2:00PM Water Cooler 12/16/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I believe Obama’s presser is shortly after 2:00PM, so I’m going to hang out for a bit and add a few more links. Here’s a livestream. And another.

UPDATE Obama leaves “smooth transition” in place. So that should be that for Clinton.


“The list of countries in line for a bilateral deal could also include Vietnam and Singapore, [Trump’s economic adviser, Stephen Moore]\ said, adding that a deal with the United Kingdom “would be a real coup for Trump.” “It was Obama who said we’re moving U.K. to the back of the line when Brexit passed,” he said. “I think it’d be strategically smart to move it to the front of the line. With Britain you’d not worry about the depression of wages” [Politico].

“Europe’s politicians believe a trade deal with the UK could take up to a decade or more and could still fail in the final stages, Downing Street has been warned by the UK’s ambassador to the EU” [Guardian]. “Sir Ivan Rogers, who conducted David Cameron’s renegotiation with the EU before the referendum, is reported to have told Theresa May that European politicians expect that a deal will not be finalised until the early to mid-2020s, according to the BBC. That deal could still be rejected by any of the 27 national parliaments during the ratification process.”



Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Is a Full-on Privatization Assault” [The Nation]. “Trump wants private investors to basically direct $1 trillion in infrastructure projects nationwide through a “revenue neutral” financing plan, which banks on financing from private investors, allegedly to control deficit spending (which the GOP generally deems wasteful, while promoting tax breaks as a wiser redistribution of public funds into corporate coffers). To draw some $167 billion to jumpstart the $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure plan, Washington would grant a giant tax break ‘equal to 82 percent of the equity amount.’ The goal isn’t fixing bridges so much as fixing the corporate tax codes to promote privatization and unregulated construction with virtually no public input. Moreover, whereas effective stimulus plans aim to fill infrastructure gaps that big business has ignored, Mike Konzcal observes in The Washington Post, that the developers Trump is courting would follow the money and ‘back profitable construction projects. These projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansion) might already be planned or even underway.'”

“Betsy DeVos and the Plan to Break Public Schools” [The New Yorker]. Oddly, or not, Teach for America alums and Black Lives Matter hash tag activists Deray and Brittany Packnett haven’t condemned Trump’s appointment of DeVos.

2016 Post Mortem

“How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election” [Politico]. I quoted some of the horrific details of the Clinton 2016 debacle from this link yesterday. Here’s another one:

Among the other workarounds claimed was one from interim DNC chair Donna Brazile, who was persuading the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to hold the $5 million transferred to them from the Clinton campaign and to wait to spend it buying airtime for minority voter turnout in the final week they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to fund.

But there also were millions approved for transfer from Clinton’s campaign for use by the DNC — which, under a plan devised by Brazile to drum up urban turnout out of fear that Trump would win the popular vote while losing the electoral vote, got dumped into Chicago and New Orleans, far from anywhere that would have made a difference in the election.

Of course, Clinton blew a billion dollars losing to Trump, so $5 million isn’t very much, but this does show yet more resource allocation problems. And now Donna Brazile has lost with Dukakis, lost with Gore, lost with Clinton, and turned out to be just as bad as Wasserman Schultz at the DNC. Why does she still have a job with the Democrats?

“Clinton aide Abedin seeks to review Clinton emails search warrant” [Reuters]. Hey, where the heck has Huma been, lately?

“Jim Comey thinks he was handed a shit sandwich” [Emptywheel]. Shreds Tim Weiner’s article on Comey in Esquire yesterday.

“How you lost the world” [Idiot Joy Showland]. Fun stuff:

“Trump won among voters who ticked the box for Obama in 2008 and 2012, he won decisively among white women, he picked up a far bigger share of ethnic minority voters than anyone would have reasonably expected, he won because the standard formula of American liberalism – eternal war abroad coupled with rationally administered dispossession at home and an ethics centred on where people should be allowed to piss and shit – is a toxic and unlovable ideology, and his candidacy turned it from an invisible consensus to one option among others.

Hillary Clinton had nothing to offer people; all she could give them was fear and herself. Her campaign was the most cack-handed and disastrous in recent decades, managed by a gang of simpering imbeciles pretending to be Machiavellian strategists; it was all on the flimsy depthless level of TV. Now watch her whip, now watch her nae nae. Yaas kween, slay kween, slay. Clinton was to be carried through her path to the White House on the shoulders of irritating media celebrities; Lena Dunham’s Instagram feed, Beyoncé’s stage shows, Robert De Niro’s menacing monologues.

She had one job…

Our Famously Free Press


Trump Transition

UPDATE “Obama On Russian Hacking: ‘We Need To Take Action. And We Will'” [NPR]. “In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep that is airing Friday on Morning Edition, Obama said, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.” Somehow I don’t think that’s going to work for Clintonite revanchists, who are probably painting Obama as a Russian stooge even as we speak.

“[A]fter the Electoral College acts, its votes have to be certified. The United States Code requires this to be done by the two houses of Congress, starting at 1 p.m. on the sixth day of January. Normally, this is a sedate affair, taking an hour or so. It’s hard to see how Trump and the voters who cast their ballots for him could be denied a victory. But it’s not hard to see how it could be turned into a circus. As soon as the president of the Senate — Vice President Joe Biden — announces the electoral vote result, the federal law governing the procedure requires him to immediately call for objections” [New York Post]. “It only takes objections by one member of the House and one of the Senate to force a vote by each house on the issue. (Ohio’s votes were challenged in 2004.) Each member gets five minutes to sound off; both houses have to agree to disqualify an elector.” Clintonites were the sorest winners in the history of the world after the Democrat primary. And now they’re the sorest losers, also in the history of the world. It’s bizarre.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Potential Clinton VP Perez still supports trade deal” [Politico] (July 3, 2016). Since Perez is a candidate for DNC chair, somebody should ask him if this is still true, and if it’s not, why he changed his mind.

“Democrats at Crossroads: Win Back Working-Class Whites, or Let Them Go?” [New York Times]. Well, we know what the Clintonites want… And is there a reason why our famously free press just can’t ever say “working class” without prepending “white”?

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index: “Fed still failing to hit its 2% target after years of trying, and after years of forecasting that it would hit its 2% target” [Econoday].

Housing Starts, November 2016: “Housing starts are being hit by huge swings. November starts fell 18.7 percent in November to a much lower-than-expected 1.090 million annualized rate following an upward revised gain of 27.4 percent to 1.340 million in October. There’s less volatility on the permits side” [Econoday]. And: “The backward revisions this month were moderately up.The nature of this industry normally has large variations from month to month so the rolling averages are the best way to view this series – and it shows permits collapsing and completions surging – not good as it is showing a contracting sector” [Econintersect]. And: ” The housing starts report this morning was well below consensus because of the sharp decline in multi-family starts. However multi-family permits were decent in November, so multi-family starts will probably rebound in December” [Calculated Risk].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, December 2016: “Readings on inflation expectations have mostly been soft though the Atlanta Fed’s business expectations index has been showing life” [Econoday].

Employment Situation: “Unemployment rates were significantly lower in November in 18 states and stable in 32 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Nine states had notable jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 2 states had increases, and 39 states and the District had no significant change” (BLS) [Calculated Risk].

Labor Power: “Last month, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) announced that it would roll out digital self-order kiosks at the company’s 14,000 U.S. stores. Customers would use the giant touchscreens to place their orders and store employees would deliver the orders to the customers tables” [MarketWatch]. “Regardless of what the company says about maintaining staffing levels, if the kiosks are as popular as McDonald’s thinks they’ll be, staffing levels will certainly drop. Worker demands for $15 an hour could be effectively neutralized. Research in the first decade of the 21st century discovered that kiosks generated a 30% increase in a McDonald’s order and that 20% more customers would order a drink when the machine offered one. The kiosk never forgets to ask if you want fries with that order either.”

Labor Power: “As a proposed $1.25 million settlement for cheerleader wage theft pends approval in an Alameda County court, another class action lawsuit over pay and compensation has been filed against the Oakland Raiders by a former Raiderette” [Mercury News].

Infrastructure: “AT&T, Verizon and other large incumbent providers are not putting as much capital into their wireline network infrastructure, leaving them open to further challenges from cable operators, says Moody’s in a new research note” [Fierce Telecom]. “The research firm noted that outside of Verizon’s FiOS FTTH deployments, the overall U.S. telecom industry has not kept pace with cable in terms of broadband.”

Commodities: “A confrontation between local indigenous peoples and police at a mine in Ecuador has forced a state of emergency” [Mining.com]. “The state of emergency was declared just a day after Ecuador signed a contract with Canada’s Lundin Gold that allows the miner to move ahead with its Fruta del Norte gold project, the country’s largest.”

Retail: “This year, Christmas falls on a Sunday and Hanukkah starts the day before. That places the last big brick-and-mortar shopping weekend a full week in advance, meaning last-minute shoppers are more likely to turn online in the days right before the holidays” [Wall Street Journal, “As Last-Minute Shoppers Go Online, Retailers Brace for Trouble”]. “The selling season will also be compressed, after a late start due to the presidential election. Distracted consumers and higher advertising rates prompted most retailers to launch holiday pushes closer to Thanksgiving—which fell on Nov. 24—instead of the usual Nov. 1 kickoff.”

Retail: “Brick-and-mortar retailers desperately need the holiday sales boost, even if it causes some delivery headaches. These companies are still trying to move a glut of merchandise that’s accumulated over the last two years, and are increasingly resort to deep discounting to increase sales” [Wall Street Journal]. “Retailers have been working all year to reduce inventories of unsold goods left over from the 2015 holiday season. Many have made progress, but not enough, leading department stores and others into another round of coupons and sales. Even off their peak, inventories remain a problem for the trucking industry because retail customers need fewer items shipped to warehouses already brimming with clothes, toys and electronics.”

Shipping: “November 2016 Import and Export Sea Container Rolling Averages Improve ” [Econintersect]. “The Ports of LA and Long Beach which account for much (approximately 40%) of the container movement into and out of the United States – and these two ports report their data significantly earlier than other USA ports. Most of the manufactured goods move between countries in sea containers (except larger rolling items such as automobiles). This pulse point is an early indicator of the health of the economy…. Imports and Exports remain on an improving trend line but remain well below the quanties moved in the period 2010 to 2011…. Using this data to forecast the USA economy, the indications are at this point of a continued weak but improving growth of consumption.”

Shipping: “The export boom helping fuel record container volumes at U.S. ports may already be on borrowed time. The dollar hit a 14-year high, adding to recent gains following the Federal Reserve’s first interest rate hike of the year. That’s bad news for exporters, whose goods will be more expensive to overseas buyers. Outbound demand has been strong: Southern California’s ports reported an 11.8% increase in November exports from the previous year. The dollar has been rising since the Nov. 8 election, buoyed by Donald Trump’s promise to pass a massive stimulus, which would likely boost growth and inflation” [Wall Street Journal] “But the greenback’s gains could frustrate another stated goal of Mr. Trump’s to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., as fewer factories will open if foreign consumers can’t afford the goods they produce.”

