Links 12/21/2016

These freaky ‘moans’ were recorded deep beneath the sea Treehugger

How cooking vegetables changed humanity 10,000 years ago Ars Technica

Welcome to Terra Sapiens Aeon

Hanging Out with One of Indonesia’s Celebrity Sorcerers Vice

Pakistan bustard hunting: Shots fired at Gulf royal party  BBC. And not for the reason you might think.


The implications of Andrey Karlov assassination Al Jazeera. Written by Akin Unver, assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, the article provides a historical perspective you’re unlikely to see if you’re marooned in the US media bubble.

The assassination of the Russian ambassador is the latest sign Turkey is becoming weaker and more unstable Patrick Cockburn’s take.

Russian Ambassador’s Assassination May Strengthen the Erdogan-Putin Relationship Truthdig

Implications of Russian ambassador’s assassination  Al Jazeera

Germany’s Nightmare, Merkel’s Nightmare Der Spiegel

Collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Reveals Inadequacy of Current Climate Strategies Truthout

UK’s biggest energy supplier faces boycott calls over climate change denier links Independent

Massive Oil Spill Under Farmer’s Crop 3 Years Ago — Still Not Cleaned Up — 200 Miles from DAPL  Free Thought Project

FERC Suggests Spectra Energy Gas Facility Would Not Pose Cancer Risk, Based on Study by Spectra Consultant DeSmogBlog

Obama Offshore Oil Drilling Ban: U.S., Canada Block Exploration In Arctic, Atlantic Ocean International Business Times.  Trump will almost certainly reverse this.

Class Warfare

Building a Mass Socialist Party Jacobin

Drug firms poured 780M painkillers into WV amid rise of overdoses  Charleston Gazette-Mail

Former Flint emergency managers, others charged in water crisis Reuters. Dare we hope that someone might be held accountable?

VW agrees to $1 billion settlement over 3.0L diesels from emissions scandal Ars Technica

Women Outnumber Men in Law Schools For The First Time In History (Chuck L) Law becomes a pink collar job.


These three major China themes will be pivotal in 2017 SCMP

The Trouble With Ceding Climate Leadership to China Foreign Affairs


Why Uber Is Continuing To Hemorrhage Cash

Uber’s potential European VAT exposure FT (RS)

THAT’S ONE UBER VAT PROBLEM. (RS). And the tax nitty gritty.

Apple is losing its focus again — and this time, there’s no Steve Jobs coming to the rescue Business Insider

An Apple Manufacturing Plant in India? Don’t Tell Trump MIT Technology Review

Trump Transition

Russia Missing from Trump’s Top Defense Priorities, According to DoD Memo Foreign Policy

Trump poised to weaken trade agency Politico

Trump doesn’t miss a beat as Twitter’s Media Critic in Chief CJR

What Jeff Sessions as attorney general will mean for the Iran Deal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Russian Ambassador Assassination, Berlin Truck Attack Point to Donald Trump’s Challenges WSJ

Trump plots two-for-one assault on Obama regs The Hill

Is Civilian Control of the Military in Jeopardy? The American Conservative. Clickbait headline belies the analysis.

Donald Trump’s childcare plans are a step in the right direction FT. From the Department of Strange Bedfellows: Anne Marie Slaughter worked under Hillary at State, and is a longtime Clinton supporter.

Inside the Brain of Trump’s Pick for Labor Secretary—It Doesn’t Bode Well for Workers AlterNet

Why the GOP Wants to Gut Social Security Truthout

The Long and Brutal History of Fake News Politico

Police memoirs: how officers are making crime pay The Guardian

2016 Post Mortem

It Wasn’t the Russians: Hillary Lost Because She Blew Off Sanders and His Voters Counterpunch

Priorities USA positions itself as center of gravity for the left in the Trump era WaPo. Oh woeful day! Oh woeful day! They just don’t get it do they?

FBI argued it had probable cause for pre-election Clinton email warrant The Hill

Clinton lawyer blasts FBI after email search warrant release Reuters

Why the left flopped Qantas


Business faces ‘confusion’ over post-Brexit regulation, CBI warns FT. I’ll say.

India Overtakes Britain as the World’s Sixth-Largest Economy Foreign Policy

India Currency Train Wreck

Indian cash crackdown hits GST plans FT

Demonetisation brings manufacturing to a halt Times of India

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. UserFriendly

    This is literally pathetic. I hate corporate democrats.

    New questions complicate Ellison’s bid for DNC chair

    Between 2002 and 2004, when he was a state representative, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure board subpoenaed and ultimately fined Ellison’s campaign over “discrepancies in cash balances, misclassified disbursements and unreported contributions.”

    And in 2006, when Ellison was running for Congress, he acknowledged that his driver’s license had been suspended multiple times over unpaid traffic tickets.

    When those offenses became an issue in his first run for House, Ellison’s then-wife Kim Ellison wrote an emotional letter to the Star Tribune, the largest paper in Minneapolis, attributing the oversights to her illness.

    “I was having a tough time getting things done,” she wrote. “I didn’t want to let Keith down by resigning and I guess he didn’t want to fire me either.

    The pearl clutching quotes from Perez supporters in the piece are good for a chuckle though.

    1. cocomaan

      All this coming from the Party whose darling kept a secret server in her bathroom closet. And whose current chair leaked questions to the same person because of her access at a cable news provider.

      The Democrats have a long way to go as an opposition party. I never saw Republicans squabbling over a suspended license in 2009. They were forming the Tea Party.

      1. Arizona Slim

        A secret server in the BATHROOM closet?

        OMG. Where. Do. I. Begin?

        I used to rent from a lady who was a system admin. We worked for the same organization, and believe me, she would have had a heart attack if any of her system’s equipment went anywhere near a bathroom. In short, water and computers just don’t mix.


        1. Synoia

          In Bathroom closet?

          Give meaning to the phrase piss on them.

          Good strategy for Clinton, must be referring to “The Deplorables.”

      2. lambert strether

        Denver Post:

        Welch, who now runs Colorado Cloud Consulting, declined to comment. But he told the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail that Platte River Networks had retrofitted a bathroom in the loft to be the server room.

        Sometimes snark that is too funny to be true isn’t true (and the funniness makes it virulent). Privatizing her server was bad enough, and stuff like this takes the focus off that central issue (rather like the GP’s recount debacle taking the focus off CrossCheck).

    2. JohnnyGL

      Stuff like this actually gives me hope….if the guy is worth smearing, then he’s possibly worth supporting!

      I still know very little about him other than he’s Bernie’s guy and Obama is frantically throwing bodies up there to see which one catches on with other dems in order to find a way to block Ellison. That’s pretty much enough for me, right now.

      Ellison still seems to be the front-runner, and it’s a mildly positive sign if he wins.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Definitely second the smear campaign as best possible recommendation sentiment. Anyone who will be worth supporting will necessarily be subject to a vicious smear campaign from the DC political press. If they don’t get that sort of attention, they probably don’t represent any threat to the status quo.

      2. Waldenpond

        I remember when the push was against pac money. Ellison gets alot of pac money. I believe his biggest is a bank. Soros/Bend the Arc etc.

        I remember when the push was against wars. Ellison supports a Syria no fly zone which is support for war with Russia. Ellison is anti-bds. Russia, Russia, Russia is warmongering but not when Ellison does it on twitter? Ellison quote: “Obama’s Libya strategy helped oust Qaddafi, join inter’l com., aid freedom in Arab world, avoid occupier role. Good job I’d say.”

        I remember when the push was to kill Clintonism/neoliberalism. Ellison is supported by Brock and Ellison supports a billionaire who had FL process rigged so he could by the state chair.

        Ellison is a financially corrupt warmonger (pure neo-lib) who goes out for photo ops with the working class then makes deals with oligarchs behind closed doors.

        Ellison and Perez are fighting, one of them MUST be the good guy = Rs and Ds are fighting, that MUST mean one of them is the good guy?

        1. lambert strether

          The question isn’t whether Ellison is pure. The question is whether he’s the best available. Frankly, if Saban hates him, and he wins, that’s a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to a squillionaire donor, and that opens other possibilities.

      3. hunkerdown

        While all this bluster about the Democrats’ latest promoted progressive goes on, the progressive in question is busily demonstrating to their bosses that they can shill for company policy as well as anyone.

        The negative recommendation loses power when Democrat “leaders” become conscious of it.

    3. oh

      But, but, but..if we only had a liberal at the right position, we could reform the Democrat party and everything would be swell. Wait a minute! Haven’t we tried that before?
      There’s no substitute for the hard work of long term strategy to build a left wing party from scratch.

  2. Tom_Doak

    Politico’s article on “fake news” uses these as its first three examples:

    “Blood libel” against Jews in Italy in the 13th century;
    “bogus stories about Hillary Clinton’s imminent indictment”;
    “myths about a postal worker in Ohio destroying absentee ballots cast for Donald Trump,”

    No editorial bias there! But of course, the rise of the web is to blame for the resurgence of fake news.

