2:00PM Water Cooler 12/5/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“There will not be a deal on environmental goods this year after the 17 World Trade Organization members involved in the Environmental Goods Agreement failed to wrap up talks at what was supposed to be a concluding ministerial in Geneva this weekend” [Politico]. “Officials involved say responsibility for the failure rests almost entirely with China, which stood at odds with nearly every other delegation on issues ranging from which products should be covered under the agreement to how long countries should have to eliminate tariffs.”

“Trump would also need a significant amount of political capital to negotiate and push through Congress a dozen individual trade deals with TPP nations, for example, when he could get the Asia-Pacific pact done with a single vote, one seasoned trade negotiator observed” [Politico]. Thing is, the “seasoned trade negotiators” haven’t done so well, have they?

“New EU Data Regulations Will ‘Rip Global Digital Ecosystem Apart” [ Advertising Age]. “Europe’s new privacy regime is likely to disrupt global digital advertising by preventing companies from using an individual’s data unless they have direct consent from the consumer” What a shame (and note the bullshit tell “ecosystem”). And people who wish to use my data shouldn’t merely have to ask my consent; they should pay me for it.

Politics

2016 Post Mortem

UPDATE “Bernie Sanders in San Rafael: Democratic elite to blame for Trump victory” [Marin Independent Journal]. ““I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country,” Sanders said. “But as a loss for the Democratic Party.”” And:

Bernie Sanders speaks at Dominican University in San Rafael

By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 12/02/16, 11:09 PM PST | Updated: 1 min ago
193 Comments
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks Friday at Dominican University in San Rafael.
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks Friday at Dominican University in San Rafael. Sherry LaVars — Special to Marin Independent Journal

Speaking in San Rafael on Friday night, Bernie Sanders told a crowd of more than 850 people that they shouldn’t blame many of the people who voted for Donald Trump for his presidential victory.

The Vermont senator said they should blame instead the elite leadership of the Democratic Party, which for years did too little to address the economic pain of an increasingly large segment of the nation.

“I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country,” Sanders said. “But as a loss for the Democratic Party.”

The event, held in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall in conjunction with Corte Madera’s Book Passage, was designed to promote Sanders’ new book, “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.” Sanders barely mentioned the book, however. As he did during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders concentrated instead on the issue that has energized him throughout his political career: economic inequality. He said he doesn’t believe that all of the people who voted for Trump are racists or sexists or homophobes.

“I don’t believe that at all,” Sanders said. “I think a lot of people ended up holding their noses and voting for Trump because they are in pain.”

He provided a few choice examples of that pain. For example, he noted the fact that millions of Americans still lack health insurance and that many people with insurance have high deductibles that discourage them from seeing a doctor and can’t afford the medicine they’re prescribed if they do consult a physician.

Sanders said that half of people age 55 have no money saved for retirement, that on average men in Virginia’s affluent Fairfax County live 18 years longer than men in the state’s economically disadvantaged McDowell County, and that tens of thousands of people living in Baltimore, Maryland, are addicted to heroin.

“There are a lot of people in our country who are hurting and they are hurting very, very badly,” Sanders said.” The political establishment is not hearing their pain; the financial and economic establishment could care less about their lives; and the media establishment is not dealing with the reality of their lives; and along comes Mr. Trump.”

Wait, wait. America is already great, right?

“Top advisor says Hillary Clinton needed no prodding to concede to Donald Trump” [Los Angeles Times]. So if that’s true, that would mean that Trump’s not a fascist, right?

“he Democratic National Committee leadership and the party’s operatives gambled with the lives of working-class people when they went all in for Hillary Clinton, a wildly unpopular candidate with an out-of-touch strategy. They lost that bet. Donald Trump won the election, and now we’ll be paying for their mistakes for the next four — or, god forbid, eight — years” [Jacobin]. “You might think these elites would be chastened into reflection. ” No, the thought never crossed my mind.

This:

And then there’s this:

Trump Transition

“Everything Donald Trump Tweeted Today” [247 Wall Street]. That headline. It’s a whole new world…

“Trump’s tax plans favour the rich and will hamper economic growth” [Larry Summers]. “Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary-designate, asserts there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class because deductions would be scaled back. The rub is that totally eliminating all deductions for those with incomes over $1m would not even raise enough revenue to cover reducing their marginal tax rates from 39 to 33 per cent, let alone offset their benefit from huge rate reductions on business and corporate income, and the elimination of estate and gift taxes.” Silly boy. Larry thinks that Federal taxes fund Federal spending. No wonder he set a squillion dollars of Harvard’s money on fire and threw it up in the air.

“‘Each critique of the Carrier deal requires the listener to hold in his or her head several levels of abstraction: ideas about how systems and incentives work, ideas about cause and effect, ideas about how corruption can unfurl or how policy can affect millions of people. And so each critique has less impact than the sturdy story: Last week in Indiana, Donald Trump saved a thousand jobs” [Slate]. Title: “The Stunt Presidency.” Hey, I’ve got an idea for a stunt: When Wells Fargo creates two million phony accounts and moves customer money into them so they can extract more fees, Obama has Loretta “Tarmac” Lynch bring criminal charges against the Wells Fargo CEO. I bet if Obama’d done that, Clinton would have won, bad as she was. Stunts, forsooth.

Or as Stoller says:

“Hysterically Over-Reacting To Trump Ultimately Helps Trump” [Michael Tracey]. “If you fight a fictive enemy rather than the real enemy, your tactics are not going to be effective.”

Policy

“How to Help Working People” [Editorial Board, New York Times]. [Lambert puts down his coffee…]. “Worker pay has lagged for a very long time. The Obama-era reforms help to make up lost ground. If Mr. Trump wishes to act in the interest of all working people, he will preserve those reforms.” I like “helped to make up lost ground” very much, not least because it doesn’t say that any ground has actually been made up. And if we ever get level again, then we can talk about make-goods, which will be extensive.

Our Famously Free Press

“The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think” [Margaret Sullivan, WaPo]. But now it’s time to cross another bridge — into a world without facts. Or, more precisely, where facts do not matter a whit. On live radio Wednesday morning, Scottie Nell Hughes sounded breezy as she drove a stake into the heart of knowable reality: ‘There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, of facts,’ she declared on ‘The Diane Rehm Show.'” … It’s time to dust off your old copy of “1984 ” by George Orwell and recall this passage: ‘The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.'” I’ve always liked Sullivan’s work, but surely she cannot have forgotten this famous statement from the Rove during the administration of Bush the Younger:We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” This is not #NotNormal. It is #Normal. And Democrats have their own flavors of it.

“At this time, in early 2014, a young assistant professor named Aleksandr Kogan joined Kosinski. He had a question from a company interested in Kosinskis method. The Facebook profiles of ten million US users should be measured psychometrically. For what purpose, he could not say that there were strict secrecy requirements. Kosinski wants to say first, it is about a lot of money for his institute, but then hesitates. Finally, Kogan emerges with the name of the company: SCL – Strategic Communications Laboratories. Kosinski goes to the company: “We are a globally operating choice management agency,” he reads on the company website. SCL offer marketing based on a psychological model. Focus: Choice of influence. Election control? Disturbed to Kosinski click through the pages. What kind of company is it? And what do they have in the US?” [Das Magazine (Google Translation)]. ” What Kosinski does not know at this time: Behind SCL is a complex corporate design with taxpayers – as the Panama Papers and Wikileaks revelations show. Some have contributed to the turmoil in developing countries, while others have developed methods for the psychological manipulation of the population in Afghanistan. And now, SCL is also the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the ominous big-data booth that organized the online election campaign for Trump and Brexit. ” Damn. What’s that warbling sound?

“The #Election2016 Micro-Propaganda Machine” [Jonathon Albright, Medium] and “#Election2016: Propaganda-lytics & Weaponized Shadow Tracking” [Jonathan Albright, Medium]. These are interesting visualizations using a big data approach. Intuitively — by which I mean I don’t have time to figure this out right now — I feel that Albright and Das Magazin (link above) are looking at the same phenomenon: Albright from the outside, Das Magazin from the inside. Readers?

“Figuring out Donald Trump’s media diet by mining his tweets” [Boing Boing]. A similar approach.

