Links 12/01/16

This is Naked Capitalism’s special fundraiser, to fight a McCarthtyite attack against this site and 200 others by funding legal expenses and other site support. For more background on how the Washington Post smeared Naked Capitalism along with other established, well-regarded independent news sites, and why this is such a dangerous development, see this article by Ben Norton and Greenwald and this piece by Matt Taibbi. Our post gives more detail on how we plan to fight back. 348 donors have already supported this campaign. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal.

100-year-old lobster bought by vegan gets new lease on life Treehugger

Without Major Interventions, the Orca’s Days Are Numbered Truthout

Darwin’s Mistake Jacobin. Amusing review of the latest book by Thomas Friedman, everyone’s favorite NYT op-ed punching bag. Often faulted for his Look Both Ways Before Crossing analysis, not to mention his alarming metaphors, as far as I’m aware, he’s yet to be tarred with the fake news feather.  The review’s not coffee-snortingly funny; in that regard, it’s hard to top Taibbi, whose Friedman takedowns have usefully been collected here: The Definitive Collection of Thomas Friedman Takedowns Jillian C. York.

Deaths in Immune-Therapy Trials Haunt the Experimental Cancer Treatment MIT Technology Review. Warning of the Perils that Lurk at the Cutting Edge.

2016 Post Mortem

Democracy Now! Special: Bernie Sanders on Trump’s Victory & the Need to Rebuild the Democratic Party Democracy Now!

America is No. 1 at this — and it’s not something to brag about We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1! Oh….

Martin Shkreli responds after Sydney Grammar boys make Daraprim Sydney Morning Herald (YY).

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau gives go-ahead to two oil pipeline projects Art Technica. Reminder that oil and gas pipelines are not confined to the US part of North America.

We can cut emissions in half by 2040 if we build smarter cities The Conversation. Useful redirection toward solutions, and away from hysterical handwaving (however justified).



‘We need friends’: In his annual state-of-the-nation address, Putin made it clear he wanted to work with Trump Business Insider. Does this article get Business Insider plunked onto The List? And how about Reuters– the original source of the reporting?

AI Songsmith Cranks Out Surprisingly Catchy Tunes MIT Technology Review

A beginner’s guide to beefing up your privacy and security online Ars Technica. Just a starting point…

Magic mushroom ingredient psilocybin could be key to treating depression – studies Guardian. Who knew?

Growing Far-Right Nationalistic Movements Are Dangerously Anti-Muslim — and Pro-Israel. The never to be missed Glenn Greenwald.


What Is Happening In Syria? Russia Asks West To Stop Its ‘Geopolitical Engineering’ In Middle East International Business Times

Orwell in Oslo: Nobel Institute Honors Kissinger (Again) and Brzezinski Counterpunch

Just 90 companies are accountable for more than 60 percent of greenhouse gases Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. From late October, but still worth reading.

Despite the New York Times liberal wishful thinking, Donald Trump is still in favour of waterboarding Independent. The always astute Patrick Cockburn.

Class Watch

Starving in America The Baffler

Opinion: What happens if Italy votes ‘no’ on Sunday Marketwatch

Why New York’s most beloved stores are dying NYPost

Indian Currency Trainwreck

Demonetisation: Voices From Varanasi, Modi’s Constituency Varanasi, formerly known as Benares, remains one center of India’s handloom industry, where highly-skilled weavers continue to produce exquisite brocades. Worth pointing out that about 1 in 8 of all Indian jobs is in the textiles sector, IIRC. The Wire.

RBI claims there is enough cash to deal with payday rush, but banks say they are out of money

New McCarthyism

President to Grant PCR Russian Passport

Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post — and the journalism it’s practicing The Hill

Wash Post Promotes Shadowy Website That Accuses 200 Publications of Being Russian Propaganda Plants Down With Tyranny

First Draft News This is alarming.

The Washington Post’s Propaganda about Russian Propaganda New Economic Perspectives. Bill Black weighs in with reliably sane analysis.

Remember, America: Hating the press is not American CJR. Pretty words– but how about some acknowledgement of how the WaPo’s weighed in?

The Fake News Fake Story The American Conservative


Inflow of EU citizens drives UK immigration to record 650,000 FT

The Remainers aim to beat Brexit by playing a long game New Statesman

Trump Transition

Conservatives Should Embrace Principled Populism National Review (Phil U).

Goldman Sachs Poised for Return to Power in Trump White House Politico. I guess Lambert is right when he exhorts us to kill them with fire.

Steven Mnuchin’s Defining Moment: Seizing Opportunity From the Financial Crisis WSJ

Trump reverses stance by turning to Goldman alumni for key roles FT

Petraeus Redux? Counterpunch

Donald Trump Transition Team Turns Focus to Homeland Security WSJ

Trump Appoints CFR Member and Former Kissinger Aide to Top Advisory Position Free Thought Project

Wall Street Wins Again as Trump Picks Bankers, Billionaires Bloomberg

The Array of Conflicts of Interest Facing the Trump Presidency Nice to see the grey lady taking an interest, albeit belated, in conflicts issues (which I should emphasize, did not just magically appear and are not limited to who owns Trump Tower).

Donald Trump’s Vow to Exit His Businesses Draws Questions WSJ

Will Trump Bring Neoliberalism’s Apocalypse, or Merely a New Iteration? INET

Steve Mnuchin: Time to Jettison Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Let’s always keep our eyes on the policy ball folks, and look beyond the personalities.

Trump’s takeover of the GOP is now complete WaPo

Antidote du jour. We must always be vigilant:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    Tired Dem donors feel like their money got burned [The Hill]

    Democratic [mega-]donors stung by Hillary Clinton’s upset loss in the presidential race feel like they just set their money on fire.

    The sore feelings are a huge problem for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is trying to rebuild its image and reinvigorate a defeated party in time for challenging midterm elections in 2018. …
    “They’re tired,” one DNC official told The Hill. “They’re upset about the election, and there was significant trauma surrounding the Russians. They’re upset and they’re tired.” [The poor dears.]

    Democratic investors [hahaha] went in on Clinton to the tune of more than $550 million, believing she would dispatch Trump, deliver Democrats the Senate and help the party make inroads into the GOP’s House majority.

    Many liberal donors also viewed the election as an opportunity to cement Obama’s legacy. …

    You can’t make a 21st century Whig Party omelette without breaking some megadonor eggs hearts.

    1. craazyboy

      The poor investor dears are tired – and got a shit ROI. Oh dear. Hold my pearls- I’m falling! The rampant Russian threat too. Do we have nerves of steel??? The stress!

      Someone please – stop me before I eat caviar again!

    2. Kokuanani

      “significant trauma surrounding the Russians”?????

      You mean the DNC’s made-up bullshit actually harmed them? Shot themselves in the face or foot or whatever?

      What poetic justice!

    3. b.

      The only trend that will generate change in the Democratic Party is the loss of large donors. The party is clearly a means to channel money from sponsors to consultants, to ensure post-incumbency career prospects. Just look at Russ “I’ll wait” Feingold, who was perfectly happy to PAC-hibernate (instead of e.g. challenging Walker)
      or Nacy “We cannot be taking the full responsibility for what happened in the election” Pelosi whose whole career has been about electing other Democrats

      If the dupes in Hollywood that filled the “Hillary Victory Fund” money laundering machine – how many millions did Clinton hold back unspent for post-election 2018 buy-outs? – or the “butter both sides” representative investment class are realizing that the party is not exactly focused on elections outside the party – and content to live with incumbency erosion slowed to a halt due to gerrymandering – then maybe they will close the spigot. It is surely the only venue in which Brock are going to lose out – so far it has been “win or lose, the consultants win” by means of “donate NOW, it gets worse every day”.

    4. Michael

      I feel that this is actually a big in for the folks who are looking to get beyond idpol. “It doesn’t matter if you think it’s right; it doesn’t work. Time to try something which did work in ’06 and ’08.”

    5. gizzardboy

      The donor/investors at fund raisers late in the campaign were sure they were buying access and influence in the upcoming Clinton Administration. It’s no wonder they were upset by their bad investments.

    6. Altandmain

      If you think about it, this could be a time to say no to the donors and to actually build a party that serves the public.

      The Democrats will never do that of course.

  2. JTMcPhee

    Interesting choice of antidote image. A raptor, vigilantly looking for prey, and also captive of some human (note the jesses, or soft shackles, around the ankles.) “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”? I’ve always wondered at the ambiguities and undefined referents in that seemingly simple oxymoronic shibboleth…

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Oops! Just noticed the shackles– not the image I was hoping to convey. Perhaps my subconscious is more subtle than I credit…and there’s something more interesting to discuss here?

      1. Cry Shop

        Like the eagle on the great seal, which is hauling lumber on one hand or talon and waging war on behalf of it’s masters with the other, and waving propaganda banner of unity in thought. Both are great metaphors for the attention(distraction?) economy and the ultimate subjugation of everything to capitalism.

      2. Quank

        JL- what kind of bird is that, a Peregrine or something else? Do you know?

        Very apt metaphor. I would add that just b/c someone is shackled doesn’t mean they can’t be vigilant, just within certain bounds. Note the talons — I wouldn’t want to get hit with those … its the same way I feel about some of the great work posted to this site (glad I am not the target).

        Its actually a perfect metaphor and antidote for the times.

        1. KFritz

          It appears to be a red tailed hawk, which is popular with falconers. Someone mentioned “breaking” raptors. They can be captured, held captive, and ‘directed,’ but I venture to say they are not ‘broken.’

      3. craazyboy

        I think it may be merely fashionable Falcon real leather footwear, but craazyman knows more about shoes than I do.

        1. juliania

          As we notice the leggings we might also pay attention to what the hawk/eagle is grasping – not prey or a tree branch but a tire. I take this as a warning similar to the one about plastics in the ocean – when all your run-of-the-mill raptor has to grapple with is a tire the world is rapidly becoming unsuitable for habitation.

          Give up your cars, people! Walking is good for the soles. (Of your feet, that is, not your shoes – but shoemakers everywhere will prosper.)

    2. integer

      Clearly it wasn’t vigilant enough to avoid being captured in the first place. It is now a broken animal, working on behalf of its masters. To me, it is a visual metaphor for humans and intellectual capture, which we’ve seen a lot of lately.

        1. integer

          I have no interest in conducting any further analysis of this photo, which is not to say that you shouldn’t if you want to.

          1. pretzelattack

            it was a general response, on the topic. which is not to say you should investigate it if you don’t want to.

            1. integer

              To be honest I am wary of any responses from you since you dragged me into an endless conversation about how to teach one’s self physics. I do know your heart is in the right place though and I’m sure we can happily coexist here.

