Links 12/2/16

This is Naked Capitalism’s special fundraiser, to fight a McCarthtyite attack against this site and 200 others by funding legal expenses and other site support. For more background on how the Washington Post smeared Naked Capitalism along with other established, well-regarded independent news sites, and why this is such a dangerous development, see this article by Ben Norton and Greenwald and this piece by Matt Taibbi. Our post gives more detail on how we plan to fight back. 380 donors have already supported this campaign. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal.

Rogue Beaver Apprehended After Trashing Store That Sells Fake Christmas Trees Huffington Post (Chuck L). My kind of animal! Although I do have a certain fondness for fake Christmas trees, our family having acquired an aluminum pom-pom tree in Boston, when buying synthetic trees was unusual, by virtue of not being able to procure the real deal. And it was duly decorated for many years thereafter, along with the traditional type.

Bomb detector works better with fake dog nose on the end Guardian (YY)

1 million Google accounts compromised by Android malware called Gooligan ars technica (Bill B)

Judge forces Coinbase to hand over years’ worth of user data to IRS ars technica (Chuck L). We said Bitcoin = prosecution futures. The IRS has deemed Bitcoin to be property, so selling at a profit results in taxable income.

Eurozone unemployment hits seven-year low Politico. Of a really awesome 9.8%! Uncork the champagne!


Davis backs soft Brexit in blow to hardliners The Times

Lib Dems claim victory in Richmond Park by-election is a mandate for overriding Brexit referendum Telegraph

Brexit will mean unprecedented surge in insurers’ licence applications, warns IUA Lloyds List

Immigration to UK at record high: study Politico

Dutch parliament votes to ban burqa in public buildings Christian Science Monitor. Given the crazy costuming one routinely sees on the street in NYC, I find this hard to fathom.

Italian Referndum

Matteo Renzi’s referendum trap Politico

With Populist Anger Rising, Italy May Be Next Domino to Fall New York Times. For those old enough to remember the Vietnam War, “domino” is a dog whistle.

Italy Enters New Period of Political Uncertainty Roubini

Tweeting the Italian referendum: the hashtag war Bruegel

France presidency: Francois Hollande decides not to run again BBC. Readers were correctly skeptical of a report otherwise.

Trump Transition

Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump Washington Post. Lambert also features this in Water Cooler.

Don’t Underestimate Steven Bannon Ian Welsh (furzy). Likely not what you expect.

Trump’s Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast New York Times

Trump taps Mattis as defense secretary Politico

Vice President-elect Mike Pence Says Trump Administration Plans Ambitious Agenda Wall Street Journal

Civil Rights, Racism and Hate Crimes C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Obama to Block Second Chinese Deal on Security Concerns Bloomberg

AFL-CIO mulls Ellison endorsement for DNC chair Politico

Amazon’s Growing Power In The U.S. Economy Forbes. “Today, half of all U.S. households are subscribed to the membership program Amazon Prime…” Can this be correct?

New McCarthyism

Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited ‘Fake News’ Blacklist? FAIR. Circulate widely.

The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda New Yorker. Deadly. Also provides confirmations of one of our theories (based on very early followers on Twitter being Ukrainian neo-Nazis), that PropOrNot has close ties to anti-Russia propagandists in Ukraine.


Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites Wall Street on Parade

Publications Called Russian-Propaganda Distributors Consider Suing Anonymous ‘Experts‘ US News

The Orwellian War on Skepticism Robert Parry, Consortium News

“Fake News” Fizzles on Arrival Unz Review

Tell the Washington Post: “Smearing is not reporting.” RootStrikers. Please sign and circulate. They are short of their goal.

Effort to combat foreign propaganda advances in Congress Washington Post. Pam and Russ Martens correctly depict this as doubling down.

OIG Complaint About Prop Or Not Filed 2016 12 01

Obama laments ‘fake news’ — to rape hoax peddler Rolling Stone! American Mirror (JM). The right is having fun with this fiasco too.

Intel Officials Believe Russia Spreads Fake News Buzzfeed. Another original enthusiast doubles down.

The New Red Scare Andrew Cockburn, Harpers (margarita). Today’s must read. Not about the WaPo row, but about the dubious claims that Evil Rooskies were behind the DNC hack.

Fears ebb of Trump blocking AT&T’s $85bn Time Warner deal Financial Times

Two U.S. Job-Market Views: Strong Enough for Fed, Not Trump Bloomberg

Wells Fargo splits chairman and CEO roles after investor pressure Financial Times

Class Warfare

Poverty Doesn’t Need Technology. It Needs Politics. The Concourse (Dan K)

Hope in a Dark Era: In the Face of Barbarism, Thousands Turn to Democratic Socialism Common Dreams (martha r)

Antidote du jour. Jason G: “Taken at Vinoy Park in Saint Petersburg Florida.” This is a heron and the label on the photo says “Vinoy Heron” which I assume is a breed name.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Roger Smith

    Sanders can get mad all he wants, and I don’t disagree with his take on the policy as far as my understanding goes, but while he is off in policy land, Donald Trump just saved most of those workers jobs. Those people received tangible benefits. When was the last time anyone did the same? Clinton wouldn’t have done anything and the company probably would have received similar tax breaks any ways.

    I’ve said and always thought this election was a visual one, Trump is still winning the visual component, no matter how many liberals whine about the policy. Sanders added the brief qualifier, but he should tread carefully.

    1. Carla

      Actually, it was reported that the State of Indiana $7 mil bribe arranged by Pence/Trump will keep 1,100 jobs in that state, while 1,300 of the Carrier jobs are still going to Mexico. That doesn’t sound like “most of those workers jobs” to me. But maybe I’m just not “visual” enough.

      1. Fred

        In Detroit elected officials gave oligarch Mike Illych $187 million in tax breaks to build a hockey arena. Somehow that disappeared off the outrage radar.

        1. Vatch

          Definitely outrageous. And since the Carrier deal concerns the state of Indiana, it’s worth looking into outrageous tax benefits for Indiana professional sports:

          It’s hard to imagine Indianapolis without the Simon family.

          The mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. is one of the city’s most prominent corporate citizens, the company-developed Circle Centre mall acts as downtown’s heart, and the Indiana Pacers franchise—owned by members of the Simon family—gives a basketball-loving state a stake in the sport’s marquee league.

          But the family’s business successes and its role in building the city have come at a steep price for taxpayers. Simon and its business interests in the last 20 years have collected local government incentives worth more than $400 million, an IBJ tally of those deals shows.

          The city footed most of the $320 million tab for Circle Centre and owns the land, yet Simon operates it rent free. The city kicked in $23 million for Simon to build a 14-story headquarters just six years after giving the company another deal worth $15 million to stay downtown. And the city, having financed at least $158 million 10 years ago to build Conseco Fieldhouse for the Pacers, now is working on plans to provide the team with a $15 million annual subsidy.

          The article is from 2009, so it’s possible that the city of Indianapolis has finally gotten tough and recouped their investment. I kinda doubt it, though.

          Panem et circenses.

          1. Leigh

            Helped the city “thrive”…???

            Since when is watching basketball and shopping hallmarks of a thriving community?

            I thought good schools, well-paying jobs and access to affordable healthcare are what makes a community thrive.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think Vatch sees it as an outrage.

              And this happens at all levels of government, in places all across the nation…to benefit rich team owners.

              This time, though, the workers benefit. Is it a precedent of some sort?

              1. JTMcPhee

                Seems a pretty skinny benefit, good temporarily for half the pawns/peons/grateful workers not offloaded this time, but millions in “tax breaks” to once again accomplish corporate welfare at public cost. Any bets on when Carrier suits decide they have amortized their negative PR and can finish the move? Any investigative reporters looking at the plant to see how old the machinery is, and what’s coming in robotics, and whether the stuff built there will soon be superseded by “newer and better from Mexico”?