“This “marketplace of ideas” theory has influenced political thought for decades. But it rests upon certain assumptions, all of which turned out to be wrong in 2016.” [Detroit News]. “One of those assumptions is that people will receive information in quantities they can manage. But this election cycle we have all been awash in more information and misinformation than a human being can process. Psychologists tell us that under these circumstances we do the easy thing: we focus on “information” that confirms what we already think. The marketplace of ideas theory also assumes that we will be able to sort reliable information from unreliable. But 2016 revealed that this also no longer holds true.” I was expecting this to end up with a plea for philosopher kings to guide us rightly. But it calls for critical thinking!

“As the full meaning of a Donald Trump presidency preoccupies American minds, The New York Times has seen a more-than-tenfold increase in daily subscription sign-ups, far surpassing any other news medium” [New York Times]. So, openly shilling for Clinton and suppressing Sanders made The Times a great deal of money. How do they live with themselves?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Advocates of the long-shot bid to turn the Electoral College against Donald Trump have been in contact with close allies of Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, but the Clinton camp — and Clinton herself — have declined to weigh in on the merits of the plan” [Politico]. Clinton does seem to be awfully good as getting people to act as her catspaws, doesn’t she?

“Gov. Pat McCrory concedes defeat to Roy Cooper as Durham recount wraps up” [News and Observer].

Stats Watch

GDP: “This line shows total GDP growth over the prior 10 years. It makes the point as to just how sudden the latest drop off was and how severe it continues to be. It’s just screaming ‘lack of aggregate demand’ begging a fiscal relaxation of maybe 5% of GDP annually for a while” [Mosler Economics].

120401

More: “The Fed, however, believes the spark has been ignited and will likely move to ‘remove accommodation’ with a another small rate hike, even as all the indicators I can see continue to decelerate as previously posted and discussed.”

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, November 2016: Employment shoots up, new orders very strong [Econoday]. “Based on this report as well as the services PMI released earlier this morning, the great bulk of the economy has posted strong numbers through the first two thirds of the fourth-quarter, indications that support a rate hike at next week’s FOMC meeting.” The patient’s eyes have fluttered open, so it’s time to yank out the IV. Dear Lord. And but: “This was above the consensus forecast of 55.5, and suggests faster expansion in November than in October. A strong report” [Calculated Risk]. And: “Overall supplier deliveries slowed for the month, which suggests underlying capacity constraints are increasing slightly, while the pace of inventory growth slowed” [Economic Calendar]. And: “The 14 non-manufacturing industries that reported growth in November were: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Retail Trade; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Transportation & Warehousing; Other Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Construction; Finance & Insurance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Accommodation & Food Services; Information; Health Care & Social Assistance; Wholesale Trade; and Mining: [247 Wall Street]. “The two industries reporting contraction in November were Real Estate, Rental & Leasing and then Public Administration.”

Purchasing Managers’ Services Index, November 2016: “New orders are coming in at the best rate this year which the sample attributes to the end of the election cycle and an improved economic outlook” [Econoday]. “But the sample’s hiring is still no better than moderate and price readings point to a margin squeeze.” And: “The data overall will have no impact on short-term Fed rate expectations and an increase will be sanctioned next week. The release suggests relatively firm growth will continue, but there is no red flag at this stage, which would require the Fed to increase interest rates at a faster pace” [Economic Calendar].

Labor Market Conditions Index, November 2016: “Slightly in the positive zone” [Econoday]. “Levels are subdued but this is still the best two-month run of the year.” (This is the Fed’s experimental index.)

Conference Board Employment Trends Index, November 2016: Increases in October and November. “The change represents a 2.7% gain from a year ago” [247 Wall Street]. “November’s improvement in the Employment Trends Index was fueled by positive contributions from six of the eight components. These were shown as follows (strongest first): Ratio of Involuntarily Part-Time to All Part-Time Workers, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, and Industrial Production.”

Employment Situation (Friday): “[P]articipation rates further evidence a massive shortage of aggregate demand” [Mosler Economics].

Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure, November 2016: “Americans’ daily self-reports of spending averaged $98 in November, up from $93 in October. The latest figure exceeds the $92 average recorded in the same month a year ago and is the highest for any November since Gallup began tracking consumer spending in 2008” [Econoday]. “Spending among lower- and middle-income families is up relatively sharply on both a monthly (up $7) and year-over-year (up $5) basis. Americans with an annual household income of less than $90,000 spent an average of $82 per day in November, the highest for this group in nearly two years. By contrast, spending among upper-income Americans — those with an annual household income of $90,000 or more — averaged $146 in November, similar to October’s $143 but higher than the average for November of last year ($137).”

Retail: “Transportation and warehouse companies added about 8,900 jobs in November, extending a strong fall season for hiring in the sector as companies put more workers in place to cope with e-commerce fulfillment. Courier and messenger companies increased their payrolls by 5,700 jobs last month, and warehouse operators added 3,100 jobs from October to November” [Wall Street Journal]. “The gains in the midst of the biggest season for shopping and goods distribution part of the year leaves warehouse payrolls up by 47,400 jobs over the past year. Growth in other areas, including trucking and other industrial operations, has been more tepid. That jobs trend may be an entrenched part of the transportation employment scene, as online sales grow and logistics operators put in place the workers needed to handle the special characteristics of e-commerce.”

Housing: “Frothy rental prices across the nation are showing signs of cooling, recent real estate data show, with the white hot markets of New York City and Washington D.C. offering modest relief to sticker-shocked renters” [CNBC].

Housing: “The share of homes selling at or above list price has recovered to early 2006 levels. In August 2016 that share was more than one-third of total sales (33.7 percent), up from 31.2 percent in August 2015 and twice the level at the January 2008 trough (14.4 percent)” [Econintersect].

Rail: “In October, crosstie production dropped 6.3 percent to 2.2 million units and purchases plummeted 33.7 percent to 1.1 million units from September levels, according to the Railway Tie Association (RTA)” [Progressive Railroading]. Postponing maintenance. Always a good sign. But: “[P]roduction is still up 5.6 percent from the year-ago level, RTA officials said.”

Rail: “A fifth of the continent’s 1.6 million railcars are parked in storage yards or along lonesome stretches of rural track” [Wall Street Journal, “Too Many Railcars, Too Little Freight”] A fifth? That seems like rather a lot, particularly with the economy booming the way Democrats say it is.

Shipping: “Italian shipowners will come under increasing financial pressure after the ‘no’ vote in Sunday night’s constitutional referendum, which is threatening to rock the domestic banking sector, local ship finance experts have warned” [Lloyd’s List].

Commodities: “The rains arrived too late in Brazil this season for a troubled global coffee market” [Wall Street Journal]. “That could leave the global coffee market with demand outstripping supply for at least another two years, pushing prices up still more and forcing roasters to find alternative sources of beans.”

Commodities: “Gold has become an accepted investment in the Islamic world for the first time as it can now be used as a commodity to back Sharia-based financial products, thanks to new standards announced Monday” [Mining.com]. “The fresh rules, said the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the World Gold Council (WGC), pave the way for Islamic institutions to trade not just gold but also silver in a much more actively fashion.”

Commodities: “All base metals, with the exception of zinc, remains oversupplied and global inventories have also remained stubbornly elevated (again zinc is the exception) according to [a Moody’s] report” [Mining.com]. “While increased infrastructure spending should benefit the sector, particularly inside the US, the impact of the presidential election for the base-metal industry remains unclear:”

The Bezzle: “A whistleblower has been awarded approximately $3.5 million for coming forward with information that led to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement action” [Corporate Crime Reporter].

The Bezzle: “The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Monday it fined Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC $16.5 million for anti-money laundering and supervision violations” [FCPA Blog].

The Bezzle: “[Apple] shipped just 1.1 million Apple Watches in the third quarter, according to estimates from research firm IDC, which is a 71% drop from the 3.9 million shipped in the year-ago period” [ETF Daily News]. “In contrast, the other top 5 wearable companies, which include Fitbit, Xiaomi, Garmin, and Samsung, all saw annual gains for their devices in the third quarter.” I’ve got iOS 10 on one iPad, iOS 9 on the other. iOS 10 includes noticeable usability regressions, just like all the other Apple “upgrades” on any platform for the last two or three years. What the heck are they doing with all the money in Cupertino? Because hiring engineering talent isn’t one of them.

Rapture Index: Down 2 on Unemployment and Israel [Rapture Ready]. Record High: 189, October 10, 2016; Current: 185.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 71, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).Last updated Dec 5 at 11:32am.