              1. pretzelattack

                i dont remember dragging you into an endless discussion. i don’t remember any endless discussions about physics in here.

                    1. HBE

                      For some reason I found the “endless discussion of physics” thread hilarious. Nearly spit my coffee out at “…I’m willing to move past it.”

        2. JTMcPhee

          If one reads that link through, one ought to really appreciate the shallowness of our marvelously homocentric species. What a marvelous metaphor.

          At least the raptor used in the hunt has a sort of choice about whether to return to the gloved fist, or go off to “the wild.” I guess people living under bridges have exercised such a choice? No?

          “Do they come back to you when you release them?

          That’s the way it is supposed to work. When hunting, the falconer takes off her equipment, releases the bird, and starts to get game up for the hawk to chase. The falconer may decide to change to a different location or stop hunting for the day altogether, and will call the hawk down to the fist. Just in case she does not come down, or has been chased away by a larger hawk, most falconers fly their bird with telemetry which transmits radio signals for the falconer to find the bird. In a way, we’re like bird watchers who bring our own birds to the field. At the end of the day the birds get to decide if they want to go back home with us or return to the wild. ” Ibid. (emphasis added)

          Interesting conversation starter, J-L. Freedom!

      1. BecauseTradition

        What am I missing? Can’t a falcon simply fly away if it gets tired of its master?

        Besides, humans are fascinating creatures in our own right. Isn’t that why cats like to keep us as pets? :)

        1. a different chris

          >humans are fascinating creatures

          No we aren’t. Cats like to keep us because we provide cheap warmth and food, we are otherwise physically inept and obviously stupid and thus can be ignored/replaced whenever the mood strikes.

          That’s a good point about falcons that I’ve always wondered about. Do they sometimes just fly away? Bet they do.

          1. Clive

            Hmm… I’m not entirely sure. The most complex relationship I have is with my mother in law’s cat. And if she confuses and beguiles the heck out of me, my intuition tells me I do the same to her. Well, except maybe the beguiling part. I’m maybe not the beguiling type. And that’s just an occasional visitor relationship. For her owner, there’s layers upon layers.

            Oh, and when my own mother died, miss her though I did, I never cried for a second. I’ve never been the sort to get all maudlin about the passing of a human being. But when my dog died twenty years ago, I cried for a week. That was genuine, heart wrenching grief.

        2. nihil obstet

          Great movie about a boy and his falcon: Kes. It’s a Ken Loach film, of whom I am a big fan. It shows the training.

  3. Bugs Bunny

    From everything I’m reading about Indian demonitization, it’s an unmitigated disaster for anyone not in the upper middle class or higher – and the Modi government keeps lying about the extent of the policy failure. Are there still any positive views on this, perhaps in the non-English Indian press?

    If I were in India right now I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to cope very well, knowing how hard it is to even get change for a 1000 rupee note in “normal” times, especially in the countryside.

    1. Clive

      The reliably unreliable Times of India still resolutely carrying the torch for demonetisation such as “tech will solve the problem” boosterism and “the US welcomes the move” flag-waving (why is it that we all — here in England too — still look for US approval like small children hoping for a helping of candy if we make nice to Auntie America?)

      And they have Naked Capitalism on the naughty step for fake news? Obviously they missed the ToI off their list…

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Thanks Clive. I only read ToI for the Speaking Tree and the humour column so I’ve missed these.

        Funny that State Department statement. Maybe they had to show some love to Modi after Trump’s call with Nawaz Sharif yesterday: Trump spreads delight and dismay with phone call to Pakistan (FT)

        “On being invited to visit Pakistan by the prime minister, Mr Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people.”

      2. BecauseTradition

        Well, one bad thing about physical fiat is that it allows the fig leaf that we aren’t all slaves to a government-privileged usury cartel since we can all (for the moment at least, to some extent) still use unsafe, inconvenient bills and coins instead of being forced to lend to a bank (a deposit is legally a loan).

        Once that fig leaf is eliminated then slavery to the usury cartel will stand forth in stark nakedness and then maybe, if not before, we can get fundamental reform wrt fiat and credit creation.

      3. voteforno6

        Other countries look to the U.S. for approval? One would hope that the election of Trump would change that.

        1. JTMcPhee

          So now we are the crazy uncle with the .380 in his waistband and the attic full of loaded guns — the one who dispenses funny and scary experiences and inappropriate presents, and also tickles you until you scream to be let alone. Who for some idiotic reason we want to still please, while laughing behind his back.

        2. RabidGandhi

          Yeah because electing war criminals Obama, Bush, Clinton, the other Bush, Reagan…. was all normal, but electing a guy who talked about grabbing p***sies is crossing some red line.

      4. RabidGandhi

        why is it that we all — here in England too — still look for US approval like small children hoping for a helping of candy if we make nice to Auntie America?

        Thank you for this, and please forward it to the South American oligarchs. Living in the Imperial Backyard, this madness is particularly rampant here. The Latin American populist governments were all accused of “being isolated from the world”, but now that we have moved on to more “business-friendly” governments, we are more isolated than ever. Isolated from the 136 countries that backed not caving to Vulture Funds; isolated from the vast worldwide consensus on Palestinian freedom; isolated from our own region by turning our back on Mercosur; isolated from the UN because of political prisoners like Milagro Sala… etc.

        Yet this isolation is sold here as integration because it is pleasing to Tío Sam, with the new regional presidents returning to the US “as a dog returns to its vomit”. But there is a group of elites that will return to Auntie USA because they do in fact get sloppy left over candy from auntie while the rest of the continent starves.

    2. a different chris

      You have created a really good blurb, we need some way to shorthand it. I’m referring to:

      From everything I’m reading about _________, it’s an unmitigated disaster for anyone not in the upper middle class or higher – and the ____ government keeps lying about the extent of the policy failure.

      We could have a plugin that goes something like BB(subject name,government leader name) and it would be automatically expanded.

      So a year of so from now I could simply type BB(tax policy,Trump) and it would expand nicely.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        I’m chagrined but damn it if you’re not right. This could fit with about any stupid neolib policy decision.

      2. Skip Intro

        would that work?

        From everything I’m reading about Obamacare, it’s an unmitigated disaster for anyone not in the upper middle class or higher – and the Obama government keeps lying about the extent of the policy failure.

        looks like it… sweet.

      3. Wombat

        Indeed, a perfect snow clone, albeit one unlikely to be used by the MSM except for third world governments.

  4. Leigh

    Regarding Trump’s Cabinet Picks:

    They say failure is a great teacher-I would agree with that.

    However, America has people in power who are insulated from failure’s side-effects. The side effects get passed down the line. The lessons never gets learned. THIS is the real trickle-down economics.

    Like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” – We are doomed to slog through another 4 years of the same old same old, paying the price of failure on behalf of our elected officials.

    1. JTMcPhee

      At least Bill Murray’s character (a crass, egocentric, self-promoting Mainstream Media bullsheeter) took the opportunity to clarify his spiritual essence with each cycle through the karmic mill… Somehow I don’t think Mnuchin (rhymes with Munchkin?) or Betray-us the all-purpose General or any of the rest will be looking for anything even remotely like rendering themselves worthy to get into bed with Andie MacDowell and share True Beautiful Everlasting Love… Imagine Thomas Friedman or Jeff Bezos or Rupert Murdoch or Wolf Blitzer or Rachel Maddow in the role?)

    2. optimader

      America has people in power who are insulated from failure’s side-effects

      They are willing to take full responsibility when that means moving forward rather than dwelling in the past. The past can be so confusing..

    3. tongorad

      A made a short stop at Boeing a few careers ago. There I learned the memorable maxim: “Fuck up, promote up.”

      Consequences are for little people and other non-winners.

    4. RabidGandhi

      My personal hunch is that Trump believes his own propaganda about “draining the swamp” and he thinks that even though his rolodex is thin, that he will nevertheless be able to smack down any dissent amongst his cabinet picks (ala Pence after the VP debate). Meanwhile, the trickle-down, failing upward ricebowl eunuchs in DC believe otherwise (eg: they still think they will be implementing TPP).

      Being an eternal pessimist, my money’s on the trickle-down, failing-upward ricebowl eunuchs, but I do pray for plenty of high level “You’re Fireds” in the coming months.

  5. integer

    Electoral College voters form group to block Trump presidency

    Electoral College voters based in Colorado have formed a political non-profit to block Donald Trump from the presidency.

    According to The Denver Post, Michael Baca, a Democratic elector, filed paperwork Tuesday with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to create the “Hamilton Electors,” a group able to fundraise unlimited donations from individuals, corporations and labor unions for political reasons.

    The goal of the group is to convince Republican and Democratic Electoral College voters to unify behind a Republican alternative for President or force an Electoral College deadlock.


      1. jsn

        These people had a lot invested in Dollary. They’re willing to take a hair cut, but trying to avoid a total loss.

    1. ambrit

      If I remember correctly, the other time this was tried was back in the days of the Dixiecrats. Like today, it was an attempt to support an anti federal republican ideology. Then it was white supremacism, today it is elite supremacism. Either way it’s a bitter ender desperation play. The real goal of all this looks to be a delegitimization of the Trump presidency through perception management.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I might offer that the “Trump Presidency” is de-legitimized in the womb, but that implies that there is any kind of standard for what constitutes “legitimacy” in this political economy.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Of Goldman, by Goldman, for Goldman…. would seem to be an appropriate common ‘legitimate’ denominator.

          I would gently remind Lambert it is FIRE which is killing us. But hey, I’m just an orca hugger looking for a paper ballot.

      2. David

        Just asking, but presumably there’s no logical reason why the same tactic could not be used by the Republicans in states that Clinton won. Imagine: an election overtly for sale to the highest bidder! What fun.

        1. craazyboy

          If we played this right, it’s an opportunity to get rich people and corporations to pay taxes. Create a Citizen’s United Super Pac named, say, Uncle Sam. If Uncle Sam can raise a fee of $5 Trillion, he gets to name the Prez, but the $5 Trillion goes towards paying off the National Debt. We’d be debt free in 4 election cycles!

          1. Inode_buddha

            It almost reminds me of that article in
            The Onion where the american people up and hired a lobbying firm to represent them in Congress.

      3. Carolinian

        Needless to say both nullification in the 19th cent and the Dixiecrats found a home here in the cockpit of secession. SC’s Strom Thurmond could stand as the intellectual forefather of the new rebels. But then as in Jim Crow times it’s not about ideas at all but about “identity.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      … Michael Baca, a Democratic elector …

      In Japanese, baka means “fool.”