                Though running against the Narrative is like running with scissors, I know…

          2. Fred

            Illitch doesn’t own malls in Indiana but his wife does own Motor City Casino which netted a $350 million tax deal. Nothing beats being an oligarch with Establishment connections.

      2. Lee

        That bribe works out to $636 per year per job. At that rather low price I suspect the workers themselves would have been glad to pay it to keep those jobs. I know there is more to this issue but that particular point of focus is pretty damn weak in this instance.

        1. Waldenpond

          So another pay cut and/or another burden on the peasant class taxpayers. This is the same bs the oligarchs have been doing for 40 years and the Ds keep trying to sell the amelioration (temporary and meager ‘upside’)….. why aren’t you happy these few people aren’t homeless and starving YET.

          Send warm coats and food to your local dropoff.

        2. thoughtful person

          $6,363 per job, if it’s 1100 jobs for 7million. Though I’ve heard just 700 are staying, 1300 still to head south of the border. It seems like more corporate welfare.

    2. Anne

      I’m not so sure it’s about getting mad, as much as it’s about encouraging people to look past the headlines, and dig into the details to see what this deal really means.

      Despite the cheers Mr. Trump received as he walked around the factory floor, where the lines continued to run and he had to shout at times to be heard, another 1,000 workers for the company in Indiana will be losing their jobs.

      This includes 700 at a United Technologies factory in nearby Huntington, as well as several hundred here. The 800 or so jobs that are being preserved are mostly on the lines that build medium- and high-efficiency gas furnaces.

      Not long after Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence departed for the airport and to another rally in Ohio to celebrate his victory, workers coming in for the night shift received a letter titled “Company Update on Indianapolis Operations.”

      “It sets a great tone,” Mr. Trump said in an interview as he toured the Carrier factory after the announcement that hundreds of jobs would remain there. “What they’ve done is great for America.”

      “While this announcement is good news for many, we recognize it is not good news for everyone,” the letter stated. “We are moving forward with previously announced plans to relocate the fan coil manufacturing lines, with the expected completion by the end of 2017.”

      Listen, I’m all for people keeping their jobs – but the reality is that United Technologies can afford to keep its plants and facilities in the US, it’s just choosing not to in order to accrue bigger profits that will inure largely to the benefit of upper-level executives and stockholders. And now, with deals that will give them tax relief, more of those profits will be realized, jobs will still be lost, and the taxpayers will be subsidizing it.

      Now, I don’t know about you, but it makes my blood boil to read of the planned corporate tax cuts at the same time plans seem to be afoot to make changes in health insurance and social safety net programs that are going to hurt a lot of people – and it’s being framed as the government not being able to afford the high costs of maintaining them in their current form. The president-elect who was going to “drain the swamp,” who railed about all the corporate insiders, is not naming outsiders, but more insiders determined to find ways to make more money flow to the top – not to the so-called middle class.

      People aren’t stupid. At some point, isn’t that going to catch up to Trump, and Republicans?

      1. Lemmy

        >At some point, isn’t that going to catch up to Trump, and Republicans?

        Having given voice to forgotten middle Americans and middle-class workers, is Trump more or less susceptible to blowback if he fails to deliver? I think the former.

        After all, it was because many people had run out of patience with status quo governance that Trump won in the first place.

      2. cwaltz

        At some point it will.

        That “tax break” will potentially cause budget shortages. Guess who will get hit with HIGHER taxes as a result? The taxpayers-

        You can only mess with the books so much.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Yes, the money offer is from the state.

              But Indiana is part of the US, and if they need money to cover that, can Trump refuse at the federal level?

              1. cwaltz

                Yes, he can.

                One of the reasons they haven’t bailed out states with budget crisises like Illinois or California is that it would set the precedent of the Federal government bailing out states rather than forcing them to make citizens pay for their choices.

                So no I would not expect Indiana to get a “bailout” or handout for this choice and if the federal government did you can almost guarantee it would cause a mess.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I doubt he will.

                  Old problems maybe. You’re on your own.

                  This is new money, connected to his program.

              2. pricklyone

                That would be up to Congress, and whether he can get them to play along. Would require the R side to go against everrything they have been preaching for 30 years, though.

            2. cwaltz

              Yep. States aren’t sovereign in their currency and almost all of them have balanced budget requirements.

              Ultimately this is on Pence but everyone knows he intends on sliding on out of Indiana and leaving it to the next sucker- I mean governor – to figure out and taking “credit” for it of course.

      3. Bill

        Donald Trump was just elected President of the United States, and you say “People aren’t stupid” ?

        1. Anne

          I think Trump was elected, in part, because a certain Democratic candidate and her surrogates never missed an opportunity to imply that his supporters were, in fact, stupid, which is what people tend to hear when they are constantly being labeled as “uneducated.”

          I think there’s a large segment of Trump supporters who believed Trump when he said he was bringing the jobs back, that he was going to see to the needs of the forgotten American worker, that he wasn’t going to touch Medicare or Social Security, that he was going to give them the best health insurance ever at way lower premiums.

          So, what happens to his support when it begins to be clear that he isn’t going to deliver on all of that? Are some of them even now beginning to have doubts as Trump names billionaires and proponents of privatization of social safety net programs to his administration? Are they wondering if Trump isn’t like every other politician who will say anything to get elected?

          I guess we’ll see soon enough.

          1. Bill

            So are they stupid, to have believed a billionaire who’s most well known for declaring serial bankruptcies, care anything about them and their “petty” (i.e., sub-billionaire concerns) concerns ?

          1. NotSoSure

            If voters are not stupid, then how did we end up at the current state? Ok, you can blame politicians, big businessmen, etc, but it takes two hands to clap. If they are not stupid, then they are lazy. Or they are reliant on “hopium” which is just another way of saying they are stupid.

            1. cwaltz

              We ended up where we are because the “game” is rigged. BOTH parties want to cut Social Security. They just handle the optics of it differently.

              Democrats will argue they need to raise the age and cut the amounts given and means test to “save the program.”

              Republicans will argue we need to raise the age, cut the amounts given and means test to balance the budget and decrease our debt.

              The end result of both is the same.

              Meanwhile neither one of them is arguing that the sacred Defense department cow is ever going to run out of money, runs our debt up, or be is in jeopardy despite, unlike Social Security, not having a dedicated revenue stream.

              Politicians think we’re all stupid. That doesn’t mean we are.

              However, to get an alternative to either of the two abysmal viewpoints on the ballot you have huge hurdles to overcome that those two parties don’t.

              1. NotSoSure

                Even worse then. You mentioned that “The end result of both is the same.” So basically voters could not tell the difference. Ok, I admit that part of it was due to misrepresentation/deception by the powers that be, but then again it’s not as if this just happened yesterday. It’s been happening for a while. So why do people vote as if it mattered then since it’s all obviously a sham. “But then it will all turn into a dictactorship!!!” Well perhaps a dictactorship would have cause people to really act as opposed to the charade of hopium we are having.

                Here’s some strange things about Murica:
                1. The line of people waiting to be screwed by Goldman Sachs is never short.
                2. It proclaims itself as a democracy, but it only has 2 major parties. Just because the power that be tell you there are only 2 choices doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

                To me, intelligent people doesn’t equal people who can write the best code or what have you, it’s people who understand that things cost something, but then again “the best things in life are free”. USA, USA, USA!!!

