Links 12/13/16

Pipeline spills 176,000 gallons of crude into creek about 150 miles from Dakota Access protest camp CNBC

Leaked BP report reveals risk of lethal accidents FT

Inside Exxon’s Great Climate Cover-Up: From Early Climate Change Researcher to Epic Climate Denier Democracy Now!

Football Leaks Shows Us that Football Is Sick Der Spiegel

Football Leaks | The Paul Pogba Story Get French Football News. A summary of a complex, Richard Smith-style offshoring operation, in English (the MediaPart original being in French).

Modi’s Note Ban May Spell Catastrophe for the BJP The Wire

Inside India’s Unprecedented Assault on Cash WSJ. Rather, assault on working class Indians, who will be required to pay rents with electronic transactions they do not have to pay with cash.

Indian Banks’ Poisoned Chalice Bloomberg

Good Lessons From One Bad Deal That Destroyed Four Bad Banks WSJ. On Monte dei Paschi

UniCredit to cut 14,000 jobs in €12bn shake-up FT

CMS cracks down on providers steering patients into private plans Modern Health Care


The Trump China Showdown Aligns With Reality Ian Welsh. If so, Trump realpolitik on Russia is not insane. The Blob, which is partially conjoined with HillaryLand, hates that. Hence the intelligence community-driven assault on Trump.

China’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble, Says One Strategist Bloomberg. Interview.

What does the future hold for China’s economic transformation as its first ‘reformists’ fade from prominence? South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Arrests 29 in Corruption Probe Linked to Four Banks Bloomberg


Syrian army takes over Aleppo areas quit by rebels: military source Reuters

Netanyahu says Israel ‘mightier’ as first F-35 fighter jets arrive Reuters. If you say so, Bibi.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Uber said it protects you from spying. Security sources say otherwise Reveal News

They Have, Right Now, Another You NYRB. Facebook’s big data is bad. In all senses.

Net neutrality debate takes center stage ahead of Trump presidency Policy Mic

Marijuana chain to defy law, open outlets in Montreal CBC

Our Famously Free Press

#Fakenews Alert: “China Flies Nuclear Bomber In Response To Trump’s Call …” Moon of Alabama

Fair Use Is Essential to a Free Press EFF (RS). Hmm. Is the push on “fake news” just the drive for DRM (Digital Rights Management) in another guise?

Trump Transition

Trump to tap Tillerson for secretary of state Politico

Bolton Is Trouble; Tillerson Isn’t The American Conservative

Trump Proposes Lifetime Ban on Defense Firms Hiring DoD Contracting Officials Defense News

Trump attack on Lockheed Martin foreshadows war on defense industry Reuters. Quelle horreur!

Military frantically Googling where Defense Secretary is in presidential order of succession Duffel Blog

Trump says he will hand over control of businesses to sons before inauguration WaPo

Expect the Unexpected From Trump the Deal Maker Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg

Trump’s bait and switch Nomi Prins, Le Monde Diplomatique

* * *

Exclusive: Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking – sources Reuters

Why Is CIA Avoiding the Conclusion that Putin Hacked Hillary to Retaliate for Its Covert Actions? Emptywheel

Historical & Structural Reasons for Skepticism of CIA Claims: Remaining Agnostic on Claims of Russian Hackers Counterpunch (Re Silc).

Who Enabled Russian “Interference” With Election? (Facts, Yes, Facts) Another Word For It

Clinton allies look to leverage Electoral College Politico

Hillary Clinton’s campaign wants the Electoral College briefed on Russian interference Vox

Electors want briefing on Russian interference The Hill. “The group of electors, which includes the daughter of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi…”

Long-a** Twitter rant about Russia and the 2016 election sparks ‘game theory’ meme Daily Dot. To be fair, serious analysts compared the game theory thread to the Federalist Papers.

* * *

We’re about to see states’ rights used defensively against Trump Vox. Making lemonade from the decapitation of the Democrat Party, which is losing its national presence.

2016 Post Mortem

Stand With Keith Ellison Jacobin. I hate that “stand with” locution — one too many liberal fundraising emails — but this: “[T]here is no doubt about who would cheer his defeat. It’s not ‘infighting’ if the fight is between political enemies.”

No President n+1

Jill Stein’s Recount Bid Is Over Reuters

Final Wisconsin recount tally strengthens Trump’s victory Los Angeles Times

Federal judge to Jill Stein on recount request: Too little, too late Philadelphia Inquirer

Class Warfare

Capitalism is working better in France than the U.S. WaPo

How should we compensate the losers from globalisation? Gavyn Davies, FT

Out of Prison, Uncovered The Marshall Project

What the U.S. map should really look like WaPo

Slow Fashion – or the art of sustainable dressing – catching on fast in Maine Portland Press-Herald

Mozart 225: classical stars pick their favourite Wolfgang Amadeus wonder Guardian

The Private Heisenberg and the Absent Bomb NYRB

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. integer

      How would Palmieri even know? She clearly has no soul. Imo, everytime these D-party losers open their mouths they are outwardly projecting little clues about their inner worlds, and it does not paint a pretty picture. They are simply beyond redemption. The D-party has also become iredeemable imo; a textbook example of the iron law of institutions is unfolding in realtime before our very eyes.

        1. ambrit

          You may have inadvertently coined a new term with “realtime.”
          Realtime: noun; A discrete subdivision of time defined by the attention span of an internet user. Example: “If it doesn’t happen in realtime, it never happens at all.”

      1. jgordon

        I’ve been saying this to the Democrats I know: “just leave the Democratic Party to those on the take from Wall Street and the war-loving neocons. They don’t represent your values. You don’t need them.”

        I haven’t been getting as much push back lately. I guess if you’re a rich transgendered feminist Mexican Muslim who loves war Democrats have something to offer you, but most other people will want to steer clear of them.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is there a Third Way that will last a thousand years?

          By that, I mean, taking over the Republican Party from the inside, by former Democrats?

          First, at the grass root level, of course.

          The entrenched reactionaries will have to be shown the door, after that.

    2. John Wright

      This is the Jennifer Palmieri who was involved with the Podesta emails:

      (Warning) From one of the PropOrNot sites:

      “A particularly long email thread discusses what the campaign might do about donations from “foreign agents” – people acting on behalf of foreign entities such as governments.”

      “Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) foreign agents have to register their relationships with the Department of Justice.”

      “In April of last year Podesta was in an email chain along with a number of key campaign figures, including Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri and National Finance Director Dennis Cheng, over whether to allow those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to raise money for the campaign.”

      “General counsel Marc Elias argued, “this is really a straight up political call. One middle option is to take case by case. If, for example, they are FARA registered for Canada, we may not case. If for N. Korea we would.””

      “Cheng is concerned that “people we are close with” are among the list of foreign agents. He name checks Tony Podesta – John’s brother, who lobbies for Iraq, Egypt and Azerbaijan among many others – and the law firm DLA Piper.”

      “A list of the lobbyists and who they act for is then circulated and it contains an extraordinary amount of foreign governments, embassies and trade councils.”

      “Among these is the Kurdistan regional Government, the Executive Office of Dubai, the Government of Ethiopia, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Republic of Iraq, the Republic of Kosovo, the Justice Equality Movement Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the National Board for the Following Up and Recovering of the Libyan Looted and Disguised Funds of the Transitional Government of Libya.”

      “It was initially decided not to take money from any currently FARA registered foreign agents but that changed following push back from Cheng and Elias.”

      “Cheng argued: “I feel like we are leaving a good amount of money on the table [both for primary and general, and then DNC and state parties]… and how do we explain to people that we’ll take money from a corporate lobbyist but not them; that the foundation takes dollars from foreign gov’ts but we now won’t.””

      “Campaign strategist Robby Mook then said he was convinced to take the money, without restrictions, as he said that Obama got judged more harshly for accepting money with restrictions.”

      “The final word went to Jennifer Palmieri who simply said, “take the money!!””


      If the Russian influence story is true as asserted, the Russians saw no need to play by the rules and give money to the Clinton campaign as other foreign entities did.

      The Russians, allegedly, got their political influence on the cheap, by hacking and leaking, and diminished the value of all the paid in full donors of the Clinton campaign.

      One can see why this is soul crushing to “take the money” Director of Communications Palmieri.

      Her professional soul was crushed, allegedly, by a foreign entity who, again allegedly, connected with the USA voters more effectively than the probably well-paid Palmieri.

      She has my sympathy.

    3. TK421

      If there’s one person who surely knows what they’re talking about, it’s a Hillary Clinton campaign aide.

  1. john

    I can’t find the specific German order by number or date, but sometime early in the war (from an American timeline) Hitler ordered all weapons development that was expected to take longer then 2 years out of development.

    The political doctrine was that the war would be over in 2 years anyways, so why design new tanks and planes?

    There’s always exceptions, and it’s not proof, but the “German Bomb” is no more real than Saddam’s. The whole point is the same. To justify what we did.

    1. cocomaan

      Since you brought up Der Fuhrer, I wanted to point out the irony of some accusing Trump of being a Nazi as well as a Russian stooge. It seems to forget that the Nazi campaign on the Ostfront was designed to obliterate the Slavic people’s society and force the survivors into slave labor. The Aryans would then find their promised living space out there in Russia.

      So he can’t really be both, can he?

      1. ambrit

        Unless the Wehrmacht was successful. In Ukraine, the Slavic Nazis clearly have won. Look closely at operatives like Nuland and see the lineaments of “Die Kleine Reich.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Those Teutons would never tolerate a Slavic first lady.

        Nor would the Leader. In Berlin exotic caberet clubs maybe.

      3. OIFVet

        The Western elites hated Slavs long before Hitler came along. 19th century Great Britain is the most noxious example of Anglo-Saxon racism. Its elites went to great lengths and leaned heavily upon eugenics to justify and protect the subjugation of Balkan Slavs by its Ottoman ally. It took the Batak Massacre in 1876, and the reporting of it by an American journalist, Januarius MacGahan, to prompt Gladstone to pen “The Bulgarian Horrors” and thus turn public opinion in the UK against Disraeli and his Ottoman proteges for long enough to allow Russia to liberate the Balkans without British interference. Ironically, America only caught the anti-Slav and Russophobe viruses later on, thus negating the work of MacGahan and Mark Twain.

        1. Cry Shop

          Yes, particularly that part on UK and USA. read the following comment in the Disqus comment section on Scott Adam’s latest blog, Remind me why Russia is our adversary.

          “Who was our friend when the world was our foe.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1871

          It was not even a rhetorical question, every educated person at the time understood it was Russia.

          It was Russia stationing war ships in New York and San Francisco, and threatening the UK and France with war in Europe that kept both those nations from joining with the Confederacy. This much more than any anti-slavery movement in the UK. In truth the UK was highly dependent on cheap, slave produced cotton from the South. France invaded Mexico and threatened our borders, while Russia sold us Alaska cheep as a friendly act to prevent a potential future conflict. You won’t find any of this material in the “textbooks” our government uses to educate the serf class in public schools.

          Russia’s helping us in the end was the fatal mistake to our friendship. We Americans are ingrates, we hate to be feel indebted to anyone. Ask the French, who saved our cookies twice during the Wars for Independence and 1812, but all we remember is “saving” France from the Germans, which is odd because again it was the Russians again who kicked the Nazi’s ass. The US and UK would never have gotten off the beaches of Normandy if the Russian’s had not already killed or tied up 80% of the German armed forces, so we could beat up a bunch of old men, invalids and other conscripts. The only time we dealt with any sizable force of crack German troops we almost lost the game. Try finding that in the text books cum propaganda.

          Scott, according to Franklin and Dale Carnegie best way to make enemies friends is to ask them for help. Best way to make friends into enemies (or at best false friends who besmirch you behind your back) is make them feel either indebted or dependent.

          I’d only add that the author of the above comment forgot that Queen Vicky sent one of her granddaughters to marry into the “beastly” Russian Royals. That was also a part of the major turn around for Russia’s PR image in the UK, that and the need for someone to off-set Bismarks’s growing German Empire, while also incurring disgust in the USA, which was anti-British and pro German at the time.

          The author of that comment also didn’t mention that Teddy Roosevelt sold out the Russians, who were expect at the minimum an honest broker, after all the favors Russia had done the USA.

          “I have of course concealed from everyone — literally everyone — the fact that I acted in the first place on Japan’s suggestion . . . . I have kept the secret very successfully, and my dealings with the Japanese in particular have been known to no one.”

    2. olga

      He did – but not soon enough. Richard Overy writes about this: Germans had too many different weapons (too much variation) that were complicated and required various spare parts. This greatly complicated the war effort; by the time Germans realized it, it was likely too late (thank G.). Russians had fewer types of arms, and they were simpler in design. The situation is similar today, with US vs Russia. Plus US has outsourced its production of spare parts to China – which is why you’ll see more China bashing, as the US will try to reverse this. According to Pepe Escobar, US will try to repatriate all that spare part production (there’s a part of your promised jobs program).