      In other electoral news, Silly Jilly gets foiled again:

      A Montgomery County PA judge has dismissed the petitions of voters in 78 precincts to recount votes or forensically analyze voting machines.

      Judge Bernard A. Moore heard arguments from attorneys representing Jill Stein’s campaign on why the campaign believed the final tally may not be correct. On the other side of the aisle, attorneys for the Montgomery County Board of Elections and the Pennsylvania campaign of President-elect Donald Trump called the arguments a “fishing expedition.”

      The judge did not give an explanation of his dismissal, but objections made by Solicitor Nicole Forzato focused on two areas: first, that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that the machines had been tampered with in any way and second, that the petitions were not filed properly with the proper fees.


      1. Uahsenaa

        It’s actually more childish than that. Aho is closer to “fool” than baka.

        It’s more like calling someone “dummy.”

        1. JoeK

          If someone cuts you off in traffic because that’s what they do, how they drive and act towards others, they’re an aho. If they just don’t know how to drive, they’re a baka or bakayarou. So baka is actually closer to fool, aho to jerk as in stupid but also can be intentionally or a-holish as well. IME.

    3. Anne

      So, the goal is not about subbing in Clinton for Trump, but about subbing in a more “acceptable” Republican either at the EC level, or by throwing it into the House:

      In the case of an Electoral College deadlock or if no candidate receives the majority of votes, a “contingent election” is held. The election of the President goes to the House of Representatives. Each state delegation casts one vote for one of the top three contenders to determine a winner.

      Given the current GOP/Dem split in the House, on what planet do these people think Trump will not win a majority of votes? “Top three” contenders would be Clinton, Trump and Gary Johnson, no? What Republican in his or her right mind would risk casting a vote for someone other than Trump if Trump – notoriously vindictive – is likely to prevail?

      I also note that this group is looking for Democratic support among the electors in its goal of finding a more acceptable Republican to install in the WH – so this is not a case of voting on the basis of popular vote totals, but of choosing some other Republican – which kind of makes no sense to me. “We want a Republican, but not THIS Republican.” Oh, okay.

      As for what Democratic electors would do, I guess there would be some Dems who might vote for a different Republican to keep Trump out, but overall, I fail to see how this group accomplishes anything – it for sure is not going to hand Clinton the job.

      I just don’t see this going anywhere, or anywhere good, at least. If these people were so opposed to Trump, maybe they should have worked harder to deny him the nomination in the first place.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        if I understand it correctly, a block of faithless electors could unite on a specific candidate, even if this candidate did not even run in the 2016 election, not even on a tiny minor party without any ballot access. For example, Mitt Romney. This faithless elector group could be in sync with the Establishment Congress Rs like Paul Ryan.

        So let’s say ~40 of Trump’s 306 electoral vote electors vote as a block for Mint RawMoney. Then no candidate would have the required 270 EVs, & the Top3 would be Trump, HClinton, & RawMoney. The US House would vote on the candidate, & RawMoney would get a plurality if the Congress Rs similarly vote as a block, & thus would an Establishment R like RawMoney would be installed as Pres in Jan 2017.

        Am I understanding the notion correctly?

        Having said that, I doubt it is likely for this Faithless Elector plan to work. HClinton already conceeded. The Establishment Rs & Trump seem to have made a trade: Est Rs verbally fellate Trump in return for Trump (again) flip floppin to neoliberal Paul Ryan-style Est R orthodoxy on most issues, perhaps with a few exceptions like killing TPP. RawMoney himself maybe offered Sec State role, despite RawMoney lacking any diplomatic experience. Perhaps ConManDon Trump is “buying off” RawMoney to avoid any such Faithless Elector plan from developing.

  6. MtnLife

    Not surprising hallucinogens help with depression. A lot of the recent studies on depression indicate that it is more a sense of disconnectedness masquerading as other symptoms. Hallucinogens excel at dissolving barriers and making you at one with the universe. It is hard to feel disconnected when you realize there is no separation between you and the rest of creation. My personal experience with this wasn’t with mushrooms (they make me throw up if they are any good) but with LSD. 12 years of untreated depression that was running rampant over my life was temporarily halted with my first experience. I say temporarily because it is not a panacea, it does require some outside work to supplement the drugs effects. On the neurochemistry side, people suffering from depression generally have very low levels of BDNF. At the end of an acid trip (will have to check on the mushroom effect) your body dumps a large load of BDNF into your brain causing, in my experience, roughly a week’s worth of symptom remediation. Being a serotonin agonist isn’t a bad thing either.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems to me if we don’t know the exact cause of depression and if we don’t know how a remedy works exactly, it should be handled with caution.

      It will be a personal decision, though often the government doesn’t allow that (What? I can’t smoke tobacco in my own public housing unit? I hope weed is legal and OK. Why making it legal if we can’t? So, there will be class action lawsuits against weed marketers later?)

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      My experience with mushrooms pulled back the veil from more than my perceptions of the physical world. I learned of feelings and concerns hidden behind my inability to face them. I was with the girl I lived with at that time and I clearly saw we were not right for each other — no fights or arguments — I learned my heart.

    3. UserFriendly

      Yup, not surprising at all. Ketamine, aka Special K, is currently also in phase III clinical trials for relieving depression. Ketamine is a dissociative, at very high doses it is known to put users in a k-hole; a generaly pleasurable feeling where users feel detached from their body. Interesting how both increasing or decreasing your sense of attachment to your body does wonders for depression.

  7. Bunk McNulty

    The Post story on the closing of retail stores in Manhattan never quite gets around to the real problem: Astronomical rents. This is from 2014, but the story hasn’t changed.

    Retail’s Crystal Ceiling (The Real Deal/New York Real Estate News)

    1. optimader

      retail stores in Manhattan never quite gets around to the real problem: Astronomical rents

      I guess that means the stores are leaving and will never come back?/s

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I suspect you don’t see robot-shoppers in those stores, either.

        Robot shoppers buy online only, I am being told.

      2. Bunk McNulty

        I have no crystal ball. But this seems nuts to me:

        “The average asking rent for ground floor space on Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 59th streets, increased eight percent year-over-year to $3,420 per square foot, and was the highest asking rent of any Manhattan retail corridor. In Times Square, along Broadway and Seventh Avenue and between 42nd and 47th streets, average ground floor asking rents rose by seven percent over the last year to $2,317 per square foot.”

        REBNY Retail Report

        1. allan

          There are a lot of empty storefronts in lower Manhattan.
          FiDi is so crowded that no one goes there anymore.

      3. Dave

        I wonder how much those rents are caused by low interest rates allowing speculators to borrow to buy buildings and then raising rents to make the payments? If the same landlords have owned these buildings for decades, then I am wrong. If not….

        Michael Hudson’s book, Killing the Host is very educational on this and dozens of other hidden concepts that people don’t think about outside of the financial sector.

        Another little detail, the country’s in a recession, maybe a depression? All this pretending about how great things are is wearing a little thin relative to student loans, car loans, Obamacare payments, credit card loans…all that debt that Hudson elaborates on adds up and kills retail of any kind except basic foodstuff and energy.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Makes those lucky ones feel like they are in the Roaring Teens, amidst conspicuous consumption.

          Shopping at those ritzy stores.

  8. Carolinian

    Timberg strikes again

    The initiative grows out of a bill authored in March by Portman and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.” It initially sprang from a desire to help independent journalists and nongovernmental organizations in European nations such as Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia, which face a heavy tide of Russian propaganda.

    But the context shifted in recent months as independent experts warned that Russia was carrying out an intensive propaganda campaign during the U.S. election season. The effort helped push misleading reports on the Internet and into voters’ social-media feeds, experts concluded.[…]

    “In the wake of this election, it’s pretty clear that the U.S. does not have the tools to combat this massive disinformation machinery that the Russians are running,” Murphy said in an interview.[…]

    So Back to the Fifties continues with the WaPo’s intrepid reporter on the beat.

    1. knowbuddhau

      What, no clever acronym? I suggest CRAPOLA – Countering Russian Aggressive Propaganda Oh Lord Above.

    2. Jim Haygood

      $160 million to combat foreign gov disinfo, while the US itself spends $211 million on Voice of America, $108 million on Radio Free Europe, $27 million on Radio Marti, etc — all adding up to $713 million at the BBG (Broadcasting Board of Governors, not Bloomberg).

      So who IS Jeffrey Shell, chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors? He’s from Hahhhhhvid (natch) and works for NBCUniversal:

      Got that shoulder tap to join the CFR yet, Jeff? ;-)

      What will our next Sec State, who sits on the BBG board as an ex officio member, do about America’s own fake news outlets?

      1. a different chris

        haha I forgot about Radio Marti. WTF could they possibly be doing nowadays? “Hey remember how bad Fidel was? Yeah, wow he was really bad. Now for a commercial break…”

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      For two days now I’ve been trying to go to the Prop Or Not website, to which I was able to surf when the story first broke. However now when I type propornot dot org into the URL line on Firefox it redirects me to of all places – Ta Daa – the Naked Capitalism home page! Has anyone else had this experience? Does anyone know what’s going on?

      1. Laruse

        You are correct, though. propornot.ORG does take you directly to NC. The same address with .COM takes you to the intended website.

        Yves? This is VERY clever if you thought it up. If a benevolent contributor bought the domain on behalf of NC, then I offer them my gratitude.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Whoa, that’s pretty subversive.

          Need a new rhyming subhead under NC … Propaganda or not? Let the people decide!

        2. Steve H.

          Hmm. A bot linking to the .org url could drive the NC link to the top of the search algo results.

          Just sayin’.

        3. craazyman

          If naked capitalism really wants to get into the pro-Porn business they need to post pics of hot women wearing less than scanty dresses. That pic from a few days ago left too much to the imagination for the Porn business. There’s a lot of competition out there!

          “Pro-Porn-OT” probably isn’t the best website name if you want to be taken seriously as a Russian influence hunter. Unless if course you’re looking for “Gorgeous Russian women who want to meet successful American men”. hahahahahaha

          OK, back to serious analysis . . . The Dallas Cowboys could be for real this year. That would be a striking turn of events for sure. We should have beaten them last week but it was not to be. That’s why I read the Post, Redskins coverage! That’s the one thing they do well. Also, regional news is OK. It must be demoralizing to see your employer shlt on itself while you’re working hard and taking your job seriously,

      2. Otis B Driftwood

        Ah, is on the same subnet as So I suspect that is an honest redirect. I also checked the domain registrations for and – different registrations (both admin privacy protected), so it’s impossible to say who manages those for sure. Both NC and are using the cloudfare name servers. Yves, do you own the domain?

