Links 12/20/2016

163 New Species Discovered in Greater Mekong Region, But Rapid Deforestation Threatens Survival The Wire

Deep-Sea Ghost Shark Filmed Alive In Ocean For First Time National Geographic

Arctic ice melt ‘already affecting weather patterns where you live right now’ The Guardian

Should the Super-Rich Save Climate Research from Trump? MIT Technology Review

Solar is top source of new capacity on the US grid in 2016 Ars Technica

Do Friedmans Dream of Electric Steeple? The Baffler. Another entry in the burgeoning genre of Thomas Friedman Takedowns.

India to Chair UN Group on ‘Killer Robots’, Open New Page on Arms Control Diplomacy The Wire. Opening  new chapter in the history of arms control (which has thus far proven to be such a stunning success).

Authorities Allege $1 Billion Fraud at Platinum Partners WSJ

All’s well that spends well TLS

1917—365 days that shook the world Prospect. Mildly interesting historical recap but the framing is hooey.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde found guilty of negligence Politico


Vladimir Putin says killing of Russian ambassador designed to spoil Russian-Turkish ties Independent

Trump Has Made Russia the Top Foreign Policy Issue Bloomberg

Trump Transition

The Deep State Blues

Trump wins Electoral College vote Politico

Who Is Carlos Slim? Donald Trump And Mexican Billionaire Mend Fences Over Mar-A-Lago Dinner? International Business Times

The Mar-a-Lago meeting and journalism’s worst impulses CJR. Plus ça change….

Kissinger calls Trump a ‘phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen’ The Hill. Henry the K as unexpected booster of the Donald– obviously angling for a job.

Parliament: Brussels dropped the ball on diesel gate scandal Politico

Trade Traitors

The Trade Deal Crusaders: Can They Never Learn? Truthout

2016 Post Mortem

Bill Clinton: Trump knows how to get ‘angry, white men to vote for him’ Politico. The Big Dog sticks to the talking points.

The Bad Losers (And What They Fear Losing) Counterpunch

It’s Time to Deal with the Reality of a Trump Presidency Vice

Lynch says she regrets tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton The Hill

Nobody for Bloomberg Jacobin

New McCarthyism

‘Fake News’: Homegrown, and Far From New Truthdig

Don’t believe the Russia hype: Who profits from the new Red Scare? Black Agenda Report

Clinton’s Defeat and the Fake News Conspiracy Counterpunch


More Propaganda Than News Coming Out of Aleppo Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

Saudis dropped British-made cluster bombs in Yemen, Fallon tells Commons The Guardian


In China, low-speed electric vehicles are driving high-speed urbanisation The Conversation

China’s currency curbs merely ‘temporary’ to stem yuan’s outflow, central bank chief says SCMP

Health Care

Harnessing the U.S. Taxpayer to Fight Cancer and Make Profits NY Times

Why Should Doctors Always Be Empathetic? The Wire

Female Doctors’ Hospital Patients May Have An Edge WSJ

Big Brother IS Watching you Watch

They Have, Right Now, Another You NYRB

Despite the comparisons, India’s Aadhaar project is nothing like America’s Social Security Number

Indian Currency Train Wreck

Is the RBI Getting Its Math on New Notes Wrong? The Wire

How demonetisation has hit book sales (and what might happen at next month’s book fairs)

Class Warfare

‘White men’: the most dehumanising insult of our times Spectator

The US Protects Its Wealthy Professionals Financially While Throwing Workers to the Wolves Truthout

UK MPs unite to push for greater transparency from tax havens The Guardian


How David Cameron lost his battle for Britain FT

Brexit, the Commonwealth and Exclusionary Citizenship Truthout

Losing single market could devastate Scotland’s prosperity, Nicola Sturgeon warns Independent

Patrick O’Flynn MEP: As we look back on 2016, Brexit will be judged historically far more significant than the election of Donald Trump Brexit Central

Antidote du jour (one of the world’s rarest ducks, a brown teal, endemic to New Zealand and called pāteke by the Maori, J-LS photo,Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary, August 2016):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Steve H.

    : Vladimir Putin says killing of Russian ambassador designed to spoil Russian-Turkish ties

    The URL contains the words Syria Peace. It sure looks like Russia has made its point that it is a good friend and a harsh enemy.

    Recent history bits: Turkey wants in to NATO. Turkey shoots down Russian plane. CIA (NATO) backs incompetent coup against Erdogan. Erdogan signs pipeline deal with Russia. Jihadi kills Russian ambassador. Russia offers Turkey better secret police (FSB).

    Geology dictates the prize for Russia is the Bosphorus. That makes the return of Crimea strategic, and not just local to the Black Sea. Erdogan made a play for empire that didn’t work out so good, but means he has inside information on the Jihadis. Putin understands the existential necessity of keeping Jihadis out of the Russian realm of influence.

    Add in the resonant frequences of Orthodoxy, the secret police, and Constantinople. Putin could nuke Ankara right now and his domestic popularity would go up. Let the cellos of Ukraine, IMF & Legarde start to rise, Brexit fiddles and discordant chords in Europe (Greece: what have you got to lose?) A political transition in a fractured U.S.

    The question is, is this the moment to line up the jewel that is NATO and strike, split the fracture line and facet a new face? With control of the Bosphorus allowing flanking in the Mediterranean, nations like Greece in play, a finger on the pipelines during winter, and deep knowledge of German dirt from his earlier career, Putin has a lot going for him in this moment.

        1. Alex morfesis

          Hmmm…raz-putin has run out of money and resources to fight in syria…he is spent…the deal with iran, turkey and russia would seem to be carving up syria and iraq, if not officially, then economically, with russia wanting a deal which would leave them somewhat secure with the bases in syria…

          tayyip is not as smart as I thought he was…

          figured by now he would have changed istanbul back to Byzantium and declared a new byzanttoman regime with his being the defender of christians in islam, allowing him the self proclaimed license to meddle across many borders….

          alas, he seems just a common mayor turned hegemon…just like raz-putin….

          1. Steve H.

            Won’t disagree on Tayyip, tho he does have a billion or so stashed in his mansion walls. But I think that underestimates Putin (Rus-Putin for name, Ras-Putin is apparently ‘debauchee’ which he is not).

            I’m not seeing that Russia is out of resources, and I don’t see Syria getting carved up when Assad should now be a Russian bff. When have the Shia caused problems for Russia? But, please, I am willing to be educated, if there is something I’m missing.