            2. KurtisMayfield

              Look at the choices that people are given:
              Bush Gore
              Bush Kerry
              Obama McCain
              Obama Romney
              Clinton Trump

              Look at how the system is set up so that only corporate friendly candidates get through the system. It is designed to give us “Coke vs Pepsi” every time.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                So now we’ll get the first administration without a Bush or Clinton since Jimmy Carter. It’s much too early to tell, if they are the rabid right-wingers many suspect then that should sharpen the opposition. In my view there are a few points about the rabid right dogma I agree with: no nation-building, do not seek foreign monsters to destroy, economic nationalism, mistrust of central banking. I for one am very glad to see the back of BHO, winner of my coveted Worst_President_Ever award. And glad to finally say goodbye to the lady who sold the business of the US Government to the highest bidder.

                    1. integer

                      And Clinton was a part of 0bama’s administration, which was the claim Harris was responding to and wrongly thought he had outsmarted with his breathtakingly elegant piece of logic. In fact I think I will award today’s Thomas L. Friedman prize to Harris. Well done Harris!

            3. hunkerdown

              You seem to be very invested in portraying the American elective aristocratic system as “democratic” in order that you can say the people are empowered.

              Remember Boss Tweed’s saying? “I care not who wins as long as I control who are the candidates”? If there is stupidity here, it is in showing up to ratify the rigged system in its sh-tshow of subordination.

              Smart would be direct democracy — to those who whine that it takes too much time, they’re really just complaining that they aren’t getting a free show out of it. I firmly believe about half the time spent on the spectacle of politics could be redeployed into the consideration and deliberation of policy that legislatures normally reserve to themselves, with much better results over the long term once citizens learn how to drive the thing they were only allowed to pretend to drive before.

            4. JoeK

              We ended up with Trump as President because Trump is a quintessential American in many ways: a loud, fast-talking, self-involved, hyperbolizing huckster with nouveau-riche taste. That describes a lot of us to a great degree and many more to some degree. Everybody thinks they’re above average, likewise many of the people turning their noses up at him aren’t much better (in their actions if not words, even though Trump “has the best words”).
              We didn’t end up with a choice between HRC and DT (if only his middle name were David or Douglass) AND a RW Congress due to some cosmological catastrophe, we made and/or let it happen, all of us.

            5. Waldenpond

              The stupid voters failed to pick the correct oligarch. They should have picked the oligarch funded by the other oligarchs.

            6. witters

              Look, Not So Sure, all your superiority depends on there being a democracy in the first place. There is not a democracy, there is a corporatist kleptocracy. So – much as it pains me to say it – you are rather ill-informed and unfortunately unaware of the fact.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And those keeping their jobs will be thankful.

        Any tariff can come next year, the earliest, after inauguration.

      5. Waldenpond

        If the Rs can throw out just a few jobs, they will get reelected. Things are so bad, corrupt media will market this as improvement even though it isn’t. If jobs don’t keep up with population growth but the crumbs are better than what the Ds are willing to drop on the floor, the Rs will win.

        1. cwaltz

          We actually have numbers every month that tell us if this will net jobs.

          My math may be rusty but 1100 jobs staying here ALREADY but 1300 jobs leaving is not a net gain in jobs. It’s actually a loss of 1300 jobs. Not that I expect our rocket scientist journalists to get that.

            1. cwaltz

              300 of those jobs were already staying. 800 were actually saved although hey as long we’re just debating optics I don’t care if we round up.

              The $700,000 that this costing Indiana each year will need to come from somewhere. It means either an increase in taxes or some lucky public sector employees are going to lose their jobs to pay for this.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                $700,000 to benefit those workers.

                Spending for recounts – is that for a nobler cause?

                1. cwaltz

                  Maybe we should just do away with elections in entirety and just have taxpayers mail their checks to corporations to cover some of the shareholders bounty they dispense from the profits gained instead of even having an elected government

                  that is the logical conclusion to the belief that a corporate tax break that “save jobs”should take precedence over making sure voters actually have their votes recorded correctly IMO

                    1. NYPaul

                      “Keep digging,”………really.

                      By now I think that most political observers would agree that, “optics,” both positive & negative, trumps (sorry) almost everything as a winning strategy to garner votes.

                      Remember the poll question, “what is the first thing you think of when you hear the name, Hillary Clinton?” Answer, “deceitful, dishonest, devious.”……….optics.

                      Now, we have the Trump-Republican Carrier gambit. What do you think the response will be to the question, “who cares more about keeping jobs in America, Democrats, or, Republicans?” Again, “optics.”

                      If you believe the age-old adage is true, “one should learn from their mistakes,” then the democrat’s stupidity is the greatest weapon the Republicans have going forward. (as it has been for decades now)

      6. LT

        It’s amazing…

        They promise tax cuts to corporations who only want to stay if they can pay low wages. Low wages and ever increasing housing costs cause more people to need the safety net, which gets cut due to the tax cuts.
        Then you have the companies that get govt contracts ( tax payer subsidies) and still outsource and complain about wages.

        Stop taking tax dollars from the average workers paychecks and all these alleged “masters of the universe” are revealed as the biggest welfare recepients of all time.

    3. flora

      Yes. Trump said he’d save US jobs. He has saved some US jobs. He is shown immediately keeping one campaign promise. How he did this or how extensive it proves is secondary.

      Bernie is probably right in his criticism. (I’m a yuge Bernie fan). But, since the Dems probably wouldn’t have done anything to save these jobs, Bernie and the Dems don’t win this argument where it matters – with voters.

      1. Anne

        We’ve had a Democratic president – well, in a nominal way, I guess – for the last 8 years, and what has this Democratic president done to stem the tide of disappearing jobs? Granted, anything that would have had to run through the Congress was going to be DOA, but what effort did Obama and appropriate members of his Cabinet/Administration make to find and take advantage of any leverage they actually had to keep the jobs here? And I’m not talking about the government giving them anything, but threatening to take away or reduce the government’s willingness to do business with companies moving facilities out of the country.

        It’s been pointed out that United Technologies does a lot of business with the government, so why no pressure in that area to encourage them to keep jobs in the US? Pretty much all I have heard from Obama is a resigned “the jobs aren’t all going to come back” attitude.

        As near as I can tell, Trump got played. We got played. His supporters are getting played, big league. He may be able to do this once, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep a whole lot of jobs here using this method. I’m not even sure this current “deal” isn’t going to unravel late on some Friday afternoon after he’s been inaugurated, maybe during a blizzard that will keep it out of the headlines. And Trump won’t be going on any country-wide tours to take responsibility for it falling apart, either.

        This is a man who’s made some colossally bad business decisions; I have no reason to expect he won’t continue to do so, only this time, the consequences won’t be coming out of his pocket.

          1. Code Name D

            And Ford, don’t forget he bailed out Ford. He is still celibrated for that one. Why is Trump getting beaten with this again?

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Wilbur Ross makes an excellent point about regional trade deals. They start as bilateral deals (negotiate with partner #1). Then you go to partner #2 with the watered down version that suited the originator and partner #1, and partner #2 adds their preferences. By the time you get to the end you’ve got a blob that suits no one, and completely misses any actual bilateral issues between two participants

        1. Lemmy

          Trump continues in campaign mode, energizing the people who won him the election with highly visible (and highly symbolic) events such as the Carrier deal as well as with his “Thank You” tour in rust-belt states where he doubles down on many of his campaign promises.

          He seems to be operating under the theory that stoking the fires of his supporters will be the engine that powers his administration to accomplish much more of his agenda than currently seems possible.

          Any politician who saw how Trump turned the scorn and derision of his rallies toward the media might think twice before voting against a Trump initiative and subjecting him or herself to the same intense abuse from very vocal and passionate supporters.