        1. Yves Smith

          We bought all their related URL and are redirecting them to us for the moment. That is a sign of how unprofessional they are, that they didn’t tie down the URLs.

          1. Roger Smith

            Part of me thinks that this was a satirical joke that WaPo blindly fell for and bit into. Especially looking at the tweet quality of propornot

            Either way, great move!

          2. Oregoncharles

            They should be careful whom they attack. Congratulations.

            Now, there’s Steve H’s little note, up above.

            And does anyone know any good hackers? We really ought to know who’s behind propornot. That name also has some possibilities, as craazyman pointed out. Have a hard time getting past “porn” in the middle.

    4. integer

      European nations such as Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia, which face a heavy tide of Russian propaganda.

      A heavy tide of Russian propaganda, lapping onto the shores of lands made from US/NATO propaganda.

    5. OIFVet

      Good lord, our propaganda is better than their propaganda! It was an year ago that newly appointed ambassador to BG Eric Rubin promised to lead an “aggressive anti-Russian propaganda” in Bulgaria ( This was on top of the millions of dollars that the America For Bulgaria Foundation had already spent on funding “independent media”. Rubin and the Foundation succeeded brilliantly, judging by the fact that a new president was elected in BG who ran his campaign on the explicit promise to normalize relations with Russia. So it appears that the once mighty soft and dollar powers don’t go very far these days. Including inside the good ole homeland itself.

      In any event, will somebody explain to me why it is OK for the US and its ambassadors to meddle in the politics and in the media environment in other countries, but its not OK when Russia allegedly does the same? Because we are so exceptional and indispensable as a nation? Because we are so great and our system is so fair that McCarthyist attacks on dissenters are apparently back in vogue?

      1. flora

        “spent on funding “independent media”. ”

        Wonder if the “independent media” was a repurposed HAL9000 computer running an AI ‘agit prop news creation’ algorithm.. True AI is just around the corner. /s

    6. John Wright

      Given how the Washington Post and New York Times fell behind GW Bush’s WMD and the need to go to war in Iraq, if Times/WaPo had any of Joseph Welch’s “sense of decency” he asked of McCarthy, the Times and WaPo would admit they were (perhaps quite willingly) played by the US government to spread USA propaganda leading to the unethical Iraq War.

      At the time, the WMD meme seemed a paranoid fantasy. For if Saddam actually had WMD’s why would he want to use them and inflame the powerful USA with 10x his population and an advanced and massive military?

      The USA has been using propaganda for a long time as it pushes its citizens to support the latest USA military effort (Vietnam, Iraq I, Iraq II, Ukraine, Kosovo, Libya, and maybe eventually Syria).

      Woodrow Wilson promoted “making the world safe for democracy” nearly 100 years ago by entering WWI

      With the control of the WW media by USA and European interests, it should be obvious that the USA has considerably more propaganda tools than Russia.

      Chris Murphy should be investigating the USA’s use of propaganda at home and abroad rather than promoting an alleged “Propaganda gap” with Russia.

      1. JTMcPhee

        USA using propaganda? It’s in the Imperial DNA: “Who paid the piper: The CIA and the cultural cold war,”

        “This book provides a detailed account of the ways in which the CIA penetrated and influenced a vast array of cultural organizations, through its front groups and via friendly philanthropic organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The author, Frances Stonor Saunders, details how and why the CIA ran cultural congresses, mounted exhibits, and organized concerts. The CIA also published and translated well-known authors who toed the Washington line, sponsored abstract art to counteract art with any social content and, throughout the world, subsidized journals that criticized Marxism, communism, and revolutionary politics and apologized for, or ignored, violent and destructive imperialist U.S. policies. The CIA was able to harness some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West in service of these policies, to the extent that some intellectuals were directly on the CIA payroll. Many were knowingly involved with CIA “projects,” and others drifted in and out of its orbit, claiming ignorance of the CIA connection after their CIA sponsors were publicly exposed during the late 1960s and the Vietnam war, after the turn of the political tide to the left.

        “U.S. and European anticommunist publications receiving direct or indirect funding included Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, New Leader, Encounter and many others. Among the intellectuals who were funded and promoted by the CIA were Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Isaiah Berlin, Stephen Spender, Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell, Dwight MacDonald, Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, and numerous others in the United States and Europe. In Europe, the CIA was particularly interested in and promoted the “Democratic Left” and ex-leftists, including Ignacio Silone, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Anthony Crosland, Michael Josselson, and George Orwell.

        “U.S. and European anticommunist publications receiving direct or indirect funding included Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, New Leader, Encounter and many others. Among the intellectuals who were funded and promoted by the CIA were Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Isaiah Berlin, Stephen Spender, Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell, Dwight MacDonald, Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, and numerous others in the United States and Europe. In Europe, the CIA was particularly interested in and promoted the “Democratic Left” and ex-leftists, including Ignacio Silone, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Anthony Crosland, Michael Josselson, and George Orwell.

        “What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art’s sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted “committed” house “hacks” of the Stalinist apparatus.

        “It is impossible to believe their claims of ignorance of CIA ties. How could they ignore the absence in the journals of any basic criticism of the numerous lynchings throughout the southern United States during the whole period? How could they ignore the absence, during their cultural congresses, of criticism of U.S. imperialist intervention in Guatemala, Iran, Greece, and Korea that led to millions of deaths? How could they ignore the gross apologies of every imperialist crime of their day in the journals in which they wrote? They were all soldiers: some glib, vitriolic, crude, and polemical, like Hook and Lasky; others elegant essayists like Stephen Spender or self-righteous informers like George Orwell. Saunders portrays the WASP Ivy League elite at the CIA holding the strings, and the vitriolic Jewish ex-leftists snarling at leftist dissidents. When the truth came out in the late 1960s and New York, Paris, and London “intellectuals” feigned indignation at having been used, the CIA retaliated. Tom Braden, who directed the International Organizations Branch of the CIA, blew their cover by detailing how they all had to have known who paid their salaries and stipends (397-404).”

        Not going to be fixed.

        1. aletheia33

          JTMcPhee, thanks for the link. this is very timely. so few seem to recognize/understand the genesis of our situation today in the cold war.

          1. JTMcPhee

            One might offer and observe that the roots (explored to some extent in the book itself) go way back before the Cold War period. Of course there is no such thing as a “Deep State,” now is there? All just silly conspiracy theorizing… It’s just that there’s a confluence of interests and personalities and opportunities and resources that somehow lead to there being a pretty small group of people at any given time who can move some pretty long levers to make things come out in ways that keep the non-existent players and “members of the Big Club” (I always took Carlin to refer to the mass and heft of the club, not the number of members) on top.

            What I would like to know is what end(s) these people are so assiduously and determinedly and constantly working toward… Is “the future” really “Soylent Green” and “Mad Max” and “On The Beach”? what do these people possibly gain, the Davosians and the Bilderburgians and the Kochians and what-all? They mostly shun notoriety and publicity, work in the shadows. I don’t know enough about Russia and China to speculate on whether the phenomenon is universal, or just where the “West” and its imperial boot have trod — the wild-a$$ guess is “probably.”

            These few have what us ordinary people lack: an organizing principle, which for them appears to be pretty simply stated as “MORE, ON THE WAY TO ALL,” and sadly so many of us just yearn to take part in the looting… And if there were a small group of people with the skills to use our new global vulnerability to identify the parasites and cut the legs and assets out from under them, how long would it be before the seductions of power and pleasure and wealth would lead to just another bunch of parasites, more capable than the original set, or maybe that is already the flow of the process — hackers hired after successful intrusions to join the Small Collective as security or to take a place on the Stairway to Heaven?

            So we can judiciously study what they do, if we can even perceive the motions and effects, and they will have moved on to do those other acts that the Neocon spokesperson, Rove, told us they are always busily doing, ahead of the perceptions of the mopery, beyond “regulation” or correction and certainly immune to retribution or restitution…

            Query: Will Dick Cheney and Kissinger get state funerals, if they happen to die before the massive investment that the filthy rich are making in prolonging their parasitical lives pays off in essential immortality, to go with what us mopes would call their immorality, and they can go on preying pointlessly on the rest of us ad infinitum, ad astrem? With lots of the “working class,” unable to do other than go along, doing their bidding in looting the rest of the available resources and killing the other half of the working class?

            Me? I’m personally just going to sit over here in the corner, like so:

            1. shinola

              When/if Cheney dies (gots my doubts about him actually being human) I hope he’s buried in some publicly accessible place. I would love to personally, uh, “water” his grave.

            2. integer

              It’s probably just like the dishonest accountant who can’t take any time off, lest someone else looks over their books. When (not if) it all comes unstuck there are going to be many names that history will remember in the way it does Hitler. That seems to me to be a pretty big motivational factor to keep the charade going, especially considering the vanity of the “leaders”. These people are high functioning but mentally ill imo.

  9. MtnLife

    Re: First Draft News

    Does this plus “The List” look/feel like lines being drawn in the sand and/or the elite closing ranks to anyone else? Another case of “You’re either with us or against us” – Bush’s global terror policy come home to roost.

    1. craazyboy

      I wouldn’t start worrying ’till the NYT, WaPo, The Council on Foreign Relations, and The Peterson Foundation re-incorporate as The Ministry of Truth, Inc. and give Soros, Dimon, Blankfien and the Kochs board seats.

      1. juliania

        Five Eyes is morphing into Five Ears (or more.) But it’s probably something innocuous like self serve gas stations and check outs and companies not advertising their customer service addresses and if you don’t own a credit card you’re dead meat at the grocery store.

        Things like that.

  10. Lynne

    This has been said before, but still puzzling. How can anyone take seriously as self-proclaimed internet and propaganda experts an outfit that insists on anonymity and calls itself pro porn OT? Feels like there are some teenaged boys giggling madly somewhere and exclaiming, “Can’t believe they fell for it!”

    1. Laruse

      I am glad I am not the only one that keeps seeing it that way. Maybe I really am a 15 year old boy after all.

    2. fresno dan

      December 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Prop Or Not – I thought that was prop (propaganda) or not – but if in fact it is a pro pornography site, (pro porn.ot than I apologize for all the nasty things I have written about them. Uh…not because I look at that stuff….much….or more than twice a day….uh, before noon…..well, maybe 3 or 4 times before noon…..actually, I think never more than a thousand times before noon….but my point is: freedom!!! – for adults to gaze at what they want to…of course, most of what I look at is Russian, so if they send over a femme fatale to get me in a honey trap, I will recognize her. Patriotism….my only motivation…..