        1. olga

          Great – thanks for posting.
          Inferiority of our enemy defeated us – who knew?
          Universe moves in unpredictable ways

          1. Procopius

            Actually, it’s arguable that Russian backwardness was what defeated the Germans in Operation Barbarossa. The lack of paved roads and railroads was not anticipated by the Germans, so their logistics were far more difficult than they anticipated. That slowed them down and produced additional wear and tear on their armored vehicles.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not sure about China bashing – have not seen it nor do I think it effective.

        What I have observed are subtle chess moves – like chatting over the phone with Tsai, trying to pull Russia away from China, by bringing the former closer, etc.

      2. gepay

        The Soviets T-34 main battle exemplifies what you are saying. one design and mass produced – spare parts simplified – diesel engine – as opposed to the Germans who started with many varieties and also used captured French and Czechoslovakian Tanks – this is a repair and maintenance nightmare on battle line stretching thousands of miles. The Germans Tiger tank developed later in the war was by itself the best tank used The Panther medium tank was also very good but it was deployed for the Battle of Kursk-Orel (largest tank battle in the world with about 5000 tanks on each side.- the Germans lost as the Russians had had plenty of time to develop defense in depth.. After the Germans had shot their wad the Russians were unstoppable) too soon before all the bugs had been worked out.

        1. Procopius

          Yes, but the most common example is the PPSh-41 “burp gun.” Later the same design philosophy in the AK-47. As simple as possible, easy to clean.

  2. fresno dan

    Exclusive: Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking – sources Reuters

    If you look at all those guys just starting in the mid ’90’s who believed Saddam was a big threat, we should not believe the “17” “intelligence” agencies (redundancy much) but not believe the President as well – from either party.

    We are much more imperiled by the fake CIA “news” than anything in anybody’s FB feed from cellar dwelling, jammy wearing, internet meme generating fanatics.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From Bloomberg:

      To Donald Trump, the President’s Daily Brief is a mind-numbing repetition of the obvious that he’ll often skip.

      “You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” the president-elect said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.’”

      “The CIA has a strong spine and is accustomed to controversy, but this is way out of bounds,” George Little, a former spokesman for the CIA said. “It won’t help any of us if he continues to disparage and undervalue intelligence when the stakes are so high.”

      “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s transition team said in a statement on Friday.

      If not for its vast value-subtracting military empire, the US wouldn’t need to distract the president with daily briefings on Mosul, Aleppo, Helmand province, etc. We’ve defined imperialist deviancy so far downward, we don’t even know what a normal country is anymore.

      The rogue CIA was last brought to heel under Senator Church in the 1970s. Now they strut and trash-talk as shamelessly as whores sashaying past a Sunday church service.

      Ultimately Trump is headed for a showdown with these supercilious spooks. Either they run the country, or he does.

      1. fresno dan

        I saw someone on one of those silly cable pundit circle jerks pontificating about how Trump shouldn’t antagonize the CIA. AND….apparently, it didn’t even OCCUR to the pontificater that maybe the agency shouldn’t antagonize the newly elected POTUS by saying he’s a Russian stooge?

        I hope Trump invites Putin over for Christmas dinner and they both get drunk on their asses licking jello shots off the midriffs of Russian models – just to see the mass fainting….

        OH, and this disastrous unpreparedness – who was POTUS and Secretary of State when all this Russian duplicity was occurring???

        1. Optimader

          Bingo, and they should invite me. You can cone too since its your idea.

          The mercurial nature of this Masters of the Univwrse stuff. I wonder what they are saying in Beijing about Trump-Putin -Rex T?
          Rex did recieve a backchannel offer for the CEO position of Rostnef during the GWB presidency when US -Russia relationship was warm.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Quite a bit of hand-wringing on msnbs this morning over Trump’s daring to criticize the dedicated men and women of the cia, particularly for the WMD fail.

        The consensus seems to be that spurned spooks can and would undermine the Trump presidency through massive leaking of whatever “intelligence” they may be in possession of.

        But it would seem that Trump is, once again, preemptively setting the tone. The WMD issue can hardly be considered a mere “mistake,” and, after 15 years and counting, is as potent as ever.

        And Trump has never shied away from hammering a point home through endless repetition. Might be that the cia ought to mind its reputation more carefully. I don’t think there’s another government agency more deserving of a serious smackdown.

        1. fresno dan

          Katniss Everdeen
          December 13, 2016 at 9:33 am

          My thoughts exactly. I catch a few minutes of the MSNBC here and there – just for amusement and my daily dosage of jaw dropping chutzpah. I posted a link to a mash up of all the pundits and politicians saying Trump couldn’t POSSIBLY, EVER be elected with a certainty BEYOND the sun rising in the east (Tom Hanks dinosaurs wearing red capes coming down in spacecraft gives a flavor of the smugness).
          With so much evidence of cluelessness, and so easily accessible to anyone, their credibility and “expertise” is very, very easy to demolish.
          OH, and don’t forget how many trillions spent for how many decades gave us how much of a heads up about a guy, who don’t forget, declared war on us, and who crashed planes into a buildings they had tried to blow up 10 years prior. And these are guys we should listen to…

          1. Optimader

            For me, jaw dropping how my,insert alternative word, i’ll just use “liberal” friends have their panties in a bunch about the termerity of anyone to not just accept the CIA party line about ANYTHING without at least three independent forms of verification! Blows me away…
            I usually just listen so I get the unfiltered thought process, but i had to say to one that if the CIA made a press release that the sky is blue on a sunny day, i would just have to go ahead and check. These are the same ppl that would traditionally be wringing their collective hands re: the CIA.

            The crazy thing,ashas been pointed out, there is not even an issue with inauthenticy of the leaked email content! Apparently the concern is about maintaining less transparency?

            At the highest kevel, these were the cretinos that were going to be in charge of National secirity?

            1. Procopius

              Somewhere I saw a suggestion that maybe the Russians had slipped LSD into our water supply, given the departure from reality by the “liberals.” The idea that failing to give unquestioning obeisance to the CIA makes me a traitor astonished me so much I couldn’t reply, which was probably best. “Very often ‘nothing’ is the best thing to do, and it’s always a wise thing to say.” Makes me understand how right wingers felt when I was saying GWB/Cheney were guilty of war crimes.

        2. Jim Haygood

          ‘spurned spooks suffer serious smackdown’

          Once you start alliterating, it’s just hard to stop. ;-)

        3. craazyboy

          Well, I still can remember when Osama Bin Laden was on our side and defeated the Russians in Afghanistan with the help of US supplied General Dynamics Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. Much later, under Bill Clinton, our heroes were notified by the Saudis that the Saudis knew of Bin Laden’s location (his US loyalty was seriously questionable at that point) and should they detain him for pickup by the US? Apparently our brain trust decided it was no biggie and passed on the Saudi offer.

          So I can barely keep from laughing too much and ruining my good citizen image.

        4. Skip Intro

          IIRC, the CIA was trying to slow the WMD propaganda and rush to war, but they were slapped down by Darth Cheney in person, while the DoD worked with ‘curveball’ and Iranian intelligence asset Chalabi to ‘stovepipe’ (Hersh) propaganda directly into the office of the VP, bypassing standard intelligence vetting, since they had a program of fitting the ‘intelligence’ to support the plans for conquest which had already been made. Remember those ’14 words’ that just could not be erased from the SoTU speech? Remember the yellowcake story?

          Blaming the CIA for a mistake about WMDs is not particularly accurate. In fact calling the WMDs a mistake is already a huge steaming pile of fake news, since everyone on the inside knew that it was a propaganda story used to justify the invasion. It may be that the only people who didn’t know that were Judy Miller, Colin Powell and Dubya, and of course the poor benighted editors and readers of NYT and WaPoo.

          1. cwaltz

            I think it’s interesting that people think the people within the CIA are setting policy……

            That isn’t to say I think that people who act in morally gray ways at the behest of our government are completely blameless in the way they are perceived by others.

          2. Rhondda

            @SkipIntro. Thank you for this. Necessary and accurate.

            Gawd, the hail of BS everywhere! It’s like being pecked to death by tiny evil birds.

          3. Procopius

            I believe that under Cheney’s influence Tenet decimated the analysts and currently all power resides with the operations knuckle-draggers. I hope I’m wrong, because the skills developed by the analysts over many years are irreplaceable. Or at least would take many years to redevelop. On the other hand, on reflection, maybe not so much because they didn’t (as far as we know) ever have an accurate idea of USSR’s military power or economic condition.

      3. Buttinsky

        Ultimately Trump is headed for a showdown with these supercilious spooks.

        As David Talbot details in his history of Allen Dulles and the CIA, The Devil’s Chessboard¸ President John F. Kennedy inherited two spectacularly diabolical plots of the CIA, the attempted coup against De Gaulle’s government in France by French generals in Algeria and the Bay of Pigs adventure in Cuba — both of which unfolded with disastrous results for the plotters and unforgivable embarrassment for the president in April 1961, just three months after JFK’s inauguration. By Talbot’s account, this started the JFK presidency off with a deep rift between the “spooks” and the White House that only worsened over time.

        We all know who won that contest. With the victorious monsters still striding the earth with impunity.

      4. Robert McGregor

        Compare with Obama: Before becoming president, Obama’s adult experience was Community Organizer, Law School Professor, State Senator, US Senator. He rose in the ranks by absorbing the establishment ethos whatever that establishment ethos happened to be. When he became president, they told him the president needs to get daily security briefings because there are many US military interventions currently in process. In turning down daily security briefings, Trump turns that totally on its head, just like he turned totally on its head the idea that you have to spend huge amounts of money in TV advertising and “ground game” in order to get elected President. Trump is an innovator on the “world stage,” and the “Deep State” fears and hates this kind of innovation.

      5. Praedor

        Maybe, just maybe, Trump can do what JFK wanted to do: break the CIA into a thousand pieces (of course, Kennedy’s intent to gut the CIA is possibly what got him killed in the end so Trump should tread carefully…BUT STILL TREAD).

    2. cocomaan

      Don’t forget that none of the intelligence agencies foresaw the Berlin Wall falling. The history of their failures doesn’t inspire much confidence.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Sounds like this was already pretty watered down to begin with. From Reuters:

      A new rule aimed at protecting retirement savers from profit-hungry brokers turned out to be much weaker than an initial proposal after the Obama administration bowed to pressure from the financial services industry.

      Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton issued a statement in support of the new rule, saying it will “stop Wall Street from ripping off families” and “save seniors billions.”

      However, Knut Rostad, an investor advocate who chairs the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, said he was disappointed that the final rule was not tougher, calling it “a major defeat for investors, period.”

      Although the final rule did include the best-interest provision, it made plenty of concessions.

      For example, the draft listed types of assets that advisers could recommend to steer retail investors away from certain high-risk products. The final version eliminates that list, mostly in response to the financial industry’s concerns, the Labor Department said.

      Brokerages and lawmakers were also concerned about an earlier requirement that brokers sign contracts with clients at initial meetings. The document was to include investment projections, fee disclosures and other detailed information.

      The contracts are required in the final rule, but can be as short as a paragraph, signed later and tucked into paperwork that customers sign when opening new accounts, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said.

      The final version also loosened guidelines on pay, allowing advisers to collect “common types of compensation,” such as commissions and revenue-sharing, where brokerages receive payments from mutual-fund companies to help promote products.

      Haven’t we all been told that if only we’d invested $10K in fund xyz 10 years ago and let the investment ride we’d be rich by now? Funny, but I’ve done just that and the promised returns barely even kept up with inflation, if that. But the fund managers collecting fees did quite well for themselves and this new rule doesn’t sound like it will do a whole lot to correct that.

      Can’t get too upset about watering down already weak tea. And who knows, maybe it’ll be like homeopathy and the more it’s diluted the stronger it gets. Somebody wake me up when I’m a millionaire…

  3. timbers

    Trump Transition – my 2 cents glad Trump has called some of the things coming from the CIA and intelligence agencies “ridiculous” and limits their briefings. My only hope is that when the heads of these agencies give face to face briefings Trump shows them the respect they deserve by walking into the bathroom and taking a dump as they speak. And Team Hillary demanding the electoral college be briefed on Russian hacking is like saying the people who said WMD in Iraq should tell the electors who they should vote for President. In related Fake news NPR radio said this morning Aleppo being liberate by Syrian Army has caused thousands of civilians to be “trapped.”

    1. m

      NPR makes me ill. They are so full of doo-doo that I can’t listen anymore. McCain this morning whining about CIA briefings, the military is sick of the CIA nonsense, why take it seriously. Assad! Putin! Whaaa!
      Look at those poor guys forced to train the “moderate rebels,” then when they finished & ISIS shoots them dead.

      1. allan

        This morning NPR gave 10 minutes of puff-piece, challenge-free airtime
        for Michael Hayden to spout the IC party line.

