

      What kinds of policies would you like to see enacted? Because what you’re advocating for will HELP Trump do a whole lot of right wing stuff unmolested, as his opponents are misled and distracted by the phony smoke you think we should all help blow. The Democratic Party in its current incarnation is a failed entity. It has no meaningful power nationally. Its elected officials are primarily deeply corrupt individuals who will be happy to help Trump — either actively or passively — do his worst in most areas of government. The only hope we have of stopping any element of his probable agenda is if the people work together to protest it and demand that the cowardly and corrupt elected Democrats stand up for what they claim they believe. If, as you suggest, the Democrats first attempt coup, and then when that fails, act exactly like the worst aspects of the Republicans and launch vaporous witch hunts that are easily disproved, none of the actual, real bad stuff can be stopped. People will be distracted and confused, and too many will turn away from the legitimate figures — like Bernie Sanders — trying to make positive change. Thus will the people be undermined, and our current corrupt and destructive practices will continue unabated.

      Is that what you want?

      1. Skip Intro

        Thank you! Saved me some ranting.
        I would also point out that the GOP Benghazi witchhunt helped Clinton’s favorability in the polls. So while it backfired on the GOP, much like the Russia hacking story is undercutting the shriveled credibility of those who regurgitate it, it never had an element of agitating for a war with a nuclear power. It also did not turn on smearing important independent sources of information, like wikileaks. While we could guess what the GOP was smoking, it is clear that the Clinton/Brock team are actually playing with fire.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        You are literally suggesting we use Stalinist tactics…

        Interesting you use that phrasing. I was just thinking this morning that we have, it seems, been existing under precisely the same kind of carefully selected information flow as was used to maintain the Soviet Union. “Education reform” has ensured that our children and grandchildren are taught only what will maintain the “patriotic” rhetoric that keeps them trusting those in power to take care of them. Corporate media have been proved to be little more than government propaganda machines. And fact that might hamper the progress of the neoliberal agenda is dismissed (c.f. climate change denial).

        Which to me makes the neo-Cold War rhetoric very, very ironic.

        1. aab

          One disadvantage for us is that because we’re a fascist state where multinational corporations control the government (rather than the reverse) stuff like education “reform” may be even more toxic and harder to unwind. The billionaires pushing it are only nominally citizens of this country. So even if the government “falls,” their capacity to keep manipulating information and education doesn’t necessarily fall with it.

          Damn. Now I’m worrying that I shouldn’t post this, because it will hurt Yves. Should we self-censor?

    7. jrs

      Ok so your a Pence fan, no accounting for taste … President Pence. On the other hand I don’t see it as an improvement.

    8. integer

      Just because the media portrayed the Benghazi investigation as being inconclusive and thus vindicating Clinton does not mean that it is true. Along with the probing of the Benghazi incident, the investigation unearthed Clinton’s private email server. It really is unbelievable to me when I read comments like yours, as you are so sure of yourself yet clearly haven’t done your homework.

      If you are sincere in your interest in these matters, and not just trying to redirect people’s attention to issues that align with your vested interests, here is a point from which to get started on looking into it for yourself:

      Trey Gowdy Catches Susan Rice Lying About Benghazi

      Just this one piece of information alone, that Susan Rice was trying to front run the truth by establishing a media consensus on the story before the facts leaked out, poses some very serious questions as to what exactly Clinton and her team were getting up to during her Sec. State appointment, and why they were so intent on keeping it hidden.

    9. WJ

      Wait, is the Time Lizard for real? Did it mistake this site for Slate or Salon or something? Very entertaining in any case.

  17. tgs

    And in other news, some of you may have noticed today’s Syria freakout in the MSM – both here and abroad. Assad’s troops assisted by their Russian and Iranian allies are rounding up women and children and executing them in the street. Barrel bombs and chlorine gas are also being used on the heroic freedom fighters who still occupy 3% or so of Aleppo.

    And how do the western news agencies know about all this? After all none of them have reporters in Aleppo. It seems as if brave freedom fighters hiding in the rubble are furiously tweeting pictures of what is described as a ‘melt down of humanity’ as they await their terrible fate. Ms. Powers is of course raising hell at the UN.

    B. at Moon of Alabama did find that one tweet featuring the picture of a child running through the rubble escaping her executioners is actually a screen grab from a music video made in 2014.


    1. fresno dan

      December 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Great catch.
      One of those things that probably doesn’t get reported in the MSM cause it makes them look less tech competent than grandpa, and second, it exposes they are too cheap to send real reporters to the location to get vetted material, and third, none of them are even as good as me in my jammies and bunny slippers at finding true stuff on the innertubes….

      1. Donald

        They mostly can’t report from rebel held Syria because there is an excellent chance they would be kidnapped or killed by some of the rebels.

    2. Plenue

      It was actually more like 2% of East Aleppo. It was going down daily for a while. 9%, then 5%, then 4%. The jihadis finally gave up and begged for transportation when it got down to 2%. They’re being loaded onto green buses right about now.

