Links 12/17/16

Arctic blasts’ icy fingers grasp northeastern United States Reuters (EM). FWIW, not that bad in NYC. Just not what we are used to.

Prenda Law “copyright trolls” Steele and Hansmeier arrested ars technica (Chuck L)

Many GMO studies have financial conflicts of interest PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Interactive Map: The Flow of International Trade Visual Capitalist (Micael)


China’s Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea Reuters (furzy). Uh oh. Looks to be a response to Trump challenging the “One China” policy.

US protests to Beijing after submarine drone seized Financial Times

How Brazil Got the Worst Austerity Program in the World Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly)


Obama Says U.S. Cautious in Handling Russian Election Hacks Bloomberg

Obama says he told Putin to ‘cut it out’ on Russia hacking Politico (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

U.S. to disclose estimate of number of Americans under surveillance Reuters (Paul R). Huh? We’re all under surveillance, save for those who live in the woods and use the Internet only at a public library. So what they presumably mean is the number of people who are Persons of Interest, as opposed to have their info stored in a data farm somewhere.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Making COIN Baffler (Wat)

America’s allies are preparing for a bumpy ride Economist

Trump Transition

Obama turns down temperature on Trump fight The Hill

Is the Deep State at War–With Itself? Charles Hugh Smith (Judy B)

Potential Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson Has an SEC Problem Nation. While true, 1. All oil companies lie about their reserves; 2. For some reason, the folks at the SEC having figured out this is an issue with Big Oil oddly doesn’t pursue this issue in other industries. I’m way more bothered by Mnuchin’s ownership of predatory servicer One West (considerably worse than the low industry norm) or (less so than Mnuchin’s chicanery) in SEC violation land, Wilbur Ross getting dinged for cheating his private equity investors.

G.O.P. Scrubs Trump Nominee’s Work History to Omit His Biggest Scandal | Vanity Fair (resilc). Speaking of Mnuchin…

Trump is going to be mad when he hears what his appointees think about the TPP Vox (Dan K). IMHO, he won’t be upset if they express their views. He will be upset if he overrules them and they then try to sabotage him.

How the Trump Administration Could Change the American Landscape, Literally Nation (furzy)

Trump isn’t going to like what one bank has to say about China’s currency Business Insider. Huh? This is exactly the sort of backup he needs. A lot of economists think the renminbi isn’t overvalued any more, or if it is, not by much. He wanted to brand China a currency manipulator soon after he took office and this says that’s not an ideological or populist call.

Trump Promises To Repeal Obamacare, Meets With Architect Of The Law NRP (Kevin C)

Trump’s Coming Confrontation with Yellen and the Federal Reserve Ian Welsh. I had been thinking about this and wish I had written this post, although I’m not as sure that Trump will take on the Fed. I agree that this makes complete sense for him strategically and he ought to recognize that the Fed can fire-bomb the economy. The Fed has had a strong anti-wage growth, which means anti-worker ,policy starting with Volcker. If he can make that clear, he’ll have a lot of public support (and there actually has been a lot of leftie support for the idea of more democratically accountable central bank policy but you can expect them to be missing in action if this conflict heats up). But which fights is Trump going to pick to fight? If he is going to engage this one, he needs to move on it pronto. Of course, if the Democrats aren’t strategic about trying to nix Cabinet picks (as in going hard after the worst 40% and stopping a high proportion of those, as opposed to half-assed posturing over every one), Trump will have more latitude to go on the offensive.

The Democrats Do Their Job, Again Counterpunch (EM)

U.S. endorses plan to expand, fix northeast rail corridor Reuters. EM: “Sounds just about shovel ready!”

The Bakke Plot To “Infiltrate” Secular Institutions – Talk2Action (Chuck L)


Lawyers for Standing Rock protesters are pleading for more help Think Progress (martha r)

Police State Watch

The Government Finally Has A Realistic Estimate Of Killings By Police (Wat) FiveThirtyEight (Wat). 1900 deaths, 1200 homicides. Do the math.

New McCartyism

The Lies At The Heart Of Our Dying Order Ian Welsh (Chuck L)

Will Facebook’s Fake News Warning Become a Badge of Honor? Atlantic (resilc). It may also lead people to abandon Facebook and other walled gardens.

The Cold War, Continued: Post-Election Russophobia Counterpunch

Russia threat to Britain The Times. But May is pursuing Brexit far more aggressively than she had to. Does that make her a Putin stooge?

The Russians Are Coming Unz Review (margarita)

Intelligence experts accuse Cambridge forum of Kremlin links Financial Times. “The Financial Times has been unable to independently substantiate their claims — and no concrete evidence has been provided to back them.”

In a world of fake news, real journalism must be paid for Guardian. Clive: “Main article had a couple of valid points but was mainly a load of old self-serving rubbish. The comments are much more interesting.”

American charged in bank hacking turned down Russian asylum: lawyer | Reuters. EM: “Lots of odd things about the timing and claims in this piece. Not clear to me what motive Russia would have to offer asylum to a mere IT-style bank fraudster.”. John Helmer: “It sounds like Aaron figured out he was to be held on the Russian side and then traded for someone Russian caught up in a US indictment for hacking and taken to the US; e.g., or Aaron’s lawyer would have told him he would do less prison time in the US if he came over voluntarily than if he remained in Russia; enjoyed the Russian quality of life; and was then arrested one evening and put on plane back to the US.”

Wells Fargo account openings fall for third month Financial Times

Mylan launches EpiPen generic at $300 per two-pack Reuters. EM: “‘A huge 50% discount over our regular 20,000% markup!'”

Class Warfare

Uber defies demand to cease self-driving BBC. So why doesn’t the city seize and impound the cars? By Uber’s logic, no one can be required to wear seat belts either.

Census Bureau: 4 Richest Counties in U.S. Are Suburbs of D.C. CNSNews (resilc)

Uber and Lyft Are Threatening to Expose Poor and Elderly to Predatory Practices Truthout (martha r)

The Federal Reserve Raising Interest Rates is Unwelcome and Unnecessary Thomas Palley

Donald Trump Could Double The Wealth Of Private Equity Billionaires And Change Wall Street Forever Forbes

Why America needs a socialist movement The Week

Antidote du jour (Lawrence R). From this story: World’s oldest wild breeding bird is expecting her 41st chick


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Brian W - Undercover "Behind the Iron Curtain"

        Here is an important link you missed.


        After narrowly escaping a spetnaz attack that destroyed our chopper, we have reached our objective and have obtained conclusive evidence of a ruskie op to produce fake news and influence targeted at privlliged deplorable reds through subliminal manchurian programming… this breaking exclusive news report is too important to chance sending to anyone less trusted than Naked Capitalism…transmitting now…

        Alex Jones Caught Working With Russians

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Cheaper to subliminal-manchurian program a few hundred Electors, than it is to s.m. program millions of deplorable reds, I think.

          Are there any compromised Electors?

          Thus the saying, ‘Hack electors. Don’t hack elections.”

    1. RenoDino

      About a month ago it hit me that Obama was the Jack Benny of politicians. Mildly bemused, impeccably dressed, blindly egotistical, and surrounded by people who frustrate him sometimes to the point that he finally scolds them, “Now cut that out.” This was his ultimate expression of distain and it always brought gales of laughter from the audience.

      Instead of laughing out loud at Obama’s encounter with the Putin, the press corps oohed and awed at their champion who had confronted Putin, the prince of evil himself. Obama, as always, looked very proud of himself. Putin, if you see the clip, looks less amused.

      Obama, like Benny, enjoys showing us how musical he is. Benny played the violin badly and Obama fancies himself quite the singer. Benny drew plenty of laughs with his playing because in the end he was self aware how terrible he was, unlike our President who lives in a world of his own design.

      1. notabanker

        I was thinking more Steven Wright:
        I recently moved into a new apartment, and there was this switch on the wall that didn’t do anything…so anytime I had nothing to do, I’d just flick that switch up and down…up and down…up and down….Then one day I got a letter from a woman in Germany…it just said, “Cut it out.”

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “I started a shell collection. Maybe you’ve seen it: I keep it on the beaches around the world”
            “I went to a restaurant, they said “we serve breakfast anytime”….so I ordered waffles during the French Revolution.”

          2. Goyo Marquez

            Mitch Hedberg

            I was at a restaurant, and I ordered a chicken sandwich, but I don’t think the waitress understood me. She asked me, “How would you like your eggs?” I thought I would answer her anyway and said, “Incubated! And then raised, plucked, beheaded, cut up, put onto a grill, and then put onto a bun. Damn! I don’t have that much time! Scrambled!”

            1. UserFriendly

              Mitch Hedberg was great!

              An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.


          3. skippy

            Always enjoyed the one about putting the key in the front door – and the house started up… so he took it for a drive. Eventually taking it out on the highway and then parking it on an off ramp.

            disheveled… summarily telling everyone to get of his f#$king lawn….

      2. Susan C

        I would think more like Jack Lemmon. Big smiles, graceful movements like a dancer, nice looking. Cheerful but witty.

      3. fresno dan

        December 17, 2016 at 9:00 am

        Wow – sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and on an obscure cable TV channel they have old TV shows, and I was watching Jack Benny last night. Now that you point it out, I have to say your spot on!!!!

        1. Brian

          For you youngsters, Jack Benny played bad violin to get laughs. When he played with other musicians (not to get laughs) he was quite accomplished. Look for some of the duets has done with some of the greatest violinists.
          It is best we don’t assume a comedian (or anyone else) can only do one schtick.

          1. Ivy

            Older comedians often had multiple talents as that helped them find ways to break into the business through vaudeville or other routes.

          2. fresno dan

            December 17, 2016 at 10:42 am

            Yeah, I knew his “bad” violin playing was part of the gag. He also did the schtick of being extremely cheap (It is well documented that he was quite generous) as well as always claiming at always being 39 years old. He did a number of skits were he fancied himself a ladies man….

            I remember watching his show where he takes a visitor down to his basement vault, which has a moat stocked with alligators and numerous other bobby traps to dissuade burglars. A huge blade falls from the ceiling barely missing him, and in a deadpan manner, Benny says, “Oh, I forgot about that……Gee…..I’ll have to get that fixed” (I guess you had to see it – but the utter deadplan attitude at near death, and concern only that his anti theft device failed was very amusing)

            Now a days, Rochester would be looked upon with derision, but he was one of the first reoccurring black characters on a national radio and TV show.
            It must have taken some courage for Benny to be a trailblazer, but I have never heard Benny or anyone else make a big deal of it.


            1. robnume

              Did you know that Jack Benny – who is my personal favorite of yesteryear – stated that he stole his act from B. Stanwyck’s first husband, comedian Frank Fay? .I have seen Fay, recently, on TCM’s replay of the 1929 musical revue, “Show of Shows.” I had wanted to see Fay, whose act isn’t available on film but for a couple of productions, for a long time and when I finally saw him, he didn’t disappoint. If you’re not a fan of musical revue theme, and I am not, just fast forward through to the bits with Frank Fay, who is really marvelous and so low-key. Too bad he died a hopeless and broke alcoholic.

      4. fosforos

        Actually he played the violin very well. And you have to play well in order intentionally to play badly.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Let’s just say Jack Benny was a star. I love him and all those age of radio people. Such a great time, etched in history.

      5. Steve C

        Obama fancies himself quite the political and diplomatic strategist. All these “pivots.” So skilled a strategist he’s left his own party a shattered hulk. But maybe that’s all part of the plan…

    2. Cry Shop

      Classic Obamameter, but also classic press. Obama is so good at saying nothing, the press is constantly putting words into his mouth that fit their agenda. The whole video in the links section is classic, and Obama even whips the press with a wet noodle, then goes off to give some more double talk.

  1. JTMcPhee

    America Returns to Greatness! How it used to be, not so long ago, and how it’s trending:

    Truman Loyalty Oath, 1947

    Code of Federal Regulations, Title 3 — The President 1943-1948 Compilation or 3 CFR, 1943-1948 Comp


    Whereas each employee of the Government of the United States is endowed with a measure of trusteeship over the democratic processes which are the heart and sinew of the United States; and

    Whereas it is of vital importance that persons employed in the Federal service be of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States; and

    Whereas, although the loyalty of by far the overwhelming majority of all Government employees is beyond question, the presence within the Government service of any disloyal or subversive person constitutes a threat to our democratic processes; and

    Whereas maximum protection must be afforded the United States against infiltration of disloyal persons into the ranks of its employees, and equal protection from unfounded accusations of disloyalty must be afforded the loyal employees of the Government:

    Now, Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, including the Civil Service Act of 1883 (22 Stat. 403), as amended, and section 9A of the act approved August 2, 1939 (18 U.S.C. 61i), and as President and Chief Executive of the United States, it is hereby, in the interest of the internal management of the Government, ordered as follows:

    And to get the full flavor of how our Great State Security worked a while ago,read the rest of the “rule” here:

    Wasn’t Truman a DEMCRAT?

    Joseph Heller parodied this in “Catch-22:” “The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade,”

    At least the Squadron was fortunate to have the irascible p;otentate Major ______ de Coverly, to call BS and bring at least that silliness to an end…

    1. Bunk McNulty

      Instead of eat, Corporal Snark gave Major —— de Coverley a loyalty oath to sign. Major —— de Coverley swept it away with mighty displeasure the moment he recognized what it was, his good eye flaring up blindingly with fiery disdain and his enormous old corrugated face darkening in mountainous wrath.

      “Gimme eat, I said,” he ordered loudly in harsh tones that rumbled ominously through the silent tent like claps of distant thunder.