            1. alex morfesis

              Old maps die hard…from a persian point of view, this current minor setback in territory is something they will work on…turkey, russia and persia/iran all have historical maps that trip over each other…the brits and french are the losers in this game…hopefully razputins vessels will be able to make it back thru the pillars of hercules on their way back home in the spring without needing a tow…

              Assad is the puppet of persia and russia…he will be forced to surrender economic avenues to teyyip in return for being allowed to continue seeing his portrait on walls and be the last of the middle eastern talking heads…but he has zero military and zero capacity…this was fullahbullah with russian air support beating up on a few thousand former bus drivers and florists…this was no great military victory…

              1. Procopius

                You need to check your map. The Pillars of Hercules is the Straits of Gibraltar, not the Turkish Straits (Dardanelles, Bosporus). You might also want to cut back on your recreational chemicals for a little while. The Russian navy is small and weak, but I have a suspicion the U.S. Navy is a lot less competent than we are usually told. We’ve been getting a lot of fake news for the last 70 years. Actually, the last 240 years.

      1. Steve H.

        The salinity seems variable, as the Mediterranean Sea pushes salt in low to the Black Sea, while fresh water flows out on the surface waters. The salience is the bottleneck of the Straits, that can prevent Russian ships entry to the Mediterranean from Crimea. Russia has a military port in Syria (iirc), but holding the Straits allows for resupply.

        1. Dave

          ? Salience, as in “exit” or “salinity?” Isn’t the Bosporus strategic because it controls the entrance and exit to the Black Sea? A couple of cannons on either shore could blockade the Black Sea.

          “Geology dictates the prize for Russia is the Bosphorus. “

          1. Steve H.

            All correct, and ‘salience’ was wordplay, so I apologize for the ambiguity. (I’m not sure why armchair wanted to know the salinity.) While I’m clarifying, I could’ve used ‘geostrategy’ rather than ‘geology’, but the word has so many syllables and I’m not claiming to be an expert. I’m just an informed citizen looking for more information.

          2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            Here’s something I wrote earlier this year about the Bosphorus that might be of interest:

            At the site of the Second Bosphorus Bridge– the narrowest point, where Darius famously crossed the strait on his bridge of boats– Sultan Mehmet Fatih (the Conqueror) erected a second fortress, on the the European shore in 1451 to match one on the Asian shore, effectively allowing him to control shipping from the Black Sea. This was a necessary step for his subsequent successful conquest of Constantinople. These fortresses still stand.

            More international cargo still passes through the Bosphorus each year than through either the Panama or Suez canals– about 60,000 ships.

  2. tgs

    The gunman who murdered the Russian ambassador yelled, ‘Remember Syria, Remember Aleppo’ apparently in Turkish. That was reported on both the BBC and CNN last night. But he also yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ and other apparently jihadi type slogans in Arabic.

    In the mainstream accounts I saw, that was not mentioned except on Fox news. Trump tweeted that this was an act of Islamic Terrorism. Commentators on CNN said that Trump was jumping the gun and that a more nuanced stance should be taken. In fact, one commentator more or less said that Russia was reaping what it had sown.

    The Turks are going to try to spin this as part of a Gullenist conspiracy. I find it much more likely that the shooter was connected to al-Nusra and the other rebels who are so dear to Western hearts.

    1. cocomaan

      Yelling “God is Great” in Arabic just means he’s Muslim. Arabic is the holy language of Islam from Turkey to Indonesia. So I wouldn’t read into that too much.

            1. Procopius

              I hadn’t read about it before, but I saw a comment to the effect that it’s a gesture associated with ISIS affirming that God is One, in contrast to the polytheists’ (Christians’) belief in the Trinity.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How convenient that “security forces” killed the dude who killed the ambassador right away.

        Nothing, we find out if we pay any attention at all as we age, is EVER what it seems. And we will never find out, most times, what anything really was. That’s the real genesis,genius and substance of that limp current meme, “fake news.” Another useful concept hijacked by the Bernaysians to continue and accelerate the race to ignorance and oblivion.

        I wonder if ambassadorships might seem less of a squillionaires plum, henceforth?

        1. alex morfesis

          Jt mcgenius…me more than agrees…considering the good foreign services agent spent much time in korea and managing the diplomatic services…May he rest in peace…his work, both the good and bad, is now over…

    2. gepay

      funny how Obama says the US will get back at Russia for hacking?influencing the elections and within a week the Russian ambassador to Turkey is killed.

  3. PlutoniumKun


    More Propaganda Than News Coming Out of Aleppo Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

    This hits the nail on the head on why the reporting from Aleppo has been so disturbing. Its one thing for lazy journalists to churn out what is little more than propaganda – but quite another when the reason they are forced to do this is because of the murder of journalists in Syria by A-Q and Isis. The jihadi’s, aided by western and Gulf intelligence services, have hit the perfect formula for manipulating the news. Murder reporters, create a journalist-free zone, then fill the gap with cute kids tweeting about the evils of whoever is the enemy du jour. What is most shocking is that so few news sources are reporting this. They have become so degraded they don’t even highlight the reasons behind the murders of their colleagues.

    1. linda amick

      I listened to a report interview given by Vanessa Beeley, an independent British journalist who was in Aleppo during the liberation. She said that there was little electricity in eastern Aleppo and certainly no WiFi nor phone service.
      So many (probably all) of the tweeted images coming out of the western press are completely bogus.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I hadn’t heard of her before seeing that clip, but I’m a fan now. If only we had a few more proper foreign correspondents like her.

        1. patrick

          Vanessa Beely is another journalist dealing with the truth Pluto, (as mentioned elsewhere in these comments).

      2. Hen Kai Pan

        The reporting about Syria in Spiegel has been horrible: “rebels” are good, Assad bad and no shades of grey at all. Of course never one single word about who these “rebels” are. So I gave Spiegel this link and immediately their journalist posted a response in the form of a video, claiming that this young woman is doing nothing but spreading Assad’s propaganda. Trying to refute everything that Bartlett says, this German journalist also called Le Mesurier, the founder of these White Helmets, a “British general” (talk about ‘fake news’).
        There is another journalist, Vanessa Beeley, whose take on Syria I watched on youtube. She comes across as sincere, or am I falling victim to ‘fake news’.

        1. paul

          I see the twinkle eyed nestle frontman, clinton caterer and all round humanitarian George Clooney is going to make a film about the white helmet mob.
          After seeing their mannequin challenge rescue video, I hope they won’t resent his intrusion in creative film.

          1. LifelongLib

            Well, Clooney helped make “Syriana”, which at least showed he’s capable of some nuance when it comes to the Mideast.

          1. uncle tungsten

            The following is NOT fake news:
            Seeking Eastern Aleppo foreign war criminals
            Syrian ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar Al-Ja’afari, made a statement after the UN Security Council had approved a new resolution on Aleppo.