      And the only ones using gas have been the militants. SAA found big caches of supplies for making homemade gas in the liberated areas. A whole lot propaganda tropes have been smashed: the refugees are quite clear that the rebels were not good people, the ‘neutral’ White Helmets are nowhere to be found etc. Watch as the media just keeps on trucking with the bullshit.

  18. Foppe

    I can’t access the CHE article, but I found Latour quite worthwhile, even if he quite unfairly disses/ignores Marx (in order to make his own process-philosophical insights — which also inform David Harvey’s work and reading/explanation of Marx’s work — seem more original? Respectability politics? Idk.) Should reread him sometime soon. He’s quite self-confident, but a quite engaging / entertaining writer. Book recs: Pandora’s Hope, Reassembling the social.

  19. Kfish

    Lambert, with the greatest possible respect: it’s spelled S-Y-D-N-E-Y. Sidney is a man; Sydney is a city.

  20. Darthbobber

    Where else CAN he go? He’s already rejected all possible explanations for defeat other than the conspiracy theory. Best candidate ever. Awesome issues, etc etc.

    So its the Russkie/FBI conspiracy or Satanic inervention.

    1. integer

      Where else CAN he go?

      I’ve got a couple of suggestions but they’re probably not fit for the NC comments section.

  21. Kim Kaufman

    Lambert – re Brock/Politico podcast – don’t know if anyone has listened to it yet but what you’re looking for is at 50′. And he says this from the article connected to the podcast here: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/david-brock-trump-clinton-media-232562

    “For all his reputation as a merciless hired gun (and, from time to time, the boss from hell), Brock is known among his friends for loyalty and providing emotional support in times of trouble. Pizzagate – the alt-right targeting of a D.C. family restaurant Comet Ping Pong based on a made-up story that the eatery was being used as a Clinton-controlled sex-trafficking operation – was personal to him: His ex-boyfriend, James Alefantis, owns the place and has been the subject of multiple death threats, before and after a heavily armed North Carolina man shot up a closet door seeking evidence of the fictional sex plot.

    “We lived together for 10 years in a relationship that ended five years ago,” Brock told me. “James has his own relationship with John Podesta and in the WikiLeaks, it came out that James had written to John about doing a Hillary fundraiser at Comet. So this was seen and a conspiracy theory was woven around it and what you had was kind of an insane crowdsourcing of the issue and they found the link to me pretty quickly. So I think it added fuel to the fire. And so it’s frightening, though, because the fake news and I saw it firsthand. Has real consequences.”

    Then Brock’s voice broke.

    “So… James came to my house last Thursday night, so a week ago, to show me the latest death threats on his phone and they were so vile and so menacing — it’s very upsetting,” he said, stopping to collect himself.

    “I’m scared,” he added. It’s not quite clear if he was talking about Pizzagate or Trump, and maybe it doesn’t matter.”

    I must say it was alternately interesting with lots of details and really hard to listen to because he is so vile.

  22. Kniseley

    First time commenter here. I’m just wondering: if what’s at play here isn’t just Dems and Reps but rather neoliberalism and neofascism, wouldn’t we want neoliberalism–heinous as it is– to win? I can’t stand the Hillary cabal, but they’re riding a wave that’s trying to push back forces riding another very scary wave, American neofascism. In that battle I want the neoliberals to win, nauseous as I am to hear myself say it. Neosocialism is too small to play the role it should here, and I fear for the vulnerable worldwide. Therefore, I find myself rooting for the electors to turn it.

    1. Eureka Springs

      On behalf of burning bodies from Libya to Syria and Iraq right now, this very moment…. burning due to both major parties, our buddies in Saudi and Qatar , Israel, CIA, U.S. military trainers, money, weapons and paychecks to Al Qaeda and Nusra.

      I ask if you are making a distinction worth differentiating?

      I mean it’s not neo-facist Conde Rice begging Putin and Assad to let our spooks and Al Qaeda buddies out of a jam in east Allepo right now… it’s neo-lib Kerry.

    2. voxhumana

      “Turn it” to who? Mike Pence? Talk about a “scary wave”…

      Those GOP EC votes (Hillary cabal?), should they “turn it,” will go to another Republican and if the Dems were destined, by their own incompetence and puerile treachery, to lose the presidency to the GOP many would say better Trump than any of the others?

      Besides, I don’t buy your premise that the contest here is neoliberal vs. neofascism. The contest here is Spy vs. Spy without the laughs

    3. Waldenpond

      Neoliberalism is privatization and corporate rule in place of democracy and is always enacted and maintained with violent force by the state. So, a ruling elite enforced with violence.
      Neofascism is a dictatorship of severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

      Note: O just got rid of the board over foreign media (after imprisoning journalists and whistleblowers) and will now be controlled by presidential appointment and O just overrode the DOJs plan reducing private prisons. It’s also the Ds that are promoting laws limiting opposition voices with a phony war on fake news.

      It looks to me as if it’s the Ds calling for a nullification of the election (and a permanent delegitimization of elections by vesting electoral power in a few hundred ec members) to install Clinton.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Together We’ll Go Farrago™

      Effing brilliant. This should be the US government’s service mark.

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