2:00PM Water Cooler 12/14/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“One of the most important trade deals still under active discussion is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)” [TechDirt]. “One aspect of RCEP that has received little attention so far is the corporate sovereignty chapter.” From a Report from Friends of the Earth: ” RCEP countries have been sued for measures taken to protect public health, adjust corporate taxes, promote industrialisation, and review contracts acquired through allegations of corruption, among others.” And: ” Including the harmful ISDS clause in the RCEP trade agreement under negotiation contributes to cementing investors’ rights and expanding the scope of private arbitrators’ power. RCEP will lock in place this system of privatised justice. Governments will find it much more difficult to withdraw their commitments to the rights accorded to foreign investors in RCEP than in Bilateral Investment Treaties, because they would need to put an end to the whole agreement and not just the sections on investors’ rights. t’s a general problem with ISDS provisions in trade deals: they are almost impossible to cancel, however much harm they end up causing. The bigger the deal, the greater the lock-in. This aspect underlines once more how corporate sovereignty comes at the expense of national sovereignty. ”



“The United States has decided to accelerate the deployment of troops to Poland, the Baltic states and Romania as part of raising the security of the region, Polish and U.S. defense officials said Wednesday” [AP].

“McConnell says he doesn’t want Trump to propose ‘trillion-dollar stimulus’ for infrastructure” [MarketWatch]. “‘What I hope we will clearly avoid, and I’m confident we will, is a trillion-dollar stimulus,’ McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said. ‘We need to do this carefully and correctly, and the issue of how to pay for it needs to be dealt with responsibly,” he said.” Ulp.

“There was a persistent belief [among Kentucky Trump voters] that Trump would fix these problems and make Obamacare work better. I kept hearing informed voters, who had watched the election closely, say they did hear the promise of repeal but simply felt Trump couldn’t repeal a law that had done so much good for them. In fact, some of the people I talked to hope that one of the more divisive pieces of the law — Medicaid expansion — might become even more robust, offering more of the working poor a chance at the same coverage the very poor receive” [Vox]. “‘We all need it,’ [Kathy] Oller told me when I asked about the fact that Trump and congressional Republicans had promised Obamacare repeal. ‘You can’t get rid of it.'” Oller signed up a lot of people; she’s an organizer ripe for a single payer message. Which the Democrat establishment, of course, is trying with all its waning, crazed power to suppress.

“The future of public health under President Trump” [Harvard School of Public Health]. “The likelihood for total 100% repeal of the ACA is unlikely for two reasons: One is that this would have to be accomplished through regular legislative order in the U.S. Senate and Republicans would not be able to attract the necessary eight votes needed from Democratic senators to do this. Of course, if Republicans choose to abolish the filibuster, that would change. A second reason that repeal is unlikely is that many Republicans appreciate many non-controversial provisions in the ACA and repealing them would be backward steps they would not want to make happen.”

Our Famously Free Press

“As it happens, the facts simply don’t support the diagnosis that we have suddenly entered a post-factual landscape. Reactionary panics, collective hysteria, and political manipulation have been with us for a long time, and we should be skeptical of claims about the epidemic of Russian-backed fake news or the idea that social media lost Hillary the election” [Jacobin]. “As liberals took over facts, they pushed social conflict to the non-factual realm, to the domain of values. Instead of struggles over domination and exploitation, we got the culture wars…. [H]istorical events started calling liberal truths into question. The 2008 financial crash revealed the failure of liberal economics. Occupy and Black Lives Matter threw light on structural problems that triangulation and managerialism not only can’t address but refuse to. These events revealed liberal factuality for what it is: highly self-interested and selective, willing to ignore inconvenient truths, and presented as above partisan politics, as the scientific management of society.”

“Obama: Nothing ‘Explosive’ in Hacked DNC Emails, ‘Fairly Routine Stuff'” [Grabien News]. (Grabien News seems to be a digital clipping service.)

2016 Post Mortem

“How Trump Won” [NBC News]. “Trump did what candidates like Ross Perot and George Wallace had tried and failed: He won on a populist message. Speaking directly to working-class strongholds, Trump fired up voters who felt left behind by globalization, and he helped to polarize opinion with unusually naked appeals to bigotry and fears of cultural change…. This shift was easily spotted at the county level. For instance, in small, working-class Juneau County, Wisconsin, home to 26,500 people, Trump bested Clinton by 26 points. President Obama won the county by 7 points four years ago. In Macomb County, Michigan — a blue-collar Detroit suburb home to 855,000 people — Trump won by more than 11 points. Obama won it by 4 points in 2012. And in Lackawanna County in northeast Pennsylvania, typically a critical county for Democrats in the battleground state, Clinton won, but barely, beating Trump by less than 4 points. Obama won the county four years ago by over 27 points. … Ultimately, Trump won not only because of a blue collar surge but because he was able to unite his party — consolidating support from Republican voters who had expressed misgivings about his candidacy. He won 90 percent of GOP voters in the general election, according to exit polls.” As I keep saying, it’s a mistake to underestimate Trump. The article also includes this excellent map:


The denser the color, the greater the shift toward Trump in 2016 from Obama in 2012. I added the yellow highlighter to show how “the Trump effect” was felt not simply in “the Rust Belt” but in the watersheds of the Ohio and Missouri Rivers. Not sure what to make of that…

“How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election” [Politico]. “The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds, where Democratic operatives lament a one-size-fits-all approach drawn entirely from pre-selected data — operatives spit out “the model, the model,” as they complain about it — guiding Mook’s decisions on field, television, everything else. That’s the same data operation, of course, that predicted Clinton would win the Iowa caucuses by 6 percentage points (she scraped by with two-tenths of a point), and that predicted she’d beat Bernie Sanders in Michigan (he won by 1.5 points).” This is must-read. Clinton had one job. This piece shows how she approached it. Here is an amazing detail:

The only metric that people involved in the operations say they ever heard headquarters interested in was how many volunteer shifts had been signed up — though the volunteers were never given the now-standard handheld devices to input the responses they got in the field, and Brooklyn mandated that they not worry about data entry. Operatives watched packets of real-time voter information piled up in bins at the coordinated campaign headquarters. The sheets were updated only when they got ripped, or soaked with coffee. Existing packets with notes from the volunteers, including highlighting how much Trump inclination there was among some of the white male union members the Clinton campaign was sure would be with her, were tossed in the garbage.

This is campaign malpractice of a high order. It looks to me like the hatred and contempt that Clinton’s 10%-ers have for working people extends to their campaign volunteers and field workers. And no wonder Ada’s resource allocation recommendations were horrid: GIGO.

“The Clinton Democratic left [sic] has created a vast mind palace, an artificial world where they may craft a safe space, protected from post-traumatic Trump (election) disorder” [Chicago Tribune]. “It might be also useful to remember the uproar of the campaign, when during the last Clinton-Trump debate, the Republican wouldn’t immediately say he’d concede if he lost the election. ‘We are a country based on laws,’ a horrified Clinton said. ‘And we’ve had hot, contested elections going back to the very beginning, but one of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our elections.’ Unless, of course, reality doesn’t turn out as expected, and a mind palace must be created, a place so lovely that some never leave and lock the gates from the inside.”

Trump Transition

“Perhaps more important, the [Trump transition] team lauded Tillerson as a ‘top-tier negotiator’ whose business skills will benefit him as he fights for the American people — a description Trump has also used to describe himself. ‘While he was a businessman, Mr. Tillerson was a forceful advocate for the interests of his company, employees and shareholders,’ the talking points say. ‘As secretary of State, he will be a forceful advocate for America’s interests. The American people will once again have a world-class player working on their behalf” [Politico]. I’m told Big Oil companies run their own foreign policy. So Tillerson has experience, at least. For example–

“Rex Tillerson’s 3 a.m. phone call” [Politico]. “Since becoming Exxon’s CEO in 2006, and before that as head of the oil giant’s international division, Tillerson has presided over operations in some 200 countries, positions that put him in contact with a global rogues’ gallery of strongmen from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Chad’s Idriss Deby to Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

“Elon Musk, the chairman and chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla as well as Uber Technologies CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick and PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi have joined U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s advisory council, Trump’s transition team said on Wednesday” [Reuters]. Grifters Musk and Kalanick shove their snouts near the trough.

“Congressional leaders are vowing to vigorously probe allegations that Russia interfered in the elections to benefit President-elect Donald Trump, but they are already arguing over who should do so and how any examination should be conducted” [WaPo].

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Labor Secretary Advised Clinton To Cast Sanders As Candidate Of Whites To Turn Off Minorities” [Common Dreams]. From the Podesta email dump: “Perez continued, “Emmy and the team have a good plan to attract all minority voters. When we do well there, then the narrative changes from Bernie kicks ass among young voters to Bernie does well only among young white liberals.” So, naturally–

“Tom Perez will make his run for Democratic National Committee chair official on Thursday afternoon” [Politico]. Because, ya know, the ability to kick Sanders supporters in the stones with lies and sleazy maneuvering is the key qualification for a DNC chair, as we saw with Debbie Wassterman Schultz and Donna Brazile. Go get ’em, Tom!

“‘Ellison is not the front-runner, Ellison has no chance at all,’ said Tennessee committeeman William Owen, giving voice to that view. ‘I’m a Hillary person. Bill Clinton said, ‘I’ll be with you till the last dog dies,’ and I’m the last dog. I will not vote for Keith Ellison, I will not vote for a Bernie person. I think they cost Hillary the election, and now they’re going to live with Donald Trump” [Politico]. Look at the map above, and note the counties in Tennessee that shifted from Obama in 2012 (Obama lost to Romney 59.48% to 39.08%) to Trump in 2016 (Clinton lost to Trump 60.7% to34.7%.) I support a 50-state strategy, but clearly the Democrat Party in Tennessee is failing and needs new blood. They could start by firing William Owen for non-performance. Headline: “Tennesse Pol Blows Off Own Foot With Blame Cannon.”

“[T]he vast majority of votes [for the DNC chair] will be cast by people chosen in the various state chapters of the Democratic Party — not by national party leaders, interest groups, or progressive organizations. Around 70 percent of DNC members are chosen at the state party level, with the remainder being chosen by various national Democratic groups or by the DNC chair herself” [Vox]. Hmm. I’m wondering how the state chapters feel about the DNC after the Clinton Victory Fund debacle, which starved them of funds while feeding the giant sucking pit of need that was the Clinton campaign.

“You might think that people like me are potential allies for those who want to help working families, wherever they are. But if we can’t say anything without facing the hair-trigger tempers of regional advocates, without being accused of insulting their culture, that pretty much forecloses useful discussion” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. I wasn’t aware until today that the Sveriges Riksbank gave another bogus prize: for kicking down. Live and learn!

“Judge orders Colorado electors to vote for Hillary Clinton” [AP].