The 420

“IIPR is a real-estate investment trust (REIT) that plans to acquire and manage specialized industrial properties leased to experienced, state-licensed operators for their regulated medical-use cannabis facilities. The company owns no properties yet, but is reported to be about to acquire a $30 million facility in New York” [247 Wall Street]. However, the IPO was “lackluster.” Gotta do something with all the dead malls?

#NoDAPL

Veterans at Standing Rock (MR):

I wish I knew a lot more about how this was organized; doesn’t exactly fit any conventional narratives, does it? Reader?

“The Lesson from Standing Rock: Organizing and Resistance Can Win” [Naomi Klein, The Nation]. ” Everyone here is aware that the fight is not over. The company will challenge the decision. Trump will try to reverse it. “The legal path is not yet clear, and the need to put financial pressure on the banks invested in the pipeline is more crucial than ever,” says Chase Iron Eyes, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attorney and member (and a recent congressional candidate).”

Gaia

“Pork giant Smithfield Foods Inc. is making a big move to cut carbon emissions that could echo across meat supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “Smithfield will also redraw truck routes to reduce driving distances, extending the carbon effort throughout its distribution channels. Because of Smithfield’s big scale, the effort could echo across a $198 billion meatpacking industry that environmental groups say makes an outsize contribution to climate change. Smithfield alone emits about 17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, nearly as much as five coal-fired power plants.”

“Lucy, the ancient ancestor of modern humans, probably spent at least a third of her day nesting in trees, according to new research unveiled Wednesday” [Japan Times]. “The study finds that Lucy had strong upper arms, suggesting she regularly climbed trees. She also had relatively week legs that were not used for climbing and were inefficient for walking. The combination of the two discoveries led researchers to conclude that Lucy probably nested in tree branches at night in order to avoid predators, used her arms to travel between trees and may have even foraged for food among branches.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“A Man Like Him: To My Godfather” [VSB]. Very moving.

Dear Old Blighty

“Mhairi Black MP appalled at public purse paying for palaces over pensions” [BBC]. Fun stuff!

Imperial Collapse Watch

“A former high-level civilian employee for the U.S. Navy was sentenced to 72 months in prison Friday for taking bribes from a defense contractor based in Singapore” [FCPA]. The inside man for “Fat Leonard” — really!

Class Warfare

“How would you describe the social mood of the nation and world? Would anti-Establishment, anti-status quo, and anti-globalization be a good start? How about choking on fast-rising debt? Would stagnant growth, stagnant wages be a fair description? Or how about rising wealth/income inequality? Wouldn’t rising disunity and political polarization be accurate?” [Of Two Minds]. ” These are all characteristics of the long-wave social-economic cycle that is entering the disintegrative (winter) phase. Souring social mood, loss of purchasing power, stagnating wages, rising inequality, devaluing currencies, rising debt, political polarization and elite disunity are all manifestations of this phase.” Winter is coming…

“And in the twentieth century the pace of economic change has been so great as to shake the rest of history to its foundation. From 1870 to today the size of the world’s economy is up by a factor of 100, according to standard statistics; the world’s population is up by a factor of more than six; average living standards up by a factor of sixteen; and globally inequality has exploded by an equal amount: today’s poorest are less than twice as rich as their predecessors in 1870; while the technological, physical, and human skill powers at the command of today’s richest make them men like gods from a pre-industrial perspective” [Brad DeLong]. DeLong’s historiography. Even though IdPol says economics has nothing to do with anything.

“In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns” [The Atlantic].

News of the Wired

“Size isn’t everything: Tiny animals sex tape shows tardigrade couple’s mating marathon (VIDEO)” [Russia Today]. Meets my daily quota for Dmitry!

* * *

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:

pine_cones

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About Lambert Strether

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

156 comments

  1. Altandmain

    The Atlantic is still in denial about Clinton.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/12/hillary-clinton-working-class/509477/

    I’m reminded about Glenn Greenwald’s comment:

    https://theintercept.com/2016/06/25/brexit-is-only-the-latest-proof-of-the-insularity-and-failure-of-western-establishment-institutions/

    But a major factor is that many people recognize that establishment journalists are an integral part of the very institutions and corrupted elite circles that are authors of their plight. Rather than mediating or informing these political conflicts, journalists are agents of the forces that are oppressing people. And when journalists react to their anger and suffering by telling them that it’s invalid and merely the byproduct of their stupidity and primitive resentments, that only reinforces the perception that journalists are their enemy, thus rendering journalistic opinion increasingly irrelevant.

    Basically the MSM is in total denial and lashing out people. Pretty much they are calling people stupid for not voting for their “chosen one”. They are like the capitalist Pravda these days.

    If you want a sensible appraisal of the Democrats, this 2 weeks old article is far better:
    https://www.thenation.com/article/why-do-white-working-class-people-vote-against-their-interests-they-dont/

    Calling people stupid for not supporting you is the surest way to make more enemies.

    1. jrs

      well the thing is even if she had those plans (and are those the public or the private plans?) and even if she *wanted* to implement them, she couldn’t get them past a Republican congress and she didn’t have much in the way of coattails.

      Whereas Trump CAN maybe work with the Republican congress to get them passed. Which would kind of make Trump the better bet if those were one’s only concerns (of course there are many other legitimate concerns when voting) and the focus on those concerns was results not rhetoric.

      Basically a Republican or a Dem with serious coattails who can bring in a whole bunch of people in support of their agenda (maybe Bernie) are the only ones who can get a jobs bill passed, if we’re even talking about JOBS BILLS and not just more garbage about needing more education.

      1. Altandmain

        There is also the matter that Clinton accepted a ton of money from Wall Street.

        She’s been long paid not to resolve the problems of the “little” people.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        + on that ‘more education’ ruse.

        First, they are stupid.

        Then, of course, they need more education.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      This is rich –

      “She had decades of ideas to help parents, particularly working moms, and their children.”

      And what was the result of all of those (I’m assuming brilliant) ideas? Crickets…. Which is pretty much what Trump hammered her on during one of the debates and she had no concrete significant legislation she could point to over the nearly 30 years she’s been in the public eye that helped anybody except the already wealthy.

      1. aab

        My heart actually briefly seized up with rage reading that quote.

        Based on her own life choices and the concrete legislation she has helped pass, her great ideas for working moms are:

        – Marry a sexual predator with the potential to be a big earner.
        – Facilitate his sexual abuse, including intimidating and harassing his female victims, to help both of you rise in power and wealth.
        – Help multinational corporations exploit other women, including women with children.
        – Free low income mothers by forcing them into the work force without reliable, cost-effective child care.
        – Empower working mothers by jailing fathers for minor offenses and sending well-paid working class jobs generally held by men overseas.
        – Transform public education into a relentless race for scarce resources, so that women get valuable practice helping their children survive a maze-like war zone of psychological and physical abuse.
        – Transform health care so that when abortion becomes restricted as the elected officials preferred by her ideology protect corporations instead, health care access also become restricted, so women will be less likely to make the mistake of attempting to have children, and if they try, they’ll be less likely to succeed.
        – If you’re a working mom in a country filled with brown-skinned people, her great idea is to bomb your country into the stone age. If you survive it, you bury your children. If your children survive it but not you, they bury you. If you all survive, you get to row a tiny, unstable boat to another country, surrounded by angry men unrelated to you, where you will all be met by lots more hostile people who don’t want you there.

        She does have decades of ideas. It’s true.

    3. clarky90

      Being a Trump supporter, I want to celebrate (not blame!) the hate-full Clinton “activists”. These Trump denialists have motivated many people, all over the Globe, to critically examine the “correct” information (news) being forcefully funneled into their minds by the Really, Really, Not Fake News Channels (just trust us).

      As the pitch and volume of the Dem activists’ protestations and foot stamping increases, their credibility decreases. (WPo, NYT etc). The People’s Consciousness is raised inversely.

      Someday soon, I believe that the Democratic Party will grow out of “the terrible, tantrum twos”. It will mature to be a party that wants to represent the dreams and aspirations of the 99%.

      My guess- Some of the things that Trump does will appall me, some I won’t care one way or the other about, and some will thrill me. That is what life is like when you have lived in a huuuge and disparate community for more than a few decades.