      Corporal Snark turned pale and began to tremble. He glanced toward Milo pleadingly for guidance. For several terrible seconds there was not a sound. Then Milo nodded.

      “Give him eat,” he said.

      Corporal Snark began giving Major —— de Coverley eat. Major —— de Coverley turned from the counter with his tray full and came to a stop. His eyes fell on the groups of other officers gazing at him in mute appeal, and, with righteous belligerence, he roared:

      “Give everybody eat!”

      “Give everybody eat!” Milo echoed with joyful relief, and the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade came to an end.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Note that it was Milo Minderbinder, with a nod and relief that this intrusion into the free flow of his rackets could be ended, who actually broke the Crusade, not Major ____ de Coverly who was just the catalyst.

        Milo, let us remember, is the Chief Owner of the “Syndicate,” the reification of the current corporatocracy that is on the way to owning and ruling and directing everything, which he justifies to suckers with the phrase “and everyone has a share.” That same fella that leveraged his assignment as Mess Officer for the Squadron into a worldwide “trade presence,” the fella who tried to force-feed the Troops with chocolate-covered cotton because Milo had screwed up and cornered the cotton market and got the pricing wrong and had to take delivery of millions of pounds of cotton, and who bombed the US troops under a “contract” with the Luftwaffe, using US planes and crews and bombs, and then had the B-25s come around and strafe the place with their 12 .50 caliber guns, killing and wounding more US troops, because he was worried the initial attacks had not done enough damage to meet the contract terms…

        Such is the nature of big swaths of the human animal population — satire is not strong enough to even paint the picture, let alone shame the shameless and self-serving into some semblance of decency and comity…

        1. Bunk McNulty

          “Milo had been earning many distinctions for himself. He had flown fearlessly into danger and criticism by selling petroleum and ball bearings to Germany at good prices in order to make a good profit and help maintain a balance of power between the contending forces. His nerve under fire was graceful and infinite. With a devotion to purpose above and beyond the line of duty, he had then raised the price of food in his mess halls so high that all officers and enlisted men had to turn over all their pay to him in order to eat. Their alternative–there was an alternative, of course, since Milo detested coercion and was a vocal champion of freedom of choice–was to starve. When he encountered a wave of enemy resistance to this attack, he stuck to his position without regard for his safety or reputation and gallantly invoked the law of supply and demand.”

    1. mle detroit

      Family email exchange last night:
      DH: Underwater drone, hmm. Oceanographic ship, hmm. Underwater Research, hmm.

      #1 Son: You know, one of the US Navy’s primary missions is to ensure the safety of international shipping. That includes surveying for hazards to navigation, hence the need for surveying ships to map the ocean floor (particularly in shallower areas) and search for undersea mounts (remember the US submarine that collided at high speed with an uncharted undersea mount about 20 years ago causing extensive damage and several injuries?) With technology being what it is these days, the most efficient way to map the sea floor is to have several “drones” equipped with side-scan sonar that go out from the ship in multiple directions, thus covering more area at once.

      Me: “You know, one of the US Navy’s primary missions is to ensure the safety of international shipping.” Really? Who asked us to do that?

      #1 Son: Every president since at least FDR. It’s not so much that someone asked us to do that, it’s that we decided for ourselves that that was important. I’m sure it started off just ensuring our own shipping, but soon we realized that securing the safety of all international trade benefited everyone. (Especially as the number of US-flagged vessels declined.)

      [Me, now: Who is this ‘everyone’? Who’s paying for this?]

      1. integer

        Those who facilitate the “safety” of international shipping also have the power to disrupt it and hence to enforce sanctions.

      2. epynonymous

        “US oceanographic research vessels are often followed in the water under the assumption they are spying. In this case, however, the drone was simply measuring ocean conditions, the official said.”


        50 miles off the Phillipino Coast… Politics accomplished. I’d like to see the U.S. hack a Chinese Central Committee election. They’re all unanimous.

        Also, CNN was running a story about violent personal threats to Trumps electoral college delegates. The mail pile in the video looked mildly bogus. So if Russia isn’t doing it, (since they’re “pro-Trump”) then who? Maybe people flipping tables on their way out of their D-party political appointments?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Chinese Central Committee election is done in person, I believe.

          It requires bribing or threats of violence, not hacking…the same low tech tricks for ‘persuading’ us Electors.

      3. hunkerdown

        Have you told him you were disowning him for arrogance? “Respectable” Republican families do it all the time to their class-traitor children.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Yeah, THIS for just one easily visible look into the whole Drone Complex that includes those insidious swimming killers, to be armed with all kinds of inventive weapons beyond what they already might carry: “Charge ’em up and turn ’em loose,” bellowed the Capain!”
      Give them Commies something to choke on!”

      While us mopes go about creating wealth and trying to make “safe spaces” for our little families and persons to survive in, the MICC and all the smart people with credentials and a desire for a well-paid middle class job are at it, 24/7, converting trillions of “dollars” into various instruments and instrumentalities of what we call “death and destruction and destabilization and domination (?and damnatioin?)”. Follow Defense Industry Daily directly or through a spot like this, “Globe At War,” if one hasn’t enough other reasons to feel the Futility at work: Something between a tenth and a quarter of the world’s economic activity is directed through the Grand Enterprise of interrelated and interdependent munitions and armaments and “aerospace” and cyberwar corporate looters and their front men (and women) in the political and “Service” realms.

      Note that this drone thing is just part of the much larger “AI” (sic) effort to create that “Terminator” world of the future, post-“innocuous self-driving trucks, cars and aircraft,” where “autonomous robotic killing machines” will go about blasting and infecting genokilling and shooting and lasering “Meat-based organisms,” for some reason or another — Slynet may remember it long after the “Meat-based Initiators of the Great AI Mind” have been reduced to inorganic constituents… But hey, a few people are at least a little worried about how this will all play out (like “Call of Duty” run amok?) — “Oh, the Ethics!”

      One business-perspective glimpse into the “thinking” of the Ruler types on what it might all look like (straight-line projection, not accounting for Black Swans):

      “The Matrix” is only a movie… The “Terminator” franchise is only movies… It could never happen here…

      1. subgenius

        There are plenty of ways to defeat what gets called AI, don’t worry…

        Also most (all?) other technologies.

        Humans are not as clever as they think.

        Besides, the biosphere will most likely collapse before they get much further with the devops…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Speaking of Artificial Intelligence, the real Turing Test for a robot to pass as human is to see if its Artificial Emotions can fool a human.

          “You say you love me, Miss Sex Goddess Robot, but I just don’t know. It’s not very convincing.”

          Basically, we are a few trillion dollars short on Artificial Emotions research.

          “When we kiss, I can detect advanced polymers.”

    3. S Haust

      I’d just like to make a couple of simple points here, not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone
      else at this point.

      1) Take a look at the photo of the USS Bowditch, widely available online, and notice the stripes on
      the stack, appearing just under the large black object just aft of the mast and wheelhouse. These
      colors are an insignia identifying just who it is – Military Sealift Command. It is a military ship, not
      civilian. That the crew are civilians I believe to be irrelevant, as the vessel is owned and operated
      by MSC for military purposes.

      I would like to hear what the Republic of the Philippines has to say about this. It’s mentioned in a
      couple of locations but I haven’t taken the time yet to read fully:

      These, at first sight, look the most interesting although there are of course Guardian, Telegraph,
      etc.. Don’t see RT in there yet though.

      2) They say they were collecting oceanographic data including salinity, temperature and clarity
      of the water and that the data can help inform U.S. military sonar use. But why would there be
      U.S. military sonar operations in the South China sea.

      3) They say they were operating in international waters and, more accurately, within an economic
      zone belonging to the Philippines. In other words, we have the US spying (let’s be plain) on
      China under color of the economic interests of a third nation.

      Here’s one possible analogy. Suppose that China were carrying out similar operations off Florida
      but within an economic zone of the Bahamas with the excuse that their (economic?) interests
      required them to have detailed oceanographic data on the origins of the Gulf Stream.

      1. S Haust

        My comment got a bit scrambled. Maybe I didn’t look carefully where I was typing. It’s all
        there but the part about R of P and the links read better if placed at the end

      2. pricklyone

        “USS Bowditch” is a pretty fair tipoff, even without the insignia.
        USS is a designator for military vessels.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would be also like China supporting a Two-America policy or Hawaii Independence, or Native American Sovereignty for 500 Nations, something like that.

        “A Chinese embassy in every sovereign tribe.”

      1. Michael

        “A self driving Volvo was car jacked by a drone aided robot! Homeless cheer! Film at 11! ”
        The games we could play.

        Or, how about just throwing a big net over the car, cinch it tight, take selfie, bow, remove net RUN!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How does a self-driving car replace a flat tire?

          Is self-tire-replacing an extra option to consider when buying such a car?

          Or is the self-driving car artificially intelligent enough (artificial intelligently enough?) to call AAA for a human tow truck driver?

          1. RMO

            Yes, calling for a tow truck would be a pretty easy thing to automate on a vehicle. You also might be surprised by how many cars no longer come with a spare tire as standard. Quite often a can of sealant that gives you one shot at re-inflating the tire is all you get.

            As for automatic tire replacement… I think the Cyclops in the movie The Big Bus could do that… not that it didn’t have its problems.

        2. subgenius

          Lol I almost managed to jack an airborne drone hovering over my place this week, but unfortunately it moved out of range of my laptop’s crappy wifi and I didn’t have a Pringles can to hand :/

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Can one train civil-disobedience pigeons to block an airborne drone?

            “My birds are protesting non-violently.”

            1. subgenius

              Too late, the birds are mostly gone :(

              I wish it was a case of ‘so long and thanks for all the worms’, but sadly I don’t think they are like the dolphins…

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                First, they came for the butterflies. And you say, tough luck, cho-cho san.

                Then, they came for the bees. And fruits become more and more scarce.

                Now, they come for the birds. So, there will be nothing to stop or defend against those drones.

      2. Cynthia

        I’m starting to picture a rather dystopian future, where the self driving cars are armoured and armed. No windows for hijackers to look into. Kinda like fast moving little tanks. And of course they’re so expensive that only the 1%ers can afford them.

        1. Katharine

          But that opens beautiful possibilities of hijack by hackers, taking all the 1%ers to an undisclosed location…

          There’s a story there, if not a very likely reality.

          1. different clue

            Or hack-driving the 1%ers off cliffs and bridges or into abutments or into oncoming trains, trucks and buses. . . . one by one by one . . . till the surviving 1%ers demand human-driven cars with human drivers again ( even if it is them doing their own driving). And what the !% want, the 1% get.

            So perhaps a few carefully staged “haccidents” against driverless 1%er cars would get the 1%ers to exterminate the driverless car and banish it from the roads of America.

        2. integer

          Once everyone has been implanted with microchips that contain information on one’s financial status (among other things), the algorithms for self-driving cars could be set to ensure that poorer people are always “chosen” in the event of an unavoidable collision in which the self-driving car has to “choose” which person (or people) to crash into and which to avoid.

          This would also have the benefit of slowly increasing per capita GDP. /sarc

        3. Mark P.

          ‘I’m starting to picture a rather dystopian future, where the self driving cars are armoured and armed. No windows for hijackers to look into. Kinda like fast moving little tanks.’

          ‘Mercedes’s Self-Driving Cars Will Kill Pedestrians Over Drivers’

          ‘When Mercedes-Benz starts selling self-driving cars, it will choose to prioritize driver safety over pedestrians, a company manager has confirmed. The ethical conundrum of how A.I.-powered machines should act in life-or-death situations has received more scrutiny as driverless cars become a reality, but the car manufacturer believes that it’s safer to save the life you have greater control over….’

  2. Karl Kolchack

    On the 4 Richest Counties: I’m a retired Fed who lives in Fairfax County, VA, and it is pretty evident that the rise of huge government contracting companies in the wake of then VP Al Gore’s “reinventing government” initiative (i.e. privatizing as much of it as possible) is a big reason why so much wealth has accumulated in the national capital area. Prior to 1994, I had never even met a contract employee–but by the time I retired 20 years later they were everywhere.

    What people don’t understand is that while it is true the contract employees give the government the ability to hire people quickly and shed staff easily in a time of tight budgets, such employees often cost the taxpayers up to twice what a regular government employee costs. The contract employees themselves don’t get paid any more money; the difference is all profit for the companies. 9/11 really opened up the budgetary spigots for war and intelligence contractors in particular, and the result has especially transformed Northern Virginia. All you have to do is drive in from Dulles Airport to DC along the Dulles Toll Road and you’ll see 20-story office tower after 20 story office tower with the names of government contractors prominently plastered on the sides lining both sides of the road all the way to the Beltway–with massive cranes building even more. Tyson’s Corner, situated along the Metro’s new Silver line right next to the Beltway, has become one enormous boomtown.

    It isn’t a wonder that Virginia swung blue when these wealthy NOVA counties came in late on election night. Many here are terrified that Trump might actually switch off the contracting gravy train. I doubt he will, but if he did he would be doing the taxpayers a huge favor.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Your description of the high-rises along the toll road and the “new Silver Line” next to the beltway has a distinct Hunger Games “The Capitol” feel about it. The same could be said for what’s going on there.

      1. polecat

        Well, we can’t have panemdemonium in the Capital District now, can we ..

        ….. what would all the other districts think ??

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      What is particularly annoying is those same Republicans who voted for Hillary will inevitably vote for Gillespie or Corey Stewart in November giving the GOP another governor. Smug Democrats will be befuddled about how they were abandoned ignoring why they won certain votes in the first place.