          If this is indeed his strategy, then the terms of the Carrier deal are not as important as its ability to keep his base fired up and roaring for more.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            And he’s not even president yet.

            A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

            At this point, I would think that underestimating Donald Trump should be considered a colossal fool’s errand. Voluntarily keeping his supporters fired up and demanding action is no small accomplishment, and no small challenge to his future performance.

            He doesn’t strike me as the type of person who would be comfortable offering mealy-mouthed excuses for not keeping his promises like obama is.

            1. Lemmy

              For good or bad, Trump seems to be a once-in-a-generation phenomenon and for that reason alone is fascinating. Has anyone confounded conventional wisdom as much he has during the primary and general elections?
              The way he has remade the political landscape to suit his own ends reminds me of the famous quote usually attributed to Karl Rove:

              The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

              While George Bush and Karl Rove may have had an overinflated view of themselves as history’s actors, Trump seems to be a political savant who has overturned all preconceptions about how a presidential candidate should act and created a new reality that we are all now studying to try to understand.

              Regardless of all it all turns out, I hereby nominate Trump as the Disruptor of the Decade.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                If Trump wants to tour the Rust Belt, again and again, why not?

                Especially, if each time, he can show some results in keeping jobs here or getting them back.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  The mere fact that Trump phoned the CEO of Carrier tells a huge tale. Obama may have phoned Eric Schmidt to ask how he can spy better or to confirm tee times at the private Beyonce weekend but that’s all. America has huge power to wield and even if its a locked down Korean chaebol arrangement, so long as it’s in the interests of the nation and not just the interests of the amorphous globalist celebrity “cool guys” I’m all for it.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              ‘He’s not president yet’ is a key factor here.

              He can’t impose tariffs now…not yet.

              Meanwhile, those workers were sick over or stressed out losing their jobs.

              If one live is important, some is one job.

              “Even if you just save one job, you should.”

            3. uncle tungsten

              He is just doing what he has always done: distract and deceive. Now who was hist last administration appointment or his next?

          2. thoughtful person

            Good point. Critics should point out that the deal is Carrier is getting millions of govt financing to send half their jobs to Mexico. Granted the corporate dems would not keep any….

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          We’ve had a Democratic president – well, in a nominal way, I guess – for the last 8 years, and what has this Democratic president done to stem the tide of disappearing jobs?

          I seem to recall something about saving the auto industry?

          1. Anne

            Not single-handedly, he didn’t. Which is not to say that he wasn’t a big part of the auto industry bailout.

            And yes, there was the economic stimulus, which saved some jobs, too.

            But it seems to me that Trump’s message about saving and keeping jobs here would not have resonated the way it did if millions of people did not see themselves – or their family members and friends – as casualties of job losses their president and their government didn’t do anything about.

            Month after month, year after year, we’d get these glowing reports about how well the economy was doing, unemployment coming down, and so on – but why was it that that wasn’t a perception shared by everyone? Because it hasn’t gotten better for everyone. Sanders’s message that the economy did not come back for everyone resonated with a lot of people, and when Sanders fell out of the picture – or was pushed – that aspect of Trump’s message gained traction with a lot of people.

            Obama’s been riding the economic recovery for a long time, and while he has been known to say, from time to time, that “we can still do better,” it feels to a lot of people like those are just words, not backed by any action.

            The Carrier jobs feel like action. They look like action. Makes people wonder why Obama didn’t take it, a long time ago.

            I still maintain that Trump is not likely to keep being able to convince people that 800 jobs saved, with the help of $7 million in tax benefits for United Technologies, and some 1,200 jobs there still going offshore, is a formula that can be successfully repeated.

            1. Lemmy

              You may be right that Trump’s Carrier formula is a one-off result.

              But for right now, when you compare the tangible results of those 800 jobs saved to the stirring rhetoric we’ve been getting from Obama and Clinton — “those jobs just aren’t coming back” and “there will never, ever be single payer” — I can kinda see why people are happy to get whatever kind of victories they can.

              1. cwaltz

                Clinton never held office, however Barack Obama can lay claim to actually creating not just thousands of jobs but millions of them during his term.

                We can certainly argue over the quality of those jobs but then again I don’t know about the “quality” of these jobs being saved either.

                For all I know part of the “deal” with the workers will be more pay cuts, increases in cost shares for benefits like health care etc etc.

                There really isn’t enough information to know whether this was a “good deal” or not.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  What crap. After eight years “the economy” is barely back to where it was, and millions have never been and will never be made whole. And that’s before we get to the labor force participation rate. And Obama didn’t “create” jobs. His stimulus package created jobs, and the package was too small, at least in part because Larry Summers suppressed the larger stimulus package Cristina Romer wanted to present to him.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I would also add the distinction between manufacturing jobs and gig-economy jobs, under Obama’s or anyone else’s administration.

                  2. cwaltz

                    The economy is not back on track under Trump either.

                    Good grief the guy just negotiated 1100 jobs remaining, 1300 leaving and everyone is acting like he did something great.

                    It’s still a net loss in jobs.

                    As far as semantics go I guess Trump isn’t really “saving” these jobs, it’s the tax package that Indiana offered that did it(and apparently they didn’t go big enough either since 1300 jobs are STILL leaving.)

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      If we think it’s half empty,it’s half empty.

                      If we think it’s half full, it’s half full.

                      Let those think it’s overflowing or great, step forward.

                  3. pricklyone

                    So DJT saved nothing, Indiana stimulus did. Same logic at work.
                    And that stimulus was too small, as well, since more than half of the jobs went bye-bye.
                    I agree that the optics of the thing go to Trump, but I thought you weren’t buying into the Kayfabe.
                    Isn’t there space here to discuss the economics as well as the politics?
                    These kinds of “deals” are easy. And temporary. And as some people note over and over again, they pick winners and losers. Somewhere in IN, there will be jobs lost as a result of this revenue loss to the state.
                    DJT will do just as BHO, and point at the gains, while ignoring the losses.
                    Those increased Ocare premiums probably provide some hundreds of insurance jobs to the positive, but at whose expense?
                    Trump just lost his outsider status, when he was elected, and became a full-on Politician. (capital “P”)

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Somewhere in IN, there will be jobs lost as a result of this revenue loss to the state.

                      More jobs, less jobs or the same number of jobs lost?

                      And how do know for sure?

                    2. integer

                      At least Trump has a spine, which is not to say I’m a fan. My impression is that Trump brings out people’s subconcious emotional insecurity/self loathing, and then they blame their own weakness on him.

                2. Anne

                  This may be the equivalent of the death row prisoner strapped to the gurney, who gets a stay of execution – but not a commutation. I fully expect some kind of announcement to come from Carrier in the not-too-distant future that, golly, they had really, really wanted these jobs to stay here, and oh, thanks for the tax incentives, but, gosh darn it, the accountants and financial folks have told them the numbers just aren’t working out, so, adios, America – we’re heading to Mexico. And I’m also expecting Trump to not punish them for doing so.

                  This business about Obama “creating” millions of jobs is the stuff of stenographic “reporters” hyping feel-good propaganda, perhaps in the hope that if enough people believe it, it will actually be true.

                  I don’t know if you read all of Lambert’s economic stats, but I’ve been reading them long enough to know that much of what the administration and the media are telling us about how great the economy is just doesn’t jibe with the numbers. This isn’t Neverland, and we’re not Tinkerbell, and no amount of clapping and shouting “I believe” is going to make the economy into something it just isn’t.

                  Right now, this is easy for Trump; he’s not actually in charge, the full weight of the economy is not on his shoulders, and he can do this one economic card trick and look like a hero, but as much as millions of people are counting on him to keep it going, I don’t think it’s sustainable.