    4. Gary Headlock

      HuffPo had an equally moronic rant on it’s front page today, I refuse to link to it, but it goes something like this:

      Assigning blame for HRC election loss:
      1-200: Misogyny
      200-210: Various, Bernie Bros, Jilliacs, Putin, etc
      Specifically NOT to blame:
      1: Hillary
      2: Identity politics

      A real forehead smacker.

  2. L

    FIle this one under Out with the new and In with the Old

    Team Trump snubs Big Internet oligarchs: Economic forum shuns Zuck, Google, but finds seat for IBM

    It’s a sign of which corporations Team Trump thinks can generate jobs. Outgoing President Obama couldn’t get enough of Big Internet, and today many agencies reflect Google’s agenda. The Google Transparency project has documented the busy revolving door between DC and Mountain View, and the amount of Google-friendly policy activity has become frantic in recent months. Examples include ripping up the rules for TV licensing – which proved too much even for the Democrat FCC Commissioner with the swing vote to approve – and locking the Register of Copyright out of her office.

    All of this is hardly surprising given both his rhetoric on the trail and the people backing his campaign. Trump was very clear in his push for main street jobs and in his antipathy for people like Bezos who those same main street storefronts blame for their lost jobs. It now looks like he is making good on that.

  3. Pavel

    Re: the NYT increased subscriber numbers:

    So, openly shilling for Clinton and suppressing Sanders made The Times a great deal of money.

    How about making it a bit more explicit:

    So, openly shilling for Clinton and suppressing Sanders and thus enabling the election of Donald Trump made The Times a great deal of money.

    1. integer

      Well, considering they lie about everything else, why believe this? They are probably just trying to create reality, or maybe the “elites” bought 1000 subscriptions each.

    2. Procopius

      I agree about suppressing Sanders, but shilling for Hillary? Virtually every day with a new story about the emails? Throughout the campaign I was convinced Pinch Sulzberger suffers from CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrome). Day in day out, day after day, some scandal, small or large, but every damned day some scandal about Hillary. This is “shilling for” her?

  4. Tim

    “And people who wish to use my data shouldn’t merely have to ask my consent; they should pay me for it.”

    I’ve got this awesome startup idea: payformydata.com…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed / When not to be brings reproach of being.” Or, in the vernacular: “Fine. And so what?”

      I remember being called a racist in 2008 because I didn’t support Obama; that was generally the second move any Obot made. Happened several times a day for months. So… Ya know… I get a little tired of Dem IdPol, you understand? Its just “any stick to beat a dog” stuff; serious people are trying to work out the relationships. IdPol has, I think, passed its sell-by date, and the false dichotomy of “about… not…” is part of that.

      1. EGrise

        IdPol has, I think, passed its sell-by date

        I’m beginning to agree. Many of my acquaintances who either voted for Trump or sat out the election echoed some variation on the theme of “tired of being called a racist, but I might as well do what I want because I’m getting called a racist no matter what I say or do.”

        “Any stick to beat a dog” is all well and good until the dog stops fearing the stick.

          1. cocomaan

            Here’s another one that you might like, Outis:
            http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/6632.html

            The assertion that Trump’s supporters are all racists has, I think, become partially self-fulfilling. In and of itself, that will make America’s already deeply ugly racial politics uglier. It will help justify the further pathologization of the emerging white underclass while doing nothing at all to help communities of color except, conveniently for some, to set the groups at one another’s throats so they cannot make common cause. It will become yet another excuse for beneficiaries of economic stratification to blame its victims.

            Found it through Tyler Cowen’s blog http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/10/the-wisdom-of-interfluidity.html

        1. Michael

          Anyone who routinely votes Republican is a racist; that’s a given.

          What has to happen next is to start asking, “What does it mean that one of our two parties is an explicit white supremacist party?”

          IdPol says that if you identify a villain, you’re done — you aren’t under any obligation to try to win. So most “liberals” stop there.

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            Your comment contains blanket statements of a type that typically cause comment threads to deteriorate rapidly. I’m going to approve the comment this time in case anyone else wants to comment on it, but in the future, please try to make more specific points and/or back up your claims with argument.

          2. Anne

            Wow…

            Assertion No. 1: No, it’s not a given.

            Strategy: time would be better spent asking not what’s wrong with them, but what’s wrong with us – and how to fix/overcome/change those things.

            Finally: “IdPol says?” IdPol speaks?” Does it have a Twitter handle? Also, it doesn’t appear you should probably be speaking for all liberals.

          3. JohnnyGL

            I’ve realized that a lot of what makes people Republicans in this country is hatred of Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Obama and the Clintons.

            They hate the Republican leadership, too. But with less intensity. Besides, sometimes they defenestrate one of them as they did with Eric Cantor.

            Can someone please locate the nearest open window for Schumer and Pelosi? At least Schumer had the decency to acquiesce to Sanders’ pick for DNC chair. Hillary Clinton went into hiding.

            Obama and Pelosi still don’t see what the problem is.

          4. integer

            Anyone who routinely votes Republican is a racist; that’s a given.

            No further analysis required! Michael has declared it be so!
            Seems like this is the only point you ever make around here, and it is far from the whole story.
            Ever heard the phrase “painting with too broad a brush?”

            1. shinola

              “Anyone who voted for Trump is a bigot.”

              Direct quote from a “Medium” article by Alice Marshall in today’s Links.
              Seems to be a lot of this bloviating going around.

              I didn’t vote for Trump (or Clinton) and I find this offensive. I stopped reading the article at that point.

          5. Jess

            So, those states that voted for Obama twice and then went to Trump had a sudden influx of racists? I mean, if they’re really racists, and they lived there in 2008 and 2012, and they were (are) swing states, those racists would have been more motivated to vote against the black guy, rather than waiting for a racist (with an economic message) to come along?

          6. clarky90

            I want to celebrate Michael! The Michaels of this World have motivated many people to vote for Trump. Yay Michael! And, you are still working your magic.

          7. nobody

            I fully agree; anyone who routinely votes Republican is a racist. Because, as Dave Chappelle says, “you can’t help it — if you an American, you a racist.” And if you’re voting in American elections, you must be an American, so, it’s pretty obvious that you’re a racist.

            What has to happen next is to start asking: What does it mean that our one party — the Property Party, with its two right wings — Republican and Democrat — is wholly comprised of racists?

            Also, what does it mean that, as Matt Stoller says: “It is as if America’s traditional racial segregationist tendencies have been reorganized, and the tools and tactics of that system have been repurposed for a multicultural elite colonizing a multicultural population”?

            And what does it mean that, as Asad Haider says in “Passing for Politics”?:

            The greatest mistake would be to imagine that the ideology of identity is an extremist form of opposition to the status quo. In fact, identity politics is an integral part of the dominant ideology; it makes opposition impossible. We are susceptible to it when we fail to recognize that the racial integration of the ruling class and political elites has irrevocably changed the field of political action.

            1. Buttinsky

              I’ve always thought one of the virtues of many of Spike Lee’s movies is that they depict a reality few films do — how deeply racism poisons an entire society and everybody in it. Not just whites, not just blacks — it damages us all, and every American, indeed almost by definition, is a “racist.” We see race. We can’t help but see it. And then, worst of all these days, we deny we see it (as expounded upon beautifully by Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow).

              All one can do in a society like this is not be complacent, and endeavor to advance awareness that there is a problem — borne most forcefully from self-awareness — to something that makes a difference in the people around you, and maybe, eventually, in your whole society. But lumping large groups of others into a basket of deplorable “racists” is not, I believe, a useful, or benign, act of categorization.

              And, now, seeing the various responses that Michael’s comment has elicited, I’m genuinely curious to know if Outis feels allowing the comment was a productive thing. Or rather, did he do the right thing?

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                I considered spiking the original comment. I also considered spiking at least one of the replies. The reason that I did not is because while one acquires a reasonable sense over time of what sort of comments risk producing a certain atmosphere, it’s almost inevitable that this sense gets muddled with whether one appreciates the message of the content itself. For this reason, I try to err on the side of allowing comments.

                In this case, was it the right thing to do? If people read your comment and think a little more about the dynamics of comments, then I would say yes. Sometimes it’s better for things to be messy over the short term, if over a longer period reflection can take place.

            2. MojaveWolf

              On behalf of a good friend and coworker who is both a committed Republican and a non-white immigrant and also a very nice person, and as someone who just had another friend and coworker die earlier in the year who was also a nice person and a Republican, all of you “All Republican/Trump Voters are Racists” people can go do something obscene and painful to yourselves.