            The full list of those who were mentioned by Al-Ja’afari is as follows:
            • Murtaz Oglacan Oglu, a Turkish national;
            • David Scott Winner, an American national;
            • David Schlomo Aram, an Israeli national;
            • Muhammad Sheikh Al-Islam Al-Tamimi, a Qatari national;
            • Muhammad Ahmad Al-Sabyan, Abd Al-Monaem Fahd Al-Hrej, Ahmad bin Nawfal Al-Drej, Muhammad Hassan Al-Subay’i, Qassem Saad Al-Shummari, Ayman Qassem Al-Tha’libi – all Saudi nationals;
            • Amajd Qassem At-Tyrawi, a Jordanian national;
            • Muhammad Al-Sharifi Al-Idrissi, a Moroccan national.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          “Cease fire in Aleppo” is the headline.
          Kind of like 1975 in Saigon, helicopters taking off from the roof of the US Embassy…yeah, that was a “cease fire” too

        3. Plenue

          Straight from the Louis Proyect school of Syria ‘reporting’. Everyone who disagrees, including people who have actually been to Syria recently, are ‘Ba’athist propagandists’. Mainstream western media has less than zero credibility on this subject, since they literally can’t even find Aleppo on a map.

        1. todde

          the UN stopped counting the deaths in Syria in 2014.

          Before that, deaths from government forces were estimated to be 85% male, which if the Syrian goverment was barrel bombing civilians you would think would match up closer to the actual population breakdown.

          Iraqi deaths caused by American airstrikes killed women 46% of the time and children 39% of the time.

          1. Procopius

            Speaking of barrel bombs, how exactly do they differ from US General Purpose 500 lb bombs? Oh, yeah, they contain less explosive power. But aside from that?

        2. paul

          Here’s one
          Discusses the origin of his dramatic graphic.

          He’s got plenty of links from sources which have all independently decided that Assad’s regime must go,including the redoubtable WaPo. He’s got four years of that stuff to pick and choose from.

          He throws in the chemical attacks of 2013 (without linking) though the perpetrators are moot as is the figure of 1400 dead.

          “What is happening in Syria is not a mystery. The facts are crystal clear.”

          If only.

          I will be forever grateful for him pointing out that:

          “This ignorance has been reinforced by Kremlin’s premier disinformation service: Russia Today. The broadcaster has rebranded itself “RT” to conceal its origins and agenda.”

          I’d totally missed that crafty bit of russkie rebranding.

          Deriding people as ‘conspiracy nuts’ and holding the western press up as exemplars in this case, while acknowledging their failings in just about all recent conflicts, seems to be a little selective.

          Throwing in an old Richard Pryor joke doesn’t count as an argument

          The pop psychology about ‘Oedipal disdain’ is just a little bit of a false dichotomy as well.

        3. JohnnyGL

          Thanks for the link. Eva Bartlett did seem to pop out of nowhere.

          This jumped out: “But even before the regime’s August 2013 chemical attack, which killed more than 1,400 civilians,” – That part is most definitely a lie.

          Sy Hersh wrote about this extensively. The rebels, possibly Al Nusra-linked, used kitchen sarin supplied by the Turks. This is why Obama backed off when he had previously drawn his “red line” about WMDs. Obama got intelligence that said it “wasn’t a slam dunk” – a reference to GW Bush’s Iraq war intel.

          Hersh said they later confirmed it wasn’t Assad’s sarin when they did a deal with Kerry and the Russians to dispose of all Syrian Arab Army chem weapons.

          All this is in Hersh’s articles in LRB.

          The article you quote may have some points to make that Bartlett has her own interests/agenda, but I think Bartlett got a lot right (maybe not quite all of it).

          Patrick Cockburn’s points in Counterpunch today (about how there’s no actual journalists in rebel-held areas) line up more with Bartlett, it’s worth noting. Cockburn has won me over as one of the most credible journalists on the ground there. He’s no Assad defender, but has pointed out that jihadis dominate the rebel groups (besides the Kurds).

    2. polecat

      ‘cute kids’ ……

      …because ‘it’s always for the children’ …… universal modis propaganda, works, to pull at the collective public heartstring …. whether for international ,,, or domestic (federal, state, and local) dupe consumption !

  4. flora

    re: Bill Clinton: Trump knows how to get ‘angry, white men to vote for him – Politico.

    Pelosi, Schumer, and now B.Clinton. It’s clear the DLC neolib Dems mean to control the Dem party and change nothing. It will take a few more election losses for them to finally be routed out; not just these particular players, but any younger neolib believers, too.

    1. Jim Haygood

      One of the highlights of 2017 is going to be watching Nancy Pelosi preside — as minority leader — over the dismantling of the ACA, for which she doubled down and bet the D party’s future in 2010 … and LOST HUGE.

      Nancy’s designer district in the People’s Republic of San Francisco means she don’t have to care.

      For those who come to San Francisco
      Summertime will be a love-in there
      In the streets of San Francisco
      Gentle people with flowers in their hair

      — Scott McKenzie (1967)

      1. Steve C

        Obama, Pelosi and Reid could have gotten single payer and a real jobs program that would have kept them in the majority through budget reconciliation, the procedure Ryan is going to use to repeal Obamacare and try to repeal Medicare.

        Instead they went without a jobs program and entrusted healthcare reform to the tender ministrations of corporate whore Max Baucus, so here we are.

        The Democrats’ problem and ours is that they don’t have agenda they can talk about publicly. Geithner is the rare Democrat who’s actually candid about what they’re about.

        1. Timmy B.

          Along with that, if the Obama Administration prosecuted a few bankers, the Democrats would have been the majority party for 20 years. But winning elections isn’t as important as sucking up to big money.

          1. JustAnObserver

            The closest analogy I can think to the situation on Jan. 20, 2009 is this football (soccer) scenario:

            o The striker has the ball at his feet 10 feet from goal.

            o No one in front, the opposition’s all lying down injured and their keeper’s smoking a cigarette on the goal line.

            o Kicks ball which flies feet over the crossbar.

            Would it be reasonable to conclude that the striker’s been bought off ?

    2. inhibi

      re: Bill Clinton: “Trump knows how to get ‘angry, white men to vote for him”

      “Trump knows how to get ‘angry, white men to vote for him” says the white, serial rapist, ex-president. Trump’s “a woman-hating sexist”, he also commented, apparently a few months after boarding Epstein’s private jet The Lolita Express, for a “vacation” off the coast of Florida, where NFL players, hedge-fund managers, and puffy STD laden politicians engage in orgies and other debauchery. The same Epstein who was charged with sexually assaulting a 14 year old after recruiting her for “massages”.

