2:00PM Water Cooler 12/19/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Commerce Department transition briefing documents obtained by ProPublica lay out actions, issues and potential conflicts of interest that Wilbur Ross will have to deal with in his first 100 days, assuming he is confirmed to lead the sprawling agency” [Politico]. Let the leaking begin!

TPP: “‘One of the unfortunate things about TPP, for example, is that it was concluded in the middle of a presidential campaign season,’ Cutler said. ‘That was not the plan. We were going to conclude it a lot earlier, but we were great negotiators and we knew the deal that was on the table two years earlier wasn’t the one we were prepared to take home. So we waited. We got the good deal, but unfortunately the timing was really bad and TPP kind of became the manifestation of everything that was wrong with trade and wrong with globalization” [Politico]. The operation was a success, but the patient died. And note another Democrat insider to whom losing in 2016 was inconceivable. Hubris everywhere. I feel like “Kill it with fire” is my Carthago delenda est

“Trade is already remarkably free by historical standards, and proposed new agreements like TPP are more about intellectual property and dispute settlement than trade per se. It will not be a tragedy if they don’t happen” [“Leave Zombies Be,” Paul Krugman, IMF]. Krugman goes on:

As Branko Milanović has shown, the overall effect has been big gains for the third-world middle class and the global top 1 percent, with a big sag in between representing the advanced-economy working class. From a global welfare point of view, this is surely positive: the income gains of hundreds of millions of formerly very poor people matter a lot. But that’s not much comfort for first-world workers who find their lives getting harder, not easier.

Nobody could have predicted…

Given this reality, it’s surprising that the backlash against globalization has been so long in coming, and that its effects have so far been so mild. Many people predicted a turn to protectionism after the Great Recession; in fact, not much in the way of new trade restrictions has happened, at least so far.

“Its effects have so far been so mild.” I guess that’s why laying down a covering barrage from the blame cannons — “Boom! Racism!” and “Boom! Putin!” — is so important to the Paul Krugman who writes for the New York Times. Because one thing the Democrats will always fight hard for is evading responsibility, in this case for the part they played in gutting American manufacturing and the (Trump-voting) communities that depended on it, which even Tim Duy gets in his discussion here on “transition costs.”


Electoral College

A “neighbor in Bangor” writes: “Hot tip from a lady who spied my Bernie and Jill bumper stickers in the Hannaford parking lot last night: David Bright (sp?), a Maine elector pledged to Hillary, is going to vote for Bernie today.” Here’s the story on David Bright from the Portland Press-Herald. I blame Putin.

“A 46 percent plurality of voters say that electors should be bound to vote for the candidate that won their state, more than the 34 percent who think electors shouldn’t be bound if they have significant concerns about the winning candidate. Two-in-10 voters were undecided on the question” [Politico]. “Half of self-identified Democrats — and 52 percent of Clinton voters — say the electors shouldn’t be bound. But 64 percent of both Republicans and Trump voters say the electors should be bound.”

“Electors will meet in their states, typically at the capitol, where they will cast two votes: one for president and one for vice president” [New York Times]. “They will then prepare what is called a “certificate of vote” with the results, which is then mailed or delivered via courier to the National Archives, where it becomes part of the nation’s official records, and to Congress…. Congress has never sustained an objection to an electoral vote in modern times.”

“But even though the formal electoral vote happens Monday, the results won’t be known for several weeks. When exactly? Not until Jan. 6, 2017.” [Quartz] Cites to nited States Code, provision 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 3, but can this really be true? Surely the news will be leaked.

“Democrats Need To Win Elections, Not Flip Electors” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight]. “Winning a House seat in Montana or expanded access to early voting in North Carolina might not be as sexy for Democrats as dreaming about an uprising in the Electoral College. But Trump won the election, and Democrats probably ought to be thinking about how to win some elections of their own.” When you’ve lost Nate Silver…

Trump Transition

“President-elect Donald Trump has continued employing a private security and intelligence team at his victory rallies, and he is expected to keep at least some members of the team after he becomes president, according to people familiar with the plans” [Politico]. That’s not necessarily crazy, given Secret Service scandals


“More than 20 million Americans now depend on the ACA, also known as Obamacare, for health insurance. Data from Gallup indicate that a lot of those people live in counties that favored Mr. Trump” [Wall Street Journal, “Trump Counties Would See Big Impact From Obamacare Repeal”]. “The Gallup data, analyzed with the county typology from the American Communities Project, show that eight county types have seen increases in health insurance coverage greater than the national average. Six of those types — representing about 77 million people or 33 million votes, a quarter of the total cast — sided with Mr. Trump, some by very large margins.”

2016 Post Mortem

“Yes Hillary Clinton got more votes than Trump, the bulk of which are located in two states, but that is not how you win. In the 1960 World Series the New York Yankees scored 55 runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates 27; out-hit them as well .328 verses .256, but the Pirates won when it counted and all those superior numbers meant nothing” [Washington Examiner]. “Here is a shocker: I’d estimate based on my reporting that this election was baked before the debates, before the “Access Hollywood” tapes, before the hacked emails and before anyone took the time to actually notice, listen and understand just how upended the American voter is.” Interesting piece, and check the anecdotes about Trump Tower at the beginning.

“Democratic donors call for Clinton campaign post-mortem” [Politico]. I’ll bet. And Democrats could say: “We’ll get back to you on that, because we’re adopting the Sanders funding model of no big donors at all.” But n-o-o-o-o-o!

Clinton ally David Brock, who is planning a retreat for top party finance players in Aventura, Florida, over the Thursday-to-Saturday of Trump’s inauguration week.

The weekend is being billed as “THE meeting for getting together plans to resist Trump,” according to an email invitation sent by veteran Clinton strategist James Carville to high-level donors and obtained by POLITICO.

Among the gathering’s planned sessions: “Learning from 2016: Strategy, Policy, and Building a lasting winning Coalition,” “Campaign Tactics of the future: Polling, Social Media, and Targeting,” “The New Face of the Right,” “Holding Trump Accountable,” and “Ethics Watchdog on Steroids.”

Grifters gotta grift…

Maybe they’ll show this animation at Brock’s retreat:

“Transcript And Video: NPR’s Exit Interview With President Obama” [NPR]. Check this out:

And I take some responsibility for that. You know, when I came into office, um, you know, we were just putting out fires. We were in a huge crisis situation. And so a lot of the organizing work that we did during the campaign, we started to see right away didn’t immediately translate to, wasn’t immediately transferable to, congressional candidates. And more work would have needed to be done to just build up that structure and, you know, one of the big suggestions that I have for Democrats as I leave, and something that, you know, I have some ideas about is, how do we do more of that ground up building?

Obama doesn’t usually deploy the lie direct, but here’s what happened to “the organizing work that we did during the campaign”:

As Jessica Shearer, a top Obama field organizer in 2008, who managed nine key states for the campaign, said a year ago at our PDF symposium on networked organizing after the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, the Obama team had basically “kneecapped” their grassroots after the 2008 victory. “If Dean had been put in charge of the Democratic Party after that election, that list might have really built the democracy. It might have built a party. It might have allowed people a place to engage. Instead, it was this weak echo chamber, where they couldn’t be one step to the left or one step to the right of anything the president said.”

If only Putin hadn’t forced Obama to “kneecap” OFA!

Just to put the continuing Democrat debacle in perspective:

And the people who engineered this are swanning about, gabbling about resistance and collecting fat paychecks from squillionaire donors. Well played, all.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “The Anti-Trump Electoral College Effort Is Only The Beginning” [BuzzFeed]. ” the anti-Trump sentiment being stirred in the attempt to persuade electors to abandon Trump could continue to circle the political waters for years to come, playing a part in breaking down further yet another norm: the presumed legitimacy of the presidency. Trump would become the third president in a row whose legitimacy would be perpetually in question, reasonably or not, by significant numbers of opposite party.” I think it’s more than that. The effort is not merely to delegitimize Trump, but to delegitimize Trump voters; that is the plain meaning of Clinton’s “irredeemables” comment. Accomplishing that would require substantial changes to the Constitutional Order — note that giving The Blob veto power at the Electoral College, which Democrats advocated, is just that. Uncharted waters indeed…

“In the Chappaqua woods, a search for Hillary Clinton” [WaPo]. Sad.

“Senate Dems: Were You Hurt By ‘Foreclosure King’ Steve Mnuchin?” [Talking Points Memo]. Readers, any thoughts on — better yet, experiences with — Mnuchin? Heaven forfend, of course, that the Democrats set up a hotline when the foreclosure crisis was actually happening, and Geithner was foaming the runway for the big banks with HAMP.