              My politics are very different from Clarky’s, I’m pretty sure, but he is absolutely correct in his assessment of comments and attitudes like yours. To repeat the Michael Tracy quote Lambert linked to above: “If you fight a fictive enemy rather than the real enemy, your tactics are not going to be effective.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Intimidation.

                “If you vote this or that, you’re a monster.”

                The only way this is going to work is we don’t call those who don’t vote the way we like, well, stupid, low-information, racist, deplorable, bigoted, etc.

                With intimidation, whatever ideal we aim for is undermined.

      2. Buzz Meeks

        I remember being invited to a Obama/Democratic Party “town hall” in 2008, for some reason they thought I was an important member of the community and wanted my input. They were very displeased when I pointed out Obama’s fabricated and trumped up experience, his taking of large amounts of campaign cash from Goldman AND the fact that most of his handlers were dual national citizens of both Israel and the US. I pointed out the last part was was most troubling to me from a national security standpoint. I scored a two-fer, I was called a racist and an anti-semite and was asked to leave. So I said TS, a couple of other things and I left. Never heard from the county Democratic party again.

        Buzz Meeks

      3. Jen

        I don’t recall if this made its way into the links or water cooler at the time. Found the link embedded in the American Conservative post that Outis shared below.

        From April 2016, on smug liberalism:

        “There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.

        In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

        It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason…

        Faced with the prospect of an election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the smug will reach a fever pitch: six straight months of a sure thing, an opportunity to mock and scoff and ask, How could anybody vote for this guy? until a morning in November when they ask, What the fuck happened?”

        http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism

    2. aj

      So the old white lady couldn’t muster the support of the people who voted for the young black man? Becuase racism? Pull the other one!

    3. Fiery Hunt

      If you think this election was about racism, not economics, well then YOU’RE PROBABLY A RACIST YOURSELF.

      How many times do you have to read that Rust Belt counties that voted twice for OBAMA voted for Trump this year before you begin to wonder is maybe, possibly it wasn’t about race prodominately.

      *sigh

        1. Fiery Hunt

          I’d, completely unscientifically, say the election was 90% economics, 10% everything else. When there were 6+ million LESS Democrat voters…lots of them urban voters of color who didn’t show up…it just says to me racism wasn’t the motivation for Trump’s win.

          1. Arizona Slim

            ISTR reading that the Republican vote has been pretty steady. The steep dropoff has been on the Democratic side.

      1. PNW_WarriorWoman

        An impression for your consideration. Trumbull County, Ohio is a Democratic County in NE Ohio just south of Ashtabula County on Lake Erie. The last time voters went Republican it was for Tricky Dick in 1972. This year, 44 years later, they went for Trump. On election night, at 11:40 pm EST to be precise, GM announced they would be eliminating 1250 jobs on the third shift at the Chevy Cruise plant in Lordstown, Ohio. This after GM invested $250 million to retool Lordstown to manufacture the next-generation Cruze that went into production at the local plant in February.

        I echo aj’s comment above.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Thank you Warrior Woman….exactly this.

          I’m sure this is repeated all over America…because Profits Uber Alles.
          And it’s long past time to choose differently.

          1. fajensen

            I’m sure this is repeated all over America…because Profits Uber Alles

            I disagree. My experiece with american management (FMC Agricultural Solutions, Kodak) hat they are often a sad bunch of third-rate intellects *playing* management. And not very well.

            These people typically make some random decision to sort of prove their existence, then all US-side resources of the organization goes all in to support the “management” decision, suppress evidence that it is a bad decision and nailing any dissenters.

            They will close a plant right after retooling because that kind of money simply don’t register with them.

            Yet, At the same time they will personally, this is at CEO level, spent hundreds of hours to write detailed travel policies dictating the use of low cost airlines like Ryanair. Safety issues (imagined and real is also a popular thing for weekly group meetings – with CEO level people, that, one suspect, they eventually had to place somewhere where the screwup potential is limited).

            From an European perspective, whenever American-style corporate management shows up, sanity dies. Then the smart people leave and the business dies.

          1. hunkerdown

            We are sure they were, by the very design of liberal (i.e. managed) democracy. They were disenfranchised by the Party structures themselves.

            Felon disenfranchisement only serves the oligarchs. Time to get them all back voting on what would have kept them from wearing that scarlet Y in the first place.

          2. Fiery Hunt

            Evidently hunkerdown beat me to the punch…

            No, not at all. We know Clinton’s DNC purged over 200,000 voters in New York this year alone…

            and as Lambert likes to say, the Dems haven’t exactly gone all out to fight the suppression, have they?

            1. Big River Bandido

              Not fair. The Democrats trot out their own “electoral fraud” memes like clockwork — every fourth November 1st.

    4. cocomaan

      I love articles based around a Q&A session with an imaginary person. It really strikes right at the heart of the matter: that the writer in question can’t actually talk with people in the real world about their silly views.

      Welcome to NC!

    5. JohnnyGL

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/many-in-milwaukee-neighborhood-didnt-vote-and-dont-regret-it.html?_r=0

      “One exception was Justin Babar, who said he voted for Mr. Trump as a protest against Mrs. Clinton. He blamed her husband’s policies for putting him in prison for 20 years.”

      Every time I hear about the election being won by ‘racism’, I keep asking who the non-racist candidate was that ran in the election? Surely, it wasn’t Trump, Clinton or Johnson.

    6. KurtisMayfield

      I didn’t vote for the White anglo-saxon Protestant woman and the White anglo-saxon Catholic male, so I am racist. I am glad that this was clarified for me.

  5. fresno dan

    “‘Each critique of the Carrier deal requires the listener to hold in his or her head several levels of abstraction: ideas about how systems and incentives work, ideas about cause and effect, ideas about how corruption can unfurl or how policy can affect millions of people.

    ======================================================
    It also requires people to hold in their head that little Timmy Geithner was all for the people at AIG who got us into this mess NOT GETTING PROSECUTED, AND GETTING THEIR BONUSES…. because they were the only ones who knew how the grift worked. Repeat not prosecuting and getting bonuses for dozens of other massive corporate oligopolies while in every aspect completely ignoring moral hazard and ANY consistent theory of free enterprise.
    And than the fainting couches for Carrier.
    Do these people REALLY think people don’t remember??????????????? Or in their PR infused world, Bullsh*t has the bouquet of JEROBOAM OF CHÂTEAU MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD, 1945

    1. kimsarah

      You aren’t supposed to remember those little things.
      Just douse your memory with a little Corexit. Does the trick every time.

  6. Tim

    ‘The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.’”

    3 trips to capitol hill doing “citizen outreach” taught me at least one thing: The quickest way to figure out what a lobby/special interest group is about is to read their name and infer the opposite. No joking, it’s probably a 90% accuracy rate to do so.

    1. grayslady

      The same with real estate developments. It’s been said that if you look at the name of a residential real estate development, it will tell you the two things that were bulldozed out of the way in order to make space for all the look-alike houses. “Raven Hill” is sure to mean no more ravens and no more hills.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From our Ministry of Plenty department — more zeroes for the People!

      With the value of Venezuela’s largest banknotes reduced to a few U.S. cents by triple-digit inflation and the currency’s collapse on the black market, the country’s central bank said it will begin circulating higher denomination notes this month.

      New denominations including bills of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 bolivars will start appearing at banks from Dec. 15, according to a Central Bank statement, adding that coins of 10, 50, and 100 bolivars would also be released.

      In this country, no one can set prices based on DolarToday. I’m not going to permit it,” President Maduro said, referring to the website that tracks the black-market exchange rate.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-04/venezuela-to-issue-bigger-bills-this-month-as-currency-plunges

      Well, speaking of DolarToday, it shows 4,139 bolivars per dollar. Thus the new 20,000 bolivar bill is like a fiver here in the Homeland.

      Hope someone’s working on designs for the 50,000 and 100,000 bolivar notes. They’re gonna need them in a few weeks, after the infusion of new bills hikes prices some more.

      1. integer

        Did you get burnt on Venezuela-related financial speculation? Serious question. I mean it sounds like there are some problems there but it does seem to be a pet issue of yours. In any case, it is finance related so don’t take this as me implicitly telling you to leave the topic alone for a while.

    3. Baby Gerald

      Here in New York City, the so-called ‘Rent Stabilization Association’ is, in fact, a coalition of landlords and real estate interests.

