2:00PM Water Cooler 12/15/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“A group of 45 countries wrapped up a two-day meeting on Wednesday in Geneva to discuss the possible formation of a new international investment court to respond to the deepening controversy over the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism found in most trade deals” [Politico]. “The meeting, co-hosted by Canada and the European Union, would build on an initial proposal from the EU to form an ‘investment court system’ that would establish an appeals process and a proven roster of judges to hear cases, which are not features of the current ISDS system. The proposal had sought to manage overwhelming opposition to ISDS in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks that are now on ice.” Kill it with fire.

“Trump’s campaign promise to tear apart the North American Free Trade Agreement helped win over Rust Belt voters who felt left behind by globalization. But the idea is unnerving to many people in border cities such as Laredo and El Paso or Nogales in Arizona, which have boomed under the 1994 treaty” [AP].



“President-elect Donald Trump has pledged deep tax cuts and increased infrastructure spending to restore lost jobs, accelerate the economy and bring prosperity to more Americans. Janet Yellen has her doubts” [AP]. “After a presidential campaign full of blunt words and sweeping promises, the Federal Reserve chair sought Wednesday to make a nuanced point: The moment for a deficit-fueled stimulus to improve job creation has likely passed.” So Yellen dictates fiscal policy, now? How does that work?

Since personnel is policy: “Donald Trump is building a cabinet in his own image. The first billionaire U.S. president has appointed two billionaires and at least nine millionaires, with a combined net worth of about $5.6 billion, to run government departments. Two appointees to cabinet or cabinet-level positions are former generals. And fewer than half have any prior government experience. Many of Trump’s nominees have close ties to Wall Street and corporate America. Altogether, his cabinet is shaping up to look a lot different from his predecessors” [Bloomberg]. Liberals yammer that Trump’s squillonaires are conflicted — as if they themselves weren’t — when the real issue is shared class interest.

And as for foreign policy:

And anybody who thinks that a shooting war in the Baltic might not be the best idea is a traitor and a Putin stooge. Right, Dmitri?

Our Famously Free Press

Can somebody please wake me when a government official goes on the record about Russki “hacking”, which is seems is really phishing? Thank you. So far, the person in the best position to evaluate the evidence is Obama, who has notably refused to become hysterical, and as of this writing has done nothing to respond to Clintonite frothing and stamping that [something mumble CIA something something mumble Putin mumble Trump blather fume authoritative] be shown to the electors before the Electoral College votes on December 19, even though Nancy Pelosi’s daughter demanded that he do so. Personally, I think that shows Obama is a Russian stooge. [UPDATE 2:44PM Looks like Langley rolled Obama. Hoo boy.]

The latest (I’ve helpfully added annotation) “Some anonymous U.S. intelligence officials now believe with ‘a high level of confidence’ not sufficient for a Presidential finding, or supported by any agency that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, anonymous senior U.S. intelligence officials hopefully not lying weasels like Clapper and Hayden told NBC News” [NBC] “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.”

BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!! Since it’s been 12 years since 2004, they figure we’ve forgotten, and they’re running the “British intelligence has learned” scam again! It’s the oldest play in the book; you get one of your “allies” (that is, a client state) to say for you what you can’t prove yourself; the intelligence equivalent of planting a sexed-up story on Fleet Street, so you can say “It’s out there,” and run the same story on this side of the pond.

This is simple. If the information is good, somebody from Langley with a name needs to put themselves on the line over it. Otherwise, Langley is saying that their sources and methods are more important than putting a Russian Agent in the Oval Office. And the name for having your cake and eating it too is, in this case, treason. Right?

2016 Post Mortem

“This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson.” [The Nation]. Hell’s Angels. Great book, but I’m not persuaded.

“What Was James Comey Thinking?” [Esquire]. Good essay. Reminds us that Comey took the side of the angels in the confrontation with Gonzales at Ashcroft’s hospital bed over Bush’s program Stellar Wind, which “allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on nearly anyone in the United States by assaying the metadata from millions of telephone conversations and emails.” Well worth a read.

“Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke at an event with Politico’s Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman Thursday morning. there, she was asked about reports that Russian hackers could have impacted the results of the 2016 election. Lynch said that there was no evidence that Russian hackers breached the integrity of the U.S. election system. ‘Fortunately we didn’t see the sort of technical interference that I know people had concerns about, also, in terms of voting machines and the like,’ Lynch said.” [RealClearPolitics]. Too bad Stein’s recount effort bought into that nonsense.

Our Famously Free Press


Trump Transition

“Those who lead publicly traded companies also tend to be, of necessity, more pragmatic than ideological. It was on Tillerson’s watch, for instance, that ExxonMobil acknowledged the link between climate change and human activity, and came out in favor of the sweeping agreement reached in Paris at the end of last year aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions internationally” [WaPo].

“There seems little doubt that Rex Tillerson will be confirmed as the US’ next Secretary of State. Assuming there are no bombshell revelations that bring into question his qualifications, his reputation, combined with expressions of support from former Secretaries of State James Baker and Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, will garner him more than enough votes in the Senate. Once Tillerson is confirmed, America and the world will be witness to a dramatic retooling of Washington’s foreign policy, with traditional diplomacy replaced by a more transactional approach” [Scott Ritter, Energy Intelligence].

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Given a chance to have their say, voters say “Yes” to raising the minimum wage. As of November 8, 2016, 15 states had voted on a state-level proposals to raise the minimum wage. By November 9, four more states had approved state-level measures to lift the minimum wage” [247 Wall Street]. Because America is a center-right nation.

“The Democratic [sic] Party has become everything that it once loathed: elitist, globalist, interventionist, self-serving, warmongering and overflowing with hubris. To avoid looking at their reflection honestly, humans project their own failures and destructive traits onto others, blaming others for their own faults. They justify their self-serving actions, and deny responsibility for their clearly self-destructive behaviors” [Of Two Minds]. “This describes the Democratic Party elites to a T. It’s all Trump’s fault, or the Russian hackers, or the ‘deplorables’–anyone but themselves.”

“But it isn’t the Founders’ fault that the Clinton campaign failed to turn out African-American voters in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Milwaukee. The Electoral College didn’t force blue-collar voters and rural Democrats in the Midwest to defect from the Democratic Party” [Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, “The Many Democratic Excuses for Defeat”]. “If Mr. Trump had appealed to white supremacy, it would have provoked a reaction in the form of a larger minority turnout for Democrats. Yet Mrs. Clinton received fewer African-American votes—and a smaller percentage of them—than Democrats did four years ago. The fact is that Mr. Trump outperformed Mr. Romney among nonwhites across the board.”

[Al From, HuffPo, “Remaking the Democratic Party in 7 Easy Steps”]. “The New Democrat core principles—opportunity, responsibility, community—reconnected our party to its first principles and grandest traditions. Our party was built on Andrew Jackson’s credo of equal opportunity for all, special privilege for none; Thomas Jefferson’s belief in individual liberty and the capacity for self-government; John F. Kennedy’s ethic of civic responsibility; Harry Truman’s tough-minded internationalism; Franklin Roosevelt’s thirst for innovation, and Lyndon Johnson’s quest for social justice.” Ah, “innovation.”

“Moreover, one passage from Federalist 68 seems eerily relevant to the present circumstance. Hamilton wrote that the electors could be a barrier against ‘the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.’ Hamilton asked: ‘How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?'” [E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics]. “The CIA’s finding that Russia actively intervened in our election to make Trump president is an excellent reason for the electors to consider whether they should exercise their independent power.” Dionne is sloppy and wrong. Sloppy because a Presidential “finding” is a formal process, as opposed to what we have: Anonymous leaks, from one of several intelligence community factions, of a secret report. Wrong because “creature” has a specfic meaning — see NC here — and it’s not the same as “has business with” let alone “has different views on Russian realpolitic from The Blob.”