      1. ambrit

        Fresno, your handlers at the SVR will give you a ‘heads up’ if a honey pot is slid your way.
        I have always been a proponent of a mandatory domain to hold all the porn sites. Display out of the, ahem, box, and you incur serious financial punishment. Make this enforceable world wide through a UN mediated organization. Then make the domain automatically age blocked in new operating systems.
        The First Amendment free speech provision does not support the corruption of the morals of minors.

  11. Marco

    After this long crazy election and the shuddering loss of Team D to Trump…I rest in a warm fuzzy-glow knowing that Team Bernie…at the moment of tremendous power and leverage…fought long and hard for a “somewhat” progressive platform at the DNC. What a transforming REVOLUTIONARY act. The Left is rising! Praise Jesus! Amen!

    1. Marco

      My apologies…snark is not what we need now. I am / was very sympathetic to the logic for Team “B” (Bernie) playing nice because (1) Trump would never win so we need to maximize power within Team “D” and gain some respectability (2) Team “B” getting too uppity and demanding would increase the chance of a Trump win. Yes everyone is “kinda” blaming Team D / Clinton for the loss but I would hardly call it a slam dunk recognition. Trolling DailyKos and Atrios comment sections the last few days has brought on a horrible sense of unease that a very large Team “D” cohort will NEVER get it. It’s not just party elders and doners but IP (identity politics) foot-soldiers as well. Feeling a bit doomed.

        1. B1whois

          As did I. I decided a year ago to relocate to a more progressive country. It took almost a year to implement, but I was able to liquidate my all of my US possessions and arrive in Uruguay 3 days b4 the election. Whew!! Now I only have to worry about SS and CalPERS…

      1. hreikd

        rolling DailyKos and Atrios comment sections the last few days has brought on a horrible sense of unease that a very large Team “D” cohort will NEVER get it. It’s not just party elders and doners but IP (identity politics) foot-soldiers as well. Feeling a bit doomed.

        agree completely

        1. mk

          We’ll have to see how 2018 elections go, maybe if the Dems lose more seats in the house and senate they’ll start to get a clue.

          1. hunkerdown

            If the Democratic Party were really disappointed about Hillary’s loss, they wouldn’t be using their precious moments to run the “is a center-right nation (now get janitoring, leftist worms)” alternate ending. Chris Cilizza is almost champing at the bit to swoop across the stage and sing the line he’s been practicing in the shower for weeks now, just in case. No, indeed, both parties are perfectly fine with being partners in continuity neoliberalism and neither has any interest in taking permanent action contrary thereto.

            There are people who simply hold the belief that life must include persistent, onerous power relations and plenty of suffering and adversity in order to be lived “correctly” and “righteously”. It doesn’t appear those people can be reached for anything to do with improvement of living standards, and perhaps they’d be better off rotten-tomatoed off the stage entirely.

            I suspect a Party bearing, not 4 key pillars or 10 key values, but 12 key interests, might have an easier time of marshalling and projecting its members’ agency… [MR SUBLIMINAL: donate to Corrente]

    2. Michael

      Sometimes you lose. Deciding when to cut losses is a tactical decision, and it is sometimes not clear even decades later what the right answer was.

      I have confidence in Bernie’s political judgment, so I chose to go with that.

      1. Lambert Strether

        +100. My only concern is that for decades, the left has been on the defensive. I only pray that when the time comes to go on the offensive — a possible happy outcome of the volatility some voters sought to create — Sanders, or the next Sanders, will recognize and seize the moment (when “power is lying in the street.” Sanders did, after all, see this in 2015, when Warren, for example, passed on it.) No formula to predict this, for good or ill. If there were, we’d have a good handle on making market timing work…

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Fixed it– thanks. I’d garbled the link by inadvertently inserting a rogue prefix.

    2. integer

      On the subject of broken links, I noticed that the link to Taibbi’s “Flathead: The peculiar genius of Thomas L. Friedman” (which I’m assuming is the best of the genre) is broken at the “Definitive Collection of Thomas Friedman Takedowns” link provided. I couldn’t find it at Rolling Stone but was able to read it at the above link. It is hilarious.

      1. Kokuanani

        The titles alone of the many entries in the “Definitive Collection of Thomas Friedman Takedowns” will have me laughing for days. I’m hoping reading all of the articles themselves will provide much-needed amusement that will last for four years.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Many of these are Wodehouseian funny: I mean laugh out loud even when you are alone funny. (And be aware I do not take the name of the divine PGW in vain.)

  12. Jim Haygood

    Dr Ed Yardeni puts on his populist hat:

    Only 8.5% of US payroll employment is now attributable to manufacturing, down from 10.3% 10 years ago, 14.3% 20 years ago, and 17.5% 30 years ago. Bringing factory jobs back to the US may bring them back to automated factories loaded with robots. Even Chinese factories are using more robots.

    Business Insider published a Nov 27th article titled “Here’s what 5 of your favorite products would cost if they were made in the US.” The price of iPhones could more than double. Jeans would cost more than $200. The price of sneakers might also double. TV prices might not go up much since transportation costs would be lower for domestically produced units, but solar panel prices would be much higher.

    The election results clearly show that there are many people who feel that they have been harmed by globalization. They may not realize that they have also benefitted from it through lower prices on the goods they purchase. It is unlikely that prohibitive tariffs will bring back manufacturing jobs paying much higher wages. Those days are probably gone.

    Strangely, Dr Ed makes no comment on the resurgent US dollar. All else equal, a strong dollar increases the incentive to import goods, instead of manufacturing in a strong-currency area which makes exporting tough.

    In that regard, Japan and Germany — which have coped for a decade with the problem of exporting from a strong-currency base — are LOVING the dólar fuerte (as grateful Mexicans call it).

    1. cocomaan

      I’d love to ask the doctor how that lower price for “goods” has translated into a net gain for most people.

      For the household expenses, we have healthcare (HAH!), personal insurance (pretty steady), education (horrific), and housing (rent is too damn high). Food? Always at a steady 3% inflation rate.

      I guess he’s referring to CPI. Hey great, cheap TV’s and tube socks.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Meanwhile, our Venezuelan comrades are not cheering the dólar fuerte, as the process has gotten a bit out of hand in the Bolivarian republic.

      From 1,567 bolivars per dollar on Nov 1st, today it requires 4,609 bolivars to buy a dollar on the streets of Caracas, according to

      In other words, the bolivar fuerte shed two-thirds of its value in a month.

      Venezuela has entered the Zimbabwean endgame of inflationary burnout. Unfortunately, folks won’t be “partying like Weimar,” since food, beer and toilet paper are all hard to come by.

    3. a different chris

      Yes because every day, every day I tell you, people buy new sneakers and jeans. Whereas only just once in a while do they go to an actual job. And TV sets, heck I go thru two by noon.

      Wait…. thinking I might have gotten that backwards…

    4. BecauseTradition

      Negative interest on reserves and sovereign debt might do wonders to weaken the US dollar. Otoh, actually allowing the US population to use the US dollar (in account form as the banks do) would tend to strengthen the US dollar as would properly abolishing government-provided deposit insurance (since banks would have to scramble for new reserves).

      Oh, what’s to do! How about what’s ethical?

  13. fresno dan

    Washington Post – the Daily 202

    The Post giving the “background” about Carrier Jobs:
    “Intellectuals, conservative economists and good-government experts have many {{substantive}} concerns about the agreement and the {{secretive}} process in which it was negotiated. The {{real}} reason that the jobs are staying appears to be that United Technologies, which owns Carrier, is one of the largest defense contractors and {{worries}} about losing billions a year in high-margin business with the federal government if it doesn’t {{placate}} the incoming president. While Carrier publicly attributes its reversal to an aid package offered by Indiana, a state economic development official said yesterday that the company rejected similar terms before the election.

    You know who doesn’t care that Trump {{might have shaken down}} a federal contractor to score an early {{political victory}}? People who live in the Rust Belt and want good-paying jobs. The non-college-educated, blue-collar workers who voted for Trump, who {{feel}} that free trade is bad for them and who {{believe}} government has been working for others – not them. More fundamentally, the vast majority of Americans will see nothing more than the headline that just says Trump saved 1,000 jobs. For the president-elect, that is mission accomplished.

    A journey into mindset. One can choose any number of words and phrases to describe an event. I have parenthesized the words that indicate not so much a conscious unfairness as a world view.
    People who support Carrier getting to go to Mexico have “substantive” concerns. Concerns alone are not good enough, and this signals that the Post thinks these concerns are valid.
    “Secretive” process? It seems to me that Trump was forthright in saying he would strong arm companies in staying – the only real question is how much carrot and how much stick.
    “Real” “worries” “placate” – let me ask you this: How many stories do you see where the Post says that companies “real” “worries” is that congress won’t “placate” them by passing TPP? AND preceded by a boatload of insinuation that the companies are valiantly trying to advance “free trade” and not their rent seeking capability?
    {{might have shaken down}} Simply incredible. Laws are passed – some advantage some and disadvantage others. If taxes go up on cigarettes, that’s good for public health but bad for tobacco growers. No sales tax for internet sellers is good for them, bad for local merchants and the local taxpayers. Did Amazon shake down government by weaseling (note the word used – AND no offense to the noble weasel) out of paying sales taxes??? And on and on. WHO BENEFITS and also, it should be added, WHO IS HARMED?
    “feel” free trade is bad for them. It is indisputably bad for them – feelings have nothing to do with it. One could argue “free trade” increases GDP, and I would counter argue “for the 1%” and practically no one else. And who pays for the increased death rate that has been found in people in that demographic – they alone because Davos Man, being an “globalist” has no duty to a any single nation’s population…

  14. Portia

    Is it just me, or has Bernie rolled over into the Big Blob and is the new Judas goat luring true progs to the post-election Dem slaughterhouse?

    So, where we are now is in a difficult moment. I don’t want to minimize the difficulties facing us. But throughout history, serious people have fought back. That’s where we are now, and that is exactly what we have to do. It is not acceptable—it really is not—for people to throw their hands up and say, “Oh, I’m depressed. Oh, I’m giving up.” It’s not about you. It’s about the future of this planet. It’s about your kids and your grandchildren. It is about American democracy. It is about some very fundamental issues. And nobody in this room or in this country has a right to say “I give up.” On the other hand, you’ve got to jump in and start fighting.

    So, Bernie: what happened to you? You endorsed and campaigned for a candidate who was being investigated at the Federal level for felonies. You have “forgotten” the travesty that was the Dem primaries. You want us to fight? Talk is cheap, Bernie.