      Nothing more entertaining than the #2016hypocrisy. Here’s the best:

      Hollywood, which makes money off promoting sex, drugs, and violence calls Trump “sexist”

      Clinton calls Trump “racist”, apparently forgetting her statements on black violence in the 90’s

      The PC crowd bans whites from black & latino student unions to promote “racial diversity”

      BLM says its trying “to save the lives of oppressed black communities” – Black
      Dallas police officer shot and killed during BLM protest

      Friedman talks about his favorite cab-driver-philosopher-extraordinaire-blogger – doesn’t read blog

      American/European IQ test used across a variety of socio-economic/cultural backgrounds to determine which race is more intelligent (Ashkenazi Jews are on the top, sub Saharan Africans on the bottom) – research calls test “ground breaking”

      DNC claims Russia hacked the election – after they tried to hack the election

      Trump compared to Hitler – Obama given the Peace Prize

      US calls Russian-Syrian bombing of Aleppo ‘warcrimes’ – US killed estimated 1700 civilians first month of Iraq invasion – drones hospitals where US Doctors W/O Borders worked

      Angela Merkel says Charlie Hebdo was “an attack on freedom of expression and the press — a key component of our free democratic culture — which cannot be justified” – later prosecutes German comedian for remarks made against Erdogan

      Obama tells UK to disregard Brexit vote, stay in EU

      1. hamstak

        Hypocrisy is a grand American tradition, possibly even our raison d’etre.

        Perhaps our national motto should be “Do as we say, not as we do.”

    3. fresno dan

      December 20, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Trump’s twitter: And Bill Clinton doesn’t know much about getting swing state residents to vote for her…

    4. polecat

      Ain’t it rich …two angry white men, and one seemingly angry white woman, (well, this is assuming Zionists consider themselves ‘white’) ALL wealthy … continuing to push the DEMORAT brand as the ‘anythingbutangrywhiteman’ party !! Drown them at sea … and as Lambert would say …’ BURN THEM WITH FIRE !’

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bill is an angry white man.

        Hillary got him to vote for her. If Trump could do it, I believe she could have too.

        1. fresno dan

          December 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm

          Do you KNOW Bill voted for Hillary?
          and I wouldn’t be too sure about Chelsea either…

          1. Dave

            I can just see Bill chortling in the polling place with a rigid grin on his face as he lustily fills in the wrong bubble.

            “Screw her! I’m voting for Trump!”

            1. JTMcPhee

              I guess that elector poll is not a secret ballot? Unlike the popular vote (except for of course all the critters who can hack their way in?

      2. hunkerdown

        Good point — they do seem to be operationally white, availing themselves of if not themselves creating the culture and the privileges of this thing called whiteness, yet play this exclusive minority card whenever it suits them. Perhaps we should ask Matty and Ezra when it’s self-hating (#WhichSelf?) and when it’s not.

    5. Dave

      Why don’t we white men go on strike for a week?
      No truck driving, no maintenance of infrastructure, no spending, no civil service. Let’s see how the women and people of color and a few committed regressive Democratic white men that show up to work handle things for a week.
      That would be an interesting experiment.
      First week in January seems like an appropriate time to call in sick for a week.
      “All those New Years’ parties”.

        1. Dave

          Way too much time. Up to President Trump’s Inauguration Day should be enough if we start on Boxing Day.
          That would certainly kill the after-Christmas sales.

    6. Procopius

      Yes. It’s called “The Iron Law of Institutions.” I guess the Clinton Foundation can’t afford to hire all the people that would be fired if there was any justice in this world. The Democrats do have a network of foundations and think tanks, but nothing like what the Republicans have.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The correct title is Do Friedmans Dream of Electric Sheeple? to echo Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? This graf skewers him [Friedman, not the great Philip K] pretty good:

      Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu leads you on a walking tour of the Gaza Strip. You pass block after block of bombed out buildings and devastation. Bibi tells you that connectivity has increased 35 percent since the war with Hamas, thanks to the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.

      You stop at an internet café in a large UNHCR white canvas tent. A Palestinian youth is chuckling at something on the screen. You peer over his shoulder to see an article by Matt Taibbi. He turns to look at you, points, and with a thick accent says, “Flathead!

  5. Joseph Hill

    Everybody’s got one. Al Hunt’s is bigger. More fake news from bloomberg. Repeat enough and it becomes the truth. Tucked within his thinky piece about possible realignments with Russia:

    “And, of course, there are the overwhelming indications that the Russians, probably under Putin’s direction, interfered with the U.S. presidential election by hacking into the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee and top party officials and leaked negative information. Trump has dismissed these intelligence findings.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Any “news” story that contains the word “probably” should absolutely, completely and immediately be dismissed as fake.

      And the “reporter” who used it should absolutely, completely and immediately be dismissed as a lazy, unreliable hack.

      1. cocomaan

        Not to mention that “intelligence findings” now means “anonymous informants” and there hasn’t even been a remotely official statement from the agencies yet.

        1. Procopius

          And speaking of “intelligence findings,” a moment’s thought will tell you that if the “CIA secret report” that was supposed to have been given to somebody saying that Putin was personally involved in the hacking operation was true, then the people who leaked that information and every newspaper/TV channel that broadcast the story has put one or more CIA undercover agents in deadly peril. Where are the cries for these traitors to be hanged for endangering our national secrets? Far more bloody-handed than Edward Snowden in a hundred years. They must be rooted out and prosecuted for their treason!!! /s Just a little comedy to lighten the atmosphere, Seriously, the danger Valerie Plame was exposed to was absolutely nothing compared to what those agents are. There can’t be very many people in a position to actually know what Putin’s daily thoughts and orders are.

      2. Carolinian

        Al Hunt has been around a long time. Maybe he’s the sort of lazy unreliable hack they want.

        In fairness he’s just speaking the current DC conventional (lack of) wisdom.

    2. Pat

      There is a fair share of the crazy, but apparently most of the readers of that article agree with you regarding the content of the article and Hunt’s analysis. That is if the comments are representative of reader opinion.

      1. Joseph Hill

        I have no doubt Hunt feels its his duty to lie to people, of course (also love “of course” used to try and puff up weak argument). That’s what faux gravitas Beltway press toadies do (along with his “power spouse,” the more hapless Judy Woodruff). I’m ready to have Hunt’s ilk retire or expire so we can go straight into the new generation of no frills fake news click bait and make some money, yo.

    3. fresno dan

      Joseph Hill
      December 20, 2016 at 9:01 am

      reminds me very much of my air force days writing intellence reports about sorties flown by mid east air forces.
      ‘overwhelming indications’
      Except I used:
      Oh, and I used “indication” quite a bit
      What it meant was I had no idea if there REALLY was a plane there or if it had flown…..but just like a modern reporter, I got paid to write SOMETHING. And a long, long line of people got paid to take what I had written and move it on down the line, collate, analyse, file, and eventually shred and haul it to the land fill….

        1. fresno dan

          December 20, 2016 at 2:06 pm

          These are government reports – never use a 10 cent word when you can use a 2$ word….otherwise, it seems like you jus dunno…..