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, November 2016: “Inflation at the consumer level remains low” [Econoday]. “The Labor Department is citing housing as a central area of consistent price pressure. … Medical prices have also been a source of pressure but were unchanged in November for a second month in a row.” And: “Core inflation was unchanged year-over-year, but those nasty energy prices caused the spike in the headline CPI, This is the highest rate of inflation seen in over one year” [Econintersect].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of December 11, 2016: “Consumer confidence continues to be the hottest category on the economic calendar” [Econoday].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, December 2016: “Momentum is clearing accelerating in the Mid-Atlantic manufacturing sector” [Econoday]. “New orders in this report have been a recent standout among all factory data… This report, together with this morning’s strong results in the Empire State report, are offering advance indications of significant factory strength.” And with caveat: “There was significant strength in this survey from new orders – and now even unfilled orders. This was a positive report. Note that last month the regional Fed surveys were unanimous that manufacturing improved – yet the data showed manufacturing declined” [Econintersect].

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, December 2016: “The Empire State report is showing less strength than the Philly Fed report but momentum is building” [Econoday]. But: “I am not a fan of surveys. However, it is a good sign that new orders improved – and a bad sign that unfilled orders declined.” With same caveat as above [Econintersect].

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index Flash, December 2016: “Both the Philly Fed and Empire State reports have been pointing to accelerating strength for the factory sector, as does Markit Economics’ manufacturing PMI” [Econoday].

Jobless Claims, week of December 10, 2016: “Jobless claims continue to run at very low levels” [Econoday]. But: “The general trend of the 4 week rolling average is a slowing rate of improvement year-over-year which historically suggests a slowing economy” [Econintersect].

Current Account, Q3 2016: “The trade deficit narrowed by $8.3 billion in the quarter reflecting a $9 billion narrowing in the goods gap that offset a small decline in the services surplus” [Econoday].

Housing Market Index, December 2016: “The new home market has been a strength of 2016’s economy and looks to end the year on a strong note. The housing market index is up a very sharp 7 points” [Econoday].

Commodities: “Oyu Tolgoi resumes copper shipments to China” [Mining.com]. “The planned expansion [of the massive copper-gold mine in Mongolia], with its nearly 200 km (125 miles) of underground tunnels that will track three times as deep as the Empire State Building is tall, will more than double the copper output from Oyu Tolgoi, which is mostly sent south to China, the world’s main metals consumer.”

Commodities: “The automotive supply chain is giving a boost to zinc. Prices for the base metal have soared more than 70% this year, the WSJ’s Biman Mukherji reports, as demand in auto manufacturing helps make zinc a leader this year for commodities. Key to the surge: consumers in India and China are buying more cars that use rustproof galvanized steel, which is made with zinc. Add to that the growing optimism in the U.S. about infrastructure spending, which will call for more raw commodities imports, and the outlook in metals markets is getting downright bullish” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Danish Ship Finance, the Scandinavian shipping bank, has just published its eagerly anticipated forecasts for the industry. Published twice a year, the report is one of the most keenly read by the world’s shipowners. The mood of the latest report is decidedly sombre” [Splash 247]. “‘[T]he shipping industry is in the midst of a process whereby supply continues to expand while medium to long-term seaborne trade volumes seem to be on the brink of stagnation or are facing very low demand growth,’ the ship finance specialist maintained. ‘This apparent decoupling is expected to introduce massive changes to the competitive landscape of the shipping industry within the next five years. We believe that the forces currently in play will introduce far-reaching changes that redefine or augment the established value propositions within the shipping industry. Some players are already adapting successfully, while others are lacking behind.'”

Shipping: “Top North America TEU performance improved during the month of October; for the year, TEU traffic is only marginally lower” [James Sands, Seeking Alpha].

Shipping: “The Port of Los Angeles saw box numbers surge more than 20% to their highest-yet monthly total in November, while at the same time neighbouring Long Beach saw volumes decline amid the fallout from the Hanjin collapse” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “Outlook 2017: Class I railroads expect another grind-it-out year” [Progressive Railroading]. Interviews with CEOs.

Honey for the Bears: “The DJIA 14-day RSI touched 85 earlier this morning, the highest 14-day RSI since late November 1996. Interestingly, Former Fed Chair Greenspan discussed “irrational exuberance” in a speech delivered December 5, 1996, about 10 days after that high in the 14-day RSI” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve].

The Bezzle: “Verizon Communications Inc. is exploring a price cut or possible exit from its $4.83 billion pending acquisition of Yahoo! Inc., after the company reported a second major e-mail hack affecting as many as 1 billion users, according to a person familiar with the matter” [Bloomberg].

Fodder for the Bulls: “Retailers are showing with shipping that they have plenty of confidence in U.S. consumer demand…. The big volumes, along with strong gains at other ports on both coasts, suggest that with the stock market running high and unemployment running low, companies have an upbeat outlook heading into 2017” [Wall Street Journal].

Globalization: “Chinese capital’s growing impact on Western hotels” [Hotel News Now]. A useful timeline starting in 1972. Capital investment really starts in 2011.

Climate Risk: “The measure of gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2014 was wrecked by bad weather, according to many experts, even the White House. An extended period of deep cold and winter storms had kept consumers inside. With a polar vortex currently swirling well into places as far south as Texas and plunging large cities in the northern tier of states to levels below zero, the holiday season’s modest growth from last year is threatened” [247 Wall Street].

The Fed: ” Based on Fed Chair Yellen’s comments, most FOMC members are waiting to see the fiscal proposals before incorporating those policies in their forecasts. Yellen said at the press conference: “all the FOMC participants recognize that there is considerable uncertainty about how economic policies may change and what effect they will have on the economy'” [Calculated Risk].

The Fed: “The FOMC raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 25bp today, as expected. But the tone of the press conference and the summary of economic projections were more hawkish than I anticipated. The Fed is shifting gears, a shift I did not expect until more data piled up in the first quarter of 2017” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. “Assuming that the natural rate forecast does not change – which essentially depends on the path of wages and inflation – this means that you should anticipate that further declines in unemployment will be met with a more aggressive Fed in 2017. I don’t think this will be the last increase in the median rate forecast for 2017. ”

The Fed:

You might have to click on the image to see the whole chart.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 87 Extreme Greed (previous close: 88, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 84 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 15 at 10:13am. Failing to break the important psychological barrier of 90.

Our Famously Free Press

“U.S. paid P.R. firm $540 million to make fake al-Qaida videos in Iraq propaganda program” [Salon]. Of course, that would never happen today, and certainly not domestically.

“While the coverage of war in the past has given rise to many daring journalists – Seymour Hersh in Vietnam, Tariq Ayyoub in Iraq, photo-journalist Zoriah Miller, and hundreds more – the war in Syria is destroying journalistic integrity and, with it, our readers’ ability to decipher one of the most convoluted conflicts of the modern era” [Tlaxcala].

“But narratives about the future have always been important, not just in politics but in central banking too. During one of the recurring crises in the Eurozone, in 2012, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi proclaimed he would do “whatever it takes to save the euro”. Quite what he would have done if financial markets had continued to attack the currency is not at all clear. It was, in today’s terminology, a post-truth statement. But it worked. His narrative convinced traders and speculators to back off, and the euro lived to fight another day” [Volterra].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Why the Nazis studied American race laws for inspiration” [Aeon]. “On 5 June 1934, about a year and half after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, the leading lawyers of Nazi Germany gathered at a meeting to plan what would become the Nuremberg Laws, the centrepiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi race regime. The meeting was an important one, and a stenographer was present to take down a verbatim transcript, to be preserved by the ever-diligent Nazi bureaucracy as a record of a crucial moment in the creation of the new race regime. … That transcript reveals a startling fact: the meeting involved lengthy discussions of the law of the United States of America. At its very opening, the Minister of Justice presented a memorandum on US race law and, as the meeting progressed, the participants turned to the US example repeatedly. They debated whether they should bring Jim Crow segregation to the Third Reich. They engaged in detailed discussion of the statutes from the 30 US states that criminalised racially mixed marriages. They reviewed how the various US states determined who counted as a ‘Negro’ or a ‘Mongol’, and weighed whether they should adopt US techniques in their own approach to determining who counted as a Jew. Throughout the meeting the most ardent supporters of the US model were the most radical Nazis in the room.”