        And as icing on the cake: NPR’s only concern about Rex Tillerson is his links to Putin,
        not the fact that his corporation considers itself a sovereign state,
        beholden to no one but its shareholders*.

        Oh, those totebag liberals.

        *Except for that little bit about internally sitting on global warming data and using it for corporate planning while not disclosing it, or its possible effect on their stated reserves, to shareholders.

      2. curlydan

        Even Democracy Now was making me ill this morning, giving 20 minutes to Pelosi’s daughter about electors needing a briefing by the CIA on Russian interference. I just had to turn it off until that segment mercifully ended.

          1. Dave

            KPFA/KPFK used to be great. Now it’s becoming “Radio Martyr”.

            Nothing but grievance industry whining and further alienation of the majority of Trump voters who might possibly become part of their donor base if they ever stopped alienating them with the continual white privilege talk and dealt with real economic issues.

            1. Brad

              Apologies for taking up space, but the left needs grasp this moment correctly.

              KPFA has problems but that’s not one of them. Last thing the US left needs to be doing is genuflecting to the 150 odd year ideological dominance of the “white working class”. That’s the *wrong* lesson to take away from 2016. (And BTW that’s the theme that the Blue Dogs and MSM will promote, as always).

              The future of the working class is urban, multiracial and multigender. That future is already the present in many metros, especially the larger ones. The working class of the largest state in the union, California, is already majority non-white. Indeed the whole state is as such.

              The future is not the rural small town, factory town deindustrialized white working class. Their day is done. The new multicultural working class will build its own independent media, both political and cultural, and through the expression of its own, far greater, social power, will pull the what’s left of factory town, small town or rural working class behind it.

              Note one last thing (a message to the liberals too): The main class opponent of this new multicultural working class is not the Trump people, but the liberals of both parties (RINOs and Clintonites). But in particular the urban liberal Democrats and their progressive periphery. They run urban government more often than not. They are in cahoots with the urban petite middle class landlords (including themselves) and RE developers, something Trump surely knows something about.

              Hence the inaction on the urban housing crisis, as we see with the deaths of 40-some artists in an Oakland, CA warehouse fire. Any urban mass mobilization will confront *them* directly. They are terrified of the prospect of non-support in repression under Trump, or perhaps worse, having to call on Trump’s minions in repression, rather than as they did so discretely under Obama with Occupy. Remember also that it was a liberal Mayor of Seattle that launched the “Battle of Seattle” in the anti-WTO mobilization of 1999 (where my dear 6 year old daughter first learned of the police: “I’m going to tell my mommy!” she exclaimed in tears as I hustled her to safety).

              That’s why the Democrats *can’t* “mobilize their base”, for fear that they may be devoured by their own conjuring. And that’s why Trump can demagogue the working class (and why his boast that he would have won a pure popular vote race in a campaign in the blue states is not an idle one, though he left out that he’d have to change up his political con). Trump is not on the front lines of repressing the left.

              1. pespi

                The non city living whites can go die is what you’re saying.

                My counterpoint is that all american citizens deserve a decent life

                1. Whine Country

                  Brad is from California and still believes that his state borders on the east and west coast of the US.

                2. integer

                  I really tire of Brad’s (and Michael’s, for that matter) bs, though I guess their comments are always good for a laugh.

              2. bob

                “Their day is done”

                You lost. You’ve continued to lose. You’ve lost states, now the prez. Keep lecturing, and denying reality.

                I thought the R’s were bad at loosing. They’re downright civil when compared to this nonsense.

                “I’m going to tell my mommy!”

                That’s not a battle cry, no matter how you try to change the frame.

                YOU LOST. You lost against one of the worst people on earth, using the “thinking” that you just squatted down and made us walk though again.

                The hard part of change is going to be getting people like you, and the people like who think like you, who seem to be in charge of things, the hell out of the way.

                “I’m going to tell my mommy!”

                Your mom’s on the sidewalk eating cat food.

              3. Waldenpond

                The left doesn’t use the term ‘white working class’, that’s you.

                Your wealth soaked tech utopia is going to save us all and exterminate the rural regions? Who’s going to mine the resources for your smart phone, burn waste to fuel the energy for running your urban utopia, grow your food, sew your clothes, poison their lungs producing cement for your fashionable counters or that drywall for your creative class mural, serve as a dumping ground for your toxic waste, service your pipelines or build your solar panels, reproduce the fodder for your profitable wars? A bunch of bloat sitting on a hill that doesn’t realize how vulnerable their infrastructure is.

                This whole thing reminded me of those “we’re majority ‘brown’ now” youtube commercials celebrating the elimination of black people. ugh.

                and this… [Their day is done. The new multicultural working class will build its own independent media, both political and cultural, and through the expression of its own, far greater, social power, will pull the what’s left of factory town, small town or rural working class behind it.] What? Sounds like a black hole.

                I would think this was a parody but Ds really are doubling down on their contempt for the 99%.

                This is permanent.

                1. aab

                  I think there are some kernels of truth in his post, especially in the second half, but the first part is so awful in that deeply mean and also deeply and demonstrably wrong Clintonian way that I don’t feel like digging in enough to reply in a detailed way.

                  Hey, Brad. I live in California. Living in California cities is horrible for the non-rich, regardless of their color. It is the perfect example of the failure of the New Democrats, as we have one party rule here now, so the Republicans cannot be used as an excuse. I think you know that. You mention the tragedy of the Oakland fire victims.

                  If you want a more equitable, left wing future, you need to stop talking about everybody in the interior like disposable losers. They’re your and my potential allies. Oakland artists have more in common with Michigan factory workers than they do with the kinds of people who have crushed those living in the interior and talk about them the way you do in the opening of your post. I think it’s possible you don’t mean to be so alienating, but are just repeating messaging that’s been blasted at you for years.

                  Remember, lots of people living in the interior are not white, and lots of white people are not the enemy of a progressive, multicultural future. It’s class and economic justice, not biological identity, that will unite us and fuel a better future.

              4. Dave

                “that’s why the Democrats *can’t* “mobilize their base”, for fear that they may be devoured by their own conjuring.”

                “Let them eat each other”, said Marie.

      3. Dave

        Yeah but you can always spot an intellectual because they bring their recycled milk bottles back to WhalFoods in their NPR tote bags.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think people are using produce bags, in stead of paying for re-usable bags at the counter.

          “I see you have about 20 produce bags there. You even use them to bag your cans of dog food.”

    2. Anne

      My 2 cents is that Trump’s assessment of the work/conclusions of the intelligence community should not be playing out in public, for a number of reasons, not least of which is that Trump may have even deeper reasons – related to himself personally and to his business interests – to be building distrust of the IC. And I think this is going to be a problem/conflict that runs across a rather wide spectrum when he is the president, because regardless of what his intentions are with respect to his business interests, he does not strike me as someone who is truly going to be able to put those interests aside and act in the best interests of the country.

      And while I am certainly not saying I am fully confident in the work of the IC, I am at least aware that I simply don’t know the extent and nature of the information they have, and there is some reason for, if not skepticism, then perhaps caution; I am saying that what I have seen so far from Trump is a disturbing inability to think past the end of his own nose.

      I find it more than alarming that he actually seems to believe that he is so smart he just doesn’t need the be briefed on a daily basis.

      I don’t know if you saw this, but I think it’s an interesting perspective on what, exactly, goes into these briefings, and why they are important, and it may just tell you that he hasn’t even bothered to get an understanding of what the PDB really is if he thinks it’s just the same information every day.

      Here’s What I Know About Daily Intelligence Briefings

      From the post:

      See, despite some assertions by talking heads in the media today, it’s not just the Central Intelligence Agency that develops the global picture for our national leaders. There is an entire “Alphabet Soup” of intelligence agencies out there. Their collective product is called the “President’s Daily Brief,” a.k.a. the “PDB.” Each day represents the professional opinion of people with literally centuries of experience, about what two or three items the President needs to know. Now.

      The CIA assembles this every morning, though they no longer technically own it. But to put it together, they bring forward the absolute best, and most important, issues raised by all 17 parts of the “IC” that the professionals believe the president should know about each day. Almost every day, this briefing is different. This means photo stuff, electronic stuff, personal-spy-like stuff, and even the assessment of people in the know about what is called “Open Source” material. All the best, in the world, and different every day.

      This is the briefing that President-elect Donald Trump has decided not to read, or listen to, more than once a week.

      1. ambrit

        In Trumps defense, he is taking a rational position regarding a source of information that has had it’s integrity besmirched. Given the plethora of Alphabet Soup Agencies, overload is a real problem, and can be used by unscrupulous ‘agencies,’ whose very reason for existence is mendacity and deceit, to obscure real information that might be prejudicial to their own self interests.
        Presidents have been taking the suggestions of these agencies at face value for decades. What has it really benefited America?

        1. fresno dan

          December 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

          Back in my youth, when I was in the air farce, and was a linguist assigned to NSA, I was part of the great cog that tried to get itself inserted into the “daily brief” – its nothing but bureaucratic posturing and self promotion. The fact that Trump pays it no mind actually indicates to me that he’s smarter than he acts…
          There are essentially two kinds of statements in the daily brief:
          A: so caveated that a coin flip tells you as much, provided there are 16 sides to the coin
          B: definitive statements that are true like the sun rises in the east or one can expect continued hostilities in the mid east….

        2. Robert Hahl

          As Scott Adams pointed out during the election Trump knows a lot about persuasion, and frequent exposure to one point of view is an effective mode of persuasion. (We can’t control what you think, but we can control what you think about.) If Trump won’t take the daily briefs it probably means he doesn’t want to be manipulated..

          1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

            Who wants to be in the same room with those guys?

            “Why are you carrying an umbrella? It’s not even cloudy.”

        3. Anne

          It remains to be seen how rational his position is, but if nothing else, he is adding to the besmirching, and he is doing it in public, which is not where the discussion belongs; he should be sitting down with the appropriate people, expressing his skepticism there, and asking for clear and convincing proof within that venue.

          You also ought to consider that you really have no basis for stating that presidents take any of the information presented to them at face value – you don’t even know what the suggestions or conclusions are, do you?

          It seems to me that all Trump is setting the stage for is the IC having so little confidence that their work is being taken seriously that they resort to constant leaking into the public arena, where it can be completely mishandled by the media – because the media is not going to be able to restrain itself from injecting its own spin.

          I’d love to ask Trump-the-businessman if this is how he conducts his business, if he would mind if members of his board took it upon themselves to take Trump business out into the “public” of the business world. I’m guessing not.

          I figure one of two things is going on here: he’s either incapable of keeping his mouth shut – or knowing when to keep his mouth shut – or – he has some other agenda he feels will benefit by undermining the IC with respect to Russia. Or some combination of both.

          In any event, this is not good. At the rate he is going, I don’t give it a year before we are saying “President Pence;” this man – Trump – has conflicts out the ass that I do not believe can or will be resolved, and he remains, for me, undeniably unqualified to hold this office.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From Haywood’s Bloomberg article quote above:

            “You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” the president-elect said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.’”

            “The CIA has a strong spine and is accustomed to controversy, but this is way out of bounds,” George Little, a former spokesman for the CIA said. “It won’t help any of us if he continues to disparage and undervalue intelligence when the stakes are so high.”

            “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s transition team said in a statement on Friday.

            If something happens, let us know.

            That’s not besmirching.

            These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein… – that’s nothing new at all

          2. hunkerdown

            I’m curious what the intelligence community offers the public interest that makes it so important that the Oligarch-in-Chief subscribe to a newsletter of fake news.

          3. cwaltz

            He has people in his cabinet with business connections in Russia so it may be that he is showing bias towards those people and their conclusions on Russia.

            I don’t think it’s particularly inspiring that he is skipping the intelligence briefings. It’s one thing to disagree with conclusions of others, it’s entirely another animal to ignore them or snub them. I think it’s important to attempt to understand information and viewpoints different from yours though.

            1. hunkerdown

              cwaltz, two key words: “vexatious litigant”

              I’m not sure why you believe that self-interested criminals should be allowed at the table just because they have something to say. The only difference between a drug cartel and the CIA is imprimatur. Given their record, and more importantly, their institutional interests, they have no right to be acknowledged, let alone received.

              1. cwaltz

                Again you seem to be under the misimpression the people in the CIA act independently from the government. They don’t. They act as an agency within the government. The problem isn’t with the intelligence, the problem is with how it is utilized and how people choose to interpret it.

                For example, our government chose to ignore the fact that Chalabi had ties to Iran when they choose to listen to his fabrications on WMDs in Iraq. As a matter of fact the CIA argued that it was skeptical of Chalabi and the INC claims of mobile weapons labs. They certainly weren’t the only global community either. The Germans also had intelligence that suggested the claims were fabricated.

                Ignoring information instead of sifting through it to see what stands up as fact and what is just noise is, in my opinion, foolish.

                1. integer

                  Again you seem to be under the misimpression the people in the CIA act independently from the government.