    4. Carl

      This sounds like a fun topic! I’ll nominate the Department of Defense (seems like none of those weapons or troops are being used “defensively.”

  7. Tim

    “One of those assumptions is that people will receive information in quantities they can manage. But this election cycle we have all been awash in more information and misinformation than a human being can process.”

    Cognitive biases exist for just this scenario, so hang on to your hats, everybody wing it!

    “I was expecting this to end up with a plea for philosopher kings to guide us rightly. But it calls for critical thinking!”

    This information age we are in is no joke. I feel the only way to prevent it from ruining us all is to make critical thinking coursework mandatory during at least one year of grade school, middle school, high school and college.

    Wishful thinking, I know, but I’ve come to the conclusion that cognitive biases are at the root of about every argument and incorrect decision made in the history of the world, and now we are being forced to double down on them.

  8. EGrise

    Via the military grapevine comes this interesting post from an Australian army officer:

    Why Thucydides Still Matters

    From the conclusion:

    Ultimately, Thucydides’ enduring relevance lies in the fact that he forces us to wrestle with the notion that war, as a contest for power, strips bare human nature under the pressure of conflict—and the results are not appealing.

    Well worth setting aside a few minutes to read, and much more enlightening than a lot of the nonsense currently being kicked around comparing the US to the Roman empire.

    1. philnc

      Just when I was beginning to reconsider my long held opinion that the America has never been imperial Rome reborn, but instead now more closely resembles Athens at the height of its power.

    2. makedoanmend

      If I may, in my most humble opinion, give a big thank you for citing this essay and, indeed, the site – both appeal to me.

      The author (Mark Gilchrist) offers a most coherent and cogent analysis and argumented structure worthy of the topic. The conclusion(s) paragraph is very apt. (I’m going to dissect his entire argument structure as an exercise in rhetoric and use it as a template for other types of argument.)

      My take-away parapgraph:

      “The moral decline of Athens culminated in their decision to invade Syracuse where Athens proved they had become victims of their own success, incapable of seeing risk through potential reward. Athens had lost its grip on reality as it sought to continue expansion because it knew of no other course. This created a “with us or against us; kill or be killed” mentality that demonstrated Athens’ strategic myopia. The strategic culture that existed pre-war where fear at least drove a semblance of rationality in the political objective and strategy was gone. It was replaced by brashness and arrogance that failed to see the strategic vulnerabilities it created.”

      I can’t help but notice that ethics and epistomology (“reality”) are included or implied in much of the essay.

      best

  9. Tom Moody

    Lambert, I’ve nagged you before about this (sorry) — Ron Suskind never identified the Bush “aide” behind the “we’re an empire now” comment. (I thought it might be Scooter “The Aspens” Libby, rather than Rove, but it’s all guesswork since Suskind never elaborated.)

  10. Jim Haygood

    [Apple] shipped just 1.1 million Apple Watches in the third quarter … a 71% drop from the 3.9 million shipped in the year-ago period.

    The dogs won’t lick up the iVomit.

    How about an iQuit designer paperweight?

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps Apple is just ahead of the retro curve. I’m old enough to remember when Dick Tracy had a tv wristwatch and the comic strip also featured blunt nosed brutal looking cars–a look the Chrysler corporation seems to have recently revived. Meanwhile in politics Tailgunner Joe is back and phrases like “fall like dominoes” and “new cold war” give further echoes of the 1950s. Will women soon be turning to old June Allyson movies for fashion tips?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Let’s just hope they don’t turn to Betty Page films, and start spanking us with their hairbrushes. :-0

        1. RMO

          You say that as if it would be a bad thing…

          OK, back to the CrApple topic – I’ve been a Mac and iPod user for years and set my Mum up with two consecutive Mac Minis and an iPad (for travel) over the years. Unless they get their finger out the Macbook I’m typing this on will be my last Apple product. They seem to have turned into a fashion company of late, and a fashion company that makes ugly uncomfortable clothes and berates it’s customers when they complain about it too.

  11. Fiery Hunt

    Re: Bernie

    I don’t care that he endorsed or campaigned for the Almost-Queen.
    He’s still the only politician talking about what’s really going on in America.
    And he’s not shy about calling it what it is. A big festering corruption cesspool.

    And he’ll always have my respect for that.

    1. uncle tungsten

      All the more power to his mind and voice, I say. I perceive he plays a long game and immediate issues do not stampede him to hasty judgements/actions. There is much water and tears to flow along the stream in the next two years and I am sure Bernie Sanders and supporters will be there to move the stepping stones deftly into position where and if they can.

      He has an aura of the aikido master about him and we would be wise to learn the moves and hear the strategy.

  12. financial matters

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38211695

    Former Vice President Al Gore has met President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump to discuss climate policy.

    The meeting “was a sincere search for areas of common ground,” said Mr Gore, a climate change activist.

    During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump called man-made climate change a “hoax” perpetuated by China.

    His daughter Ivanka reportedly wants to make the subject one of her signature issues.

    It is unclear what role she will have in her father’s administration, but he had said that his children would take over his global business interests.

    1. Jess

      I have the feeling that Ivanka is very smart and understands the opportunity presented here. If anything good actually comes out of the Trump presidency, I suspect Ivanka or her husband will have had something to do with it.

    2. voteforno6

      Maybe there’s some hope. Trump seems to value the judgment of his children. If she pushes him on this, maybe he’ll come around.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am grateful Gore and Tusi at least try to present their ideas to Trump, searching for areas of common ground.

      I think there are opportunities to influence his administration, if Bernie chats with Donald.

    4. pretzelattack

      oh, so ivanka believes the science? encouraging. i know gore isn’t the flavor of the month for various reasons, but he’s been right about the issue overall.

      1. integer

        Perhaps it is becoming clear that if one decides to stand up in front of the public and ask them to trust you to make things better for them, and you don’t honestly pursue those ends, that you are going to have your reputation thoroughly trashed to the point that you are considered a walking joke and will be considered an unfortunate stain on the footnotes of history.
        No matter how nice you are to look at.

  13. Eureka Springs

    Thing is, the “seasoned trade negotiators” haven’t done so well, have they?

    Because rancid is the new garlic.

  14. cocomaan

    Re: Standing Rock Vets,
    Michael Wood Jr. is an interesting guy. I’ve known about him for about a year. Former Baltimore cop who has a lot of criticism for the uniform and police brutality. Veteran of the USMC.

    Joe Rogan, the comedian, has at least one podcast with him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndg-JGmYryA It’s a long conversation and meanders, but that’s the nature of Rogan’s podcast. Wood Jr. is very passionate about the topic. That podcast happened right after the Baltimore riots, I remember, and while I don’t agree with everything he says, I think he’s calling for the right reforms.

    He organized the vets and way more than 500 showed up.

    Here’s their gofundme page, raised a million dollars: https://www.gofundme.com/veterans-for-standing-rock-nodapl

      1. cocomaan

        Rallying veterans to engage in civil disobedience and advocating for police reform is going to put him on a few lists. If I were him I’d be very careful and text message my friends about my mental health.

      2. UserFriendly

        I can’t find the Clip but I am 90% sure I remember him being ‘discovered’ by The Real News when they were covering Freddie Grey.

  15. Oregoncharles

    “a dozen individual trade deals with TPP nations, for example, ”
    OK, color me confused. We are presently, right now, trading with every one of those countries, intensively with some of them. Why are “trade deals” even desirable, let alone urgent?

    There’s the WTO, with its own set of problems, but active trade long predates that structure, too. Like, thousands of years. Why are “trade deals” anything but an instrument for corporate privilege?

    1. Jim Haygood

      The original and useful idea behind GATT in 1947 was to reduce global tariff rates, which were high enough in the 1930s and 1940s to distort trade. A chart:

      http://images.slideplayer.com/23/6904791/slides/slide_10.jpg

      By the 1990s, tariffs were low enough not to matter much anymore.

      Then came the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. US trade negotiators went to work for Hollywood, Big Pharma and Walt Disney, instead of the general interest of facilitating trade.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Remember that the DMCA was the US adoption in law of the WIPO treaty on copyright – a group effort of the international IP industry lobbies. One could even say that it created baby IP lobbies all over the world.