      The Republicans won’t nominate Ken Cuccinelli, a man Terry Mac could beat, every cycle.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Using median income instead of average income produces some odd names on the Top 20 list, such as Douglas County CO and Los Alamos County NM.

      To make the median income Top 20 list doesn’t require the super-rich to live there (they can’t affect the median much, since they aren’t numerous enough).

      Best way to hit the Top 20 is to be a suburban county with very few poor people and plenty of upper middle class professionals. Framing the definition this way favors suburbs and exurbs (particularly newer ones) over urban areas.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes the median is limited in that respect, but ‘average income’ on its own is at least as misleading for the very reasons you mention, so both figures quoted together will always be more useful than either one alone, although even when combined they’re still to be suspected of a deafening noise-signal ratio.
        The way averages can skew reality springs immediately to mind because that’s how data were made to show that an imaginary “London” is so inordinately “rich” that a couple of million precarious private servants — sorry, service sector workers — and outright metropolitan poor just don’t know lucky we are.

    4. sleepy

      Williamson County TN, suburban Nashville, is the 7th wealthiest county in the US. Why? Nashville is headquarters for 18 publicly traded healthcare companies, including giant HCA, and touts itself as the healthcare industry capital. Yeah, they actually have an excellent hospital in Vanderbilt, but that’s a relatively small part of the story. Meanwhile the city of Nashville, Davidson County, festers along at $52,000 median income, thousands below the national average.

      Oh, yeah, some country music stars live there too, but the real bucks are in the health insurance racket.

    5. JCC

      What people don’t understand is that while it is true the contract employees give the government the ability to hire people quickly and shed staff easily in a time of tight budgets, such employees often cost the taxpayers up to twice what a regular government employee costs. The contract employees themselves don’t get paid any more money; the difference is all profit for the companies.

      As a former Contract employee for a company that primarily contracts for the U.S. Govt. I can say this is too true except that I believe the cost is closer to 2.5 or 3 times what a regular government employee costs.

      What’s weird is how the internal accounting systems of the Fed gov don’t seem to account for this, either.

      As an example, I jumped from contractor status to govt employee. Technically I work for a “service organization” within my local area and so our group technically has to “break even” as far as internal accounting is concerned. In other words, the money we “charge” to the other departments we service has to equal the internal “burden rate” of our department’s employees during the fiscal year.

      The last year or so that I worked as a contractor I was the highest paid employee in our group, the cost to the govt being at least 2.5 times (or more – I never knew the exact figure) what I was being paid. I was offered a govt position that entailed a 10% pay cut a couple of years ago and I took that position for reasons other than pay (part of the reason was personal disgust with the contracting company, after 4 years of working for the contractor, they cut about 1/3 of our vacation time off and failed to give us any cost of living raise 2 years in a row in order to “cut costs”. By jumping ship, I gained back the lost vacation time, far more important to me).

      Shortly afterwards (the next fiscal year) I found out my “burden rate”, the rate we charged other departments I worked for, went up by more that 15%! Not knowing how the higher levels of accounting works, I cannot tell you the logic behind this increase in burden rate, all I know is that as a govt employee, I am considered to be a higher expense to the area then I was as a contractor even though my cost to the govt is now at least 35% lower than it was as a contractor.

      Accounting systems are a marvelous thing.

      1. PQS

        Yes. As I like to point out to my RW friends, who would work for ANY client for free? Contractors just add a layer of money that direct hires don’t have.

        But everyone in America is convinced that “government employees” cost too much. And all have a story about a Friend of a friend who makes 125K a year teaching kindergarten or some such nonsense.

      2. Knot Galt

        I was in the same position. Actually, one needs to look no further than Sarbanes-Oxley. Although it was meant to curb Enron excesses, it passed the buck down to project managers, spared CEO’s from responsibility, and drove costs up to 4 times; which is to say, was an accounting trick that justified a higher selling price.

        Add in Gross margin goals of 30% and inflating the hours a reasonable amount could lead to a net profit of 50 to 60%; especially if you were an effective and efficient manager of product, skill sets, and billable hours.

    6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s another needed reform, before more government spending that will just benefit mostly owners of private contractors, and not so much government workers nor employees of those private contractors.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The physics of the spigot is easy to understand – you have to be close to the source to drink 1) first, and 2) most of it.

        And when it’s the El Dorado Magic Spigot, well, you are truly luck to be able to enjoy the forever more government spending.

    7. Cry Shop

      … such employees often cost the taxpayers up to twice what a regular government employee costs.

      Probably a severe underestimate, as these employees have their loyalty to the company that hires them, and not the government. They certainly would leak information, and act in ways that don’t benefit the citizens as a whole.

    8. oh

      Thank you for saying it. The use of contractors was sold with the lie that it would save the guvmnt money, I’ve talked to fed officials who’ve confirmed how much money is funneled to the big corps (leaches) and how these officials have to work twice as hard because their staff has not been increased in spite a large increase in their work load.

  3. tgs

    Re: The Cold War Continued at Counterpunch

    Good article but he writes:

    On the other hand, I just read a statement from Edward Snowden, delivered to an internet audience in Berlin: “I have received confirmation through Guccifer 2.0 that malware was used in the electronic voting machines that lead to the victory of Donald Trump.” This is of course a separate and more serious issue than the email leaks. So the plot thickens.

    He should have fact checked that one. Here is the source:

    Here is the refutation at snopes:

    However, there is no truth to any of the claims, as WNDR is a fake news site that uses outlandish, usually topical fabrications to attract traffic via social media. The article uses old, unrelated images of Edward Snowden to suggest that he recently made claims about Russia having a hand in Trump’s win, but the former CIA contractor made no such statements at any point after the November 2016 election.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Hi tgs,

      I noticed that you mentioned one of your comments disappearing into moderation. Is this it?

      What actually happened is that the WordPress back-end filtered it out without any of us seeing it – it shouldn’t have done this, but the software isn’t perfect. If something like this happens again, try sending me an email (outis.philalithopoulos@gmail) – if you mention it in a comment, then I might not see it.

      1. Cry Shop

        Hi Outis,

        It happened again to me on the early education discussion. I didn’t think that particular comment was of sufficient value in itself to make a copy in case I needed to contact you, but if you are still trying to get more such missing comments to fault shoot WordPress, then I’ll try to make copies of every comment.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          Yes, more missing comments would provide valuable information, thanks. Better to email them (outis.philalithopoulos@gmail) than to post them on the blog – if you post a note about a disappearing comment on the blog, I might see it, but I might not.

          1. philnc

            WordPress under load. One of the great equalizers for sysadmins. A never ending source of humbling experiences. My mgmt loves it. My devs love it. Their customers love it. I’ve always thought it’s pretty cool. But every time I see a mysql_slow log grow another hair turns grey.

    2. ewmayer

      My own quibble was with “The U.S. remains the only country ever to use [atomic] weapons, although seven countries now have them.” — Off the top of my head, I count nine: US, Russia, China, UK, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea. (Does pointing that out make me a Putin stooge, or an anti-semite?) But a good comparative summing-up of post-WW2 bellicosity, and the sheer hypocrisy of the “how dare they meddle in our elections!” hue and cry, based as it is, on strategic leaks of “unnamed intel eggsperts say!” allegations from none ther than the frickin’ CIA.

      I would utter a brief prayer for Monday’s EC vote to go off with no more than one or two electors falling prey to the inanity of the MSM-stoked Cold War 2.0 hysteria, but I am now pretty certain that even that would fail to shut the establishment/Clintonite/neocon media circus up. These people are desperate to retain influence, and clearly not the least bit ashamed at being the sorest losers in the history of gettign-whupped-dom.

    3. ewmayer

      Forgot to add in my above reply — Lambert will be interested to note that the Counterpunch article in question shamelessly use the term ‘Deep State’, apparently less out of a desire to appear pseudo-profound (or genuinely profound, but failing that and ending up merely pseudo-so) than its simply being shorter and snappier the ‘The National-Security-Industrial Complex.’

  4. abynormal

    Will Trump manipulate a replacement of Yellen? If he can’t……will he resort to temper tantrums?…phoning threats to ‘friends’ thereby busting his chosen cabal. Stranger Times…

    Btw, I’ve lost my computer and resorting to my stupid phone. Mom fell again and our car broke down but I am pushing on….its not pretty witnessing worse struggles of others and trying to help but I’m spread a bit thin. Miss yall beyond words.

    1. integer

      Just remember to take care of yourself as well. Of course, someone offering up this sort of advice counts for approximately zero in the face of reality, and the phrase “easier said than done” comes to mind.
      In any case, I am sure others here would agree that your presence in the NC comments section has been missed lately.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Take care, aby.

      My mother found a bruise between her nose and one eye, and she didn’t even know how it happened. I think she bumped her face into something while wearing her glasses.

    3. knowbuddhau

      Hi aby, good to hear from you! Your kind words one day (when I was complaining about being forced to trade access to healthcare for coverage I can’t afford to use) meant a lot to me. Just when I thought no one cared, you did, and I thank you, beyond words. :)

      > its not pretty witnessing worse struggles of others and trying to help but I’m spread a bit thin. Miss yall beyond words.

      My thoughts exactly. Take care, best wishes for your mom.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      wishing you, your mom, and your car well, Aby – do you know the poet Mary Oliver? I have found her to be a great comfort in trying times.

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Uber defies demand to cease self-driving BBC. So why doesn’t the city seize and impound the cars?

    California’s attorney general – the state’s most senior government lawyer – said Uber must cease the driving immediately or face further action.

    A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office would not be drawn on what the specific action could be, but the next step would likely be a court order compelling Uber to carry out the demand.

    The California Attorney General is Kamala Harris, who is also the democrat senator-elect from that great state, replacing barbara boxer. Hard to believe any politician gets elected in California without techie approval.

    So maybe that’s why.

    1. Dave

      Not just techie approval.
      Under her watchful protection, the State of California got ripped off for billions when the eastern half of the Bay Bridge was finally rebuilt following the 1989 earthquake. Defective Chinese steel, poor waterproofing, defective bolts, make the new bridge possibly as dangerous as the now torn down old one. Not one peep from her against the powerful San Francisco engineering and construction Democratic donor base.

      Then there’s PG&E, the big utility that destroyed an entire neighborhood and killed dozens of people through shoddy gas pipeline maintenance. Not one peep from her.

      She’s probably responsible for hundreds of thousands of votes for Trump in California. In her campaign for attorney general which she barely won against a guy that hardly campaigned, she spewed plenty of race baiting propaganda. Paraphrasing her: “injustice is the white man’s fault and as a woman of color I can rectify that”.

      1. sd

        LOL…jokes for those with a macabre sense of humor. Diane Feinstein has made millions helping her husband Richard Blum land government projects including no bid contracts in Iraq. Your points about the bridge are well taken. Let’s add San Francisco’s sinking skyscraper to the boondoggle list. And the high school in Los Angeles built on an oil field. My personal favorite is the hidden festering wound no one sees yet, the building boom in multiple cities of engineering built with Chinese steel.

        Greed and corruption are everywhere.

        1. B1whois

          I worked over a decade on that bridge…the SFOBB.
          I can’t imagine what you think Kamila Harris should have done. The problems on that bridge fall squarely on Caltrans, and believe me, I am in a position to know.

          1. Dave

            CALTRANS is a state agency. She’s the state’s attorney and could have launched investigations, prosecuted people and obtained clawbacks. Not one peep from her.

  6. efschumacher

    America’s Richest Counties

    With all their wealth, Loudoun, Falls Church and Fairfax can’t seem to fix their ever constricting traffic problems. Tyson’s Corner, the Dulles Toll Road and the I-66 corridor are among the most oppressively miserable places to drive anywhere on the East Coast. With all that wealth you’d think they would be able to put a world class public transportation system in place. But no, the developers in Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier counties are ultra busy building little-house-on-the-prairie style single family crackerboxes with the usual lack of human friendly infrastructure, for people to then drive on all the overtaxed arteries to their in-and-out the beltway jobs.

    We’ll only get sensible transport and sensible zoning at the point of permanent gridlock.

    If you want to spread the wealth, move the Federal Labs out into the interior states. At the risk of populating those places with Libruls and their unwelcome ideas….

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      But what about the people with hideous mortgages and poorly constructed homes in places with economies that can’t replace even modest government spending changes. That whole place was depressed after the Cold War. Why would anyone buy a “McMansion” with paper thin walls on a cul de sac next to a still busy highway? If their job was there, they might, but outside of Alexandria, Nova is just ugh.

      They actually do have a world class public transit system designed for many more people than were there when the metro was put in, but the amount of government spending exploded to just unimaginable levels. Now there is simply no room.

      1. Bullwinkle

        The metro system is in the process of falling apart. It may have been “world class” back in the 80’s but it is not now. Just this week several metro employees were fired for faking inspection reports that resulted in an accident.

        1. different clue

          Question: If they had refused orders to fake the inspections reports, would they have been fired for insubordination?

    2. Ignim Brites

      I suggest Cheyenne for Interior, Kansas City for Commerce, New York, of course, for Treasury, Des Moines for Education, etc. DC should be cleared out and sold to Disney to be run as an political theme park. BTW, the coming auto borg of self driving, assimilated cars will solve that transport problem. The automobile will remain the primary unit of mass transportation but all humanely driven ones will be eliminated.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, move DC to Kansas and start from scratch, like Brasilia.

      A nice name, hat tip to emperor Constantine, would be Trumpolis.

        1. hunkerdown

          I’d buy it for a real Tubman, especially with UMKC so near by to provide economic expertise. When all the fake gold paint falls off, just put sensible colors on it and Hold The Line.