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Index Services Flash, December 2016 (preliminary): “Growth in new orders, though still near a 12-month high, has slowed so far this month, pulling down the flash services PMI for December by more than 1 point to 53.4. But, given the comparison with November’s unusual strength in new orders, the slowing is deceptive” [Econoday]. “Optimism is still weaker than average but is up from the record lows hit in June.” And: “There was a renewed increase in order backlogs for the month due to stronger sales volumes and pressures on operating capacity. These pressures were significant in leading to increased hiring with the rate of job creation at the fastest pace since March” [Economic Calendar]. “The data suggested annualised GDP growth of around 2.0% was realistic for the fourth quarter.” But: “Less than the expected 55.2 as weakness in the services sector continues, and as post election hopes fade” [Mosler Economics]. “Fading” confirmed by the Fear & Greed Index?

Shipping: “Shipping lines reluctant to give up ‘the old ways’ and go digital in the blockchain revolution” [The Loadstar]. “[Maritime Transport International’s SolasVGM] system has so far processed 13,000 transactions and Jody Cleworth, chief executive of MTI, said the shipping industry was starting to realise the benefits of digitisation But he added a lot still remained to be done. Each party in the container supply chain – ports, carriers and forwarders – continue to operate different systems and processes.” 13,000 doesn’t seem like a very large number to me.

Shipping: “A new ‘golden age’ for box shipping profits, but beware new competition, warns Drewry” [The Loadstar]. Due to concentration!

Shipping: “Brace yourselves, 2016 might just be the beginning of the bloodbath for shipyards. For the first 10 months, only 96 yards managed to win new orders versus 246 throughout 2015 and 331 in 2014, according to Clarksons” [Lloyd’s List].

Supply Chain: “Amazon’s freight forays increasingly look like the company is interested in selling distribution in all forms rather than simply buying services as a traditional customer” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “Prosecutors Allege $1.3 Billion Hedge Fund Platinum Partners Operated ‘Like A Ponzi Scheme'” [Forbes]. “‘Platinum Partners purported to be a standard bearer in the hedge fund industry, reporting annual average returns of more than 17 percent since inception in 2003,’ said Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a press release announcing charges. ‘In reality, their returns were the result of the overvaluation of their largest assets, which eventually led to Nordlicht and his co-conspirators operating Platinum like a Ponzi scheme, where they used loans and new investor funds to pay off existing investors,’ Capers added.”

The Bezzle: “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced that Deutsche Bank has agreed to settle charges in regards that it misled clients about the performance of … the Dark Pool Ranking Model feature of one of its order routers” [247 Wall Street]. “Deutsche Bank described this model in its disclosures to clients and potential clients as the “quantitative core” of SuperX+, stating that it “smartly routes and selects optimal pools of liquidity on an order by order basis… However the SEC found that due to a coding error, Deutsche Bank updated the ranking model just once during a two-year period, causing at least two dark pools to receive inflated rankings and consequently millions of orders that SuperX+ would have sent elsewhere if the system was operating the way Deutsche Bank had described.” There’s that word, “smart.” So often, it’s a bullshit tell. And oh, those “coding errors….”

The Bezzle: “Forest Labs to Pay $38 Million to Settle False Claims Case” [Corporate Crime Reporter]. “Forest Laboratories, and its subsidiary, Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc., will pay $38 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks to induce physicians to prescribe the drugs Bystolic, Savella, and Namenda.” Nothing on the scale of Purdue and Oxycontin…

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High: 189 (October 10, 2016). Current: 184.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 83 Extreme Greed (previous close: 84, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 87 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 19 at 11:49am. Slowly deflating….


“Satellite system tracks glaciers’ flow in real time” [Nature]. “‘We now are watching all of the outlet glaciers on Earth change in real time,’ says Mark Fahnestock, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who helped to develop GoLIVE. ‘Our eyes are open.'”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, just 16 percent of full-time professors at post-secondary institutions are minorities. That means that 84 percent of those in full-time professorships are white, 60 percent are men and 25 percent are white women” [The Edvocate].

Class Warfare

Thanks, Obama!

“A Pictorial History of Suburbia” (maps and diagrams) [McMansion Hell]. It seems that FDR’s Federal Housing Administration has a lot to answer for…

“The Wells Fargo Cross-Selling Scandal” [The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation]. This paragraph caught my eye “Graham, Harvey, Popadak, and Rajgopal (2016) find evidence that governance practices and financial incentives can reinforce culture; however, they also find that incentives can work in opposition to culture, particularly when they ‘reward employees for achieving a metric without regard to the actions they took to achieve that metric.’ According to a participant in their study, ‘People invariably will do what you pay them to do even when you’re saying something different.'” In other words, Bill Black’s concept of a criminogenic environment is a spot on, even if the academics are a little late getting to it.

News of the Wired

“Punched Cards: A Brief Tutorial” [Computing Now] (2002). “A taxonomy of punched cards can take many forms: by size, by number of recording punches, by the method used to sort or retrieve the information, by whether the card is punched internally or only on the edges, and other methods, such as whether the card contains other information-handwritten or typed, or recorded via an encased microfilm image. The usual approach classifies them as machine sorted or hand sorted and then subclassifies them with one or more of the noted criteria.”

“The Obsessed, Feuding Searchers Still Looking for Amelia Earhart” [Atlas Obscura]. Or Hillary Clinton in the woods…

“How Your Brain Controls the Speed of Time” [New York Magazine]. “There’s an important big-picture upshot to all of this. If you want to live a long time, you should stick to a hard-and-fast regimen of regular exercise and healthy food. Your sleep schedule should run like a Swiss railroad. But if you want your life to seem like it’s lasting a long time, pack it with surprises.”

“Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?” [Nicholas Bloom, Charles I. Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb (PDF)]. “We present a wide range of evidence from various industries, products, and firms showing that research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is declining sharply.”

* * *

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 (Katiebird):



Katiebird writes: “In honor of the possible ice storm/snow coming to Kansas City tomorrow, I am enclosing before and after photos of my favorite tree: Before is a fall photo showing its perfect shape…. After — it is coated with about 1/2” of ice from a pretty serious ice storm. Happily, in the 15 years since, the tree has mostly recovered…

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.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jim Haygood

    Wait … whut?

    “I’ve never cast a vote I was prouder of,” elector Bill Clinton told the press shortly after voting for his wife in Albany, N.Y., on Monday.

    “In the end, she had the Russians and the FBI deal, and she couldn’t prevail against that,” Clinton said. “She did everything else, and still won by 2.8 million votes.”

    The former president was one of 29 New York electors meeting at the state capitol to vote on the state’s pick for president.


    Nepotism — not a prob in Clintonville! So the beaten couple shuffle off into the sunset on a pitch-perfect note of insider sleaze.

    Well done!

      1. Hana M

        Today in History
        Sat, Dec 19 1998

        President Bill Clinton is impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second President of the United States to be impeached. Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice, on December 19, 1998. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power, failed in the House. He was acquitted of both charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999.


      2. Jim Haygood

        Presumably Silly Jilly will file a lawsuit asking for a recount of New York’s electoral vote … yes?

        Ha ha, just kidding. It’s not her thing. Plus she’s been shamed enough already.

        I hear Electoral College is a great party school — opaque admission process, but no exams. :-)

              1. marym

                I have no inside information. She published reasons like filing fees for the initial fundraising goal, and raising it a couple of times as the goal was met. The process was done like electoral campaign fundraising, within FEC rules, including, as I read the general statements, how it can be spent and the accounting process.

                We all complain about the many points of failure in our voting process. She used her status as a candidate to take a closer look and shine a light.

                Whether this was just politically useful list-building, good or bad for the GP, secretly pro-Clinton, a personal stunt, etc. people can argue. However IMO it’s more of an investigation into electoral integrity that the whining Democrats ever do; and so far there’s been no reason to think she intended or would be able to misappropriate the money.

        1. Aumua

          Oh I’m sure the NC commenting community can pull up some more shame. I mean bashing the Greens and Jill Stein is a long and storied tradition here, with a rich heritage.

          1. integer

            Well, since you asked:
            Stein is ineffective and a political dilettante.
            Note that I am happy to concede that the second point is an opinion rather than waste time arguing about it.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In this particular instance, I believe, Ms. Stein made a point that the Green party was not involved, but that she made the decision on her own.

            1. aab

              I don’t think that’s fair. I’m not going to argue that Stein ran an optimal campaign. However, I think given that Clinton and the entire corporate media framed this as a fight against Hitler/Voldemorte/Satan and people who weren’t blinded by that but had been severely harmed by the Clintons and the Democrats — we’re talking major assets stolen, futures crushed, all hope gone — knew that in the real, actual world the Dems were villains, people probably felt less free than during a usual election to vote third party, not more. Isn’t that probably part of the POINT of the Clinton strategy? She and her team clearly knew swing voters, independent voters and leftwing voters didn’t like her. She was trying to force them to vote for her anyway. Which worked, to some degree. And had the pleasing side benefit of keeping a third party unfunded and undermined.