Shipping: “Shippers need to gear up for a world with no secrets in the supply chain” [The Loadstar]. Hmmm.

The Bezzle: “In some countries (such as Switzerland and Germany), approximately 6% of all financial assets are now held in structured products. Unfortunately, they remain “popular” for the same reasons many financial products are popular: either they carry large commissions for the sellers, or they so greatly favor the issuers that they are pushed on unsophisticated investors who cannot fathom the complexity (but are assured by the salespeople and advertising collateral that these are good and often safe products)” [ETF.com].

The Bezzle: “Rocket AI: 2016’s Most Notorious AI Launch and the Problem with AI Hype” [Medium]. There should be much more trolling of VCs.

The Bezzle: “Metra [Chicago commuter rail] has selected Uber as its official rideshare partner, the commuter railroad announced earlier this week” [Progressive Railroading]. “Uber’s name will be featured on a range of promotional materials, including posters displayed at stations and on Metra trains, timetables, mailing inserts and at ticket office windows. Uber also will be able to distribute promotional information at Metra stations.”

“Well, now with elections results making the idea of a more aggressive FED, and possible inflationary pressures (forgive me while I laugh..inflation..so funny-unless you’re sending a kid to college) rates are backing up…at a time when the world is long a ton of fixed income, especially long end IG. Well here’s the problem, now regulatory issues prevent The Street from warehousing any large inventories, so how is a poor asset manager going to shed their duration? Could there be a new natural payor here? Watching the ultra-bond contract get pummeled has left the low coupon 2045/46 sector in tough spot. Liquidity is poor, DV01s are big and screen bids seem to be good for 5. Oh yeah..its year end, so that should toss a little gas on this fire” [Steve Liddy, Across the Curve]. “If I were seeing selling, I’d be paying in swaps, even here at the recent ‘wides’. Every duration survey known to man has accounts long their IG bogey, and that has spilled over into duration. They can’t sell bonds..at least not that many bonds until ‘The Donald’ and his people come in and change the rules.” Readers, I’m including this because it sounds like sort of thing you’ll like, if it’s the sort of thing you like. Does it make sense?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 84 Extreme Greed (previous close: 86, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 86 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 16 at 12:53pm. Retreating from the important psychological barrier of 90.


“Why cats never became man’s best friend” [Quartz]. ?They came for the mice, stayed for the food scraps, and whenever it suited, kept cuddly with the cats from the other side of the granary. In other words, not only are cats still mostly wild, but they pretty much tamed themselves. Maybe that means humans are ‘cats’ best friend.'”

“Postcopulatory sexual selection influences baculum evolution in primates and carnivores” [Proceedings of the Royal Society B]. “Here, we use Markov chain Monte Carlo methods implemented in a Bayesian phylogenetic framework to reconstruct baculum evolution across the mammalian class and investigate the rate of baculum length evolution within the primate order.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Class Warfare

Handy chart:

“Wealthier individuals tend to be healthier, and poorer individuals less healthy. In the poorer end of the income spectrum, especially for those living in poverty, income has an outsized impact on health. Adults living in poverty are nearly five times more likely to report being in poor or fair health than more affluent adults” [MarketWatch].

“Let me suggest this narrative: Sometime during the Clinton Administration, it was decided that an economically strong China was good for both the globe and the U.S. Fair enough. To enable that outcome, U.S. policy deliberately sacrificed manufacturing workers on the theory that a.) the marginal global benefit from the job gain to a Chinese worker exceeded the marginal global cost from a lost US manufacturing job, b.) the U.S. was shifting toward a service sector economy anyway and needed to reposition its workforce accordingly and c.) the transition costs of shifting workers across sectors in the U.S. were minimal” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. “As a consequence – and through a succession of administrations – the US tolerated implicit subsidies of Chinese industries, including national industrial policy designed to strip production from the US.” When did Tim Duy take out his Communist Party card, anyhow? (Down, Dimitri!) Duy also takes a fully justified swipe at Operative K.

“Today, the archaic notion of retirement has morphed into this: Work for 40-50 years. Then, have a party, get a gold watch, go to the beach, sit down in a reclining chair with an umbrella drink and get ready for an exciting 20 or so years of golf” [New York Times]. I’ll just leave this here.

News of the Wired

“So, what can you do if you were affected [by the latest Yahoo data breach]? You can change your password yet again. You can turn on two-factor authentication on sites that have it, meaning someone would need access to both your phone and your account information to log in. You can change your security question and answers on sites that will let you. (Set aside some time for this, as even the sites that will let you change this information don’t make it easy.) If you’re truly worried, you can put a freeze on credit checks, which can prevent malicious users from attempting to open credit cards in your name” [New York Magazine].

“Covert downloaders found preinstalled on dozens of low-cost Android phone models” [Ars Technica].

What’s wrong with a furnace set to maximum?

* * *

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 (LR):


LR writes from Uruguay: “These are agapanthas.”

Readers, I’ve gotten some more plant images, but I could still use more. 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. a different chris

    Gotta love the internets. The “How you lost the world” was good, but as it wrapped up with lines like “This is the death spasm, a truly nihilist fascism, the fascism of a global system prickling for enemies to destroy but charging only against itself”, right underneath was a distractingly cheery green advert telling me “You’re pre-qualified for a Citizen’s Bank Home Equity Line Of Credit.”

    Well, then.

  2. Portia

    because they can’t conceive of anybody who isn’t white not loving the the Dems? you’re right, it is weird

    And is there a reason why our famously free press just can’t ever say “working class” without prepending “white”?

    1. Gareth

      “White working class” makes it about identity. “Working class” makes it about class and we can’t have that.

    2. Spring Texan

      That’s a pet peeve of mine — they are so focused on race that they can’t see that working-class issues UNITE people who differ in other ways.

      Just like criticisms that Keith Ellison isn’t a good DNC pick in these times (because of race and religion) when he’s totally a working-class guy.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        And now the Clintonite “useful idiots” are signing petitions to make Obama DNC chair. In case we needed another reason to condemn forty years of “education reform.”

    3. Brad

      Happy folks catch on to this vestige of white supremacy, where class must always appear in Whiteface.

      As for the liberal Democrats, it means the “naturally” right of center country, election of Blue Dogs (to the last dog!) and always facing Right while bashing the Left.

  3. fresno dan

    “How you lost the world” [Idiot Joy Showland]. Fun stuff:

    Although this will be controversial, I would state on many economic matters Trump was the most LIBERAL candidate. You go with what you got….. The truth is we don’t have a “liberal” /”left” or however you want to phrase it. Perversely, it serves the repubs to call dems “liberal” and it serves dems to call themselves “liberal” even if their not…
    1. promised (as with all political promises, I do not vouch for them) not to cut social security. The fact that is overlooked in analysis is amazing to me….
    2. the most anti war repub, albeit not much of a selection, and more anti war than Clinton. Again, amazing to me that the MSM acts like endless involvement trying to run the world is a good thing. I see where China just captured an undersea drone in the South China sea. IS THERE ANYBODY we can’t f*ck with????
    3. Trade – years and years of rising inequality. Yet the more I see how the economy is doing well the angrier I get – did that or the rich stars like Beyonce cost Clinton the blue wall????

    1. fresno dan

      “IS THERE ANYBODY we can’t f*ck with????”
      Probably should phrase that as: IS THERE ANYBODY we won’t f*ck with????

      “Yet the more I see how the economy is doing well the angrier I get”
      NO, that should be: Yet the more I see how the economy is PORTRAYED as doing well the angrier I get

      SORRY – should do my editing prior to hitting “post comment”

      1. Lee

        “Yet the more I see how the economy is doing well the angrier I get”
        NO, that should be: Yet the more I see how the economy is PORTRAYED as doing well the angrier I get

        You and millions more.

    2. zapster

      ““Trump won among voters who ticked the box for Obama in 2008 and 2012, he won decisively among white women, he picked up a far bigger share of ethnic minority voters than anyone would have reasonably expected” <–or their votes were flipped. There's plenty of evidence of that.

  4. Lee

    “’Well, now with elections results making the idea of a more aggressive FED, and possible inflationary pressures (forgive me while I laugh..inflation..so funny-unless you’re sending a kid to college) rates are backing up…’

    Readers, I’m including this because it sounds like sort of thing you’ll like, if it’s the sort of thing you like. Does it make sense?”

    I might like it if I understood it. Not being a financial wonk to the extent many here are, I need a translation. Any takers?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Basic point is that when interest rates are rising, longer-term bonds suffer capital losses. Duration (a weighted average of when the coupon payments and the final principal payment are received) allows comparing the interest rate sensitivity of different bonds.

      An example of “shedding duration” would be selling 10-year Treasuries and buying 2-year Treasuries. For a graphic example of how much harder the 10-year has been hit than the 2-year, check the charts for IEF (7-10 year Treasuries) and SHY (1-3 year Treasuries).



      IEF has lost about 9 percent since last July, while SHY fell a little over 1 percent. Both funds pay monthly dividends, which added about 0.7% to IEF’s total return over the period, while SHY’s dividends added about 0.35% to its total return.

      IEF’s capital loss since July represents 4-1/2 years of interest earnings.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Jim Haygood
          December 1, 2016 at 10:23 am

          Well, it’s a new month. And Treasuries are getting their daily ritual beating, as the 10-year T-note — at 2.46% — seems pulled upward toward the 2.50% round number strange attractor. Ten-year yield chart:


          Despite having an instinctive feeling that this bond bashing is overdone, my bond model says “Take shelter in the short end” (meaning T-bills and the like).

      1. José

        Compare with Brazil: the yields on year 2035 maturity zero coupon bonds went from 7.8% to 5.9% in less than 12 months.

        Meaning a capital gain of almost 50% for those investors who bought at 7.8%.

        At a 20% capital gains tax rate and an inflation rate of less than 7% for the period that translates into a 33% + net real gain after taxes.

        Meanwhile, the country’s real GDP has shrunk by almost 4% over the same period.

        As that Chicago buddy of Obama would say: “never let a good crisis go to waste”.

  5. Plenue

    >“How you lost the world” [Idiot Joy Showland]

    This is mostly good, but:

    “Donald Trump is a fascist. We shouldn’t be afraid of the word…”

    You really should, because it’s being completely misused and rendered meaningless. Trump isn’t a fascist. He’s setting up to be George W. Bush on steroids, which is quite bad enough.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If a guy (or a gal) scores 59 and gets an F, we are not doing anyone any good to claim his score is 25.