  16. Oregoncharles

    ““Top advisor says Hillary Clinton needed no prodding to concede to Donald Trump””
    Permit me a victory lap for my personal conspiracy theory: Since Clinton I was re-elected, the “major” parties have traded the Presidency back and forth, 2 full terms at a time. This includes some very questionable elections, like 2000 and 2004, or for that matter 2012 (and Romney’s lame campaign.) I think they have a deal, behind the scenes. Simplifies things for everyone concerned.

    If anyone is party to that deal, it’s Hillary Clinton. Her campaign was both oddly flaccid and oddly incompetent. I thought this year was going to break the pattern, but it didn’t. I claim vindication.

    How serious am I? I’m not sure. Incompetent campaigns or lousy choices of candidate are pretty common; maybe it’s a coincidence that they work out this way. But there’s no reason to think such a deal is impossible, and it explains a lot that’s otherwise very hard to explain. Incidentally, it’s reassuring: it explains the continuity of policy when the Presidency changes hands, and suggests that Trump won’t make much of a difference, either. Of course, he already has, by blocking the new trade deals. But we don’t mind that, and it might be the main effect.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’m still trying to get over the one, before Nov 8, that Trump was running to help Clinton get back into the White House.

      What will really shock the ‘I have seen it all’ people would be the discovery that Trump is an undercover agent for Hillary.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Walter Karp wrote Indispensable Enemies in 1993 to expose the collusion of the D and R parties to maintain a stable duopoly.

      Eight-year partisan alternation of the presidency has unfolded with almost faultless regularity in the postwar era. It predicted the R party victory in 2016, long before the two parties’ candidates were nominated.

      By 2024, some new Democrat (Tulsi Gabbard?) will bubble up to replace the outgoing Trump administration.

      1. UserFriendly

        Nobody would subject themselves to a year and a half of campaigning if there was no chance of winning. And really? You think a power hungry egomaniac like Hillary would just step aside?

        It won’t be Gabbard in 2024. Outside of the fact that we have Pelosi saying that Dems don’t want to go in a new direction (kill me), or that Gillibrand and Klobuchar are already floating trial balloons for first woman president (kill me again), Gabbard has some shady stuff in her past.

        Even if this stuff is total BS it is probably enough to derail a presidential bid.
        1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/tulsi-gabbard-krishna-cult-rumors_n_6879588.html
        2. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/25/the-bernie-endorsing-congresswoman-who-trump-fans-can-love.html?curator=MediaREDEF
        3. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/2/13/1063158/-What-s-the-matter-with-Kailua-Still-More-on-Tulsi-Gabbard-s-Fundraising

          1. UserFriendly

            None of those are deal breakers for me personally. I just worry about her viability. I don’t understand, why not just say she’s not part of the cult? The duck and weave makes me think she has family that are, which is just the kind of thing HillBots would go nuts over. I haven’t thoroughly dug into the funding one but the cluster of GOP donors makes me wonder…

            My general opinion is that she is very anti war but other than that somewhat policy flexible. Which in and of itself isn’t the end of the world but it could spell trouble.

            I’m still crossing my fingers Nina Turner gets elected to be the next Governor of OH and then runs for president if Bernie doesn’t.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I started from a statement that she did, indeed, “just step aside.” And why was her campaign so languid?

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Thanks. We all sometimes have to do other things besides moderate, but will try to keep up with it as much as we can.

      1. craazyman

        Aren’t you the fake academic who wrote the widely discredited stories about economics they published here last year or a few years ago? Or was that some other Greek individual? I don’t think it was Yanis Varoufakis if my memory serves. I would say it’s all Greek to me but that wouldn’t be funny at all since it’s so obvious and cliché. But Greeks have names that sound alike to me and I can’t tell them apart easily. I’m just being honest.

        I think I remember you now. You’re a fake if that’s who you are! They admitted here that the author of that “analysis” was a fake academic and somebody just made it up. Not a real one who made stuff up. Not that it matters all that much — unless it’s a math or engineering class. If you’re a fake economist it doesn’t matter at all. If you’re a fake liberal arts academic nobody would know anyway. You could be real and fake at the same time.

        Is this a hoax or what? First the newspapers say the Russians are running a porn site here and now this. It’s getting hard to believe anything anymore.

          1. UserFriendly

            Yeah, I assumed you were Yves’s other alter-ego from Academic Choice Theory and then the liberalism series. When Yves announced you were going to help out I almost thought Yves was having a dissociative episode.

            1. integer

              Riddle: A colorless cry from up high senses turbulent weather.

              The answer will not be forthcoming and don’t waste (too much) time with it.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        All we can all chip in and pay for our moderators to take speed reading (or speedier reading) classes.

  17. Daryl

    > The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns

    Also worth noting that everything from the Clinton Foundation to buying private jets for televangelists is a tax writeoff in this country, and that not all Charity is actually charitable.

    1. Oregoncharles

      From the Daily Caller article: ” these so-called ‘researchers’ (Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger and the ‘team’ at PropOrNot).” Now they have names? Anyway, coverage is good. And best of luck with the lawsuit.

      And FYI, in case it’s useful: I just had an opportunity to double-post, because my last previous comment, although posted and replied to, came up in this box when I clicked “Reply.” I deleted it, but evidently it failed to clear when posted. No idea where the glitch occurred, there or in my computer, but I haven’t seen that before.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        I’ve been noticing something along these lines throughout the day – I’ve moderated certain comments and have then seen a copy of exactly the same comment turn up immediately. I’ve been assuming that over-intense clicks were somehow causing the issue and deleting the copies, but it’s possible something on the site is not working properly. Thanks for tipping us off.

        1. pretzelattack

          i think that happened to me the other day; at the time, i just thought i had screwed up somehow.

      2. uncle tungsten

        That’s what happens when a stingray equivalent is between you and the destination site. Data echo is just a glitch that the NSA are yet to rectify. I see the Russians have it sorted over at bellingcat. They even got bellingcat to run fake news on the white helmets.

    2. cnchal

      Once you go NC, it’s hard to get your news anywhere else again, it’s that damned good.

      Next time someone asks about my religion, I’m going to call myself a naked capitalist.

      1. Kokuanani

        I’m at a hotel in Ireland and grateful that their computer will let me access NC. Often blocked at such sites [assume they think it’s porn].

  18. flora

    “The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think” [Margaret Sullivan, WaPo]. But now it’s time to cross another bridge — into a world without facts. Or, more precisely, where facts do not matter a whit. On live radio Wednesday morning, Scottie Nell Hughes sounded breezy as she drove a stake into the heart of knowable reality: ‘There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, of facts,’ she declared on ‘The Diane Rehm Show.’” … “

    And so, post-modern deconstructionism comes to “journalism”.

    1. curlydan

      Facts and truths seem to have everyone in an uproar lately. But as Bob Dylan noted more than 50 years ago:

      “There are no truths outside the Gates of Eden”
      –Gates of Eden

      or

      “You’re right from your side
      I’m right from mine
      We’re both just one too many mornings
      An’ a thousand miles behind”
      –One Too Many Mornings

      1. flora

        Do you suppose the WaPo will claim ‘artistic license’ as a defense for its Prop “reporting” ? ;)

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Deconstructionism seems most appropriate for analysis of propaganda and advertising. To me that’s a much better fit than using it to analyze novels the way my son’s high school teacher did in a final effort at destroying all his interest in reading.

  19. ewmayer

    “Bernie Sanders in San Rafael: Democratic elite to blame for Trump victory” [Marin Independent Journal]. ““I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country…” — uh no, that dishonor goes the nominee installed by the elders of your own corrupt party, who despite overwhelming advantages in insider connections, fundraising, party backing and the entire US mainstream press being blatantly in the tank for her, still managed to be so utterly uninspiring and off-putting as to lose. Like him or not, you continue to underestimate Trump’s astonishing upset feat and the grassroots desperation and widespread elite-caused misery that made it possible at your peril. And in this case the continued underestimation is coming from Sanders, who ‘gets’ the latter issues better than any other member of the elite Dems. Geez, Bernie, what is it gonna take for you to take the direly needed step of publicly and thoroughly repudiating the Clintonites, you know, the same crooks who robbed you of the Presidency and the best chance to actually *do* something about those issues you hold so dear?

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I think he is doing that actually, but without falling into the “if you’re against HER, you’re with HIM!” trap of the smug, bubbled Elite on both coasts. I’m in the Bay Area (where something like 75% voted for the Almost-Queen and where he was speaking). The pearl-clutching and triggering is EPICALLY bad here…it would NOT have been received well if he thrown more dirt on the Clintons political coffin.