              It would have been easier for the Greens in the intended Bush v. Clinton II contest, I suspect. Perhaps we’ll get to find out when George P. Bush runs against Chelsea for the presidency of the elite ark (Tesla motor, Apple design, all onboard produce GMO free).

              1. Aumua


                Is it so hard to believe that that a voice of reason, with (mostly) logical positions on real issues, was completely drowned out in the madhouse of this past election? Cause I don’t find it all that astounding, or damning.

                Once Bernie was out of the picture, anything having to do with sanity or reality left the building. It’s been.. a nightmare. Truly. Well, I know one person who voted for “silly jilly”, and I don’t expect that I’m going to be regretting it any time soon, regardless of how ineffective she may be.

            2. Vatch

              I don’t regret voting for several Green candidates in 2016, 2014, and 2012, given the alternatives. I wish the Greens were more politically astute, and less prone to ideological purity. The choice of race baiter Ajamu Baraka for their Vice Presidential candidate was a stroke of idiocy. The man explicitly insulted Bernie Sanders and his supporters, and then refused to retract what he said.

              I guess we’ll have to see what Sanders’s Our Revolution can accomplish, because the Greens aren’t up to the task.

      3. Optimader

        She’s keeping her archival digital imagery powder dry.
        Her mother became a sea anchor on election night

    1. Pavel

      Hey Bill Clinton — if you are lucky enough to be a member of the Electoral College, please have the grace to learn what it’s about.

      Hillary did not “[win] by 2.8 million votes”. That wasn’t the contest. Cf the Washington Examiner quote in the links above.

      Jesus H. Christus. I want a T-Shirt: “Hillary spent $1.2 billion dollars and only got 2.8 million votes more than Donald Drumpf”.

      Memo to useless Dems: How about letting California secede from the USA and see what happens to your Electoral votes and your popular vote?

      Forgive me if I seem bitter and twisted but between the endless Clinton excuses and Obama BS… Here we faced Trumpageddon on Election Day and it was sooooo important that Barack took Saturday off to play his millionth round of golf instead of campaigning in WI or MI or PA?

      1. Jim Haygood

        If I recall correctly, Bill Clinton’s last stop in his 1992 campaign was in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 1 a.m., in a last-ditch, successful effort to pick up five more electoral votes.

        He understands perfectly well how the electoral system works. It’s just that the Clintons feel entitled to change the rules ad hoc, so they can always win.

        This is how grifters work. Reasoning with them is to no avail, since they lack any sense of fairness or sportsmanship. Bill probably cheated by a couple of strokes while golfing with 0bama, even as he asked for exorbitant favors.

      2. aab

        To be fair to Obama, I believe the reporting coming out from Clinton campaign insiders is that Clinton did not ask him to campaign in the Midwest until the bitter end, and he and Michelle did everything that was asked of them. Remember, her team was popping champagne corks on election day. Ada told them it was in the bag.

        He got the Justice Department to block Clinton’s indictment. She and Bill paid him back — like they ALWAYS pay back those who help him — by throwing him under every vehicle they could find that they thought they could get away with during the campaign.

        He deserves blame for many things, but not golfing during the campaign.

        And as a resident of California, please stop suggesting we secede. Our only hope as a state now is if the national Democratic Party is reformed, dragging California along for the ride. Otherwise, we’re trapped in a neoliberal hellhole where what water isn’t contaminated by fracking is sold to Nestle and shipped out of state, and only celebrities and CEOs can buy homes outside of Death Valley. I beg of you, don’t let us become the Republic of Silicon Vallia.

        1. dk

          It might be easier to depose the Silicon Valley oligarchs if they had less direct political/operational support from the rest of the US ‘garchs. Unity/federation can be a disadvantage when fighting a distributed enemy (multiple enemies with common goals). Given that there is no easy escape in any case, California could do worse than seceding. Even serious consideration to the scenario, without actually doing it, could shed some light on tactics that might be effective. If nothing else, it could be useful as a threat.

    2. JamesChance

      “Nepotism — not a prob in Clintonville! So the beaten couple shuffle off into the sunset on a pitch-perfect note of insider sleaze”

      Good thing the new trump administration has no nepotism issue. I’m sure the kiddies being at all those meetings is just for moral support.






      You know what? If I start linking to current items about such issues with the trump clan, it would take me hour.

      1. dcrane

        Please do link to those items. We need to put huuuge pressure on Trump from Day 1.

        But the fact that Trump is taking all of this to a new, lower level (as usual) doesn’t mean that the DC press (and the liberal commentariat) shouldn’t have been much more concerned about soft corruption long ago (by “soft” I mean not apparently flatly illegal but undermining the public interest). What is the difference between some country moving its embassy to Trump Tower to curry favor with The Donald and the nation of Qatar giving a million dollars to a charitable foundation that bears Clinton’s name, flies her around the world, and affords her a huge cash pool for friendly alliances?

        1. dcrane

          My point is that before the election I found few people on the left (where most of my sympathies lie) willing to criticize Clinton’s apparently corrupt Clinton Foundation system even though the system she and her husband had going was sure to undermine the public interest. Some people criticized it, of course, but generally when I raised this issue on lefty discussion groups I was met with little agreement. More hostility than anything else. But now the blogs I was reading all along are full of concern about corruption in Trump’s administration. I see it as more of the usual behavior where people clam up when someone in their own tribe is being criticized.

          Whether Clinton is as bad as Trump is beside the point. Hillary did an extremely poor job isolating herself from corrupting influences. And I’d say that the millions from Qatar and Saudi Arabia were likely just as significant as any of the crap Trump is pulling so far (for what that’s worth).

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      Dear WJC –
      re: “she won by 2.8 million votes”

      This word “won” – I do not think it means what you think it does

    1. Jim Haygood

      As usual the Z site — hoping today might be the day of the long-awaited apocalypse — wondered aloud whether this could be an Archduke Ferdinand moment.

      Let’s hope not … although the shooter allegedly being a police officer is awkward. Not to mention the Russian ambassador being assassinated for political reasons in a NATO capital.

      This is gonna be a tough one for Operation Mockingbird to spin as the Russians’ fault. But give their script writers a few hours to come up with a good concept and a good story.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        I feel that Erdogan will not be happy about this. He’s been trying to play all sides to his own benefit. Smart, so far as it goes, but the CIA has other ideas. A lot of intelligence operatives playing a very dangerous game that could easily end badly for all of us.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Weird – no blood in a room full of white. Never having shot anyone before, maybe that’s just how it works?!?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Hmmm – maybe that’s a small pool just under his head and the photo was taken almost immediately after the shooting?

        Still looks like a bit like a Yesman setup to me although I don’t think they do assassinations….

      2. Tim

        If you look closely in the photo from behind the shooter there is a small pool of blood forming next to the head. Small pistol won’t make a mess at contact. No conspiracies needed on the death. Tragic for that individual.

        The real conspiracy is what happened to the shooter. Turkish official release was he was neutralized. Does that mean he was sent back to the CIA with a do not return stamp on his head?

        Just kidding. People of Allepo have plenty to be upset about for generations on each side.

      3. Pat

        Films and television has made it seem like there is always a huge amount of blood. Not always but very often real crime scene photos often seem almost sanitized compared to the fictional ones we are used to. Directors love the visual of a lot of blood and large amounts of spatter and mostly go overboard. Real spatter might not be obvious in photos of that large a space, and as Tim points out there is a small and appropriately sized pool of blood under the ambassadors head especially considering that is almost immediately after he was shot.

    3. Michael

      Just a quick note that I found those photos particularly disturbing for some reason. They’re intense.

      1. integer

        The grey haired gentleman on the far right of the third photo looks to have understood the gravity of what had just occurred. The fourth photo, otoh, reminds me of this. Perhaps the shooter was a Saturday Night Fever fan hahaha.

    4. Jim Haygood

      Now a truck went onto the sidewalk in Berlin, mowing down dozens and killing nine.

      Some nut inspired by the Nice and Ankara incidents?

      This is so sick.

  2. Skip Intro

    eight county types have seen increases in health insurance coverage greater than the national average. Six of those types — representing about 77 million people or 33 million votes, a quarter of the total cast — sided with Mr. Trump, some by very large margins.”

    Shocking … it is almost as if increased coverage under ACA leads voters to vote against the ACA. The ingrates!
    I would love to see figures on coverage vs. care. I can imagine that people stuck with high premiums and co-pays/out-of-network charges they can’t pay end up getting less care than when they were uninsured.