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, November 2016: “Unseasonably warm weather pulled utility output lower and total industrial production along with it which fell 0.4 percent in November” [Econoday]. “most of the readings for manufacturing are weak. Motor vehicle production, which had been a leading strength for manufacturing with five straight gains, fell a steep 2.3 percent in the month with assemblies of light trucks going into reverse. Hi-tech goods, also a leading strength, could only manage a 0.1 percent gain. Market groups show a 0.5 percent decline for consumer goods and a 0.3 percent dip for business equipment, the latter once again a disappointment for the business investment and productivity outlooks. Overshadowed by manufacturing and utilities, mining had a very strong month.” And: “below expectations” [Calculated Risk]. And: “The Federal Reserve will be monitoring the industrial sector closely for evidence of any adverse impact from dollar strength, although this will not show up for several months given the lags involved. In this context, there will not be any near-term policy implications” [Economic Calendar].

Producer Price Index (FInal Demand), November 2016: “Signs of demand are picking up as producer prices show solid gains despite a downtick in energy” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year readings are moving in the right direction, with total prices up 5 tenths to plus 1.3 percent and less food & energy up 4 tenths to 1.6 percent. These gains are certain to catch the attention of policy makers at today’s FOMC meeting who are watching closely for building signs of inflation.” And: “Is inflation grabbing hold?” [Econintersect].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of December 9, 2016: “Rising interest rates continue to take their toll on mortgage activity, with purchase applications for home mortgages falling a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent” [Econoday]. “Though it is nearly a foregone conclusion that the Fed will hike the Fed funds target range by 25 basis points today, potential home-buyers and refinancing homeowners will be sensitive to rhetoric explaining the decision for clues about the frequency and magnitude of future rate hikes.”

Business Inventories, October 2016: “High levels of unwanted inventories are not an issue for the year-end economy, based on a 0.2 percent decline in business inventories in October along with a 1 tenth downward revision to September which is now unchanged.” The inventory-to-stocks ratio fell to 1.37 from 1.38 [Econoday].

Retail Sales, November 2016: “The details are a little bit better than the retail sales headline for November which could manage only a 0.1 percent gain” [Econoday]. ”

But there is strength in the report as restaurants, up 0.8 percent, posted their best gain since February. This is a discretionary category that points to underlying consumer strength.” But: “The relationship between year-over-year growth in inflation adjusted retail sales and retail employment has inverted – and this is normally a recessionary sign” [Econintersect]. But: “The increase in November was below expectations and October sales were revised down, however September sales were revised up” [Calculated Risk]. And but: “Although consumer confidence strengthened in November following the US Presidential election, the retail sales data does not suggest any major beneficial impact on retail spending, although there may be a delayed impact in December and there could also be subsequent data revisions. At the margin, optimism surrounding the economic outlook is likely to fade very slightly, although the impact will be very limited” [Economic Calendar].

Retail: “According to DynamicAction Inc., which analyzed $4 billion in online transactions, the number of U.S. receipts that included promotions jumped 79% in November from the same period a year earlier. For the first week of December, the number was more than double that of a year ago” [Wall Street Journal, “Retailers’ Discounts Run Deeper This Holiday Season”]. “Since the recession, coupons for as much as 50% off have become a fixture of retailing, and efforts to wean shoppers away from them have largely been unsuccessful. …The six-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is hugely important to retailers, accounting for as much as a fifth of annual sales. It is also when retailers offer the deepest discounts of the year, but the chains have been trying to figure out ways to do so without eroding profits.” No doubt!

Shipping: “United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. are straining to keep up with holiday shipping volumes that have blown past expectations, delaying the delivery of some of the millions of online orders shoppers have placed since Thanksgiving” [Wall Street Journal, “UPS, FedEx Struggle to Keep Up With Surge in Holiday Orders”]. “Both companies handle millions of packages on their busiest days, so even a small drop can mean tens or hundreds of thousands of customers receive their shipments late.”

Shipping: “Italy’s Unicredit will not exit the shipping industry its ceo, Jean Pierre Mustier, said yesterday in London while outlining a restructuring plan” [Splash 247]. “The Milan-based bank said it will set aside €8.1bn for non-performing loans as it plans to move €17.7bn of soured debt off its books for securitisation and a subsequent sale. Some of them may probably be shipping-related loans. Fortress Investment Group and Pimco will take majority stakes in the two units that will take on the non-performing loans, Unicredit said.”

Shipping: “The container market continues to struggle with weak demand but more importantly due to many of the behemoth container vessels coming in to the service throughout the year” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. “Measures like idling, slow steaming, consolidation, restructuring of alliances, integration etc has not slowed down the falling market.”

Shipping: “And to help avoid further price battles, [Maersk] chief financial, strategy & transformation officer Jakob Stausholm said: ‘Our intent is to create a digital world of logistics'” [Loadstar]. “However, he admitted that transforming the 100-year-old company into the digital world would not be easy.”

Shipping: “Cyber crime is likely to delay the introduction of autonomous ships for several years – and it could pose a significant threat to the shipping industry if it fails to act soon” [Loadstar].

Shipping: “The freight unit of ride-hailing pioneer Uber Technologies Inc. has opened a full-service office in Chicago, is considering a second in San Francisco, and is hiring up to 90 brokers to support its digital platform, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy” {DC Velocity]. “UberFreight, which would not control the trucks it relies upon to move customers’ freight, is building in only a 5-percent average margin for its net revenue per transaction, according to another person familiar with the matter. On average, net revenue, defined as the revenue a broker generates after its cost of purchased transportation, is around three times that for established brokers. UberFreight’s other costs would then be subtracted from its net revenue threshold, leaving the brokerage business either to operate at break-even levels or be a loss leader for the San Francisco-based parent.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “Good News, The U.S. Government Posts A $137 Billion Deficit In November” [Seeking Alpha]. Somebody who gets it. Obama gives his successor a tailwind!

Commodities: “About 80% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished in India by players who normally pay for their rocks upfront and sell on credit. With Modi’s notes withdrawal, that link in the industry is getting weaker and De Beers’ latest diamond sale reflected just that” [Mining.com]. “The miner, a division of Anglo American (LON:AAL), sold $418 million of diamonds in its 10th cycle, compared with $476 million at its previous offering. The figure was still better than during the commodities slump of a year ago, when sales for the same period totalled only $248 million.”

Internet of Shit: “Netgear customers warned to stop using flawed routers” [IT Pro]. Models R7000, R640, R8000, R6250, R6700, R7300, and R7900. “Netgear is currently testing all of its router models for the “command injection vulnerability”, and it is possible more are affected.” Switch if off and do what? Call Netgear for a replacement router at no charge to me?

The Bezzle: “Uber’s self-driving cars start picking up passengers in San Francisco” [TechCrunch]. “During our demo, the act of actually leaving the curb and merging into traffic was handled by the safety driver on board, but in eventual full deployment of these cars the vehicles will handle even that tricky task.” That’s some demo. “It works at home!”

The Bezzle: “Twenty [autonomous driving technology] companies are on the [California] DMV’s list of parties approved for autonomous testing in the state, but Uber is not on that list – the DMV says it should be, but Uber maintains it doesn’t need to seek a permit… because it sees the vehicles as still primarily human-controlled, since a driver behind the wheel with their hands at the steering wheel ready to take control is still required at this phase of testing” [TechCrunch]. You’ve got to admire the sleaze and the effrontery: Uber gets a blast of public relations for self-driving cards from planted stories in the press, while simultaneously maintaining to regulators that the vehicles are not, in fact, self-driving. This is Orwellian doublethink on a scale that only the crooks in Silicon Valley could achieve.

The Bezzle: ” The rise of ride-hailing companies is increasingly viewed not as a fix for bad service but as its justification. It is invoked, as you might expect, in bad faith by conservatives who have advocated against public investment for decades. But even pro-transit politicians and officials have begun to see ride-hailing services as an acceptable substitute for public transit. As a result, cities across the country are making important decisions about transportation that treat 10-year-old companies as fixed variables for the decades to come” [Slate].

The Bezzle: ” A former Uber employee is alleging in a California lawsuit that a lack of security measures allowed employees to spy on riders through their Uber accounts” [ABC]. “‘Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses,’ Samuel Ward Spandenberg, a former forensic investigator for Uber, who is suing the company for wrongful termination, said in a court declaration filed in October” [ABC]. The fish rots from the head.

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!

Health Care

“[Trump’s nominee for head of Department of Health and Human Services Tom] Price, an orthopedic surgeon who represents several affluent suburbs of Atlanta, is the author of what most health care analysts consider the most austere replacement for the ACA, the Empowering Patients First Act. Introduced in Congress last year for the fourth time since 2009, the bill would end most provisions of the current health-care law, allowing insurance companies to offer bare-bones plans and raise rates on people who are already sick or have been in the past” [Capital and Main]. “Price would eliminate [ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion] altogether, returning Medicaid’s eligibility rules to what they were before the ACA.”


“Researchers say the Arctic continues to warm up at rates they call “astonishing.” They presented their findings at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco” [NPR]. “”The Arctic as a whole is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet,” says Jeremy Mathis, climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and one of the report card’s authors. The cause of the warming is in part due to a feedback loop unique to the Arctic’s northern climate. Normally, the region stays cool because snow and ice reflect a lot of sunlight back into space. But warmer temperatures are melting that snow and ice. The melting snow exposes darker ground and water that absorb more of the sun’s heat. That makes the Arctic warm up even faster.”

News of the Wired

“Amidst unanswered questions about the future of open government in the United States, the Senate has provided a unanimous endorsement of a set of enduring principles that the Sunlight Foundation has advanced and defended for a decade: that data created using the funds of the people should be available to the people in open formats online, without cost or restriction” [Sunlight Foundation]. Now the House has to pass it, however.

* * *

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 (AM):


Look at all that green. We’re already starting to forget what it looks like!

Readers, I’m running a little short on plant images. Plants with snow would be fine!

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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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. Jim Haygood

    J-Yel speaks (from MarketWatch):

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for the first time in a year and signaled a slightly more aggressive stance of policy. As expected, the U.S. central bank raised its key short-term rate to a range of 0.5%-0.75% from 0.25% to 0.5%.

    In its policy statement, the Fed repeated it expects the economy to evolve in a way that warrant only gradual rate hikes. But the central bank’s dot plot now sees three rate hikes next year instead of two.

    Three steps and a stumble,” as Marty Zweig used to say.

    They’re going to do the same thing they did from mid-2004 to mid-2006 — keep baby-stepping higher in a deranged quest for “moar ammo” until they prick Bubble III, and all hell breaks loose.

    It might be a “big, ugly bubble,” as Trump called it this summer. But it’s all we’ve got. “No bubble, no groaf,” as ol’ Bob Marley might have sung.

    1. Eduardo Quince

      They’re going to do the same thing they did from mid-2004 to mid-2006 — keep baby-stepping higher in a deranged quest for “moar ammo” until they prick Bubble III, and all hell breaks loose.