      The false charge discredits ourselves and people might harbor suspicion the guy actually scores 95.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Yes, you’re right, he’s Berlusconi, not Mussolini. Let’s understand the problem, here.

      The fascists would be the ones that are trying to overturn the election results (while more or less sticking with the same pro-corporate policies that Trump wants) and beating the drums for war over an imaginary grievance.

      1. Aumua

        I don’t call either one of them fascists, however there are real neo-fascists who have been emboldened by Trump’s victory, and are spreading fascist ideas wherever and however they can, and those ideas are gaining traction, especially among young people who don’t really know any better. That it is a mistake to misuse / overuse the word is something I can agree with wholeheartedly.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I was willing to overlook the fascist hyperbole for this bit of magnificent vitriol:

      She knew that she was electoral poison, that vast swathes of the country hated her and for good reason, that she was compromised by a miserable record spotted with sleaze and criminality, that she alienated the left, inflamed the right, and appealed mostly to a small coterie of sexually repressed and pathologically centrist think-tank nerds, that her entire constituency was made of limp cardboard and backlogged semen, that her candidacy raised the serious possibility of a Republican victory when anyone else would have beaten that divided and frothing party into insignificance with one hand tied behind their back – but she ran anyway.

      Worthy of early Taibbi.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Magnificent! But let’s give credit where credit is due for “basket of deplorables,” which Hillary made up all by herself — and extemporaneously, no less.

        Who says she can’t work a crowd?

        “Basket of deplorables” is likely to define Hillary’s historical legacy, just as “I am not a crook” defined her idol and mentor Nixon.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        One minor quibble. “We’re not nerds. Nerds are smart.” -Milhouse.

        I would suggest “Dork” be used to describe think tank centrists.

    4. Outis Philalithopoulos

      “Donald Trump is a fascist. We shouldn’t be afraid of the word: it’s simple and accurate…”

      As if there were any shortage of people calling Trump a fascist. As if the defining characteristic of those people is courage.

      On “simple and accurate,” Kriss is playing with definitions. He elsewhere suggests that he considers much of the current political scene to be fascist, and so Trump is merely a manifestation of general fascism. But Kriss is not urging people to call more mainstream figures fascist, and so his call for courage straightforwardly reduces to something very conformist.

      1. Roger Smith

        +1 This is where the rant fell apart for me. It seems almost no one can write an article deconstructing Clinton without making sure to point out how fascist, horrible, or authoritarian Trump is.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t know what’s more fascist than trying to set a precedent for a step in the Presidential appointment process where the CIA gets to vet a President-elect after the voters have spoken but before the Electoral College has voted. Particularly when the intervention is being driven by anonymous leaks of a secret report that isn’t even a Presidential finding, let alone an inter-agency process!

          I’m really just gobsmacked, though at this point, I guess not, that liberals bought into this.

          1. ambrit

            I know that it’s too glib, but the image of the Alphabets as Praetorian Guards fits this picture too closely.

    5. clinical wasteman

      Ach, I just stupidly autodeleted a better version of this by trying to correct the preview instead of the text, but the gist was:
      agreed that the word is better avoided altogether, but Sam Kriss, the author of the blog, spends so much more time filleting liberal/pseudoleft commonplaces than attacking Trump/Farage/Murdoch et al that the ‘Trump = fascist’ line and to some extent the whole column look a bit like the sort of disclaimer that used to be a mandatory add-on to any criticism of Homeland Security/perpetual war delirium. As in: “to say these things is not to apologise for the 9/11 massacre, but…”, etc. There’s no reason that readers here should be expected to guess that, of course. But at least sometimes SK really does manage to upset the upholstered left-pietists: for instance he has provoked two or three howls of personal outrage just from Zizek, who isn’t otherwise known for letting mere “millennials” disturb him. SK is also one of the few to point out repeatedly that the simultaneous blaming of immigrants AND culturally “degraded” local workers for the policy-driven destruction of labour conditions, public housing, etc was a core New Labour ‘mission’ from the outset. And also (as his sporadic Vice UK articles show) to make the effort to direct his fireworks display of a prose style to several audiences at once, not just the academic Space Echo machine.

      1. different clue

        He did? Really? He got Slubboo Sizigy upset? Personally?

        That essay would be a fun one to read, if there were a link to it.

    6. Rosario

      Yeah, I don’t get the copious application of the Fascist label to Trump either. It is unnecessary. As far as I’m concerned the only relevant application of the term is to 1930s and 1940s Europe. All the rest post WWII were imitations relevant only to the context of the societies that bred them.

      Trump is Trump, he should be understood in his own context. He may be better, or, God forbid worse, whatever that may mean. The labeling thing always seemed like an intellectual safety blanket when someone is feeling a bit insecure in their analysis. Maybe the author needs some more time to understand the monstrosity of Trump, I think we all do.

  6. subgenius

    Wealthier individuals tend to be healthier, and poorer individuals less healthy

    Right up until the guillotine….

        1. integer

          I’ve heard that matching sets of linked wrist and ankle bracelets will be coming into fashion soon for the “elite” cohort.

          I’ve also heard that the neocons may soon find themselves compelled move to the Hague en masse. Real trendsetters, those neocons are.

  7. Timmy

    …Well here’s the problem, now regulatory issues prevent The Street from warehousing any large inventories, so how is a poor asset manager going to shed their duration?

    Not a complete story in my professional experience. Most of the really long stuff is held by institutions (pensions, supranationals, and insurance companies) with the capability to hedge and interest rate hedges are generally cheap and efficient. These players don’t have hair triggers on their underlying holdings, particularly corporates that have value if the economy is expected to pick up. And lots of institutions and retail investors stayed short because the rise in rates has been telegraphed. Now, after rates have risen, some of those investors are extending and buying longer bonds with higher yields; so there is a two way market in that longer paper. All this said, it is likely that the Street would struggle mightily to digest real institutional selling, particularly in the event of a genuine credit event ala World Com. A symptom of indigestion would be some degree of divergence between ETF trading prices and NAV’s.

    1. griffen

      Staying short compared to duration bogeys is one thing, actually being short bonds or UST is perhaps a little different.

      You allocate benefit of the doubt to retail investors more than i might. Waitll they get their year end reports, paying on distributions whilst the fund lost NAV.

      1. Timmy

        Oh no, I’m not giving credit to retail at all. The fear of rising rates has been present for so long that they gathered at the short end, some for years, foregoing any curve premium. They are finally rewarded but a great cost.

        For the size of the move in the intermediate and long part of the curve, there has been remarkably little in the way of alarm and it has already printed in the November statements. Some of it has to do that stocks have done so well and so have balanced portfolios overall.

  8. Kokuanani

    Oh, c’mon. Teach for America is NOT going to condemn DeVos’ race to charter schools. I think TFA has milked its program for all it can and is ready to give up on “real” teachers. Thus no surprise it’s not criticizing DeVos

  9. Waldenpond

    When looking at how Rs spend money on campaigns, it looks like the money is run through and payoffs, wingnut welfare, make work jobs for the spawn of the elite etc. dribble out the other end. R voters are mocked for being duped. R elite are mocked for lighting money on fire when they have actually quite cheaply purchased policy.

    Maybe the Ds aren’t misallocating campaign money. Maybe they are churning, exploiting donors and buying favors every bit as much as the Rs.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You think Putin personally supervised the Yahoo hacking?

          This could make many people patriotic in a hurry.

          1. pretzelattack

            this will probably be in tomorrow’s washington post.
            “how putin sabotaged the election by hacking yahoo mail”.
            and “proton” and “putin” are 2 syllable words beginning with “p”, which is dispositive according to experts who don’t want to be indentified.

          2. HBE

            Liberals have gone truly insane, I made the mistake of trying to slog through the comments the main “putin did it” piece on huffpo out of curiosity.

            Big mistake, liberals come across as right wing nutters in the comments, I never knew they were so very patriotic, they never really expressed it before.

            1. different clue

              They are only hurt at the loss of their beloved Clintron, and are seizing on the Puttin Diddit excuse.

            2. Brad

              Unfortunately the whole “grief cycle” will get a reboot after next Monday’s “Election II”.

              The rest of us are to be pissed off that the CIA and Clinton clique have continued to agiprop this.

            3. Knot Galt

              Since the ex-Correct The Record key jockeys are out of a job they have to practice their craft somewhere.

        2. hunkerdown

          Be sure and delete everything from your Yahoo account BEFORE you push the big red button. They intentionally wait 90 days to delete the account in order that ECPA protections expire and content can just be handed over to the fuzz.

          1. auntienene

            I don’t think I’ve looked at my yahoo account in 8-10 years and I didn’t use their email; just had an address. I don’t remember my user name or password. I did get an email from them (to my not-yahoo address) advising of the breach.

            Do I need to do anything at all?

            1. hunkerdown

              auntienene, probably not, but as a general principle it’s better to close accounts down properly than to abandon them.

              1. Tvc15

                I was amazed as I watched a local am news show in Pittsburgh recommend adding your cell phone number in addition to changing your password. Yeah, that’s a great idea, maybe my ss# would provide even more security.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I use yahoo email. Why should I move? As I understood the breach it was primarily a breach of the personal information used to establish the account. I’ve already changed my password — did it a couple of days after the breach was reported. I had a security clearance with DoD which requires disclosure of a lot more personal information than yahoo had. The DoD data has been breached twice from two separate servers.

      As far as reading my emails — they may prove useful for phishing but that’s about all. I’m not sure what might be needed for phishing beyond a name and email address — easily obtained from many sources I have no control over.

      So — what am I vulnerable to by remaining at yahoo that I’m not already exposed to on a more secure server?

      1. polecat

        You are vulnerable to the knowledge that Marissa Mayer is STILL employed as a high-level corporate twit !

    1. Ranger Rick

      “Relations with Russia have declined over the past several years”
      I reflexively did a google search. Yep, Victoria Nuland is still employed.

      1. Pat

        Yeah, it isn’t like Mr. ‘We go high’ is going to admit our relationship has declined because we have underhandedly tried to isolate and knee cap them for pretty much his entire administration.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Are you referring to Obama’s press conference? If so, I am glad he didn’t make a big deal out of the Russian hacking allegations — as in it didn’t sound like he planned a retaliation for the fictional event and its fictional consequences. He rose slightly in stature in my eyes — he’s almost as tall as a short flea.

      With all the concern expressed about Russian meddling in our election process why are we forgetting the direct quid pro quo foreign meddling evidenced in the Hillary emails related to the seldom mentioned Clinton Foundation or the more likely meddling by local election officials? Why have the claims of Russian hacking received such widespread coverage in the Press? Why is a lameduck messing with the Chinese in the South China sea? What is the point of all the “fake” news hogwash? Is it related to Obama’s expression of concern about the safety of the Internet? I can’t shake the feeling that something is going on below the surface of these murky waters.