    1. jrs

      well the care when not-insured is the emergency room. The ACA usually provides an annual physical if not much more.

      1. Pat

        But how many of the insured will take advantage of that so-called free physical if the tests are not covered and must be paid for out of pocket? Yeah, that can happen.

        And if you can’t afford to go to the doctor after paying the insurance premiums, the emergency room is still probably how they get any care. But laying out hundreds of dollars every month for insurance that pays for a ‘physical’ and nothing else until after you have laid out thousands of dollars for medical care is still good. /s

  3. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    re Krugman on TPP

    So I don’t get it, really. Is the idea to level the living conditions of the global 99.999%? Because I’m not so interested in living with my family in a refrigerator box on an eroded hillside garbage dump and picking through the trash for scraps of something vaguely edible. I guess this makes me racist? Not wanting to live like a cockroach out of solidarity with Mexicans or Phillipinos in the same circumstances? That’s not the kind of solidarity I’m interested in, thank you.
    These globalists like Krugman are exactly like that guy cheering that some blue collar white guys lost their health insurance. Trump hasn’t even taken office and the venom of the technocratic class is on full display. Their livelihood isn’t even under threat and they applaud the destruction of whatever social welfare system this country ever had while making it impossible for any other country to develop one. Because TINA and all. Meanwhile they look down at us from atop Barad-dûr and sneer at the dirty filthy peasants, safe in their iron fortress guarded by their security systems right out of Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’, complete with phony terrorists, torture chambers and an infrastructure that’s constantly breaking down.

    Krugman’s contempt for me is pretty plain and I feel the same way about him and his moth eaten celebrity.

    1. Skip Intro

      In a global race to the bottom, it makes sense that those who start off closest to the bottom will win!

    2. Pat

      And my response to Krugman is “You first. If having the same standard of living as the worker in third world countries is the goal for Americans, you can lead the way by living that way. I’m sure the Times will love only having to pay about ten dollars a column with no benefits.”

      1. aab

        For months now, I have fantasized about reaching out to to the New York Times and offering to be a true left wing columnist for it. I wrote for the Harvard Crimson, and I can produce copious verbiage at will. That seems to be enough, other than the little problem of my perspective not being shared by plutocrats. But I’m sure I’d come cheap compared to Brooks, Kruggerman, et al. Shouldn’t bringing in new readers at a lower price point be worth something?

        1. Cry Shop

          Gotta do something to get famous first, does not have to be relevant, but it has to make your name have marketing power.

          Nobel Peace Peace Prize seems to be the easiest way, and I’m not referring to Obama. Henry K probably ordered more deaths than Stalin, but that fame gets him is a Nobel Peace Prize. Dalai Lamma, biggest owner of slaves in pre-revolutionary Tibet, Nobel Peace Prize. Bigger the hypocrisy, better the chance.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      So I don’t get it, really. Is the idea to level the living conditions of the global 99.999%?

      Of course it was! Get 6 billion people to compete for the jobs that were previously held by the middle class of Europe and North America.. its brilliant actually considering bars to entry for labor from the first world to the rest of it.

      If the U.S. citizen were ever given the ability to vote for this, or for the U.S. military taking over for the British Empire after WW II, do you think they would have voted yes?

    4. Benedict@Large

      Add plagiarist to the word snob with Krugman. He’s stolen several things from MMT, providing no acknowledgement, even as he says MMT is flawed, yet cannot seem to identify why.

      [Krugman also attributes MMT to Jamie Galbraith (who has a noted name, but is not an MMTer) while giving no credit to the real MMTers, who don’t have those catchy names.]

  4. Ernie

    See my comment in this morning’s links for Maine Elector David Bright’s statement about why he voted for Bernie Sanders in the Electoral College today.

    1. Pat

      Unfortunately his change of vote was ruled improper and his actual electoral vote was for Clinton. But it was a nice try.

      1. Tom_Doak

        According to the NY Times this evening, two Republican electors from TX bailed on Trump [in favor of Ron Paul and John Kasich], and four Democrat electors from Washington bailed on Clinton. Three of the WA electors voted for Colin Powell ? – and the fourth voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, the chairwoman of the Yankton Sioux Tribe’s treaty council.

        I wonder if Faith Spotted Eagle would consider running in 2020?

  5. Phil

    I felt that I had to post this snippet from the Federalist papers, just because every law that is now passed contains a clause excepting Congress from its application.

    If this is inappropriate for posting, because insufficiently original or something, please feel free to moderate it into oblivion. Everyone else in power has.

    start quote

    James Madison
    Federalist No. 57

    I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.

    This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.

    If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

    If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.

    /end quote

    And so it goes.

    1. hunkerdown

      I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

      If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.

      Madison was a typical narcissistic, sniveling liberal: my brainchild cannot fail, only be failed.

      Is anyone else getting utterly tired of the “role models” of 18th century oligarchs far too enamored of their own game playing and self-exaltation? Must just be me.

  6. Doug

    “According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, just 16 percent of full-time professors at post-secondary institutions are minorities. That means that 84 percent of those in full-time professorships are white…”

    What a load of B.S. When in grad school in the midwest, I had professors (fully tenured) from India, Pakistan, Korea and Taiwan. Anyone who claims that “if they aren’t black they must be white” is just not very well informed.

    1. Martin Finnucane

      Anyone who thinks this statement:

      “According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, just 16 percent of full-time professors at post-secondary institutions are minorities. That means that 84 percent of those in full-time professorships are white…”

      entails or is somehow equivalent to the following:

      “if they aren’t black they must be white”

      may not have the firmest grasp on logic.

    2. Rhondda

      Percentages are funny things. The number to look at is probably how many full-time professors there are … left. At least within my sphere, the full-time professors are “old white guys” in a “die off” situation. Hardly anyone gets full-time tenured positions like that anymore, regardless of how wonderfully colorful one is. It’s like comparing yourself to the dodo. They die off and are replaced by 1.75 part-time faculty — for half the pay and zero benefits.

      1. Cry Shop


        and one reason immigrant professors are preferred for those part-time/non-tenured posts. They don’t have the cultural access to levers of power to push back, are unlikely to raise labour complaints, and often enough won’t join any attempt by “white” run unions to start collective action. They often perceive that they will later be a casus belli, a target of the union’s good olde boy network if it get’s leverage over the institutions good olde boy network.

    3. Ted

      Oh heaven help us. This is a great example of why we need to be more careful about the endless streams of MadMen advocacy “journalism” we encounter on the web. Here is the link to the NCES statistics.

      For the uninitiated: a Full Professor is not the same thing as a “full-time professor”, full professors have the highest rank in the tenure ranking system, a feat rarely accomplished before one enters into his or her mid-40’s. As such, full professors trend OLD (they hate to retire and often end their careers by being carted off campus feet first). So, yep, there’s gonna be a lot of old, white full professors (I will leave it to the curious to seek out race by age demongraphics for those with advanced degrees)

      For the younger set of full time professors on tenure track (aka assistant professors), the proportions are damn close to the distribution of advanced degrees by race in the US.

      Here’s my back of the envelope calculation, based on census number, among adults over 25 with advanced degrees, about 75% are white non-Hispanic, 8% are black, 10.5% are asian/PI, and just under 6% are Hispanic.

      According to NCES 74% of assistant professors are white (NHisp), 7% are black, 4% are Hispanic and 13% are Aisan/PI.

      For associate professors (aka ‘with tenure’) 78% are white, 6% are black, 4% are hispanic, and 11% are Asian/PI.

      The associate prof. Stats are important because it helps us see just how much bias there is in tenuring (some, not much). And, yes I know … blacks and hispanics do not often make it to advanced degrees, but that problem lies much earlier in the academic pipeline (and is highly related to growing up in poverty).

  7. optimader

    RE: TPP comment

    and TPP kind of became the manifestation of everything that was wrong with trade and wrong with globalization

    Kind of became?
    Well, at least the observation is unintentionally candid

    noun: manifestation; plural noun: manifestations

    an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea.

    a symptom or sign of an ailment.

    1. shargash

      That is presumably the key to some encrypted data that Wikileaks wants released in the event of a “decapitation strike.” My understanding is that Wikileaks keeps encrypted copies of their leaked information in various places and tweets out encryption keys when they are worried something bad might happen.

      I don’t know why they would release it now, though — possibly the electoral college vote? They’ve been a bit paranoid lately, but I can’t say it’s not warranted (“Can’t we just drone this guy?”).

        1. shargash

          Yeah, I checked. It is another file. They release these from time to time. If SHTF, they release the key.