And then there’s this:

Class Warfare

“The core problem here is reification, treating both slavery and capitalism as if they were discrete, homogeneous things instead of rather loose categories we assign to social and economic systems that differ across a multitude of dimensions. Would some form of capitalism have developed in the US and other countries without the contributions of slavery? Almost certainly. Would it look and feel just like the capitalism we have today? Almost certainly not” [Econospeak]. Responding to this article–

“Shackles and Dollars: Historians and economists clash over slavery” [Chronicle of HIgher Education]. “Over the past several years, a series of books has reshaped how historians view the connection between slavery and capitalism. These works show the role that coercion played in bringing about a modern market system that is more typically identified with freedom. At a moment of rising frustration with racial and economic inequality, they have won a level of attention and acclaim that academics dream about but almost never get. Some think the books’ forensic accounting of how slave labor was stolen may buttress the case for reparations. What the economists are now assembling amounts to a battering ram aimed at the empirical foundations of these studies.”

Note the source:

News of the Wired

“A neural link between affective understanding and interpersonal attraction” [PNAS]. “These findings provide evidence that reward-related neural activity during social encounters signals how well an individual’s ” neural vocabulary” is suited to infer another person’s affective state, and that this intrinsic reward might be a source of changes in interpersonal attraction.”

“Mechanical Movements of the Cold War: How the Soviets Revolutionized Wristwatches” [Collectors’ Weekly]. “It’s truly a beautiful thing to behold for those who haven’t seen it before. When you open the back of a mechanical watch, you’re met with this spectacle of shining metal and intricately crafted parts, these infinitesimally small screws, springs, and gears, and a moving balance wheel that’s oscillating back and forth—the beating heart, so to speak. It feels alive, a living mechanism crafted by human hands. It has a sense of vitality a quartz watch doesn’t even approach.” Happy now, Dmitri?

“Chemists Discover Why the Nose Is Hypersensitive to Sulfur Odors” [Scientific American].

* * *

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 (Rex):


Literally gave me chills!

Rex writes: “The little winter we’ve had so far, one morning during my elk hunt camp at about 7200 ft. elevation. Snow melted before noon. Nov. and Dec. have been 10-15 degrees above seasonal norms this year. Woods in photo are Pinon-juniper with good cover of side-oats and blue grama grass. Overnight snow (2 in.) was magical to walk through in early morning. Rocky peak in photo is Biscuit Knob, on boundary of Apache Kid Wilderness Area.”

Readers, I’m still a bit short on plant images. Plants with snow are 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. Big River Bandido

    I was first eligible to vote in 1986, and in 30 years I have never voted Republican and hardly ever for third-party candidates. But now? I cannot wait for Democrats to take their denial and their pathetic “Russians” and “fake news” memes and go to hell. My former party is just as batshit crazy as the Tea Party, just more smug and arrogant.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Should the NYT and WaPo go BK during his term, he’ll make the top five even if he does nothing at all. ;-)

        1. binky

          Trump can’t live without media attention and journalists are nothing if not fawning fanpersons. The Times and Post will be fine. America will be a lawless polluted empire of hicks lorded over by an inherited wealth aristocracy. #winning

          Sure glad Clintons imagined flaws and rumored misbehavior didn’t win out over Trumps demonstrated criminality and corruption. Wouldn’t want to substitute yuppie greed for old money and mafia connections.

          1. Massinissa

            ” imagined flaws and rumored misbehavior ”

            Are you being serious? You watched this whole debacle of a campaign and you still think her flaws are ‘imagined’? You don’t need to be a Trump supporter to realize how flawed her candidacy was from as far back as the primary.

          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            “Wouldn’t want to substitute yuppie greed for old money and mafia connections.”

            In terms of long term damage to the interests of this nation and its people, I’m no longer sure that ‘yuppie greed’ (and insufferable hauteur) are less dangerous than Trump’s braggart cronyism. With him, The Vile is out in the open. His courtiers will trip over their own appendages more quickly than Clinton’s people would, and their prat falls will be far funnier.

            I believe that Clinton would have been a very weak one-term President. Reports coming out now about her hubris-ridden campaign suggest that she and her appointees would have done a poor job of governing. But, hers would have been a covert, well-rationalized, snotty sort of fail. She might have given us a Republican sweep in 2020 that would have been far more beholden to the king makers of the far right. And far more durable.

            If we can pry the dead hands of the well graduated off the levers of the Democratic Party, sane, decent, ordinary people (Sandernistas) may steer it back onto the pavement again. Golden Toilet Plutocrats would not fare well against old style, humane Democrats.

          3. different clue

            The article isn’t talking about moral and ethical flaws on Clinton’s part, whether real or imagined. The article is talking about functional campaign-behavior-performance suboptimalities.

          4. ambrit

            You do know what a “binky” is I hope.
            Too many opportunities for humour here. Target rich environment.

      2. Brad

        Yes, the next task is to further the self-destruction of the Trump Admin. Depends if the repuglies Trump stomped on get their way.

        That’s why I want the Lib Dems to can it with the CIA so we can get on with the real task.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But instead of getting on with the real task, we get troops in Poland and more Russian hacking distraction.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Make that 2.75 good things.

        3. He will take $1 year.

        I will even consider making it 2.85 good things, if he pays for his own interior decorator and own furniture.

      4. Massinissa

        ” 1. Getting rid of all the repub nominees”

        I wouldn’t count on that just yet. Cruz running in 2024 or even 2020 if the Cons still hate Trump by then wouldn’t surprise me at all. I don’t think Rubio will ever earn his credibility back though.

        At least we know the Bushes are never, ever coming back into politics. Same with the Clintons unless the Dems feel desperate enough to try and draft Chelsea for god knows what reason, but I don’t see that as likely.

        1. Big River Bandido

          The problem is not the Clintons per se, it’s their entire clique (junta): Cuomo, Emanuel, the Senate’s Chinese dinner Gang of Five, Pelosi/Hoyer/Clyborn/Israel, the campaign committees and the policy committees alike…the entire party apparatus is corrupted. The “leadership’s” behavior in just the last 3 weeks alone — and the response of sheeple on the so-called left (including way too many friends of mine who ought to know better) has convinced me that Democrats don’t have a prayer in 2018, regardless of what happens to Trump, and they have no prayer in 2020 unless the “New Democrats” are completely humiliated and discredited in the coming midterms. In any sane political party, the recent election results would have been enough to accomplish that but the Democrats have left reality behind.

          This is all too painful to watch.

          1. different clue

            But what are the Clintonites without their Clintons? If you blow the brain out of the body, how well can the body still function?

            Chelsea must not be permitted to get elected to any public office. That is the first step in the Clinton Restoration . . . which must not be allowed to happen.

            1. Big River Bandido

              They leeched on to the Clintons like barnacles on a boat, but they have their own lives and careers to attend to. There are the professional neoliberal pols (Cuomo, Emanuel and DiBlasio being among the most prominent). There are also plenty of the original enablers around…Al From’s piece of stupid on HuffPo being a prime example. And don’t forget the syncophants — the Podestas and Tandens — and all of their media Heathers like Amanda Marcotte and Joan Walsh.

              No, the hydra isn’t dead. Far from it. This election ought to have killed it, but clearly the last-ditch Clinton voters are destined to keep it on life support.