    1. Baby Gerald

      This is an excellent story. The Google autocomplete bias has been around for a while. Back in 2007 a friend show me that when you typed ‘a white person stole my car’ into the search box it would ask, on the very first line no less, ‘did you mean: a black person stole my car?’ This was back in 2007 or so. It was one of those funny tricks that becomes less so the more you think about the mechanism behind it.

      Here’s a suggestion to Google- how about stop trying to predict our search phrase conclusions altogether? Instead of an increasing labyrinth of proprietary code and undisclosed human intervention, how about letting people finish typing before giving suggestions? Maybe eliminate the bias by removing the process where it appears.

      GIGO applies, especially in using the public as a data mine in order to construct a systems’ predictive abilities. All you need is a bunch of bots feeding the system enough bad data to tilt the outcome of the search prediction. Google already has the tools to use– it’s applied them nicely in the Chinese version of its search engine. And there, friends, is the paradox.

      1. sd

        Googles search functionality is just a whisper of its former self. I was trying to find a local vendor this week who sells wooden folding banquet tables for a holiday party. It was impossible. The merchants lie about their location. I finally resorted to Craig’s list, alas, with little success.

        It’s just become impossible to find information through google. It’s turned into the equivalent of a newspaper with nothing but circular ads of products you don’t want.

        1. different clue

          When that becomes so true that advertisers which rely on being quickly accurately found realize they themselves are no longer findable on Google?

          And therefor stop paying for advertising on Google?

          How much Googlesewage must Google discharge into the sea it swims in before the Googlefish all die and Google goes extinct by its own digital rectal discharge?

      2. Damson

        Google is political.

        If you research any ‘controversial’ issue the plutocracy wants a result on – positive or negative – you will discover it perfectly mirrors the manufactured consensus of corporate media.

        It’s the NYT of search engines.

        I would use a different one if I could, but my phone defaults to it, even though I use different browsers, like Opera Mini, DuckDuckGo, Yandex etcetera.

        Big Brother ‘nudges’ us to foregone conclusions…..

      3. beth

        2007? No, google still gives that result in 2016. I just tried it and I got: “did you mean a black man stole your car”? Does this mean Google is evil? Or Google gives us fake information?

        When I enter “Do black lives matter,” Google gives me: “do black lives matter want to kill cops.”

        I then entered what Google suggested and got even worse choices.

        Google is evil. This is so very depressing.

    2. Carolinian

      From your very own article

      Then there’s the secret recipe of factors that feed into the algorithm Google uses to determine a web page’s importance – embedded with the biases of the humans who programmed it. These factors include how many and which other websites link to a page, how much traffic it receives, and how often a page is updated. People who are very active politically are typically the most partisan, which means that extremist views peddled actively on blogs and fringe media sites get elevated in the search ranking.

      Since autocomplete, like Google itself, consists of a robot algorithm performing a task in seconds without human intervention one wonders how the complainers would go about shaping Google’s results. Should there be a list of “fake news” sites to be downrated–clearly the preference of the Guardian–or should Google continue to rank according to links and popularity? Which is to say that if Googles results seem to have a rightwing bias perhaps there are simply more rightwingers searching for that information. More from your article

      Shortly after Epstein released his research indicating the suppression of negative autocomplete search results relating to Clinton, which he credits to close ties between the Clinton campaign and Google, the search engine appeared to pull back from such censorship, he said. This, he argued, allowed for a flood of pro-Trump, anti-Clinton content (including fake news), some of which was created in retaliation to bubble to the top.

      “If I had to do it over again I would not have released those data. There is some indication that they had an impact that was detrimental to Hillary Clinton, which was never my intention.”

      In other words lack of censorship is a good thing, says Epstein, unless it helps Trump. Personally I’d say this article is a mess. And btw if you find autocomplete annoying it can be turned off.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        The point is, negative results for HRC were apparently being suppressed by Google; hello, that is a problem! That the system can be gamed is a problem. That as in BG’s comment above human biases are built into the function and get amplified is a problem. GIGO is a problem if we mistakenly think google search is neutral.

        I am not a techie and don’t know what the solution is – I previously expressed my skepticism in comments about the AP as arbiter of what is fake and what is not (FB) – but I sure think we oughtta be mindful of the problem. Unlike Epstein, I could care less about the timing of the release of his research. Oh, and I don’t have any personal problems with autocomplete, but thanks for the tip.

        1. Carolinian

          I’d say the point is that when someone suggested Google was showing favoritism they changed their practices. Taking political sides–should they decide to go that way–will be very bad for their business.

          But I do agree that auto-complete is a dubious feature in general and I find this computer driven mind reading to be annoying. They undoubtedly provide auto-complete on the theory that users don’t like to type.

        2. subgenius

          ALL human-defined rulesets are gameable. Law, economics, etc

          Non-gameable rulesets are ma nature’s bag…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Aren’t we trying to game ma nature’s, for example, DNA rules?

            To the extent I won’t buy GM foods, but some do, is that considered gameable or non-gameable?

            1. JTMcPhee

              I hear that GM DNA is happily migrating to not only other same-species but across species as well. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (how strange that parts of the UN appear to actually do stuff that I personally would call “good”) puts a lot of the pieces together in this article:

              And bacteria apparently have the ability to share the DNA/RNA bits and other biomechanisms that defeat the best efforts of antibiotics: (Full disclosure, silly-walk version — this article is by a smiling young STEMist from my Alma Mater, Lake Forest College).

              Can’t hardly wait until some ethically-immune youngster with a CRSP-R Home Transferase Set that Grampa gave him for Xmas decides to find out “What would happen if I…)

        3. different clue

          The solution is for so many people to corrupt googlesearches so completely so often that so many people realize that google cannot be used and cannot be fixed . . . . that google is exterminated from existence due to a mass-revulsion of disgusted ex-users.

          There won’t be a revolution against Google. But there could be a revulsion.
          Enough Googlespoofers acting long enough with enough determination can make Google so user-ugly that the user base all flees in disgust.

          And that is how we solve the google problem. Since extermination of google is the only solution to the problem which is google.

          1. Carolinian

            Gee I don’t know….sort of like Google….even got myself a Chromebook for Christmas (and immediately loaded it up with Linux). But I’ll admit Google once seemed to be a lot better before cheeseball sites started gaming the algorithm to get top listing and Facebook made everything about “social networking” with Google in its train. Perhaps the web itself has simply become less free ranging and search reflects that.

    1. TK421

      The FBI is a hyper-partisan organization that shouldn’t be trusted–unless it accuses Russia of manipulating our election.

      Russian theft of sensitive information is a big deal–but storing sensitive information on a private server isn’t.

      All campaigns make mistakes, so no campaign mistakes matter at all.


    2. cocomaan

      For someone who won a Nobel prize, you’d think Krugman might be a little more critical about rumors.

      It’s important to realize that the postelection C.I.A. declaration that Russia had intervened on behalf of the Trump campaign was a confirmation

      There were no CIA declarations. The CIA has not gone on the record anywhere about this. This is the equivalent of Krugman publishing a paper without his name on it.

      The Democrats have become the party of the intelligence services and it’s very worrying. Maybe they always were. But Hillary’s “intelligence surge” plans show you where their priorities are.

      1. JamesG

        “For someone who won a Nobel prize … ”

        Will somebody please calculate the percentage of doctors in economics who’ve been “Nobeled” and compare it to other professions eligible for a prize.

        It’s my impression there are a heck of a lot of them.

        Letterman even frequently had as a guest an economist Nobelist who would proceed to tell “Yo Mamma” jokes.

        1. Vatch

          Technically, nobody has ever won a Nobel Prize for Economics. What they have won is the Swedish National Bank’s Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The only Nobel prizes are for:

          Medicine or Physiology

        1. Lambert Strether

          A classic example of the pseudo-profundity of the phrase “deep state,” with bonus points for the pseudo-judidciousness of “pretty obvious” (Stephen Potter calls this “plonking”). See here.

          We have a perfectly good term already, here: “Ruling class,” which has the advantage that classes can be seen to be divisible into factions — as “pretty obviously” happened in 2016 — unlike a monolithic so-called “Deep State.” Gramsci, in fact, urges that the state and civil society should be seen as distinct only as objects of study, as we indeed see every day in the “the revolving door,” or, better, Janet Wedel’s “flexians” with their “flex nets.” Hence, “deep state” is a reification of one aspect of ruling class activity, and is therefore disempowering (except, of course, to the ruling class itself).

          1. flora

            “reification of one aspect of ruling class activity, and is therefore disempowering ”

            On point. thanks.

          2. integer

            which has the advantage that classes can be seen to be divisible into factions

            Wrt the factions within the ruling class, I found the chart in the Charles Hugh Smith article to have some descriptive value. Note that he does use “deep state” as a catch-all term for these groups, however I am personally much more interested in what these groups are doing, why they are doing it, and the dynamics of the relationships between them.

            As an aside, I was under the impression that “the Blob” was a reference to what some would call the “deep state”. If that was incorrect, then what is “the Blob”?

          3. Vatch

            The “deep state” includes people who are not part of the ruling class. These are influential corporate executives, government managers, and military officers who will lose much of their influence when they retire. The are sometimes referred to as the “power elite”, or perhaps they should be considered the portion of the power elite who are not also members of the ruling class. Members of the ruling class, in contrast, remain influential whether they have a job or not, because they own huge amounts of money or other property.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I disagree with your divisions of the Ruling Class. The influential corporate executives, government managers, and military officers are components of the Power Elite but so are the old money and new money wealthy and so are intellectuals though their power has diminished. [This last notion of intellectuals as part of the Power Elite / Ruling Class — which I prefer to equate — creates some interesting problems in analysis. For example what place might Chomsky hold in the Power Elite? Hayek has demonstrated the power of intellectuals in directing the actions and beliefs of the Power Elite.]

              1. Vatch

                I agree with part of what you say. I agree that wealthy members of the ruling class are also part of the power elite. And yes, some intellectuals are part of the power elite.

                But I prefer to think of members of the ruling class as oligarchs who will be able to pass their power onto their heirs. Purely corporate, bureaucratic, military, and intellectual elites won’t be able to do that.

                Whatever our differences might be, I think we probably agree that most of the people who call the shots in the U.S. were never elected (or were elected to ridiculously safe seats), and have no accountability to the citizens of the country.

                1. Jeremy Grimm

                  I definitely agree with you that most/all of the people who call the shots in the U.S. were never elected to their positions and feel no accountability to the citizens of our country. And I agree that many/most of the members of the Power Elite inherited their power — along with their money.

                  But I am curious — Why do you prefer to think of members of the ruling class as hereditary oligarchs? I also question the extent to which corporate, bureaucratic, military, and intellectual elites are limited in their ability to pass on their power to their heirs. Consider how many politicians are descendants of other powerful politicians. Consider how many actors and actresses, and directors are descendants of other prominent actors and actresses and directors. Talent may tend to run in families (e.g. Bach) but I remain greatly impressed by how much great talent there is and how few opportunities to gain recognition and a prominent family name and connections does not hurt.

                  I believe it is possible to move into the Power Elite and also possible to drift out of the Power Elite but I certainly don’t accept the Horatio Alger myths. I am not a member of the Power Elite, and I suspect that neither are you — and I also believe neither of us have any great desire to be part of the Power Elite and both of us feel a responsibility to act as quiet leaders in these times of great change. I would lead by example and by helping all who might bring us through the coming crises to better times.

                  I might add that I am aping what I’ve read in C.Wright Mills — as best as my memory and comprehension might allow. I don’t yet fully understand the teachings of G. William Domhoff and other later writers — but though an old dog I can learn new tricks. I should also express my belief in the value of what I understand as the advocacy model of argument. I don’t expect to be right at the end of an argument. I hope to learn the greater Truth at an argument’s conclusion. — So PLEASE disagree if you do.

                  1. Vatch

                    Why do you prefer to think of members of the ruling class as hereditary oligarchs?

                    Perhaps it’s the word “class” that partially persuades me to think this. “Class” connotes a separate category, so I think of them as having more persistence in their roles than people who earn $150,000 per year and have bureaucratic or military influence. Needless to say, such oligarchs don’t necessarily start out by inheriting their wealth. Many of the billionaires on the Forbes list are the first in their line; but many of their heirs will remain as oligarchs. Some on the Forbes list received their position purely by inheritance; see the Walton and the Mars families for examples. The Koch brothers are hybrids who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars, and turned that into nearly $100 billion for the four of them (two of them are much richer than the others, but they’re all billionaires).

                    You are correct that people with influence in various positions can assist their children to achieve (“achieve”?) similar positions, but it’s not guaranteed that their children will rise to the same level. Jeb Bush is a prominent example of both sides of this argument. After his father was President, he became the governor of Florida. Yet he performed dismally when he tried to become the U.S. President himself. In contrast, a person who inherits his or her wealth usually doesn’t have to do anything at all, except perhaps to avoid completely alienating the rich parent so he or she won’t be disinherited.

                    I agree with you about the Horatio Alger fantasies. People almost never rise from rags to riches. They might rise from middle class to riches; Bill Gates rose from upper middle class to astonishing wealth.

                    1. JTMcPhee

                      How words mislead: We say “earn,” when we maybe mean “get paid.” “Earn” connotes compensation for having contributed some value. PEers and Blanfeinists and other parasites and pathogens don’t, might I opine, “earn” the huge amounts of money and power that flows to them.

                      But then I am in the “loser class,” so what do I know?

                      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” ! says Warren “I’m just a nice old grampa uncle from Omaha” Buffett. From when the NYT was less of a Pravda:

                    2. Vatch

                      You’re right about “earn”. It’s wrong to use that word for most of the income of the very rich. I used it in this clause:

                      people who earn $150,000 per year and have bureaucratic or military influence.