      1. Susan C

        I watched it too and agree with your take on it. For all the build up about this press conference and how I thought we were going to engage in direct combat with Russia for these hacks (or so they say it is Russia, I still wonder about that), he did not add any fuel to this fire. He did respond at one point to a reporter that the hacks from Russia were to the DNC and Podesta but funny how he didn’t say HRC emails. Be it as it may, I think what was behind it was HRC really trying to impress all her contributors that Russia really did do her in, see Obama said so, since she must be in hot water over all the money she has collected from foreign governments for pay to play and her donors. The whole thing was silly – the buildup to this press conference and then how Obama handled the hacking. A waste of time really. I don’t sense something is going on behind the scenes but it is weird that the news has been all about this Russian hacking. He did not get into the questions about the Electoral College either and he made it seem like Trump indeed is the next President. I mean it seems like the MSM was making too much about this issue but then nothing happened.

        1. Pat

          Unfortunately the nightly news is focusing on Obama says Russia hacked the DNC and had it in for Clinton!!! He warned them to stay out of the vote! There will be consequences! Russia demands the evidence and then a story about the evidence. (This one might have a few smarter people going “huh, that’s it?!?!”)

          I do like the some private some public on that consequences and retaliation thing. You either have to laugh or throw up about the faux I’ve got this and the real self-righteousness. Especially since it is supposedly to remind people we can do it to you. Is there anyone left outside of America who doesn’t think they already do do it to anyone Uncle Sam doesn’t want in office and even some they do? Mind you I’m not sure how many harried people watching the news are actually going to laugh at that one because they don’t know how how much we meddle.

          1. Anonymous

            HRC and the Dems were making false allegations about Russia since June or before. Surely she/they thought she was a shoe-in to win the GE back then?

            So, the Russia hacking narrative may not be an excuse for her loss but rather a continued attempt to gin up public support for war with Russia.

            Does anyone else see an inverse correlation between how things are going with HRC’s (and the CIA’s) Syria regime change, and the hacking hysteria? I think there’s a connection.


            1. integer

              Does anyone else see an inverse correlation between how things are going with HRC’s (and the CIA’s) Syria regime change, and the hacking hysteria?


            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              I’m not sure they’re false, but I am sure they haven’t been shown to be true. What the Clintons and the CIA are asking for is veto power, after the election, of a President, before the Electoral College votes, based on anonymous intelligence analysis. That’s a change in the constitutional order that I can’t support, though I see why the CIA woul be in favor of it.

  10. Waldenpond

    D voters might be sore losers, but what the D party is doing is very strategic… they are delegitimizing the voters. They are beating the drums for every aspect of the elite to take control of the outcome of elections demonstrating the voters are irrelevant to the process and the elite have been given elevated ‘powers’ for a ‘reason’.

    Every election the nyt and wapo will now obsess over the electors, who they are, how will they vote, etc.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Obsessing over the Electors is a GOOD thing. More attention should be paid to that particular travesty.

      The main effect of the furor is to delegitimize Trump, which is what Lambert was hoping for for strategic reasons. I agree. We need him to be an extremely weak president. We would have needed the same thing with Hillary (who won by 2%), but Republican control of congress might have accomplished that.

      1. aab

        I’m with Walden, I don’t think this delegitimizes Trump, this delegitimizes voters and voting. That’s who they’re attacking, really. They’re saying elites have the right to overturn results they don’t like. It’s a right wing approach — just like what the Turtle and his ilk has been doing in Congress.

        This is potentially pushing Trump harder right, harder into the arms of the generals, harder into the arms of conventional Republicans. How is that good?

        And I think it’s time to accept that control of Congress per se doesn’t act as a brake on the President, because we don’t currently have two actual real national parties with different policy preferences and different constituencies. One pretends to have a different constituency, but when it comes to actual governing, that pretense is thinner than wet tissue. Trump is indicating he’s going to do most of what Hillary was going to do, except the war with Russia and maybe trade policy, only more openly. The Dems would have happily helped Hillary do all of it. Maybe in the minority they’ll playact opposing it, so it’s better that they’re in the minority. But in no case would they ACTUALLY be opposed to these things. Even with the Freedom Caucus blocking the open deal with gut Social Security, Obama still worked with the Republicans to slip a lot of cat food commission goals in.

        With a Democratic President and Democratic majority, we got basically Republican policy — inarguably, policy benefiting big banks, multinational corporations and the ultra wealthy. With a Democratic President and a divided Congress, we got basically Republican policy. With a Democratic President and a Republican Congress, we got basically Republican policy. Remember that Obama was counting on Republicans voting for TPP for him and Hillary after the election, so the Democratic Senators could hide behind their fans.

        And now — surprise, surprise, surprise — we are looking at a Republican President and a Republican Congress, that will ALSO give us basically Republican policy.

        (By the way, does anyone know if the Freedom Caucus guys are back? Supposedly, the establishment Republicans tried to Teachout them in the primaries.)

      2. Waldenpond

        When it comes to constitutional amendments, the EC is probably near 2000 for something that would make a difference in people’s lives. There may be enough liberal voters to swamp the deplorables in the red states and try an end run though I don’t think the SC would go along.

        I am not a socialist in that I do not support one-person one-vote. It’s an ideal that has serious faults. The electoral college is an example of checks and balances to me and exists so that my state (CA) can’t use small red states for dumping grounds for their toxic waste and toxic manufacturing.

        Tyranny of the majority is being demonstrated by the R legislature of NC stripping the governorship of power before the D governor elect is sworn in. The majority quickly abandons principles. People can be vindictive, punitive and petty. As someone who does not share many of the traits of the majority of the country, I do not want majority rule.

        1. Steve C

          The problem with the NC legislature isn’t tyranny of the majority. It’s gerrymandering and other corruption combined with nationwide general Democrat surrender under Obama.

          If anything, the EC result means the powerful will run roughshod over the powerless, as the article about infrastructure money going straight to billionaires shows. The EC does nothing to protect the powerless. It ensconces and protects the powerful.

          The voters don’t need to elect electors who them will elect the president for them. It’s absurd on its face. The voters can elect the president for themselves. And any system where the guy who got almost 3 million LESS votes wins is patently illegitimate.

          1. Waldenpond

            By tyranny of the majority, I was referring to the Rs stripping the governorship of power today before the D gets in office.

            I’m from CA. Clinton’s vote margin is from CA and I could care less what her margin is because that is not the election we just had. Candidates competed for state EC votes which are determined by the state majority vote. By the way, CA just voted, not to get rid of the death penalty, but to make it easier/faster to kill people so people might want to stop using CA as worthy of emulation. Go ahead and strip red states of this mythical electoral advantage, separate but equal has it’s defenders… I’m not one.

            This discussion has already taken place and I won’t relist the numerous examples but there are many countries that do not select their leaders by majority election and they are not illegitimate.

            1. Steve C

              The Republicans got the majority because of Obama’s surrender in 2010. The retain it through the corruption of gerrymandering and big money financing. The are the things dragging us down. To think the EC doesn’t magnify this corruption is not looking facts in the face.

  11. knowbuddhau

    I had the same reaction to a Counterpunch article, http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/14/the-empire-has-no-clothes-trumps-class-war-cabinet-the-f-word-and-the-coming-resistance/

    (Also, thanks for your updates on Aleppo.)

    The author notes that that word doesn’t mean what it’s being used to mean, but then goes on to list 4 “political” reasons for using it that way anyway.

    Don’t Fear the F-Word

    It’s not uncommon to hear progressives and leftists using the f-word – fascism – to describe the Trump phenomenon and presidency. The designation is technically inaccurate in a strict historical sense. We are not about to see the overthrow of the rule of bourgeois law and parliamentarianism by iron dictatorship. We will not be contending with government and paramilitary armies beating leftists, liberals, racial and ethnic minorities, gay and transgendered people in streets, schools, and other public places. Liberal and left intellectuals and activists are not about to be hauled off to detention camps. The New Dear Leader is not going to enlist millions of glassy-eyed, goose-stepping young Amerikanners in the invasion of Canada or Mexico. This is not Weimar Germany. Trump is not an ideologue. He appears to possess no particular world view beyond a vicious faith in unbridled, arch-plutocratic selfishness.

    Still, Trump has a notoriously thin-skinned arch-authoritarian personality. Much of the right-wing white-nationalist and militantly anti-intellectual and anti-democratic energy Trump is channeling and encouraging overlaps considerably with the fascist project past and present. Trump’s authoritarian, racist, nationalist, hyper-masculinist, and violence- and ignorance-oozing rallies have been like nothing we’ve seen in this country since the 1930s. It’s all very not okay. And a Trump presidency will be just one big U.S.-provoked Islamist terror attack away from truly draconian federal attacks on basic civil liberties – and not only those of Muslims.

    Historical nomenclature aside, moreover, there are four good political reasons not to be overly squeamish about running with the term fascism in connection with Trump and his war cabinet-in-formation. First, it highlights the gravity of our situation. It emphasizes the extreme and escalated wickedness of the coming administration (and that’s saying a lot given the incredible authoritarian malevolence of the Clinton42, Bush43, and Obama44 administrations) while challenging the insipid banalization of evil seen in statements like “give Trump a chance” and “he just had to say all that nasty stuff to get elected,” etc. It works against the efforts of the new media to normalize the incoming administration, to pretend that everything is alright. It isn’t.

    Second, it underlines the present futility and inadequacy of electoral politics. You don’t fight fascism and top-down class-race-gender-nationalist-and eco-cidal war with another biennial or quadrennial electoral campaign (and by the way U.S. elections now appear to be largely fraudulent), you fight it with a Resistance Movement

    Third, it highlights the “fierce urgency of now” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) when it comes to forming a Resistance: you don’t fight fascism in a couple or four years, you fight it as soon as possible

    Fourth, it highlights the proper role for a Left, which is to lead a Resistance that privileged liberals will never lead and to do so on a day-to-day basis through dedicated activism and disciplined organization-building.

    But, dear author, you’ve already shown that it isn’t fascism we’re fighting! But it’s a scary word, and MLK said something inspiring, and it’s what a “proper” Left would do, so screw historical accuracy, is that it?

    Can we not fight Trump without debasing the language? Isn’t the knowingly incorrect use of a very fraught word explicitly for political advantage an example of propaganda? How do we advance our goals by lying through our teeth?

    I agree, most vehemently, that one doesn’t wait for fascism to flower before opposing it. But to acknowledge that what we say we’re fighting, isn’t actually what we say it is, and then go ahead and do it anyway, just makes us into propagandists.

    Seems like a good way to discredit ourselves fast. All opponents have to do is show that the term doesn’t actually apply, as the author does, to discredit our whole effort.