          1. polecat

            Sorry to say, fresno dan … but I’m not ‘certifiable’ ….. enough ! … ‘;]

            …and I happen to like using ‘cheap’ words .. keeps me humble …

    4. andyb

      Can someone please explain to me how the “Supposed Russian Hack to our Elections” was done when none of our voting machines are tied into the internet? Is there some new technology out there?
      Oh, what a tangled web we weave…………….

      1. Dave

        They tricked a Yuugge number of Hillary voters to stay home using some complicated algorithm on Facebook and MySpace.

      2. Aumua

        Something to do with emails.. the private server.. wikileaks I guess, and also releasing a nonstop stream of fake, negative stories and propaganda about Clinton into our media.. which is odd because all I saw in the media during the run up to the election was wall to wall TRUMP IS AWFUL! TRUMP IS THE DEVIL!

        Apparently the Russians influenced someone though, NC readers I guess.

        1. Pat

          There was an analysis I saw some where that had the number of Clinton stories versus the number of Trump stories and when, with a graph. They were griping because the only time Clinton got mass coverage compared to Trump was when there was something negative to report. I was laughing about it, and even when someone at work brought it up I ended up getting them to laugh because I asked them to name any positive coverage of Trump. Follwed it up with a question about how if the problem was that Clinton got little coverage and so negative how did she lose?

      3. Procopius

        Well, somehow, the FSA, the Russian civilian intelligence agency, or possibly the GRU, the military agency, without any help from American media companies or political reporters, or “pundits,” managed to inculcate in American voters information about what was in emails written by Democratic Party officials and John Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chief. Nobody has claimed that the contents of the emails were not real, but nobody but the Russians ever said anything or wrote anything about them. Same thing with the investigations into Benghaziiii, and Hillary’s email server and.. and… and…

  6. Bunk McNulty

    Re: They Have, Right Now, Another You.

    They haven’t got me. Yet.

    “Sorry, we are unable to generate a prediction. An insufficient number of your Likes match with those in our database, and we don’t believe in guesswork. Please take our take more psychometric tests if you would still like to receive scientific feedback on your traits. Thanks!”

    1. fresno dan

      Bunk McNulty
      December 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

      I tell them I DON”T like porn and go to church daily – and I don’t drink*. I am hoping the contradiction between what I entered and their database will cause the whole network to go kablooey…..

      *actually, I don’t drink anymore….but I don’t drink any less either

      1. polecat

        “But if Harry Mudd is lying … how can Harry be telling the truth .. if .. he is lying ?? ….. illogical ! .. illogical !! illogi ——————————- ”

        … confusion and the burning of circuitry ensues …..

        something like that .. ?

            1. polecat

              I’m gonna have to dig out that episode …. for historical reference as it relates to the present .. of course !
              Just substitute Mudd for your favorite political grifter ….

    2. Dave

      Unless you are ordering something to be delivered to you, whenever you give your name or phone number or address, change it a bit. Make it close enough so that for warranty purposes you can claim that their employees that wrote it down made the mistake.
      Get a refund in a grocery store? Change the phone number, make their databases useless garbage.
      Never, ever enter your home address when asking directions on online maps. If you really are devious, find someone with your name or really close to it and use their home address.
      If you aren’t paying cash, you are surrendering your personal information every time you buy a cup of coffee.

  7. Jim Haygood

    From the South China Morning Post article:

    Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan has described the country’s measures for limiting the yuan’s outflows as a temporary means for preventing capital flight and restoring calm to the currency markets, said the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s chief executive Norman Chan.

    Temporary” is one of those dotgov code words that means the situation is rather grave indeed. This morning the US dollar index DXY is on another frightful rampage to a fresh 13-year high of 103.58.

    China would like to hunker down and hold out until a Trump admin — particularly Treas Sec Mnuchin — is in place to negotiate with.

    But in her inimitable fashion, Ms Market is ratcheting up the currency pressure on China during America’s leaderless interregnum, just to see whether something will break.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is that currency pressure on China or on the US?

      I can see foreign workers become ‘cheaper.’ Not sure that’s a good thing (to see another person become cheaper).

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Not many people noticed the massive move in China in December to protect the banks from fintech rivals. The Chinese gov announced that people will only be allowed one Tier 1 account (full banking rights) and that Alipay and Tencent would have 30 days to close any more than 1 account owned by 1 person that is linked to a bank account.
      That means 4.8 billion accounts. Yes, *billion* (many people have 5 or more such accounts).
      They also announced blocking the kinds of investments that can be funded from a China UnionPay account. (For those who may not know, CUP does more payments than Visa and Mastercard *combined*).
      Big stuff designed to shore up the deposit base of the zombie banks and make it harder for yuan to exit the country.

  8. Pat

    insomnia aids in discovering some interesting things. The reporting on the assassination of the Russian ambassador on early early morning ABC was distinctly different from the report on Good Morning America. The early morning news had a report from a MidEast reporter didn’t make any subtle judgments on Russia’s choices. Spoke of the killer as a terrorist. But talked about how Syria had become a hot bed of outside groups interfering. And that all major powers had puppets in the region. It was pretty even handed and even though it didn’t come flat out and say America was one of the outside groups it was clear that he wasn’t just referring to Russia.

    Cut to GMA where the underlying and using a quote made the out right point of the report was that Russia was reaping what it had sown.

    1. fresno dan

      December 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

      I think your spot on. Sometimes I think we’re back in the mccarthyite fifties, but I imagine there was more pushback and INDEPENDENCE against the red scare at that time than there is now….

      I saw Friedman on Charlie Rose, only for a minute, who starts the interview by going on about how James Clapper is one of our best and most honorable public servants….*
      *Clapper lied to congress

      1. hunkerdown

        Charlie Rose’s country‘s best and most honorable public servants. Their country, not ours. Such arrogance becomes less risible and more straw for the camel when one remembers just who They think rightly owns and operates the place and Whose interest constitutes that of the public…

  9. Vatch

    Henry the K as unexpected booster of the Donald– obviously angling for a job.

    I don’t think Henry could handle more than a very part time ceremonial position. He’s more than 650 in dog years!

    1. RUKidding

      Henry the K is more than willing to help out any dictator dictate, whether male or female, and doesn’t matter which “party” they claim affiliation with. If Henry the K ‘likes’ you, watch out.

      Didn’t Empress Clinton the NOT Inevitiable crow and gloat about Henry the K endorsing her? Like that was supposed to be some encouragement for ME to vote for her… NOT??

      Up is down and black is white.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If The Donald gives Hank a job, he’d better hope that mrs. K has a good astrologer because mr. K looks like he’s going to need it.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    163 New Species Discovered in Greater Mekong…

    “New’ to humans. But they probably have been around the planet longer than us.

    it’s like ‘the World according to Democrats’ and the concomitant announcement ‘This or that Democrat was the first to discover the continent of the Deplorables in 1492, check that, 2016.’