      The Fed is following (and lagging way behind) the market. If the bubble gets pricked by higher rates, it’ll be the market, not the Fed, doing the pricking.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Be there or be square a Kremlin lackey:

    On December 15, [Hillary] Clinton is having a big party in Manhattan at the Plaza Hotel, once owned by Trump, for her campaign donors, as a sort of thank-you and keep-in-touch farewell. It is expected to cost more than $100,000 and be paid for with excess campaign funds.

    Clintonworld insiders will be interested to see if Huma Abedin shows up or whether she chooses to skip the celebration to stay at home to nurse her wounds.


    The Plaza Hotel is only two short blocks from Trump Tower.

    *hums “Street Fighting Man” to hisself*

    1. Skip Intro

      Huma’s ‘Life Insurance’ folder was confiscated by the cops. I imagine she will remain in her undisclosed location indefinitely.

    2. Pat

      Interesting that Mrs Clinton will be holding her big expensive party on the day of the deadline for people to choose which over priced craptastic insurance policy they will likely spend more than 8% of their income on in order to be in compliance with the ACA mandate. Funny you’d think a wonk with a real concern about health care would be well familiar with that deadline and notice that flaunting her excess campaign funds might not be good. Oh, wait. She is merely a private citizen now because of Russia.

    3. craazyboy

      $100,000 and be paid for with excess campaign funds

      I hope the donors get Tanqueray martinis for their millions. Bottom shelf stuff would be rude.

      And the finest cocktail weiners. oops.

      1. aab

        Hell, I drink Tanqueray for everyday cocktails. I’d expect at the very least Hendrick’s if I handed Hillary Clinton six or seven figures to flush down the toilet by her bathroom server.

        It’d be great if the bartender served this, straight from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont: http://caledoniaspirits.com/spirit/gin/

        It’s really good, too. None of them deserve it.

    4. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      December 14, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      It is no longer possible to parody reality in the US anymore….
      Is the theme of the party The Great Gatsby?

  3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    But but but…debt doesn’t matter! Growth ex-Obama’s doubling of our national debt would be zero but no matter. Step 1: Party on!
    It’s especially useful that debt doesn’t need to be underwritten any more, just extend the credit and if you screw up the central bank or the taxpayer will foot the bill.
    Borrowing to fund productivity is an excellent idea, borrowing to fund consumption, or share buybacks, er, maybe not-so-hot.
    Someday that lump under the carpet will grow so big everybody trips on it…but every day that is not that day is a gift. So back to Step 1!

    1. JTMcPhee

      So there was a $137 billion growth in the deficit (whatever that accounting concept is supposed to mean.) Where was that money injected into “the economy?” There’s this, “Deficit jumps to $137 billion in November,” http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/deficit-jumps-to-137-billion-in-november/article/2609448

      Which conveniently echoes this: “CBO: Repealing ObamaCare would cost $137 billion,” http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cbo-repealing-obamacare-would-cost-137-billion/

      And then there’s this: “CBO Obamacare Report Shows Deficit And Debt Are Phony Issues,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/stancollender/2015/06/22/cbo-obamacare-report-shows-deficit-and-debt-are-phony-issues/#46f5275bbbe5

      Speaking of heads spinning…

  4. JohnnyGL


    Not sure if people got to watch the Town Hall in WI with Bernie Sanders that MSNBC did, but it was pretty interesting. Full show above. I’ve seen some clips of highlights around, here a decent one…


    It drove me nuts how just after Bernie does a wonderful job and lays into Jeff Immelt of GE, Chris Hayes quickly decided to move on to the next questioner. That was the crux of the problem with Democratic Party right there and coincidentally or not, MSNBC moved on right away.

    1. Michael

      Sanders got the opportunity to say his piece, and Hayes gave him multiple platforms. I thought that whatever the issues were moment-to-moment, it was good stuff.

    1. Waldenpond

      It’s really not fair that they (the elite) don’t get to vote (overturn an election) the way they want. They aren’t (currently in) elected (office) so they shouldn’t be (guillotined) subject to voter pressure.

  5. hemeantwell

    not simply in “the Rust Belt” but in the watersheds of the Ohio and Missouri Rivers. Not sure what to make of that

    Waving my hand from the back of the class, I’ll guess economic activity related to the coal industry, both core and allied segments.

    1. barefoot charley

      That, and this: the Ohio and Missouri valleys contain the oldest populations of the “Old Northwest,” so our first flyover industrial centers to rise and fall: Pittsburg, Youngstown, Cincinnatti, Louisville, St. Louis, KC, K. There’s a whole lotta not much left there.

  6. ChrisAtRU

    “I will not vote for Keith Ellison, I will not vote for a Bernie person. I think they cost Hillary the election, and now they’re going to live with Donald Trump”

    Wow, fabric of reality fully rent in twain. So are we back to blaming Bernie (Bros)?

    #SoConfusing #WhoToBlame #MirrorsUnavailable

    1. Vatch

      Some Clinton supporters have really drunk a lot of Heaven’s Gate koolaid! In contrast, Thomas Frank wrote a very good essay right after the election on the reasons for Clinton’s loss, and there’s also this article by Jeff Zeleny and Dan Merica:


      Democrats close to Bill Clinton said Thursday that one mistake Clinton’s top aides made was not listening to the former president more when he urged the campaign to spend more time focusing on disaffected white, working class voters.

      Many in Clinton’s campaign viewed these voters as Trump’s base, people so committed to the Republican nominee that no amount of visits or messaging could sway them. Clinton made no visits to Wisconsin as the Democratic nominee, and only pushed a late charge in Michigan once internal polling showed the race tightening.

      Bill Clinton, advisers said, pushed the campaign early on to focus on these voters, many of whom helped elected him twice to the White House. The former president, a Clinton aide said, would regularly call Robby Mook to talk about strategy and offer advice.

      But aides said the Clinton campaign’s top strategists largely ignored the former president, instead focusing on consolidating the base of voters that helped elect President Barack Obama to the White House.

      Aside from the huge problems associated with the Clinton Foundation, it really appears that the Clinton campaign leaders were trying to lose. They successfully achieved that goal.

      1. Skip Intro

        Mook was clearly a Putin mole. It is amazing how, at least according to the Politico article, he managed to staff the Brooklyn HQ with Roosky stooges who so convincingly feigned arrogance and incompetence. The skill of The Putin in capturing the US by election gets more impressive every day. Getting the campaign to ignore Michigan and campaign in Arizona was a master stroke.

          1. Steve C

            If it’s Perez the Democrats are toast. Good luck with that.

            They need an agenda, not a pleasing Obama type figurehead.

            How about full employment? Not just Obama style empty rhetoric.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Ha! My money’s on Brock though … ;-)

          Love this description of him from Politico’s article on the podcast Lambert posted (H/T pricklyone):

          “Brock, an edgy former Clinton hunter-turned-defender …”

          LOL … Ooooohhh … “edgy-hunter-turned-defender” leaves plenty of room of Kylo-Ren-esque betrayal!

          [Ben Solo: Sith Mole In Luke’s Jedi Academy]

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They should be very proud – they achieved their goal, without any help from Russia, pretty much.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        It beggars belief that any competent campaign would deliberately ignore the largest single demographic in an election.

        Reading through the Politico article above it seems to me clear that while the Clinton campaign prided itself on being data driven and ‘scientific’, they suffered from the old ‘garbage in, garbage out’ problem. They allowed their own biases to seem into the systems they were doing, meaning that Ada and their other algorithms were just churning out confirmation bias. The fact that they were using the same system to ‘confirm’ that they would win Michigan by 5% despite having called that State so badly wrong in the primaries shows that they were not capable of self criticism or rigorous testing of their strategy.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Speaking of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, a short backstep in time and space to a major city in Flyover Country that at least has a couple of international airports, and Big Shoulders, and a couple of FIRE stations, and a wonderfully colorful history of corruption, and current gun death winner: “A letter from Pickle Joyce in response to the Rahm/Suntimes attack.” https://19thwardchicago.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-letter-from-pickle-joyce-in-response.html

          “Choi Oi!” (Vietnamese for “Omigod!”)
          “Chieu Hoi,” another Imperial American Success Story: http://www.vietnamwar.net/ChieuHoi.htm
          “Chuy Who?”

      4. Arizona Slim

        So, Bill tried to tell them things that could have helped Hillary win. And this guy is still married to her?

        In my family, that would be grounds for divorce.

    2. Jake Mudrosti

      So are we back to blaming Bernie (Bros)?

      Absolutely, yes! Even though this old tragicomedy was rated 0 stars out of 5 by the public and critics alike, there’s no stopping an endless lineup of sequels. “Wreckers” in the U.S.A. are the new zombies, one might say.
      From Gulag Archipelago: “The Sentinel of the Revolution narrowed its eyes with even greater vigilance—and wherever it directed its narrowed gaze it immediately discovered a nest of wreckers…. The GPU puffed and panted in its efforts to grab off and drag off the ‘wreckers.'”

      1. Baby Gerald

        Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had all day– and with a Solzhenitsyn quote, no less.

        I’ve always loved that term ‘wrecker’. Such a great blanket expression for denunciation that applies just perfectly today. Stein voters? Wreckers! Bernie supporters? Wreckers! Deplorables? Wreckers of the first order! Wreckers everywhere! Trying to wreck… stuff! Meanwhile, back at the Plaza Hotel…

    3. JohnnyGL

      Our Revolution needs a list of “who to primary, immediately!”. People like that need to be right at the top of the list. People like these aren’t going to be won over. They have to be thrown out of office.

      Once you’ve cleaned out the deadwood from some of those seats, go for juicier targets like Pelosi and Schumer. The Tea Party types have shown us a roadmap.

  7. geoff

    “clearly the Democrat Party in Tennessee is failing and needs new blood.” (Lambert)

    In actuality, the Democratic Party in TN has almost ceased to exist. In Shelby County (Memphis, home of the largest grouping of Dems in the state), the local party itself was decertified in August 2016.


    TN had a majority Democratic legislature before 2007, and a Dem Governor until 2010, when oil oligarch Bill Haslam was elected. So essentially, Democrats have lost everything but two Congressional seats (and I’m not sure Blue Dog Jim Cooper really counts) statewide since 2010. I don’t know if that’s because of the DNC’s malign neglect, or Koch Brothers Dark Money, or both, but TN has become much more politically conservative over the last ten to fifteen years, and I don’t see any efforts bwing made to turn that around.

  8. DJG

    The yellow squiggle on the map, following the paths of the Ohio River and the lower Missouri River and the difference with the parts of the Great Lakes States near the big waters.

    What gives?

    The Ohio Valley has been industrialized for along time, if we take Pittsburgh as its northern terminus. The Ohio Valley has been economically a mess for a while, too: Southern Illinois between Ohio and Mississippi Rivers hasn’t been economically viable since the foundation of the state, which is a reason that the state capitals crept northward in Illinois. Also, I’d say that the inhabitants of the two valleys tend to be more German (Catholic) and Scots-Irish, both groups that are culturally increasingly conservative.