    “All I want is the truth
    Just gimme some truth”

    John Lennon

    1. fosforos

      When they call for “fighting” and “resistance” against fascism they are fecklessly calling for violence, since nonviolent resistance to fascism has always been, and always will be, suicidal whether on the streets of Santiago or around Tiananmen Square. But why should our Deep State rulers (in place ever since their coup d’etat in November 1963, ages and ages ago) need “fascism” when they already have all the police-state powers they could want, ready for use whenever and wherever they want?

    2. RabidGandhi

      Even Street is misusing the term Fascist, debasing it beyond all reason:

      First, it highlights the gravity of our situation. It emphasizes the extreme and escalated wickedness of the coming administration

      So once again, Street adheres to the current hyperbole definition of Fascism as “extreme right, mean, the worst evil ever” which is a complete deviation from the system implemented by Mussolini and Franco (and to a lesser degree Mr Hilter).

      This is diametrically opposite from the historical record. Mussolini and Franco’s fascism were both to the left of the far right wings in their respective countries (eg, the Requetes in Spain). They preached– and implemented– a powerful state with public housing and hospitals, a corporatised command economy and major public welfare programmes. Fascism was not the right’s utmost expression; it was rather a concession by the right to prevent anarchism/communism from taking over.

      But in today’s political discourse, “fascism” does not refer to these actually implemented systems. It means the definition Street gives: the ultimate evil, “extreme escalated wickedness” (which makes one wonder how do you scale up from the wickedness of destroying half the Middle East, but whatever…).

      The fact is that most commenters on the left have blown their rhetorical wad, so blurting out “fascism!” is all they have left to confront Trump. They are in disarray because most of what Trump ran on was to the right of HRC’s proposals, but they still want to paint him as far right so they scream “fascism” because they are (1) confused about what fascism is, and (2) struggling to realise that the Dems-Left/Repubs-right dichotomy ain’t working any more.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        When you say “most of what Trump ran on was to the right of HRC’s proposals,” is it possible that you wrote “right” but had intended to write “left”? This is not an attempt to raise doubts about the statement (in either direction), just an intuition based on the general logic of your comment.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Yes, good catch, thanks!

          Edited sentence:

          “They are in disarray because most of what Trump ran on was to the left of HRC’s proposals, but they still want to paint him as far right…”

          1. fresno dan

            December 16, 2016 at 4:32 pm

            I was going to say exactly what Outis Philalithopoulos 4:22 said, but he beat me to it.
            Very good analysis RabidGandhi…well, I say that because I agree. Its like some people’s ideology won’t let them see that Hillary may be more of a warmonger than Trump, as well as less willing to protect social security. It really seems like the reality based community is losing their marbles….So many years of advertising…..they believe all the commercials that the dems are LIBERAL….

            1. polecat

              Isn’t ‘reality based community’ a contradiction of terms, considering these folk are, apparently, suffering from some form of mass delusion ….. ?

              1. ambrit

                I think he’s applying the “word definition” strategy. The strategy used by, oh, just off the top of my head, Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky ‘affaire de coeur’. Such that, to the Clinton branch of the genus ‘homo,’ “community” is quite narrowly defined, and the word “reality” suffers from a spectrum definition disorder. (For the DNC clique, I’ll bet that the definition of “full spectrum dominance,” last seen tucked cosily within a DoD breifing, is still H Clinton in an Imperial Purple spandex Mao jacket and spike heels, nothing else, wielding a wickedly wonderful whip.) Now that’s a basic “reality” we can commune with.

      2. knowbuddhau

        Very interesting about Mussolini and Franco.

        Shorter Street: Any stick to beat a dog? Never mind that use of said stick might discredit us. Or that we’re not going to advance our shared narrative by disingenuous shouts of “Fascist!” vs. “Putin stooge!”

        I’ve seen the same dynamic your parenthetical refers to. My closest friend is a true fighter of the far-right. But he had literally nothing to say when I pointed out our support of genuine Nazis in Ukraine. Poor bastard’s been watching MSNBS too long. At least we can agree that Trump is bad news, but he’s not a fascist.

      3. clinical wasteman

        Despite all the postwar obfuscation (criminalization of ex-Partisans/restored police & army jobs for ex-Brigate Nere, etc.), the distinction between “fascismo” and “nazifascismo” that still exists in Italian (at least among historically sensitive writers like Matteo Cavalleri, Daniele Balicco and the Wu Ming group) is quite useful in this respect. ‘Nazifascismo” can be dated either from Republic of Salo’ or possibly from the racial laws of the late ’30s, but “fascismo” up to that point is (again, only sometimes) properly understood as super-policed corporatist (as in the “body of the nation”, not private corporations as such) capitalism in which the more or less aesthetic, or at least cultural, bonds of a mythologised National Community (“fasces”, also used by Italian Socialists when Mussolini was still one of those, is a Latin word for a symbolically-charged bundle of sticks) are somehow supposed to cancel and replace class antagonism, allowing the likes of the Agnelli family a welcome breather within which they can privately lament the cultural crassness. The tendency for this not to work very well is where the police come in of course, but the Communitarian aspect is also the reason that “x is a fascist”, said of an individual, is bathetic bordering on nonsensical.

        1. a different chris

          Did you just write the longest sentence ever on Naked Capitalism? 116 words! — I couldn’t really figure out what to do with “super-policed” and “symbolically-charged” so I counted it as a total of 3 words thus 117 or 115 can also be argued.

          Anyway, I’m sure it was very informed but this is why Trump wins and smart people lose. You get the Ajamu Baraka prize for this month FWIW.

    3. jrs

      It’s possible of course that the state of the world is actually much WORSE than f-ism (no I have no sympathy for f-ism and I am not apologizing for it).

      Yea Trump at an extreme but most plutocratic policies are ecocidal. They’ll kill BILLIONS (not millions) and yes make it look like an accident – oh couldn’t be helped capitalogenic climate change and ecosystem destruction ….

      1. RabidGandhi

        Yes, this is the most frustrating part of this election cycle for me. The whole point of tagging Trump with the F-word is to make sure everyone understands that there is something radically different about him compared to his predecessors. Ie, “sure Obama, the Bushes, Clinton, Reagan et al are all horrible samples of humanity, but Trump is somehow a bridge too far!” So Obama essentially obliterated habeas corpus by assassinating US citizens, but Trump is a fascist?

        And incidentally, this was THE main dividing point that turned some people off of NC, eg, James Levy. For Levy, while he voted Green, he nevertheless understands why someone would have to vote for an Obama or an HRC– but voting for Trump? Well that’s just nuts.

        Of course all this does is normalise the parade of psychopaths who have passed through the White House over the last 70-odd years. Yes Trump is absolutely nuts, but he is not nuts because of the few whacko policies he shares with fascism (eg, Muslim registry); he is rather nuts because of the even more whacko policies he would implement that are acceptable to the Blob (eg, energy policy, his Israel ambassador, being defecit neutral…).

        1. Rosario

          I’ll go out on a limb here, and this is probably a gross simplification of the problem, but I think a lot of USA people are very turned off (or on) by presentation and language. Obama is charming, likable, funny, and good looking, he is cool. By all presentations thus far, Trump does not have any of these attributes. It is a great deal easier to be an asshole behind closed doors, as Obama has, if you are giving the neighbors the best good morning with a mile wide smile.

          For Obama and Hillary, they speak with the best intentions, and act with the worst.

            1. phemfrog

              You must not have noticed the endless stream of articles fawning over the “grace and beauty” of the Obamas… How well educated and well spoken they are…how they have so much strength and poise in the face of right-wing hate. On my FB feed there are tons of these. Pointing out that he murders us citizens without due process and has overseen endless war doesn’t puncture this viewpoint for many…”but he’s so classy…” Celebrity worship for a politician.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                That horridly oozing piece of hagiography by Ta-Nehesi Coates in The Atlantic was the most recent example. I guess “so elegant” is the new “so articulate.”

    4. Uahsenaa

      I imagine what Street is advocating is a kind of rhetorical slight of hand, because what he actually wants to decry is the c word, capitalism. However, it’s much easier to rally people behind anti-fascism than it is to rally them behind anti-capitalism. Liberals get a bit of a knot in their stomach the moment you use the c word.

      I see it in my students all the time. The very same late teenagers/young 20-somethings who can go on and on about racial and gender oppression go completely mum the moment you suggest any of that might have something to do with the capricious whims of those who control the means of production.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Must confess to feeling that pressure myself. It’s treacherous ground. I tread lightly, trying to make my points without losing my job(s).

        How will people react, though, to being turned out to fight “fascism,” only to find they’ve been duped?

    5. Plenue

      “Also, thanks for your updates on Aleppo.”

      Speaking of which, the buses are moving and both militants and civilians are being evacuated, but the process keeps getting interrupted by some militants opening fire and firing mortars at the evacuation corridor. Also, as part of their end of the evacuation bargain the jihadis are supposed to allow civilians to evacuate from two encircled towns in Idlib governorate. So far they’re still blocking any evacuation.

    6. Rosario

      My issue with the fascist label is its necessary use to validate and empower a left wing movement, and most distressingly, as a reactionary movement. This is the problem I encounter time and again with higher level organizing in the left. There is a lot of reacting against what is not wanted and very little (or no) promoting what is wanted. Trump’s power blossomed out of his bullshit “let’s do it” attitude. A nonsense promotion of some “positive” (not in a moral but political sense) agenda, but a “positive” agenda nonetheless. He appears to take initiative and that sucks the air right out of the left every time. Reagan did the same thing. He could never win, but he did. He will never be a “great” president (as goes with US empire), but he was a “great” president and today even the liberal establishment sings his praises. My argument right back to the left needing some label to blow the trumpets of war is what do you want to counter Trump with? At this point, I’m convinced it will be nothing that a majority of milquetoast US liberals want to touch outside token, largely inconsequential, appeals to identity issues.

      1. Jim Haygood

        That ‘baculum’ is the scientifically correct term for ‘boner’ is also good to know (courtesy of our host).

    1. OIFVet

      The title is precious, too: “Hackers and archivists rush to save federal web data as fears mount Trump will remove or destroy it.” One can easily see a Wikileaks headline from several years ago: “Hackers and archivists rush to save State Department emails as fears mount Hillary Clinton will remove or destroy them.”

      1. Waldenpond

        I wonder if they are trying to save NOISH data that is under reporting black lung disease among coal miners.

        [The government, through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reported 99 cases of “complicated” black lung, or progressive massive fibrosis, throughout the country the last five years.

        But NPR obtained data from 11 black lung clinics in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which reported a total of 962 cases so far this decade. The true number is probably even higher, because some clinics had incomplete records and others declined to provide data.