    It’s also similar to ‘the world did not exist before the arrival of the Human Mind.’

  11. Phil

    The Counterpunch article by Diana Johnstone reads like a classic bit of Russian apologetics.

    Here’s my problem with that: everything she says seems reasonable, even if it is couched in a kind of Cyrillic prose from the 1970s. I see huge advantages for the US and the world in making peace with the Russians. The ideological enemy of the civilized modern world, and certainly the shared enemy of Russia and the US, if not Europe, is now Islamic extremism, not communist totalitarianism. I completely see how acknowledging this “new” reality (forty years old, actually) would infuriate Saudi Arabia; and that makes me very happy, too.

    Oh, so the Chinese don’t like it. That nation that most closely resembles Alberich’s underground dominion Nibelheim, which has wasted my money on cheap plastic toxic crap for fifteen years because stuff is literally no longer made in America, is going to be upset, as are all those rich Americans who moved our industrial capital and know-how over there to make an extra buck off the wage slaves. Well cry me a river.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The empire fetishists hate Russia because Russia is a threat to the empire. The U.S. is a one stop destination for all of your shopping demands and has a military capable of propping up your regime. The Russian Federation can offer these services too, but the Russian Federation is too small to start Iraqing around the world.

      Germany is too small. Japan and China are too foreign. India is too isolated. Indonesia and Brazil could get there, but right now, the greatest peace time threat to the empire is Russia. They have the industry, tech, and diplomatic basis to make American industries compete in a competitive marketplace from computers to planes.

      Since Russia as invested in defensive weaponry and retrofitted Cessna style air craft are necessary for internal issues, the Russians can provide weaponry to the world that would destroy the need for American protectors. If we lose bases, we don’t have the support fleet to operate.

      1. Foppe

        Not really. The empire hates Russia because hating Russia was a great way to silence US-based critics of capitalism, and to distract citizens from the fact that US worker-employer relations are positively “feudal”, from the fact that the govt could do so much more for people, etc. Additionally, because the MIC loved all the free money, and the pols loved to get bribed. Etc.

    2. fresno dan

      December 20, 2016 at 10:15 am

      I loved the article too. Typically, I cut and paste what I consider the best part, but I couldn’t keep myself from selecting the whole article! Of course, writing such an article now a days is easy, as the US has just gone completely bananas in its arrogance and self righteousness…..

  12. cocomaan

    On the “White Men” piece in The Spectator:

    In 2016, some of the most celebrated quantitative analytical tools measuring our population, its trends and its feelings, failed. Broad-stroked ideas of privilege derived from similarly epic analyses persist – things like relative pay of men and women and so on.

    If the experts failed to capture people’s lived experiences in weekly or daily polling in 2016, it’s probably also failing to understand how privilege works. That doesn’t stop the sectarian hate, though.

    1. Katharine

      My chief reaction to that piece was that an awful lot of people who read it would be saying, “Welcome to my world.” The “most dehumanising” plaint was solipsistic.

      The good part was the question “Which white men?” All careless generalizations deserve that kind of questioning, but it’s too bad the author didn’t seem to realize there had been others before this one.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Almost …

        Identity politics is akin to an imposed nuclear reaction that ultimately must create (because of the laws of conservation of matter and energy!) a particle-antiparticle pair. In the case of the Spectator article white-men particle must be balanced out by its not-all-white-men antiparticle. See also for black-people, Muslims etc etc. The only way to win here is not to play – i.e. give in to the identity fissure.


  13. drb48

    re: It’s Time to Deal with the Reality of a Trump Presidency

    Joachim Fest writes in his memoir Not I, “At first, the countless violations of the law by our new rulers still caused a degree of disquiet. But among the incomprehensible features of those months, my father later recalled, was the fact that soon life went on as if such state crimes were the most natural thing in the world.” Those months would turn to years. Not the thousand years that Hitler had predicted, but enough to cause millions of deaths.

    We should not waste our time or imaginations trying to reconfigure Trumpism to explain why all of the “good people” supported him. It is more important to see it for what it is and resist. Hopefully, they will join us. If not, it will not be necessary to call them names, they will have named themselves.

    1. pretzelattack

      why did “good people” support clinton, when she represented a threat of nuclear war with russia. hopefully those people will join us in trying to overthrow the duopoly; if not, they will have named themselves.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      “Countless violations of the law by our new rulers” applies to a lot of US leaders elected a long time before Trump.

      Was it Trump who declared himself judge jury and executioner and started littering the landscape with brown people’s body parts? Was it Trump who decided he could ignore international law and invade those countries who’d been mean to his daddy?

      If this author is correct about Trump’s presidency, it will rhyme quite well with those of his immediate predecessors.

    3. jonboinAR

      Maybe we should delay our resistance until Trump actually starts to behave like a tyrant. So far, he’s our duly elected President-to-be.

  14. Phil

    Love that Brendan O’Neill piece from the Spectator.

    “The real problem with the ‘white men’ jibe is that it commits what I thought was meant to be the greatest crime in the eyes of identitarians: it erases people’s identities and experiences….”

    We already have words for this: racism and sexism. But like some other words, they are permitted only in the mouths of people of certain races and sexes, and poor Brendan O’Neill, Irishman that he is, does not belong to any of those. Because God knows the Irish don’t have enough oppression in their history to justify any moral superiority. Certainly nothing that could overcome the stigma of their unequaled pallor.

    1. Jim Haygood

      You’d think a few pints o’ Guinness Stout could add a little melanin.

      But I’ve tried it, and it don’t work. :-(

  15. Jim Haygood

    “Big Short” guy recants, turns monster raving bullish:

    Steve Eisman, whose story was told in Michael Lewis’s “The Big Short,” wagered correctly that mortgage securities would eventually rock the financial system to its very core.

    But Eisman, who works at money manager Neuberger Berman, says the era of Trump will be a “golden age” for the banking sector. “I think over the next couple of years there will be more leverage, and this will be a golden age of investing in financial stocks,” he told CNBC during an interview early Monday in New York.

    He said he was “as long as he could be” in the banking sector.

    Oh, my. Financials have been on ferocious tear since the election, with components such as Goldman Sachs just shooting out the lights.

    They’ll be okay through the seasonally favorable Nov-Jan quarter. But I wouldn’t bet on those magic beanstalks growing to the sky in a couple of years. :-0

    1. ChrisPacific

      I am sure that there will be plenty of biz-friendly policies and also a bunch of stimulus spending that can be easily misappropriated and used for bubble blowing, scams, predatory finance and all those other value-creating activities that Wall Street loves.