      1. Elizabeth

        I’m also in the BA, and I don’t remember when the pearl clutching has been this bad. People are reporting (to their therapists) that they’re becoming physically ill and are breaking down emotionally. Even after GW Bush got in, I don’t remember any of this type of behavior. You’re right that Bernie has avoided the sliming of Clinton, and that’s why people here still listen to him. Unfortunately, I don’t think the bubble people get it yet.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Hey Elizabeth…definitely not yet. And yeah, even a month on, I’m still getting random “OMG, can you believe…? ” in the most inappropriate places/times. And I’m afraid they’ll never “get it”. The disdain and self-righteousness is just too much.

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

          SO MANY in the Bay Area work in banking…or real estate…or Big Pharma…in addition to Big Brother tech..

  20. Daize

    Comment copy pasted from ZH addressed to NC, commenter’s handle = Cutting Edge
    “I’m at a hotel in Fukuoka, Japan. ZH is fine, but NC is blocked by the hotel wireless internet. Clearly this is costing them click revenue. I’m a regular NC reader and has actually met Yves. Can someone let NC know for me?”

      1. UserFriendly

        Never go anywhere without a VPN. I recommend PIA because it is user friendly. Also great for downloading torrents.

  21. Kim Kaufman

    Trump Transition: We can thank President “if you care about my legacy you’ll vote for HIllary” Obama for Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross. According to David Dayan on Sam Seder last week, if Obama had prosecuted these guys for all the fraud they committed in the mortgage crisis, they might just be getting off probation now instead of running the country.

    12/1 David Dayen: Trump’s Housing Foreclosure Crisis Profiteer Cabinet

    http://majority.fm/2016/12/01/121-david-dayen-trumps-housing-foreclosure-crisis-profiteer-cabinet-m/

  22. Adam Eran

    Try this bit of historical rhyme:

    Those of us of a certain age may remember the Watts riots when L.A. black frustration boiled over and destroyed their shopping and community amenities…which took a long time to come back, if ever.

    Donald Trump is such a riot, only caucasians are the rioters now.

    1. pretzelattack

      and that cost those communities dearly, but i think it helped pass civil rights; there was a kind of good cop/bad cop dynamic going on. the bonus army never got their full benefits, iirc, and many got busted heads, but i think they (and bonnie and clyde, et al.) had a similar effect in the 30’s. not to mention the socialists and communists.

  23. ewmayer

    Commodities: “Gold has become an accepted investment in the Islamic world for the first time as it can now be used as a commodity to back Sharia-based financial products, thanks to new standards announced Monday” [Mining.com] — When I was a kid my late Austrian uncle Günter gifted me a silver Maria Theresa taler (modern spelling of thaler) roughly the size of an old US silver dollar. (This coin is still being new-minted with the original 1700s dates as a popular silver commemorative). Turns out the same coin is very popular in much of the Arabian peninsula and nearby areas. Wikipedia explains that the popularity is due to multiple factors, including the ‘big boobs and lots of kids’ ones fro which the Empress was famed in addition to the precious-metal aspect:

    The Maria Theresa thaler (MTT) is a silver bullion coin that has been used in world trade continuously since they were first minted in 1741, at that time using the then Reichsthaler standard of 9 thalers to the Vienna mark. In 1750 the thaler was debased to 10 thalers to the Vienna Mark (a weight approximating a pound of fine silver). The following year the new standard was effectively adopted across the German-speaking world when that standard was accepted formally in the Bavarian monetary convention. It is owing to the date of the Bavarian Monetary convention that many writers erroneously state that the Maria Theresa Thaler was first struck in 1751. It was named after Empress Maria Theresa, who ruled Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia from 1740 to 1780. The word thaler gave rise to daalder and daler, which became dollar in English.

    Since 1780, the coin has always been dated 1780. On 19 September 1857, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria declared the Maria Theresa Taler to be an official trade coinage. A little over a year later, on 31 October 1858, the Maria Theresa Taler lost its status as currency in Austria.

    The MTT could also be found throughout the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Muscat and Oman, and in India. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II, enough people preferred it to the money issued by the occupying forces that the American Office of Strategic Services created counterfeit MTTs for use by resistance forces.[1]

    The MTT came to be used as currency in large parts of Africa until after World War II. It was common from North Africa to Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and down the coast of Tanzania to Mozambique. Its popularity in the Red Sea region was such that merchants would not accept any other type of currency. The Italian government produced a similar designed coin in the hope of replacing the Maria Theresa thaler, but it never gained acceptance.[2]

    The Maria Theresa thaler was also formerly the currency of Muscat and Oman. The coin remains popular in North Africa and the Middle East to this day in its original form: a silver coin with a portrait of the buxom Empress on the front and the Habsburg Double Eagle on the back.[3]

    1. Jim Haygood

      Funny how gold coins retain their value everywhere, even when they AREN’T legal tender for paying taxes.

      Spanish silver dollars served the same function in North America. They remained legal tender in the US until 1857 — but lost none of their value after 1857.

      1. RMO

        Canadian gold and silver “Maple Leaf” coins have a face value in Canadian dollars right on them – I always figured they would be accepted at that value, if one was dumb enough to take $50 in return for an ounce of near pure gold that is.

      2. craazyboy

        Then again, Mitt Romney pointed out that 49% of Americans pay no Federal Income tax and, not so coincidently, the Dollar has lost 49% of it’s value over some period of time.

  24. witters

    Adam Eran: Better to stay docile, then? (Reminds me: “She left the wife-beating bastard, and look where she is now. No money, no home.”)

  25. Optimader

    “I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country,” Sanders said. “But as a loss for the Democratic Party.”

    More a victory for the dumb, crazy, racist guy that understood basic strategy–there is an electoral college. The rest is window dressing.

    someone needs to give the snartest pol in a room a seminar on how tbe electoral system works?

  26. Baby Gerald

    re: #NoDAPL

    LS: ‘I wish I knew a lot more about how this was organized; doesn’t exactly fit any conventional narratives, does it? Reader?’

    Here was a story that was posted over Thanksgiving weekend on CNN: Veterans to deploy for Standing Rock

    It got mentioned on ‘Links’ back on the 23rd or 24th, with notice by Yves that Wes Clark Jr. is involved in the organizing effort, as mentioned in the story.

  27. allan

    UTC CEO says no ‘quid pro quo’ on keeping Indiana plant open [Reuters]

    …Greg Hayes, chief executive of UTC, said Trump did not make threats in negotiations over the plant’s future or raise the company’s U.S. military contracts. …

    “I was born at night but not last night,” Hayes told CNBC. “I also know that about 10 percent of our revenue comes from the U.S. government. And I know that a better regulatory environment, a lower tax rate can eventually help UTC over the long run. And so we weighed all of things in making the decision with the board.”

    UTC, which had revenue of $56 billion in 2015 and owns Pratt & Whitney, has significant U.S. military contracts. …

    Hayes said there was “no quid pro quo” and said Trump did not tell him he would not impose taxes if the plant was kept open. “He simply said, ‘Take a hard look at it,'” Hayes said. …

    File under Things Lawyers Tell Their Clients to Say.

  28. B1whois

    “A fifth of the continent’s 1.6 million railcars are parked in storage yards or along lonesome stretches of rural track” [Wall Street Journal, “Too Many Railcars, Too Little Freight”] A fifth? That seems like rather a lot, particularly with the economy booming the way Democrats say it is.

    I didn’t read the article, but I notice the word “continent” is used, which may provide context to the 1/5th

  29. Procopius

    During the first half of 2016 many writers on economic matters concluded that the rate hike in December 2015 was “likely” a mistake. I look forward to seeing if the phenomenon repreate in 2017. We’re overdue for a recession. It looks like we’re going to stay lucky at least through the first half of CY 2107, but maybe not. They’re just salivating to raise rates a full 100 basis points. At least.

  30. Procopius

    During the first half of 2016 many writers on economic matters concluded that the rate hike in December 2015 was “likely” a mistake. I look forward to seeing if the phenomenon repreats in 2017. We’re overdue for a recession. It looks like we’re going to stay lucky at least through the first half of CY 2107, but maybe not. They’re just salivating to raise rates a full 100 basis points as fast as they can.

Comments are closed.