    2. Linda

      WikiLeaks occasionally posts Insurance files that anyone can download, but not read as they are encrypted. If anything happens to the original files, or possibly in another type of emergency affecting Julian or WikiLeaks a key to decrypt the files will be sent out.

  8. Pat

    Had a conversation with a friend who was all we have to become political activists now that Trump is in office today. And we largely do not disagree. They understood my point that we were screwed regardless, but still Trump. I did agree that his cabinet choices are appalling. But then she said who knew all those voters in the rust belt were racists.

    I don’t think she was prepared for me going “Wait a minute. No they are not all racists. Same as upstate NY, what they are is desperate. They have seen their jobs and their livelihood ripped away. There has been no recovery in their communities, the policies of Democrats haven’t made their lives any better. When there are clear problems like in Flint it isn’t just Republicans who only show up for the photo op and never do anything – the Democrats were useless as well. And Hillary ran on not doing anything for them. They knew they could vote for more of the same job killing, hanging on by their fingernails and often losing they have been doing or they could roll the dice and go with the guy who at least recognized they had a valid complaint. They rolled the dice.” I didn’t go into my polls show that many Trump voters would have voted for Sanders instead if they were given that choice spiel.

    Many still think it will all be about marching in the street. And even I admit it is more effective than liking something on FaceBorg. The left, the center left etc are going to have to figure out how to terrify their representatives (regardless of Party) fast. As Lambert has said gridlock is the best we can do. Time to find out how to ‘encourage’ it forcefully.

    1. Art Eclectic

      Calling Trump supporters racist is a fallback response for people who fail to articulate the big picture.

      Yes, a whole lot of them responded to the overt racist messaging. However, you also have to be blunt about the fact that those voters were desperate enough to say “I want change so badly I’ll accept living in a nation that forces people of a religion they don’t like to register, that I’ll accept living with a rabid White Nationalist in a senior administration position, and I’ll accept demonizing illegal Mexican workers while those who hire them roll in the profits and companies that off-shored jobs hit new stock highs”.

      Yes, Hillary was more of the same slop every administration D and R has been serving up for 30 years but we are veering down a very dangerous path and the faith of millions of people who believed that America stood for the promise of equality without regard to gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious belief has been shattered by people willing to accept what should have been unacceptable.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        The video clips of racist memes, usually not by Trump himself, were what the MSM put out on their cable and broadcast news outlets. The clips of Trump speaking to issues seldom made the cut.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        The general Clintonite view seems to be that people who voted against them are ignorant, and that therefore ‘splaining to them will work, or if not, blaming and shaming.

        The idea that apparently never crosses the Clintonite hive mind is that some voters would never vote for them, no matter what the cost, and that others decided it was better to roll the dice with an unknown figure, rather than be forced to eat (neo-)liberal Democrat shit for another four years (and I would bet that includes Obama voters that flipped).

      3. aab

        The causation in your last graf is backwards. The Democratic leadership used the left/progressive belief in equality for all citizens regardless of biology or culture, and twisted it into a divisive weapon of control — the serrated edge of the racism knife.

        Starving people need food. Homeless people need housing. People without jobs and incomes need some combination of jobs and income. For them, embracing people unlike them is a luxury. And they apparently figured out that in many cases, the people claiming the mantle of equality are, in fact, the villains who stole their lives, their future, their security, their dignity. So for many who are egalitarian, they had to vote against this core value in the hopes of saving themselves and their families materially. For others, not already egalitarian, they looked at the Clintons, Obama and their ilk and saw murderous hypocrites. Who’s more to blame for them not coming over to the egalitarian side — the lying, exploitative neoliberals, or their victims?

        If we want equality for all, we first have to make sure all have their basic material needs met. Poor people didn’t invent racism. Racism was invented by rich people to sever class solidarity. Poor people who fell for it are complicit, of course. But pointing the blame cannons at them is both a waste of time and is letting far more evil forces and factions off the hook.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Many still think it will all be about marching in the street

      That’s hardly fair. It will also be about giant puppets. And totally authentic signage done with magic marker.

      1. aab

        For the record, giant puppets are awesome. At least, the Bread & Puppet Theater version. Maybe not the Joe Biden/Cory Booker version.

      2. Jen

        And hand knitted pussy hats, apparently. A friend of mine is making 10 of them for the women’s march on Washington. A regular 21st century Madame Defarge, that one.

  9. TK421

    Campaign stops?!? Do you really suggest that our lady Hillary should ask for people’s support, like some peon???

  10. Brad

    Demagoguery at the NYT. But note the different tone Krugman assumes when addressing the “inside”, in an IMF article in this case. In particular this bit of candor not mentioned:

    “…it has produced much bigger effects on industry employment and, probably, the distribution of income between labor and capital than the trade growth from 1950 to 1980. Chinese exports really have displaced millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs; imports from developing economies are an important reason, although not the only reason, for stagnating or declining wages for less-educated workers”.

    Somehow this is squared with the word “mild” in the same article.

    1. cnchal

      Krugman has no respect for his NYT readers when he runs the theme that trade and globalization is an unquestionable great good in his columns and then churns out that admission, while not correcting his own record.

      The less-educated refers to stupid men that make stuff.

      The linked article within his IMF “admission” by Maurice Obstfeld, Get on Track With Trade that he cites has a good overall explanation of the recent history of globalization and this paragraph drives the point home.

      The most striking examples of reduced inequality between nations come from Asia, notably, the graduation of Hong Kong SAR, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan Province of China to high-income status and the recent economic growth of China and India. India’s per capita real GDP grew from $553 in 1991 (in 2010 dollars) to $1,806 in 2015 while China’s rose spectacularly, from $783 in 1991 to $6,416 in 2015. Given these countries’ enormous populations, the Chinese and Indian success stories contribute to a large drop in inequality among the world’s population. . .

      He can bullshit his NYT readers but he can’t bullshit Maurice. The great stagnation him and Larry “Pretty Air” Summers spout off about is caused by trade as currently conducted. Wealth creation has been outsourced to China, and stripped from the stupid here, and there and hijacked by the elite here, and there.

  11. clarky90

    Donald Trump Pulls Kellyanne Conway Up On Stage At “THANK YOU” Rally In Mobile Alabama, (25 minutes into speech) Dec 17, 2016


    Donald Trump teaches The People about Fake News and its purveyors. Starting at about 22 minutes, D Trump gives a graphic example of how the “so called Press”, takes a joke he was making at a rally and turns into a hateful snippet. Liars, proven liars!

    Trump also talks about the Electoral College. I am enjoying his speech. He has not changed his tune. He is a good story teller.

    1. clarky90

      Watch Trump doing A/B testing with the crowd at 45 minutes. This is exactly what Scott Adams (Dilbert) has been talking about.

      1. Foy

        Yep, he did a few AB tests there. The response to the “Is it Person of the Year?” or “Man/Woman of the Year?” was very interesting. Could have heard a pin drop on “The Person of the Year” option, the cheer for ‘man of the year’ option overwhelming. The crowd had had enough of identity politics and wants to go back to basics/old norms. I reckon he knew the answer on that one and was having fun and had them in the palm of his hand, but it’s a great way to get a message across…’I’m listening to you guys, tell me what the answer should be’…

    2. Jim Haygood

      Just after 31:00, Trump says in passing “the Hillary people” … and the crowd roars “LOCK HER UP” for the next 30 seconds. Heartwarming!

  12. ChrisPacific

    From one of the Electoral College articles:

    “The letters are actually quite sad,” said Lee Green, a Republican elector from North Carolina. “They are generally freaked out. They honestly believe the propaganda. They believe our nation is being taken over by a dark and malevolent force.”

    I Googled and found that the version of the story with this quote had not been widely circulated. I’m not too surprised. Here’s another quote:

    In addition to thousands of emails, Republican elector Charlie Buckels of Louisiana said he received a FedEx package with a 50-page document that the sender said “had absolute proof that the Russians hacked the elections.”

    “From the tenor of these emails, you would think these people are curled up in a corner in a fetal position with a thumb in their mouth,” Buckels said.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > curled up in a corner in a fetal position

      Well, that is what the Manhattan psychologist said, more or less. Paraphrasing, most hysteria is self-generated. I’m not saying Trump is wearing the white hat here, just that the screaming and yammering and running around (as well as the insistence that “We still have the power, dammit!”) is at best a distraction, besides being an enormous energy sink.

      I have the feeling that these are the very same people who spent the time between election day in 2008 and the inaugural worrying about whether Obama was, in his heart, a progressive, when it was obvious he wasn’t. I don’t trust this crowd to have a good reading on Trump, either. They won’t look in the mirror about why they lost, they don’t want to appeal to or understand Trump voters, and they don’t want to expand the franchise. So, they’ll continue to lose.