    1. jgordon

      Somehow they missed the fake news Washington Post story, promptly picked up and spread around by the rest of the media, labeling every respectable non-MSM outlet they could think of as “Russian Agents”.

      What, some fake news is more fake than other fake news now? I think if these hypocrites were really honest about rooting out fake news they’d look at the wikileaks Podesta files and start blackballing all the “journalists” who were found colluding therein. Maybe if they’d done that earlier the New York times wouldn’t have been fooled into hiring Glen “I’m a hack” Trush a few days ago. OH wait, all sorts of NYC “journalists” were uncovered colluding with Hillary by wikileaks too! They probably aren’t terribly concerned about little things like integrity or credibility anyway. These VILE slimeballs. Just thinking about the MSM makes me want to puke.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Speaking of “fake” news, just saw this on the interwebs. I don’t know how to post it so I’ll just describe:

      A picture of two dogs looking dolefully at the camera with the caption, “Glad you’re home. The Russians just pooped all over the hallway.”


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Many books will be written by her disciples about her.

        My guess is that a few will be eventually approved as genuine. Her kingdom, or rather, empire will rule forever.

        1. epynonymous

          Hillary is a neo-con.

          Trump is her puppet.

          Trump is appointing ‘Texas Folk’

          GWB- pt. 1 ran the drug-cartels and the Clintons helped.

          Ergo, the Clinton’s are a Bush Proxy.

          The Bush’es aren’t religious, or social conservatives. They are oligarchs. See the Dulles Brothers.

          Muslim extremists, etc, are just the new Anarchists of our 1917 reboot.

          They don’t exists without government support either.

      2. Vatch

        In that article there’s a picture of Hillary Clinton wearing her blue sunglasses, which are worn by Parkinson’s disease or photosensitive epilepsy patients. Supposedly the glasses help to reduce the tardive dyskinesia (tremors, shaking) or seizures experienced by people with those diseases. I had completely forgotten about those blue sunglasses!


        1. The Trumpening

          That reminds me of a “discussion” I had with my big boss’ Hillbot wife in late September where I called a Trump victory but where I also predicted it would come out that Hillary has some sort of neurological disorder. I’m still waiting for that to pan out but I have to say they’ve kept a tight lid on it IF it is true. There were a lot of videos going around at the time about her hands shaking,the blue glasses, etc. And that 9/11 collapse was NOT normal. I suppose IF it is true it would come out some time after Trump’s inauguration. But again, IF is is true, the idea that the Democrats ran a candidate with serious neurological issues will be a huge and enduring scandal.

        2. lambert strether

          The only medical issue that was ever rock solid was Clinton’s coumadin usage. I don’t see a reason to gild the lily. The famous collapse was an event, but never an issue. And please, nobody link to any YouTubes in response to this. I didn’t believe in remote diagnosis from a video when the Republicans did it with Terry Schiavo, and I don’t believe in it now.

          There are a lot of permathreads that ought to be cleared away in preparation for 2017, and Clinton’s medical woes are one of them.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did Moses part the Red Sea or not, after emptying the grain-storing pyramids?

      Is the current Dalai Lama the reincarnation of the last one?

      How about George Washington and the cherry tree?

      Did they have turkey or not for the first Thanksgiving dinner?

      Did Columbus discover America?

      After all these years, we still don’t know if we have been fed fake or real news.

      1. epynonymous

        People know elf-on-a-shelf is B.S.

        They just think that maybe it can work for them this time.

        Sorry environment! Good luck out there, John Glenn and David Bowie.

        The news often pushes the truth, just to rub it in our face. Black Star indeed.

    4. Roger Smith

      “bogus stories about Hillary Clinton’s imminent indictment”;

      Correction for Politico: Bogus stories about Hillary Clinton’s imminent anointment

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think there was also a story just before the Nov. 8 election (perhaps real) about the last days in the Trump bunker.

    5. Fred

      No mention of Rolling Stone’s fake rape story or the $7.5 million jury verdict? Well the NYT must really believe in Haven Monahan.


      “myths about a postal worker in Ohio destroying absentee ballots cast for Donald Trump,”

      This one’s fantastic — a handful of rightwing clickbait factories went berserk over a twitter account talking about shredding mail-in ballots for trump. I think it even eventually made it to Drudge. It was an obvious joke though, anyone who spent more than 10 seconds reading his replies the thread would’ve worked it out. It’s still up as of now, and worth a look for a quick laugh or two:

    7. sid_finster

      “Fake news” simply means “anything that the Establishment doesn’t want publicised.”

      Truth and falsehood have nothing to do with it.

    1. DawnSorrow

      How many articles do we need to read that say the same exact thing (plus this musing by Stephen Hawking isn’t even new for Stephen Hawking)? It’s like a 1000 articles a day get published online about “AI gonna take your jobs” (often citing one Oxford study from which I hear contains a questionable methodology, not even mentioning the studies that show a lower percentage of predicted jobs automated) which is then usually followed by either “we’re all fucked!” or “something something basic income”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t mind if everyone of us is given a wage-earning robot.

        My wish is for a hedge fund robot. It can earn my basic income for me.

        “By the way, on your way home from work, can you get some fresh organic vegetables for dinner tonight? It’s your night to cook, just like every night.”

      2. hunkerdown

        DawnSorrow, it’s not about what you need. It’s about what they need, and it always has been. What they need is for you to fear the sack and respect the power relation in the orientation to which they are accustomed.

    2. cnchal

      Linked within the Stephen Hawking article is this illuminating note on how much net profit per employee Foxconn makes, which is USD $3000

      Foxconn makes almost as much per employee as the gross pay of the employee, which are getting paid somewhere around $1 per hour. But look at those benefits the Foxconn employees get. Those workers live the high life, like broiler chickens in a cage, two to a bunk. That’s efficiency for you, the bed never gets cold, so no need for heat.

      It seems Stephen has had his brain infected by economists.

      Automation will, “in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world,” Hawking wrote. “The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.”

      Unless robots get a paycheck that they can spend, this won’t work.

      1. vlade

        deployment of capital (into robots) makes sense only if the capital is less than you can get a similar workforce for.
        This drove the Industrial Revolution in the UK – the cost of labour in the UK was much higher than on the Continent (not to mention India for textiles), so it paid to invent and get a machinery in the UK. In France, you just got more cheap labour to do it (say to get out the water from mines) – and in Tsarists Russia, you threw even more peasants on it.

        Spinning Jenny took fewer jobs from UK workers than it did from Indian ones – although for for almost a century and a half, it got the UK one the living conditions of the Indian ones (arguably sometimes even worse) w/o the benefit of the warm Indian weather – say an Act in 1802 that prohibited children (as young as 4) working in the textile mills for more than 12 hours was considered reformist and progressive.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

        Evaluating that statement according to the definition of “progress” is an “interesting” thought experiment.

        progress: noun

        1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage:
        the progress of a student toward a degree.

        2. developmental activity in science, technology, etc., especially with reference to the commercial opportunities created thereby or to the promotion of the material well-being of the public through the goods, techniques, or facilities created.

        3. advancement in general.

        4. growth or development; continuous improvement:
        He shows progress in his muscular coordination.

        5. the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.

        6. Biology. increasing differentiation and perfection in the course of ontogeny or phylogeny.

        7. forward or onward movement:
        the progress of the planets.

        Or maybe it’s just how “conspiracy theories” are born.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It was in the documentary film “Surviving Progress” that Hawking was shown saying (paraphrasing off my head): Humanity deserves another chance in another planet.

          I said to myself then: after we have destroyed this one, and have not shown we have learned any lessons (just like Hillary)???

          “We are special.”

      3. jgordon

        I believe I was the first here in NC comments many years ago to propose that robot consumers would soon be invented to keep up demand when all the organic consumers have been disposed of. That is the logical conclusion of Perpetual Keynseian stimulus to keep the ecomony going after all.

        If people dont want to consume anymore because they’re out of a job, or are already stuffed to the gills with cheap plastic crap, the corporate state can send out robotic goon squads to break windows and torch underutilized housing stock. Just think of how much delicious economic activity will happen once everyone has their stuff smashed or burned must make Keynseians spasm with pleasure.

        And if people have no jobs because of the robots no problemo! We’ll just reform the bankruptcy laws so that no debts can be expunged, ever, and give everyone unlimited lines of credit. And when people refuse to pay due to their odious moral failings we can send those robot squads out to pick them up and put them to work in a sweathouse until they find their moral compass and learn the importance of paying back what they owe. See? Everything will work out fine.

        Or alternatively the industrial economy could collapse and the few of us left could just go back to living in caves. I think this second option will start looking more and more attractive to people as time goes on.

        1. cnchal

          We already have robot consumers. They are programmed to buy whatever the TV face or voice tells them to.

          . . . the corporate state can send out robotic goon squads to break windows and torch underutilized housing stock. Just think of how much delicious economic activity will happen once everyone has their stuff smashed or burned must make Keynseians spasm with pleasure.