                  Actually it is you who have it wrong here. The CIA has lied numerous times to congress in order to keep their activities secret, and actively subverts any restraints that are placed upon them by government. Of course, when the government of the day has aligned themselves with the CIA (0bama, Dubya), then it may seem that the government is in control, but all evidence points to the power dynamic being the other way around.

                  1. cwaltz

                    Oh really please share with me how I do not understand how intelligence actually works rocket scientist?

                    And don’t forget to share your credentials with me (Hint: My spouse actually had a top secret clearance while stationed with the Seal teams sweetie. I assure you when he was going to places that the government had formally broken diplomatic ties with but had informally decided to cooperate with on drug interdiction ops or whatever that it was completely with the government a ok- not some random thing that someone decided to do all on their own.) It’s called plausible deniability.

                    1. integer

                      I do not understand how intelligence actually works

                      Freudian slip?

                      (Hahaha. Apologies. From now on I’ll steer clear. I mean, you can’t really expect me to pass up the gift of an opportunity like that, can you? Ok, no more interaction with cwaltz, starting….NOW!)

          4. integer

            doing it in public, which is not where the discussion belongs

            Sometimes mobilizing public opinion is the only way. I suppose I understand where you are coming from, i.e. that the intelligence agencies should not be compromised by having their dirty laundry aired in public, but I don’t think you are understanding how absolutely out of control the CIA is and the ends they are seeking to achieve. They want war with Russia, and in all likelihood are prepared to use nuclear weapons. They have also shown that they have absolutely no problem subverting the system that is designed to keep checks on their activities, and seemingly think nothing of lying to the face of congress.

            This needs to be dealt with right now and I for one am grateful that Trump is showing enough spine to stand up to them.

            (Also, sorry if my other reply to you came across as being harsh. I admit I was a bit peeved by our exchange the other day but I am happy to move past it now.)

        4. Robert McGregor

          If the doctor diagnoses Cancer, and you spend $200K getting radiation and chemo, and you get very nauseous and all your hair falls out, and then you find out you really don’t have cancer . . . then maybe that comprehensive diagnosis with all

          the photo stuff, and electronic stuff, and even the assessment of people in the know

          . . . doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

          There is a place for “Expert Advice,” but a first-order existential problem of our times is, “How do you determine if ‘Expert Advice” is really ‘Expert?’ “

      2. Eleanor Rigby

        I watched a show on C-Span by an author of a book about the Presidents Daily Briefing. He said it was tailored to varying presidents’ learning styles. For example, for JFK, who had a quick mind, it was organized in a more staccato type of style, so he could read little segments while swimming etc.

      3. integer

        I think Trump is smart enough to know that the CIA has its own agenda (that of a worldwide criminal gang that would prefer not to be accountable to anyone or anything), and that by attending briefings he would essentially be submitting himself to propaganda from some of the most dishonest people in the world.

        As an aside, did you ever read my reply to the accusatory comment you directed at me over my poking fun at the 0bamamometer? Just for the record, I won’t be that nice next time your emotions get the better of you and you lash out in my direction. Anyway, I guess I’ll still give you an A for effort. Hahaha.

        1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

          Is there something big going on behind the scenes?

          On one side, you have recounts, de-ligitimizing the EC at first, and now, influencing the electors. You also get McCain, Graham and McConnell baring their fangs. Then, you have the CIA doing the soft operations.

          On the other corners, you get Trump surrounding himself with generals.

          Somewhere, factions within the FBI were working things out ( I hope). And the guy who did the leaking (he or she is apparently not Russian), which agency is he/she connected to?

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Like you I wonder what is going on behind the scenes. There are many ripples in the waters telling of behemoths stirring in the deep.

          2. integer

            Is there something big going on behind the scenes?

            Undoubtedly. I have wondered if the FBI quietly stepped in to make sure election rigging did not occur on a significant scale, thwarting the D-party and the CIA’s efforts. Essentially, the CIA has its own agenda that has very little in common with what is best for the US and the world in general. To the best of my knowledge, Soros, the Saudis, Israel (the Mossad is essentially the Israeli arm of the CIA, or perhaps vice versa is more accurate, not sure), and Gulen (remember him? He was the architect of the attempted Turkish coup) are all heavily involved with the CIA.

            The CIA have infiltrated the corporate media and Hollywood, using them as propaganda outlets, which they then use to start wars. I expect the CIA has also infiltrated the MIC and they are involved with Bezos and Amazon in some capacity, and probably other multinational corporations. They are also heavily involved with the drugs trade, esp. the heroin coming out of Afghanistan and probably the cocaine from South America. Reports also suggest that they are embedded within ISIS, probably taking care of the strategic planning side of things. All of this paints a very, very disturbing picture wrt their intentions.

            Imo the CIA, at least at the highest levels of the gang “organization”, is psychopath central.

            1. integer

              Adding: The CIA have also infiltrated academia and the arts, stripping both of much of the richness (I’m not talking about financial richness btw) that they previously had to offer.

      4. JTMcPhee

        The IC and the people who follow it and used to work there apparently take themselves very seriously. How many serious failures in their centuries of collective wisdom does it take to evaluate the crappy self-serving product? And the crap they pull covertly, so well documented, that serves whose interests in the Game, again? Trump seems to me to threaten even more bleeding and looting and decimation of the lives of ordinary people, but he seems, as a BSer himself, to recognize BS when he sees it. I read that the analyst part of the CIA Blob has been largely trashed. If so, all the more reason to tell the professional liars and dissembles and spooks and drug dealers and murderers to go sit in the corner.

        Anne, your post indicates some familiarity with the inner workings. Does it make any sense, from the standpoint of “serving whatever the national interests might be,” to keep elevating imperial court form over (serial failure and secret agenda) substance?

        Anyone seen Obama lately? Did he personally authorize, after one of those fact-challenged agenda-driven briefings, another 200 Troops on the ground in Syria, to do more pre-failed tactical tomfoolery and act as potential casualty belli ? For just one little bit, to go along with sending MANPADs to “our guys”, who like the rest of the ME players who live there, including Saudis and Israelis, “play Uncle Sucker like a fiddle”? Those people have collectively millions of years of experience, and are wise in deception and treachery beyond the dreams of a Dulles or Casey of GHWB.

        Trump is horrible for ordinary people, but apparently understands the real dynamics in this realm. The IC is a disease, any more. Chaos is its most important product.

      5. timbers

        I find it more than alarming that he actually seems to believe that he is so smart he just doesn’t need the be briefed on a daily basis.

        Or is it that Trump thinks the IC is incompetent and corrupted with it’s own agendas?

        Obama says we are fighting the terrorists in Syria when In fact we are funding arming and training the terrorists as we destroy the national infrastructure and nation of Syria. Where does Obama get this false info or does he know he is lying? We know he does IC briefings and it’s their job to tell him about this. I will assume the IC it telling Obama the lies that cause him to think and say America is doing the opposite of what reality shows it to be doing.

        So, I don’t agree we should be alarmed, but encouraged. Thinking you are less smart that the IC – such as it is now – gets you Obama/Hillary policies with their aggression towards Russia and the Iraqs -Syrias-Afghanistans-Ukraines-Yemens-Somalias. On the other hand knowing the IC is “ridiculus” and corrupt and feeding you anti-reality as Trump may believe, is an improvement.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Really, going to assume Obama is just deluded, ignorant, and not flat out lying about what the Empire is up to in Syria? Really? “If The President only knew what was going on…”

          I know the Beltway Bubble is pretty much airlocked, but a fella that kills and tortures some folks, and gets all these “findings” to sign off on, and presumably has “national security advisers” who at least whisper or let slip some hints of the real nature of the Game, does not get to play the innocent. Except in the minds of the many folks who for some reason still think, er, BELIEVE, against all personal evidence and such “news” as they can see, that “He’s Our Greatest President EVAH!”

          I bet the folks in Jonestown, at least the ones who weren’t physically forced to drink that meme-creating Kool-aid or shot down by other True Believers for trying to escape the Grand Resurrection, thought (and more important, ‘felt”) the same way toward Jim Jones, preacher-man, as what get called the Obots feel toward Obama… Identity is so important, having a tribe, a cult… So important until you and your children are dead…

        2. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps being smart is not the key here…there are many ways to relate to the world and in this instance, perhaps it’is a combination of caution and common sense.

        3. Anne

          Oh, come on – this is the guy who said he knows more about ISIS than the generals, remember? Do we believe that? I mean, for one thing, when would he have time to learn anything, what with all the pep rallies and needing to tweet out his every thought and having to stay current with all the SNL episodes?

          The way I look at it, you can say you’re knowledgeable in order to project as a powerful person, but there’s only so long you can bluff it out before you’re going to do something that exposes how little you know, and the price to be paid could be incalculable.

          Again, I am not saying I think the CIA and all the other myriad pieces/parts of the IC are above reproach – they for sure have been responsible for a lot of really bad things, either at the direction of past presidents, or in shaping the intel to generate the kind of response they feel is needed.

          I just think that the person driving this particular bus has great potential to be manipulated into something disastrous, or is himself manipulating this thing to his own purposes – purposes that are not in furtherance of the country’s best interests, but of his and his companies’ interests.

          As for Obama, he might as well have just handed over the keys after the election; he seems singularly uninterested in anything other than marking off the days remaining in his term.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Regarding generals, I suspect there is a reason he has so many generals around.

            Good generals, from his perspective, not bad generals making mistakes in the Middle East (his opinion), or too bogged down in minutiae (to win a battle) to know we shouldn’t be there (so we can end that war and win peace).

          2. River

            The Alphabet Soup agencies are a dog that bites. Trump just smacked it in the nose with a rolled up newspaper. This is posturing and Trump is letting them know that he runs the show not them. They are so shocked because no other president has had the gall to rebuke them publicly before.

          3. sj

            Frankly, Anne, I’m much less concerned with the fact that Trump is opting out of the Daily IC Briefings, than I am with the fact Mike Pence takes them all. At least when Nixon refused them, he completely refused them. And on the plus side, Nixon was forced to resign. But then here we would be again: Mike Pence.

            In any case, remember that the Bush administration proved that ignorance of actual, available data is irrelevant when promoting an agenda. Even a horrendous, costly, evil agenda.

            Agree about Obama, but “rumor has it” that he has been disinterested for at least the last two years.

        4. cwaltz

          If that is the case the appropriate response, in my mind, would be to meet with them and to make the argument that you disagree with their conclusions. Ignoring the world’s complexity isn’t going to make it go away.

          As it stands I think it’s very dangerous to leave these agencies to their own devices.

          1. hunkerdown

            I suspect a lot of “the world’s complexity” is facultative, created by ruling-class interests. And that ignoring it, that is, not feeding it, will, indeed, cause it to collapse to a simpler level.

            1. cwaltz

              I have little to no doubt that ruling class interests are responsible for lots and lots of conflict.

              I disagree with the premise that if Trump ignores it that it’s going to go away particularly when they have another branch of government to go to with their stories(Congress) the branch I might add that provides it’s money. So if I were Trump I wouldn’t want to have them run around me but force them to go through me.

              I’d listen to the briefings if only to be aware of what these agencies are telling the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

      6. fosforos

        “he does not strike me as someone who is truly going to be able to put those interests aside and act in the best interests of the country.”
        Does Trump seem, to you or anyone else, like someone who has the faintest idea what “the best interests of the country” actually are? Indeed, who in the world has ever given an other-than-ideological explanation of what constitute those “best interests?” So what’s the point of criticizing someone who focuses on what he can understand–business interests–rather than on something that he is no more capable of understanding than anyone else in the world, “the best interests of the country?”

        1. jrs

          fine but business interest are against my class interests and really truthfully against my interest as a citizen of planet earth.

      7. Bittercup

        “I am saying that what I have seen so far from Trump is a disturbing inability to think past the end of his own nose.”

        Could you elaborate on the incidents that have led you to this conclusion? I think Trump seems to be actually reasonably decent at thinking in terms of the long game, but I’d be happy to have my mind changed.

      8. Praedor

        I do not, I CANNOT, believe a damn thing that comes out of the CIA. Decades of undermining democracies, even our own! Decades of illegal coups, plots, experiments (including on our own citizens), the famous quote by William Casey, 1981, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false”.

        The CIA has admitted to manipulating the MSM too:

        The CIA really does need to be totally dissolved, all the Harvard/Yale masturbators in control need to be flushed down the toilet they’ve been floating in since the creation of the CIA, and it needs to be rebuilt with actual humans.

      9. Waldenpond

        He is rejecting the daily pounding of propaganda of the organizations who seek to destroy any country (who will be couped or bombed next) that doesn’t give our selected oligarchs the profits/wealth they demand. I too would reject the indoctrination but for different reasons than Trump…. I’m sure he’s just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic and putting himself and whoever will pay him off with a launch in the SS exploitation and feels he can do that without each agency whining on behalf of their preferred oligarchs.