    Conversely, the northern side of the states, those areas in the Great Lakes Basin, have more immigrants, have much denser populations (Chicago and Minneapolis as opposed to Cincinnati), are the center for Scandinavian immigration and its values of pragmatisim and good government, and are also even more heavily but mixed Catholic–who tend to be more liberal socially and with regard to economics. The Lutherans tend to be ELCA types–guitar-playing Lutherans. You also have a kind of megalopolis that extends from Detroit and Fort Wayne through Chicago and up through Milwaukee and Madison. Then Minnesota and its distinct traditions.

    Also, you have dairying in the nothern tier. Maybe that it is: The contentment of a herd of Holsteins. Either that, it is because we still have Lucia Day processions. (Even in yesterday’s cold.)

    In any case, anyone who lives in the upper Midwest would point to a cultural and political dividing line that runs along the parallel from Columbus, O, to Indianapolis, and through Springfield, IL. Sometimes, we just the call that area south of the line, The South.

    1. Timmy

      The cluster in Missouri didn’t surprise me. I work for a firm based in St. Louis and travel there twice a month. Ferguson and BLM were important flash points and, in my personal opinion, the Trump dog whistles on this were very influential in this region.

  9. DJG

    The Jacobin article quoted above, written by two red Danes, is insightful. Worth a read. >>

    The Fallacy of Post-Truth
    Liberals’ belief in their superior ability to govern has never had the facts on its side.

  10. flora

    re: chicago trib article

    “Much of this has been kick-started again by a story in The Washington Post saying that the CIA — according to anonymous sources — has concluded that Russia hacked into Democratic emails to help elect Republican Donald Trump.

    “The FBI, reportedly, disagrees with some findings. And the Reuters news service reports that the Office of National Intelligence, the group that oversees the U.S. spy community, will not embrace the CIA assessment for a lack of evidence.”

  11. fred

    “It looks to me like the hatred and contempt that Clinton’s 10%-ers have for working people extends to their campaign volunteers and field workers.”

    Well yes these fine graduations of America’s snowflake universities do have hatred and contempt for those who don’t have a couple of degrees from the right schools.

  12. Vatch

    Hmm. I’m wondering how the state chapters feel about the DNC after the Clinton Victory Fund debacle, which starved them of funds while feeding the giant sucking pit of need that was the Clinton campaign.

    Maybe Jill Stein can raise some money for the state chapters of the Democratic Party.

    1. RUKidding

      I think Jill Stein is keeping all of her ill-gotten Gelt to make she has a Holly Jolly Xmas. She seems almost as sleazy these days as Clinton… I sure wouldn’t trust her to raise money for any cause I supported. I’d never see that money again, and the cause wouldn’t be served.

      Birds of a feather…

      1. marym


        Let Our Donors Decide!

        1) We will send out a poll to each recount donor, asked them to participate in a Ranked Choice Voting process, to choose the recipients of surplus funds.

        2) Donors will rank organizations in their order of preference (1st choice, 2nd choice and so on).

        3) We will want to donate to multiple organizations. Fortunately, ranked choice voting can be used for single winner elections like President but can also be used to select multiple winners, for a fair and proportional result.
        The Jill Stein for President campaign set up a separate Recount account so that we could be sure to comply with all Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations regarding filing income and expenditures during this process.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am not familiar with Ranked Choice Voting.

          But I can think of one problematic example.

          Say there are 3 candidates – Sanders, Clinton and Cruz.

          And say, there are 4 voters (works just as well with 4 or 40 million voters).

          Sanders gets 2 first place votes (Democrats) and 2 third (last) place votes (Republicans).

          Clinton gets 4 second place votes (2 each for each party)

          Cruz gets 2 first place votes (from Republicans) and 2 third (last) place voters (D).

          If first place = 100
          second place = 75
          third place = 10


          Sanders 220
          Clinton 300
          Cruz 220

          If votes are weighted this way, Clinton wins with her triangulation.

          So, it appears to depend on how we weigh them.

          1. Kukulkan

            So the votes are:
            Voter One: [2] Clinton, [3] Cruz, [1] Sanders
            Voter Two: [2] Clinton, [3] Cruz, [1] Sanders
            Voter Three: [2] Clinton, [1] Cruz, [3] Sanders
            Voter Four: [2] Clinton, [1] Cruz, [3] Sanders

            First round count: 0 to Clinton, 2 to Cruz, 2 to Sanders .
            Since no one has more than 50% of the vote, the candidate with the lowest number of votes gets eliminated and their votes are distributed among the other candidates. This would be Clinton. However, in your scenario, Clinton have zero votes to redistribute — not having gotten any first place votes.

            So, second round count: 2 to Cruz, 2 to Sanders.
            Deadlocked election. Settled either by having another vote, or by flipping a coin, depending on the details of the local constitution.

            If in your example of 40 million voters, if some of them had given Clinton their first preference, then those votes would be redistributed to either Cruz or Sanders (depending on who they gave their second preference to) and that would decide the election.

            Thus, first round count: 9 to Clinton, 19,999,997 to Cruz, 19,999,994 to Sanders.
            Clinton eliminated, 2 votes to Cruz, 7 votes to Sanders.
            Second round count: 19,999,999 to Cruz, 20,000,001 to Sanders.
            Sanders wins by 2 votes.

            A deadlock is still possible, but that’s because you have an even number of voters, divided exactly down the middle.

            No weighting involved.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


              I thought it was like MVP voting in baseball, when we talked about first place, second place, third place votes.

      2. LT

        Yes, it does seem like the Dems are ripe for picking and the Greens are hesitant.
        This is the time to take it to them, 24/7, not just in election years.

      3. philnc

        Where’s that coming from? I’ve seen others opine that Jill is going to pocket the money donated for recounts. But so far no one has provided even a scintilla of evidence in support. I know there has been, still is, dissention within the Green Party about strategy and personalities. Yet in all those whispered stories and scattered flame wars I don’t recall hearing anything about misappropriation of funds or violations of campaign finance law. Just because someone’s voice may sound to you like fingernails on a blackboard, or their efforts to capture even a moment of the celebrity obsessed national media’s attention might seem to border on self-promotion, doesn’t mean that any random speculation that comes to mind is warranted.

        Yeah, we need better leaders. We need leaders who are willing to sacrifice their own comfort and security for the common good, if nothing else as an example to the rest of us. Maybe the current field has proved itself wanting, and we need a new field to replace it. If that’s the case I’d suggest the time may have come for many to look in the mirror for a way forward.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think the issue within the Green Party was it was not democratic going into the recount decision.

        The decision now, after it’s over – what to do with leftover money – can be consistently made by the leader.

        1. cwaltz

          As it was Stein got chastised for taking too long to contest the vote by a Justice(Pennsylvania). I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken had she spent time trying to convince the entire Green Party that election should be recounted.

          1. Foppe

            Because they didn’t see this coming? Again, the thing that makes least sense to me about this is why they only started to talk about this 2 weeks after the counting was over. This is not to say I believe the outcomes, but the point is that if they weren’t prepared for it, given the logistics and size of any recount operation at a (multi-)state level, they were too late, and this was just wasted energy, which at best fed into more dejection.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As I recalled, just the leaders, and she did’t get the vote.

            Timing was not an issue – it didn’t make it out of their equivalent of sub-committee, if it was to be voted by the entire party.

  13. hemeantwell

    The Politico article is a trove of the sort of gaffes that remind me of stories anthropologists used to tell when they would ridicule culture-blind AID programs in other countries:

    Michigan operatives relay stories like one about an older woman in Flint who showed up at a Clinton campaign office, asking for a lawn sign and offering to canvass, being told these were not “scientifically” significant ways of increasing the vote, and leaving, never to return. A crew of building trade workers showed up at another office looking to canvass, but, confused after being told there was no literature to hand out like in most campaigns, also left and never looked back.

    This flatout snooty invocation of science to justify getting farther away from contact with the masses, the impersonal rationalization of giving absolute significance to depersonalized voter profiles, seems to directly reflect catch-all partyism. You concoct a basket of issue positions as though you’re building an electoral honeypot, psephologically certain it will attract a certain distribution of voters. In it they will fly. No human connection required. I wish Peter Mair, who wrote Ruling the Void, were alive to see this.

    1. aab

      I’ve been meaning to toss this out there for a while: I think the “let’s use disciplined data,” comes from the Obama campaign and its leadership. In the waning weeks of this campaign, Favreau and other vets of the Hope & Change campaign would pop up to defend Clinton’s refusal to campaign in the Midwest, praising her team’s disciplined refusal to panic and stick to what the data told them to do.

      I have a strong suspicion they fell into the trap of confusing correlation and causation. They used Big Data, and won. But they were running a charismatic change agent (supposedly) in a change environment. So it’s quite possible they could have thrown out all the data-driven decisions, played the old game, and won, too. I don’t get the impression that they realize they had a lot of structural fundamentals on their side that gave them a big cushion. They could have spent their money and focused on many different locations and constituencies and still won, because they were winning broadly, along many different vectors, because voters desperately wanted change.

      They kept the Big Data tactic from 2008, but not the strategy of avoiding having the candidate claim identity-based victim status. If they had skipped the Big Data focus, but cut out all the gender-based special pleading, it’s possible she’d have done better. But of course, it would still have been a tainted insider running in a change environment…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The missing piece of the story for me is who wrote the Ada software, because Ada oddly, or not, has completely dropped from the narrative. I’d speculate it’s Eric Schmidt’s shop.

        1. subgenius

          Actually, I was wondering if non-techies had confused the software language with the algorithm, there being an Ada language developed by the dod and mostly used in military projects, though also some more commercial stuff like aviation and space/satellite software over the last 15-20 years. Reading some articles it appears not to be the case, but with the general level of reliability of these sources it seems maybe it’s a slam-dunk???

          1. aab

            No, I don’t think so. I don’t have a link, but Clinton’s Ada would be more properly written as “ADA,” and the acronym stood for something specific — even I, a non-programmer, know about the language, and I remember thinking when I read about Clinton’s Ada (with its very specific acronym) that it was weird they couldn’t think of any other female scientist to name it after.

            I think this gives enough detail to demonstrate they aren’t confusing it with the language: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/09/clintons-data-driven-campaign-relied-heavily-on-an-algorithm-named-ada-what-didnt-she-see/

        2. aab

          That is interesting, isn’t it? It seems like it must have been Schmidt, because it’s known he was doing a special project for her, and my memory of the descriptions from his pitch emails that were leaked is that it was a lot like Ada. And yet before election day, they apparently thought it was such a competitive advantage they wouldn’t allow much discussion of it, and after, of course, it was dumped on the doorstep of the nearest church in its hospital blanket with no note.