        “I think the percentage of black lung that we’re seeing now here in central Appalachia is unprecedented in any recorded data that I can find anywhere,” Crum says. “In this clinic we’re roughly around 9 to 10 percent complicated rate, which is around three times higher than even the highest reported numbers.”]

        Miners avoid testing so they don’t lose a job that is going to kill them.

          1. OIFVet

            Markos was channeling Babs Bush: ” And so many of the people in the arena here, coal country here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them.”

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              OIFVet, I just read your WC remark and went looking for the comment Skynet ate. Is this it?

              If this happens again, feel free to send me an email (outis.philalithopoulos@gmail). Knowing about specific cases of vanishing comments is helpful in identifying issues in our filtering protocols.

          2. OIFVet

            There is a comment that should have gone here, but it simply disappeared after I posted it, without even a ‘being held for moderation’ notice. Must be the paraphrased Barbara Bush quote that angered the filter :)

  12. Waldenpond

    Another for realignment and legitimacy…

    Leslie Wimes: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/keith-ellison-couldnt-have-been-more-played-if-he-had-mattel-written-across-his-forehead

    [So I get why he accepted an opportunity presented to him by Stephen Bittel, who was feeling the Bern so much so by Our Revolution backing Dwight Bullard in word AND deed, that he decided to play a desperate Keith Ellison like a Stradivarius.]…….[If you are willing to sell out prior to getting the DNC post, what won’t you do once you get it?..I thought you were a stand-up kind of guy. Your back is bent, and right now, Stephen Bittel is riding it…You aren’t looking like a stallion, my brother. You are looking like a donkey….Stephen Bittel is trying to kill two birds with one stone. YOU AND Dwight Bullard.

    (whispered noir voice) Will Ellison be paid off for going public with his neo-liberalism or did he just kill his prospects? Tune is for tomorrow’s episode of how the Ds Turn (on voters).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sure that wasn’t a play on Broadway, namely, the play by Oscar Wilde, an Ideal Husband?

      “What can I do, what can I get for you??” is so, so quality time.

      A Neanderthal husband would have just eaten her share.

      1. ambrit

        Those two probably would have taken turns eating Share.
        (She did offer us a ‘Two For One Special’ during the campaign.)

  13. TK421

    Black Lives Matter hash tag activists Deray and Brittany Packnett haven’t condemned Trump’s appointment of DeVos.

    What’s odd about that? They’re probably busy pointlessly blocking a highway somewhere.

    1. Plenue

      Does BLM even still do that? Because that’s how you actually get change; keep being a damn inconvenience. Block highways, do die-ins. Muck up the gears of moneymaking, especially. If BLM allows itself to just be subsumed into the Democratic Party as yet another interest group lobbying politicians, it’s over.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The famed sit ins of the 50’s and 60’s didn’t target establishments of Bull Connor types but the type of people who really like blacks but believe the time to change just hasn’t come.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Saw some strikers in Crete years ago block the main east-west road across the island. They sat in the middle of the road and roasted a goat. Heard a lot of pissed off tourists complaining they’d never go back and I believe the strikers got some satisfaction fairly quickly IIRC. Striking electrical workers turning off all the power in a major metropolitan area also got people’s attention.

        Makes me wonder if Draghi couldn’t get to his Cretan vacation villa back in the day and now he’s getting his revenge.

  14. Matt Alfalfafield

    In “Fake News” news: I have a habit of reporting every single ad I see on Facebook. After a day or two of doing this, their algorithms get confused and stop showing me ads altogether for a couple of weeks. There’s a standard set of generic reasons for reporting content – it’s spam, it’s illegal/violent, it’s sexually explicit, etc. Yesterday, they added a new one: “It’s a fake news story.” So I went all in. Ad for orange juice? Fake news. Deals on cell phone plans? Fake news. Chain restaurant? Fake news. (Folks can also feel free to report, for instance, the Washington Post or New York Times or etc as fake news!)

    1. jrs

      Right most advertising is in some sense fake news. And advertising actually IS an assault on thought.

      I wonder how accurate self-reporting fake news is going to be. I don’t like this news, it doesn’t comply with my preconceptions: therefore it’s fake!!!

        1. OIFVet

          I considered that. Then I noticed the discomfort and cognitive dissonance that I cause to my credentialed liberal buddies by actually using my brain to think and to challenge them, rather than mindlessly repeat the latest drivel from the Democrat Party/MSDNC. I am an a-hole like that, and I have a ban from a wine-and-cheese shindig to prove it.

          1. Massinissa

            Wont they just unfriend you? I don’t use facebook, but I hear people unfriend people for political differences a lot these days.

            1. OIFVet

              A few have, most are not that hopeless. We do go back a long time, so they have the good sense not to mistake being anti-Hillary with being pro-Trump. At the end, I figure the ones that would unfriend me over a difference of opinion simply ain’t worth having as friends, real or virtual.

        2. different clue

          But one has to be a Facebook user to be able to conduct this sort of monkeywrenching from within and below.

          There are enough Facebook distrusters that some of them could boycott Facebook and others could play with Facebook’s algorithms. Either course would have an effect if several million people did it. And I suspect several million remain-Facebookers all practicing algorithm-spoofing could affect Facebook in a very real way indeed.

    2. fresno dan

      Matt Alfalfafield
      December 16, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Talk about throwing a wrench in the gears! That is absolutely hilarious!!!!
      Yeah, I’m gonna start doing that…..

      “There’s a standard set of generic reasons for reporting content – it’s spam, it’s illegal/violent, it’s sexually explicit, etc.”
      OH YEAH, I going to find out ALL the “etc.”
      I would bet they have a category for what you personally find offensive
      ‘anti llama’
      besmirches hair dryers
      defames spam…..(real spam – seriously, one of my favorite foods made from snouts, tails, and ears….)
      maligns screwdrivers
      its happy hour, elsewise I would be here all night….

      1. ambrit

        What’s really bothering me about this is that the Hero program takes this “crowdsourced” ‘fake news’ program the next step and uses it to enable a real censorship campaign. I can imagine a F-book flak fecklessly fulminating that since X number of Heros tagged a site, or post, that it must be deleted. With no recourse. The Crowd has spoken! (For some definition of “Crowd.”)

  15. JustAnObserver

    Every time I hear or read anything from Clinton/TeamBlue screeching about how the election was stolen by [Insert Villain of Choice] my mind goes back to that Oliphant cartoon from 2013 (*) showing Hillary as a huge, smug, cat sitting on a luxurious pillow looking at a feed bowl in front of her with 2016 written in large letters on the rim.

    Then, on the night of Nov. 8 2016, just as she was preparing to stuff her face into it after 3 years dreaming of the moment (champagne corks popping in Dem offices all over the country) the (artisanal, organic, corn-fed) salmon vanished, the bowl shattered, and all she can see reflected back from the broken shards is the grinning bullfrog face of Donald J. Trump.

    The tantrum in response to this rejection was always likely to be epic but it seems to have gone beyond even that into some existential howl of despair reverberating and ricocheting around the echo chambers where elite Dems gather.

    Seen in this light the shennanigans with trying to get the Electoral College to overturn the result are nothing more than a child’s plea to have a `Do Over’ … see I kept my hand on that chess piece so I can take my move back.

    (*) Saw this in an NC comments link but I can’t find it :-(.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She’s been running since 1998. Lieberman was pushed as VP because he would never be a threat to become President on his own.

  16. Linda

    From 2016 post mortem

    Hillary Clinton had nothing to offer people; all she could give them was fear and herself.

    Some pundit or strategist (sorry I just don’t recall who it was) during an interview on David Axelrod’s podcast said he saw during the campaign, T-shirts for Trump and Clinton for sale at an airport. The Trump T-shirt said, of course, “Make America Great Again.” The Hillary shirt said “Hillary Clinton, 2016,” or maybe it was “Vote Hillary, 2016.”

    Sums up the two campaigns. Perhaps a win could have been predicted by t-shirts.

    1. Massinissa

      Even had the Hillary T-Shirts used her campaign slogan, that slogan was “I’m With Her”. Which again is not about anything whatsoever except Hillary Clinton herself.

    1. a different chris

      They freaking took our drone and drove off. I can’t help it, I just find that hysterically funny.

      1. Waldenpond

        Today has been a good media day. I have had several chuckles. Saw one item with the important question of ‘what is a drone’… I shrugged, my question was what is the US doing with under water drones in the China seas but yes, I just laughed.

  17. skippy

    El’Trumpo’s act is morphing into a Mel Brooks-esque comedy….

    The overriding quality necessary for landing a position in Donald Trump’s administration is that Trump has to know you from TV. Most of his cabinet selections have logged plenty of time in cable-news green rooms. Monica Crowley and K.T. MacFarland, two named advisers, were paid contributors to Fox News. Secretary-of-state nominee Rex Tillerson is perhaps an exception, but he came highly recommended from TV faves Condi Rice and Dick Cheney.

    So in that context, floating Larry Kudlow to run the Council of Economic Advisers is perfectly apt. Kudlow isn’t an economist, but he plays one on TV. And more important, he confidently (and usually wrongly) favors what has to be seen as the dominant economic gospel of the Trump administration: tax cuts.

    Before we get into that, let’s just note how consistently wrong Kudlow has been over the years. He denied the existence of a housing bubble, even after it collapsed. He touted the “Bush boom” and boasted that there wouldn’t be any recession in December 2007—the month the recession began. Once the downturn was undeniable, Kudlow dismissed it, said it would be mild, predicted the bottom over and over as the economy continued to sink. He recommended buying stocks in September 2008, the month the market lost a substantial amount of its value. Baghdad Bob looks at this guy and thinks he might need to get his facts straight. – snip


    disheveled….. its just so…. D – E – V – O… going to need an extra towel for this kinda action…

    1. Foppe

      The Question For Our Time: Ideology without credentialed salespeople who serve as lubricant — does/will it sell?

      1. skippy

        As long as its textured for pleasure more than likely… than not…

        disheveled… my big question is… can one be erudite when parsing such a low point in modernity – without having the enviable stench cling…

    2. Optimader

      Lary kudlow … lol some one is still paying thst guy ??

      Sidebar, why does trump either point at ppl or give a thumb up when being photographed??
      It strikes me to be in the same vein as a nervous/ rmbarassed Asian smile

    3. bob

      He’s sort of entertaining, in a horrible way.

      Imagine your worst boss ever. Now give him a ton of coke, and a TV show. It’s a promising premise for a show. It could be and sometimes is entertaining, as long as you can just watch it, not live it.

      Kudlow and company….snnnffffff

      BTW, The 80’s are back, only way crazier. Instead of on WWF, Trump is talking trash while going for prez, Larry is 90 and doing more coke than ever, following Trump into the oval office, instead of bear sterns.