          Would that be robots doing the rebuilding?

          I don’t think the corporate state will be sending paychecks to robots anytime soon. Look at their record. They don’t want pay humans anything, why assume a change of heart and a willingness to pay robots.

          Living in caves would be cool, in the summer and warm in the winter. We might progress to that living arrangement again.

        2. I Have Strange Dreams

          There is no such thing as ” Perpetual Keynseian stimulus”. There may be perpetual stimulus, or there may be Keynesian stimulus. Keynesian stimulus, by definition, is counter-cyclical. This is very basic stuff that you should know if you want to be taken seriously on a finance blog.

          1. jgordon

            As you have no doubt observed, in reality there is no such thing as counter cyclical stimulus. There is stimulus, then there is more stimulus. Free money for nothing is a gravy train that no elite or constituent is willing to forego, whether times are good or bad.

          2. epynonymous

            Ancient Egypt was doubly fortunate and doubtless owed to this its fabled wealth, in that it possessed two activities, namely pyramid building as well as the search for precious metals, the fruits of which, since they could not serve the needs of man by being consumed, did not stale with abundance. The Middle Ages built cathedrals and sang dirges. Two pyramids, two masses for the dead, are twice as good as one; but not so two railways from London to York.
            —John Maynard Keynes

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Technically, a double wall around Russia is easier than two railways from London to New York.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have proposed communal ownership of robots, or else let them have their own republic on Mars.

          In any case, I will not let my daughter (when I have one in the future) date a robot.

          1. jgordon

            I have to disagree with you there. Robot love is perhaps the best thing that could hsppen to humanity. When men are no longer being asset stripped in exchange for some flaccid lovin in the arms of a cold, rapacious, and cynical woman our species will suddenly advance exponentially. Dan the man:


            Just imagine, if only Dan had rescued a robot instead that first stage would have been awesome for him.

              1. jgordon

                Doesn’t matter. Any sufficiently motivated lawyer will get a prenup tossed. Prenups only “work” if you’re poor and have no assets anyway.

                There is no point in marriage at all for men, period. Cohabition is almost as bad of an idea. If you must see a woman for whatever reason keep her at arms length and make no commitments. The legal system is set up so that any interaction a man has with a woman is fraught with peril for him, and the woman will gleefully use the system against him the moment she feels the least bit bored or slighted.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Perhaps it’s best the two don’t mingle too much.

                  Men, to the back of the bus.

                  And no woman should ever use a toilet after it has been contaminated by a man.

            1. Code Name D

              Oh goody. Instead of being asset stripped by a wife from hell, we get to be asset striped by the corporation instead. What happens if your robot lover – plugged into the internet of things, starts selling off your privet info.

              1. jgordon

                I’m a lot more comfortable with some corporation spreading pictures of my wang all over the internet than I am with the idea of having to live with a woman again; at least the corporation is honest about their desire to asset strip you up front. However, if you’re really worried about it use a Faraday cage.

      4. polecat

        I couldn’t help but to read that in ‘synthetic voice’ …….

        Welcome to the Neoliberal Machine …… Stephen … !

      5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The other risk is robots with God spot in their brains.

        Not a good idea to make these zealot robots truck drivers.

    3. Synoia

      Robots will take our jobs until management discover they cannot lay off the Bankers who financed the robots.

      After the first dozen or so bankruptcies, could the bankers become more prudent, or will they just securitize these robot loans?

      The robots can be reassigned to robo signing, excuse the humans got caught doing it, giving ris to a new excuse – The Robot Did It.

      Until Robots are awarded personship by the Supremes.

  3. hoop

    The implications of Andrey Karlov assassination Al Jazeera. Written by Akin Unver, assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, the article provides a historical perspective you’re unlikely to see if you’re marooned in the US media bubble.

    Not really. The author draws the correct conclusions regarding the outcome but he fails to logically associate that history lesson with the present events. After all, the author himself implies there is no coherence and only refers to current affairs for his prediction.

    And that is also enough. As the matters stand Russia would be a fool to blame Turkey. Unless the latter made a connection with the PKK and Syria there is no value for Russia to draw upon (unrelated) past disputes.
    Instead, Russia has a chance to continue their agenda at blaming and destabilizing the affairs of the EU, the US and naturally all the relate terrorists and Assad opposition who are already their enemies anyway.

    1. witters

      “Russia has a chance to continue their agenda at blaming and destabilizing the affairs of the EU, the US and naturally all the relate terrorists and Assad opposition who are already their enemies anyway.”

      Does anyone know what this sentence means?

      Now off to moderation…

  4. Carla

    “Former Flint emergency managers, others charged in water crisis Reuters. Dare we hope that someone might be held accountable?”

    Only the small fry, Jerri-Lynn, never the parties truly responsible. This is Gov. Snyder’s administration covering their self-satisfied, well-off asses.

    1. DanB

      I do not think these are small fry. Clearly, politics will be a large factor in determining if Snyder is indicted -but I believe this is getting very close to him. These latest indictees are people who could give Snyder up. Also, this is, in my view, not just about class hostility and a developed sense of indifference to well-being of the 99%. There is a money trail -privatizing Great Lakes water- as the fundamental motivation for what was done to Flint.

      1. Carla

        I really hope you’re right, and this goes all the way to Snyder, but in this political climate, it seems highly unlikely. Yes, I know about the privatizing of Great Lakes water as a motivation. Is that not simply more evidence of “class hostility and a developed sense of indifference to well-being of the 99%”?

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Take a look at the post I just uploaded on Schuette’s Flint announcement. Maybe it’s the time of year– or maybe I was just so depressed by writing the other post about garnishing seniors’ Social Security benefits to cover their student loan defaults that this announcement looks positive by comparison– but I think there’s the possibility that the investigation may proceed up the political chain of command.

          1. DanB

            Donald Trump being elected? Forgettaboutit! Politicians respond to their fears of losing power or the opportunity to gain it. Snyder is expendable, just like Nixon was. Snyder has denied everything, so he’s got little fallback if these guys implicate him.

    2. Roger Smith

      The better worry is when the damn pipes will be fixed. It looks like never at this rate. But hey, we will finally know who was responsible in 2 or 3 more years.

      Don’t get me wrong, accountability is a must, but this blame game should not be the main concern right now.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Somewhere early on in this, it was reported that Flint’s switch from the Detroit Water Supply was designed to make that public water company financially distressed, and thus force its sale into private interests, part of the larger plan to privatize Detroit’s performing assets. [This would involve the emergency managers of the two cities, both appointed by Governor Snyder, colluding in what amounted to a grand theft of the Detroit water supply, and clearly this would also have included both the proposed owners and wherever they were getting their financing from.]

      As I said, this was reported very early on (I don’t recall the source; I think it may have been a local news outlet, possibly Motor City Muckraker) but the story disappeared almost as soon as it came out. If this is true, then almost certainly Snyder was deeply involved, and the potential buyer(s) were very likely either high profile Wall Street investment banks or were being assisted by them. Needless to say some big names would fall if this were to come out.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Surely the opposite is the case – if women are attracted to law schools in greater numbers than men its because they see it as a female friendly career in a broader sense. Is it that a law degree is seen as useful in getting into other sectors of the economy (not just law partnerships?).

      In my experience, it doesn’t help to look at particular professions as single entities. Within any profession there are all sorts of niches and roles which can be suitable for people with different aspirations. For example, in my wider family the females who qualified in engineering ended up working in the marketing side of their company (which in at least one case, proved far more lucrative for her than her male classmates), than in design. I’ve noticed that my former classmates from an environmental science degree, the females tended to graduate towards public jobs (less pay, but better family benefits), the males towards potentially more lucrative but (in terms of career) higher risk private consultancies.

      1. Anne

        I work in a law firm that has a regional presence, with seven – or is it eight? – offices. In my experience with the firm, they want women, they recruit women, but the pattern seems to be that women sign on, get a fair number of years under their belt, and then leave for corporate jobs where they truly can have work/life balance and break free of billable hours requirements and time sheets. God, we all hate the time sheets (I’m a paralegal – my time gets billed, too, which means I’m forced to do timesheets, too. And my rate is such that I couldn’t afford my own services!). There is still a great disparity between women and men in management positions within the firm, especially positions that really matter.

        I do think there’s a lot you can do with a law degree and some law firm experience, but you’re right – I think women have to carve out space that works for them, and that hasn’t always been easy to do in the traditional law-firm environment, where if you don’t show that you are serious about partner track, they become less interested in bringing you along. Our firm has some categories other than just partner/associate – we have non-equity partners (lawyers who don’t make a financial buy-in, so don’t have a say in management decisions), and something called “special counsel” which translates to, “we want to reward you by moving you up from associate, but you still need to prove you are partnership-worthy.”