      5. LT

        The Repub and Dem party will go down at the same time together…two sides of the same coin spinning on its way down.
        That’s why whenever the Repubs may appear to be in the grave, the Democratic Party is always there to give them a hand up.

    1. RUKidding

      Thank you for the update. I guess that’s “nice.”

      My Q (directed to Denver news): how the heck did that happen in the first place? Exactly who’s idea was it to include NC in giant letters in that footage?

      Still very weird and not feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about it.

      And finally, so a bit on a local Denver “nooz” channel purporting to be “edumacting” the citizens about how to tell fake news from real news was actually a piece of FAKE news itself. Did I get that right? Were viewers supposed to take this as satire? Or as “this is what you shouldn’t believe in; it’s fake”?? Sheesh.

      1. Eric Patton

        I understand how you feel. Yes, the station erred. But they owned it, and they are making it right in a very public fashion.

        At some point, this has to be what counts.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From Links this morning:

    POLITICO’s source said [Twitter’s] exclusion from the much-publicized, feel-good confab in Trump Tower stemmed from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s role in rejecting the anti-Clinton emoji — a rejection that brought public complaints from the president-elect’s campaign.

    Where I can get hold of this mysterious, talismanic emoji that roiled the highest circles of our new government?

    Or has Disney already copyrighted it and locked it up for the next 120 years, just like the NYT’s “Trump hairpiece” logo?

    1. philnc

      Given the recent decline in life expectancy maybe it’s time to reduce copyright terms commesurately.

    1. Foppe

      Relevant quote:

      Facebook thinks it has figured out how to stop the spread of fake news: It’s going to ask journalists to tell them if something’s fake, and then it will ask users not to share it.

      The social network laid out its plan in a blog post today, following weeks of criticism for its role in spreading intentionally deceptive stories during the 2016 election. It follows the contour of the map Mark Zuckerberg laid out last month. Here are the big ideas:

      Facebook will ask users to report fake news by clicking on a button at the top right of a story they think is dubious. It will also use its software to look for signs of fake news stories that are getting traction.
      If Facebook thinks its users and/or its software have found a fake news story, it will ask a consortium of journalists to fact-check the story.
      If the journalists think the story is bogus, Facebook will flag the story as “disputed by third-party fact-checkers.”
      That “disputed” banner will be attached to the story within Facebook’s News Feed, and Facebook will tweak its algorithms to make sure “disputed” stories don’t get as much traction in the feed*.
      And users who do want to share a “disputed” story will get a prompt asking them if they’re really sure they want to share the story.

      … Facebook is working with four news organizations/fact-checking groups — ABC News, Politifact, FactCheck and Snopes (Update: The Associated Press has also signed on.) — which have agreed to vet potentially fake stories that Facebook sends them and publish their findings. But Facebook won’t flag the stories as “disputed” unless at least two of the fact-checking groups say there’s a problem.

      1. Punta Pete

        So, if a story pops up on my Facebook page (if I had one) reporting that Pete Peterson claims that without cutting Social Security and other social benefits our country will be bankrupt in X years, I should then report the item to Facebook as a potential fake news story? And then if hundreds of other MMT proponents did the same? On the other side of the fence, what happens if thousands of Facebook members who are climate change deniers report every story about new temperature records as being fake news? I’m not claiming that these two examples are equivalent, but only making the point that there ar so many contentious issues out there that the Facebook plan would seem to have the potential of generating a significant increase in the employment of ‘fact checkers” , aka, editors.

  3. Roger Smith

    Not sure about Murray but he has consistently proclaimed this general message before. It would be interesting to see follow ups on this.

    EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails – they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for ‘disgusted’ Democratic whistleblowers

    Since the article was posted Wikileaks posted on Twitter:

    Only Julian Assange, Sarah Harrison (and sometimes WikiLeaks’ lawyers) are authorized to speak on behalf of WikiLeaks.

    1. tgs

      Only Julian Assange, Sarah Harrison (and sometimes WikiLeaks’ lawyers) are authorized to speak on behalf of WikiLeaks.

      Sounds as if Assange is distancing himself from Murray – not a good sign. Murray is now being quoted all over the alt-media and was even mentioned on Fox News last night. So if he is lying …

      But why lie in this situation? Doesn’t strike me as a good career move. Murray made the claim that Russia was not the source of the hacked emails after visiting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy back in October. And if he is pals with Assange, why knowingly lie?

      By the way, Murray was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan and was relieved of his duties when he started bitching about the Uzbek government torturing people. He was accused of and then cleared of dereliction of his duties.

      1. timbers

        Well, Murray could be putting Wikileaks sources in danger, and Assange could realize that. Murray should be quite, he keeps revealing more details and that can only help Obama & Co find Wikileaks sources, and Obama would imprison and torture them.

        1. HopeLB

          Unless the leaker was, as the conspiracy theory goes, Seth Rich. Assange wondered aloud if Rich had been murdered and he worked at the DNC.

      1. Boo

        I really hate it when people replace “R” with “Я” to make things look “Russian.” “Я” is pronounced “ya” (and it is the letter P that has the r sound in Russian) so this comes across as an illiterate attempt at a joke.

    2. XFR

      On the slim chance that one of the Democratic whistleblowers is reading this:

      If the Clinton camp succeeds in reversing the election it will mean that the TPP and its vile cousins will certainly pass, the neoliberal order will be locked in for a generation–and possibly for good, all the ghastly perfidies of the past decade and a half will be vindicated, propaganda will be definitively christened as being the new truth, and truth banished from the public realm as propaganda.

      George W. Bush’s “new normal” will truly be normal, probably for the rest of our lives. Long-term, what that means for the fate of our civilization is horrible to imagine, but sadly not too difficult.

      I know that coming forward now may cause you or even the people you love to suffer terribly, but if there is any kernel of truth to the Christian message it is that we all sometimes must suffer terribly for the sake of others if the world is to be saved. In my own life, I have seen this to be true.

      So I beg you.

      Please come forward now.

      Please save the world.

    3. Fiver

      It’s altogether possible Murray himself could be turned into a patsy or even a plant. Consider the magnitude of the opportunity this election presented to the usual suspects of US elite power once it was clear Clinton was far weaker, and Trump far stronger (big thanks to major media) than widely anticipated. After all, this is the third time in 24 years a wildly improbable event of immense significance has taken place to the very great benefit of those interests.

  4. dcblogger

    his is simple. If the information is good, somebody from Langley with a name needs to put themselves on the line over it.
    someone from the NSA needs to speak up, they do signal intelligence and they would have the goods if the goods existed. Also the time to go on the record with anything solid, IF there is anything solid, was BEFORE the election.

    1. ian

      I would add this: I want to see the actual evidence, not just someones name associated with “trust us” and if we really are sure, there should be a formal accusation and sanctions.

    2. Aumua

      Putin turned Russia election hacks in Trump’s favor: U.S. officials
      New headline from Reuters.

      “… (three) U.S. officials – who have knowledge of intelligence information on the matter – said on the condition of anonymity … ”

      “… the input that was carefully, carefully vetted by the intelligence community …” – John Kerry

      (Reporting by Washington newsroom and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Alistair Bell)

      I Don’t know how these writers sleep at night. The article is full of implications that make it sound like the facts are self evident, without providing anything at all to actually grip onto. It’s maddening. I’m starting to freak out a little bit to be honest. The “they” are really trying to overturn the election. It’s the only conclusion I can come to at the moment.

  5. tgs

    Can somebody please wake me when a government official goes on the record about Russki “hacking”, which is seems is really phishing?

    The ‘intelligence community’ were requested to brief the house intelligence committee on the hacking. John Brennan at the CIA just said ‘no’. The other agencies simply ignored the request.

    Amid concerns about reports that conflict with details previously provided to the committee, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., originally had requested a closed, classified briefing for members from the FBI, CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency.