                  There are more shoes yet to drop, not least is exactly what’s in store from – as Charlie Pierce would call them – the zombie-eyed granny-starvers determined to cut the strings holding up the social safety net. People with vouchers for crappy health insurance, seniors choosing between privatized Medicare and eating, people being thrown off Medicaid and disability, and chained CPI cutting Social Security benefits – these are not things that are going to goose the accelerator of the economic engine. These are things that will keep pushing the money higher and higher, over the heads of and beyond the reach of ordinary people.

                  It does not inspire any confidence that House and Senate Dems have just installed two of the old-guard in leadership positions – people who appear to have no rational idea why their party barely has a pulse, and who show all signs of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

                  I’m sincerely glad that some 800 workers and their families have gotten a reprieve, but I can’t help thinking of the millions who haven’t had any hope or any opportunity for years now, and those who are daily joining their ranks.

                3. Optimader

                  M-W and ( the B of Labor Stats) needs a new definition for “jobs” in other words?
                  One that captures underemployed ppl working for a nonliving wages that are structurally dependent on government supplements.

          2. IdahoSpud

            Yes, Obama bailed out GMAC, the lending wing of General Motors. Please bear in mind that – financially, at least – GM was small auto manufacturing industry attached to an enormous lending operation.

            GMAC under the DiTech name had branched out into originating toxic home mortgages, pioneering the use of 125% loan to value loans. If I recall correctly, government regulators were calling these shoddy loans “financial innovation” at the time.

            If General Motors hadn’t owned DiTech, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a taxpayer-funded bailout that “saved the auto industry”. GM probably wouldn’t have even needed a bailout without the massive losses incurred by DiTech/GMAC.

            BTW DiTech was placed in receivership, renamed “Ally Bank” and then TV viewers got showered with (government funded) propaganda-like commercials that kept saying “I love my bank!” immediately following a huge banking sector bailout.

      2. JCC

        Yes. Trump said he’d save US jobs. He has saved some US jobs. He is shown immediately keeping one campaign promise. How he did this or how extensive it proves is secondary.

        I don’t believe it is ‘secondary” at all. First, he save 800 jobs, not the 1100 he’s bragging about. 300 of those jobs are white collar jobs which were going to remain anyway. That’s OK though. Most politicians always brag or exaggerate about things they claim credit for and Trump will prove to be no different in that regard.

        Second, Carrier announce they are going to move production anyway even though they are keeping 800 blue collar jobs while eliminating over 1200 blue collar jobs.

        And finally, third, Trump called out Carrier specifically during his mid-west election stumping saying No tax breaks, we will charge them a 35% tariff on every single air conditioner imported from Mexico into the U.S.

        Instead he pushed for the exact opposite, helped to arrange at least a $7 Million tax break, and then bragged about it.

        Draining the Swamp, indeed. The Who said it all back in ’71. Many just don’t want to admit it.

        and the world looks just the same
        and history ain’t changed
        cause the banners they all flown in the last war

        Meet the new boss
        Same as the old boss

      3. cwaltz

        We’ll see whether he is “saving jobs” when the jobs numbers come out. The reality is 1,000 jobs is less than the 1, 300 Carrier still intends on shipping to Mexico and that $7,000,000 price tag is going to come out of the pockets of all taxpayers in Indiana, not just those 1,000 men and women.

        I’m not a math genius but the company just saved $7,000 per employee on the backs of taxpayers in Indiana. They’ll either need to a) make that up by charging taxpayers more or b) offer less in services which means less policing of these plants for violations or less help for another citizen who might need social services, etc ,etc.

        States, unlike the federal government, have to balance their budget.

        This was real gimmicky because part of it included an agreement NOT TO SLAP A TARIFF on Carrier’s products that get imported back in the country from Mexico. That means those 1300 jobs going to Mexicoand the jobs already there and are safe and also Trump’s fault because it still works out for them to export some of the jobs to Mexico.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Democrat pearl-clutching over the kind of tax incentives every state has been using for years looks tendentious because it is tendentious. And optics the Democrats are creating for themselves are remarkably bad. You’d think the party of professionals would have better professional politicians. Apparently no.

              1. Jess

                It’s also my understanding that Carrier will be getting federal tax breaks for the jobs that it sends to Mexico. So the idea of anyone in the current federal government criticizing tax breaks from Indiana for retaining jobs is just ludicrous.

                1. marym

                  Trump from the link:

                  “I just want to let all of the other companies know that we’re going to do great things for businesses, there’s no reason for them to leave anymore,” Trump said in a speech after touring the plant with Pence. “Because your taxes are going to be at the very, very low end and your unnecessary regulations are going to be gone.”

                  Nothing about tariffs there.

                  I agree with those saying that politically it’s a good look for Trump to “save” some jobs, and that maybe pre-inauguration it’s too soon politically to start talking about tariffs again.

                  However, I don’t think it’s overly tendentious to be happy that some people won’t be losing their jobs; and also to point out that corporate tax breaks aren’t a path to economic well-being for workers.

                  Well, maybe hypocritically tendentious for the failed Democrat establishment, but not for Sanders or the actual left.

      4. a different chris

        Another yuge Bernie fan, but he is making major missteps under the lights: Bernie needs to just shut up. Please. Shut. Up. Attacking the first guy in a long time that appears to be doing something – whether he is or not – just because it doesn’t meet what can so easily be construed as some purity test is just not a good idea.

        “Sanders, huh? I’ve just saved 1000 jobs, which is about 1000 more than he’s ever saved. And I haven’t even taken office yet, haven’t even really started.”

        AND: This is why I support Stein’s efforts so much – many of you don’t seem to get how unimportant the details are, you keep ragging on them and giving us links to other people ragging on them and….so what? Who cares what precisely she is doing? We need somebody, we don’t care if they actually accomplish anything specific at all, nipping at Trump whilst he’s trying to settle in. Meanwhile the Sanders/Warrens etc need to keep their powder very, very dry until after the dude takes office.

        War, American football, business, it’s all the same: Keep the pressure on but save your big guns for when the target is at its most vulnerable. The Rethugs excel at this – Judicial Watch and etc are the nippers, then they let Clinton/Obama put some targets out there and the big guns unload.

        1. cwaltz

          I disagree that he should shut up.

          Personally I think he should be asking Mike Pence what is going to be cut in order to give Carrier that 7 million dollar tax break? Or is the plan to raise taxes on Indiana’s taxpayers?

          He should hit them in their “fiscally responsible” pocketbooks.

          1. integer

            I disagree that he should shut up.

            It is clear that disagreeing with shutting up is your default position on any topic, one you continually put into practice at every given opportunity. Worthwhile exchanges of ideas and pov’s do not consist of one person saying the same thing over and over again until the other person/people just can’t be bothered responding anymore.

            1. cwaltz

              I think you should probably let the person I was conversing with take that position instead of inserting yourself into the conversation.

              Here’s a fun game for you. Find the duplicate comment I made on this thread on regarding this particular point.

                1. cwaltz

                  I did. Your comment was very kind, thank you. Yesterday was not a great day for me. As you can see I’m back to my usual feisty opinionated self.


        2. uncle tungsten

          Sanders is absolutely right to be hard on Trump’s tail. Trump has made it terribly clear that he intends to decimate public sector jobs. So what does it matter to him that he ‘saves’ a fer private sector jobs except optics. Bernie needs to constantly point out the duplicity and stupidity of Trump’s ‘administration style’.

          The point about Bernie Sanders constant retorts to Trumps BS is that he is the ONLY democrat who has the strategy and leadership profile to be able to diminish Trump’s authority on a wide range of policies.