        It’s all very political, and being a good lawyer sometimes doesn’t seem as important as making a lot of money for the firm. It really is a rat race, still, and it isn’t just women who leave for jobs where their work speaks for itself, but we’ve seen plenty of men leave for jobs where they can have more family time and appreciation for their lawyering skills.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks for that Anne, interesting insights. I’m always surprised that the issue of people deliberately altering their careers, including refusing promotions, for family and lifestyle reasons is so often overlooked in discussions about working conditions and equality. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a proper study carried out in to this – almost every labor study I’ve seen uses as a default assumption that everyone is jostling to get higher up the corporate ladder.

          1. jrs

            It has to be worse to be a man in that field that doesn’t want or even can’t handle this. It’s less socially tolerated and it’s barely tolerated for women. But not all men are type A ladder climbers and if they find themselves in a career where it’s climb or get out ….

          2. hunkerdown

            PuKun, not assuming, but norming. Recall that one of the early “problems” with US wage labor, from the standpoint of employers, was that employers couldn’t call on labor very effectively when people had better options, like working for a few weeks to pay taxes then sodding off fishing for the rest of the month or year. The possibility of not permanently subordinating the rest of one’s life to enforced command is one that in no way serves the interests of the economic bishopric. And that’s why nursery schools play red-light-green-light.

        2. Synoia

          Corporate Law is safe. No marketing risk for one’s services, and not responsible for the Corporation’s Revenues.

        1. Michael

          The statement is supposed to be that some unpleasant jobs are still male-only because of reverse sexism or some other foolishness.

          In reality, there’s no push for gender equality in these (highly prized) jobs because rich white lady feminism gives no shits about working-class women.

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            I assume the commenter’s actual point here is that (mainstream) feminism has pushed to equalize gender proportions in high status jobs, but has been uninterested in equalizing proportions in unpleasant or low status jobs.

            It sounds like you partly agree (you say that upper-class feminism doesn’t care about working-class women and so hasn’t advocated for them in these fields) and partly disagree (you assert that these jobs are actually “highly prized”). There was no need to throw in “some other foolishness.”

      1. Anne

        It isn’t about making sure that equal numbers of men and women are represented in every type and kind of job, it’s about making sure that whether you are male or female, if there’s a job you have a desire to do, an area you want to work in, that you have the opportunity to pursue it.

        That being said, this woman believes your comment would be much more comfortable in the trash can, and would be happy to collect and dispose of it for you.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      I wonder how many of these women will be able to find jobs in the law. It’s a nightmare out there for recent graduates. My company gets applications from extremely well-qualified lawyers for any opening in Legal.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, robot lawyers present a similar human-employment issue.

        Men being men, women have to be wary about men leaving a field open for them.

        “Have men got something better to do now?”

    3. Ed S.

      There is also a simpler explanation: more female college graduates than men. No law school without an undergraduate degree.

      Roughly speaking, 71% of female HS grads go on to college; 61% of male HS grads go.
      6 years later, 62.3% of women graduated from college; 56.6% of men graduated.

      From HS grad to College grad, there are roughly 30% more female college grads (about 44 of 100 female HS grads will graduate from college 6 years later; about 34 male HS grads will graduate from college 6 years later).

  5. PlutoniumKun


    The implications of Andrey Karlov assassination Al Jazeera. Written by Akin Unver, assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, the article provides a historical perspective you’re unlikely to see if you’re marooned in the US media bubble.

    The assassination of the Russian ambassador is the latest sign Turkey is becoming weaker and more unstable Patrick Cockburn’s take.

    Erdogan and Turkey seem in real trouble. The region has a long history of brewing conflicts that have the potential to spread far and wide. NATO and the aspiration for EU membership seems central to the aspirations of middle class urban Turks and the latter seems dead on arrival, while Turkeys NATO membership seems increasingly in name only. Does anyone really think that the Dutch or Greeks will commit forces to back up Erdogan if he got involved in military conflict with the Russians, or anyone else for that matter? The internal fissures within Turkish society are becoming more and more overt.

    Putin has proven himself a very good strategist and tactician. He seems very good at taking opportunities as they arise to strengthen Russia. I think that as Turkey weakens and becomes harder to govern we’ll see Erdogan become more an more dependent on Russia and there is nothing either the rest of Europe or the US can do about it.

    The manner in which Putin has, over the past few years, played a very weak hand in the Bosphorus/Ukraine/Middle East has been masterful. It just goes to show that the Washington neocons are not just cynical, they are also wholly incompetent by their own measures. Perhaps historians will see the political incompetence of the HRC campaign as just one aspect of the intellectual rot which has spread from all those highly paid Washington think-tanks right across the body politic.

    1. Steve H.

      The big unknowable is what Erdogan thinks about western involvement in the coup attempt. As Yossarian says, “The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”

      The direct stakes and effects are even greater than I thought they were. From Jerri-Lynn’s link in comments yesterday: “About 60,000 ships travel through this conduit annually, carrying more international cargo than passes through either the Panama or Suez canals.”

    2. John Wright

      I suggest the election of “useful Idiot” George W. Bush and his resulting Afghanistan and Iraq wars created a belief among the think-tanks and neocons that they could do ANYTHING they wanted with USA foreign policy-USA military and watch the USA citizenry fall in line.

      It was easy, they controlled the politicians with calls to patriotism and military spending, placed columns praising Bush and his actions in important media venues and also controlled the mainstream news content.

      The “patriotic” Neocons-Neolibs had control of the politically influential print media as the NY Times and Washington Post were ready servants promoting their American exceptionalism assertion.

      And Obama provided continuity with Bush policies in the Middle East, further encouraging the Neocons-Neolibs.

      I don’t know if USA based historians will accurately portray the USA’s actions, this century could have been an American good governance century, with America showing the world how to run a country well by investing in infrastructure, health care, effective education, renewable energy, publicly financed research, more equitable income distribution and good jobs for its citizens.

      Instead the USA told its citizens, and the world, it needed to expend, quite literally, trillions, pursuing a “War on Terror” as if it were a disease that would be conquered, not spread, by USA military force.

      The non-USA historians could look at the USA as a country could have done extraordinarily well, but was hollowed out and its resources dissipated by its elite political/financial/military/media leaders instead..

      With Hawk Hillary probably losing and the NY Times forced into the sub-let business by leasing out eight floors of their headquarters in NYC there may be a glimmer of hope.

      But, a great many incomes in the Bos-Wash corridor depend on “staying on message”.

      Perhaps TPTB believe they almost got the very-flawed and unlikable HRC first over the finish line.

      They may believe they only need to tweak their message a bit and continue as before.

      I doubt if they will learn from Putin’s actions.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        …… this century could have been an American good governance century, with America showing the world how to run a country well…….

        That’s the problem with leading by “example.” You kinda have to be what you claim you are.

    3. cocomaan

      I think that as Turkey weakens and becomes harder to govern we’ll see Erdogan become more an more dependent on Russia and there is nothing either the rest of Europe or the US can do about it.

      Europe lost their chance awhile ago, when they snubbed Turkey’s bid to enter the EU. Hell, Turkey is probably in better shape than some of the PIIGS, right? Things could have been much different.

    4. DJG

      PlutoniumKun: I’d venture that Erdogan more than Turkey is in trouble. Erdogan (like Obama) is a reminder of what happens when someone believes that he or she is destined to be a transformational politician who then loses touch with how to maintain legitimate policies. (Clinton, too.)

      Both Erdogan and Obama have made one disastrous foreign-policy decision after another. It isn’t just the United States that is now stained by the after-effects of Libya and Syria.

      Erdogan’s sultanic fantasies have proven delusional. He could have had greater chances at a serious deal with the EU, but he has been recalcitrant about Cyprus (where the Turks haven’t acquitted themselves well) and on Syrian refugees (more than cynical in his behavior).

      Erdogan could have reconciled himself to the recent electoral results that showed the rise of the HDP in parliament. Instead, he forced new elections and cracked down violently on the Kurds.

      I tend not to think of history as being a story of individuals, but Erdogan’s faults are so manifest. It could all have been so much easier for Turkey if he had restrained his authoritarian tendences when challenged–another example is his personal involvement in suppressing newspapers.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The problem with Turkey now is that Erdogan has such a tight level of control on all levers of power that its hard to conceive of a smooth or non-violent transition back to democracy if he falls. I think his authoritarian tendencies has allowed all sorts of fissures in Turkish society to become more overt, but, for now, are under control. And as you say, he is becoming increasingly delusional and inept. If there is one thing worse than an authoritarian, its an incompetent authoritarian.

        1. Hen Kai Pan

          Apropos Erdogan. How does it come about that the 7-yr old who can’t speak English, but twitters from Aleppo, saying things like ‘I had a minor injury’ as if 7-yr olds talk (let alone write) like this, and bless her for the nice new clothes she always wore in that war zone, ends up on Erdogan’s lap.

          After having traveled to Turkey in the seventies, all the way to Erzurum and Van, at the time of the pudding shop, I flew to Istanbul on a whim, i.e. cheap ticket, a couple of years ago for a couple of days when in Europe. The new subway line underneath the Bosporus was impressive – taking a short subway trip to spend an hour in Asia – but generally, the conservative vibe was anything but ‘western’.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Turkey was never going to get into the EU. Germany runs the place. Turkey would be large enough to rally against the Berlin-Paris (junior partner) arrangement. The EU might have to be the EU.