  13. Pat

    In just a few minutes Donald J. Trump will be one step closer to being President. According to the live updates at the Atlanta Journal Constitution Trump now has 259 electoral college votes and Texas should be reporting in at any minute.


    One more disappointment for Hillary Rodham Clinton. As far as I can tell the only voters attempting to change their votes were once who were supposed to vote for her.

  14. dk

    Krugman: …it’s surprising that the backlash against globalization has been so long in coming, and that its effects have so far been so mild.

    The reaction was delayed by the lending bubble that allowed underpaid workers to achieve (or at least seem to achieve, or feel that they reasonably could) goals like home ownership, luxury purchases, etc.
    The first onset was already visible in the 80’s (USSR collapse, drivers for first Iraq war, etc.). I’ll agree that the ramp-up was (and still is, so far) milder than I expected, I chalk that up to characteristics of our very interdependent species, which is also less inclined to aggression than we might be if we were completely carnivorous predators.

    Lambert: I feel like “Kill it with fire” is my Carthago delenda est…

    Burn it, sure, but then, eternal vigilance. Sacking Carthage ended Carthage, but not the danger of invasion/overthrow by externals. In this case the externals are greed and hoarding, which are external to economic fairness and stability, should we ever achieve anything like those, at major/macro scale, under present and immediate future conditions. :(

    Greed can’t be killed. it’s a short-term successful behavioral variant (like hoarding) that will always reoccur (http://grammarist.com/usage/recur-reoccur/) in some form, through individuation in response to population pressures.

    To kill TPP, one would have to fundamentally alter some of the institutions its various sections assault; intellectual property protection (which I, as a creative, think should be very limited, do discourage disproportionate profits leading to hoarding), and “dispute settlement” the circumvents sovereign legal protections. And even then, there will always be actors and elements that want to game the system.

    If one can’t moderate one’s population size, one can’t really control anything (although one can fool a lot of the people much of the time in the short and medium terms).

    1. Oregoncharles

      “and that its effects “…
      Sloppy writing on Krugman’s part. The (crucial) antecedent of “its” is ambiguous. Is the antecedent “backlash,” which I think is intended, or “globalization”? Roughly opposite meanings.

  15. b.

    Haass’ “World Order 2.0”, the Grand Unified Theory of how to contain domestic unrest and maintain global hegemony for the oligarchs. How the US got to weaken the international order, erode the very concept sovereignity and destroy nation states, and how it now gets to use this as a pretext for more “trade agreements”.
    http://www.theinternationalchronicles.com/world_order_2_0 – no paywall

  16. Waldenpond

    Of course Clinton supporters don’t think the vote is what counts for states Clinton didn’t win. I remember the primary state (?) Sanders won by 12 pts but Clinton got 60% of the delegates. They’ve been consistently anti-voter all along.

  17. dk

    Voters show little support for Electoral College revolt [Politico]

    The proportions may reflect the future willingness/unwillingness to support/act on totalitarian decrees by the new leader. I think the biggest difference between the US today and 1930’s Germany is that we are much more self-conscious as a society than they were, due to media technologies (polling, subsequent publication and discussion).

    I wonder what the proportions would be if the immediate alternative wasn’t Hillary.

    1. Ian

      I wonder what the support would be if it was someone like Sanders that was the one that would take the reigns instead of Hillary.

  18. dk

    “More than 20 million Americans now depend on the ACA, also known as Obamacare, for health insurance. Data from Gallup indicate that a lot of those people live in counties that favored Mr. Trump” [Wall Street Journal

    Many won’t notice right away, their deductibles are so high.

      1. aab

        Do we have any idea yet if Trump will go after the Medicaid expansion? I believe Price has called for it to be pulled along with everything else. And it wouldn’t hurt the deep Red states that never implemented it to dump it. But it would destroy most hospital systems, which go across state lines, right?

        I keep hearing that Medicaid expansion is the most profitable part of Obamacare for insurance companies (hmmm…), but factionally, FIRE is a Dem constituency. Does that still matter with the Democratic Party being a rump party nationally?

        My personal preference would be to get a better understanding of what — if any — pressure points exist that citizens can lean on to keep things like Medicaid expanded, Social Security untouched (expanding it under Trump seems like a pipe dream), etc. Really bad stuff is coming down the pike. I keep reiterating that most of it would have been pushed by Clinton and at least for now the corporate media isn’t helping Trump. But it’s still really bad, and the Democrats are so terrible that there’s no real institutional opposition. That’s reality. We don’t have the luxury of just working towards 2018, and right now, 2018 is likely to make things worse, not better, unless the New Dems can be pried out of power much faster and more comprehensively than it currently appears is possible.

  19. Oregoncharles

    ” And the people who engineered this are swanning about, gabbling about resistance and collecting fat paychecks from squillionaire donors. Well played, all.”

    Leading to an obvious question: and someone wants to “take over” this hot mess? Be careful what you wish for.

  20. Ranger Rick

    We were waiting for Obama to start his end-of-term pardon train so we can see who the insiders are interested in. So far nothing juicy on the scale from zero to Marc Rich. The most interesting one on the list is also the weirdest:

    Francis Joseph O’Hara, Sr. – Camden, ME
    Offense: Conspiracy to restrain, suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids; conspiracy with others to knowingly and willfully make and use false documents containing false statements in matters within the jurisdiction of the Defense Personnel Support Command (District of Maine)

    Sentence: Six months’ imprisonment; two years’ supervised release; $200,000 fine; $950,000 restitution (September 13, 1991)

    This one is pretty out of left field. Wonder who he’s connected to in Boston?

  21. Altandmain

    It’s over. The electors got Trump in just minute ago.

    It was always a fantasy to be honest that Trump would be halted by the Electors.

    Ironically a couple of the Democratic Electors wanted to cast for Bernie Sanders:


    They were forced to vote for Clinton due to the rules. Clinton got less faith than the GOP, which goes to show how little confidence she inspires amongst even many of the party rank and file.

  22. SurvivalMode

    My life is already worse for the election of Trump. I was a Sanders supporter who did not like Clinton one bit. But that’s past. Now I need to know what Trump is doing. Yet your website is full of old news snark about the Democrats and very little about Trump’s appointments or economic plans
    I can no longer recommend your website to others and will be visiting it much less often in the future.

    1. voxhumana


      Ciao, fella… don’t let the door hit you on the way out. But before you go maybe you should check the archives for any number of essays that are quite critical of Trump.

      1. SurvivalMode

        Sorry. I don’t need to spend my days reading about how bad Clinton and Establishment Democrats are…been there done that. The Water Cooler, at least, just seems snarky.

        1. craazyman

          How could he have already made your life worse? He’s not even president yet!

          I think he’s already made my life better because he’s revealed the whinging whining hypocrits that liberull foo-foos generally are.

          I gave Bernie $300. So that’s where my money and my mouth is. When he quit, I quit.

          Everybody likes to fetishize the idea of “complex systems” — even though they can’t define what they’re talking about and throw the phrase around as if it’s some sort of obvious talisman of analytically transcendent thinking. But it isn’t for them because they don’t even have the faintest idea what they’re talking about.

          In fact, if political economy is a complex system — which is certainly is — then Trump’s victory may actually be a utility optimizer! Imagine that. Hahaha. Imagine that. LOL. All you complex system fetishistas. You may actually be better off today than yesterday! And better off tomorrow than today! You may reach nirvana by the inauguration! Hahah.

          Complex system my butt. Nobody even knows what a “system” is, much less a “complex” system. They just yadayada themselves into a state of elocutory equilibrium and confuse it for reality.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            How could he have already made your life worse? He’s not even president yet!

            Sometimes, some people are so powerful they can do that.

            For example, a baby can make the parents miserable even before he/she is born.

        2. Steve C

          These Democrats aren’t going to be your champions against Trump. At best they’re feckless losers. At worst they’ll join in the national screwing.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s a big Internet, so I hope you find the happiness you seek elsewhere. Fortunately, coverage of the Democrat’s institutional issues “looking forward” is well-nigh universal, and not unique to NC at all. Oh, wait..

          1. SurivalMode

            I have read articles on his site for some months and found them useful, especially the economics articles. It’s not a question of happiness (more snark) but high quality information. I’ve broadened my reading list quite a bit and would like to look forward to that in the future. The Democrats will or won’t get there act together. I am a big fan of Thomas Frank, so I know the task is nigh on impossible. I think focusing on Democratic institutional issues, rather than economics, gets in the way of what (to me at least) are the more important and unique offerings of NakedCapitalism. As you say, the focus on Democratic institutions is everywhere on the web.
            That’s one opinion.

    2. flora

      Check out the Links section. It’s got lots of links about Trump transition, appointments, and likely policies.