    3. Optimader

      Trump shows them the respect they deserve by walking into the bathroom and taking a dump as they speak

      LBJ mode

  4. oho

    ‘Clinton allies look to leverage Electoral College Politico’

    Guess the budget to astroturf the anti-Trump protests ran out?

    Or maybe allowing anarchists to co-opt anti-Trump rallies and loot Portland neighborhoods didn’t focus group well?

    1. Brad

      Thousands of high school students walking out of school were not Clinton astroturf. Unless one wants to argue that their ClintonBot teachers agitproped them into it. That’s a typical right wing talking point.

      1. integer

        The media and the popular culture that high school students would have been “consuming” was heavily biased towards Clinton and painted Trump as the personification of racism and misogyny. Remember all the Hollywood and pop music stars that endorsed Clinton and mocked Trump? I do.

        Also, it is clearly evident that the US education system is not structured around developing critical thinking skills. In fact it almost seems to be purposely tailored to suppress those skills…

        1. olga

          He forgets that in 1996, US totally manipulated Russian elections, when a team of “consultants” took a 6%-approval-rating-Yeltsin to win the election. There is even a Hollywood film about it – Selling Yeltsin. US media and the so called IC are only looking in the mirror.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Also, let’s not forget money is what lubricates color revolutions.

            The first time, I understand, was money used in Iran in the 50s by a Mr. Roosevelt.

            So, any foreign money manipulating US elections?

            Can the CIA tell us?

    1. integer

      I’m sure the neocons are frantically conducting their little brainstorming sessions (yes, that is definitely a double entendre), trying to come up with that perfect yet elusive combination of words that will whip public opinion into a state of warmongering frenzy.

      They just don’t get it that they have zero credibility and their words are impotent.
      I’ve heard the Hague is nice at this time of year.

    2. Pat

      So a so-called hack, whose result was to leak actual emails, most banal but some illuminating the corrupt and clueless atmosphere at the DNC and within the Clinton inner circle is the equivalent of using commercial airliners as bombs to kill thousands of people?

      No wonder our foreign policy is such a disaster if someone with so little ability to see scope was in charge of the CIA.

      1. fresno dan

        December 13, 2016 at 9:09 am

        I keep thinking about how bad Trump is….and than – yet again – a clown like Morell opens his gas hole and it reminds me the alternative was worse.

        1. Pat

          fresno dan
          December 13, 2016 at 9:24 am

          I honestly do not know who is the lesser evil. I leaned to Trump just because Clinton was so clearly itching for a confrontation with Russia and also clearly had no idea of what that might end up meaning. (Yes, I really do think she and her ‘advisors’ all were of the delusional opinon that Putin was going to be the one to blink.)

          I knew I was going to wake up on November 9th sick to my stomach. It didn’t matter who America picked. But I do have to say that it has all been, hat tip Lambert, illuminating.
          The denial, the hissy fits, the half-assed attempts to change things, even the more disturbing attempts to wrest control back of both information and the reins of power by screaming Russia have all been sickening and enlightening. Doesn’t change the fact we are still facing disaster, but if a large portion of these tools are buried beneath the rubble of the fall out that will be one small silver lining.

          1. Brad

            At the risk of an AQ mime, the liberal Dems are the “near enemy”, the Trumpistas the “far enemy”.

      2. Chief Bromden

        In other words, the WaPoo and NYTimes are full of baseless tripe yet again. These are ACTUAL intelligence professionals, speaking on the record. There was no hack, and the CIA gets its communication intel from the NSA. The establishment papers are stirring up Cold War 2.0 NeoMcCarthyism….fake news run amok.

        “In what follows, we draw on decades of senior-level experience – with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and security – to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit – given our long labors in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it may sound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains, simply, to tell it like it is – without fear or favor.
        We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:
        Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.
        Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.
        All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.
        In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.
        ….As for the comments to the media as to what the CIA believes, the reality is that CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in the communications arena. Thus, it remains something of a mystery why the media is being fed strange stories about hacking that have no basis in fact. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.”

    3. johnnygl

      That’s mr. covertly kill russian and iranians!

      He makes john bolton look reasonable. Can we exile him to another country? I don’t feel safe while he’s residing within our borders. If he ever flies abroad the state dept should have his passport revoked snowden-style, so that he can’t return.

    4. Code Name D

      I wonder. Would they also breif the electorates regarding how Clintion rigged her primary? Naw, they wouldn’t kneed to know any of that.

  5. UserFriendly

    Someone should tell Obama that if he really wants nuclear holocaust he still has a whole month left in office to get us there.

    President Obama suggested in a new interview that voters should have cared more about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential race.

    “What is it about the state of our democracy where the leaks of what were frankly not very interesting emails, that didn’t have any explosive information in them, ended up being an obsession?” he asked in an interview on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah.

    “And the fact that the Russians were doing this was not an obsession?”

      1. integer

        CNN aren’t referred to as the Clinton News Network for no reason.
        Wrt the 0bama quote in UserFriendly’s above post, it is just so obvious that he is trying to divert attention away from the content of the Clinton and Podesta emails.
        Are they even trying anymore?

        Stuart Eizenstat: Israel lobbyist
        Haim Saban: Wealthy fool

        I might have to go and find some more interesting Wikileaks stuff if the establishment keeps trying to tell everyone that there is nothing particularly interesting in the Clinton or Podesta emails, because I seem to remember differently.

        1. optimader

          CNN aren’t referred to as the Clinton News Network for no reason.

          And dat dog don’t hunt no mo.. I wonder how long it will take CNN to figure it out?

        1. tgs

          Sorry – didn’t know about Johnson until a day or two ago. The point of his piece is reasonable enough:

          In October the NSA claimed that the intelligence assessment was that the Russians had done the hacking. If that were true, then there would have been a written document signed off on by all the relevant agencies and given or presented to Obama. If that is true, then Obama chose not to act on it. Thus, either the NSA was lying about a consensus or Obama chose not to act on their assessment.

          But if said assessment existed since Oct. why order a new investigation (under Clapper) now? Moreover, why did Obama claim that there was no evidence of cyber hacking and that the election represented the will of the American people? What changed? Why insist that it must be completed before Obama leaves office?

          I think Johnson is right that there is something weird going on.

          1. tgs

            Sorry to answer my own question, but I guess the new info is the claim that the Russians hacked the RNC but didn’t leak what they found. Of course, the RNC completely denies that they were hacked.

            1. craazyboy

              Which means our leak detectors have the RNC servers under constant surveillance, or they have detected the Russian spyware on the RNC servers and didn’t notify the RNC yet of this malware. I think. Not an expert on hacking.

            2. marym

              Leads to the argument that Russians hacked the both the RNC and DNC but didn’t leak what they found; and we still don’t know the source of the DNC leak.

          2. optimader

            In October the NSA claimed that the intelligence assessment was that the Russians had done the hacking. If that were true, then there would have been a written document signed off on by all the relevant agencies and given or presented to Obama. If that is true, then Obama chose not to act on it. Thus, either the NSA was lying about a consensus or Obama chose not to act on their assessment.

            And as Lambert pointed out, first step obvious response is pulling the Ambassador from Moscow….which hasn’t happened. In fact crickets on any response?
            Hmm is BHO a Russian mole?

            1. Praedor

              The NSA is full of feces. Their “the Russians did it!” is likely down to a hacker (or three) in Russia did it. That means that “Russia did it!” as on par as “the United States did it!” if Russian intelligence determines that a couple hackers in the USA got into some Russian server.

              There’s a whole hog of diff between “The Russians Did It(tm)” and “some Russians did it.” Neither requires any proof, of course. Certainly no incontrovertible proof. Then again, just how does the NSA KNOW this unless they themselves are hacking into Russian networks themselves…oh, wait. It’s OK if the US does it.

        2. dontknowitall

          I propose the following as potential ‘evidence’ that Russia was not attempting to swing the election and was as surprised by the outcome as Hillary…Remember in mid-October the Northern Fleet carrier Kuznetsov left its port headed to the Syrian coast. Why? Russia already had all the fighter aircraft and bomber power it needed at airbases in Syria why send a breakdown-prone ship all the way there? People suggested its anti-aircraft capabilities were needed in the Syrian theater but that’s not credible considering all the firepower already there plus what could be flown from Russia on short notice…so something else may have been the true purpose. I suggest the Putin and his advisors bought into the whole 80-90% probability of Hillary winning the election and would face in very short order, in a matter of days after the election, a serious challenge to the maintenance of the Assad regime by the establishment of an American no-fly zone. At this point Putin would be faced with a put-up-or-shut-up moment and considering that his nation is not ready for a even a limited non-nuclear war with a powerful foe they would settle leading to Assad’s end. However, they would not accept Assad ending like Qaddafi, hence the Kuznetsov, a sovereign piece of Russia, is parked just off-shore to guarantee the survival of Assad, his family and close associates ( and bags of cash)…sort of like the helicopter evacuation of the CIA station during the fall of Saigon. So if any of this makes sense the Russians could not be trying manipulate the outcome of the election since their actions show they were already convinced Hillary was going to win the election because of her ‘commanding’ lead in the polls.

  6. Steve C

    Re the American Conservative article, the Democrats will focus all their attention on the Trumpian Tillerson at State, and ignore Bolton, the real nightmare. Just like they ignored the Pence nightmare to focus all on Trump. But, after all, the professional class Democrats are smarter than you and me.

    1. Jim Haygood

      That is indeed ironic, Steve. Johnny McShame and his sidekick Senatrix Graham are trying to make the case that Rex Tillerson — a good ol’ boy from Wichita Falls, Texas who’s donated millions to mainstream Republicans — is a Putin stooge. Presumably his giant company Exxon Mobil is a communist front, too.

      Meanwhile, flaming neocon Bolton, who still thinks invading Iraq was a great idea, gets a free pass. Why did Trump even nominate this neocon ringer to step into the shoes of Victoria Nuland? Do we always have to have an Israel-crony minder inside State?

      1. pretzelattack

        that’s disturbing and discouraging. trump looks to be knuckling under to pressure to maintain the warmongering.

        1. nippersdad

          Re: “Knuckling under to pressure…”

          The proof will be in the pudding, obviously, but his cabinet picks thus far all seem to be variations upon Republican stereotypes. I’m not sure why this would surprise anyone; he knows very little about governance, and has admitted it. He appears to be making his selections based upon who sucks up best amongst a group provided by such as Pence.

          That Pence would provide him with a range of neocons from which to choose is hardly surprising given his TeaParty background. The “kick their ass and take their gas” types would accept little else, after all. From my perspective, the only good foreign policy news was ever going to be that he wouldn’t directly antagonize Russia. In that regard, at least, TeaParty Republicans have always seemed slightly less unhinged than the Clinton factions of the warmongering uniparty.

          1. Steve C

            The Tea Party saved us from Obama’s Grand Bargain and Social Security cuts, so they’re good for something.

            1. nippersdad

              This is true, unfortunately they did it for all of the wrong reasons. I don’t see that happening again.

              Most of the Republican Party is made up of older people now, though, so hopefully they will do what the TeaPartiers won’t this time. Price may soon find himself in the same position as Gingrich; disowned by his own District.

      2. The Trumpening

        There could be some logic in picking Bolton. First there is a slight chance he was just dabbling in NeoConnery (it works in French) because all the other cool kids were doing it and besides, it was a quick stairway to power. From reading his biography it does seem that Bolton is as much a power seeker as he is an ideologue. So it is possible Trump could convert him to America Firstism while using his NeoCon street cred to tamp down the rumbling of the Israel Firsters.

        It is useful in a counsel of war to have divergent viewpoints if for no other reason than to improve your policies.

        But most important of all, Bolton will no doubt be sent out to the TV shows to defend Trump’s policies. We saw Bolton yesterday in an interview saying the Russian hacks may have been “false flag”. What he is really playing on here is the truth that any counterintelligence endeavor (which this election hack is) is at best a stroll through a wilderness of mirror as master spook James Jesus Angleton once said.

        Trump is totally flakey on some issues – immigration being the first that comes to mind. But he has been totally consistent on his opening to Russia and in denouncing boilerplate NeoCon empire building.

        The other reason for Bolton is to assure Tillerson’s confirmation. Surely Bolton only gets the job is Tillerson is approved. If Johnny McShame, Senatrix Graham, and Flakey Flake say no then Tillerson does not make it through the hearings.

        1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

          Why is it not ‘Bolton has betrayed or abandoned his neocon comrades to join Trump who has said it was a mistake to go to Iraq?’

          Is it similar to the very human tendency to whine ‘we have 5 players injured on our team, this is bad,’ but rarely looking at how many are hurt on the other team?

      3. TheBellTolling

        Tillerson is a disaster for those of us concerned about climate change though. Think of Hillary’s support to get developing countries to sign deals with American fossil fuel companies for fracking. This is obviously where Russia benefits, in having an oil guy guiding diplomatic policy.