          Anyway Trump achieved what he wanted; to push the recount off the front page.

    4. aliteralmind

      He saved 1,000 jobs, perhaps giving them tangible benefits, with the price of setting a precedent that will likely cause the outsourcing of thousands or millions. I’m finding it pretty difficult to consider this a positive.

      1. Pat

        Which is why optics are not everything, but in a world where people are working constantly and get their news in 140 characters, who is going to come off well in this? Sanders who seems to be criticizing the saving of 1000 or so jobs, or Trump who appears to have saved those jobs even though it has complicated implications that small numbers of jobs will be saved by giving into corporate blackmail? Optics are going to Trump details.

        Yep Trump just won that one. Sure it isn’t Reagan welcoming home the hostages, but it is as close as we have seen in the last thirty years. And remember how complicated and nasty the release of those hostages really was.

        Funny how the Democratic position of those jobs are lost get over your butt hurt has come back to haunt them on multiple levels. Perhaps recognizing that losing those jobs was unacceptable to a really significant portion of Americans and clearly working hard to stop job loss might have been a better plan than pushing job killing globalization deals that just accelerate the process. If they had, might be that public would listen to them about the adverse aspects of this deal.

        And I know Sanders has been working to do this, but unfortunately the lone voice amid a sea of free market fuck labor they can retrain assholes is not going to make the difference in this war of the optics.

        1. Pat

          WTH let me state the obvious, if they had, and Clinton showed any interest in workers issues, this might not have come up at all. Clinton might have managed to complete the one job she had – to win the election. But as with pretty much her entire resume, she f*%cked it up. And the party she and her husband helped build in their image f*%cked it up for that party even more.

          1. Pavel

            Thanks, Pat, for the well-deserved outrage and anger re the incompetent & arrogant HRC campaign.

            And as Anne points out upstream:

            Listen, I’m all for people keeping their jobs – but the reality is that United Technologies can afford to keep its plants and facilities in the US, it’s just choosing not to in order to accrue bigger profits that will inure largely to the benefit of upper-level executives and stockholders. And now, with deals that will give them tax relief, more of those profits will be realized, jobs will still be lost, and the taxpayers will be subsidizing it.

            I am feeling old and jaded and cynical (and listening to vintage Bob Dylan, “Desire”, as I type :) but it just seems all about greed and corruption — be it Hillary’s “Foundation” or Trump with his myriad scams or United Technologies’ tax dodge or Apple keeping $180B or whatever it is offshore as they can reap profits whilst paying Chinese workers peanuts.

            On a brighter note I went to the farmer’s market here in France today and the old chap selling eggs was as cheerful as ever. Simple pleasures!

            Let’s see what happens with the vote in Italy on Sunday. That could be another Brexit/Trump level disruption.

        2. Lambert Strether

          But that’s not what Sanders is saying. I don’t think Sanders is especially worried about the optics. If he keeps barnstorming the country like he did in 2015, and nobody noticed, the optics will take care of themselves (not to say there doesn’t need to be a Sanders 2.0; there does).

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Sanders barnstorming the country and Trump touring as well.

            Maybe they bump into each other, somewhere in the Rust Belt?

          2. Pat

            Fair enough, but how far into the weeds do you think most people are going to get in all this. In the long run, I expect Sanders and anyone who follows in his footsteps to prevail regarding jobs must be saved but not in a manner that is destructive over time because he has shown he is interested in the plight of workers and he isn’t going to flit onto something else next week. He is a long term thinker. So I agree with you about him not being concerned with the optics. For me the bigger problem is that our media and other so called opposition voices aren’t long term thinkers, do not do long term campaigns for populist concerns, and thus will lose both the optics battle and the siege.

            1. cwaltz

              I think all in all this was a big ol publicity stunt from the Donad since technically he didn’t create any jobs and he still let 1300 of them leave the country which actually works out as a net loss on a jobs report.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Sure. And we need more publicity stunts just like it to let companies know they will pay a PR price for acting solely in the interests of their globalist shareholders with their shares squirreled away in Panama. Keeping 1 job here is a win.

            2. Inode_buddha

              Those workers need to pay their bills *right now*. Long term thinking of *any* ideology is basically meaningless to them. That is why Trump will totally own this. Speaking from experience here as a blue-collar rust-belt worker.

          3. Lee

            Sanders is doing an extended interview on my local NPR station (S.F. bay area), telling of his rude awakening when the Dodgers, which he had believed was a community owned entity, “the very heart of Brooklyn”, left for L.A. Policy stuff too, of course.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          For a would-be dictator, he is weak to not simply coerce Carrier to just keep 1 or 5 jobs in America.

          “I demand.”

          Certainly, he lacks the patience of an Asian wise man. He should have waited until next year to impose tariff, so that Carrier will be forced to back those jobs back.

          Not sure why he wants to let those 300 or 500 workers have a less stressful winter…

      2. cyclist

        I’ve also not seen it mentioned that Carrier used to be the one of the largest manufacturers in upstate NY, with thousands of jobs in the Syracuse area. Those jobs vanished to Mexico and China 20 or 30 years ago. While they still have a facility in the area, I think it is just white collar/R&D, and probably employs 1000 max.

        1. Baby Gerald

          Syracuse University’s football stadium is called the Carrier Dome for a reason. Strangely, it wasn’t air-conditioned.

      3. hunkerdown

        Exactly — saving, on what basis, against what comparison, and why that one? Doesn’t matter — deliverance is the very soul of American liberalism.

    5. cocomaan

      The aspect that Bernie missed in his article, and is probably more important, is that Trump has made significant threats of tariffs against companies offshoring jobs. I haven’t heard the word “tariff” from a Democrat in awhile, because they tend to support “free trade”.

      Whether he can follow through is another matter. I am not up to speed on what it takes to put a 35% tariff on a company’s products.

      1. BecauseTradition

        One wonders why foreigners would prefer our fiat rather than our goods and services and part of the reason has to be positive interest paying sovereign debt, including interest on reserves (IOR).

        So, to boost our exports, eliminate welfare proportional to wealth, positive interest paying sovereign debt, including interest on reserves (IOR)? So that foreigners have a disincentive (with negative rates) to hoard our fiat and other sovereign debt?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Tariff comes next year, at the earliest.

        These jobs saved now mean those workers are less likely to die this winter.

        Human they are too.

        One can project or one can watch for what unfolds next. No one is a Nostradamus, not even Nostradamus.

  2. no one

    Mr. Trump may be disappointingly conventional (albeit right-wing conventional) regarding his proposed government appointments, but he is indeed a breath of fresh air in foreign policy. The NY Times pearl-clutching story (Trump’s Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast) reveals just how ossified our policy has become. Now that Mr. Trump sits atop the most powerful military-industrial complex in history, it’s time to shed those horrid choreographs from the hoity-toits in the State Department for someone who is direct and engaging.

    This may turn out to be better than we thought.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m struggling to imagine what “worse” than BHO would look like. The guy who “lost” Turkey and The Philippines. Who managed to completely piss off *both* sides in Egypt. Who lectured England not to Brexit. Who hacked Angele Merkel’s private cellphone and the UN. Who installed the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. Who sent his Secretary of State to embarass himself and his nation at the UN talking about kettle/black “war crimes”. Who grovelled to Malaysia’s demands to keep slavery in the TPP. Asleep at the switch across the broad swathe of Latin America, except to support the info-wars ouster of Rouseff in Brazil.
        The bar is not just low it’s completely smashed flat into the ground.

    1. Sandy

      Aghast diplomats means you’re doing something right. They’re the ultimate self-preservationists.