    But Fox News was told the CIA Director John Brennan declined to provide a briefer, citing its focus on the full review requested by President Obama. The other agencies did not respond to the committee’s request, which is unusual given the panel is the most-senior committee with jurisdiction.

    Lawmakers fume over agency refusal to brief House panel on Russia hacking claims

    PS. Sorry to link to Fox News, but these are strange times we are living in.

    1. Katharine

      >Brennan at the CIA just said ‘no’. The other agencies simply ignored the request.

      But yet the idea of Trump refusing to hear all they have to say every day upsets them. Some people are never satisfied. Maybe they should settle for whoever is legitimately interested, as the intelligence committee certainly appears to be, and provide verified information, supposing they actually still deal in that.

  6. grayslady

    The Al From quote sounds distinctly Libertarian to me. In other words, “You’re on your own. If you make it, great; if not, too bad.” His “special privilege for none” quote is just laughable. The Dems adore special privilege. They wouldn’t know how to fundraise or what to legislate without it. Tell me again how these people are different than the Republicans.

    1. polecat

      There are no longer any democrats or republicans ….. just deceitful, lying, and shallow grifters vs a raging public pissed-off that they themselves continually being played for dupes ….

      It baffles me as to why people continue to believe in the R/D construct !!

  7. Jim Haygood

    Google and Faceborg control 57.6% of the digital ad market, according to this graphic:


    Pleasingly, the Mainstream Media — neither broadcasters nor the ink-stained wretches of “the papers” — makes no appearance, being consigned to the “other” category.

    By the way, how the hell do you place digital ads with Microsoft (3.8% share)? Maybe your company’s name pops up when Windows 10 invades some senior’s computer, thus winning friends and influencing people.

  8. oho

    ‘The meeting, co-hosted by Canada and the European Union……would establish an appeals process and a proven roster of judges to hear cases, which are not features of the current ISDS system. ‘

    wow ‘liberal Obama’ is already working overtime for our Canadian friends.

  9. John Parks

    Fodder for the Bulls:
    I don’t know about fodder for the bulls…….as a wayward little doggie I just know that I upped my normal end-o-year purchases to hedge on potential trade disputes and potential tariff changes.
    How the WSJ can separate that potential jump from normal business might take an algorithm or Ouija Board

  10. Anne

    Hmmm, I guess we no longer are supposed to care that a lot of this effusive praise for and support of Tillerson is coming from people who have ties to Exxon – financial ones. Baker has represented Exxon in numerous matters through his law firm, and also has represented some Russian companies; Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates have done consulting work for Exxon, as well.

    I mean, who better to vouch for you than people you’re financially connected to, right?

    Hey, and Dick Cheney like the pick, so there’s that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am kind of surprised that Trump didn’t also interview another former (I think it’s former) adversary – Hillary Clinton.

      DT: “Take the job, and in 8 years, you can run as a Republican, on my legacy.”

  11. voxhumana

    …as if I needed another reason to laugh (or cry?) at the nytimes, the see-trump’s-hair-in-the-typeface link has ruined me. toooo perfect. can never be unseen again indeed!

    1. Jim Haygood

      If they start rendering the top bar of the T in contrasting gold, we will know that Putin has gotten to the Times too. :-(

  12. diptherio

    Co-ops: Here’s a good project to support this holiday season. They’re just looking for $5K to get started. A little over 1/2 way there now.

    Tightshift Laboring Cooperative’s mission is to model a just, equitable economy, where workers profit from their labor through cooperative ownership. Through this model, we can use our power to build a world where all communities are free. We are a worker-owned laboring service specializing in moving and landscaping services. Our members are primarily formerly incarcerated people and others at risk of entering the criminal justice system. We provide quality services at affordable prices, and handle every job with tender loving care!


  13. Plenue

    >“Shackles and Dollars: Historians and economists clash over slavery” [Chronicle of HIgher Education]

    In other words, historians tell it like it actually is/was, and economists get pissy about it not reflecting what they dictate reality to be. Not sure why they feel compelled to go to the mat on this one, though. When it comes to things like the history of money, their typical response is to simply ignore all the countervailing evidence. It’s not like 99.9999% of people can actually read Sumerian cuneiform tablets anyway, so who’s to know?

    1. Vatch

      It’s not that simple, perhaps because some of the economists in question are actually hybrid economic historians. From the article:

      For all the mudslinging, the slavery fight does not break cleanly along disciplinary lines. Historians under attack find support for their ideas in the writing of some economists, like Ronald Findlay and Kevin H. O’Rourke. Some historians think Olmstead and Rhode [who are both economists] have the better side of the facts in their battle with Baptist. Historians and economists criticize the new slavery scholarship on grounds that go beyond economics.

      Initially, I wasn’t able to read the article, because it is subscription only. I went to news dot google dot com and searched for the text in the title. After that I was able to read the article, but maybe for only 24 hours.

    2. Michael

      Pretty much all of neoliberal micro demands that coercion not exist in the math. This is existential for them.

    3. Darthbobber

      Its actually a small subset of historians in conflict with several other groups of historians and a subset of economists. A very familiar process in the discipline. New, sweeping thesis boldly asserted.

      New, sweeping thesis opposed by both the former mainstream and alternative revisionisms.

      Arguments over both data and methodology that last for quite awhile.

      Eventual newish mainstream that ncorporates some elements of previous bold, new sweeping thesis.

      By the end of which process there should be a newer bold, sweeping revisionist thesis available to start the ball rolling again.

  14. JerryDenim

    Does anyone find it ironic that Clinton supporters are attempting to use some arcane passage in Federalist 68 about denying foreign powers an “improper ascendant”? Brainwashed Hillary lovers are seeking to overthrow a democratically elected President who is one of the least financially beholden in modern memory, with a losing candidate that was caught cheating to win the Democratic primary AND was the subject of multiple FBI investigations involving the selling of office to foreign governments. Did Trump have a family foundation/slush fund that accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from “foreign powers” while he was the nation’s top diplomat or was that Hillary? I am seriously confused. Federalist 68 seems like it was written to keep the Clintons out of the White House not Trump. How is this not somebody’s talking point? Like Lambert says Russia is conspiracy fiction until some big names come forward with evidence, but the Clinton Foundations fundraising practices are fact. Plus there’s plenty of traitorous China dirt from the first Clinton Admin if anyone wants to bring that up. Cox Report, Bernard Schwartz, Loral Aerospace, Charlie Trie, on and on.

        1. Carl

          OMG! One of my “liberal” friends mentioned this the other day in a Facebook (sorry) post. Aaaaannd, she’s a lawyer…

      1. Jim Haygood

        The Federalist Papers are what Islam calls hadith — sayings of the prophet.

        Judges and law clerks call them dicta, though one wouldn’t be surprised to see the FP sideswiped as “mere dicta,” which is about as snarky as judges get.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The Chinese thinks it’s our version of their “Mao’s Little Red Book.”

          Of course, I disagree. Mao was a communist.

          1. Massinissa

            What about Gaddhfafi’s Green Book? Would that be a better comparison? Its yet another book no one actually took seriously except the propagandists distributing it.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Not sure if you meant that as snark, so I’m responding in sincerity. The Federalist Papers are oft-cited as critical context in con law cases for the window they provide into the framers’ thinking. They are not the Constitution, yet they are a critical source for jurists charged with interpreting it, as are (for example) Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention.

  15. The Trumpening

    On the problem of funding infrastructure spending, obviously neither the Establishment GOP nor the Democrats want to help out Trump on this. The only people more crushed by Trump’s victory than Hillbots were Bush-supporting Republicans. And so it appears that the Trump Administration has come up with a novel idea (at least to me) to do an end-around Congress and to fund infrastructure by convincing Big Tech and other Multinationals to repatriate some of their $4 trillion in foreign profits through the low tax vehicle of new federal infrastructure bonds. This way Trump can do a huge infrastructure project without needing to rely on Paul Ryan for funding. He will appoint an “Infrastructure Czar” (that word Czar is going to trigger Hillbots for years to come) who will decide which projects are funded.