        And the rest of us lose. I suppose I should be happy it’s not another warmonger? Even though they want to stick Bolton in deputy? Also how do we know he won’t support war when it is in Exxon’s interest.

        This is not a good appointment.

        1. jrs

          Russia will benefit from climate change too – temporarily maybe (of course climate change is a force that can’t be contained, but they may be banking on a short term boost to their economy with a warming planet). Most of the U.S. is fast going to be desert, so it is not a net beneficiary, and don’t even ask about much of the 3rd world who have done the least to cause climate change.

          “Also how do we know he won’t support war when it is in Exxon’s interest.”

          No kidding! The oil folks seemed to run things under W as well. How did that work out for us?

      4. optimader

        Why did Trump even nominate this neocon ringer to step into the shoes of Victoria Nuland

        Trumperton Window? First choices are the last choice.. A little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down! HAHAHA!!!
        I wonder if Trump did this kinda sht with his kids when they were young?

  7. Marco

    I have reached a “superposition” state of simultaneously hating and loving Trump. His punking the CIA coupled with the sickening cabinet appointments leave me torn. Well…if a sub-atomic particle can swing it so can I.

  8. Ed

    On this link about redrawing state boundaries:


    I hate giving the Washington Post more web traffic, but you keep linking to them, and this is a really good article about a neglected subject. Both state and local boundaries in the US are poorly drawn, and this is another area where the US actually lags behind the rest of the world.

    And if you google “redraw state boundaries” all you will probably get is Etzel Pearcy’s 38 state effort from the 1970s, which he pretty much seems to have pulled out of his a__. The research linked to by the Washington Port is based on real research and data, in this case commuting patterns. Its worth a look.

    I don’t have time for a more content filled content, but I’ve been thinking about this since I saw the Pearcy map thirty years ago, and given the high degree of institutional conservatism in this country, I now favor just consolidating the states into 18 states, which would have a neutral partisan effect and make US government institutions, notably the Senate, work much better. But the new boundaries would follow the old boundaries everywhere except California, which is too big in relation to the other states, and the Northeast, where more extensive work is needed to make sure metro areas are not divided between states. However, any of these schemes would be non-starters because too many current state government employees, notably the legislators who would have to approve them, would be thrown out of work. Another idea is just to abolish the states, providing for the formation of new states, and to start over from scratch.

    1. cocomaan

      I’d much rather increase the House of Reps to around 5000 members than redraw state lines. Commuting patterns just doesn’t do it for me. State lines were drawn around natural resources, like water, and done that way for a reason

    2. Antifa

      It’s hard to imagine the public getting excited about this redrawing our states project. Something needs to be done to add some fire to this idea — a petition to give Alaska back to the Russians, perhaps. Or selling Miami to Havana before Dade County becomes a lagoon. I know Detroit would defect to Canada in a heartbeat, and take most of Michigan with it. There’s no good reason New Mexico can’t go back to Old Mexico. Alabama has got to be worth something to somebody . . . ? Maybe the Spaniards.

      Of course, if we redraw our states, we have to change our flag. People won’t like that. Puerto Rico, Guam, Midway, and our 13 other territories will want their own star. We’ll inevitably end up adjusting the national map just to get an even number of stars on the flag.

    3. hunkerdown

      Commuting patterns are an indirect property of economics, therefore policy, not fact.

      We need more states, not fewer, that grant people more power over their affairs, not less. Centralized power is too easy to corrupt centrally. Plus, combining existing political machines is never preferable to breaking them up.

    4. Mike Mc

      Would love it if states would resize counties. Beautiful Nebraska – where in several counties cattle outnumber humans by a good bit – we have 93 counties. Right around 2 million people, 77k square miles, and 93 county seats, county boards, county courthouses/roads dept./sheriffs depts. etc.

      Someone proposed a 45 county solution years ago and it of course went nowhere, but with about 2/3 of our state DEpopulating (Buffalo Commons finally happening), it makes zero sense to try and sustain this many counties. S’okay though – we probably only need one Dakota, right?

  9. JohnB

    I’m searching for good economic arguments (from economists, of any variety) on situations where rent control is valid and worthwhile, e.g. as an emergency measure during a severe housing supply shortage (Ireland is about to introduce rent control it seems).

    Why is it that I can find no economists, anywhere, who are supportive of rent control in specific situations? Most economists never seem to even discuss the topic at all, all I can find are the mainstream economists who oppose rent control.

    1. Pat

      I can’t give you what you want, but I can tell my reason you probably won’t find what you are looking for. Free markets. Well that ideology AND the fact that very few economists work in a bubble – someone has to pay them. No one is going to pay them for a study of the value of rent controls. And in case you haven’t noticed the people running our government and staffing our bureaucracies aren’t interested in studying policies that might not be in their donors best interests. (Think approval for study of long term detrimental effects of rent controls versus rejection for Long term advantages and disadvantages of rent controls.)

      I’m a cynical cuss.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘e.g. as an emergency measure during a severe housing supply shortage’

      New York introduced rent control as an emergency wartime measure in 1943. The big war ended … other little wars came and went too … but apparently New York’s ’emergency’ soldiers on, 73 years later.

      When gov gets involved, it becomes a permanent emergency.

        1. kgw

          I wonder sometimes about “landlords” who raise the rent…What need are they expressing?
          No surge in wages, just a surge in the cost of rent. Just a surge in their greed?

            1. Alejandro

              Without context, how would you identify the means of greed, and remedy the effects of disproportionality/ inequality? Parasitic rent extraction directly contradicts the notion of “merit”.

          1. ambrit

            It depends on the size of the landlord. My experience and anecdotal evidence suggests that a small landlord generally has a lower overhead, as in no intermediate layers of functionaries, and a more realistic appreciation of local conditions.
            Property taxes are a major cost component to individual rental unit owners. (In our town, city property taxes for an older single family rental run about a hundred dollars a month. This is in addition to city services impositions that are billed directly to the renters.) Large apartment complexes often negotiate “rebates” and set asides of local service charges. Investors in larger properties often view rentals as a strictly financial process. X percent return on investment is often prioritized above renters ability to pay.
            Section Eight properties, where the hybrid monster exhibits the worst aspects of both Public and Private systems, are a joke around here. As Master Kenobi remarked; “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” One of the main subsidized apartment complexes here has a police sub station right in the middle of it. Locals consider this place, which is empty much of the time, as a prepositioning site for anti riot gear. Now, in some of the smaller polities about here, the subsidized housing clusters are run by local groups, and show a marked improvement in quality of living standards. Whether this is a result of localization of control, or an aspect of small town social dynamics, I cannot say. That question is an intriguing one.

      1. Pat

        Over the last couple of decades most of the rent controlled apartments have disappeared. There were only 27,000 throughout the entire state in 2017. There are very distinct rules for continuing rent control of those apartments, so there are fewer every year. Rent stabilized is more abundant (a little over a million units in 2017) and even those are disappearing. As for rent stabilized, it isn’t the image most people have. It is great because a board determines the rent increases and there are tenant protects in place. But that idea that someone is paying the same rent they paid twenty years ago only really applies to rent controlled. In fact until recently the average yearly rent increases for stabilized apartments were somewhere between three and 7 percent a year. (Sometimes the two year lease was a possible break because while it was say 10 percent up front, it wasn’t double the 6 or 7 percent for the one year lease. You just gambled that next years increases would be the same.) But they are disappearing as well. See if the leased tenant vacates an apartment, that apartment can be ‘renovated’ and the rent can be increased dramatically. And the rule is (and I quote):

        There are numerous exceptions to both of these general categories. For example, if the legal rent exceeded $2,700 following a vacancy the unit may be deregulated. Or, if the unit was in a building converted to a co-op it may be deregulated upon vacancy.

        Ignore the may continuing to be regulated under those circumstances is the exception.

        And for the record, it is an emergency in NYC, otherwise the government assisted low income rents which start at $1000/month for a studio and climb for larger units would be treated as the atrocity it is rather than having people scramble for them.

    3. Michael

      1) Rent Control is a shibboleth among economists. One is simply not allowed to study it, period.
      2) “Temporary” laws of any type tend to massively outlive the crisis for which they were designed, absent explicit sunset provisions.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And end up just being part of the social context. Which of course has nothing to do with “fairness” or “justice.” Winners and losers– thus it has always been, thus it shall apparently always be, until the results of greed and Markets kill most or all of us off.

  10. George Phillies

    From the press report, India is not about to have a recession, it is already having — assuming the data is representative — a 1932 level depression, including taking out agricultural production. There are already reports that planting is not occurring because farmers cannot afford seed.

  11. Jim Haygood

    Hippie haven Nelson BC suffers from Vancouver’s bubble spillover:

    NELSON, British Columbia — Marijuana, Vietnam War draft dodgers and artists gave Nelson its tree-hugging, bohemian soul.

    This remote mountain town in British Columbia has recently welcomed a new wave of settlers: urban refugees, increasingly priced out of cities like Vancouver and yearning for a simpler life.

    But Nelson’s charms have become something of a curse. The recent influx of people to this compact town of 10,000 has led to an affordable housing crisis, set off by bidding wars over its scarce housing stock and a zero percent rental vacancy rate caused in part by homeowners who rent their properties to tourists through sites like Airbnb.

    Four hundred miles from Van just ain’t far enough. Good thing Canada has a points-based immigration system to keep out soul-crushed US Democrats. :-)

    1. cnchal

      All they need is money. The moar the better.

      Vancouver has stalled, but Toronto is on fire. Politicians simultaneously wring their hands and count their money.

      No price is too high when paying with loot.

    2. ambrit

      Too true about the “points.” The American Democrats do indeed have no point anymore. Their moral compasses became demagnetized decades ago.

  12. Jason Boxman

    Perhaps too late to add this, but on bombs I found these books all interesting:

    Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality (Not about weapons, but covers Heisenberg’s contributions to the theory)

    Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller

    Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State

    I’ve gotten good book recommendations from the comments, so here you go!

  13. UserFriendly

    Is it too late to get the electoral college to vote for Gorbachev?

    MOSCOW (AP) — As the Soviet Union was breaking up 25 years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev expected the United States and its Western allies to provide vital aid. The former Soviet president thinks their failure to offer significant help wasted a chance to build a safer world and resulted from short-sighted gloating at a Cold War rival’s demise.

    1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

      We did send help…with a give-away, sorry, a privatization scheme devised by our Harvard experts that concentrated wealth to their 1%.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Wow … #NotTheOnion … but perhaps should be.

      We have obviously hit #LudicrousSpeed … #NextStopPlaid

      1. rd

        The Onion and SNL must be getting pretty bummed out. They are struggling to come up with articles and scripts that are more bizarre and nonsensical than the mainstream media is publishing every day. SNL will simply have to go back to the Sarah Palin days and just pirate transcripts from real interviews and have their actors read them on the air. The Onion will have to go the National Enquirer route with alien babies, since political satire is impossible since the satire is actually the real world.

      2. rd

        BTW – I am starting to read ZeroHedge to get the less breathless and apocalyptic version of current events.

    2. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

      Only a weak strongman allows that to get published.

      Or perhaps Trump is just a strong weakman, and not a weak strongman.

  14. allan

    Sarah Cliff [Vox]:

    … I spent last week in southeastern Kentucky talking to Obamacare enrollees, all of whom supported Trump in the election, trying to understand how the health care law factored into their decisions.

    Many expressed frustration that Obamacare plans cost way too much, that premiums and deductibles had spiraled out of control. And part of their anger was wrapped up in the idea that other people were getting even better, even cheaper benefits — and those other people did not deserve the help.

    There was a persistent belief that Trump would fix these problems and make Obamacare work better. I kept hearing informed voters, who had watched the election closely, say they did hear the promise of repeal but simply felt Trump couldn’t repeal a law that had done so much good for them. In fact, some of the people I talked to hope that one of the more divisive pieces of the law — Medicaid expansion — might become even more robust, offering more of the working poor a chance at the same coverage the very poor receive. …

    It’s almost as if they would have been happy with a Federal program that provides coverage for all.
    Too bad the program wasn’t structured that way from the start.

    1. rd

      The Fairy Godfather Trump will wave his magic wand and miraculously make US healthcare costs drop by a third across the board.

      The ACA battle is a typical American debate where nobody is looking outside the US borders to see how the rest of the developed world has figured out how to have near-universal coverage at per capita costs that are one-third to two-thirds the per capita cost of US healthcare. The costs of the ACA plans have almost nothing to do with the ACA – its all about the exorbitant cost of healthcare in the US. People are used to having the employer pick up a high percentage of the insurance cost and they don’t even realize that their real take-home pay hasn’t increased in 20 years because the employers are putting their pay increases in to paying increasing insurance premiums instead.

      The battle is over the ACA. The war is over healthcare costs. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t even realize that there is a war and they are losing because they have not even fielded an army.