                      Although such people are far from being among the very rich, it would have been better to say:

                      people who get paid $150,000 per year and have bureaucratic or military influence.

                      I did implicitly comment on the word “achieve” in a different sentence by putting it in quotes.

                      Warren Buffett’s father was a member of Congress for a few terms, so Warren Buffett’s tale is hardly one of rags to riches!

                    3. Jeremy Grimm

                      Your answer suggests why I prefer the term Power Elite to the term Ruling Class. The word “class” too strongly evokes Marxism and ties with ideas of economic class and social class — like the class or Russian princes after the revolution or the class of “old money” vs “new”. For me Power Elite means the group of people who effectively decide the direction of our society — the movers and shakers. [I am certain C.Wright Mills and Domhoff have much better definitions than this but I’m too lazy to hunt those definitions down.]

          4. Jeremy Grimm

            I think I understand your antipathy to analysis in terms of the “Deep State”. The “Deep State” is a component of the “Ruling Class” [I prefer “Power Elite” in a nod to C.Wright Mills. Also Power Elite avoids “Class” which for me has unpleasant ties to Marxist theories which, to my tastes, too closely tie to Hegel’s theories of history.] The notion of a Power Elite [aka. Ruling Class] elicts notions of factions just as the “Deep State” elicits notions of conspiracy.

            The Charles Hugh Smith description of a fracture in the “Deep State” should be carried further to suggest how this evident fracture in the Deep State offers direct evidence of conflict between factions within the Power Elite and hints at how some elements of the Deep State align with the factions within the Power Elite.

            To better guess at what’s to come we need to identify the other players in the Power Elite, their alignments and their intentions.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              The G. William Domhoff analysis of the New Deal makes the case that Social Security legislation resulted from a rift in the Power Elite with the winning faction supporting the legislation. We have evidence of another rift in the Power Elite. The left might do well to study the details of this rift and the best ways — if any — to exploit it or to create situations where a new rift might be formed to favor adoption of some of their policies.

          5. Brad

            Agreed. “Deep state”, a term derived from Turkish politics, merely describes the bureaucratic extensions, public or private, of the ruling capitalist oligarchy, itself too tiny to rule directly.

            Nothing “deep” about the concept really. Hiding in plain sight.

        2. Gareth

          Sorry Lambert but after listening to pseudo profound Marxists throwing around “ruling class” for fifty years I’ve given up on the term. Deep state is to my way of thinking a more accurate term to describe Clinton’s evident institutional support among the intelligence services, the military and foreign policy establishment. If that makes me a plonker so be it.

          1. Mel

            The defining difference for me is that the State will sign its name on the paperwork, whereas the Deep State won’t.

          2. skippy

            The problem with terms like “Deep State” is the same watery vernacular like “freedom and liberty”.

            disheveled…. but hay… its a mental play ground with endless possibilities for the mind to frolic…

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              Not sure what to conclude based on your comment. Can you supply a better term than Deep State which avoids the watery vernacular and avoids turning the discussion to a mental playground with endless possibilities? Do you suggest there’s no point in discussion about matters like a postulated Deep State?

              1. skippy

                Deep Throat – ???? – I jest….

                OK…. what part about Hayekian – Nash levels of paranoia embedded in syntax escapes some, seriously.

                I mean you might as well evoke spiritual forces which humans have no say in and as such no means of redress because noone can pin the imaginary tail on the imaginary donkey party….

                Worst bit is the softening up of peoples minds from a constant GITMO like stress position where the are completely unable to cognitively or otherwise reconcile, only to have the sage narrators arrive to show them the libertarian or other cults, show them the path to resolving the aforementioned means in order to purify their cog dis…

                disheveled… do I need to remind the policy of this blog with agnotology and those that are no longer with us for pushing memes or personal baggage which inhibits discovery…

                1. Jeremy Grimm

                  I agree the term “Deep State” does indeed suggest a level of paranoia. I didn’t invent the term but I have absolutely no idea what you mean by Hayekian — Nash levels of paranoia so the thrust of your comment does indeed escape me. I do see deep currents in the waters suggesting behemoths fight below and no I have no ability to understand or affect these forces. As for lacking means of redress — I track the weather to learn whether I might be wise to bring an umbrella though I have no control over the weather. When weather patterns become truly weird — as they are at present — I hope you might forgive an excess of concern on my part.

                  I can’t parse your next paragraph. And I prefer not to pursue too far your suggestion about agnotology and pushing personal baggage memes.

                  The link in today’s Links where “Deep State” is defined [Charles Hugh Smith] is indeed fringe but it does give a clear description of what the term “Deep State” means. Deep State: “-the elements of the federal government which don’t change regardless of who is in elected office. This includes the intelligence community, the Pentagon, the diplomatic and trade infrastructure, Research and Redevelopment, and America’s own organs of media “framing” and “placement.”

                  Having working in government for several decades I have very definitely seen the kind of self-direction suggested by this definition of “Deep State”. There are career civil servants and they very definitely do have their own agenda apart from the State’s agenda. I saw directives from high levels in the Pentagon ignored and reshaped to create new rice bowls and protect the old — all occurring at the level of policy execution. The protection and creation of rice bowls breeds a little more paranoia when applied to organizations that plan and execute clandestine actions — sometimes lethal actions — and use various funding lines to monitor and scan all communications domestic and foreign. If that doesn’t make you feel a little paranoid I’m not sure how to answer that.

                  In short I too dislike the phrase “Deep State” because like “Ruling Class” it pulls in a lot of unhappy baggage. I don’t feel especially paranoid — Hayekian – Nash or otherwise — but in light of some of the revelations of the past and present is a level of paranoia really so paranoid? As for your hints of “pushing memes or personal baggage” — would you as an unbiased observer characterize these hints as an argument?

          3. Jeremy Grimm

            I share your qualms about the term Ruling Class. It is at least as problematic as Working Class. I could never figure out exactly how the White Collar workers fit in — and White Collar supervisors and middle managers are especially problematic.

            I think the term Deep State is not sufficiently inclusive. The Ruling Class is much broader than the Deep State alone. I prefer Power Elite instead of Ruling Class.

            1. philnc

              Part of the problem with this terminology is that there isn’t a one-to-one mapping of economic to social and political class. If you’re a well paid manager-level wage earner with no significant ownership interest in a company you may for economic purposes be working class but your social and political position both in and outside the company may make you part of an empowered upper class (but far from one of the power elite, which I agree is a better term for the upper classes who own most of the wealth).

          4. clinical wasteman

            Sorry Gareth that you ever had to listen to that, but they were pseudo-Marxists as well as pseudo-profound. ‘Ruling class’ is a useful shorthand for whatever informal caste happens mostly to be ruling at the time, but it doesn’t designate any particular ‘class’ in the sense of a subset of humanity with a specific relation to capital (i.e. owning it vs. feeding it at your own expense).
            This may sound pedantic, but it’s less so when the Financial Times recently printed, without apparent irony, the definition: “class, i.e. level of education“, and when the actual elites (credentials, assets, etc.) in charge of Public Opinion are frantically promoting an identity-based hallucination of class whereby you must be something other than working class if you’re a.) a “minority”, b.) living in a city, c. guilty of reading books.

          5. Brad

            “intelligence services, the military and foreign policy establishment”, IOW, bureaucratic extensions of the capitalist oligarchy, state bureaucratic in this case. Fail to see the “pseudo profundity” of this expression. It’s pretty straightforward.

            The real dispute is on the structure of the capitalist oligarchy itself.

      2. alex morfesis

        The Nobel misogyny awards…would seem those who accept Nobellz are much like lawyers who have “board certified” $lapped up on the wall…

        don’t walk…run…

        Less than 5 % of nobellz have been presented to women and the prize was not designed originally to have a large staff to eat the money before handing it off…

        Like many things this nobellz beast has taken on a life of its own and has actually sued the nobel family for having the nerve..the audacity…to do their own thing with their own money to honor their founder…

        It was to have awarded prizes without regard to where the invention or discovery came from for the most advancement to mankind…economic theories that provide no results is not what the will stated…

        it meant more of local exchange trading system to help facilitate commerce, not some smoke and mirrors blackbox trading theorums designed to make it difficult to convince a jury of insider trading…

        Instead of a global search, it sends out a few thousand surveys and gets nominees from the usual suspects…so some judge in an urban environment who insists on a drug court instead of hard time and reduces gang violence by taking away the zombification of drugs which is the fodder of gang recruitment violence…that jurist would not possibly be considered for a peace prize…it is now the euro royals handing out gold coins to those who do their bidding, which at best if not an oecd country, is handed off to some useful idiothelping keep european economic and effective political control of a “former” colony…

        Or maybe it is what it was supposed to be and all the happy talk about hus will was just to make him seem more nobel….

        1. clinical wasteman

          I’ve seen enough straight-edge zombies to last me a reanimated lifetime.
          But perhaps that was a typo for “drug prohibition which is the fodder of captive market recruitment violence”.
          No, I’m not talking about “soft” drugs.
          Even the NYT can apparently tell that “gang recruitment” is something police/prison algorithms do []. For a less frivolous account, see Christian Parenti, ‘Lockdown America’.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Once again: the Economics prize is a fake Nobel Prize. It’s awarded by the Swedish Central Bank, presumably on its own funds, not the Nobel Committee using Nobel’s legacy.

      3. Mark P.

        In 1998 Paul Krugman predicted: –

        ‘The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in “Metcalfe’s law”–which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants–becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.’

        Seriously, he’s been getting things wrong for a while now.

      4. Cynthia

        Krugman is just another elitist who’s insulated from the every day pain most Americans encounter. I can’t figure out why he doesn’t wear a powdered wig.

      1. John k

        He expected dep sec treas as reward, or better, explaining current distress?
        No better opportunity will ever come his way… my fond hope.

  7. Ignim Brites

    “Trump’s Coming Confrontation with Yellen and the Federal Reserve”. The FED should be abolished and whatever functions it performs that a democratic government believes legitimate, if any, should be absorbed by Treasury or Commerce. On the other hand, this might make the deep state even less accountable for its monetary manipulations as some faceless unter secretariat will be responsible for carrying them out. Still todays MSM, enthralled to the technocratic vision, will be incapable of holding dear sweet Janet accountable for anthing, especially if it is acting acting according to the consensus of established economists.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Ian Welsh’s essay seems strangely naive. Trump nominating two friendly guvnors isn’t going to threaten the Yellen-Fischer “rate hikes for all” regime.

      Meanwhile, no president has forced out a Fed chair. The optics would be terrible, with a distinct Third World flavor.

      Trump is more subtle than that. For instance, it was revealed in 2004 that Greenspan had visited the White House an average 44 times a year since Bush took office in 2001.

      Doubtless J-Yel will be a frequent visitor as well. Problem is that discussions with her are like talking to a frog: the big eyes stare at you intently, but it’s hard to tell how much is getting through.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps Trump can combine her audience with his daily intelligence briefing. Both must sign non-disclosure agreements though.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Let’s start with the bleeding obvious:

        1.) A bunch of Ph.Ds cannot predict the direction of an infinitely complex system heavily influenced by human emotion (the money system). The accuracy of their forecasts has been +/- zero;

        2.) The idea that we should then try communist-style command-and-control of the economy by price fixing the price of money based on these “predictions” is equally ludicrous and discredited;

        3.) If you did (ignoring the above) mistakenly give a group of Ph.Ds command and control of the entire economy that would be a completely reckless and risky thing to do (as Lambert says above “The Fed can firebomb the economy”);

        4.) If you’re going to give a serially-incorrect bunch of Ph.Ds firebomb power over the entire economy you should be sure they have reasonable data to work from. Suggest they try the Chapwood Index next time they are curious about how high inflation really is, the “1.5%” they trumpet is a laughable joke:

        5.) And heaven forbid they should address the question whether their “inflation targeting” is such a clever idea in the first place. That policy says our money should lose 25% of it’s purchasing power over 10 years on purpose. It’s lunacy:

        End the Fed.

        1. UserFriendly

          The problem with deflation is that it screws over everyone in debt. So basically one more way to stick it to Millennials would be to create deflation after they got forced into an expensive diploma mill and graduated just in time to have shit job prospects. Inflation is bad for rich people which is why the banks and the fed hate it so much. If they didn’t think some inflation was necessary for GDP growth there is no way in hell we would ever see any.

        2. bob

          It seems the whole point of your comment, and the mises, friedman, et al “free market” argument is that you can choose not to have someone in charge.

          That’s completely belied by history.

          Even if, politically, you can muster a majority to “reliquish” control, you get a monopolist on top. Free market pinnacle.

          It’s probably better to exert some political control over it, mandate it even. Argue about numbers and rates all you want — none of the fuckers in charge are listening to one word. They don’t have to.

    2. flora

      I think the Yellen (estab) v Trump analysis is right. The estab wants to make sure the Donald doesn’t succeed with the economy, imo. Don’t know about the proposed solutions.

    3. susan the other

      It was only a month ago that Yellen, et al were begging Congress for fiscal stimulus – but now she is saying we don’t need any fiscal and if Trump does deficit spend for fiscal projects then it will screw up the Fed’s nirp-zirp ability to keep a steady ship and interest rates will skyrocket, causing the most dreaded thing in the universe: inflation, etc. Trump is countering with stuff about public-private partnerships that do not require any deficit spending (?) because he’s gonna ask all those rich guys to pony up the investment capital. But I get the feeling that Janet’s true colors are showing.