    Listen to 1;20 to 2;10 of this video of an interview with Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci

    I have no idea if this is legal but if it is Trump has major leverage on Congress. If he has a credible way to go around Congress then they will be all ears to his eventual compromise that allows Congress to have a tiny say in these matters in return for their rubber stamp. And projecting the ability to do complicated bond deals explains why he has so many Goldman Sachs peeps in his Cabinet.

    1. polecat

      Yes ..and CONgress deserves all the scorn heaped upon it for doing nothing to truly benefit the public, for decades, while growing their own largess ….

      Let them pound broken-house glass shards … for how they’ve failed the plebs !

          1. polecat

            Janus, the god of Transmutation, looking forward AND back + Justinian the Great = Janustinian the First …. or Trump by another name ….

            will that suffice ?

            1. polecat

              campaign slogan for 2020 …
              … ‘Make the God Emperor GREAT Again’ …

              … ‘;]

              Boy! … wouldn’t THAT put the libruls’ knickers in a twist !

              1. Massinissa

                “Make the God Emperor Great Again, AND PURGE THE XENOS!”

                I fixed it for you. W40k God Emperor right?

            2. Vatch

              Sure! I was just wondering whether it was a typographical error for “Justinian”, or if there was a real historical person with that name, but I see that it’s an intentional combination.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How would Clinton encourage (or perhaps she will force) those profits to come home (so they can be taxes)?

        If profits don’t return, but remain ‘offshore’ (not necessarily physically), what is there to tax?

    2. Fiver

      Never accuse Trump of going small – it would be crazy for these companies to do anything without an absolute guarantee they will make money, not lose it, if Goldman is doing the deals, and the only way to do that is dump all the risk on the public for when it goes bad. It’s a mega fleecer of a P3 !

      Trump should just Executive Order that US corporations must prove they cannot create good products with good jobs within the US. Recall how I-phones are made in China. This is a set-up to supply a global market. Who says a US firm could not produce on quality and price and build in the States for a smaller, more ‘sophisticated’ or at least differentiated market. We don’t need to design products that can’t sell in the numbers needed unless an enormous workforce is ready and willing to burn themselves out for relative peanuts making ten million of them.

  16. Crow

    Lambert: I have photos of plants I would send to you. I used your method of contacting you to find out how to send them, but received no reply. What gives?

        1. Crow

          Oregoncharles: How do you know he’s a he? He could be a she, or a ze. Who’s to say?

          Regardless, I have a fantastic photo of a datura seed pod I think Lambert would be interested in seeing. But alas…

    1. EGrise

      Holy crap. The headline for Kos’ story is “Be Happy for Coal Miners Losing Their Health Insurance. They’re Getting Exactly What They Voted For”, and here’s an awful quote:

      Don’t weep for these coal miners, now abandoned by their GOP patrons. They are getting exactly the government that they voted for. Democrats can no longer offer unrequited love and cover for them. And isn’t this what democracy is all about? They won the election! This is what they wanted!

      What a pitiless a******. The more I learn about that guy…

      1. jrs

        I guess you could blame them for contributing to planetary apocalypse, but we all take flawed jobs in this messed up system (really should be a sure way NEVER EVER to have to take a job you don’t approve of, but that requires a better source of income than the present job market. Oh I know Kos doesn’t advocate any such thing, but that’s the difference between those who really oppose the entire of this system and the Daily P.O.S.).

        But since when was coal miner some plush wonderful job, that was being treated so well, made so plush by Dems no doubt, that should lose it’s privileges?

        “Billionaire-backed Rust Belt Republican governors, as The Atlantic notes, worked for decades to undermine the Democratic Party’s primary voter turnout mechanism—unions.”

        But honestly no, unions have been undermined for decades including by Democrats, it’s Taft Wagner and so on …

      2. Waldenpond

        Certain someone’s got what they wanted too by risking Trump to make sure they didn’t get Sanders. When this was linked the other day, others also linked to flat out libertarian writings by Kos. Looks like liberals got indoctrinated to move even farther to the right by him.

        1. polecat

          Is Markos THAT obtuse … I mean, how craven can one be ??

          Between him, Keith Olbermann, Laura Dunham …., and all the other screaming mimies …. it’s becoming down right surreal ….

          1. OIFVet

            Hell hath no fury like a douchenozzle scorned by voters he took for granted and abused for good measure.

    2. charles leseau

      That’s assuming the Republicans actually get rid of the ACA, which I personally doubt they’ll do. My suspicion all along has been that their oh-so-vehement opposition to it is just a bunch of bull. We’ll see though.

  17. Beniamino

    Speaking of things that need to be killed with fire before they lay eggs – with respect to the second (AP) entry under “Trade,” I am really sick of the infantilizing corporate-press meme of the poor / middle class / working class “feeling left behind by globalization.” Members of the perceived underclass are not even conceded sufficient cognitive development to know, as a matter of empirical fact, whether their economic situation has deteriorated over a given timeframe. Notice that this patronizing phrasing is never extended to the perceived elites, even when they are manufacturing “facts” out of whole cloth – you never read, for example, about Hillary Clinton staggering around in a daze like some dumb animal, “feeling” that the Russians must surely have hacked the U.S. electoral process in order to deny her the presidency.

    1. JustAnObserver

      +1. Thank you.

      I’ve always felt this (a)buse of “feeling” is just another form virtue signalling. Like when I first heard some douchenozzle ((C) OIFVet) say “I feel your pain” (*) I wanted to seriously hurt something … animate or inanimate … but cats are masters of not being there when you need them most :-).

      (*) Faint memory says it was Bill Clinton ?

  18. Waldenpond

    Warren/Booker get committee spots for pretend foreign policy chops for 2020 runs and it looks like Ellison’s about to back Bittel for FL dnc (that one made me guffaw).


    Doubling down with identarianism (because nothing brings people together more than separating them and pitting them against each other) and billionaire neoliberalism for 2020.

  19. DJG

    Considering that we haven’t had enough decline-of-Rome references lately, I will put one out there: It is helpful and worrisome to think of the CIA and FBI as the Praetorian Guards. All of their signaling is much the way a pampered set of guards of the powerful acts. Imperial succession is a serious matter for them, and ironically, they wanted someone more like Clinton, a certified member of a “good” family, reliable, deferential to their powers, reliant on their power (after all, she wants to prosecute Edward Snowden), so patiently Tiberian as she has awaited her turn at supreme power. Then you have Trump, the Trimalchio of the story.

    Meanwhile, on Trump’s cabinet, or Trimalchio’s troupe of grifters, which is much less a classical reference: What everyone should remember is just how pampered these M.B.A. types are. Further, within organizations, they are used to much deference (and civility! and hierarchy! and restaurants serving stuffed songbirds!). Wait till they have to deal with democratic (small D) forms of deference and communication. It isn’t going to be pretty. First to screw up and go? I’m betting on DeVos, the heiress to the divinely inspired Amway Empire and kin to war profiteers. (Only Sinclair Lewis could have made up someone like her.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think he wants to balance the Praetorian Guard with legion generals.

      Like the Roman republic, we too have a tradition that legions are not to enter the City of Rome, though I believe an exception was made in the case of the Bonus Army.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Actually I think it was stronger than that. Roman generals had to stand down and disband their legions before crossing into Italy, not just the City of Rome. One of these borders was a river called The Rubicon …

    2. Plenue

      I’ve occasionally pondered what would happen to the CIA if the United States collapsed tomorrow. I could see a whole new state quickly emerging with Langley as its capital.