    3. Gaylord

      Because it is premature. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of informative crap (and truth) to entertain us while the ship (spaceship earth) is burning.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The prescient ones want to go directly to impeachment, bypassing inauguration.

        I believe it’s only possible with time travel.

        “Be patient, grasshopper.”

    4. hunkerdown

      That your employer has sent you here not to read, but to create a false sentiment, is neither NC’s fault nor a Russian plot.

      1. SurvivalMode

        Not employed by anyone to read websites. Not a member of any political organization. Just an honest difference of opinion…apparently one that an echo chamber can’t tolerate.

        1. Cry Shop

          “My life is already worse for the election of Trump”. I see what you did there.

          ahem: see “Policy” section here, and in the last 10 or so Water Coolers, stop off at your optomitrist, and as Jimmy Dore likes to put it, “Hey, Obama is still president, yet everyone’s blaming Trump for all the things Obama’s done, or failed to do, like not fixing the water in Detroit, allowing non-federal cops to go about bashing native american protesters on their own territory (federal land), …”

        2. aab

          Whatever you’re being paid to do or think you’re accomplishing voluntarily, you clearly aren’t reading this site, at least. It can’t be an honest difference of opinion, because the facts you are asserting are so wrong you either have a severe cognitive problem, or you are being dishonest. The front page here offers detailed, factual and honest coverage of the president-elect and his potential cabinet and policies on a daily basis. But much is not yet known. Will Jeff Sessions focus on oppressing black people and the burgeoning marijuana industry, or will he go after corporate crime? What will Steve Bannon’s actual impact be?

          Now that the last soft coup attempt seems to have failed, hopefully we can all focus more on the reality of the Trump administration — whatever that may be — rather than the fantasy of him not taking office, or the fantasy villain Clintonland has portrayed him as. It’s looking like he may be an extremely toxic president, although so far, all the horrible things he’s teeing up to do are variations of the toxic stuff Clinton was going to do, only she would have had the corporate media covering for her.

          Corey Lewandowski met with Carlos Slim last week, so we may see the New York Times start promoting Trump, since it always tends to grovel before power and is starting to rent out its building as it sheds staff. Meanwhile, if you actually are interested in learning about what’s really going on in our political economy, try reading here instead of typing falsehoods. It’s an excellent information source. Also, consider that entering a discussion by lying to and insulting people is ineffective, as the Clinton campaign and Correct The Record’s communications strategies have both demonstrated. You may feel good in the moment, but that’s all you’ll accomplish. You’re better off eating a pint of ice cream, if that’s all you seek.

          1. Cry Shop


            Sometimes I wonder if SurvivalMode and ilk are actually Republican/alt-Right operatives trying to stir things up. To fully buy into that proposition requires be a level of paranoia that would see me run a private server, incompetently, in my basement. Which I guess I’d have to fund by soliciting from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other ISIL proxies.

            1. SurvivalMode

              So…state an opinion and immediately and repeatedly get accused of working for someone. How does that reflect an open, tolerant discussion? Criticism is not allowed, because…
              And how can anyone ignore that some folks are already worse off? Many groups like white supremacists and American Nazis feel empowered and emboldened by Trump’s election. They tell us so and feel it is safe to act. Some people have been affected, well before January 20, whether one cares to think about it or not. That is not to blame Trump’s election on racism and bigotry. It’s just a statement of the consequences of some of Trump’s tactics. Whether they are intentional or not, I don’t know.

              1. Foppe

                You are correct that your first comment contained an opinion, but you seem to be ignoring that it also contained much else, little of which was particularly accurate, and/or phrased as a request for more information. That *may* be due to bed-side manner (making demands when looking for a response is an oft-used strategy, I’ve noticed), but given the volume of these kinds of posts, none of which particularly accurate, CTR (interns) are a much more likely explanation.

              2. aab

                You initiated this interaction by saying YOUR life is worse. How is it worse? Where is your evidence that white supremacists and Nazis are actually doing worse things than they did before? I’m not saying that evidence doesn’t exist, but you didn’t cite or reference it. “Feeling” is a New Democrat rhetorical trick to evade reality. Reality is that Clinton lost because many people suffered serious harm under Democratic governance. Reality ALSO is that the Republicans also cause tremendous harm. Your first comment said YOU were hurt and also that Naked Capitalism isn’t covering Trump. Naked Capitalism is, indisputably, covering Trump. So that key element in your initial argument was false. And people here demolished the idea that you could have valid grounds for claiming anything about Trump’s actual governing could be hurting you, because he’s not president yet. So that implication of your initial comment has also been proved false. So now you shift to “bad people are FEELING good”? So that’s shifting goalposts after your initial claims have been ruled invalid, and you’re trying to shift those goalposts into swampy, foggy terrain.

                And yet there is land and light, even in a swamp. So if you really want to have a fact-based discussion on the problem of racism being used for electoral advantage, bring some facts. When I was evaluating my unsavory options after Hillary stole the primary, I considered the relative levels of harm that could be caused by Trump’s use of overt racism versus Hillary’s use of cloaked racism. I honestly couldn’t figure out which was worse. They both seem harmful to me, in different ways,to roughly equivalent degrees. After all, it took the duplicitous racism of the Clintons to get so much racist legislation passed. So I figured they cancelled one another out, and I made my decision about what to do on other grounds. But I’m open to being persuaded I was wrong about that issue. I volunteered for Barack Obama. I have already had to accept that I get things wrong politically. After 2008, I set myself on a path to better understand the reality of our political system, which led me here (eventually).

                Would you like to offer some evidence and make a valid argument that far right groups are likely to cause more significant harm now? After all, it is only by understanding the facts of the situation that we can work to mitigate such harm. I don’t think that’s a silly concern. But complaining about projected mean feelings while insulting the writers here (both pro and amateur) is silly. It makes you look foolish as we bat you about like we’re playing tether-ball, you don’t learn anything, and we don’t really need tether-ball tournaments for bonding or debate practice purposes. I’m open to the possibility that you have something substantive to offer, even though you haven’t yet. And if you are confused about what fact-based argument is like, you could ask people, as well as reading more before engaging again. I realize that sentence could be interpreted as insulting, but that’s not how I intend it. Most people in most places now do not engage in fact-based argument. In fact, it is often discouraged and shamed. It would not make you a bad person if you were unaccustomed to doing it. But continuing to insult people while engaging in empty, slippery rhetoric is bad, in multiple ways. If you want to do that, try Mother Jones.

                1. Foppe

                  The main reason why Trump is perceived a “win for racists” is because that’s the (only) explanatory frame the media offered for his (potential) success, for 8-10 months straight. If they had also pointed to economic stress, and taken that seriously, I doubt we would have seen the “celebration” that we briefly saw after his election, as following the news would’ve made them reflect on the institutional drivers of their frustration. I.o.w., one can quite easily argue that this is in large part also on the MSM/DNC.

              3. Patricia

                …to add to aab’s excellent words:

                The Democrats are not addressing their own problems. They see Trump as the boogyman under the bridge but they are also boogymen, of a different sort. If they don’t face themselves, the already-difficult job ahead becomes overwhelming.

                Thus the people here and at a few other places repeat themselves ad nauseam, hoping that our foundations can be made sturdy enough to handle what is ahead. But it is becoming clear that Dems will not find humility.

                It is not the right that keeps putting NC on Russian-propaganda lists. It is not the right that continues to suborn Sanders & crew. In this election, it wasn’t the right that refused to recognize the economic/planetary devastation caused by 40 years of stripping/grabbing via Dems & Repubs.

                It is easy for the non-right-wing to see that the Repubs are telling even worse lies than did Obama when he came into office. Trump will do bad things. A contingent of his followers are already making things nasty for some of the vulnerable among us. But with current attitudes, Dems will not drain the poison, but entrench it.

                Lastly, there is a variety of viewpoints presented in NC’s combox. We like it that way.

                1. SurvivalMode

                  I think I clarified my thinking in another post. I really like the economics articles/topics in WaterCooler and find the party politics a rehash of what’s available elsewhere. That’s my preference. Someone offered good advice…look at the Links. I’m not talking about the comments by readers. I don’t follow those. So, my feedback was directed to the site’s owners rather than to other readers. My comment was a little too grumpy. Bad day yesterday. I have learned a lot from following the site. Not into the comments, though. No offense.

                  1. Cry Shop

                    Interesting, not into them, though you loiter long enough. Again, your comments had zero useful info, so please do follow your self-prescription.

                    1. SurvivalMode

                      Lambert Strether…What is wrong with you?
                      I don’t like Kos because it’s an echo chamber and you seem determined to make this one too by getting all bent out of shape about feedback, especially after I apologized for the tone of my post.
                      I have been looking at feedback to my posts, but I do not have time to spend on the comments. That’s not a negative statement about the comments, but an admission that I’m mortal and have limited resources.
                      Jeesh. Lighten up. Do you really think you can humble me with snarkiness? How old are you?