    5. JustAnObserver

      It seems to me that Putin, and all his advisers, are sticking closely to the dictum that:

      “War is merely the continuation of diplomacy by other means” (Clauswitz approx.)

      and its corollary:

      “The end solution, even after you have won, is, and will always be, political”.

      He, and Russia generally, have political goals and will use force *only when necessary to accomplish those goals*. This is not to say those goals are right or moral or honorable but they are reasonably easy to discern. (*)

      The US Deep State, MIC, Establishment, Blob – call it what you will – has either completely forgotten this or, through overweening hubris, thinks it no longer needs it.

      (*) I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called a Russian stooge or Putin lover by hard core Dems for merely pointing out that Russia’s actions over Crimea after the Nuland “coup” were as predictable as the sun rising in the east tomorrow.

    6. gepay

      In the past, the US had a very big place among the Turkish military who were continuing Ataturk’s secular emphasis. They were a main stay of the Gladio program. They also mounted coups much more competently than the last one. During the Iraq sanctions, billions from the heroin trade were allocated to Turkey. This has increased now that Kosovo is a safe waystop for heroin to Europe. Some people even report NATO allowing heroin to being flown directly to Germany. The old fascist style Gladio has been replaced with the new jihadi fanatic Gladio B. The Turkish military has lost out and as above most secular and Western oriented Turks now realize Europe will never let them be members of the EU. So the rise of an Islamic governing faction with Ottoman Empire wannabe Erdogan at its head. The return of the Ottoman Empire is not likely but Erdogan has solidified his hold on what might as well be a dictatorship. By going along with the US Turkey was able to bomb Northern Iraq at will. A few years ago I heard rumors that the US wanted to replace Erdogan with its Gulenist proxy. But Turkey was too useful, in letting jihadist have free travel through Turkey and Turkey shooting down a Russian Bomber p. Then there was that curiously incompetent failed coup attributed by Erdpogan to the Islamic Gulenist opposition. Since then Erdogan has made up with Russia. Possibly realizing that the most of the US was not going to screw the Kurds again anytime soon. Assassinating the Russian ambassador is exactly the kind of black op Gladio B would be used for.Good to know covert agents still no how to pull off an assassination.

  6. Steve H.

    – Welcome to Terra Sapiens

    : … we need to become fully human.

    Sounding like a scientist is so very easy when you don’t bother to worry about category errors.

    That he is apparently a scientist is what pushes this into the grift.

    1. witters

      Not so sure. I mean this seems OK: “I want to be a full human being.” Here it means something like, perhaps, “I don’t want to be treated merely as a means (a slave, a wage slave, or whatever)”. Or it might be said by someone with an addiction, where it means I would like to be able to exercise the human capacity for reasoned choice, and so on. It seems to me this reading avoids any category error (except on an obviously tendentious reading), and that this is roughly the meaning the Aeon author is using.

      Now off to moderation….

  7. PlutoniumKun


    An Apple Manufacturing Plant in India? Don’t Tell Trump MIT Technology Review

    To continue the discussion from the Apple in India article below, unless I’m missing something, it seems to me to be a no-brainer for Apple to manufacture a locally specific cheaper iPhone for the domestic market in India. The potential for the India market (assuming Modi doesn’t completely annihilate the economy through his de-monetisation policy) is enormous. I doubt if Trump would be too bothered by it if it was marketed by Apple as an ‘India iPhone for Indians’, especially if it used some US manufactured components, as all iPhones do. Modi would be foolish to give any concessions to Apple – they need India more than the other way around.

  8. integer

    Re: These freaky ‘moans’ were recorded deep beneath the sea

    Beautiful and mysterious.
    Also sad, when one thinks of how terrible a custodian the human race is of the natural world.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Actually, I believe those are grumblings of the dark lord, Krugthullu, reading the comments on his latest “think” piece. Chutullu is laughing at him too.

  9. Cry Shop

    It would be more honest if the story was headlined: Obama – finally forced to ban oil drilling in arctic. It was 14 senators and Canadian diplomacy that did the trick. Trudeau was on the side of angels this time, if for all the wrong reasons (shoring up collapsing oil sands business) . It’s the involvement of Canada that might make this one a bit tricker for Donald to undo. Also, he’s probably more interested in keeping oil tight and flowing only through pipelines he’s invested in, so he, Trump, may not push that hard to undo this one. After all, Obama and Sec. Sally Jewell were perfectly happy to let Shell attempt to exploit the arctic, it was Shell hitting dry wells that saved the day that time, and not a change of heart by Obie-the wan, and Fracking Sally.

    1. shargash

      Whether he was forced or not, the fact is he waited until it could not possibly make any difference. My first reaction was that it was just a political move to fire up the Ds when Trump approves arctic drilling (just as Obama did with Shell).

      1. Cry Shop

        Oh that goes without saying. Look at how he’s finally desperately trying to move out people held at Guantanamo who’ve been cleared by the military before he even took office. Typical sleaze politics, done desperately on the quiet because he’s Mr. Obamameter.

  10. jgordon

    On Germany:

    There is a whole lot here, but my biggest fear is that terrorists realized that vehicles can be easily weaponized and this tactic will be spreading around the world soon enough. Vehicles have always been dangerous weapons (just look at the leading causes of preventable deaths in America. Only cheese burgers and cigarettes are more deadly than vehicles right now, and we’re not even trying to kill each other with them yet). I think this fact will slowly start seeping into public awareness soon enough.

    I’d argue that it’s time to ban these things once and for all, but that wouldn’t really work. Odds are we’d still have some industrial sized around for misc transport and infrastructure projects, and as the attack in Germany shows, the terrorists will simply take them and do their dirty deeds regardless if citizens have access to them or not. The end result would be that all the vehicles would be in the hands of the corporate state terrorists and/or the NGO terrorists with none for the citizens. And meanwhile no one would be any safer (well–aside from toddlers, who won’t be getting backed over so much when people no longer have access to vehicled–but we won’t be any safer from terrorists I mean).

    Maybe a better solution is that we could all just act like adults here: recognize that living in an industrial society is inherently hazardous and live with the fact that people are going to end up dead thanks to the tools we make. We’ll have to write it off as a regrettable cost of choosing to live this way. Well, if you don’t agree with that fine–but good luck getting those vehicles banned. Believe me, I tried, and people just don’t want to hear it.

    Also, closing those borders is starting to look like not such a bad idea now. Not just for economic security, but I think a reasonable case for strict border controls and enforcement can be made with regards to physical security too. How many more “incidents” will the German people tolerate before they kick Merkel out and close their borders I wonder?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It can’t be long before someone in Silicon Valley pops up to announce that this is why we need autonomous self-driving trucks and vans.

      1. Skip Intro

        That way the terrorists can safely drive them into crowds from their remote terminals! Or with an app, which would, of course, be much cooler.

        ISIS was a bit late claiming responsibility for this ‘attack’, BTW.

    2. fresno dan

      December 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Interesting observation Jgordon. It strikes a chord with me because here in Fresno, 50 years ago our main downtown street was turned into a pedestrian mall. It was a dismal failure, as the future was to be outlying malls. Now, a few weeks ago the pedestrian mall is being torn up and the surface street restored – I think downtown will remain dead. People were given the chance to ambulate and they preferred driving….to walk around the mall.

      How much terrorism is there REALLY? As opposed to how many people die worldwide in crashes EVERY day? According to this site, over 3000 a DAY
      In Germany, about 3,500 yearly or about 10 a day. But it is NORMAL not to report the typical daily death toll due to vehicles….

      The number killed by terrorists (and a highly contentious number – is ANYONE killed by the US considered a victim of terrorism) seems to be about 1/10 of the number killed by vehicles Worldwide – terrorism inflicts much more death outside of the western world. But when was the last time you saw a “BREAKING NEWS” flash breathlessly reported about the DAILY carnage of cars??? “News” is a funny, funny thing….

      But what frightens people and what is logical are two different things. Is terrorist understanding of how to truly inflict panic on western societies (ISIS seems to understand this better than al qaeda did) increasing? I could see where someone could argue pedestrian malls would make a comeback, and all streets (at least in close proximity to masses of pedestrians) would be separated from pedestrians and bicyclists. But I suspect that as the tremendous expense of it would entail merely a Western propaganda counteroffensive – Hey everybody, people get killed by cars everyday! LOOK BOTH WAYS! SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!
      Not really cost effective to save people from the very few deaths caused by vehicle terrorism (an anti cheese burger campaign would be far more effective) but inadvertently the ordinary daily slaughter we accept as “normal” would be greatly reduced. Every death is important….but some are more “newsworthy” than others…

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The destructive cause derives from simply physics: Momentum = Mass x Velocity.

      The key to prevention is to make vehicles light…very light.