      However, when it all comes crashing down and they try to stick the taxpayer with the bill again, I am less sure that Trump will carry water for them. Given the same choice Obama faced, I think there is a much higher chance that Trump would choose to grab a pitchfork and lead the mob.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Super-Rich to save climate research from Trump…

    Between climate research and action, the money should go to action now.

    But, but, we don’t have to have either-or.

    That’s right, and it’s misleading to ONLY write the super-rich to save climate research (at MIT or elsewhere, as if money to researchers is the only focus…yes, it benefits them, but we don’t assume ulterior motive). Never anything about consuming less.

    1. armchair

      Isn’t the assumption that the super-rich want to use their billions to efficiently convert successful government sponsored research into privately held patents and monopolies?

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump, his booster Kissinger, and Hillary.

    It’s ironic that Hillary fails to grasp the concept of matrioshka-diplomacy with Russia to counter-balance China, a variation of the Henry’s Nixon-era play, ping-pong Panda bear diplomacy with China to check the USSR, after years of ‘going all the way to Beijing from the Korean peninsula’ doctrine.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I accept the narrative of the co-Presidency in the 90’s, so what is the legacy of the Clinton Administration? Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but if Bill and Hill want their legacy in the history books, I imagine they will claim they are the founders of the “end of history” and American hyper power. Undoing the “legacy” of the Clintons could be a driving force. They claimed credit for economic gains produced by the introduction of the World Wide Web. “The bridge to the 21st century.” I can buy that Hillary wants to protect Clinton Inc’s imaginary legacy of a Pax Americana

  18. Ulysses

    From the Spectator piece linked above:

    “That’s what identity politics is ultimately designed to do: to replace the edgy, potentially destabilising politics of class with the fundamentally conservative politics of identity.”


    Moments of class solidarity that transcend gender, religious, and ethnic differences are very threatening to the kleptocrats. This is why I feel that worker actions– like the General Strike of 1919 in Seattle– are often far more effective than any amount of Sisyphean labors, aimed at reforming a hopelessly corrupted political system.

    1. Ulysses

      Seattle’s Mayor Hanson was rewarded for managing to eventually contain the strike. Here is how he perceived the threat that the strike posed to the ruling classes:

      “The so-called sympathetic Seattle strike was an attempted revolution. That there was no violence does not alter the fact… The intent, openly and covertly announced, was for the overthrow of the industrial system; here first, then everywhere… True, there were no flashing guns, no bombs, no killings. Revolution, I repeat, doesn’t need violence. The general strike, as practised in Seattle, is of itself the weapon of revolution, all the more dangerous because quiet. To succeed, it must suspend everything; stop the entire life stream of a community… That is to say, it puts the government out of operation. And that is all there is to revolt–no matter how achieved.”

    2. JustAnObserver

      Unfortunately Brendan O’Neil buries that – vital – point about Class politics vs. Identity politics way down in the article so I suspect many TL;DR readers might not see it.

      Still … slowly but steadily the idea of class as a political driver or organizing principle is rising with even, very occasional, sightings in the MSM.

    3. Michael

      Idpol is what you get when the lefties give up on getting white guys to give up privilege and have class solidarity.

      There are reasons for this.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Phrases like “getting white guys to give up on privilege” are core mainstream identity politics language.

    4. Lambert Strether

      Look at any photo of a Fight for 15 rally, and you’ll see people of all colors and both sexes. Why would that be, one can only wonder?

      And why, therefore, would the Clintonites not support that movement?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Politics, war criticism and presidential parodies stop at the water’s edge.

      But we shouldn’t take ourselves exceptionally serious. At the same competitive juice time, I believe we can be the world’s leader in Trump parodies.

      What is disturbing, though, is the lack of parodies of free trade, globalization or management of parody TV channels. Perhaps they exist out there, but not much commenters have linked them here.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Harnessing the U.S. Taxpayer to Fight Cancer and Make Profits NY Times

    Rachel Sachs, an associate law professor at Washington University in St. Louis and expert in innovation policy, said the government had every right to seek price concessions. She noted that the government, through Medicare and Medicaid, was effectively buying its inventions back from itself. “The public is paying for the research and to the extent that many people, if not most, will pay through public insurance, we’re paying again,” she said.


    One mechanism to control pricing already exists. It is called march-in rights, and it lets the N.I.H. take back control of a patent on an invention made with federal funding if the drug is not being made available to the public on reasonable terms. The tool has gone unused.

    When the nih was challenged to exercise “march-in rights” wrt a prostate cancer drug that its taxpayer funded research ($32 billion annually) had been used to develop, it declined. It claimed it was not “qualified” to judge whether a price was “reasonable” or not, but DID feel qualified to judge that a high price does “not mean a drug is not being made available to the public.”

    The nih feels drug prices should be “set in the marketplace.” But as one commenter noted, when Medicare is prevented from negotiating prices, there is no “marketplace.”

    So, the problem is blatantly obvious and there ARE alternatives. The only logical conclusion is that the system is consciously and deliberately malicious.

    1. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      December 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

      The hypocrisy of people who incessantly yammer about the “market” but in the same breath close the borders to drug reimportation AND prevent bidding by government agencies, WHILE bitching endlessly about high taxes….it really is astounding!!!
      “The only logical conclusion is that the system is consciously and deliberately malicious.” and controlled by Putin….

  20. Kurt Sperry

    Typo in title, “Do Friedmans Dream of Electric Steeple? The Baffler”. Should be “Sheeple”. (edit) Funny, this post tripped the post to the mod queue. It *had* to be the term “sheeple” didn’t it? I wonder if the filter prevented JLS from using the correct word?!

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Your theory is creative but no, the filtering isn’t responsible for “steeple,” it’s just a typo.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        There’s really nothing else in the post besides the word “sheeple” though that could even plausibly have tripped the post into the moderation queue is there? “Friedman”? Naw. It’s either “sheeple” triggered it, or–more worryingly–nothing at all did.

        (edit) And the fact that the above *again* tripped the moderation queue pretty much confirms my hypothesis.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          I wasn’t disagreeing with you on the moderation trigger, just on it being the reason for the typo – posts don’t go through the same filtering process as comments.

      2. Lambert Strether

        I don’t see a reason to go into the details of the tripwires at all.

        Sadly, experience shows that will lead to them being gamed. Unfortunately for us all, that creates more work for the moderators, and, more subtly, the testing process used to optimize the gaming strategy will train Skynet that the reader is a spammer (because of repetition of similar posts).

  21. Steve C

    Regarding the Jacobin article on centrism. There is no constituency for corporate centrism. Yet the Democrats, particularly Obama, pursue it like a great unicorn. They reaped their reward this year.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Actually, there is a constituency for corporate centrism, but it’s not all that big and it’s not strategically located. And there’s also a lot of political groups targeting it. Republican elites want it, Dem elites want it.