    3. ambrit

      Do remember that the creator of the character of Trimalchio committed suicide as the result of Neronian intrigue and decadence. Then Nero himself fell prey to the Furies.

  20. djrichard

    “And the name for having your cake and eating it too is, in this case, treason. Right?”

    What if it’s “yellow cake”? Can you have that and eat it too?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Key point from the Federalist article: “In the end, though, it appears that hubris may have been Hillary’s ultimate downfall. Hours before polls closed and long before returns began trickling in, Clinton’s top staffers weren’t scrambling for every last vote. Instead, they were busy measuring the Oval Office curtains and searching for champagne bottles to uncork to celebrate their historic victory.”

      To which I say: ISTR reading that champagne corks were popping on the Clinton campaign plane on Election Day. Oops.

    2. Paid Minion

      Incompetence, along with being an unindicted, defacto criminal/scumbag/racketeer. Who, as you will recall, announced that she was “delegating” domestic policy to her smelly cur-dog husband.

      (Digressing……… every self-respecting female I know would have dragged his azz into divorce court. When the history is written, we’ll probably find that after careful calculation, she determined that there was more political benefit for her to “standing by her man”, than kicking him to the curb. No doubt after extracting some kind of promissary note, requiring him to support all her political ambitions).

      Did anyone bother asking the electorate the question: “Is there any set of circumstances that would make you vote for Hillary Clinton?”

      I’d be willing to bet the “No Way in Hell” number would be at least 30-40% of the electorate.

      When the choice was: “He’ll probably suck, but offers a slim hope of shaking things up”, vs. “She’ll definitely suck, and continue 25 years of failed policies, while lying her azz off about it.”, the electorate went with “A”.

      Is there anyone actually gullible enough to believe that she might have implemented some of Bernie Sanders ideas when elected?

    1. Kulantan

      NC have been accused of spreading Russian propaganda. Lambert is making fun of this by jokingly referring to a fictional KGB officer (called Dimitri) feeding him information or needed to approve certain links.

      1. Massinissa

        Oh thanks! I was all like, “Wait, why is Lambert referencing Dmitry Orlov in the links?”. No joke, that is seriously what I thought at first when I heard the name Dmitri (even though it was spelled differently), I totally wasn’t getting it lol.

        1. Nobody

          That’s what I thought too. And I even checked the spelling as well. I’m not always the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    2. DJG

      Lambert Strether has acquired a fortune through blogging, and he now seems to have acquired a Russian manservant. It’s all very Tolstoyan. Or Yeltsinian.

      Rumor has it that there is new dacha, too.

      Blogging: It’s the new Lyft.

      1. Jim Haygood

        All the nomenklatura have dachas in Maine.

        Like the Bushes’ Kennebunkport compound.

        Soon to be rebadged as the Naked Capitalism Retreat Center, no doubt.

        1. ambrit

          Oh Comrade Jim. You fell for that redistributionist propaganda too? I only became suspicious when I saw the Kennebunkport Redoubt referred to as the Presidential Prepper Palace. Somewhere on Red State, or Breitbart I think.
          Oh, and did you catch the Nomenklatura Propaganda Radio “hit piece” this afternoon in which RT was thoroughly debunked as an Evil Russkiye Mind Control Weapon? Even I didn’t know that General Flynn sat just two seats away from Vlad the Implier Putin at a banquet in Moscow recently. Talk about sloppy tradecraft!

  21. b.

    “Good essay.”

    Insights such as this await: “For decades the FBI has checked and confronted the power of the president. This tradition runs from our own time of political torment back through Bill Clinton’s presidency all the way to the days of J. Edgar Hoover.”

    “The FBI is fighting battles across the nation and the world, surrounded by real and imagined enemies everywhere you look, and in places you can’t see. There are terrorists and cyberwarriors. There are crooks and thieves. There are two houses of Congress. And then there’s the White House. Our new president has a history of bending the law nearly to the breaking point.”

    Weiner has found the lost Knights Templar. As puff-pieces go, this piece bubbles around the lips.

    Our *new* president? The current one?

    1. Darthbobber

      He runs totally off the rails when he gets to the Clinton administration, when he tries to make the Whitewater investigation all about a vendetta by the FBI director (I’ll leave it to others to pick through his “move along, nothing to see here” take on Whitewater itself).

      I look in vain for any mention of the fact that that began as an SEC investigation, rather than an FBI one, or any mention of the fact that Kenneth Starr, the Special Prosecutor, even existed, much less that he, and not the FBI Director, controlled the direction of the investigation from the time he was appointed.

      Also manages to make no mention of the Presidential pardons doled out to those Whitewater defendants, and ONLY those, who hadn’t “rolled over” and cooperated with the investigation.

  22. optimader

    re: Clinton CIA MSM tagteam
    Hedley Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

    Taggart: God darnit, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.

    ~Blazing Saddles..

  23. Dita

    Re Nazis and US Jim Crow – makes sense. Post WWI America was the only major power to have explicit race-based laws, a vestige of its colonial roots. European countries had relegated their luridly violent slave practices safely offstage, in their colonies.

      1. Baby Gerald

        He also liked how we handled our native population and our ideas about sterilizing the mentally and physically impaired. They got eugenics from the US, also. Add it to the long list of Things You Don’t Learn In High School History.

    1. Cry Shop

      Oregon, whitest state in the US, was of particular use to the development of head tax, confiscation laws, and the mechanisms for carrying them out. In particular was the state policy for exterminating native american, both blood lines and cultural markers. The later helped form ideas that went past book burning to the outlawing of degenerate art and cultural totems of /Aboriginal / Native American tribes, as well as Chinese and Japanese art/culture when applied by the Nazi bureaucracy.

  24. Robert Hahl

    Re: Irrational Exuberance Redux

    Why is this RSI reading honey for the bears? The way I remember it the markets went straight up for more than four years after Greenspan coined the term irrational exuberance in 1996, until March 2000.

  25. 3.14e-9

    More on consequences of being flagged as a “fake news” site:


    As draining as a lawsuit will be, I don’t see any other way to stop this dangerous trend.

    BTW, here’s another bit of info on WaPo’s supposed “experts” … At the end of the Watts-Weisburd piece on Politico, Weisburd claims to be a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. He’s not listed on their site, so either he is a recent addition, or he’s lying. Watts is listed, so maybe he got him on the list to bolster the claim that he’s an “expert.” (Weisburd confirmed on his blog that he was interviewed by Timberg.)

    Watts is listed as representing “Miburo Solutions,” but there is no link to the site, as there is for some other fellows. That’s also his credential at FPRI. I did a (very fast) Google search and couldn’t find a link. All I saw was that the company is registered in New York State, and the former link, miburosolutions.com, is dead.

    1. grayslady

      3.14, I, too, am one of those individuals who tend to research people who are unknown to me but are positioned–or position themselves–as experts. Based on “Miburo Solutions” using a P.O. box for an address, and having no registered agent for the company, I suggest that Watts set up this “consulting” company to make it look like he had a real job, when he was probably unemployed (unemployed meaning he may have had the occasional consult, but it was never enough to make a real living). I found a fair amount of resume info on him at a site called Yatedo. Don’t know how accurate the information is, although it seems to tally with biographies he has supplied on other websites. If Yatedo is correct, basically Watts is someone who, after graduating from West Point and spending 6 or 7 years in the Army, has rarely held any other job for more than a couple of years. For example, according to Yatedo, after leaving the Army, he joined the FBI. If Yatedo’s dates are correct, Watts spent only one year in the FBI (including his agent training period); yet in his biographies, he refers to himself as “Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force.” As someone who used to hire personnel, I’d say Watts is an accomplished resume padder, but dribs and drabs of experience at different entities doesn’t make someone an expert at anything–except perhaps finding the next short-term position.