      Perhaps papier-mache vehicular body is the way to go. The idea is inspired by a piece in a recent auction – a Han dynasty lacquered duck. Normally, the artisan piled layers and layers of lacquer (maybe over 100) painted over wood. This one was constructed with layers of gauze dripped in lacquer.

      1. Synoia

        Um, your argument appears to assume that the people are at rest, and the car in motion.

        I postulate that a significant majority of people killed in car accidents are traveling at the same speed as the car until the car stops and the people do not until a fraction of a second later.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yes, you’re right – it doesn’t cover all cases.

          It helps, a little, in the case (the one from the most recent tragedy) of a mad papier-mache truck trying to mow down pedestrians.

      1. jgordon

        Eh… I don’t think so. A large portion of the US population has been screaming themselves blue in the face trying to get guns banned because “safety” but at the same time have turned a blind eye to the daily mass slaughter produced by vehicles–and no one even thinks to remark on this very odd fact.

        The psychological perception and framing of the issue has to flip before anyone will take it seriously. These terrorist attacks offer a good start on that just now.

  11. integer

    George Clooney to make movie about Syria’s White Helmets (hat tip to MoA commenter Lionshare)

    George Clooney is to make a fictional film about the White Helmets – the Syria Civil Defence whose approximate 3,000 volunteers act as first responders in the war-torn country.

    Clooney is said to be using as his source Netflix’s documentary short The White Helmets, which was released in September and is on this year’s Oscar shortlist.

    Sigh. I imagine Clooney has no idea what is really going on with the white helmeted propaganda squad (and Syria in general), and by virtue of being because he is a Hollywood “star”, he will now have his foolishness widely distributed to credulous Western audiences. Ffs.

    1. fresno dan

      December 21, 2016 at 9:34 am

      A great example of Hollywood “liberalism” – I’m sure it never occurs to Clooney that the film supports US “humanitarian” US intervention….just like there were so many arguments for humanitarian intervention for getting involved in Iraq….Wasn’t Clooney opposed to the Iraq war?
      But it makes me wonder – Clooney’s wife is mid eastern….and supposedly smart.
      So is she so unaware of what is truly going on? Maybe she just supports her husbands vocation.
      If I draw any conclusion, its the old aphorism, where you stand depends on where you sit (its all economic class, and nothing but economic class)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          From the little I know about her she always seemed to me to fall into the category of ‘liberal’ human rights supporter, the type who would be comfortable with Blair/Clinton types. But to be fair she has been involved in actions which would be not very popular with establishment liberal types, such as working for British government torture victims in Northern Ireland and Iraq and for prisoners of the current Egyptian government. Her family background is I think a mix of Druze and Sunni, so make of that what you will. People of that type of background (I.e. mixed and urban) would be a bit more sympathetic to the Assad side in Syria, but its hard to say for sure. Its always hard to tell with human rights lawyers, as they seem to follow the spectrum from radical lefties who love to undermine to establishment from within, to some unpleasant characters who use it as a cover for more lucrative work (see Blair, Cherie).

          I heard once from someone who worked with an NGO in Sudan that her husbands reputation among those he met out there was of someone well meaning and well informed in the local political nuances and the wider issues, but also a bit arrogant and dismissive towards anyone who didn’t agree with his take. Again, make of that what you will.

          And that concludes what I hope will be my only bit of celebrity gossip on NC.

    2. Ancient1

      George Clooney’s White Helmets Movie. Cloony is too ashamed to do a documentary movie of the living conditions of his former neighbors living in the Ohio River valleys of northern Kentucky? His roots are there along with the deplorables who struggle just to live. But the public knows him as something else. You know what that is. So he does the White Helmets movie and says to the world, what good boy am I.

    3. Michael

      Clooney’s a smart guy who’s done legitimate good work in the Sudan. I suspect the movie will look very different from what the White Helmets want it to look like.

      1. integer

        No. It is going to be a fictional narrative based on the pro white helmet documentary that was aired on Netflix.

  12. ChiGal in Carolina

    We’re with Him Dept…

    Another article in the Hill (Trump no longer wants to “drain the swamp”), quoting T on his thank you tour:

    “You people were vicious, violent, screaming, ‘Where’s the wall? We want the wall!’ Screaming, ‘Prison! Prison! Lock her up!’ I mean you are going crazy. I mean, you were nasty and mean and vicious and you wanted to win, right?” Trump said during a stop in Florida last Saturday.

    “But now, you’re mellow and you’re cool and you’re not nearly as vicious or violent, right? Because we won, right?”

    1. Leigh

      ChiGal –

      I saw him give that spiel and sat there with my jaw on the floor.

      Tantamount to Hitler standing in front of his soldiers and telling them they got “a little carried away…”

      “We won” – let them eat victory!!!

    2. clarky90

      Trump was joking. Here is the entire rally.

      Donald Trump Pulls Kellyanne Conway Up On Stage At “THANK YOU” Rally In Mobile Alabama, Dec 17, 2016

      This is a perfect example of reporters taking snippets of Trump speaking (joking- having fun), and twisting them into “hateful news”. Reporters are like nasty schoolmarms

      1. Leigh

        Uhh nooooo.

        Decipher for me how it is that one knows when Trump is joking?

        Is it when he looks back (as in the video) and says “I was kidding?”

        How convenient.

        Look, the guy says what he wants and if he gets blown shit – he backs off by saying “I was kidding” or the preferred “I did not say that”

        Stop making excuses for a feeble-minded communicator.

  13. rjs

    can’t believe that India will hold that spot of Britain in the top economies list for long…the dislocations resulting from demonitization will have to result in a big hit to GDP..

  14. Leigh

    From MarketWatch:
    “Mainstream media bias, ignorance drives the public to alternative outlets”

    ..and, to take a stab at extrapolating myself, perhaps this whole “Russian propaganda” scare is an attempt by mainstream media to scare people back into the fold and away from alternative outlets..?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      To hold the existing audience. The msm is at the high point of a four year cycle, but can MSNBC survive a repeat of its 2012/2013 collapse given its doing worse than it was at this point in 2012.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Welcome back.

      You know you can trust our GDP, inflation and unemployment numbers.

      Nothing fake there.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Why Uber Is Continuing To Hemorrhage Cash

    Really wish this author would have mentioned that this “selling at a loss because you can and are willing to, until there’s no competition left” is classic monopolistic behavior.

    See Amazon.

  16. david s

    Allow drilling and fracking pretty much everywhere for almost all of your two terms.
    Ban drilling two weeks before your Administration is over, knowing it will be overturned.

    And some wonder why people are cynical about our leaders?

    1. djrichard

      Wow, the author of that article, Ryan Cooper, writes a mean streak. Check out his four-part series on how the Dem’s lost the election and what they can do to rebuild. Starting with part 1:

      In part 4, on hitching the dem wagon back to unions, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. For instance, will unions be OBE (overtaken by events) after Trump? My thinking is this. The anti-union mentality is rooted in anti-mafia thinking. But at the end of the day, we’re all in the mafia eco-system, now with Trump at the head of the mafia. Trump will need king pins to keep the troops disciplined. But that also means giving jobs to the troops. Once you have those two pieces in place, you pretty much achieved what the Unions were about (at their core).

      1. jrs

        no unions were not just about jobs (although no doubt some featherbedding existed) they were about wages and working conditions and having a voice in the company for workers at all.

        1. djrichard

          Sure I agree. But now of days it’s about jobs. And I would argue that originally it was all about jobs as well. Striking doesn’t happen if you can lose your job.

          Present day, Trump is promising jobs. If he delivers, he’ll be delivering more than what the unions are delivering.

          And if he delivers, it will be a top-down manifestation of power. He doesn’t need the unions to make this sea-change. And unions will suffer an even greater identity crisis then the one they have now.

          Unions are going to have to think very carefully about how they position themselves in this new reality. It’s one thing to bite-the-hand of corporate masters who are exploiting labor. It’s another thing to bite-the-hand of corporate masters who have been brow beaten into giving jobs back to labor.

      2. djrichard

        While I’m on this mafia meme jag, Rollerball (the original 1975 flick) happened to be on Epix the other night, and as I was watching it, it occurred to me that what was being portrayed was the ultimate of mafiadom.

        They basically have the luxuries; not just the upper echelons, it’s suggested that everybody does. And all it requires is to submit oneself to the “yoke of authority” – in the case of this movie, the authority of the post-war corporations. [Though it does have “sacrifices” that would be foreign to us, such as giving up your spouse to somebody higher up in the echelon.]

        Interesting to see how the movie chooses to have the James Caan character re-act to this. Instead of breaking the quid-pro-quo deal by walking away, he goes to the mat and … fights the good fight? Anyways, he prevails, where most of us would crumble when fighting the mafia. Not sure what the take-away was supposed to be.

        In any case, it got me thinking about my own predicament in the present day mafia’s job patronage eco-system. Still too timid to walk away, to give up the luxuries. Still fight for my job to some degree, but the days of fighting for my job like the James Caan character did are over for me. I can’t even pretend to be a “playah”.