      1. cnchal

        . . . if Trump does deficit spend for fiscal projects then it will screw up the Fed’s nirp-zirp ability to keep a steady ship and interest rates will skyrocket, causing the most dreaded thing in the universe:

        That would be a bondfire.

        . . . Trump is countering with stuff about public-private partnerships that do not require any deficit spending (?) because he’s gonna ask all those rich guys to pony up the investment capital.

        Fracking is going to Flint everybody’s water supply, so those rich guys can tollbooth clean water, but you don’t have to play. Dirty water is free.

        1. susan the other

          I don’t think that is how it will unfold. We have to wait and see because we are powerless at this point.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have yet to see skyrocketing CD rates.

          “Be patient,” has been the mantra for the last decade or so.

      2. polecat

        true colors ….

        ‘Black’ … as in sinister !

        ….or one could infer ‘Black Hole’ .. as in sucking the life out of the public.. and the commons.

    1. john

      Boston train passes through stations unattended as driver left cabin to activate “bypass mode”

      There was a fatal accident on New England regional news this year where the operator was texting, and slammed into I believe it was south station. A multi-million dollar pork project to remote operate the trains could have prevented it. Also her minority status was a prominent part of the story narrative. :(

      I can’t find it now, because it turns out there’s so many train fatalities. Computers could solve very few of these… but people will die until the Rail Roaders up here get their federal cash.

      Even the vice-train-enthusiast Biden was unsympathetic.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a more peaceful world, they can just use money currently spent on airport security for improving train safety.

  8. Jim Haygood

    This Trumpointment is a big deal, because OMB does the fiscal scoring of legislation:

    Trump said he will nominate Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.

    “The Trump administration will restore budgetary and fiscal sanity back in Washington after eight years of an out-of-control, tax-and-spend financial agenda, ” Mulvaney, 49, of South Carolina said in the statement.

    “Each day, families across our nation make disciplined choices about how to spend their hard earned money, and the federal government should exercise the same discretion that hardworking Americans do every day.”

    Mulvaney has also drawn the ire of some fellow conservatives for his efforts to cut certain Pentagon spending, including writing a 2012 amendment with liberal Democrat Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts that would have frozen defense spending.

    Yo, I love the bit comparing the gov to a household. Mulvaney added this explicitly to make the ragtag “deficits don’t matter” crowd seethe and moan.

    It’s gonna be a treat watching Mulvaney’s across the board aversion to wasteful spending (including supremely wasteful military spending) collide with grandiose plans for a 350-ship navy. Let the gladiatorial games begin!

  9. David Scott Winer from the Hague

    Anent the Counterpunch article with Wolin’s theme of fake opposition, the Washington Generals had their best game ever.

    The usual GOP suspects purged voter rolls of likely Dem voters with out-of-state namesakes. Democrats ignore that and go furiously barking up the wrong tree at the Russians.

    Just in case any slow child of your acquaintance is still taking electoral politics seriously.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe the Wisconsin recount is over. Any update on the other 2 states, anyone who happens to know?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Boy, these guys are well prepared (from practice…have done it many times before) and have moved on to plan B immediately, which is to work on the electors.

      2. cwaltz

        How exactly was she supposed to get access to voter rolls without challenging the election?

        Oh wait, I forgot Stein wasn’t because voting integrity is only fun when we whine about it rather than actually do something to verify things.

  10. Chema

    Re: “Will Facebook’s Fake News Warning Become a Badge of Honor?”

    From the article:

    Scroll through your Facebook feed, and you may soon come across an angry red warning symbol. “Disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers,” the alert will read, splashed underneath a link posted by a friend.

    I am sharing articles and I have a deep mistrust on the “mainstream media” (MSM for short), I will take that symbol as a proof that I am doing something right.

    Also: mass flagging of articles to DDOS the “service”. Only the most shared ones will get flagged. The combination of a very long tail and the more than probable backfire mechanism I mentioned above makes me be very skeptical about this whole thing.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The worst part is IT types and computer scientists are overwhelmingly Republican. The “trusted” Team Blue sources will ultimately be the flagged ones. Of course, Team Blue types think the Internet was discovered by the NYT when it opened its Facebook account.

      1. temporal

        My experience is that most computer programmers and IT types label themselves as libertarians with liberal social values. Which is to say they do not admit that they are generally neoliberals. The most popular fantasy among them being that whatever benefits they have received are the direct result of their personal efforts and accomplishments. Of course, they generally are also against H1Bs taking their jobs and forcing their wages down. It’s just those manual labor types that should get out and compete. They’re also generally fans of corporations since that’s where the big bucks come from.

        Nearly no one that is a neoliberal actually labels themselves as such, this is especially true among the computer support types. Fake news labels will be based on those biases.

          1. Massinissa

            Against. The Mexicans aren’t going to take their jobs. Rather, theyre going to make the marketplace more ‘competitive’! Yaaaaay.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Selective meanness, in that case.

              Only are mean to H1B Indians (though they are not the only ones), but not mean to our amigos from across the Rio Grande.

          2. clinical wasteman

            Or how about walls between California and Nevada, Michigan and Ohio, New Hampshire and Maine? But why stop there? Ontario and Québec, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and Slovenia (open for decades while there was a Yugoslavia, but it’s never too late), or bonsai Paris and the banlieues…?
            Labor either does or doesn’t have the power to move — or to stay put without starving — as the workers in question please: if that doesn’t apply everywhere, it’s just a matter of workers in a few places sharing a special privilege that normally (since about 1914) only belongs to capital. Which in practice means capital can coerce those workers to move or stay according to convenience, as in Schengen or between US States or from city to exurb. Labor’s right (i.e. desirable power) to move for whatever reason and its right never to be forced to move have everything in common, but any genuine ‘free movement’ (incorporating free stasis) of labor would collide head-on with the whole labor-arbitrage rationale for ‘the free movement of capital, goods and services’.

    2. fresno dan

      December 17, 2016 at 10:40 am

      What is “fake” news???
      Maybe it would be easier to ask what is “true” news?
      I have no doubt that the Washington Post and New York Times ACCURATELY does stenography of official government documents and public press conferences. HOW MUCH OF OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BLATHER IS ACTUALLY REPORTED? I imagine other than Obama speeches, very LITTLE of official government documents get reported in the media because they are soooooo boring. And really of so LITTLE value, e.g., State Department spokesperson: ‘The US government took steps to reduce tensions in the Middle East….or State Department representative met with East Timor representatives to discuss….

      And I don’t doubt that most “anonymous sources” are quoted accurately. This is the juicy stuff, the entertaining stuff, the stuff some government functionary WANTS you to believe. But always deniable and can be walked back.

      So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Is TRUE news government news?
      Is everything the government says true? Is everything the government believes true???

      Of course, maybe the dems are the truthful party and leave out those lying repubs. Does everything the dems say is true? Is everything Obama says true?
      IS EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED IN SCHOOL TRUE? I didn’t learn about our overthrow of Iranian government until I was decades away from public (government) schools, and not from government sanctioned textbooks. Same with Chile….same with Vietnam – how it started and our “allies” we ourselves killed (the south Vietnam president by….the CIA). Most of the stuff I was told about the Cuban missile crisis was inaccurate. CIA was acknowledged by the US government itself as pretty rotten in senate hearings in the 70’s (Church commission I believe)…..IS the CIA OK NOW? Not overthrowing anybody anymore???
      When did we get a realistic estimate of how many people are shot by police in the US every year – according to Naked Capitalism link, we learned only……TODAY! One would think that is an important statistic….yet our own government and vaunted media was extremely incurious about it until….VERY recently. In the US, the very best questions are the ones not asked….

      Everything I learned from “official sources” or “reputable” sources is that the US always wants to advance freedom for everybody in the world….that we are pure and peaceful of only the most noble intent. Did we torture? Well…kinda….it was an anomaly. And that is why our “news” of such torture has to be limited…because unlike those rotten commies who restrict the press, we restrict the press when we screw up making the world better….. Did we stop torturing…and by stop, I mean we don’t do it, but we ship the people we want tortured off to someone who will torture for us….

      On all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all – Paul Simon, Kodachrome

      1. ambrit

        You’re welcome. There is an entire cottage industry of knock offs, often using the same wording in slightly different settings. I love how real companies get involved. The actual “worker bees” do have a sense of humour. They know when somethingm works or not. There are measurements and data streams with which to form judgements from. Once one ascends to the rarefied realm of “Policy” one meets with fear and apprehension all about. Much “policy” is based on perceptions only tangentially connected with measurable reality. With foundations of air, is it any surprise that the edifice of “Policy” turns out to be constructed of smoke and mirrors?
        Phyl commented that the deadpan “professional” delivery of nonsense by the lab coat wearing spokesperson reminded her of Sir Humphrey on “Yes Minister.”
        Are there any video clips of economics types doing the ‘Econobabble?’ (Aside from Mr. Denniss’s tome.)

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Works well for low tech too. Back in my restaurant days we used to send the n00bs out looking for the bacon stretcher and the left handed sieve. Good times good times!

  11. Eduardo Quince

    Ian Welsh:

    Ok, so the Federal Reserve, coincidentally, now that Trump has been elected, decided that the economy is at full employment and raised rates.

    No, a December rate hike was in the cards regardless of who won the election. What has changed since the election is the FOMC’s dot plot for 2017 (it’s now projecting 3 rate hikes instead of 2 previously).

    So Trump has a problem. He needs cheap money if he’s to have a good economy, and Yellen is ending the cheap money era right when he was elected. It’s not completely a coincidence, but it’s not entirely not a coincidence, and if I were Trump or his team, I’d be livid, and it looks like they are.

    The markets expect Trump’s policies to be inflationary and have repriced rates accordingly. If the markets price in higher inflation, the Fed has no choice but to respond (unless it’s willing to bet the markets are wrong).

    Yellen has stated she won’t step down till her term ends, in 2024.

    Yellen’s term as a Fed governor expires in 2024 but her term as FOMC chair expires much earlier (in January 2018, IIRC).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      So, how do we do (or fund cheaply) Trump’s infrastructure projects?

      The Fed keeps buying T bonds to keep rates low – is that possible, with markets going the other way? Put off-shore money to work, by force (strongman) or by tax incentives (though a 3rd way is possible – a savior does it by persuasion over dinner)?

      1. Eduardo Quince

        So, how do we do (or fund cheaply) Trump’s infrastructure projects?

        Trump reportedly plans to outsource infrastructure investment to the private sector by offering tax credits.

        The Fed keeps buying T bonds to keep rates low – is that possible, with markets going the other way?

        The Fed is no longer buying bonds except to reinvest its existing bond portfolio’s runoff. There’s nothing preventing the Fed from resuming bond purchases if it wanted to but it’s now in tightening mode, so it’s hard to imagine it doing so barring a recession.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela’s memento modi currency exchange hits the usual victims — los pobres:

    The troubles began when President Nicolas Maduro announced that the 100-bolivar banknote would be taken out of circulation in an effort to stabilize the economy and disrupt black marketeers​.

    Worth about two Canadian cents on the black market, the 100-bolivar bill is Venezuela’s highest denomination banknote and makes up about 77 per cent of Venezuela’s cash.

    The surprise move, announced last Sunday, turned Venezuela into a largely cashless society just before Christmas. Frustrated Venezuelans have blocked streets and looted stores in six cities this week, leading to 32 arrests.

    Those hardest hit by the currency chaos are poor and working class people who, according to the government, make up its base of support.

    CBC doesn’t mention that with the collapse of civil order, two people waiting in a cola [queue] outside a bank in Valencia were shot dead by robbers.

    This has to rank high in the annals of human folly — people exchanging 2-cent pieces of colored paper for different pieces of 2-cent colored paper, on the cavalier dictat of the Maduro clowngov.

    1. Alejandro

      >” CBC doesn’t mention… two people waiting in a cola [queue] outside a bank in Valencia were shot dead by robbers”

      Assuming that what you’re claiming is true, it is sad indeed…but why would “robbers” shoot “pobres” to supposedly steal “2-cent pieces of colored paper”? There seems something missing from your interpretation(or framing)…if {hyper-inflation} is “spiraling”, why would anyone even bother to suffer the queues, to deposit increasingly “worthless” ” pieces of colored paper”? There seems to be more to fiat currency than just “colored paper”.

      The ” CBC [also] doesn’t mention”, the audacity of the ” clowngov” to bypass and disrupt black market profiteers and distribute staples directly to ” los pobres”, who don’t have access to bank accounts…link provided as a courtesy.

      1. John Parks

        Thank you Alejandro for reminding me of Venezuela Analysis. I used to check it frequently whenever I would see articles (usually from Miami Herald) about unrest in the south. I generally, now, restrict my few communications with Venezuelans to just simple sales transactions and try not to get into political discussions due to my ignorance of the area and the people with whom I am communicating.. I once made a minor (?) error in judgment when I asked a customer to send me a pro Chavista T- shirt. I quickly learned I was talking to the wrong person for such a request!

  13. Jim Haygood

    Partying with Morticia Hillary:

    “It was like a wake with a band,” quipped one guest who was at the Plaza on Thursday for Hillary Clinton’s holiday party to thank top-tier donors, VIP boosters and campaign advisers.

    The source said, “It was a little bit of group therapy and a lot of love” among the losing Democratic rainmakers.

    “No one has any illusion of ‘the band coming back together again,’ but it did bring a sense of closure,” said a Hillary backer of the possibility she’d come back as a candidate.

    When the kids had killed the man I had to break up the band

    — David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust

    1. Anne

      No one wants fking closure, Hillary – we want someone who carries on the fight even in defeat, not someone who has to go off and suck her thumb and take walks in the woods. Problem is, the fight she was engaged in was HER fight, not ours.