    2. Waldenpond

      Kos on healthcare also…..
      and David Mizner found this:

      Looks like quite a few Ds are getting what they want with the R win and then they concurrently come across as mocking people and sniggering they are getting what the ‘deserve’. It’s almost as if the absurd proposition that Ds would rather have Trump than Sanders was true.

  15. Andrew Foland

    Where is Hillary? Has she shown her face since Nov. 9?

    I keep reading things her campaign is doing, or pushing, or endorsing. But nothing about what she is doing, or pushing, or endorsing.

    I mean, Jill f’ing Stein and the Greens Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight are out there fighting for you, and you’re nowhere to be seen?

    How is it that her campaign is trying to engineer an Electoral College coup without her?

    So much for Trump’s “she’s a fighter” praise.

    1. ambrit

      There are rumours that she’s been seen walking her “dog” about her ‘hood attired in a spandex cosplay outfit. (Either the Purple Panderer or Madame Zinn.)
      On the information front, since Yahoo News, (I can’t believe this is an actual thing,) links often to the IBT, it is only natural that WaPo link up with 4Chan. Being a flagship purveyor of “news,” the NYT should partner with a more reputable source, like say, Radio Free Magonia.
      It is now “responsible” to speculate.

    2. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

      Trump’s ‘she’s a fighter’ praise.

      That’s from the Art of Deal Making – sometimes carrot, sometimes stick (good guy, bad guy).

  16. Michael

    I would just like to take a moment to complain:

    Isn’t Tyler Cowen’s record, as a libertarian predictor, somehow even worse than all the rest of them? Why does anyone read him on purpose? Why does anyone hire him? I have him in the same category in my head as David Brooks, of a transparently incompetent charlatan who incomprehensibly wins the most plum of opportunities.

    Thank you.

  17. JohnnyGL

    I was going to send links to a few video clips, but there’s SO MANY jaw dropping nut-cases yelling “reds under the bed” that it’s worth just scrolling down to marvel them all.

    When John Bolton himself comes across as the most sane with idle speculation that “maybe the hacks are a ‘false flag’ operation” then that’s really saying something.

    I mean, wow. It’s like they’re trying to get Trump re-elected all over again. If Hillary Clinton were elected, would there be any way that we could avoid war with this freak show going on? This makes the WMD-Iraq run up look like a minor event. War drums are mad that they aren’t getting their war and beating harder than ever!

      1. ambrit

        One can always skin some more prisoners for new drum heads. Just ask the Neofascists. They have an institutional memory about that.
        It may be a baseless slander, but there once was an original bunch of Kochs.

    1. Aumua

      War drums are mad that they aren’t getting their war and beating harder than ever!

      It reeks of desperation, which is scary enough in itself. Even scarier: plenty of normal Americans are buying into it. I don’t really trust the people I see out there on the road, and in the stores. I trust you guys though.. sort of.

      Of course, were Clinton elected, we wouldn’t be seeing any of this ‘freak show’. It would be business as usual.

    2. integer

      They are desperate. The incomparable incontinent George Soros wants his war with Russia at any cost, and in all likelihood does not have another four years of waiting in him.

    3. Waldenpond

      Ds are normalizing Trump and his administration. All this ranting is because Podesta got phished and his password was p@ssword. It’s almost like they are doing it on purpose to get the war they want.

  18. Wyoming

    “Playing with fire.” is the phrase which comes to mind when I see these foolish electoral college tactics coming from the highest parts of the Clinton team and from emotionally devastated Democrats. Given the group has conclusively proven its inability to even slightly gauge the mood, convictions, beliefs and economic situation of those who voted for Trump, but this effort is beyond the pale of cluelessness.

    The election is a done deal. Period. Attempting to turn the election at this point will be regarded by many millions of people as an attempt to overthrow the government. This is no exaggeration in the slightest. Electoral College voters who are obligated to vote Trump will be endangering their lives if they vote for Clinton and if this effort somehow succeeded it would trigger civil unrest on a large scale. People would die. I mean how can they be missing this?

    I am a former Sanders supporter and would never have considered voting for Trump (or Hillary for that matter) but even I regard what Hillary’s high level supporters are doing as semi-treasonous. I would never support a Clinton government at this point as it would be a repudiation of democracy (as it is currently constitutionally constructed in this country – another issue there). They played … they lost…they failed…they need to go home. Get ready for the next game if you still have the stomach for it.

    But most important to me is the huge waste of resources and focus we see in the competing BAU scenarios. Yeah there is some difference in what happens depending on who we elect but let us be honest here and state that both sides are not talking any serious change in the course of civilization. Climate change, over population and exceeding the carrying capacity of the Earth are orders of magnitude more important than Hillary or Trump or their agendas. We face existential threats and neither the Democrats nor the Republican have any inclination to seriously address these much more serious issues. We were dialing in decline with either choice and further limiting our options and future chances. We need to keep a focus on what is really important and not which faction of the oligopoly end up in the White House.

    1. hemeantwell

      But most important to me is the huge waste of resources and focus we see in the competing BAU scenarios

      So effing true. I see this as an attempt to forestall an issue-based mobilization against Trump that will be out of their control. Hopefully this will make it even more so.

  19. Ted

    Regarding the WI recount. I seem to remember a lot of passers by here that were quite sure the vote had been “hacked” by some nefarious entities, and that the hard working men and women whose jobs depend on ensuring the actual vote proceeds without embarassing “hanging chad” incidents were not to be trusted. — as opposed, say, to the CIA, which is always to be trusted. So, they ran the ballots through the machines again. Net result … same as it ever was. So, where are our passers by lately? I mean doesn’t the verification of the vote in WI deserve some sort of comment? How about a healthy, “gee I sure was wrong about all that stuff I said about voting machines being hacked.” Or how about … “Goddamn Jill Stein, she needs to back to her day job.” Or is the commentariat an evidence free entity now? I mean why not, the CIA certainly has been for some time.

    1. Pat

      Actually in Wisconsin the bigger question is Waukesha county and the tendency for bags of ballots to suddenly appear there.

      But beyond that I don’t necessarily believe any recount that is not a hand count. If that is not possible I won’t ever believe them especially for machines that can be mass programmed to manipulate the count.

      Paper ballots, hand counted, In public.

      1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

        Thus, the call to not request recount unless paper ballots, hand counted, in public.

        When she didn’t get that, she should have stopped. Now, the picture, for workers putting in 60 hours a week, sleep-deprived, is that this legitimizes those machines.

  20. tgs

    Why Is CIA Avoiding the Conclusion that Putin Hacked Hillary to Retaliate for Its Covert Actions?

    Interesting take on current events, but like some of her previous posts on the hacking issue, Wheeler seems to accept the basic premise that the Russians did the hacking and the leaking and were directed to do so by Putin himself. She then offers the view that Putin had a number of reasons to undermine Clinton for things she had done against him. Making this public would involve airing the fact that we too meddle in foreign elections.

    To me this just begs the question.

    1. cwaltz

      I figure it was only a matter of time before someone returned the favor since we’ve been meddling for years in government control everywhere from Iran to Ukraine. So hey there are lots of candidates on who could potentially be behind leaking those emails.

      If Russia fronted the hackers I wonder if they called the group of hackers American Freedom Fighters and had the funds funneled to them labeled money for pro democratic groups in the US?

      Oh the irony!

  21. Steve C

    Not a big Keith Ellison fan but if the Clintonites control the party they’re a complete lost cause. The kowtowing to Saban shows the Clinton Democrats exist to serve the donors.

    But how long would it take Ellison to sell out?

    1. Michael

      Doesn’t matter if he empowers the 50 State Strategy. He could end up like a Governor Schwartzenegger, whose term was otherwise unremarkable but whose commitment to electoral fairness saved the state when other troubles came down the pike later by allowing us to vote for the folks we actually want (veto-proof majorities in both legislative houses).

      1. hunkerdown

        “Top two” = “electoral fairness”?! Unless I missed something, might you unpack that a bit?

        1. Waldenpond

          How could you deny the awesomeness of CA? For goodness sake, we just voted to make it easier to give people the death penalty. We are a lefty utopia.

  22. I Have Strange Dreams

    That N+1 article. OMG. It is like a window into the mind of a Dem loyalist’s psychosis. Scary yet fascinating. It will surely become part of the psychiatric canon, like the Unabomber’s manifesto. Actually, the Unabomber sounds quite lucid and sane in comparison. Sorry, Ted.

  23. mk

    They Have, Right Now, Another You NYRB. Facebook’s big data is bad. In all senses.
    “As O’Neil points out, preferences and habits and zip codes and status updates are also used to create predatory ads, “ads that pinpoint people in great need and sell them false or overpriced promises.” People with poor credit may be offered payday loans; people with dead-end jobs may be offered expensive courses at for-profit colleges. The idea, O’Neil writes, “is to locate the most vulnerable people and then use their private information against them. This involves finding where they suffer the most, which is known as the ‘pain point.’””
    In Scientology this is called finding a person’s “ruin”.

    1. fresno dan

      December 13, 2016 at 11:23 am

      “ads that pinpoint people in great need and sell them false or overpriced promises.”

      I don’t know how many young Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Columbia, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Russian, Ukrainian, Puerto Rican …. women I have been told are just dyin’ to meet me…..***

      ***apologies to Mic Jagger and “Miss You”

  24. hemeantwell

    The Trump China Showdown Aligns With Reality Ian Welsh.

    This is an important article for two reasons. The first is that Welsh raises the idea that what Trump intends is to try to split Russia away from China. I’d only seen the barest whiff of this possibility and now, after Trump’s State Dept pick, I think it holds water. Of course, there are plenty of reasons for Russia to work with China, so we’ll have many opportunities to wonder who’s playing who.

    The second reason is that Welsh, because he paints Trump’s turn to Russia as a rational move against a major competitor of the US and leaves it at that, at least in this article slips into the worst kind of Realpolitikking. He says nothing about the disastrous likelihood of the economic competition being transformed into military competition, with all its attendant waste and danger. Trump’s cabinet picks foreshadow this militarization potential in the starkest of terms. We’re already seeing, as MoonofAlabama posted yesterday, MSM propaganda/fake news regarding Chinese “nuclear bombers” threatening Taiwan. Capitalists trading economic tensions for military competition was one of the routine dynamics that made Luxemburg’s idea of “Socialism or Barbarism” plausible, and it still holds.

    1. olga

      Yes it is… although it should have been apparent for quite some time. To any person who thinks US hegemony should persist (and I do not since it has mostly led to destruction all over the world), it would be a no-brainer that China is the only country that will supersede US. For starters, it has almost five times the population and incredible drive. But that is also why Clinton’s Russia bashing was so stupid, not to say cynical (probably just a reflection of how poorly she thinks of the electorate). Russia has only 146m inhabitants (not counting all the recent Ukrainian exiles) and weak economy (even if its military is more efficient than the US’). So the smart ones in the US elite believe that they need to pull Russia to its side and away from China. I would imagine that R/C know this well. Of course, all this assumes that we must live in a world in which countries perpetually compete instead of cooperate. On how the world could change if China emerges as the more predominant player, I recommend this talk by Martin Jacques:

    2. Ian Welsh

      Actually, I quite specifically said it was extremely dangerous.

      “This is high stakes poker. It could cause a serious war. It could make the world economy go into a serious tailspin.”

      1. hemeantwell

        Whoops, sorry I missed that. But why so brief, and why not develop it into an objection in favor of a socialized option? As this crisis develops — and from this angle the alternatives of coordination of production versus destruction of productive capacity and loss of markets through military action are highlighted — why not raise the red, or pink, flag? Instead of only focusing on Trump’s rationality, why not on a possible social(ist) rationality? I worry that we’re all so sick of having read lefty articles that ended with affirmations of a socialist alternative when it was a political dead letter that we are averse to affirming when it has become timely.

    3. opitmader

      RexT has historically close ties, which has presumably been kicked to death in MSM, so it is a pretty reasonable speculation.

      Of course, there are plenty of reasons for Russia to work with China
      And Israel has plenty of reasons to work with Iran.. but it ain’t so..

      Frankly, Russia has plenty of reasons not to work with China. More reasons to have good relations with the West and sell every BTU they can into Europe.

    4. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

      The Reverse-Kissinger strategy of aligning with Russia to contain China has been raised here, before Welsh.

      I don’t think you can take on the H1B visa issue without looking at the Mexican or Latin American immigrant issue. That would be singling out one group of people and not others.

      And you can’t take on the Mexican or Latin American immigrant issue without doing something about the invasion of pregnant Chinese women in maternity motels all over, and money pouring to make housing un-affordable to Americans, or commodity prices being controlled or manipulated from Shanghai.

      Going by the MSM media coverage, one would think that Trump is exclusively obsessed with the Southern border. But who has enough nuclear weapons, money and manpower to block America from becoming great again?

      FDR used oil as an opening gambit, taking the Axis. Is Trump doing the same with Russia and the Exxon CEO in the State Department? This question was asked here a few days, before Welsh’s article.