        1. djrichard

          Maybe the logical outcome of the James Caan character prevailing against the powers that be is that it results in regime change in the mafia. Along the lines of what is described in “The Golden Bough” by James George Frazer, where the leader is taken out by a nother thought leader. BTW, hat tip to Ben Hunt on helping me to appreciate “The Golden Bough” as being about regime change:

  17. Vatch

    Massive Oil Spill Under Farmer’s Crop 3 Years Ago — Still Not Cleaned Up — 200 Miles from DAPL

    Why is this taking so long? Why didn’t the former Republican North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, the Republican North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, or the Democratic U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy take effective action? We can be quite confident that if Scott Pruitt becomes the EPA Administrator, this proud tradition of inaction will continue. We certainly wouldn’t want to interfere with the profitability of the Tesoro Corporation.

  18. Steve H.

    Indiana University researchers launch tool to understand spread of fake news

    : The tool, called Hoaxy, visualizes how claims in the news — and fact checks of those claims — spread online through social networks. The tool is built upon earlier work at IU led by Filippo Menczer, a professor and director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research in the IU School of Informatics and Computing.

    I dropped in NC and it had 4 pops, due to cross-posts from The list they use for claim sources is here.

    As far as I can tell, there is no fact-checking conclusion associated with the data, and no claims NC is fakenews. But I thought you might like to know.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have a math related question.

      Realizing that multiplying a negative number with another, one gets a positive one, we ask if we can get genuine news when fake stories are reported by fake journalists, with fake hair and other fake body parts?

      1. Steve H.

        Bullshit can be constructed entirely out of facts, based on what is left out, thus multiplication by zero gives false negatives. For the truth-test, not the number.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s just that I am often distracted by the fakeness of those on TV, especially their body parts…fake hair color, fake hair. So, perhaps the multiplication comparison is not helpful, and instead, I will just say there is the additional problem of the fake human medium, in addition to the fake content.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What fake body parts really distract me, I can’t say here at work.

            That’s why the original comment was so badly constructed.

            What I really wanted to say about fake news is this: “But those…those things…are also fake!!!!!!”

          2. Steve H.

            “… and when we act, we create our own reality.” [Karl Rove]

            During the 18 days of negotiations with the Spanish which led to the Treaty of London, King James had Shakespeare and his players arrayed in the room. They had extremely fine clothes (and hair (and codpieces)) and were skilled at looking important. And the very word ‘hypocrite’ derives from the first actor who stepped forward from the chorus, speaking as someone (a god in the particular case) who was not who they truly were.

            As we extend back in history, the fakeness can be seen as not only important, but even sacred. My friend Parker, who’s about twenty, said to me yesterday that members of his cohort are clearly constructing their own individualized false realities, through the reflexive feedback of the mirroring effect of the internet, search engines, f*c*b*k, and ‘swipe right.’ How soon before an app superimposes our own face over the talking head? At which point we have become our own false god.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “My face.”

              I think I was more believable when I was 6 than when I was 16.

              That’s the face I would want.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I looked at the list, which is actually a spreadsheet. There are plenty of sites I would never link to on it (Blue Nation Review and Breitbart both, for example) but putting The Onion and Duffel Blog in the same bucket as those two seems wrong.

  19. fresno dan

    “The authors found that “publicly listed firms in industries that have seen larger increases in import penetration from China have suffered larger reductions in patenting,” and concluded:

    The decline of innovation in the face of Chinese import competition suggests that R&D and manufacturing tend to be complements, rather than substitutes. That is, when faced with intensifying rivalry in the manufacturing stage of industry production, firms tend not to substitute effort in manufacturing with effort in R&D.

    This idea that innovation and manufacturing are complementary isn’t new. In fact, it’s the main argument of an influential 2009 Harvard Business Review article by Pisano and another HBSer, Willy Shih, and a subsequent 2012 book titled “Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance.” When Pisano and Shih first approached the topic in 2009, I think it’s fair to say that the consensus view among U.S. corporate executives was that they were best off divorcing high-value stuff like design and R&D from the dirty work of manufacturing, which was better done in low-cost places such as China. You know, “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China.”
    n reality, there are relatively few high-tech industries where the manufacturing process is not a factor in developing new — especially, radically new — products.
    But Shenzhen is increasingly a place where products are designed, new ideas are launched and giant corporations (such as Huawei Technologies Co., the world’s leading maker of mobile networking equipment, and Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s leading internet company) are headquartered. Manufacturing know-how led to lots of other wonderful developments.”

    Who would have thunk it? After taking our manufacturing one would think they would just leave the big money of design and R&D to us…..(sarc)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One finds parallels between the economy and human life.

      To live long, the 3 keys are

      1. Low calorie intake
      2. Weight lifting
      3. (don’t remember the 3rd, sorry).

      In any case, they correspond, for a healthy economy, to

      1. No conspicuous consumption
      2. Manufacturing
      3. (to be filled in later)

      In any case, you have to make things, and make sure your stomach is not too full when you work with your brawn.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I don’t think that is it, but it is necessary.

          And the economy equivalent is this:

          Let the failed or wasted big banks go…out of the system.

      1. fresno dan

        December 21, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        3. drinking booze? I sure hope it is booze drinking,
        the other 3
        making booze, e.g., brewing, viticulture?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Speaking of booze, the pyramids were not for storing grain, but for a much more valuable product, a ‘value’ added product – beer, with the superior climate control afforded by the insulation.

    2. cnchal

      Do economists read this and weep? No. They feign puzzlement at hysteresis and secular stagnation while for the last quarter century it was policy to outsource wealth creation on their say so from their policy thrones, and the whole time claimed men that make stuff are responsible for their predicament due to being stupid. More proof that economists are worse than useless eaters, because after they pig out, they poison the leftovers

      Andy Grove from Intel had warnings about this, but was drowned out with derision.

  20. Raj

    India is now economically bigger than the uk. Without even half Of the human development indicators of the U.K. Wow! What a great comparison to be happy about!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The total GDP is only of interest to corporations obsessed with market size, or to the lonely alpha at the top, with how big an army, military army or bureaucratic army, he/she can have.

      To the average Joe, the more relevant comparison is GDP per person, not that it’s an absolutely great measure, but just a relatively good number.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “How cooking vegetables changed humanity 10,000 years ago Ars Technica”
    Interesting article, but seems a little strange to me. For starters, the use of pottery is a marker for the Neolithic – the beginning of gardening and permanent settlements. The reason will be clear if you’ve ever seen a kiln: they aren’t easy to move around. So yes, it’s a huge change for humanity, and this find adds a great deal of detail about that period, but the article never quite says why or where it fits in the human story. These were not hunter-gatherers, even if they were still doing a lot of gathering from the wild.

    Furthermore, the dependence on plant foods wasn’t new and didn’t depend on the use of pottery. Detailed studies of living hunter-gatherers found that they ate more plants than animals, which meant the women brought home more food than the men. The impact of cooking occurred before the arrival of modern humans and was a causative factor in our evolution. Large brains use a lot of energy; cooking released a lot more calories from our food, especially plants, and made meat easier to chew and absorb.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It also raises a question that is outside its scope: why did the Sahara desertify? Seems like that huge climate change since 10,000 years ago would cast light on our present predicament.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps it’s a premature or needless concern, but another question is, how will those who survive Man-Made Global Warming cope with the next Ice Age?

        1. Robert Hahl

          More to the point, how will they cope with the large reptiles which are sure to come? Good eating I suppose.

      2. Synapsid


        The Sahara has alternated between desert, and mixed savanna with integrated systems of rivers and lakes, for a very long time; my guess is at least since after the glacial/interglacial cycle length increased to roughly 100,000 years, about 900 000 years ago.

        The region becomes arid after the end of the period of warmth that follows the end of an ice age. The pattern is: glacial/ cold and arid; early interglacial/ very warm and temperate; later in interglacial/ cooler and arid. During the period of greatest warmth the West African monsoon strengthens; moist air is drawn in across northern Africa and precipitation is adequate to support rivers and lakes (which attracted human settlement) that eventually drained out, through routes different from today’s, through the lower parts of the Nile and Niger drainages. Later in the interglacial, temperatures are lower, low enough so the weaker monsoon supplies moisture only to the coastal and near-hinterland parts of West Africa, as is the case today.

        The former integrated drainage systems were mapped from orbit and are now the target of archaeologists working out the history of human settlement in northern Africa. Dry lake basins provide much of the dust for both the legendary storms of the Sahara and for the “red rains” that deliver phosphorus to forests in the Caribbean and the Amazon Basin.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Looking at Timeline of Environmental History at Wikipedia, it mentioned a 5.9 kiloyear cycle that intensified the Sahara desertification.

          1. Synapsid


            That’s about the time I referred to.

            I wonder about a connection to ice rafting, as sea level was near today’s by then and that tells us that most of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets were gone. Greenland was the only one left. It was the time for the population shifts the article mentions, though, sure enough.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Pottery before agriculture.