      1. Portia

        and look where that took us. I’m talking about Bernie’s call to end the “lesser of evils” approach, his “Revolution”, which attracted millions of voters, and it’s like that never happened now. it’s a complete circle-f*ck.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Sanders has spent his adult life fight rearguard actions against either the hard right, neoliberals, or both. He is not going to fall into a proper ‘progressive’ swoon in order to prove his bona fides.

          He said he would support Clinton if his long shot campaign failed, and he did so. He says he will use the diminished but still considerable influence of a senior Senator to fight this klepto-administration. He is going to do what he said he would do, and he will, quietly, have more success than those who choose to do nothing.

          Sanders is too old to do more than that; we need 20-30 Tulsi Gabbards to have a good shot at a better America. However. Hissy fits are for people who don’t yet realize how much they have to lose.

          If Trump’s cabinet o’ paleocon Pharisees get their way, even many of us middle class “professional” types here may face penury in a few years. I don’t see that many in the commentariat sense that yet. Pouting is not an option, for Sanders, for Warren……. or anyone.

          1. ambrit

            The problem with that argument, that the “middle class types” will face penury in a few years is that this was the eventual outcome, no matter who won the election. The Trump election was a major repudiation of “establishment” politicians. To the extent that Trump ends up perceived as “selling out” to said “establishment politicians,” that will fuel and guide even greater civil unrest. Many of the people here at the bottom of the totem pole voted for creative destruction in the political sphere. This impulse will not abate, only grow stronger until “something happens.” Trump has the opportunity now to guide that “something happening.” If he cannot bring on the “new millennium” through positive changes, he will bring on the “second coming” via ultra destructive social policies.
            Lambert often mentions the will to be satisfied with “gridlock” in Congress as an outcome for this political cycle. This system presently faces another possibility; Terminal Dysfunction.
            I mentioned elsewhere the campaign to “delegitimize” the Trump Presidency. We now face a profound sense of the delegitimacy of the entire political class. This can go in any of a myriad of directions.

        2. mk

          Instead of complaining, please get out there and work for the political leaders that you want. When MILLIONS of people ORGANIZE to stand up and FIGHT the corps/oligarchs/etc., WE WILL NOT BE DENIED.

          Listen to Bernie and get to work! It’s not about you or me, it’s about the future of our kids and grandkids.

        3. Darthbobber

          “Lesser evil” and “greater good” are two ways of saying exactly the same thing. And any set of choices can be subjected to the ‘ol “reject the lesser of 2 evils argument” critique. After all, every position except exactly the one I take myself is, by definition, inferior to my own. If I thought another was better, I’d adopt it and IT would be “my own.”
          And thus, since my own position is predefined as the objectively “good” one, ANY choice between two (or more) positions that aren’t that, is a choice between 2 (relative to my Godlike omniscience) evils.
          Except that there’s also a sense in which I know that this is sterile bullshit, and that if I want to do anything except preach Jeremiads I’ll be accepting some deviation from my personal views as a basis for action.
          Or as Mr. Marx said: “What should be done is limited by what can be done.”
          Or as Mr. Gramsci opines: “No matter what one does, one is playing someone else’s game. The important thing is whether one is also playing one’s own.”

    1. Kim Kaufman

      Bernie made a decision, and I agree with it, that he can do more staying inside the Dem party and the Senate than being in the wilderness somewhere, like Jill Stein.

      And I found the DN interview appalling. I thought Amy was very dismissive with Bernie, starting out by saying “You were considered a fringe candidate…” Really? By who? Bernie pointed out his 25 years in Congress and before that years as mayor. She said the Clinton red-baited him about Castro and the Sandinistas and then proceeded to ask him to talk about Castro and Latin America. She repeatedly called him a “socialist” and not a Democrat. She complained about the media’s treatment of him and how they never talked about the real issues… and proceeded not to talk about any issues. And, etc. I could go on but I won’t here. I thought Bernie handled her very well.

    2. Bob

      It was my understanding that Sanders, an independent, was allowed to run in the Democratic Party primaries under the condition that he would support the winner of the primaries. If that was the bargain, he held up his side. Of course, the Democratic National Committee rigged the primaries such that he never really had a chance, but that’s a different issue.

    3. aletheia33

      if the iron law of institutions applies and sanders is well aware of it (how could he not be, as an old pol?), then his choice to fight from within may represent an accurate sense of where he is best equipped to act most effectively. maybe he sees the fact that he does have formal standing, and new power, in the party and the government as a useful, not a problematic thing. how many stand on the inside in a position to publicly take aim at the others inside? not many, if any.

      and if that is the case, yes he is now utterly dependent on those outside to back him up. without us outsiders, it’s true he cannot upset, create, build anything of value. it is up to us, not him, to make that happen.

      abandoning what power he has within his party by throwing his weight to building a new party might be more heroic, but also more of a waste of the assets he does have to work with. a bird in the hand. and the recognition that a new party under a new name, under the iron law of institutions, may well soon become “same as the old party”.

      just speculating. finding the iron law of institutions a very useful principle to keep in mind. what do others think?

      1. aletheia33

        oh dear this got grabbed from me while editing–probably not a bad thing, saved me from my usual excessive running on.

      2. craazyboy

        If you break all those rice bowls at the same time, GDP would go way down and that would be bad for the economy.

        One more reason to hate economics.

    4. Waldenpond

      Sanders gives speeches and then supports whatever the Ds do. He’s been this was for a very long time. If he thought that Trump was going to be bad at governing and that Clinton was going to lose to Trump, he would have put more effort into winning the primary. He kept being moved/surprised by what he found while campaigning as if he’s been living in a bubble by being in office for decades. I have also noticed for all of his complaining about money in politics, he supports dark money lobby groups and the candidates they put forth.

  15. Ian

    Will make a donation soon. Half for Lamberts water cooler half for respective legal and administrative response too Wapo and MSM scumbaggery libel.

    I’ve been thinking though, as much as I don’t want to add too the workload of NC that this maube a wonderful opportunity to increase NC exposure, especially with such articles as the one Greenwald put out. Perhaps a simplified timeline summation and compliment of linked articles on some of the recurrent themes that NC has addressed that have been far ahead of the curve as a permanent fixture and accessable introduction to new readership.

    1. Ian

      I am aware of how daunting absorbing many of these realities is but there is also a hunger to understand that may not be matched by comprehension and/or appropriate exposure, but could be built upto and upon. A fair chunk of this could be taken up by us in the peanut gallery.

    2. Ian

      Partial exploration caught up in filter (no blame). I could see a fair bit of this being compiled by us in peanut gallery though.

    3. integer

      My opinion: Just let Yves do the thinking on how best to run her site. She’s fairly proficient at thinking, as I’m sure you have noticed. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    100 year old lobster…vegan.

    I have a dream…one day, Santa Monica, San Francisco will be red-meat-free- or lobster-free zones.

    1. Portia

      when I lived near the Chesapeake Bay, I learned that before White Man came, the Bay water was filtered every few minutes by the millions of oysters and clams…so, add Chesapeake Bay as clam- and oyster-free-zones. And throw in the blue crabs too

      1. ambrit

        Sorry but, no blue crabs, no Gumbo. It could be considered an identity politics assault on the N’awlins ethnicity. (You don’t get more multi cultural than N.O.)

    2. Dave

      Let’s get the piles of human feces and passed out bums off the San Francisco sidewalks first, then we can worry about promoting produce.

      1. Waldenpond

        Purposefully make people homeless and then blame them for it. ha.

        Oh sorry, I misunderstood… instead of a job guarantee or basic income you are admitting rentiers will take the benefits of either so a housing and food guarantee is preferable?

  17. human

    We can cut emissions in half by 2040 if we build smarter cities

    Buckminster Fuller had much of this researched and engineered, with documented solutions, some 60 years ago.

    He was _way_ ahead of his time.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And how much, and by what means, are “we” going to rebuild all those cities? All that massive sunk investment, all those poor people and ever so slightly less poor and those living hand to mouth and day to day — how, one wonders, is all that going to get “paid for” and sorted out? When, of course, the few at the top will still be busily looking for rental income from the mopes, and looting opportunities in all the “reconstruction.” /and the few will also decline to make any efforts to reduce their “carbon footprints” and water use and all that…

      1. ambrit

        Well, for starters, “the people” could practice a little bit of “holding their feet to the fire” by setting fire to their mansions.

        1. Waldenpond

          The 99% attack each other and their own neighborhoods instead of the perpetrators. One explanation is, that members of a community didn’t stop/go along with the crime so they are fairly targeted.

          I think it was Ian Welsh who thought that people destroying cameras would be a sign of change. I always thought that targeting elites would be the sign of change. I don’t think the elite will change their behavior until their lives are inconvenienced/made very expensive.

          1. ambrit

            Ay, “Divide and Rule” was always the way. When the ‘plebs’ wake up to that, things change.

          2. Aumua

            Indeed, the same could be said for any addictive behavior that human beings engage in. We seem so far from Buckminster Fuller’s visions right now. Utopia or oblivion, Fuller said. Well it sure don’t look like we’re heading toward utopia to me.

        2. JTMcPhee

          …which, if I recall combustion chemistry, “liberates” a bunch of CO2, and whatever other volatizable and byproduct toxins might be in the structure. Maybe it would be worth it — or would it not be nice if one could anonymously demolish the financial structures and property records that make the rotten few the “legal owners” of so much? Seems that the inhabitants and their peeps can do much the same to the rest of us, without consequence and often with a smirk or plain old guffaw…

  18. Jim Haygood

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

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

    1. JohnnyGL

      a few basis points here….a few there…pretty soon you’re talking real rate hikes!

      TYX up another 10-11 bps today. That’s around 80bps in two months. Mortgage markets won’t like that.

      In the next couple of months, the economic landscape may start to look different. Instead of pushing fiscal stimulus to improve wages and improve infrastructure, we may end up needing stimulus just to avoid another recession!

      1. Jim Haygood

        House prices have been chugging upward at about 5 percent annually (Case-Shiller index), making even 4 percent mortgage rates still attractive to buyers … if they think house prices will keep appreciating.

        One possible harbinger of reflation is crude oil, knocking at the door of a 12-month high today. Jan 2017 crude is trading at $54.01/bbl as I type:

        To your point, if the Fed hikes this month but inflation fails to quicken, then real rates will have gone up. For now, we’ve got some economic momentum. The ISM Purchasing Managers Index rose to 53.2 today, consistent with 3%-plus GDP growth.

        But winter — and the odd pattern of subpar first-quarter GDP readings — loom directly ahead. :-0

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Ms. Yellen thinks she can run a *national* dollar policy, then every time Oops! She absolutely crushes China, or Brazil, or Turkey (kinda the inverse of Super Mario trying to run a continental system but with national bond markets). Smashing the only growth engines left (China etc) is not so clever. Everyone is giddy with the “reflation” trade but nobody has done the math, and now Mnuchin says he wants to hive off Fannie and Freddie…I wonder what private sector mortgage rates would look like?