      That seems a better bet than,say, using the lives of people in Taiwan or the Dalai Lama (when will Trump invite him for a meditation session).

    5. coboarts

      We should have brought Russia into our sphere as a strong partner at our first opportunity. I have long said that our “businessmen and women” who outsourced our productive capacity, our technological and managerial skills to China should be tried in a military court for treason. If only to earn the respect of their famous author, we should have crippled China’s budding military (and industrial capacity) before it could begin to assert itself in any way, beyond tormenting their own citizens. Only a fool would suggest that it would be better to live under the yoke of another’s empire, only someone who doesn’t understand the privilege that allows one to assert such nonsense. One should ask, why has the American Empire put itself into such a precarious position so soon after having risen to global stature? It’s almost like we were not looking out for our own best, long-term interests. I wish Donald Trump the best.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Reading Ian Welsh’s essay gave me a better perspective on what Trump is up to. I didn’t vote for Trump but my regard for his political skills is growing. The NYC commenter (sorry — I’m bad at remembering names) to a recent Watercooler pointed out that Trump consummated large scale construction deals in NYC — a feat which requires tremendous political and negotiating skill. I’m doubt that I’ll like all the things Trump will work to accomplish but I am less concerned that he’s just a lucky clown demagogue. I’m starting to think he not only plays at 11-dimensional chess like Obama but unlike Obama — Trump knows how to win some of his matches.

        1. Leigh

          I wish I could agree.

          I find his tweets a bit unnerving. I do not believe for one second these are done with much forethought. To me, it suggests an itchy trigger finger and a lack of self control. I expected the gravity of the office would cause him to forget about his Twitter account.

          It does not instill confidence in me to watch the guy who said he would destroy ISIS currently at war with a Broadway Play and Saturday Night Live.

          Just wait until his Twitter account is hacked the first time…can’t believe it has taken this long.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Hacking Twitter.

            The bad guys are getting better.

            In the old days, they didn’t know how to fake Fireside chats, though it was possible to fake a Martian invasion.

            It would be hard for FDR to reach the people today.

          2. hunkerdown

            I do not believe for one second these are done with much forethought.

            Nobody ever said you had to read them, believe them, or take them to heart.

              1. hunkerdown

                Leigh, I just wanted to talk about why, or even if, you believe there is an obligation binding on the people to believe everything a government official or elect says, as it appears to me you have suggested. Doesn’t the obligation instead go the other way, for the government to earn its informational capital by, say, not “creating reality” and spreading disinformation?

          3. Leigh

            Disregard my previous – I just read where he is meeting with Kanye West at this very minute. I feel so much better now that he is taking the job serious!

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              We live in a strange new world where meeting with Kanye West may make very good sense for a president. I remember similar concerns about the proclivities and background of Ronald Reagan. I do not like Reagan but I would be loathe to disregard his ability to act as President — and the job has become an acting job to a larger extent than I’m comfortable with. I don’t feel so much better now but I am finding a greater regard for Trump not unlike the regard I had for Reagan. And do note that regard does not translate into a liking or comfort for what Reagan did or for what Trump will do.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              As with any job, hopefully not serious all the time though.

              “Smile. Have a good time.”

            3. hunkerdown

              Kanye West isn’t part of the Black Misleadership Class. I suppose that’s the crux of your objection, that there are perfectly good political machines keeping perfectly useless people from clogging up the general labor force. Surely there has to have been some purpose in meeting with Kanye — it merely takes a certain amount of willingness to not get high on your own supply of class interest.

          4. Plenue

            ISIS increasingly doesn’t exist anymore. They just got kicked out of Libya and their Iraq holdings are doomed, though it may take a while. They went on a surprise offensive in Syria and recaptured Palmyra, but it took a quarter of their remaining manpower to do it, and it doesn’t really change anything in the grand scheme of things. Turkey, the Kurds, or maybe the SAA will take al-Bab in the north, and it’s only a matter of time before either the Kurds or the SAA march on Raqqa. A bunch of Iraqi militia have already said they plan to head to Syria to assist Assad once the fight for Mosul is over. All Trump has to do is do exactly nothing.

  25. Vatch

    I see that Trump has picked Rick Perry to be his Secretary of Energy. That’s a good choice, because after Rick Perry started wearing glasses, he became smarter.

    1. polecat

      …. as in ‘talkin my Book’ smart !!

      “We’ll put in more wells .. and blow Gold all over the town, Eli !”

    2. olga

      Molly Ivins used to call him mr. goodhair – nothing has changed much, but glasses do add a certain degree of gravitas (his corrupted ways flew under the radar in texas forever).

      1. opitmader

        Trump will use him as the political equivalent of human body armor; like in a typical Ultra-violence movie, then cast him aside as a perforated gelatinous husk?

  26. Jim Haygood

    Gallup’s con-con survey busts out huge, confirming the U Mich numbers from last week:

    Rarely has Gallup found such a dramatic shift in Americans’ economic confidence over the past nine years as it has in the past month.

    Americans’ confidence in the economy remains higher than at any point since January 2008, with Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaging +8 for the week ending Dec. 11.

    The index’s positive scores in recent weeks represent a reversal from the negative scores recorded in most weeks over the past nine years, except for a brief string of positive scores recorded in late 2014 and early 2015.

    Probably the last time we got such a strong blastoff on political news (which usually doesn’t matter) was in Nov 1954. Dems retook the House two years into the Eisenhower administration. Stocks smoked higher, with the Dow finally blowing past its previous record high of 381 set on Sep 3, 1929.

    Back then, folks could still imagine that the D party would make America great again. :-0

    1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

      Gallup is working for the Russians now?

      Why are they promoting the propaganda that people are feeling great with Trump set to take charge in about a month?

    2. Dave

      The question is, will these voters go out and spend after President Trump is inaugurated?
      Everyone I know is talking about massive sales in February.
      Merchants are looking forward to it.

  27. Pat

    Questions I want asked that will never see the light of day at those bipartisan hearings regarding the Russian witchhunt:

    While hacking into the servers may be disturbing, there is no Russian manipulation of the vote if they did not leak the emails. What evidence do you have that they did this?
    If you consider their presence to be manipulative: what other countries have hacked the DNC, RNC, Google, etc? Israel? China? Saudi Arabia? Germany?
    What do you consider to be manipulating or interfering in elections beyond leaks? Did Russia, etc do this? Have we ever done this in any other country? Which ones?

    And finish up with: Since you have been able to trace this ‘hack’ so quickly, please explain why and how you have not managed to find and at least start to prosecute the hackers who hacked into the employee records of Homeland Security, the IRS servers, and any other unsolved breech of employee or public records on federal government servers?

    1. fresno dan

      December 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      OH!!! OH!!!! I know the answer to the last one:
      “And finish up with: Since you have been able to trace this ‘hack’ so quickly, please explain why and how you have not managed to find and at least start to prosecute the hackers who hacked into the employee records of Homeland Security, the IRS servers, and any other unsolved breech of employee or public records on federal government servers?” ((I would add the zillion of private medical and credit card records))

      ANSWER: Its our JOB to help the hackers (i.e., the 1%) screw the little people, not help the little people!

  28. opitmader

    I am knocking it out of the ballpark w/ the skynet moderation queue. Like Wrigley field w/an offshore breeze … YEAA!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The faithless electors will be patriotic if only they can be briefed on the CIA report.

      Someone is doing something about a President Trump.

    2. hunkerdown

      Compulsory voting = compulsory ratification of the oligarchy. Of course Geoghegan, and other people dependent on the Spectacle for their artisanal bread and butter. Sorry, no, Tom. You, and more importantly, the system that enriches you at my expense, earn my vote. You do not demand it, and you owe the entire USA an apology.

  29. different clue

    Must hurry to work.

    Haven’t read comments.

    In case I am the first to name the antidote … Oo! A Goshawk. Right?

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Marijuana chain to defy law.

    Marijuana chain – that smacks of commercialization, neoliberalism and exploitation.

    1. Waldenpond

      Regions have defined their laws to favorite corporatization of marijuana…. land use, tax penalties, regulatory barriers to entry, compliance requirements etc.

      There will be no economic activity that does not enrich an oligarch.

      1. different clue

        That sounds like the fatalism of passive acceptance.

        The same initiative–referendum process which can be used to pass a legal-for-corporate-persons law . . . can be used to pass a legal-for-natural-persons law.

        In Michigan, the legal-for-real-people law was sneakily kept off the ballot. The legal-for-corporations law was defeated.

        In Ohio, a legal-for-corporations law was defeated. The legal-for-people people have another chance to get a legal-for-people measure on their ballot.

        1. Waldenpond

          In CA it’s not a matter of corporate v person, it’s the ability to purchase the right to a marijuana business. There are districts that only allow growing on one very large partition of land that only the very wealthy can afford to purchase and then lease out to small growers who must go through the exploitative ‘company store’ for processing, packaging, shipping and retail. Some districts are going to require growers go through the cumbersome alcohol distribution system in place which favors the existing large alcohol producers entering the industry. Local laws might have large per sq foot tax with reductions for volume which favors large corporations, or require multiple regulatory permits which requires the purchase of specialists and lawyers which is prohibitive to small growers attempting to comply with the legalization regime.

          There are going to continue to be articles about illegal grows in CA for awhile as the regime is expensive, complicated, designed to be corporatized and will take awhile to shake out.

        2. hunkerdown

          0 of 3 marijuana measures made the Michigan ballot this year. The legal-for-natural-persons people attempted, apparently from the beginning, to simultaneously challenge the validity of the 180-day time window for signature gathering. They might have overreached.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How should we compensate the losers from globalization?

    Another related question:

    Should we have a cenotaph for Unknown Victims of Globalization?

    It’s a sort of retroactive compensation, if you will.

  32. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Out of Prison, Uncovered” — I am deeply troubled that mentally ill prisoners released from jail can’t get the medications they need to retain their sanity. But I am more troubled that so many of our mentally ill end up in prison. How can we punish someone for a crime they committed while not culpable for their actions? I’ve seen insanity close up. The insane can be extremely dangerous but I cannot hold them accountable for their actions the same way I could hold a sociopath accountable. And how does prison help make the mentally ill better? I don’t know that prison benefits a sociopath and some psychotics are too dangerous to release into the public, prison does little or nothing to really help the mentally ill. In my experience the drugs prescribed in a jail situation tended to favor numbing and control of a mentally ill patient over helping them recover their sanity. What kind of society do we have that imprisons the mentally ill and then refuses them the treatment they need after releasing them into the outside world.

  33. ewmayer

    o :Netanyahu says Israel ‘mightier’ as first F-35 fighter jets arrive | Reuters” — Well, they’re paying for them with some of that $38 Bln parting tribute from Obama, so a classic case of Other People’s Money.

    o “How should we compensate the losers from globalisation? Gavyn Davies, FT” — Title appears to take it as a given that more globalization is inevtable, as opposed to being a policy choice. To paraphrase Robert Duvall’s character in Apocalypse Now, ‘I love the smell of a burning TINA strawman in the morning’.

    o “What the U.S. map should really look like | WaPo” — I’m picturing an Acela-corridor version of the classic New Yorker “NYC front and center… everywhere else small in background” cover. But no, WaPo, you don’t get a click-through from me to confirm or deny that surmise.

    o “Mozart 225: classical stars pick their favourite Wolfgang Amadeus wonder | Guardian” — Poor choice of story angle here. Now see, were it, say “Mozart 225: death-metal heavies pick their favourite Wolfgang Amadeus riff”, I might be tempted to indulge in some o’ that thar Guardian clickbait.

  34. ewmayer

    And a bit of original content from me, to help pay for my above-exercised snarking privileges … interested readers will have a gander at Mish’s ‘China Tells Trump “Nothing to Discuss” If US Drops “One China” Policy’ piece yesterday. From the FT snip therein: ‘Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to Mr Trump, insisted that Taiwan deserved greater American support because of its democratic system. “We oughta back our ally, and if China doesn’t like it, screw ‘em,” he told a radio station on Monday.’ Only in a completely upside-down travesty of a liberal democracy such as the U.S. has become could such a stance be described as dangerous and unreasonable. Another ‘good for him!’ quote by Trump: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” And while I disagree with his apparently uncritical adoption of the China-is-a-currency-manipulator establishment position (just as Obama the administration did, to the accompaniment of much PR saber-rattling in 2009), the other issues he raises in “Look, we’re being hurt very badly by China with [currency] devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don’t tax them, and building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea … And frankly, they’re not helping us at all with North Korea” seem pretty legit. Fellow readers?

  35. integer

    Netanyahu says Israel ‘mightier’ as first F-35 fighter jets arrive Reuters. If you say so, Bibi.

    As well as his vocal assertion, he probably has an oversized graph showing exactly how much mightier Israel has now become. I mean, how could anyone possibly argue with this now that such overwhelming evidence has been put forward?

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