          I’m assuming you don’t need me to give you links to all the scathing articles about the campaign’s incompetence, right? I’m in the middle of the Politico piece about how Brooklyn refused to let SEIU try to save the Michigan ground game. It does explain one driver of the Russia hysteria. No self-respecting billionaire should ever give these people donations again, so I guess they’re hoping to keep up the possible coup messaging until all the exposes of their incompetence are down the memory hole.

          And Julia Ioffe was fired within hours of tweeting that Donald and Ivanka Trump are committing incest. So perhaps it will start to dawn on these people that once the queen has been sent to the block, you need to stay away from court or toe the line.

          1. aab

            Correction: Publicly joking about presidential incest gets you a formal scolding on your way out the door to a more prestigious job. Iofee was leaving anyway for The Atlantic. So I guess we will be deluged with incest jokes by ambitious courtiers.


          2. Foppe

            Ioffe fired, even though she was such a great propaganda writer decrying “Putin’s Russia” for years? Teehee.

            Edit: Oh, I see she’s failing “upwards,” joining the Atlantic. I guess I should’ve seen that coming.

            1. aab

              It’s been another illuminating aspect of this campaign season to watch all these righteous elite feminists viciously attack Jane Sanders’ looks, body size, and clothing; slut-shame Melanie Trump while passing around naked photos of her taken when she was young and vulnerable; and now gleefully claim that Ivanka Trump is having sex with her father.

              Yes, how hilarious. Somehow, you get no sympathy or respect from them whether you’re old or young, stylish or not, rich or poor, a college educated entrepreneur or a model. I wonder what all these women have in common to make them so hated? Didn’t someone say there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women?

              They’re also slamming Melania for staying in New York so her son can complete his school year (isn’t that exactly what Michelle did?) while slamming Ivanka for taking on the First Lady role — even though Bill and Hillary had already said Chelsea was going to do exactly what Ivanka is now doing.

              1. dontknowitall

                I could be wrong but also it appears from the video of Trumps’s election night speech that his young son has some sort of behavioral disability, as so often happens with the children of older males, so Melania staying back in NY is the responsible parent trying to minimize disruption in a vulnerable child’s life. She’s got my respect.

        3. Fiver

          Not unlikely given Obama had gone full-Google vis a vis operating systems within the White House – but surely there had to have been at least a few old-timers (over 40) in senior slots who could remember pre-virtual days and would have had the basic sense not to bet the farm on a program simulation of the public rather than what real people were telling them. And what manner of idiot would trust a behemoth corporation with such known, frankly dangerous ambitions, with such a pivotal role? And is it not incredible that Ada suffered in the end from the same ‘blind spot’ that crippled Nate Silver and almost all msm pollsters (except LA Times which for some reason had it right all along)?

          With polls telling the Clinton camp for months that Trump was far stronger than they had anticipated, and especially after the attempt to take him out with the ‘sex scandal’ card (where did those women go, btw?) failed, one might’ve thought someone other than Bill would’ve been fiercely arguing to ditch Ada and go with real political judgment.

          The magnitude of this failure has appalling implications for how the political class governs at all in 2016. Not only does this make crystal clear that Clinton et al have horrible judgment, it reveals that the entire US political/media class is hopelessly dependent on information systems and corporate or State ‘experts’ about which/whom they know nothing, and through which they can be either completely mislead via a program error or potentially secretly manipulated up, down and sideways.

          Having completely destroyed the public trust, the gate is wide open to a corporate/State information free-for-all that very quickly degenerates into a panicky cry for ‘Order!’. One wonders if any of these people have the slightest clue how thoroughly they have mucked up and how dangerously close this is coming to a plea for the Deep State to take over.

          1. Yves Smith

            You are rewriting history a bit. Trump was stronger than he ought to have been given all the unforced errors and his history (his use of undocumented workers, the sex tape, etc) but even at his best up to the election, he only got to within a point of Hillary in the polls. The only one that showed him as ahead regularly was the LA Times poll. And Hillary did get more than 2 million votes more than he did. She was a horrible candidate who nevertheless would have won handily had she run a better campaign. This Politico story really nails why she lost: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/michigan-hillary-clinton-trump-232547

            1. dontknowitall

              Agree but with a caveat that the year-long abuse of Trump by TV comedians like just about everyone on Comedy Central drove people sympathetic to Trump to lie to pollsters about their preferences just to avoid the social stigma of being thought less of even by an anonymous person on the other side of a phone line. Comedy is powerful stuff. I did it myself, never admitting to anyone other than very close friends that once Sanders was out no way I would vote Hill or Stein. That one point in the polls might have become more of a worrying gap and driven a different strategy so Hillary’s media strategy of building up Trump only to tear him down poisoned their own well.

  14. Anne

    Really disappointed in Tom Perez.

    And my reaction to this:

    “‘Ellison is not the front-runner, Ellison has no chance at all,’ said Tennessee committeeman William Owen, giving voice to that view. ‘I’m a Hillary person. Bill Clinton said, ‘I’ll be with you till the last dog dies,’ and I’m the last dog. I will not vote for Keith Ellison, I will not vote for a Bernie person. I think they cost Hillary the election, and now they’re going to live with Donald Trump”

    is that Dems must really not want to win. This guy’s attitude is emblematic of why Dems lost this election, and why they seem poised to repeat their mistakes going forward. If there’s one thing I have no tolerance for, it is this egoistic stupidity infused with punishment.

    They seem constitutionally incapable of seeing what’s right in front of them, of taking the blame for the loss – owning it, instead of blaming the voters – and actually learning from their horrendous mistakes; I hope he loses his job.

    1. RUKidding

      I see this attitude repeated endlessly across a bunch of so-called “lefty” or Democratic voter focused blogs. There are many that I simply no longer visit anymore bc the willfully blind stupidity of the blogger and commenters is off the charts. No different from the willful blindness of the average constant Rush/Fox listener/viewer.

      These echo chambers are toxic, no matter which “side” they purport to serve. They all end up serving the .01%, who laugh their butts off all the way to their off-shore accounts. Boy, we sure fooled them! they chortle.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “attitude repeated endlessly across a bunch of so-called “lefty” or Democratic voter focused blogs.”

        Yes. Most of the core of the anti-Bush blogosphere is unreadable at this point due to tribalism, self-deception, and insane levels of hauteur. TPM, Dailykos, Orincus, Hullabaloo…………. really all of those I once read. They were mostly rather tepid in their support of Sanders earlier this year as well. They are too invested in ‘the fight’, and unable to even imagine angling for a win.

        1. Darthbobber

          Checked in on Hullabaloo last night. She’s in full-on hysteria mode. And that’s ALL she’s doing. At least TPM and DailyKos manage to occasionally work in something useful along with the garbage, though their stance hopelessly corrupts all their work.

      2. Fiver

        So-called is accurate, as those ‘lefty’ blogs aren’t ‘left’. People who actually are ‘left’ know what they and other ‘lefties’ mean by the designation and that ain’t it – ‘democratic voter’ is apt.

    2. hunkerdown

      You are correct. They don’t want to win. They want to keep control of their legacy. All sorts of weird things happen when societies project their current interests onto the values of the past or future.

      Careful, now. Elected officials are not labor. We can’t fire them at will, we aren’t entitled to be made whole against their depredations, and we can’t even blackball them effectively. Oligarchs don’t fear the sack. Only peons. Oligarchs don’t need the job for the money, by the time they’re at a level of any import. Their friends, which, if they were working the system as designed, would be many and useful, simply find them another grift, if they haven’t arranged one already.

  15. Tim

    Just FYI but Janet Yellen in the post FMOC press conference is also pushing back on stimulus. Says we are close enough to full employement (starbucks and McDonalds do sure have a lot of employees these day), and would instead prefer money be spent on improving productivity.

    Why raise wages for the little guy, when you can just raise earnings for The Man?

    1. Pat

      And my answer to Yellen is not only are we NOT at full employment, there is no reason to increase productivity unless after decades of the opposite all the benefits of that increased productivity goes to workers. Because pretty much everyone at the top is doing way better than the rest of the country the last thing we need is to make them richer – and that them includes Yellen.

      1. Steve C

        Trump without a big stimulus is a standard issue Republican and a failure. It’s either infrastructure or a big military buildup, which Republicans always go for.

        1. cwaltz

          And yet I suspect that is exactly where the GOP wants him…….a standard issue Republican and I am not particularly sure they are concerned he be viewed as a “success” either. Then again, I suspect the GOP Congress views “success” a little more differently than you or I.

          If nothing else it is going to be fun to watch the “fiscal warriors” in Congress tear themselves apart defending all the bloviating they’ve done for the past 8 years about the deficit when really what they meant was a Democrat should be required to balance the budget and not a Republican.

        1. dontknowitall

          After spending two years campaigning in flyover country and hill towns of Appalachia, Trump has enough exposure to the true state of the economy and employment to not be fooled by Yellen’s bullshit. If he buys into it it will not be from a lack of knowledge.

  16. dcblogger

    “Congressional leaders are vowing to vigorously probe allegations that Russia interfered in the elections to benefit President-elect Donald Trump, but they are already arguing over who should do so and how any examination should be conducted”

    in other words, no interest in voter suppressoin, cross check, vapour voting machines or anything that actually DID cost Democrats the election.

    1. Pat

      The thing that cost Democrats the election was choosing the wrong candidate who then ran a stupid campaign. But otherwise you are right that the other things are real, interfere with America’s elections and deserve interest, investigation and removal.

    2. Tom Allen

      Perhaps a Congressional investigative committee? They could call it the House Un-American Activities Committee and root out subversive Russian sympathizers and collaborators in government and the media. I bet a lot of prominent Clinton supporters could get behind such a novel idea.

      1. Repugnican

        HAHAHA I burst out laughing when I read that. But, you know as funny as it sounds, I guarantee you an overwhelming majority of Hillary Clinton supporters would jump right on board with this, abeitly under a more “Patriotic” title (Americans Opposed to Foreign Interference). Ahh, “a rose by any other name”…

    3. Michael

      I am seriously losing my mind over how many of my ostensibly functional lefty friends outright refuse to engage with voter suppression efforts.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Palast’s stuff is IMNSHO dispositive. Cross-check is funded by an approved villain. It’s Florida 2000 all over again.

        What exactly do you say, and what do they say?

  17. Disenfranchised Voter in Cook Co

    Hello NC Community,

    I want to share my bizarre story of how I was apparently disenfranchised in the Nov 8 election by Cook County (IL) Clerk election org (referred to here as CCC).