    2. cocomaan

      The language in that article is fascinating:

      * offhand invitation
      * freewheeling
      * a startling break with diplomatic protocol
      * unfiltered exchanges
      * planning and conducting his encounters
      * breezy tone
      * cavalier attitude
      * “he’s encouraging people not to take him seriously”

      What exactly does the NYT think is working with our foreign policy? I would venture to say that Obama’s diplomatic goals are all but shredded. Every foreign policy success has ended in failure or, worse, bloodshed. Burma and Kyui? She’s killing Muslims and inspiring homegrown terrorists in the US. South Sudan? Genocide. Syria? A grinding grist mill of foreign meddling, resulting in years of horrific violence. The Obama foreign policy group sounds to me like a group of attaches who aren’t actually speaking to anyone.

      If “serious” foreign policy is what is called for, I’m going out on a limb to say, “let’s start joking around.”

      1. Pavel

        I had precisely the same reaction. Is the NYT claiming that “traditional” diplomacy has had any great success lately?


        NB many of these disasters (cf. Libya) could have been averted had not the “traditional” diplomacy of Hillary, Kerry, Rice, et al been ignored.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Doesn’t matter if foreign policy, whatever that is, “works,” in any way measurably beneficial even to a narrow neo-neo version of “the nation,” itself a myth. It’s more like a medieval Stately Dance, all costumes and courtly behavior. Trump ain’t exactly Elvis, but he’s definitely “All Shook Up” and off the beat.

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Thanks for calling out Aung San Suu Kyi, unfortunately just another mytho-hero, there are some very dark realities about her actions against the Rohingya but also the Kachin and Karen peoples. You can’t blame her entirely as the historical experience with the British, then the Japanese, the Chinese, and the Burmese generals mixes up the pot, but “a brave warrior for the rights of all oppressed peoples” she is not.

      4. uncle tungsten

        Are these the same diplomats that are members of the 51 team that signed the letter to Obummer for a ‘no fly zone’ / ‘attack Assad (Russia) now’ strategy?

    3. Jim Haygood

      One presumes that Trump will summarily dump Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, a position she has held since her Senate confirmation in Sep 2013.

      Drain the swamp of neocon ringers posing as public officials.

      1. Optimader

        The Mandarins are agitated. The SDept professional breakfast/lunch/dinner/per diem ecosystem is feeling threatened!

        “President Obama benefited enormously from the advice and expertise that’s been shared by those who serve at the State Department,” Mr. Earnest said.

        Not evidence based IMO

        “By taking such a cavalier attitude to these calls, he’s encouraging people not to take him seriously,” said Daniel F. Feldman, a former special representa…”
        Unlike the great admiration and respect BHO has cultivateed over the past eight years?

          1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

            I am not sure he gained their respect. I remember the episode where Netanyahu appeared in DC to address Congress like he was the Dalai Lama or something right during a midterm election. A slap in Obama’s face and a pretty good indication of what the Likudniks thought of him.

            1. FluffytheObeseCat

              They – specifically Netanyahu – felt comfortable insulting the POTUS while in D.C. in large part because their sponsors within our permanent state encouraged them to be comfortable. Obama was distinctly backstabbed on this one. He apparently felt it was better to take the insult, and retire to a life of massive speaking fees, than to risk addressing the internal disloyalty revealed by it.

              During his campaign it looked like Trump would dish out payback to both sides of our conventional political divide. Now, given his cabinet choices, it’s clear that only the least rabid right wingers will take a hit. Essentially, the ideologues who devoted 8 years to weakening Obama are being rewarded for the damage they did to our nation during his tenure. I hate to make common cause with identitarian scolds, but good ole racism and xenophobia are the simplest, likeliest explanations for why.

            2. JTMcPhee

              I guess I should have added a sarc tag to my comment just above. Obama was and is a worthless mess to almost all of the rest of us.

              “Make me do it! Shut up and eat your hopeand change!”

    4. hemeantwell

      Agreed on the pearl clutching, but the account of his talk with the Pakistan PM was hilarious.

      “When Mr. Sharif invited him to visit Pakistan, the president-elect replied that he would “love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people.”

      What will he say to Modi?

    1. a different chris

      I don’t even think they are necessarily “inaccurate”. Everybody bends in some way or other to their spouse, dogs are even more gracious companions. If the dog eventually figures out that the “drugs are there” signal has some sort of positive effect on his handler then said dog is pretty likely to lie – not down, but “lie” as in “not tell the truth” just because it seems to make Officer Officious happy.

  3. HBE

    From diplomats aghast in NYT.

    “President Obama benefited enormously from the advice and expertise that’s been shared by those who serve at the State Department,” Mr. Earnest said. “I’m confident that as President-elect Trump takes office, those same State Department employees will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas.”

    Yes he’s certainly benefited enormously, from the war in Libya which was pushed by the state department, to 50 SD employees signing a letter to Obama recommending we start more intense bombing of Assad, among other great benefits.

    I guess it depends on perspective though, if you want chaos, destruction and destabilization the state department is an enormous benefit. If you want peace or even just less war the SD is probably not “enormously” beneficial.

    1. integer

      Heh, look at that “earnest” little mischief-maker trying to create reality. He’ll sleep well tonight.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Slightly surprising and reflective speech from Jim Webb on elites, Trump, the foreign policy failures of team Obama, etc.:

      “[Libya] became sort of a sad allegory of everything that has been so wrong for America and that part of the world. No direct national security interests were involved in Libya. No American forces were at risk, no treaties were in play that could have called for our military action.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Webb’s foreign policy views are usually good and well thought out from a stance of national defense, and no, he isn’t an imperialist.

        He is a terrible politician, and now that I have just thought of it, his remarks about actually killing people during the debate were meant to point out war is awful even for the living and that he understood the costs. He’s not very good (abysmal; the worst ever*) the stump. His editorials against the Iraq war were among the best if not the best.

        *Webb ran against Mark Warner’s lackey in 2006 for the Democratic nomination. The guy who lost was simply an awful human being and creepy on top of it. This guy and George Allen, a reputed racist, in 2006 were the only people he could be in an election.

  4. fresno dan

    Rogue Beaver Apprehended After Trashing Store That Sells Fake Christmas Trees

    This reminds me of a Gary Larson cartoon where a freighter hauling mannequins is sinking, the mannequins are floating about, and a confused shark says to another shark, “what kind of sick joke is this?”

      1. fresno dan

        December 2, 2016 at 9:03 am

        “cruel hoax’ – ah, the brain gets swiss cheesy…..

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Been wasting time on and off all morning looking for a good link to a Larson classic:

        “Midvale School for the Gifted”— Hillarious, particularly in view of how “smart” hillary clinton, her campaign apparatus and her supporters were supposed to be.

        As an aside, I ran across one I’d never seen: Inconvenience Store

        Can you help me here, aliteralmind?

      1. Mike Mc

        Yes please. There are a number of articles floating around describing the hellish working conditions in Amazon pick-n-pack warehouses – run by subcontractors of course, no flies on Amazon please! – these are just retail versions of slaughterhouses. Worked for Manpower Inc. for some years in the 1990s and we worked hard to avoid exploiting our employees… Amazon OTOH more than happy to use subs to grind employees to dust in order to bring LOW LOW PRICES and FREE SHIPPING to every last fool with a charge card. Want to see the Third World w/o a passport? Find one of these hellholes and chat up the workers. You will never shop Amazon again, guaranteed. Bezos may be brilliant but he’s scum… and we’re not much better going along for the ride.

    1. curlydan

      The estimate I see from a marketing research firm named Consumer Intelligence Research Partners is 63M Prime members:
      “This analysis indicates that Amazon Prime now has 63 million US members, spending on average about $1,200 per year, compared to about $500 per year for non-members. The current membership estimate compares to an estimated 44 million US members at the end of the June 2015 quarter, or an increase of 43%.”