      From the entry, Jomon Period, Wikipedia:

      The manufacture of pottery typically implies some form of sedentary life because pottery is heavy, bulky, and fragile and thus generally unusable for hunter-gatherers. However, this does not seem to have been the case with the first Jōmon people, who perhaps numbered 20,000 over the whole archipelago.[12] It seems that food sources were so abundant in the natural environment of the Japanese islands that it could support fairly large, semi-sedentary populations.

      Also from the same article:

      The earliest pottery in Japan was made at or before the start of the Incipient Jōmon period. In 1998 small fragments were found at the Odai Yamamoto I site, which have been dated to 14,500 BC; subsequently, pottery of roughly the same age was found at other sites such as Kamikuroiwa and Fukui Cave.[12][13][14]
      Archaeologist Junko Habu claims that “The majority of Japanese scholars believed, and still believe, that pottery production was first invented in mainland Asia and subsequently introduced into the Japanese archipelago.”[14] This seems to be confirmed by recent archaeology. As of now, earliest pottery vessels in the world date back to 20,000 BP and were discovered in Xianrendong cave in Jiangxi, China.[15][16] The pottery may have been used as cookware.[15] Other early pottery vessels include those excavated from the Yuchanyan Cave in southern China, dated from 16,000 BC,[17]

      1. polecat

        Neolithic pottery was ‘earthenware’ …fired at very low temperatures (1400-1800 degrees F approx.) and most likely was fired in mounds of combustibles …. or ‘pit fired’ …probably not in kilns as such. It was for later cultures to develop actual ‘kilns’, with a flue, firebox, and separate chamber(s) for the wares to be placed for firing. It was only then that higher-fired stoneware, and porcelain could be achieved, because ‘real kiln design’ allowed for the higher temps needed for vitrification (or close to it) of those clay types. FYI

        I might add that earthenware clays, if tempered enough … will withstand cooking temps as would be done on an open fire ….. and burnishing the ware before firing, would make it somewhat impermeable to leakedge.

  22. William

    Regarding TAC article. I’m a little skeptical of thinking of this batch of brass as “combat generals”. The last “mad” marine general I recollect lost more men in the first wave at Tarawa than Mattis ever stomached. These guys have been directing cakewalks, militarily speaking, against hopelessly outmanned enemy’s, leaving the the really hard part-civil administration- to their civilian follow-up. Here, we have no doubt really screwed up. Just a passing thought, and no offense intended to those in uniform.

  23. Plenue

    >Collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Reveals Inadequacy of Current Climate Strategies Truthout

    I think it’s clear we’re past the point where any strategy will do much. For all the fear-mongering about how Trump is going to send us over the cliff, we’re already well past the edge. The difference between him and Clinton is merely the speed with which we will fly towards the bottom. It’s 2016 and we’re still waging oil wars in the middle-east.

    1. Robert Hahl

      From the article: “…already-emitted greenhouse gases are responsible for 35 percent more warming than we have measured. The reason being global cooling gases (sulfates emitted mostly from burning coal) have masked a third of the warming that should have already occurred.”

      I have heard this before, that eliminating coal burning would actually increase the rate of warming by reductions of sulfates. Very discouraging.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So, every kid will receive a lump of coal this year?

        “Coal – it saves jobs and it will save the world???”

        Is this today’s best explanation replacing yesterday’s best explanation?

      2. gepay

        What this article shows is that nobody had really studied the Antarctic ice shelves very seriously before the 90s. The current research only shows how things actually are now. It is of course true that ocean levels can rise rapidly in the warming coming when the Earth comes out of a glacial period. We are not coming out of what most people (but not scientists) call an Ice Age. The alarmist predictions come from computer models using in the words of the article “scenarios”. We know that the models failed to predict the pause in warming starting in 1997. “Something was clearly different about the nature of global temperature change since 1997 than it had been in the previous two decades. It was not only slower, but not increasing at all for many years. Indeed it was said in the prestigious scientific journal Nature that the “pause” or “hiatus” is the biggest problem in climate science.
        The study of the warming hiatus is cutting-edge climate science not the “settled science” of the greenhouse effect and mankind’s input of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It is not complicated. The three main global temperature datasets are freely available to anyone and there are many, not just professional climate scientists, who have the scientific and statistical skills to analyse what is after all not a great deal of data… Last summer the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a paper in the Journal Science that said the hiatus did not exist. They had “refreshed” some of the data and the hiatus had gone away…(people who have graded high school chemistry lab papers would probably used fudged to get the correct results for “refreshed”.)the Spectator David Whitehouse 26 February 2016
        An early 2016 Nature Climate Science article said ““It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims… “In all three observational datasets the most recent 15-year trend (ending in 2014) is lower than both the latest 30-year and 50-year trends. This divergence occurs at a time of rapid increase in greenhouse gasses (GHGs). A warming slowdown is thus clear in observations;”
        It should also be noted that there were over 150 peer reviewed papers trying to explain the pause using different mechanisms. Most of them using variations of natural variation and the ocean ate my homework. However the science is settled.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          Due to possibly issues with formatting, it may not be clear to readers that the text from “Something was clearly different…” to “… the hiatus had gone away” (but not the part about high school chemistry) is actually two verbatim quotes from the David Whitehouse February 2016 Spectator article referenced.

          Readers with more knowledge are invited to add something, but searching “global warming hiatus” quickly brings up a discussion of more recent work on the subject; this November article summarizes:

          A new study of the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature warming trend observed between 1998 and 2013 concludes the phenomenon represented a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, with Earth’s ocean absorbing the extra heat. The phenomenon was referred to by some as the “global warming hiatus.”

          […] there is broad agreement among the scientists and in the literature that the slowdown in the global mean surface temperature increase from 1998 to 2013 was due to increased uptake of heat energy by the global ocean.

          1. Plenue

            The hiatus likely never existed in the first place, since it was based on satellite measurements where the two ‘scientists’ running it ‘accidentally’ used faulty equations that didn’t properly account for orbital decay. The corrected equations show continued warming (which the terrestrial measurements always showed in any case).

            1. gepay

              Plenue is just wrong. When the orbital decay problem was recognized, it was promptly corrected. This was in 1998 before the present “hiatus”. Not 15 years later being “refreshed”. The corrections were not contested. The satellite data is now recognized as the most accurate temperature readings. As opposed to ground readings where most of the Earth is not covered by actual weather stations. There are only 7 weather stations in the whole of the continent of Antarctica and none in the Arctic Ocean, very few in Siberia and many parts of Africa. . Most of the temperatures used to calculate the socalled Global average are inferred from where there are weather stations to the much larger portion of the globe where there aren’t. In his co-authored paper Michael Mann called it a false pause and then used the rest of the article to explain why the pause was there. As for OUtis – the Ocean ate my homework excuse – if true – proves that pre-pause models were not taking natural variation at full value. So how much of the not disputed warming of the 80s and 90s was caused by natural variation not taken into account rather than by man made CO2? Try to convince yourself that the modelers know the Earth’s ocean well enough to model its role in the climate. There is no agreement on something as recent (climatically speaking) as the Younger Dryas where one doesn’t have to make the Little Ice age disappear to make hockey sticks in temperature graphs. Or even more recently please explain what mechanism was behind the drop in temperatures during the Little Ice Age. But but the science is “settled”.

              1. gepay

                I did go and read the article Outis referred to. They obviously believe the hiatus is real.
                “The hiatus period gives scientists an opportunity to understand uncertainties in how climate systems are measured, as well as to fill in the gap in what scientists know,” did the word uncertainty register
                According to the paper, “arguably, ocean heat content—from the surface to the seafloor—might be a more appropriate measure of how much our planet is warming.” This is not even guessed at.
                In the article, which is not the paper,”NASA’s examination of ocean observations has provided its own unique contribution to our knowledge of decadal climate trends and global warming,” said Veronica Nieves, a researcher at JPL and the University of California, Los Angeles and co-author of the new study. “Scientists have “more confidence” now that Earth’s ocean has continued to warm continuously through time.”
                But this data is from the NOAA that denied there was a pause.

                from the Guardian :Temperature reconstructions by Nasa, using work from its sister agency the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration….

                back to the article…real-time data and more research are needed to quantify and understand what is happening,” Yan said.
                But but ” the science is settled”

  24. JTFaraday

    Donald Trump’s childcare plans are a step in the right direction FT. “From the Department of Strange Bedfellows: Anne Marie Slaughter worked under Hillary at State, and is a longtime Clinton supporter.”

    Oh, she had a big falling out with Hillz because Our Head Feminist wasn’t sympathetic to her need to raise her kids back in NJ. “Lean in” and all that. I think she quit and went back home.

    She’s a tenured professor. She doesn’t need you.

  25. Procopius

    I am not a lawyer, but I think the judge who signed that FBI search warrant should be severely disciplined by whatever the body is that oversees judges. Likely he didn’t read it.

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