      Next- putin is actually boy george.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Evidently the Z site got a leaked internal memo from “Arthur [Sulzberger] and Mark [Thompson]” at the NYT, saying that “We will vacate at least eight floors, allowing us to generate significant rental income.

    NYT’s midtown Manhattan building — built during a flusher era for the MSM — is its main asset. The so-called “news” operation probably is worth next to nothing. But by cramming stenographers reporters into bullpens, rental revenue can keep Operation Mockingbird afloat until Putin is defeated. /sarc

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Just the thought of the NYT going t**s up gave me a warm glow on a very cold night. I hope the WaPo is an unsustainable money pit for Bezos too.

      1. different clue

        Bezos has too much money to care about that. But perhaps the WawPoo can be turned into a humiliating social and public embarrassment for him.

        1. ambrit

          Embarrassment requires a conscience to interpret the “outer world” through. Without a conscience, embarrassment is problematic.
          Does the inverse relationship between “wealth” and “conscience” pre-date Plutocracy, or post-date it?

    1. integer

      Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave

      The references to Reagan seem to be a scripted D-party talking point, as it was also deployed by Schiff in the now infamous interview in which he accused Tucker Carlson of working on behalf of the Kremlin.

      1. ambrit

        More like an invocation of Dread Lord Ronnie, the False Demiurge. The artificer of demonstrably fraudulent “realities.”
        The best way to stop such rolling action would be to open the grave and drive a stake through where the heart was purported to have been.

  19. Oregoncharles

    ““Europe’s politicians believe a trade deal with the UK could take up to a decade or more and could still fail in the final stages, ”

    What this actually does is reveal that the whole free-trade rhetoric is a scam. If they BELIEVED that it’s a matter of mutual benefit, with a country all of them have always traded with, then the deal would be urgent and would be based on pre-existing models. No problem.

    But it’s a lie that it’s based on mutual benefit, and everyone who matters knows it. Instead, it’s an elaborate manipulation to benefit those with the most pull. And that’s the basic left-wing objection to “trade deals.”

    To repeat, for emphasis: People have traded with each other, often over amazing distances, for thousands of years – originally without benefit of even government, let alone “trade deals.” They won’t stop just because there is no “trade deal,” so that isn’t what the deals are about. Is the EU really going to stop trading with Britain? Stop buying North Sea oil? Rolls Royces? Selling Britain French wine? Snicker. They’ll stop giving The City certain advantages, because that will benefit their own banks, which need all the help they can get. Why would ordinary Britons care about that?

    Afterthought: and in the meantime, the EU’s very existence is in mortal danger, because Italy and Spain, and for that matter because it’s a rotten deal for a lot of its citizens. If the Brits are smart and malicious, they’ll start negotiations with Italy, directly.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Any actual “free trade agreement” wouldn’t take ten days to write up and finalize. It would go something like, “we’ll let goods, services and people move freely, OK?” “OK, done.”

  20. grizziz

    Re:Trump’s Infrastructure Plan,
    This seems to be more gnashing of the teeth by losers in the election. Trump wins and so go the spoils and the pork. I wanted build more green infrastructure with high wage and safe jobs, more city living with public transport and most of the Green Party’s new deal and all I am going to get is a lousy acidified sea.

    Still, the voters who put Trump in office are not focused on global warming or risings seas. As Lambert says they want concrete material benefits. They prefer living in suburban homes, exurbs or rural areas and they like owning large gasoline or diesel burning vehicles. Many the homes and vehicles are probably mortgaged. Trump’s infrastructure plan will likely serve the interests of Trump’s voters and help the Republicans in the coming elections, even if it means paying user fees to finance the work.

    The Democrats and their supporters can protest as much as they would like. I would assert that until the Trump supporters suffer as a consequence of their lifestyles and admit to those consequences our land is sunk.
    Until then, I am searching for higher ground.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I disagree with your assessment. Trump campaigned on a trillion dollar infrastructure plan. His base (and everyone else) would be correct to want this, as it would ostensibly create millions of real jobs. But the fact is that if it is going to be “deficit neutral”, there is no amount of tax breaks and de-regulation that will cajole private corporations to invest $1 trillion. Na ga happen. As we have seen, if you give the oligarchs cash they will either just sit on it or blow it on the ponies. Trump therefore is renegging on a campaign promise (quelle surprise) and his voters would be right to be upset.

      The only way to get to the $1 trillion number would be to have government invest the money via deficit spending. But this is just incomprehensible to the deficit hawk religious fanatics, Trump and HRC included.

      Secondly, there is no reason for a giant infrastructure plan to be environmentally harmful; quite the opposite. The only feasible way to reverse our damage to the planet is via major investments in renewables, public transport and sustainable infrastructure.

      Lastly, your comment that

      They prefer living in suburban homes, exurbs or rural areas and they like owning large gasoline or diesel burning vehicles.

      is a gross generalisation that is not falsifiable (are they there by preference or economic compulsion? how do we know they would prefer that if public transport/infrastructure were different? are there any studies showing Trump voters prefer diesel? etc.) so it must be discarded.

      1. grizziz

        When I last looked there was there was over $2 Trillion in federal reserves sitting on the on the books of member banks which could be used for lending for the infrastructure by the commercial banks. The banks will be eager to make theses loans. Maybe the banks could even get an actual Federal guarantee instead of the implied guarantee we remember from 2008.

        I agree that “there is no reason for a giant infrastructure plan to be environmentally harmful,” it just so happens Trump and the Republicans won and it appears they will follow a greenhouse gas spending plan that looks a lot like Eisenhower and not like Jill Stein’s. Please follow the reasoning from that point instead of the all possible worlds you imagine.

        Lastly, I reckon that the revealed preferences of suburban and rural Trump voters is a generalization and that knowing the subjective motives of consumers is always a mugs game. Would you even allow that a poll might be considered empirical? FWIW, here is a recent Bloomberg article telling a story of people buying a lot cars on credit.

        1. RabidGandhi


          When I last looked there was there was over $2 Trillion in federal reserves sitting on the on the books of member banks which could be used for lending for the infrastructure by the commercial banks. The banks will be eager to make theses loans.

          Correct. The problem is not that the money is not there available to the banks, nor is it that big corporations can’t borrow. Rather the problem is that there is no demand, and since there is no demand, corporations have no reason to invest (in infrastructure or elsewhere), so they sit on the cash or play the derivatives market. This being the case, the government has to step in and create the missing demand by deficit spending: building high speed rail, creating jobs, improving transportation sustainability, etc. Trump is not willing to create this demand because he wants to remain ‘deficit neutral’, therefore he will break his campaign promise for $1T in infrastructure. The people who voted for Trump were not promised more pollution and more trickle down; they were promised jobs and infrastructure, which is a more than valid demand.


          [I]t just so happens Trump and the Republicans won and it appears they will follow a greenhouse gas spending plan that looks a lot like Eisenhower and not like Jill Stein’s.

          I agree, Trump never was Stein, but he should be held accountable for every environmental sin he commits. He does not need to commit any such sins to satisfy his $1T infrastructure promise. I’m not holding my breath though.

          I had to look up ‘mugs game’, so thanks for the new term. I don’t buy the concept of revealed preference because of Criticism #2 in the Wiki you cited. Assuming that Trump voters prefer diesel cars is not valid because their choices are so limited. I do very much accept empirical polls, and if you can provide one that shows “they prefer living in suburban homes, exurbs or rural areas and they like owning large gasoline or diesel burning vehicles” I will happily retract.

          Your Bloomberg article link is a cut and paste typo. Try again?

  21. JohnnyGL


    Obama: I told Putin ‘cut it out’ on hacking

    Kind of like Clinton told Wall Street banks to ‘cut it out’ on mortgage fraud? Was this code for doing nothing?

    Reading the quote in the CNN article, I can’t help but think of Jerri-Lynn’s remark about how Obama always raised his hand at the end of class in law school so he could issue some vapid platitudes that reflected the consensus agreement among the class and offered nothing new or profound insights.

    Plus Yves liked to mock Obama by saying he created the appearance of change by talking a lot and waiving his hands around as if it made a difference.

    This speech/interview seems to combine all those quirks.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Democrats want to be Republicans and want the right kind of Republicans to vote for them. They are desperate for a realignment. Unfortunately for Team Blue, Republican voters despise centrist Dems as feckless cowards. With the decline of the lower 90%, there aren’t enough voters to produce a “sensible centrist” party, but then again Marx was not kind towards the petit bourgeois.

    1. hunkerdown

      With all the foam-flecked spittle emerging from bourgeois Democrats right now, don’t anyone worry for the runway.

    1. a different chris

      I’ll take a look – yeah, he’s an idiot, I mean economist, ah same thing.

      We are importing things that we could make at home, whether directly by hand or by so-called “automation,” which despite what economists “think” requires a fair amount of work itself. Supervising a CAD machine making something in the 2010’s is to making something in the 1920s is to making something in the 1850s – the tools and end product increase in complication but the need for workers still exists. Just the actions related to the job changes. Only an economist can be mechanically incompetent enough not to see that.

      >I think that what really bothers them is that automation is allowing us to produce 85% more manufactured goods with far fewer workers.

      The population has increased since 1987 by about 1/3 so that cuts a chunk out of his 85% right there. Our living standards have supposedly improved, everybody has two cars and Reagan made the Japanese build a lot of them in the US. Recalc based on automation/person, and bet it cuts that a lot more, I bet. In any case, what does he even think he is saying here? The question is simple: what is the proportion of imported manufactured goods to the overall total? (And should you even count military boondoggles as US manufacturing “effort”? Making bombs that probably don’t even work and storing them away, that is pretty Keynesian I would say.) Anyway, he doesn’t tell us and I bet he knows so this is just blowing smoke.

      >I can’t tell you how depressing it is to see today’s intellectual climate reverting back to the vulgar Keynesianism

      This guy doesn’t have the chops to lick JMK’s shoes, how’s that for vulgar? I could go worse.

      >So what’s all this really about? Perhaps the “feminization” of America.

      Wow. Just wow!

      Anyway, note how he ties himself in knots – “Automation destroys jobs” so instead let’s have the untermenschen in Mexico or wherever have the jobs that are supposedly going to be destroyed… sigh. “Feminization” being “bad” is (I agree with what he was trying to say, but calling non-manual labor “feminine” — jesus) a bad thing, but non-whites working for us because they are cheaper than our machines is not? BTW, speaking of the WWII era: Remember all the freaking war crap America turned out? I do give credit to the Russians for beating Nazi Germany but we would have done it if they didn’t. We built everything, and that gives you insights like no other way. Dare I say “hands-on” experience?

      Look at the issues Boeing has building a new jet, whether a fighter or a passenger, now. It’s because they aren’t at the top of the steps, instead they are on a high wire and always falling off (into a government supported net).