    I requested a mail ballot via the Cook County website. I was mailed the blank ballot. I filled out the ballot & hand delivered the ballot to a postal worker working the front desk of a post office in suburban Cook county, & physically saw the worker post-stamp the letter as Nov8. The cookcountyclerk dot com site noted the deadline for the ballot to be postmarked is by Nov8, & the deadline for the ballot to arrive to them is Nov22. I received an email message from CCC on Nov22 acknowledging they received my ballot. Note that I was surprised it took 14 days for the ballot to arrive, mail within 1 county should take 3 days or less. Then a few days later, I received a letter from CCC, dated & postmarked Nov23, noting that that
    1 my mail ballot will not be counted, because it was received too late
    2 I can challenge this decision by going to the CCC office during some meeting times, the last of which is on Nov22.

    So to summarize
    1 My mail ballot was not counted, despite CCC itself sending an email message confirming they received it on Nov22, which is their own stated deadline
    2 My due process to challenge CCC’s rejection of my ballot is bogus, as they send me a letter dated Nov23, arriving days after Nov23, noting the last meeting I can challenge their rejection is Nov22

    I called the office, & a worker there was had an anti-customer service ethic, said “there’s nothing you can do, the deadline has passed”, & hung up on me.

    AFAICT, this is a blatant injustice, & perhaps the CCC Clerk or worker in his office may be guilty of crimes up to a felony in rejecting my ballot. However, I fear there is no effective recourse I have in this situation. I considered contacting my IL State Rep or Senator’s office to complain about CCC’s behavior, but worry it may be a useless effort. Similar although to a much lesser severity level that cop violence on citizens, I feel this is another blatant case of US injustice, where the victim has no effective means of challenging the injustice.

    BTW, I have mail-ballot voted in suburban Cook County before, including in the Mar2016 primary & the Nov2014 elections. This is the first time this explicit ballot rejection happened. Perhaps as a precautionary measure, next time I should mail my ballot 30 days prior to the stated deadlines (e.g. postmark the ballot on Oct8 instead of Nov8) to avoid the risk of CCC’s possible incompetence &/or evil behavior.

    Any thoughts from the wise informed NC community are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

      1. Disenfranchised Voter in Cook Co

        would you say the surrounding collar counties have County governments that are noticeably less corrupt &/or incompetent than Cook County?

        Honest question, I am a relative IL/Chicagoland newbie.

        1. grayslady

          Short answer, yes. Lake County voting is incredibly easy. Lake County Clerk is very responsive. Optical scanning equipment is upgraded every couple of years. I lived in Cook County for 55 years, and they were way behind the curve compared with Lake County. Also, early voting is available for weeks before election day at several locations.

          1. barefoot charley

            I was living in France 40 years ago, from Chicago, and I sent for an absentee ballot. Got it no problem. And no wonder: The only offices I could vote on were President and Senate! They wouldn’t let me botch up any important (local) elections. I didn’t complain either, life is too short.

    1. DJG

      Voter in Cook County: I think that you let convenience get the better of local custom, and I don’t mean corruption. I see below that you say you are a newbie. How many days of early voting went on in your town? And you had no time? How many polling stations are in your town? And you can’t walk over? In the city of Chicago, early voting went on for something like three weeks at the libraries and other public facilities. Two precincts vote within two blocks of my condo.

      Did you really post your ballot on election day? What did you expect?

      1. Disenfranchised Voter in Cook Co

        I prefer absentee ballot, especially with 50+ obscure local & judge offices on the ballot. Absentee ballot allow me to eliminate the middle step of taking notes on the obsure offices to bring to the polling station, to transcribe the notes onto an e-voting machine (which in my guesstimation is likely even more prone to election rigging or inadvertent machine error than the paper absentee ballot is – would be open to listening to an expert like Brad Friedman’s take on the matter).

        Like hunkerdown mentioned, I complied with the CCC’s own rules specified on their website in submitting the paper ballot. I agree it would be safer to have submitted the ballot 30 days early, but I did actually comply with all the CCC rules. Are we a nation of laws/rules, or random whims of “what do you expect”?

        If you or I or any random citizen disenfranchised somebody’s vote, it would likely be a crime, even a felony crime. It appears the CCC Clerk or his minion can casually disenfranchise its ctizen’s vote, with the victim/citizen having no recourse. #AmericanExceptionalism

  18. craazyboy

    Well, I guess Ada’s defense is “no garbage in” -> “garbage out.”

    And Uber’s is, “Eventually, we’ll have safety drivers in the back seat.”

    All is going well.

      1. craazyboy

        If they can’t make it see a red light on a clear, sunny, fog and rain free day with no glare or reflected light, the testing should be at the phase where the engineers are still driving around the corporate parking lot.

        And what was the Uber “safety test driver” doing? Talking on his cell phone?

  19. Milton

    One of my favorite companies, Esri, produces a series of story maps. This particular map is titled “Wealth Divides – Exploring the stark dividing lines between rich and poor in American cities”.
    The story map clearly illustrates the proximity of the upper and lower classes and the shrinking middle in large US metropolises. What make these storymaps unique are the narrative parts, interspersed between the maps.


    1. Ruben

      Thank you for sharing this link. Eventually, it gonna be urgent to build walls. The collapse of the State in the large out-walled areas will ensue. The subsequent dynamics is left as an exercise to the student.

    1. YY

      It is routine to have the banker community list up the appointment of every cabinet position.

      I wonder, whenever anybody refers to Trump’s public challenge to Putin to hack the missing 30,000 e-mails, whether they truly expect the listener to take the original statement at face value. Or do we all rely on an agreed pretend that a statement in jest/irony is instead serious/true? Any reflection on this, given a moment to rethink, will just reinforce how many feel they are drowning in BS.

  20. Kurt Sperry

    ” Grifters Musk and Kalanick shove their snouts near the trough.”

    I’m not saying Musk isn’t a grifter in some sense of the word, but if you think that defines him you must have no idea how impressive dreaming up and launching a new large automotive company ex nihilo today is, one that has sold huge numbers of technically impressive and truly innovative cars in the space of, what, a decade? Even if it all crashes down five years from now (which I doubt it will), the achievement is historic.

    When was the last time someone did this on this scale in the automotive field? It might’ve been close to 100 years.

    1. subgenius

      “dreaming up and launching”?

      Na mate, wrong entirely – but the story is getting very diluted as time goes on.

      The company was incorporated prior to series A funding by the actual founders, then after an legal case and an out of court settlement there was a new list of 5 founders…

        1. ChrisPacific

          Thanks, that was an interesting read.

          Oddly enough, even though it wasn’t all that sympathetic to Musk, I came away with it with a more favorable impression of him than I usually do. (Certainly more so than when I am reading about his plan to relieve people of large sums of their cash before launching them on a trip into hard vacuum). But reading this, it seems clear that he did make some useful contributions and add some value, even if he also made a number of mistakes. It wasn’t until the speeches at the end of the article that I started feeling the urge to check my pockets.

          1. Brad

            Mine just got a smidgen less sympathetic now that Musk decided to sniff around Trump’s gathering plunder pirate fleet.

      1. tegnost

        FTA…”The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a statement saying Uber was expected to secure such a permit, but Uber maintained that it did not require this clearance because its vehicles were not fully self-driving and have a driver onboard at all times.”
        as per usual, easier to ask forgiveness than permission or in the case of silly valley, easier to just say FU we make our own rules… I’d say it’s funny but I was driving in sf today does that make me a bad person? related note the more expensive the car the less likely to use the turn signal, and anecdotal point when I see a crazy driver I expect it to be a teenage boy but it’s usually a middle age woman…these people should read the happiness articles…jus sayin

  21. dorkenergy

    Sitting in the Bechtel Conference Center listening to http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/events/russia-looking-back-and-looking-ahead

    Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry on how we got from cooperation to the current dangerous confrontation: It began with NATO expansion, and was foretold at the time. That put a damper on the discussion …

    Ok, Michael McFaul got things back around to how critical it is that we investigate Russian influence on the election.

    1. dorkenergy

      Perry and Hecker are old school, concerned with politics, patriotism and nuclear science as substantive issues of interest as well to the Russian counterparts.

      McFaul and Hoffman appear to be just mouthpieces deep into the nested facades for NTC manipulation.

    2. dorkenergy

      Hecker, former director of Los Alamos Lab on his Russian scientific counterparts: “They just have a different view of issues like Crimea and the Ukraine. … Those issues are too hard; let’s stick to what we can address, like nuclear cooperation.”

    3. dorkenergy

      Perry: “It turns out we were worrying about the wrong things in the Cold War. The big danger then – and the big danger now that we are recreating the atmosphere of the Cold War – is that we will blunder into a nuclear war that will mean the end of civilization. Our only hope is that people will recognize that issue far outweighs any other concern.”

    4. dorkenergy

      Perry: “As Secretary of Defense I was instructed to prepare for an air strike on Iranian cities in retaliation for an attack in KSA that killed 20 Americans. But we kept investigating and eventually concluded we just didn’t know who was behind it. In hindsight, it was probably Osama Bin Laden. So being certain of attribution is very important.”

  22. Tigerlily

    That Jacobin piece by two Danish academics is brilliant, and it includes this great line: Trump’s win doesn’t prove that voters hate the truth. It merely shows that enough of them prefer a pathological liar who promises change to a status-quo technocrat who liberal-splains the facts.

    Liberal-splains. Le mot juste.

    Love it.

  23. Scott

    196 nations listed as officially understood as nations. How a guy gets to make deals with 200, when there are not exactly 200 with oil, is a figure. I mean I guess they figured a nation here or there didn’t matter and all bought fuel, so there you go.

  24. Cry Shop

    “They could start by firing William Owen for non-performance. Headline: “Tennesse Pol Blows Off Own Foot With Blame Cannon.””

    Look at the committee, it’s full of wanks. A simple example of the conflicts of interest, Emily Passini, is the partner with Greenlight Media Strategies, which is paid by the party to do election mailings, marketing, etc. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/28/tennessee-delegate-knew-chelsea-clinton-junior-high-student/87686516/

    Or read this little tidbit about Kurt Wagner’s wife in the personal life section. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Wagner_(musician)

    Even most of the black members are just political crooks who sell their people’s interest down the stream for money.

    These people don’t even see, much less comprehend, the people they are suppose to represent, because the party has become a non-democratic business. Just try to get their support for an election without meeting the approval of their oligarchy.

  25. Jay M

    Well, seems like electoral college angst has wrung all the humor out of IOT and self driving cars. I mean I don’t have the scratch to see Hamilton, much less be a Hamiltonian elector. And Pelosi’s kid is a driving force, the curated apple falls close to the tree.

    Anyway if I have a talking car, can it communicate in New York? Is there going to be an intercar esperanto so all is propinquity? That leaves aside how the owners talk. If my car is in east LA will communication be seemless with the low-rider?

    As far as the router goes, think you have to leave a few double sawbucks for the kid. Sort of your doorman.

    1. craazyboy

      I’m sure MSFT will come out with E Language. It will be easy to learn, yet verbose, but powerful, and flexible enough to talk down to low riders, but appropriately up depending on which New Yark cawer. It will cross all MSFT platforms, and documentation will be available someday for outside vendors and developers.