          Another reader pointed out the following:
          2014: half the world’s wealth is controlled by 87 people
          2016: half the world’s wealth is controlled by 62 people

          At that rate it will take 4.5 years before half the world’s wealth is controlled by one person. We can then strangle him in the bathtub and redistribute, imagine the economic boom from that.

    1. jrs

      Blah blah blah, it’s just more of the same nonsense probably. We are supposedly persuaded that collective action is impossible via wellness propaganda or something and NOT the actual fact it is nearly impossible!

      We don’t attribute our problems to capitalism, maybe, but she doesn’t attribute our problems to living in a f-ist police state where any protest against injustices that might actually matter will be crushed.

      1. Portia

        that’s another aspect–nature v. nurture. and the firm belief of some that only idiots are happy, lol.

  19. Laruse

    Re: the Antidote
    Yes, that is a captured hawk, but I know that at least, in the State of New York, hawking/falconing is a highly regulated practice. You have to undergo a lot of one-on-one mentoring before you can take a hawk, you can only take juveniles, and you can only keep them for one season. They must be weighed and measured every single day, and that logged data must be turned over at the end of the season and reviewed by the state. If you didn’t maintain your hawk well, you lose your license. Also, the hawks must be released at the end of the season (in the spring I believe).
    Further, when you take a hawk out to hunt, they can (and do sometimes) choose to just leave and be free.
    There is a blogger/homesteader (OMG probably fake newsie!) in upstate New York who has posted pretty extensively about her hawking experience and even as recently as Saturday posted about a hunt with her current hawk. It’s worth reading through her archives to get details on the process.
    ColdAntler Farm

      1. RMO

        I’ve only personally met one person who has been a falconer. If I recall correctly all birds he has had have been rescues, either juvenile or adults injured or infants that were abandoned. Only a couple were kept any length of time and they were the ones that just wouldn’t leave when they were healthy again. The raven he had was the exception as it just showed up one day in his workshop and never left. He didn’t feed it for the first month it was hanging around so it was coming back voluntarily after finding food somewhere else. He had a crow at one time too I think. He’s a glider pilot and like most glider pilots he absolutely loves birds, especially soaring birds.

    1. craazyboy

      We just borrow hawks here. My radio controlled model airplane club flies model airplanes round and round above our flying field at the park. Without exception, hawks in neighborhood notice all these “birds” circling and come to investigate. They must think it’s good hunting there!

    2. KGC

      I live in upper upper Manhattan just south of the Cloisters. Every fall there’s a Medieval Festival in Fort Tryon Park, where a falconer whose name I forget has a booth and shows off his falcons, talks about falconry, etc. (Not to mention a smith who makes beautiful knives with traditional ornamentation and can tell you the difference between Damascus and other steels.) And, of course, hawks soaring over the Hudson.
      Not particularly important, but one needs a little cheering up every now and then.

  20. fresno dan

    Great article about universal basic income. It is prefaced by something I have always found interesting – the argument that if everyone moved to a big city there would be so much productivity that all our problems would be over. It offers some interesting counter arguments to the notion.

    A snippet:
    “Cities are great, but I think the claim that everybody moving to the very largest cities would yield a massive, otherwise unachievable, productivity boost is as implausible as it is impractical. Historically, economic activity was far less concentrated during the decades when America enjoyed its strongest growth. Perhaps technology has changed everything. But perhaps much of the apparent productivity advantage enjoyed by large, powerhouse cities over medium-sized cities is due to creaming, sorting, and particularly high-powered coalitions of rent-extractors, rather than hypothesized quadratic-returns-to-scale human connectivity effects.

    Then, of course, there is all the stuff that economic analysis tends to overlook: Community, history, attachment to family, attachment to the land itself, the perhaps quaintly aesthetic notion that a civilized country should not be composed of gleaming islands in a sea of decay and poverty. And politics.”

    1. fresno dan

      “Often people (foolishly, ridiculously) think of a universal basic income as a substitute for work, and imagine that UBI would lead to a world in which most people would sit around collecting government checks and masturbating all day.”

      He says that as if it were a bad thing…
      And MUST we denigrate masturbators?

      1. Portia

        it’s self-pleasuring, for Pete’s sake. that is not generating money for the marketplace, therefore, VERY bad. maybe only good for the Porn industry

  21. jinsemi

    > Magic mushroom ingredient psilocybin could be key to treating depression – studies Guardian. Who knew?

    Pretty much anyone who has ever taken a reasonable dose of shrooms. They’re called mind expanding for a reason. I wish I had the time to make it a quarterly practice.

    1. flora

      ” It names and includes photographs of some 200 professors.”

      well, well. 200 seems to be the magic number, doesn’t it?

      who is financing this smear campaign?

    2. Patricia

      Since this watchlist was birthed in the right-wing, perhaps those bamboozled by neo-lib-authoritarians will step back from the propornotters. Perhaps

      What a bizarre zeitgeist we now live within!

      1. Massinissa

        Didnt you know? Putin founded the NYC taxicab industry in order to steal business from Uber! Lets reinsitute the Un-American Activities Committee to stop The Putin’s heinous criminality!!

    3. KGC

      Neither my leftist daughter-in-law (associate professor, with tenure) nor my left-leaning daughter (assistant professor, still working on tenure) was on the list. They’re rather disappointed.

  22. rich

    Not sure if this was posted but good read:

    “How to Hide $400 Million” Divorce & offshore trusts It was a court brief, Potter explained, one of hundreds he and Fisher had filed in a particularly knotty case involving a man named Robert Oesterlund. If I truly wanted to peer inside the hidden world of the superrich, Potter told me — and if I really wanted to understand how extremely wealthy people protected that wealth — I ought to read the case’s public court file and judge for myself.

    But she also had cellphone pictures of documents concerning something called a Cook Islands asset-protection trust, which she found a few months earlier. Oesterlund was listed as the “settlor,” the person who “donates” property to a trust.

    The Cook trust was a bad sign. A typical estate-planning trust is designed to allow someone to benefit from a property — a car, a home, a plane, a bank account — without technically owning it or controlling it. An independent trustee, sometimes an individual, sometimes a specialized firm, is assigned to make decisions about the best use of the assets. That independence can, for example, provide a tax advantage or prevent a spendthrift beneficiary from plowing through an inheritance. But in some cases, the claim of independence is a sham. The trustees are puppets; the settlor still controls the asset in practice. And trusts organized in the Cook Islands, a self-governing state associated with New Zealand, are particularly difficult to investigate. Cook courts typically do not recognize American court orders, including divorce judgments. To sue a Cook trust, you have to actually fly to the Cook Islands, in the middle of the South Pacific, roughly 6,000 miles southwest of Florida. “It’s like Switzerland used to be, but squared,” Fisher told me. Once assets were hidden inside a Cook trust, he had learned, it was almost impossible to get them out.

    Oesterlund appeared to be charging his own companies to pay their bills, Fisher argued in court papers. He was charging them so much, in fact, that RSOP was making almost no net income. Yet Omega was taking in millions of dollars a year. With the stroke of his signature on a few pieces of paper, it appeared to Fisher, Oesterlund had used Omega to make virtually all of his family’s United States tax liabilities disappear.

  23. Left in Wisconsin

    Amazon Reader gives Bernie a slot today to explain Trump/Carrier.
    Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump

    In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?

    Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be re-evaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.

    Wonder if this will be the new DNC line? Seems unlikely, what with “globalization” being “inevitable” and all. Also, elsewhere in the Reader, Dems seem to be pivoting to the always winning strategy of criticizing proposals on the basis that they will increase federal budget deficits.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I like how you called it the Amazon Reader. :)

      Once again, Bernie’s response looks much more sensible than Krugman (but the jobs are such a small number compared to the overall national economy!) or Amash (how DARE you mess with the free market!).

      Bernie’s right that it invites corporate tax extortion. But, of course, that seems to be what Trump wants to do, anyway.

      For Krugman to throw out the auto-bailout as a comparison makes me think of Lambert (that was 6 years ago, what have you done for us LATELY?) and also that, you know, there weren’t any pension/benefit cuts and wage cuts to go along with the deal. Trump just dumped the austerity on the taxpayers, not the workers.

      1. fresno dan

        Left in Wisconsin
        December 1, 2016 at 11:26 am


        December 1, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        I am actually glad Trump did it. AND I am actually glad Bernie is criticizing it.
        And I am glad outsourcing was a constant theme during the 8 years of the Obama administration ….(do I REALLY need the sarc label???)

        Its about time who benefits and who is screwed when corporations leave this country is a serious topic instead of the asinine indoctrinated class telling us that jobs leaving is like planet orbits or the tides….
        DISTRIBUTION is the new black!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump’s deal with Carriers involves a tax cut.

      That will increase federal deficits.

      Is Sanders doing what ‘Dems seem to be pivoting to’ – that is, ‘the always winning strategy of criticizing proposals on the basis that they will increase federal budget deficits?’

  24. mk

    First Draft News This is alarming.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Silver Lining: their logo can be used to quickly identify the real fake-news organizations.

  25. rich

    Trump Fills the Swamp with Elaine Chao (Mitch McConnell’s Wife) for Transportation Secretary

    I know this is a couple of days old, but bear with me.

    CNN reports:

    President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Elaine Chao, the former labor secretary and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to be his choice for transportation secretary, an official briefed on the matter told CNN on Tuesday.

    Chao served as secretary of labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 through 2009 — the longest tenure in the position since World War II — and has been married to McConnell since 1993. She was the first Asian-American woman to serve in a Cabinet position.

    Chao also served as the deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1991. Following her time in government, Chao has held a position as a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation in addition to conducting media appearances.

    Meanwhile, you know someone’s really “draining the swamp” when Chuck Shumer comes out with unbridled praise. As Politico notes:

    Maritime ports under her purview will come in handy:)

    1. fresno dan

      December 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      new alligators same as the old alligators….

      Hmmmmm – was she in the Bush administration – maybe they will be kinder, gentler alligators….