      Contrast with Sanders, who has been out and working hard, listening to people, encouraging them to stay engaged, get engaged, be involved in challenging the status quo. He lost, too, but you don’t see him hiding under the covers, do you?

      Where is Hillary speaking out about the unbelievable travesty that is going on the NC legislature? Where is she on the horror of Aleppo?

      If I were a Hillary supporter, I would be about as pissed as it’s possible to me, seeing how she just folded up like a cheap lawn chair and disappeared from the fight.

      She really is a loser.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL “carries on the fight” LOL as if Hilary was fighting for anything except Monsanto, Goldman, and the Saudis. That is NOT a fight I would be anxious to “carry on”.

        LOL Hilary on the “horror of Aleppo” LOL, pretty hard to talk about it when you were the architect of it, Hilary and her bevy of Chanel-suited regime changers funnelling arms to ISIS, oops THAT strategy is smashed into the ground in flames. The *secular* democratically-elected government (whether or not we think he is a “good guy”) rooted out Islamist terror groups but the hapless Hilary/Kerry/Obama team can’t even decide what to say except laughable condemnations of actions we do each and every day.

        As far as I’m concerned Hilary can stay in her hole until the slow-moving wheels of justice give her the richly-deserved orange jumpsuit. Just the destruction of evidence should be good for 20 years.

      2. johnnygl

        Excellent comment.

        That’s the remarkable thing, there’s no more calls for ‘no fly zones’, no more fighting for $12/hr min wage, no real calls for ANY part of her agenda to continue, in spite of her loss. Because, really, none of her agenda mattered. It was her last shot at winning the superbowl and she lost. The team might as well cease to exist.

        A lpt of green/leftie criticism of bernie has been the OPPOSITE. That he doesn’t fight for himself enough. Clearly losing the primary bugged him, and it was hard to take, but he was back doing his thing soon enough. Except, now he gets more interviews from the media.

  14. stefan

    Xi is showing Trump that foreign leaders can be provocative and unpredictable too. He has acted promptly to show that China means business. He has acted on Obama’s watch to give Trump extra rope for hanging himself. Do not imagine that Xi has run out of lessons to give Trump. We are about to enter an era of instability that goes way beyond what any living American has ever experienced.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the Art of War, feints are mentioned.

      Trump best concentrates on clearly defined objectives, like bringing back jobs, protecting American university admission spots for native students from the stagnant wage working class, and stopping immigration gaming.

    2. flora

      Trump may be the precipitating factor of this incident; China, however, has been “extending” its territorial waters by means of artificial island construction for some time. Chinese govt piracy in international waters is very worrisome.
      China precipitated an incident in early 2001, just as W. Bush’s first term was starting. The Hainan Island incident. Then, China took a US signals intelligence airplane and made territorial claims. They may be testing or signaling Trump, as is apparently per usual for them with a new US. pres.
      I also wonder if its as much about China’s domestic media and the need to distract their public from economic shakiness as it is about Trump.

    3. alex morfesis

      Oh yeah…that mighty chinese navy showed us up…that open source drone with 1960’s technology probably built at woods hole or harbor branch or by miss self proclaimed ocean godess, sylvia earle with her for profit side company which gets all that money to build equipment for those non profits she advocated for…all open source…

      my goodness, the east toledo junior high school fishing club is going to have to spend a couple of days over the holidays replacing the “captured” drone…

      Themz chinese…man they mean business…el donaldo better watch out…they may have someone try to counterfeit his bottled water or steaks to show him they are mean hombres…mean hombres I tellya…

      canal street here we come…

        1. Jay M

          it’s the fellows in the Chinese factories that are worrisome
          cabernet may flow, but what about spare parts?

          1. cnchal

            I will try to interpret your cryptic comment.

            it’s the fellows in the Chinese factories that are worrisome

            Why worry about them? Economists constantly call men doing factory work unskilled, which is a polite way of calling them stupid. If they are stupid here, they are stupid there. Economists don’t worry about stupid people, so no need to worry.

            cabernet may flow,

            Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Really not sure what you mean there.

            . . . but what about spare parts?

            What about them? Ever tried to fix a Chinese TV? When they break they get trashed, so no need for spare parts. Which brings up the point about riots in the streets of America. In any trade war with China, all the Chinese have to do is cut off the flow of TVs. If the war were to last for a couple of weeks there would be panic buying of TVs with the first ones buying up most of the ones available bringing on an acute shortage of TVs the likes of which no one has ever seen. At that point there would be riots in the streets demanding an end to the trade war, because there is nothing more important than TVs.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Why America needs a socialist movement

    Liberalism as a political ideology is a dead end. It lacks the capacity to provide an alternative while the status quo is failing around us. Reinhold Niebuhr pointed this out when Democrats were at a loss to explain why Wilson’s idealistic liberal vision was soundly rejected.

    “Liberalism is too intellectual and too little emotional to be an efficient force in history. It is the philosophy of the middle aged, lacking the fervency of youth and it’s willingness to take a chance and accept a challenge.” -Reinhold Niebuhr, The Twilight of Liberalism (1919)

    Historically, socialists never considered themselves a part of the political left. There wasn’t ever a good reason to get involved in the bourgeoisie civil war between the left (Democrats) and the right (Republicans). It was only when the reactionary right was on the verge of power that socialists allied themselves with the left.

    While socialists were gradually absorbed into the political left during the Great Depression / World War II the advent of neoliberalism has severed that bond. As a result the Democratic Party is moribund and losing badly to the Republican Party. It has basically been reduced to the state of a regional party. If the Democrats want to commit political suicide instead of embracing the Berniecrats they’re free to join the Whig Party.

    The political situation in Europe is more ominous. The reactionary right which was crippled by it’s embrace of fascism and their allegiance to the nazi cause has patiently waited for an opportunity to re-gain power. The economic malaise, the euro crisis, and the other serious problems which afflict the European Union have provided a near limitless supply of ammunition in their quest for power.

    1. Foppe

      Liberalism isn’t a dead end. It’s just that it’s likely to lead to worse ends. After all, it’s liberals/”centrists”/”respectable people”/gutmenschen who allowed Hitler to give it a go, because they considered hit reactionary politics preferable to “communists”.

      1. Massinissa

        To be fair, as a socialist, I have to point out that the Communists didn’t think Hitler was a threat either. Remember Ernst Thalmann, the head of the Communist Party of Germany, infamously said, “After Hitler, Our Turn!”.

        Too bad Hitler decided his turn was going to be the last one before the game ended.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Ernst was wrong only because Stalin was not a socialist.

          After Hitler, Stalin’s Turn…I give him 50 out of 100.

        2. Foppe

          I know less about the German commies than I probably should (not all that interested, as someone who identifies as anarchist/socialist), but I don’t doubt it, considering the cavalier attitude towards “breaking eggs” at the time.

    2. OIFVet

      The political situation in Europe is more ominous. The reactionary right which was crippled by it’s embrace of fascism and their allegiance to the nazi cause has patiently waited for an opportunity to re-gain power.

      Agree, with one addition. The Euro “socialists” and “social democrats” embracing and becoming tools of the Washington Consensus helped the far-right by allowing it to occupy the vacated economic populist ground, and so did the neoliberal elites’ decision to become an extension of the US and accomplices to its foreign policy boondoggles after having held their ground in the lead-up to Iraq War II. There is now hardly any real Left in Europe, save for Die Link and the Corbynites.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The European socialist/social democrat parties are champions of the affluent classes. They are no more egalitarian than the Democrats. The difference between them and the Democratic Party is basically nil. I think they began their transformation when the Soviet Union disappeared. Which in the case of France was roughly halfway through Mitterand’s second term.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Or maybe even slightly earlier, when Mitterand turned his left-Gaullist economic policy on its head around in 1983? Plus the ‘second economic miracle (i.e. defeat of the automotive working class) by Craxi’s Italian ‘Socialists’?
          Coincidentally, social-democratic parties also turned into Affluent Champions around that time in the favoured bomb-testing zone of Mitterand’s military, namely the South Pacific (Hawke-Keating in Australia, Lange-Douglas in NZ, both elected 1984).

          (Meanwhile, if this can somehow be done without encouraging pointless feuding, I’d like to repeat that I went back and reread the exchange in which these claims against Andrew seem to originate, and I saw no pro-empire argument, let alone Pr*porn*t meddling. I respect Integer’s concern that such meddling might be going on somewhere, but I don’t think the integrity of a serious commenter should be challenged so forcefully on unspecified grounds of ‘high probability’.)

          1. Andrew Watts

            Maybe. I’d probably lose that argument. Whenever that process began it’s ironic that the evolution away from left-wing politics could’ve began when the French Communists joined Mitterand’s government.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          integer, you’ve been asked to stop doing this sort of thing. If you have any questions on what “this sort of thing” is, you can email me.

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              Thanks for sending this. I will look at it, and also at the information in your earlier message. Not tonight, though – I need to go to sleep.

    3. Brad

      “It was only when the reactionary right was on the verge of power that socialists allied themselves with the left.”

      But that wasn’t the case in the United States at the time (1930’s), except in the South, where the “reactionary right” had always been in regional power since 1876. But the South was precisely subaltern to the Northern Democrats, and a threatening reactionary bloc between the Dixiecrats and the hard-line anti-labor wing of the Republicans did not form until around 1938, the year the first HUAC was formed.

      But none of this explains why a sustained independent socialist movement based in some active section of the working class, with its own media voice, did not emerge in the 1930’s. In the US the retreat into the Democratic Party was primarily self-inflicted.

  16. Pelham

    Re China’s seizure of a US sea drone: Shouldn’t these things be programmed to self-destruct or have the capacity to be destroyed remotely in this type of event? Seems like a bonehead oversight if that’s not the case.

    Unless it’s a covert way to transfer still more technology to China to justify even more US defense spending, in which case it’s diabolically clever!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And pollute the ocean?

      Personally, I don’t send it out at all, but keep it at the Smithsonian.

    2. John Parks

      I’ve often thought about the self-destruct button, or at least a simple Lojack device on all white Toyota pickup trucks so that they can be located, tracked, and disabled as needed Every news clip we see, whether Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, ad inf has white Toyota pickup trucks bristling with arms and terrorists.
      Where do all those pickup trucks come from and why hasn’t that supply chain been disabled! I guess that a decision was made somewhere that we have to protect the Toyota shareholders first. (sarc)

  17. Dave

    Revealed in a dream last night:

    I knew I’d seen that color before!

    Barney the Dinosaur.

    Hillary the DINO-sore loser.

    1. polecat

      “Ok … Boys & Girls .. and ‘Others’ …. lets all sing the clean-up song !”

      “Clean up $$$ .. clean up $$$ , all the .. grifters’ .. cleanin up !!”

    1. fresno dan

      December 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Conveniently, you don’t even have to read the piece, the headline tells you all you need and then some: “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” really nails it. The entire mindset on display in just a few words. If that’s what they went for, kudo’s are due.
      That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”. Not one bit. It does, though. It’s indeed the very core of what is going wrong.
      Profit, or money in general, is all these people live for, it’s their altar. That’s why they are successful in this world. It’s also why the world is doomed. Is there any chance I could persuade you to dwell on that for a few seconds? That, say, Bloomberg and Carney, and all they represent, are the problem dressed up as the solution? That our definition of success is what dooms us?

      Philosophers, religious people, or you and me, may struggle with the question “what’s the purpose of life?”. These guys do not. The purpose of life is to make a profit. The earth and all the life it harbors exist to kill, drill, excavate and burn down, if that means you can make a profit. And after that you repair it all for a profit. In their view, the earth doesn’t turn of its own accord after all, it’s money that makes it go round.
      The lifestyles of the last 10 generations of us, especially westerners, are characterized more than anything else by the huge increase in the use of energy, of calories and joules. As we went from wood to peat to coal to oil and gas, the energy return on energy investment kept going higher. But that stopped with oil and gas. And from now on in it will keep going down.

      “Free carbon excess” was a one-off ‘gift’ from nature. It will not continue and it will not return. Different forms of carbon have offered us a one-time source of free energy that we will not have again. The idea that we can replace it with ‘clean energy’ is ludicrous. The energy return on energy investment doesn’t even come close. And you can’t run a society with our present levels of complexity on a much lower ‘net energy’. We must dress down. No profit in that, sorry.
      Ever wonder why everybody drives a car that is ten times heavier then her/himself and has a 10% efficiency rate in its energy use? Why there’s an infrastructure everywhere that necessitates for every individual to use 1000 times more energy than it would take herself to get from A to B on foot? Sounds a lot like deliberately wasteful behavior, doesn’t it?

      The essence here is that while we were building this entire wasteful world of us, we engaged in the denying and lying behavior that typifies us as a species more than anything: we disregarded externalities. And there is no reason to believe we would not continue to do just that when we make the illusionary switch to ‘clean’ energy.
      Fresno is dry, flat, and if you planted trees for shade, its low humidity means that even on 100 degree plus days its perfectly walkable/bikeble in the shade – and its perfectly pleasant in the spring, fall, winter. And despite being in CA where yammering about the environment is incessant, when I came back after almost 30 years absent, more roads, more sprawl, and EVEN less accommodation for bikes and pedestrians…..

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        1. If technology got us into the distressing state we are in today, you (or we) don’t use technology – the same kind of thinking – to solve the problem that kind of thinking created in the first place.

        Extra credit question: Who said that?

        2. A different kind of thinking is the idea of living like a monk (or a nun), though it doesn’t have to be that extreme, for those who think that is extreme. It could be just less consumption. Yes, you will deny a great number of would-be billionaires from fulfilling their dreams. So be it.