      Oracle will come out with Eeffoc – which is coffee spelled backwards and truly cross platform, but 3X slower that E. IBM will license it and charge 3X as much for it. Will focus on high end SUV market. IBM_Bangalore will handle the coding.

      No router in peer to peer car system. So Cisco intends to buy up all RF chip manufacturers in the world. Cisco RF chips will still need external proprietary RAM at $100 a gigabyte.

      Apple announces the iCarPhone – a phone designed to be used by car passengers. It bolts to the back of the front seat and has a handy, ergonomic, headset. Available in 8 colors and guaranteed not to clash with other Apple fashion accessories.

  26. aab

    Question for the commentariat: Most of my comments go to moderation now. Yves and Lambert have already told me they couldn’t figure out why it was happening, and that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

    So when I reply to someone now, it often shows up hours later, looking like I’ve ignored all the discussion that has gone on in the meantime. Should I just accept this as the new price for participation? Should I immediately post a separate short comment saying “I replied, but it’s in moderation,” as a flag so I don’t look as rude? My one sentence comments usually go right through. I don’t want to bug our hosts over this, expecially when they’ve got much more pressing matters to attend to. And some of this is a question of politeness, in the best sense. Is there an existing norm for this situation I don’t know about?

    1. allan

      Welcome to the club. I’m assuming hoping that it’s nothing personal.
      The management has a lot on its plate at the moment.

        1. dontknowitall

          I wonder why the site does not have basic encryption enabled? The reason I ask is we are providing an email address as well as a handle for each comment which is being sent in the clear it seems also there are links for donations which could benefit from a secure connection. I wondered about that when I was making a Tip Jar donation yesterday. I am not a website programming person so I don’t know if I am totally wrong on this…just don’t see the little lock icon. What’s to prevent someone with the tech skills from harvesting commenters handles and email addresses and massively impersonating commentariat people at a critical time. Not worried about NSA, just script kiddies are enough. On the business side, Google also has policy of downgrading ranking of sites that have no security so it might be beneficial to do it but I understand if the technical effort is more than the site can afford.

    2. tegnost

      It’s mystery, vatch commonly notes he replied which at least informs a moderator to look for it and let it through…maybe you’re arguing too effectively, i notice my chromebook acting up when I’m looking at articles recently, telling me there’s scripts trying to load as well as adobe warnings, not that I’m foily or anything…you’d think I’m loony enough that they’d let me spout off since I’m like a broken record

    3. Cry Shop

      Hey, at least you get the moderation notice. Often enough whole post dissappear. S k y n e t is sensitive to academic links for some reason. Probably E ls iver purchased Wor dp ress, or something of that nature.

      1. integer

        From my exchanges with Outis I am led to believe that the disappearing comment phenomenon actually results in the disappeared comment being redirected to a different folder from the usual moderation que, and hence are recoverable from that folder. I assume it is the same folder to which spam comments are redirected.

        Adding: And funnily enough my comments seem to have stopped going into moderation.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Disappearance seems mostly to be relative, though(?) Is it other people’s experience that it’s fairly normal for comments to take a while to show up, with or without moderation a moderation notice, and that it can be kind of confusing but is not really a big deal? So that the lack of an immediate reply would almost never look impolite, for several reasons at once: first this haphazard timing of comments’ appearance; second the wildly dispersed time zones and schedules of various commenters; thirdly the hope that the absence of a reply shouldn’t automatically sound disrespectful when all exchanges have to end somewhere and stopping is often a way of showing willingness to leave the last word to the other person (regardless of dis/agreement) and leaving room for others in general. (Which reminds me aab, thanks for your thoughtful and patient reply a few days ago. Just missed seeing it at the time because: 5.48am GMT.)

          1. aab

            Drat. Now I want to know what I was replying to. (Sorry, my migraines have been exceptionally bad the last week or so, so I’m not as sharp as I’d like to be.) Do you remember which post it was?

      2. Kurt Sperry

        In my experience in the not unusual case that upon submitting your comment, you don’t get a notification saying it’s been exiled to the mod queue you may as well rewrite a bit and resubmit, because your post is gone forever never to be seen by anyone again. Even when your post goes into the mod queue, they often disappear forever for no obvious reason. The false positive rate in the filter seems pretty astronomical from a submitter’s perspective. I’ve done battle with spam-bots before. It ain’t easy. FDL used to have a regular spamming nemesis but their submissions had a unique tell, a “==” in the formatting.

        1. Cry Shop

          If it’s WordPress or their spamfilter vendor doing it, then the last thing they want is the posts going to moderation. That means they will eventually get posted here. Better to make them disappear.

        2. clinical wasteman

          From what you say Kurt, perhaps my impression that pretty much everything shows up eventually only applies if you’re an Atlantic Ocean away and can almost never join in discussion in ‘real’ time, so that the difference between, say, today’s links and yesterday’s Water Cooler doesn’t look so big. But if anyone suspects that his/her comments do disappear without trace, it might be worth going back the next day, and bearing in mind that the scroll may have expanded so that what you wrote is not where you expected it to be. Apologies though if this is all just my anomalous experience.

      3. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Hi Cry Shop,

        integer is right – if a legitimate comment disappears, it goes somewhere or other and if I am told about it, I can track it down.

        What I am hoping you and the other commenters struggling with the issue will do, is to send me notices when comments vanish, at outis.philalithopoulos@gmail. If you mention it in a comment, then I may or may not happen to read that particular comment. What is really essential is for people to send me the time stamp for when a comment disappears. With that, not only can I find the comment, I can hopefully start gathering information that might contribute toward making it happen less often.

        1. aab

          Outis, just so you know, I do not recall ever having a comment simply vanish, other than the occasionally weird quirk right at posting that’s easy to fix by back arrowing. I may experiment with Cry Shop’s suggestion of writing elsewhere and then pasting to see if that takes care of the moderation problem. I’ve been swearing to dial back writing here, since I’m supposed to be working on income producing activities, but that doesn’t seem to be working out as planned. So I might as well keep a record of some of these long screeds, and hopefully save you guys some labor.

          I didn’t mean this to be a complaint, by the way. My stuff makes out of moderation faster than I expect a lot of the time, especially given the other resource demands. (I secretly enjoy the idea that because my comments are going to moderation, it mean you guys are personally reading them…I guess it’s not so secret now…)

        2. Cry Shop

          Hi Outis,

          When one of my posts goes “poof” at the point of posting, then there is no time stamp. Sometimes, like aab, I can get the message content by backpaging on my browser. If that happens, then if there are no links in the message, or the link is blase, then it will (nearly) always will post successfully on the 2nd attempt.

          If there are more esoteric links, then often it just won’t post at all and there are no messages or error comments I can send you. Sometimes I’ve saved the comment before hand, and will wait a few hours, or til the next morning, to see if it’s something temporary with the server but I get the same result. Rather than risk this going poof, I’m going to attempt to post one of those failed links where I have an email copy right after this one, and we both can see how it goes this time.

          1. Cry Shop

            Exit polls (which are often unreliable, but all we have for the moment) and the vote distribution strongly suggest those states were lost because Clinton lost many of the white working-class voters that broke for Obama in 2012.


            and I’ll add Bayes would have walked out the door long ago, refused the work, that our modern pollsters do to make money. When there is a incentive (positive or negative), no way to effectively model that incentive’s spread in the sample, then any “confidence” in the calculated deviation goes out the door. Yet few people were looking past how these pollsters were doing anything more than just throwing textbook calculations without understanding. I hearty recommend reading Chapter 1 and 3 The Nature of Statistics by Roberts and Wallis, far better than Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics, as it covers even unintentional abuse and laziness/lack of rigor.


            Psuedo-science applied to questions of science has gotten humanity into so much trouble, but we keep going back to that poisoned well — it taste so good, so human.

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              Here is the comment of yours that vanished earlier today. Thanks for letting us know about this – it provides a helpful example of the disappearance phenomenon, and I’ll try to study it more over the next few days.

              1. Cry Shop

                BTW, Outis, I note that the google books link, which is often the greatest cause of my pasts post being refused, is not highlighted as an active link when you got it to post this time. Just thought I’d mention it as something that might help your investigations.

                Good luck, I’d rather decode the Maya Codex than trouble shoot most modern code.

                1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                  Thanks, Cry Shop. I have tracked down a bug that was preventing the comment you indicated from posting properly. Your surmise about a connection to statistics-related links was spot on. After addressing the problem, I just now tested things by reposting your original comment and then immediately deleting it – everything worked properly.

                  I’m really glad you told us about this – in retrospect, it’s pretty likely that the bug in question was hitting a decent amount of stuff. There may still be other bugs out there, so let me know if in the future you notice other weird things occurring.

          2. Outis Philalithopoulos

            By “time stamp,” I just meant to send me close to the exact time you tried to post it. If you also include, from memory, a sentence or link from the post, then that helps to be sure we are talking about the same comment.

            1. Cry Shop

              Hi Outis

              and I’ll add Bayes would have walked out the door long ago, refused the work, that our modern pollsters do to make money.

              above is the sentence from the post that disappeared here, and many times before. Hope this and the time sets from the comments above and below can help. I’ll add I’m in HK so 12/13 hours ahead of CT depending on if it is DST.

        3. Cry Shop

          Hi Outis:

          about 15 minutes ago I reposted one of those troublesome items as a reply to the comment above, and as it did before, it disappeared, and I was left at the top of the page. I waited a bit before posting this so as to not dirty the log stream.

          1. Cry Shop

            had a comment on yesterdays links, about Scott Adam’s recent column/blog post on “Remind Me Why Russia is Our Adversary?”. I’m not going to try to repost that item again, just informing you that even a post with links to Dilbert apparently trigger the “poof” syndrome. no notice about mediation, no nothing, just like my experience above.

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              I just looked around for possibly vanished comments from you and I found one, posted early this morning, that included the following text and link:

              “I hearty recommend reading Chapter 1 and 3 The Nature of Statistics by Roberts and Wallis, far better than Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics, as it covers even unintentional abuse and laziness/lack of rigor.


              The thing is, that doesn’t sound like the one referencing Dilbert although maybe I’m misinterpreting your description.

              Putting this together with the other information you’ve supplied seems to suggest that some comments really do go poof, i.e. disappear in a way that even us, the moderators, can’t see them any more. If that is true, it’s helpful (but obviously not good) information.

              1. Cry Shop

                That’s it. I should have looked down into the comment section earlier before my comment today. I made some earlier feedback in some consersations here about how I eventually worked out it was the name of the text book, and also using Google Books as a link can set it off sometimes. either spacing out the name of the book like this: S t a t i s t i c s, or removing the link cleared issues.