      1. Ulysses

        I don’t think anything very kind or gentle is coming anytime soon. Cornel West has a good overview of our current situation:

        “What I mean by that is we’ve had neoliberal rule from Carter to Obama. That neoliberal rule left in place a national security state. It left in place massive surveillance. It left in place the ability of the president to kill an American citizen with no due process. That’s Obama. That was the culmination of the neoliberal era. Now you get someone who is narcissistic — which is to say out of control psychologically — who is ideologically confused — which is to say, in over his head — and who does he choose? The most right wing reactionary zealots which lead toward the arbitrary deployment of law, which is what neofascism is, but to reinforce corporate interests, big bank interest, and to keep track of those of us who are cast as peoples of color, women, jews, Arabs, Muslims, Mexicans, and so forth, and so — So, this is one of the most frightening moments in the history of this very fragile empire and fragile republic.”

      2. ambrit

        All those alligator eyes reflecting back at your flashlight from out of the pool could be characterized as “a thousand points of light.”

    2. RMO

      I’m still waiting for someone in the media to melt down their own brain trying to spin the Chao appointment as an example of Trump’s misogyny, racism and crazed drive to appoint unqualified outsiders to cabinet positions.

      If I had the awful responsibility of being a U.S. citizen and voting in a swing state I think I would ultimately have voted for HRC (and then thrown up in my mouth) but I did entertain the notion that while the U.S. could survive four years of Trump I wasn’t at all sure that the world could survive eight of Hillary. Either way I knew the future was going to be bad. I suppose at least with Trump, it’s going to be bad in innovative, disruptive ways…

    1. Higgs Boson

      From the US Treasury FAQ:

      I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn’t this illegal?

      The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”

      This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry, but as someone who lived there for years, Louisiana State bureaus are most definitely run as “private business.” Louisiana is one of the Traditionalist states; “honest graft” is time honoured there. (From my reading, Louisiana is not alone in it’s Traditionalist leanings. “Bridgegate” anyone?) In the building trades we used to call it the “Golden Handshake.”

    2. fresno dan

      December 1, 2016 at 12:27 pm
      Is this even legal?

      Go to your DMV and pitch a fit – if they don’t shoot you dead for making a “terrorist” threat, they will batter you senseless and charge you with assaulting a government baton….what with gilding the charges, you will face several millennia in prison unless you cop a plea.

      It is only illegal if you have the resources to hire connected, very HIGH priced lawyers and have a history of bribing…er, I mean influencing government and have built up a clique of like minded influencers to assure that government operates in their interests…
      The LAW – carefully and craftily designed to only work well for those with gobs of money….

      1. Vatch

        I guess I’m lucky. I have a checking account and a credit card. I suppose a person who has neither will have to pay a fee to get a money order from a bank or the Post Office.

    3. knowbuddhau

      I don’t have a take on the legality issue, sorry. But I did have an interesting conversation with the owner of the very successful restaurant where I work regarding going cashless.

      He can’t wait. The biggest factor is the labor costs he’d save. He’d always supposed that the 3% fee from credit card companies would cost more, but then he crunched some numbers. Not only would POS front of house workers not have to count and give change, no one would have to count and reconcile it all the next day. And he wouldn’t have to wait at the bank while it’s all counted again. It all adds up to about 5%, he said.

      The fact that a bank (or government) would know every time you spent money, and could cut you off without warning and then make you go to arbitration or sue to get your own money back, while you lose your job because you couldn’t fuel up your car, or you get evicted, or starve, etc., doesn’t even enter into it.

      We may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least it’s cheaper for the owners that way. /s

  26. Dita

    Re Propornot’s list, not to throw myself down the rabbit hole, but it’s intriguing to see they’ve included Gates of Vienna, notable for publishing articles by Fjordman that mass murderer Anders Brevik claimed so influenced him, yet not Jihadwatch or Gatestone Insitute. Both of the latter are directly connected to David Horowitz.

  27. fresno dan–bradford-delong-2016-11

    As economist Karl Polanyi pointed out in the 1930s and 1940s, if an economic system promises to create shared prosperity but only seems to serve the top 20% of earners, it has disappointed the vast majority of economic participants’ expectations. And market capitalism, for its part, has not delivered the ever-more affordable 1980s lifestyle that so many back then expected it would.
    Instead, during the past 30 years, an “overclass” has emerged, one that exercises even more relative economic power than Gilded Age robber barons did. The factors contributing to its rise and undue power, however, remain unclear.

    “…remain unclear.”
    There are some things only an intellectual can believe, for no common man could be so stupid*
    George Orwell

    *I note there is some controversy on the phrasing and attribution of the quote – but as they say in the newspaper business, too good to check….

  28. Phemfrog

    Is there a way we could get a gauge on how the fundraiser is going? I think its cool to know, and it motivates some people.

    I also understand if there is some reason it needs to be kept private. I am really just being nosy :)

  29. Jeremy Grimm

    I tried to chase down the feed for Yves Discussing the New McCartyism — and landed on truthdig. I watched a “Real News” linked to from this link —


    The discussion in this video — an interview with Abby Martin, host and creator of the Empire Files — painted a scary picture of the Trump cabinet and particularly the heavy neocon element. The picture paints Trump as a chump bringing in Zionists to key cabinet positions and suggesting that while we may have temporarily avoided war with Russia — Iran is the new evil we face and we will face off with Russia in a few months.

    Who is Abby Martin and what are the Empire Files? I quickly disliked her style of speaking but must wonder at the quality of her analysis. I was very frightened of Hillary and her neocons. To what extent is Trump surrounded by neocons? Will Trump slap down Pence like he did during the run for office or will Pence and other war shills have more room for maneuver now that the election is over. In other words was Trump’s slap down of Pence a matter of Trump “policy” differences with Pence or Trump perceptions of what the electorate wanted to hear?

    I knew Trump would promote economic policies benefiting those who need no benefits — as I believe Hillary would have done — but I had hoped to avoid more war and especially war with Russia. And I think war with Iran would make the Iraq war look like a good idea in comparison. [Disclaimer: I voted for Jill Stein — although with Jill’s bizarre recount push I am beginning to think I should have voted with Yves — for no one.]

    1. integer

      I found it amusing that Shkreli tried to establish a friendship with the Wu-Tang Clan by buying a $2m (yes, two million dollars) one-of-a-kind album off them. After he bought it they dissed him. No refunds!

  30. Adam Eran

    “We can cut emissions in half by 2040 if we build smarter cities” …is a little bit of old news. Pedestrian-friendly, mixed use (stores and offices among the residences) cuts vehicle miles traveled (VMT) 1/3 – 2/3…or roughly in half.

    In addition to market acceptance (Mr. Market pays a premium for such traditional neighborhoods), good things are happening in favor of such development. Probably most encouraging is CalTrans (CA state’s transportation dept.) adoption of the “Complete Streets” standard. Several local governments have done that too. In fact “Smart Growth” plans show up across the Country. One of the few Obama administration actions I’ve admired is their part in promoting such urbanization (e.g. Gulf Coast and New Orleans).

    Nevertheless, the corruption in deciding where development happens continues to favor sprawl, doubling the potentially lower VMT and not incidentally enriching the plutocrats. Typically, a land speculator buys or options some outlying ag land for a few thousand dollars an acre, then gets the development “entitlements” and…Presto!…the land is worth 50 – 100 times what they paid for it.

    With a 5,000% – 10,000% profit, cockroaches will come out from under the baseboards to do land speculation and increase the length of those commutes by developing edge cities.

    Henry George’s economics point out that speculation is economic rent in one of its purest forms, and “euthanizing rentiers”…or taxing away that profit is the right thing to do. Taxing land rent is one way to insure infill gets developed, rather than await speculative gain. Prop 13 in California is food for the rentiers, and infill remains abundant even as edge city proposals dot the landscape. Note that such a tax would *lower* property prices.

    Currently, the U.S. tax system literally does not tax that profit *at all*! In other words, the opposite of the right thing to do. The Germans have a nice system: Developers must sell outlying land to the local government at the ag land price, then buy it back at the upzoned price. The Germans keep all of that unearned increment. They have very nice schools, infrastructure and free tuition at their colleges, even for foreigners, too!

    I’ve heard lots of interest from politicos in doing the “right thing” here, but most seem to enjoy a well-paid employment after retiring when the speculators hire them.

    …and you thought Wall St. had a revolving door!

  31. Plenue

    “What Is Happening In Syria?”

    A major step towards peace. 80,000 civilians have fled the recently liberated northern part of the East Aleppo pocket, and the better part (I’ve seen numbers between 600 and 800) of a thousand militants have surrendered as well. The plan now seems to be to split the rest of the pocket at least into two, possibly three, smaller kessels. On the negative side the SAA captured nearly all of the Sheikh Sa’eed neighborhood in southeastern Aleppo, but then the militants counterattacked and took back most of it. SAA is regrouping for another attempt. Ultimately it will only delay the inevitable.

    Elsewhere Western Ghouta is completely in the hands of the Syrian Army after the last ‘rebel’ pockets surrendered. Already the freed up troops are being redeployed, probably to mop up in East Ghouta.

  32. Plenue


    That was a good sequence, but I found DiCaprio to be awful in any part of the movie where he actually talks. He’s a terrible actor, probably the worst major actor currently working who is for some reason widely praised and keeps getting big roles. Well, I say terrible, but it’s more that he’s good at exactly one thing. He was good in Catch Me If You Can, because the role fit the one style of acting he was good at. Any kind of period piece though and he just feels like he stepped out of the late 20th century.

    1. aab

      Being unable to do period acting is a serious flaw, but it’s not the same as being bad at acting. In fact, it’s a myth that good actors have no limit to their range. All actors have limitations, and often a limited actor cast correctly can bring something to a role that someone else with an objectively wide range or greater facility cannot. Meryl Streep is a limited actor who has often given terrible performances in films where she is miscast. She was horrible in Silkwood, for example, whereas Debra Winger would have been an enormous improvement with almost no effort.

      Leonardo DiCaprio has given tremendous performances in his time. Some of them have been in period pieces: Titanic, Django Unchained, The Aviator. Sometimes he’s miscast. But I suspect part of the problem lately is that he is a terrible person, living an unreal life of obscene privilege and exploitation. His body, face and soul are the instruments of his craft, and he is debasing and polluting them, which narrows what he can do as an artist.

  33. Waking Up

    From “Without Intervention the Orca’s Days are Numbered”, the biggest issue numbering the days is food. Howard Garrett, the President of the Orca Network, estimates there are 82 local (Puget Sound/San Juan Island) orca. He further states:

    “Naval training exercises likely negatively impact orcas, and ship noises may mask their echolocation and communication, impairing their ability to find and catch salmon, and possibly reducing their ability to maintain acoustic social relationships,” Garrett told Truthout.”

    Wouldn’t the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline which will increase oil tanker traffic from around 60 tankers per year to more than 400, also have a major negative impact on the Orcas??

    Canada Oil Pipeline: Trudeau Just Knocked Over the First Domino

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