        3. Walking is not just energy saving. It is good for your (and my) health. So, we not only waste energy, we make ourselves less healthy.

        1. subgenius

          I frequently use argument #1

          So far I don’t really think anybody has got it…maybe it’s because I cut off my crazy hair…!

            1. subgenius

              I am a technologically-knowledgeable Luddite. But without the clogs…(bonus points if you get that reference!)

              As sun tzu says, (paraphrase) ‘know your enemy’

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Neo-Luddites are not really purists.

                This new Luddite version has been upgraded…though some are missing the clogs memory module.

                They are programmed to handle insults like, ‘But why are you on the internet?’

                “Because I am a neo-Luddite.”

                1. Kurt Sperry

                  Indeed, if technology cannot solve the problems caused by technology, then announcing that on the internet is pure futility. Maybe moveable type and pamphlets delivered on horseback will spread the word without violating the principle.

                  1. subgenius

                    you might want to investigate the principles of Foco. *************** Teach a man to fish, and all that…

                    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                      subgenius, if you can’t explain your position without getting frustrated, then it’s fine to just wait until later before posting a reply.

                    2. subgenius

                      …adding-I am sick of the exact form of Kurt’s response. It is constantly used in response to climate change discussions too. My response was a result of repeated experience and a seeming lack of ever being able to get through to the types making it…

                    3. Outis Philalithopoulos

                      If you think you’ve already explained why someone else’s response is unpersuasive and don’t feel like doing it any more, then you can say so. Or, if you are feeling more patient, you can explain it again. What isn’t helpful is just to leave an insult. Not only is it against site policies, (from a purely strategic point of view) to onlookers it appears like you didn’t have a substantive response.

                  2. hunkerdown

                    (Self-)righteous abstinence is not a Luddite principle. Disassociatve abstinence is a Luddite principle. Appearances vs. fact.

              2. clinical wasteman


                These Engines of Mischief were sentenced to die
                By unanimous vote of the Trade
                And Ludd who can all opposition defy
                Was Grand Executioner made

                He may censure great Ludd’s disrespect for the Laws
                Who ne’er for a moment reflects
                That foul Imposition alone was the cause
                Which produced these unhappy effects

                [& c.]
                (from ‘General Ludd’s Triumph’, ballad quoted somewhere by E.P. Thompson, can’t find the page…)

                The line about “foul Imposition” applies in most real-life contexts today.

                Also worth noting that it’s these particular machines of destitution that are “sentenced”: the “foul Imposition” that makes the machines the instrument of work-or-starve policy, not machinery as such, is the “cause” of the disaster. Historical Luddism is anything but “primitivist”: not clueless nostalgia for subsistence farming or perverse belief in the “dignity” of toil (Thompson is also good on the proto-proletariat’s disdain for wasting life-time on earning more than you need), but defence of early industrial workers’ relative control of their own working process.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “Arctic blasts’ icy fingers grasp northeastern United States Reuters (EM). FWIW, not that bad in NYC. Just not what we are used to. ”
    There’s probably more headed your way. We’re having an unusual but not extreme freeze, and the news says it’s moving across the country. I assume it’ll be colder in places further east. .

      1. subgenius

        I thought winter underwent a hostile takeover perpetrated by summer.

        This is the poison pill defense….

  19. fresno dan

    The Lies At The Heart Of Our Dying Order Ian Welsh (Chuck L)

    “The world order we live in was born in 1979 or 1980, with Thatcher and Reagan. It made a few core promises:

    If the rich have more money, they will create more jobs;
    Lower taxes will lead to more prosperity;
    Increases in housing and stock market prices will increase prosperity for everyone;
    Trade deals and globalization will make everyone better off
    These core promises all turned out to be lies. It’s that simple. For most of the population, the last 40-odd years were either an experience of stagnation, or an experience of decline
    Neoliberalism has discredited everyone who bought in to it. Who didn’t buy into it? Well, the hard left and what people are now calling the “alt-right”.

    So people are turning in those directions, though more to the right. Because people are ideologically and identity driven, and most are not intellectuals, what they look for are signifiers that someone is not like the people who screwed them, who lied to them for 40 years.

    Trump does not talk like those people. Farrage does not talk like those people. On the left, Corbyn does not talk like those people and to a large extent, neither did Sanders.

    And so they are turning to people who don’t parse like the regular type of elite. Many of those people are also selling them a bill of goods (Trump, to a large extent), or are nasty pieces of work (Trump, Alt-Right), but that doesn’t matter to a lot of people: they can’t take the pain any more; the assured long decline and they will take a flyer on anyone who might shake things up.

    Lying is bad policy. It may get you what you want in the short run, even the medium run, but it destroys the very basis of your power and legitimacy. That is what neoliberal politicians, journalists (yes, yes they are neoliberal) and experts have done to themselves and the order they supported. No one with sense trusts them: if you trust them, you have no sense, it is definitional. I always laugh when some idiot says “but 90% of economists think X is bad”.

    FAIL. They also missed the housing bubble. They lied or were “mistaken” about trade deals. Their opinion means nothing.

    All this screaming about fake news is something I will take seriously when the New York Times, who helped sell the Iraq war based on “fake news” is listed as fake.”
    Said many times and in many ways. Economists – I used to think they were too stupid to consider the distribution dynamics of (i.e., who got richer and who got poorer) all this increase in GDP due to trade. Now its pretty apparent they’re just evil.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, with respect to experts, including economists, we all simply have to go back to basic Jedi training – blindfold ourselves, trust our ow feelings and the Force will make itself felt.

  20. Matt

    The article in the Atlantic about Facebook labeling a source as Fake News could be a badge of honor.

    Reminds me of how I found out about Naked Capitalism, it was from the Washington Post article that used as a source that labeled Naked Capitalism as Russian propaganda. When I read that article and it basically said that if your not MSM, then you are most likely spreading Russian propaganda. What a coincidence that all the MSM sources like WaPo, NYT, CNN, NBC, ABC, NPR, Bloomberg, Politico were all caught beigh propaganda machines for our political elites, and then they start calling everyone else Russian propaganda. All this article was trying to do was keep the sheep of the MSM from finding media sources that actually report real news. But it Backfired.

    It was that moment that I became thankful for as their Russian Propaganda list quickly became my personal list of trustworthy news sources. I did not know of many realy trustworthy liberal news sources prior to this list coming out. which is why I am so thankful now. Naked Capitalism is my liberal source of news now. I can just go to to view the conservative points of view, and then go the Links page of Naked Capitalism to get the Progressive points of view. I feel like a much more knowledgeable person now.

    Thank you

    1. Bjornasson

      Ironically, I came across NC when I was looking up “best financial blogs” on Google to better understand the financial crisis. NC was on a list put out by a prominent mainstream news site (was it FT, or NYT? I forget).

      How times have changed.

  21. UserFriendly

    On the trade visualization map, look at it from the north pole and then the south, the difference is stunning.

  22. UserFriendly

    Re Uber: I recently had a conversation with a friend who mentioned that he knows an Uber driver who’s main job is teaching some class (I don’t remember the details) that was highly geared towards people visiting on vacation. It made me wonder how many other people have realised that it is a great platform to sell other shit to a very specific kind of customer.

    1. Rhondda

      And face to face, in a closed, controlled environment. With background music, even. Great insight. Thanks.

  23. UserFriendly

    Anyone have any predictions on how long it will take for Brazil’s economic seppuku to be noticed by the masses? The fact that there aren’t riots in the streets over it is amazing to me. What a poorly constructed constitution that it incentivizes impeachment and then lets the impeacher amend the constitution. It also, again shows the problems with instant runoff. TPTB knew they couldn’t win at the ballot box so settled for the VP and an impeachment.

    Is there a single government in the world that has ever not increased it’s non adjusted spending for 10 years, much less 20? Hell, even 5 would surprise me. It’s a failed state in the waiting.

  24. Jim

    Ian Welsh:

    “But that”s what happens when the left allows the right to be the populist party and chooses to be the party of the bailouts and technocrats.”

    What is even more strange in that a portion of the left begins to affirm historically right ideas (group privilege or identity politics, third worldism and anti-growth policies) while simultaneously there is a mirror-image movement toward historically left-wing ideas by many avowed rightists.

    Are we presently undergoing a type of transvestiture of left and right? (Think Clinton views on foreign policy, some Fox news commentary supporting Assange/and insightful critiques of fake news)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are we undergoing that or are we not?

      In either case, one characteristic is that, during such a transition, the dogmatic (on the right and on the left) are slow to react to such movements, but instead, by focusing on personalities and their labels, are in fact acting like conservatives in the sensing that they conserve their old views of a changing world.

      1. Rhondda

        Perhaps we all focus on personalities and their labels too much. I had a stray thought just now that perhaps the study of politics would be improved if we used the tools of turbulence theory, or something similar.

  25. tgs

    Little surprised that a comment I made early this morning has remained in moderation. I just pointed out that there was one mistake in an otherwise good article from Counterpunch.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      It wasn’t in moderation, Skynet ate it. It’s up now – thanks for letting us know.

  26. Massinissa

    About the comments for Journalism being Paid for.

    I’m going to have to take your word that the comments were good, because when I checked the articles comments about half the comments had been removed for site violations. I find that highly suspicious.

    1. integer

      The Guardian has been begging its readers for money for a while now, while simultaneously insulting their intelligence on a daily basis. One need not have a particularly active imagination to infer the content of the comments that have been removed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Begging for money while insulting their intelligence?

        That’s encroaching on national public radio’s turf.

        1. clinical wasteman

          But sending bailiffs to collect the money while insulting everyone’s intelligence is the special party trick of the BBC.

  27. VietnamVet

    Adding a fourth track to the Northeast Corridor, building new set of Hudson River tunnels and repairing the currently damaged ones, plus upgrading the Baltimore bottleneck is money well spent for energy independence, safety, speeding up travel, jobs and spurring the economy. Taxing stored wealth is available to do the job. The problem is the rail corridor will never have a positive flow of money for investors to siphon off. Instead of government investing in the public good, private public partnerships will build miles and miles of Lexus Lanes. Roads so pricey that no one will use them. Investors will be bailed out, once again. Degradation of the environment will escalate.

  28. Propertius

    Re: What America Needs Is Socialist Movement:

    Overall, the point is concentrate as much power as possible in the legislature, on which Republicans have a death grip due to gerrymandering. They will disenfranchise enemy demographic groups, ignore federal court orders, arrest members of the press, and otherwise bend the law to the breaking point in the service of clinging to power.

    Meanwhile, on a national level, some Democrats are enlisting the aid of the intelligence agencies to stage a “soft coup” to overturn the results of a national election and recruiting the mainstream media to brand anyone who disagrees with them as Russian propagandists. Which is worse?

    1. Oregoncharles

      From the link: “Bob and Kim would argue about Trump, but he never tried to talk her out of voting for him. (He wasn’t exactly fond of Clinton either; he wrote in Bernie Sanders’ name on his ballot.)”

      Plus, of course, the article mentions those who voted “3rd party” – two different ones.

      And there’s the problem: lefties’ and progressives’ responses to the betrayal of the Democratic Party were utterly inchoate and self-contradictory. If we had chosen a response and all done the same thing, we would have had a real impact, and there’s no telling how the election would have turned out (probably in the House of Representatives). But confusion was complete, including here on NC. And that’s just the way the plutocrats want it.

      This afternoon I was at a local meeting intended to set up a coalition to deal with the bad stuff coming down the pike. Good turnout, the usual suspects plus some new faces (people I’d never seen before! Amazing!) and a gratifying handful of radical students. Hey, some non-gray heads in the room! Might even turn into something worthwhile, though it’s a dangerously wide coalition with at least one disruptive person in the room.

      And now I’m thinking: “NOW we hold this meeting? How about BEFORE the election?”

      Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

  29. Propertius

    Uh oh. Looks to be a response to Trump challenging the “One China” policy.

    Either that or a valedictory middle finger to our current lame duck.

  30. ewmayer

    Just received e-mail from my Mom confirming receipt of an xmas care package I sent her way on Wednesday. More interestingly, she also mentioned the fate of a Halloween letter with a small bar of Lindt chocolate I had sent her, and completely forgotten about since. The ‘my years’ reference here is to Austria, which was under Soviet occupation from V-E Day until 1955, when the Soviets signed a withdrawal agreement (not sure why their treatment of that country was so different than in neighboring Hungary and Czechoslovakia, but Austrians are certainly keenly aware of the disparity and of their good fortune):

    The [xmas] package arrived yesterday afternoon. I was planning to call you tonight. Guess what I found in the mail upon my return – your Halloween letter! It had been sent to Pittsburgh, opened, even the foil broken open, the chocolate in pieces (probably to test it), then the top carefully sealed with tape and the letter finally forwarded to me. Reminded me of my years under Communist occupation after WWII.

  31. Nahdmi Ouchi

    Torture pressure coming to a head: domestic civil society exploded US pretense of ‘existence and genuineness of national proceedings,’ supporting invocation of Rome Statute Article 17(2) for ICC admissibility:

    Official immunity as asserted by the USG is precluded by Article 7(2) of the ICTY Statute, Furundzija judgment, and the Blaskic case.

    Turkish cooperation with Syria and the SCO could produce a separate Wikileak that checks the residual boxes for referral to the Pre-Trial Chamber with proof of systematic and widespread criminality after 2014. Winer, Aram, and Al Dousri have got a little prisoner’s dilemma going with Mutaz Kanoğlu.

    And you wonder why Trump is keeping CIA at arm’s length. That buck ain’t stoppin there.

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