        4. JTMcPhee

          A couple of days ago the site not only “poofed” several of my comments, a common experience, it also went back and purged from the threads at least five comments that had “passsed muster” first time around and been visible, in at least two cases, for many hours. Leaving me to puzzle whether I had transgressed so horribly against site policies as to be banned, without the process and notice seen in other situations. The content of a couple of the post-hoc disappeared notes was lengthy (bandwidth violation?) and maybe a little controversial, and contained several links one of which was to the CIA online material. Who knows? I guess it’s a bit of a minefield — “Watch your step, there, mate!” — where one has to guess the safe path. And we are warned that kvetching about items like this can itself result in banning.

          Participation here means a lot, to me and others. Tiptoeing is hard, given the subject matter. It’s somewhat like any small community I’ve experienced, I guess, from grade school to Boy Scouts to even “liberal arts college” seminars to law school to job sites to the military to my little cul de sac neighborhood (where the Cruz and Trump fans predominate, sadly.)

          1. Yves Smith

            1. We virtually never remove comments that were posted. I suspect you had comments that were held for moderation or perhaps you posted them on the wrong post (which happens a lot) and went back to look on the wrong post for them.

            The one exception is when we have to rip out an entire thread because some material that badly discredited the site got through. In order for the comments nesting on that thread to work, we have to rip out the entire thread, meaning all comments that responded to it, sadly including sound and well documented ones that took issue with it. The one recent topic we regard as simultaneously too bogus and destructive to the site to tolerate is the Pizzagate/pedophile meme. We mistakenly allowed some of that speculation to occur a couple of months ago even though Lambert and I smacked readers hard who talked about it; it failed any test of critical thinking skills, which is what this site is about. We should have put our foot down harder back then.

    4. Cry Shop

      aab, you are one of the better posters here, one important part of what keeps me coming back. Don’t give up, but I do suggest composing your longer posts in your email software/page, then cut and paste them here. Will save a lot of headache. If they get disappered, then it’s probably a term or some name/url that set the S k y n e t off. You can find out which term it was by modifying them one at time and reposting them. That’s how I found out tex t books on stat ist ics get sent to the “zone”.

  27. LT

    AP – troops in Poland….

    In order to dare the Trump administration to move them out once Putin complains.
    They want to say he’s working for Russia. That’s the Dems game.
    Not domestic policies that will make a difference for working people.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but the last domestic American “waders” factory relocated to East Magonia an infinity ago.
        IIRC, the Navy Dolphins are too busy inculcating chastity and moral rectitude in the young to be bothered with geopolitics right now.
        Suggestion to the Military Industrial Strategic Plans Group; rebrand the Chinese South China Sea plan as the “Seven Daesh Line,” and prosecute the conflict as an aspect of the Global War on Terror.
        Finally, you try to re-purpose the phrase, “you’re all wet,” as an honorific.

  28. subgenius

    OK this is getting really out of hand now…


    Putin was PERSONALLY INVOLVED in election hack!

    Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

    What, did they dox them, then?

    1. integer

      Desperation + Stupidity = Vulnerability

      The neocons are desperate (and stupid). The time has come to take these losers down once and for all.
      I’m agnostic so I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but:

      “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
      John 8:32

    2. tgs

      Yeah, it is really out of hand. By the way, none of the intell agencies agreed to brief te Senate Intell Committee on Russian hacking.

    3. WJ

      Let us put on our cultural analytic hats for a moment and ponder what this increasingly popular fantasy of Putin’s godlike, omnipresent, malevolent competence reveals about the state of our own nation’s politics and the deepest feelings it evinces from us.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We know because we spy on Putin? Do we listen in on his phone calls like we did with Merkel’s?

      Why don’t we just hack back?

  29. ewmayer

    o “The future of public health under President Trump” [Hahhhhvid Credentialist Wonks and Ladies Sewing Circle]. “The likelihood for total 100% repeal of the ACA is unlikely for two reasons…” — Parse that again: “The likelihood … is unlikely.” But they’re so very well-credentialed! I must be misreading it.

    o “Obama: Nothing ‘Explosive’ in Hacked DNC Emails, ‘Fairly Routine Stuff’” — But even so, let’s recall that being the highly security-conscious tech-savvy folks they are, the DNC IT-elite, after realizing they’d been hacked, did take the necessary and prudent step of sending out new passwords to everyone, in plaintext. Take that, Rooskie spooks!

    o “MBA Mortgage Applications, week of December 9, 2016: “Rising interest rates continue to take their toll on mortgage activity, with purchase applications for home mortgages falling a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent” [Econoday]. “Though it is nearly a foregone conclusion that the Fed will hike the Fed funds target range by 25 basis points today, potential home-buyers and refinancing homeowners will be sensitive to rhetoric explaining the decision for clues about the frequency and magnitude of future rate hikes.” — Here, allow me to correct that last bit: “…potential home-buyers and refinancing homeowners will be sensitive to what the bond markets are actually doing to interest rates, rather than paying any heed to the pompously orotund natterings of a bunch of Fed twits who are desperately trying to reclaim a sense of their own relevance by getting out in front of the bond-market rate riot and calling it a parade.’ What a bunch of useless eaters. Useless, when they’re not actively fvcking things up, that is. We wish they were merely useless at all times!

    o Researchers say the Arctic continues to warm up at rates they call “astonishing.” They presented their findings at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco” [NPR] — While the latest arctic blast from Canada way may seem paradoxical in light of the record-arctic-warmth reports this year, note the following detail from a Reuters article [ID: us-usa-weather-idUSKBN1420T3] re. the polar vortex: ‘The phenomenon is a spinning mass of cold air over the North Pole that delivers icy air into the mid-latitudes during the winter whenever the vortex weakens and splits up.’ In other words there is a possible connection between anomalous polar warmth and a weaker-than-normal polar vortex, which would have the effect of causing the cold – by sub-arctic-circle standards – air normally surrounding the pole to spill southward, which would require warmer-than-normal air to push northward in other ares, by simple conservation of mass. The Wikipedia entry on polar vortex notes this conjectured linkage, but adds that the jury is still out.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > sending out new passwords to everyone, in plaintext

      In other words, they didn’t take the Russki possibility seriously at the time. Only when it was necessary to deploy the blame cannons did they do that.

      1. subgenius

        I would like to propose the DNC get clued-up wrt matters of data security.

        They should probably look into this. If you want to be absolutely secure in the knowledge that NOBODY can read your emails, one-ended encryption is PERFECT.

  30. Cry Shop

    They could start by firing William Owen for non-performance. Headline: “Tennesse Pol Blows Off Own Foot With Blame Cannon.”

    Look at the committee, it’s full of wanks. A simple example of the conflicts of interest, Emily Passini, is the partner with Greenlight Media Strategies, which is paid by the party to do election mailings, marketing, etc. Look at the fluff she drivels, a real inside snake.

    Or read this little tidbit about Kurt Wagner’s wife in the personal life section. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Wagner_(musician)

    Even some (probably all, but I don’t have time to dig through the whole list) of the black members are known for selling their influence even when it goes against their ” constituents” interest.

    These people don’t even see, much less comprehend, the people they are suppose to represent, because the party has become a non-democratic business. Just try to get their support for an election without meeting the approval of their oligarchy.

    S k y n e t ate my earlier post, no m o d e r a t i o n note but was able to save part. Lets see if it sticks this time.

  31. tegnost

    Re Gaia…not to be too pessimistic during the holiday season, but you can’t put the whuskey back in the bottle after you drunk it…change is gonna happen faster and we’re way far gone at this point

  32. integer

    I don’t have time to go and find the link right now, but I just remembered that in one of the Podesta emails, Podesta talks about there being a leak in the Clinton campaign and about how he was going to fire someone to make an example of them, regardless of whether the person who was to be made an example of was in fact the leaker.

    Could Seth Rich’s death simply have been the Clinton campaign sending a message to the other staffers?
    Unfortunately this seems very plausible to me. I will find the link to the email chain where this conversation took place and post it in tomorrows links. This needs to be looked at!!!

    1. integer

      Here’s the email I was remembering:
      It seems that 4 months passed between the sending of the last email in this chain until the date of Seth Rich’s murder, which points towards them being unrelated imo. This is definitely not to say the DNC/Clinton campaign was not responsible for his death, as it seems very likely they were imo, only to say that this particular email chain is probably unrelated. It is still a very interesting read though, and I recommend that people read it to get a feel for what was going on behind the scenes in the Clinton campaign. Nice how Podesta was willing to fire someone who was not necessarily involved with leaking info just to make a point. Classy.

      This following email chain is worth reading too. It details some tension between the NYT and the Clinton campaign over Clinton’s email server fiasco.

      And 0bama was telling us how boring the Podesta emails were…

  33. ChrisAtRU

    Well, for those of you looking for one last ~chortle~ before bed, I submit the following:


    Now … I am not sure what’s the origin of this … I can only say it has popped up on various social networks within the last couple days. Was it Reddit first, Facebook first ??? I don’t know …
    But that center section labeled “Great Sources Of News” … ;-) Now who would want to promote such a thing?

    1. hunkerdown

      I guess it’s something like a Nolan Chart for respectables. Everyone add your own favorite site in there and join the fun!

  34. pretzelattack


    I haven’t seen this linked yet. i’m getting a very, very strong whiff of iraqi wmd bullshit here, but this time the target seems to be russia instead of a paper tiger dictator with no air force and no wmd’s. it amazes me that tptb want to push this.
    what on earth is the gain to outweigh the risk? i speculate that with climate change apparently being even more severe with feedback mechanisms kicking in, the elites think war is inevitable anyway, and this is a good time to push it. then i guess they all take off for mars or something.

    1. financial matters

      For sure. Libya and then Syria is where we seemed to have gotten seriously off track and our ‘efforts’ more publicly being revealed for not being in most people’s best interests. The CIA and the Clinton Foundation seemed to be at the tip of this malicious and misdirected sword. Both were counting on a Clinton presidency and seem to be involved in dangerous efforts to exacerbate things now and discredit the incoming administration.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        A huge problem now is that so much of the media has been ‘downsized’ that newspapers all over the world are just regurgitating this nonsense from the wires. Very few newspapers have journalists in the Middle East anymore so there is nobody to write any balance to the nonsense.

        My suspicion is that much of this was actually intended for a HRC presidency. There would be nothing like a good short term military emergency to stave off the assault from Republicans on HRC and allow her to consolidate power. But its proven just as useful to put pressure on Trump. I believe this is the neocons doing everything they can to push Trump into a militaristic stance. Its an incredibly dangerous game.

        1. Fiver

          It works all around for Clinton and neocons, win or lose in the EC – and is as you say, an incredibly dangerous game they are playing. Clinton et al have certainly proved one thing – her judgment is undoubtedly as bad as so many feared. Who on earth runs a political campaign based on what a machine is spitting out?

  35. Octopii

    Re Musk: Please quit it with the Zerohedge/Limbaugh talking point that he’s a grifter. The guy is doing big stuff that nobody else has done, not even anyone else who’s sucked billions more from the government teat.

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