      Good detail in this link (featured previously on nakedcap, I think) about Clinton’s success is swinging moderate professionals her way. Obviously, those gains didn’t cover the losses among blue collar whites and blacks. Plus, the geography of the strategy is limited because moderate professionals are primarily located in non-swing states.

      The election demonstrates you can’t really win PA (philly burbs) or NC (Raleigh-Durham) with them. Clinton took almost all the swing states that can be gotten via the professional classes….VA, CO are about it. The biggest chunk of moderate professionals are in MA, NY, CA, MD, and IL. Those are not getting you to 270 electoral votes.

    1. Knifecatcher

      And encouragingly the commentariat seems to “get it”, though in typically vulgar Jalopnik style. I tried to have a similar conversation about Hubert’s series with my prime Uber-customer demographic work peers and they looked at me like I had two heads.

      “I don’t use Uber” makes about as much sense as “I don’t breathe air” for those folks.

  22. fresno dan

    The US Protects Its Wealthy Professionals Financially While Throwing Workers to the Wolves Truthout

    In short, the line that manufacturing workers in the United States and other rich countries had to take a hit for the benefit of the world’s poor is utter nonsense. It is just something that the elites can say to make themselves feel better about screwing workers.
    The economic theory of trade being an unalloyed good (Ricardo and comparative advantage) was amended finally to say that there would be “winners and losers”
    It is FINALLY being acknowledged that the Winners are the very, very wealthy and the losers are everybody else….
    And to have to listen to the Davos Man propaganda of the last 40 years that the trade deals DESIGNED for the exclusive benefit of the wealthy….well, that was the only way to do it… the most galling thing about our “objective” economists.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trade is like water.

      You find water on a planet, you find life.

      You find human life on a planet, you find trade.

      And like water, you need it to live. But too much, you know it’s time to apologize to God (from your Ark), or else you drown.

      So it is with trade – you make sure you’re doing God’s work, because when you get a lot of it, free trade to boot, you will drown in it.

    2. Oregoncharles

      As I’ve posted before, current “free trade” propaganda is based on a probably deliberate misrepresentation of Ricardo’s theory.

      If you let production factors (labor and capital) move freely, you get a race to the bottom. In Ricardo’s day, they were both much less mobile. Now, economists use his theory to justify free movement of capital, indicating that they’re either incompetent or dishonest.

  23. fresno dan

    Nobody for Bloomberg Jacobin

    “This is the trend for a whole host of other supposedly far-left policies. Large majorities of Americans believe money has too much influence on politics and want campaign finance reform. 58 percent favor replacing Obamacare with a federally funded health insurance program, with only 22 percent in favor of repealing it with no replacement. 61 percent say the wealthy pay too little in taxes. Just over half think the Obama administration failed to do enough to prosecute bankers. And 54 percent agree with the statement that a “political revolution might be necessary to redistribute money from the wealthiest Americans to the middle class.”
    The biggest lie our liberal media tells is……that they are liberal.
    Every poll shows that on any number of issues, the majority and often the vast majority of Americans favor the liberal policy position. Yet, in the incessant reporting on polls, these polls are somehow omitted….

    1. Anne

      I can’t think of a single mainstream media outlet that has identified itself as liberal; it tends to be conservative media and conservatives who insist that “everyone knows” that outlets-not-named-Fox are liberal. I would further suspect the media would forever deny that it is liberal, because “being liberal” is not a badge of honor, but of derision. As it is, they are still operating under the not-so-thinly-disguised illusion that they are great and objective arbiters of facts and truth; I can barely type those words without throwing up in my mouth a little.

      And it isn’t just the polling that shows what people want that gets rejected over and over – I guess because we just aren’t smart enough to understand how the world works. Which is an odd stance to take, considering that one can take a look around at many other countries that have implemented policies and programs that have improved the lives of their citizens over a long time period, and yet…whenever this is pointed out, with much phony head-shaking and tsk-tsking, that such things just wouldn’t work here (cue sad puppy eyes), that they aren’t “American” enough (a phrase that, when I hear it, just makes me think, “oh, guess that means it works for the common folk). Glee is taken whenever any kind of program undertaken by a state or local government fails – it’s always, “see, we told you it wouldn’t work!”

      I’m pretty sick of the dueling messages that on the one hand we are so exceptional we can accomplish anything we want to but on the other hand it’s just too hard to do the things people want and need. I guess it comes down to us wanting it and them not wanting us to have it, because that means less for them.

      We are becoming more and more like peasants every day – and those in power clearly like it that way.

      1. hunkerdown

        But that’s what liberals *are*: self-decreed “great and objective arbiters of facts and truth”. The discourse they use is sodden with the language of moral judgment and self-righteousness. They ignore the lived experience of others in favor of their moral models. They believe in imposing social realities on others and lying to themselves about who benefits. They even presume to decide for everyone what is “American” (usually, a game that allows the rights of the unholy to be redistributed to the holy and the Arbiters) and what isn’t.

        The power relation between lord and serf never changed; it merely diffused and obscured through the fog of money transactions. Since money isn’t working out for them, and they fancy themselves axiomatically superior to others thanks to that old Greek philoligarch Plato and his sensational Cave Wobegon story that everyone imagines themselves closer to the outside of.

  24. fresno dan

    Don’t believe the Russia hype: Who profits from the new Red Scare? Black Agenda Report

    Welcome to the world of strategic analysis,” Ivan Selin used to tell his team during the Sixties, “where we program weapons that don’t work to meet threats that don’t exist.”

    Of course,” he added with a laugh, “the art of creating threats has advanced tremendously since that primitive era.”
    I used to wonder how people could be so credulous during the fifties…
    It is a bizarre and troubling world where one has to depend for a major media outlet on FOX to voice some needed skepticism about Russian hacking….
    If the lockstep reporting on the story isn’t a conspiracy, than I would suggest it is even worse: people who are recruited into media careers are so programmed and indoctrinated, they have lost all ability to observe reality and think critically…..

  25. ChrisG

    India to chair UN group on killer robots.
    Cur big shoutout to Ian Mcdonald”s two wonderful scimitar books set in near future India – River of Gods and Cyberabad Days. Major killer robots featured.

  26. Jess

    FWIW — In these gloomy and uncertain times, I find myself (and I suspect many others here) buoyed by the Daily Antidote. In a similar fashion, I find myself thankful on a daily basis for those videos from The Dodo. Something so good, so entertaining, and so refreshing about animals.

  27. ekstase

    So on that Arctic ice melting:

    researchers now saying: “Reality is moving faster than we thought or hoped it would.”

    But on the bright side, haven’t we all just learned a valuable lesson that if you didn’t make something, maybe you should try not to break it, because you might not get another one? Kind of a Christmas-y message.

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