    5. Benedict@Large

      You and everyone else want to know what Trump is going to do. He’s the thing though.

      First he’s got to appoint everyone. Then Congress shuts down and everyone goes home for a couple of weeks. Then everything will be dog and pony through the inauguration, After that, a week maybe as the new administration and a new Congress settle in.

      So you see, we don’t know anything because they don’t know anything because nothing can really happen for the next month or so. Call it the Silly Season. Every sport has one.

      Have a good Christmas in the meanwhile. They certainly will. On our dime too.

    6. Brad

      The blame is to be laid at the doorstep of the Clinton liberals and their media who wouldn’t get out of the way with their blame it all on Russia and “patriotic” salutes to a gang of professional disseminators and assassins known as the CIA. All a thinly disguised attempt to de-legitimize and overturn the electoral result (in itself not objectionable, just the political forces behind it in this case were to be objected to). This was coupled to some truly hateful attacks on alternative media.

      The world does not revolve around me or you. We must address reality as it comes to us.

    7. dk

      The Dems are, or would be, important if they really wanted to be… and their mindsets are part of what passes for left in the US.

      I’d like to see more analysis of Trump’s impact, too, but it hasn’t really started yet. Will constant tweeting become a thing for political leaders? Will his staff quell him, and how long will that take? Trump himself is too much of a pleaser/bully to count, IMO. It’s how others react to him that matters. Will CEO’s feel more free to grope the help? Or dump a mission-critical vendor on a whim? Or pollute the planet for short-term profit… oh, wait.

      But NC is more about finance and economics, which many people, especially younger folks, know too little about. So if all you came for is the politics, you’re missing out on the stuff Yves is best at. And Lambert’s just too careful to jump in with quick takes.

    8. Lambert Strether Post author

      Pro tip: “The I was a Sanders supporter but ____” snowclone is a little shopworn at this point. Consider recommending new talking points at the next team meeting?

      1. Skip Intro

        Perhaps something like ‘I really believed Trump would shake things up, but…’

        I hope I’m not giving Brock any ideas here… at least not for free.

  23. abynormal

    The blades of every crisis point the way.
    *a dream of trees – Mary Oliver *

    Deep Appreciation to ChiGal for turning me on to Marry Oliver…a warm thanks to Petal, knowbuddhsu, Prime, STO, Katharin, integre, Skips and wasteman for your kind thoughts the other day. I don’t feel so alone in my struggles.

    Tipping Hat at Lambert for sharing Katiebirds resilient Tree.

    1. katiebird

      Sending you prayers and thanks, abynormal …. I think about you often. One of these days I’ll get a good photo of that tree again and show off the recovery.

      1. abynormal

        Thank you. I love Trees more than flowers. Trees have an ole soul…I can sit with a tree and find most of my grievance’s are wasted energy.

        Keep us posted on this Beautiful Tree…

  24. LT

    $1billion ++ dollars down the drain for the big donors.
    I needed a smile on a Monday.
    Imgine the ire of the ones that tried to play both sides of the fence early in the game and gave to Jeb Bush and Clinton.

    1. hunkerdown

      LT, money is not for winning, but for crowding out less well-funded agendas. They got Sanders out of the race; their money was therefore well-spent. Curious why you think there’s actual competition between the Parties… and sorry about the smile on your face, but we only really thwarted one of their objectives and only temporarily…

    2. Altandmain


      The 2 parties agree on economic issues and use social issues as a distraction. Trump will do what the oligarchs want.

      Their victory was to get Sanders out.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some oligarchs are hard to please.

        When Trump does what the oligarchs want, they will still be unhappy…because? He’s a slavophile to them?

  25. Jim Haygood

    Massive outbreak of faithless electors in Washington state. But not from Trump — from Clinton:

    OLYMPIA — Only eight of 12 Democratic electors in Washington cast their votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won the state in November.

    In an act of symbolic protest, three electors voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and one cast a vote for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American elder from South Dakota.

    It’s the first time in four decades that any Washington electors have broken from the state’s popular vote for president. Washington’s 12 electors met Monday afternoon in the state Capitol to complete the constitutional formality.


    The ‘soft coup’ attempt on behalf of Hillary seems to have burnt her worse than Trump.

    Can’t she do anything right?

    Wait, what the hell am I on about … Clintona delenda est [Hillary is destroyed]. :-)

  26. Marblex

    They stole from the working middle class to give to the poor in Third Worlds. They stole our jobs and gave them to people who would do them for much less. They kept the profits, we got fucked.

    How long, exactly, did they think that was going to continue without blowback?

    Seriously are the global “elite” really dumber than a bag of hair on fire?

    1. Darthbobber

      Well, they didn’t steal from the western working class “to give to the poor” anywhere. Any giving that got done (and paying people a pittance for their help in making you richer is hardly “giving” in any conventional sense of the term) was purely incidental to ensuring that the share of the take going to Capital worldwide would be larger, and that going to labor, worldwide, would be smaller.

      And the brave new world can’t even absorb the third world populations into the proletariat as rapidly as they lose access to traditional resources, so the chances of the road show surviving long enough to produce the harmonic convergence that Ricardians like to see at the end of the tunnel are slim indeed.

  27. John Parks

    13,000 doesn’t seem like a very large number to me.
    You are correct. It is not! During the port slowdown a couple of years ago, the LA and San Diego ports, along with Sea-Tac were wringing their hands over perhaps a hundred ships up and down the coast being delayed, or down to perhaps 15-50 backed up depending on the day. (they got to charge consignee shipments an additional port “congestion fee” which continued even when there was no waiting line)
    I am amazed at how the logistics are handled in places like Shanghai, daily.


    And the Chinese don’t whine and cry “This is t-o-o-o hard!” Shanghai handles thousands of ships daily. You can also expand the search and see how many incoming and departing ships there are around this port and be awed how they are routinely handled. I

  28. ekstase

    If this were a novel, and it had The Global Land Ice Velocity Extraction project and McMansion Hell in it, those two things would have to come into a conflict sooner or later. It’s an old writing adage that if you write a weapon into chapter one then it must be employed later in the story. Otherwise, you have made up a fake drama. However, this is only real life, where for many people, ice and fire come into conflict only in religion, or so they hope. Sometimes novels are more real than real life.

  29. ewmayer

    This is a kind of followup to today’s brief, dismal appearance of Malcolm “The Tippling Twit” Gladwell in Links – in case anyone wants to have a few yuks at Gladwell’s expense (beside the derision he so richly deserves as a paid shill for Big Tobacco, as one Links commenter noted):


    FYI, eigenvalues (‘eigen’ is a German prefix for ‘intrinsic’ or ‘characteristic’) are such a fundamental part of modern mathematics (not just elementary linear algebra but also operator theory and even graph theory) that it is difficult to overstate how hilariously telling it is for a faux-expert like MG to have no clue as to how to spell the term.

  30. cnchal

    . . . any thoughts on — better yet, experiences with — Mnuchin?

    From Acting Man there is an article explaining his central role in gutting Sears, which is credible to me. Mnuchin it from the inside out.

    Just the guy Trump wants to assist him in doing the same thing to the country. Practice makes perfect.

  31. LA Mike

    I’m hoping to see some feature pieces on the Platinum fraud. That’s what I love most about NC, great financial reporting.

    I second the sentiments of SurvivalMode. I made a similar comment a week or so ago and got roasted for it, as he/she did. In my view, the Republicans will always be the greater transgressor than the Democrats, who are simply the world’s greatest enablers. Today’s political climate feels more like the 80’s when the left was in shambles due to internal bickering. It’s been a kick to see the GOP fall the same way post-Bush. Hence, Trump… (sigh).

    Where’s Huey Long?

    1. Alex morfesis

      LA Mike…not enuf financial stories ?? me be mensa and basically speed reader and hardly ever make it thru even half the articles and links…the electors confirmation is over…it was news since there was (for the first time in my lifetime) an overt attempt to subvert the vote of the citizenry…with govt making up 35% of gdp in usa and 45-55% in northern europe, the business of politics is business…
      Not sure where you and survmoody would go but….

  32. soulipsis

    No way forward for R&D: This is because the road for human progress runs inward now. We must examine our hearts and make changes to the structure of the society that we have built. We must take better care of each other and the Earth by making sensible restructuring changes that bring about more efficiency and less money and “growth”, such as switching to small scale local agriculture all around the world, where large scale monoculture farming can be obviously seen to be destroying natural regenerative biospheric structure.

Comments are closed.