      1. ambrit

        The Russian contribution to the defeat of Germany in WW2 was tens of millions of peoples lives. Somehow I don’t see America committing to this level of self suffering, then or now. The last time America faced up to “high” casualty figures, the Vietnam Police Action, the public revolted and forced the ‘System’ to back down. As a partial work around, the MIC has automated much of the actual fighting, or, more accurately, murdering. “Out of sight, out of mind,” is the new motto. That is the reason why so much of the MICs activity is done in out of the way places.

    2. cnchal

      Trade allows the US to concentrate in industries where we have a comparative advantage (aircraft, chemicals, agricultural products, high tech goods, movies, pharmaceuticals, coal, etc.) We then import cars, toys, sneakers, TVs, clothing, furniture and lots of other goods.

      The only US “manufacturing sector” he cites that is labor intensive is aircraft. For instance is coal manufactured? Agricultural products? Movies? Movies and pharmaceuticals have IP protection. The imports are all manufactured.

      Within the article is an interview of the CEO of United Technologies where he says this:

      GREG HAYES: Right. Well, and again, if you think about what we talked about last week, we’re going to make a $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive. Now is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost of labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there.

      Scott Summer’s argument is blown up right there. United Technologies finds it cheaper to move production to Mexico and by instead spending $16 million to upgrade the Indianapolis Carrier plant will get the plant to be competitive, supposedly able to crank out air conditioners at the same price they would have been if they were made in Mexico. The reason they are not moving is because of either a promise or threat by Trump. Yes, automation does reduce the need for manual labor, but $16 million is going to be spent on other manufactured goods like tooling and ancillary equipment or plant expansion, so the money now circulates close to home.

      (Material Meets Tool X sales) – expenses = profit or loss. If the result is profit it’s wealth creation, if it’s loss it’s hell. United Technologies lives and dies by this.

      It makes me wonder why these investments in productivity are not generally being done in North America. Take Apple for example. All their stuff is Made in China by a contractor, and then they play tax games with their profits from exploitation of Chinese labor, and demand a tax holiday. They wouldn’t be able to do that if their stuff was made in the US.

      Frankly, the last line of his article claims that the people involved with manufacturing are low skilled men. It’s a polite way of saying stupid. So stop whining and get a service jawb, and trade wealth.

  22. subgenius

    The WaPo are now reporting the FBI and CIA agree on the Russian hacking to install Trump.


    Just in time for the the EC vote. We are lucky that the defenders of freedom managed to get this cleared up today….just imagine if it had taken a few more days…

    Reminds me of this…


    1. Waldenpond

      What? DNCleaks? Looked like an inside job. Podesta leaks? A moron was phished. If it is true, the Russians are incompetent in that they went after Podesta rather than the Secretary of State.

      I don’t quite get the argument that the DNCleaks (which demonstrated the Ds rigged their primary) or that Podesta leaks (which demonstrate general sleazebaggery and being owned and run by oligarchs) is the basis for a do-over of the general election. The rigging and corruption happened during the primary. Is it the date of data releases?

      The argument seems to be that the unethical actions (listed in the information released) demonstrates the Ds rigged a primary are irrelevant to the primary, but that same information that demonstrates the Ds rigged a primary effected the general. Bizarre logic.

      It’s also bizarre that anything that happens to the DNC could be conflated with an attack on the govt. They’re a frickin’ private club not a govt agency.

  23. ewmayer

    “Postcopulatory sexual selection influences baculum evolution in primates and carnivores” [Proceedings of the Royal Society B]” — Talk about circumlocutary gymnastics. “If you suffer a baculum tumescence event lasting 4 hours or more, see your doctor.” Hey, ProcRoySB, does this movie have an intromission? Now all we need is a companion “evolution of pick-up lines” study: “The Indo-European Philological Roots of ‘Hey Baby, Do You Smoke After Sex, or Haven’t You Checked?”, something along those lines.

    1. ambrit

      Morning after shaming process enhances gene pool filtering.
      “Hey baby, I have a bone to pick with you.”

    1. polecat

      “The Furnace Destruct Sequence has been initiated** .. The furnace will self-destruct in T-minus … 10 minutes …..”


      ** choose an appliance app. .. any appliance will do ..

  24. hemeantwell

    To enable that outcome, U.S. policy deliberately sacrificed manufacturing workers on the theory that a.) the marginal global benefit from the job gain to a Chinese worker exceeded the marginal global cost from a lost US manufacturing job, b.) the U.S. was shifting toward a service sector economy anyway and needed to reposition its workforce accordingly and c.) the transition costs of shifting workers across sectors in the U.S. were minimal”

    The altitude taken here puzzles. B and C are acceptable, but A? Is US policy really geared to marginal global benefit? Does Duy think job relocation was undertaken to bring joy to the world? Tis the season. But if we put Streeck on the case he would say that the loss of wages to US workers and their purchasing power could be made up by their indebtedness in one form or another. And that’s assuming the boys at the Bohemian Grove ever got beyond the interest in profit maximization to consider the need for debt profligacy.

  25. Foppe

    Snort. In reply to some reader push-back on a particularly nutty dutch article describing The Proven-Beyond-A-Doubt-To-Be-Of-Russian-Origin-Hacks, Trump’s authoritarianism, and his love for Poot-un, the EiC of a Dutch site which is sort of like Vox’s older brother (and generally less hacky/trite), just wrote that “Als je van mening bent dat de wereld wel wat meer autoritaire staten kan gebruiken, en wat meer kleptocraten aan de macht (machthebbers die hun macht aanwenden voor zelfverrijking), dan beschouw je de opkomst van Donald Trump heel anders. Dat is legitiem en er zijn talloze media die dat ook doen (niet in de laatste plaats de media die opgericht zijn door Steve Bannon, sinds kort Secretary of State onder Trump).”
    I.e., “If you feel that the world could use a few more authoritarian states, and a few more kleptocrats in power, then you will view the rise of DT in a different light. That is legitimate, and there are countless media that feel the same way (not least Bannon’s outlets, now SoS under Trump). [Please look for stories in that vein elsewhere, as the author is Truly Convinced”, etc.] I can’t decide whether to feel sorry for the guy, or feel scared that he’s convinced himself of the idea that anyone who raises substantive objections to the points being made, thinks Trump is a swell guy who the world needs more of (and that he and the rest of his staff consider this — utterly bizarre — false dichotomy unobjectionable).

  26. Jen

    Um….anyone else seeing a banner ad for Hamilton Electors? Stop Putin’s president…Trump is a Russian Stooge? Lambert, I’ve got a screen shot for you….

  27. Cry Shop

    Don’t take my word for it, but Clinton (and any Federal Candidates) get to keep any money left over from an election campaign, and as long as they don’t violate tax guide lines can keep it for a rainy day, or if they pay taxes on it, spend it as they please.

    and that’s what the Democratic Party has become, a machine to secure wealth, just the threat of winning is enough.

  28. Bjornasson

    My own personal theory regarding fake news:
    Painting non-mainstream (I think alternative is not a useful adjective anymore) media as Russian propaganda and the concerted Russia-Trump-hacking discourse is an attempt to halt the mass understanding of the media as a willing disseminator of elite propaganda (the political economy counterpart of which is neoliberalism) but also to cover up Western propaganda surrounding the ‘government opposition’ in Syria not that the Assad-Russian coalition has taken East Aleppo. Robert Fisk has written really good pieces on the latter recently.

    It is too much of a coincidence that the Russian propaganda smear on those news sources that have been reporting or will actually report the truth about the Syrian war began with the Assad-Russia victory immanent, meaning that the establishment could no longer control the discourse and framing of good-evil pairings in that conflict. As far as I can remember the fake-news-Russian-propaganda nonsense was not explicitly parallel to the Russian-hacking-of-US-elections narrative till WaPo/PropOrNot and now they have conveniently meshed together to create an all-encompassing Russian threat that would allow the regime to control Middle East news (amongst others) even in the face of defeat.

    Just my jetlagged crackpot theory – nothing positive comes out of long flights with energetic children and broad shoulders that get knocked every five seconds by passing children and flight attendants.

  29. Kurt Sperry


    Pretty good piece–for Slate in any event.

    “Whatever Russia did or didn’t do, the idea that its interference is what cost Hillary Clinton the election is utterly ludicrous and absolutely false. What cost Hillary Clinton the election can be summed up by a single line from Sen. Chuck Schumer, soon to be the country’s highest-ranking Democrat: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” As it turned out, he was fatally wrong. It wasn’t the Russians who told the Democratic Party to abandon the working-class people of all races who used to form its electoral base. It wasn’t the Russians who decided to run a presidential campaign that offered people nothing but blackmail—“vote for us or Dangerous Donald wins.” The Russians didn’t come up with awful tin-eared catchphrases like “I’m with her” or “America is already great.” The Russians never ordered the DNC to run one of the most widely despised people in the country, simply because she thought it was her turn. The Democrats did that all by themselves.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The sneaky Russians are well known for their riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, like a nested matrioshka doll.

      How do we know, based on her ineptness (you sure it’s not deliberate) the quoted description of her campaign, that she wasn’t a Russian mole?

      And in a neat reverse psychology maneuver, Russia is about to put her real favorite on the throne?

      Just how does a patriotic American know?

      Is it time to go back to one’s basic Jedi training – to simply blindfold oneself, trust one’s feelings and let the Force come to you?

      1. Susan C

        Now that’s heavy. To get to the bottom of all this I wonder if any of this would be going on if Bernie Sanders were the democratic candidate and he lost to Trump. If Bernie’s were hacked – would we be hearing from Obama about all that? I think not. But why not. And why don’t they mention that HRC had an unsecured server which invited hacking. Did she want to be hacked? She must have known she could be hacked doing that. And if she didn’t know that could happen, she was beyond unqualified to be the President.

  30. alex morfesis

    MOR fake news…mcdeez self destruct kiosks…they have tried them down here in tampabay area…

    (sorry fellow travlers…can’t resists the french fries)

    and to suggest they hardly function is an understatement…they need workers to help who just ask you your order and input them…not sure where this idea the screens ask you anything at all…and the placement of information and which categories does not match the menu board…kill it with fire…or better yet, just short the stock and watch the markets kill it…

    Bah humbug…

    merry christmas mister potter

  31. nothing but the truth

    the DNC leak was from insiders. the brit who was the middleman for the material to Wikileaks has admitted it.

    ObamaScare is pathetic.

  32. kimsarah

    I wonder how people who gave money to Hillary/DNC feel right about now.
    Probably like those who invested with Bernie Madoff.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They were angry after 2014. Politico had an article about it from after the mid terms, but I can’t find it. Pelosi promised Hillary would fix everything when donors wanted to know where their money went.

      1. Charger01

        Awesome. The view of that bonfire of money must have been stupendous. I bet Jeb Bush’s donors feel the same way.

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