      1. 3.14e-9

        I hadn’t checked out Watts until today, after finding his name on the GWU senior fellows list when I was looking for Weisburd. I have done a little research on Weisburd, who’s a real piece of work. Good place to start:


        He also was interviewed on CNN and in The Washington Post in April 2005:


        When you read these two stories, it’s clear that taking down indy journalists has long been part of his repertoire.

      1. 3.14e-9

        I don’t think so. The bios are different, and so are their photos. There’s a profile photo of Clint Watts at FPRI and also at Lawfare. Says he was Army, FBI agent, etc.

        Andrew Watts the author says he was a Navy helicopter pilot and flight instructor and that he ran narcotics and anti-pirating missions. On his FB page there’s a photo of him in China in 2014. It sounds to me like he’s a wannabe Tom Clancy, but not a scumbag.

        I read your exchange with someone called Andrew Watts on NC. Now that guy might be your composite character. His sarcasm is more in line with Watts and Weisburd, who I’m guessing might have written the PropOrNot report. Same immature writing style.

        1. integer

          Thanks for your interest in this. I found it quite odd that Andrew Watts (the NC commenter), who seemed to be intent on trying to undermine my credibility in any way possible, suddenly disappeared as soon as I made the above post.

          With regard to the author purportedly named Andrew Watts, I am not entirely convinced that he is even a real person. There is something not quite right about his website imo. Of course, these are not the most transparent of times, so more investigation will be required before any certainty can be reached.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. “Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke at an event with Politico’s Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman Thursday morning. there, she was asked about reports that Russian hackers could have impacted the results of the 2016 election. Lynch said that there was no evidence that Russian hackers breached the integrity of the U.S. election system. [RealClearPolitics]” — Ruh-roh, that kind of going-off-script-ness is quite possibly gonna earn Loretta another unscheduled plane-to-plane talking to by a Clinton. Of course the subject of the conversation which necessitated such an extraordinary cross-tarmac confab will be reported as having been something familial and untterly banal, involving any or all of [1] yoga classes, [2] family pets, [3] grandkids, [4] favorite holiday recipes.

  27. ewmayer

    Interested readers will check out a Reuters piece [article ID = us-usa-trump-surveillance-idUSKBN1430TX] titled “Tech employees vow not to help Trump surveil Muslims, deport immigrants”. What immediately popped into my head on reading the piece was: And where were these fine upstanding folks when the US was last running precisely such a registry from post-9/11 until (at least) 2011? As Counterpunch‘s Jeffrey St. Clair noted in the 11/18 installment of his quasiweekly feature, ‘Roaming Charges’:

    Suddenly the Left is all aflame over word that Trump is considering a “Muslim registry.” Apparently, these brave defenders of civil liberties are unaware that a “Muslim registry” called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System was imposed shortly after 9/11 with the endorsement of Hillary Clinton and many other Democrats and persisted well into Obama time, only being officially abandoned in 2011. (Who is to say when, or if, it unofficially ended?) Ajamu Baraka told me that he was stopped and interrogated about his residency and status no less than five times during that decade of dread. Let us also recall that Mrs. Clinton made a dramatic gesture of returning campaign contributions from American Muslims and Muslim groups during her senate campaign, more than a year beforethe events of 9/11.

  28. OIFVet

    Facebook Is Finally Taking Action Against Fake News.

    The social network announced Thursday that it will work with fact-checking outlets to label fake stories, flagged by users, as “disputed.” Adam Mosseri, a vice president in charge of the news feed, shared the changes in a press release.

    Now before sharing a fake story on the site, you’ll get a warning that its accuracy has been “disputed.” To find out why, you’ll be able to click a link for a fact-check of the article….

    …For now, Facebook will be working only with Snopes, FactCheck.org, Politifact, ABC News and the Associated Press, but hopes to add more from the Poynter network as the site figures out what works.

    That code of principles includes a commitment to nonpartisanship, fairness and transparency of sources. The Poynter group is a nonprofit that receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, the National Endowment for Democracy and others.

    So the news you get or decide to share on Faceborg will now be filtered by billionaires, the biggest web snoopers, and by your own government by way of NED. Wait, NED?!?! Stand by for a color revolution in the homeland, comrades! The new censors will make the old censors on the other side of the Iron Curtain look like rank amateurs and all around harmless cranks. Is this the US of A? Is this the same country whose Constitution I twice swore to defend? What a bleak and dystopian future awaits us.

    BTW, I became aware of this article because it was shared by several of my liberal friends on Faceborg. Needless to say, they think that this is a good thing.

    1. diptherio

      Holey buckets…the NED…they are just getting blatant about it. Remember a few years back when Congress let the law banning the US gov’t from propagandizing Americans expire? Seems relevant now:

      or decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.


    1. ewmayer

      Based on similar comments by other readers, It seems you are far from alone in this. I’ve similarly been getting almost 100% mod-queued starting around a week ago, and the % of my posts earning a dreaded Captcha-bonus-requirement has also spiked significantly.

      On the silver-lining side, it does seem the mod queue is getting more frequently attended to than in the past.

    2. integer

      This started happening to me the other day and then all of a sudden it stopped, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless it goes on for a few days.

    3. ambrit

      Don’t worry too much. It seems to be both key word and algo inspired. On a positive note, the Site Admins appear to have bought on board a Moderator General in the person of Outis Philolithopoulos. Thanks to him for taking on a thankless task.

    1. Darthbobber

      Seems to be making a bid to become the liberal Alex Jones.
      There’s something really poetic in that these people are reduced to portraying Alexander Hamilton, of all people, as a great defender of the integrity of Republican institutions.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “Too bad Stein’s recount effort bought into that nonsense.”
    Isn’t Guccifer Romanian? The quote I saw said “international.” So “Russian” is reading in. Apparently no one knows who hacked into a couple of voter registration systems (I thought those were public records?)

    Personally, I wish she hadn’t said anything about it; I think they were reaching for justifications, not the best practice.

  30. Cripes

    “Hillary Clinton staggering around in a daze like some dumb animal, “feeling” that the Russians must surely have hacked the U.S. electoral process in order to deny her the presidency.”

    Yes, much more accurate then working class “feeling” left out of globalism.
    As if not fitting in with the Kool Kidz at a high school dance.was the only problem.


  31. LT

    Re: AP story…Stimulus, interest rates

    Janet suggests “innovative” public private investments, tax cuts as job creators.

    Tax cuts and heavy welfare handouts (sorry, “subsidies”)to corps have been happening hand over fist for decades. None of it has inspired fixing the raggedy infrasctructure.
    Could it be the corps don’t want to tackle the big infrastructure challenge until most of the work can be automated?

    And the interest rates are rising in response to military build-up (which does not provide the same type of economic stimulus to this country, the USA, that it did back in the mid 20th Century).

  32. John Parks

    Thanks for that link Lambert. I would have totally missed it (shoveling a 300 yard drive on a snow day)

    Pretty nice slap down of major media bias on the video too.

  33. Room 101

    Re Nonwhite injustice tipping point: Another challenge to US contempt for its binding commitment to the Convention Against Torture. The US gorges on fruit of the poisoned tree, Israeli torture:


    The US rationale for torture has always been ‘compulsion,’ first prerogative of the totalitarian state. Israeli torture techniques are disseminated to municipal police through the GILEE program and related torture training. The COG regime imposed after 9/11 is based on coerced confessions. Israeli torture of Rasmea Odeh is meant to set a precedent for US torture. This makes the US and Israel regimes hostis humani generis, enemies of all mankind.

  34. mitzimuffin

    “This is simple. If the information is good, somebody from Langley with a name needs to put themselves on the line over it. Otherwise, Langley is saying that their sources and methods are more important than putting a Russian Agent in the Oval Office. And the name for having your cake and eating it too is, in this case, treason. Right? ”

    So nicely said, Lambert (try not to blush).

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