      Assuming 125M U.S. HHs, then OK you could get over 50%, but it really depends on how much you want to believe that research firm. 63M Prime subscribers could yield $6B in Prime membership fees. All these estimates sound too high to me.

      1. jhallc

        I will admit to being a prime member but, only during the free trial period. I cancelled once it ran out. My daughter recieved a free 6m Prime membership as a student. I piggy backed on that for awhile and she now has a 1 year renewal that cost her $50. She uses Amazon primarily for books. I on the other hand use it for many little things that are hard to find eleswhere. I often will order individual items just to cost amazon more in shipping and help the USPS (Not sure that really helps, does that make me a bad person?).

        I don’t think every one of those 44/64M subscribers pays anything or full price.

        1. Dave

          Can you order a toothpick, or maybe a small box of toothpicks, from Wampamazon?

          People that don’t get it, scroll down

          In case you don’t get it, “wampum” is American Indian lingo for “money.”

      2. pricklyone

        Everyone I know, with a decent income, is a member. Anecdotal, but may be telling.
        If you already buy a lot online, free 2day shipping seems a bargain. Gotta be a loss leader for Amazon, though, in the long run, as more people use it.

        1. a different chris

          Member. Only use it to stream stuff, that is as a secondary Netflix, if that’s any defense (probably isn’t). I don’t buy anythng from Amazon, my family does but not much.

          1. pricklyone

            Yeah, I didn’t even get to the video streaming. That is a big draw, for sure.
            Seems like a heck of a deal, for 100bucks, on the ground. Most folks I know think it’s a “no-brainer”.
            I wonder if there is any way enough people use their services at full cost to offset?
            Seems unlikely. Netflix keeps upping the subs. cost, due to the cost of content, purportedly. Same costs should apply to Amazon?

  5. fresno dan

    Don’t Underestimate Steven Bannon Ian Welsh (furzy). Likely not what you expect.

    In more immediate terms, Bannon, for all he is decried as a racist, is the person you want to win most of the Trump White House fights, at least if you care about ordinary people, because he’s the guy who wants ordinary Americans to do well, and he knows he needs Hispanics and Blacks to get jobs too. Contrary to what mainstream economists (over 90% of whom, I remind you, did not notice the housing bubble) say, Trump can use tariffs to bring a lot of jobs back. The manufacturer of iPhones (FoxConn) has already said, sure, they’re willing to build them in the US. They aren’t going to kiss a market like that goodbye.

    But Trump’s tax cutting instincts work against this. Cutting taxes for corporations isn’t as effective as tariffs, because corporations already pay very low taxes, and multinationals pay damn near none, since they play various jurisdictions off against each other.
    So Bannon is a key man in the White House. If you’re a partisan Democrat first and don’t give a fuck about the working class and middle class, especially in flyover country, then Bannon needs to lose his fights, because if he wins them, Trump gets elected again (though, as I note, I don’t think Bannon gets his 50 years, unless he’s far more clever even than he’s so far indicated (not impossible)).
    Do you believe in the nation (hmmmm, maybe I was wrong about electoral voting, and geography as an interest group) or do you believe in “meritocracy”** (Davos Man)?

    **I have posted enough links about how meritocracy is bull and pretty much equivalent to King’s being God’s chosen….

    1. Steve H.

      fresno dan, skynet doesn’t like the paragraph from yesterday’s Interfluidity article beginning with *High-powered cities*, but it’s relevant to meritocracy as well.

    2. integer

      Imo it’s time for all prior loyalties to be discarded. Playing politicians off against each other to get the best for the people on any given issue is a better strategy. No more identity groups, they lead to partial solutions at best. Someone did something good but someone else has a viable plan to do it better? Goodbye someone and hello someone else. Politicians are ruthless and the game needs to be inverted. After all they are all employees of the people. They need to have their noses rubbed in this fact until they stop forgetting.

      1. integer

        Once I had a dog that was half dingo and half staffie. It was the most hierarchical animal I’ve ever been friends with. I let her sit on the couch for a while and when I decided that wasn’t going to happen anymore she would jump up and sit there and growl at me. We had a little chat and she understood the score from then on (I pinned her on her back holding her two front legs and yelled at her, no violence occured), but she would size up every single one of my friends and decide who outranked who and act accordingly. Probably the closest I’ve ever been to having a politician as a friend. She mellowed as she aged.

        1. cyclist

          That dog is probably a follower of our new Sec. of Defense nominee James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who has said “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” .

        1. integer

          It’s always important to know precisely what you want to do before starting to work out a way to do it. A fundamental engineering principle. I have a loosely related comment in moderation.

          1. JustAnObserver

            As a long ago CTO of my company used to say: 1st question is *always*

            “What problem are we trying to solve ?”.

            Hint for Dems: It’s not the Russians.

    3. DorothyT

      NC’s links are the reason I read this site first thing each morning and far more thoroughly than I ever did the NYT.

      This Ian Welsh piece, “Don’t underestimate Steven Bannon,” is, as Yves writes, “Likely not what you’d expect.” Suggest reading the comments, pro and con, on his site as well as here on NC if discussion ensues.

      1. SoCal Rhino

        Yes, Ian is getting some of the same reaction that Yves received when readers thought that statements suggesting that an evil foreign dictator was tactically competent was an expression of support for said evil foreign dictator. Displays of less than staggering analytic clarity.

    4. Vatch

      The manufacturer of iPhones (FoxConn) has already said, sure, they’re willing to build them in the US.

      Ooh, ooh! Will we get to have suicide prevention nets here in the U.S., just like in China?

      1. ambrit

        Yes! Exactly! The Ripple Effect in action. Buy Acme Suicide Prevention Technologies (ticker title; ASP) now while you can still get in on the ground floor.

    5. Tigerlily

      I don’t think President Trump is going to impose tariffs on trade. To global elites any impediment to “free trade” is blasphemy punishable by death, and if you look at the people with whom Trump is surrounding himself you’ll see that not only are they not martyr material, they’re card carrying members of those very elites.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Looking at some of the Supreme Court justices, and how they have worked out versus the expectations, there is no guarantee those surrounding Trump will act as they have.

        1. polecat

          Say … that reminds me … is the unhonorable Just-us Ginsberg still planning to move to New Zealand ??

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          I wouldn’t bet on many upsets. Trump has completely surrounded himself with self-dealing super righties. There is more than 9 of them, they don’t have lifetime tenures and the SOTUS analogy no longer holds. The Supreme Court justices who defied convention all date back decades and most of them are gone now. The most recent crop – on both the Republican and Democratic sides – have performed as expected. Neither Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor or Kagan have developed a reputation for the unexpected, or for flipping sides much.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Nothing much reliable to guide us there, for sure.

            Just possibilities, because human nature.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Jobs, comrades:

    The nation’s unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6% in November. Strong job growth continued with the economy adding 178,000 new jobs in the month.

    The data suggests the Federal Reserve is all but certain to raise interest rates later this month and may have to move rates at a faster pace and higher than markets now expect.

    The steep drop in the unemployment was unexpected. The jobless rate has barely changed in the past year.

    J-Yel’s sidekick Stanley Mellon Fischer can barely contain his glee.

    He’s cackling this morning … “Rate hikes, my precious-s-s-s-s!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Reigning bond king Jeffrey Gundlach compares the current U rate to its 12-month moving average (12MA). When it’s above the 12 MA, it sends a recession warning.

      As of last month, the current U rate had crept up to 0.5% above its 12MA. Usually a plus/minus 1.0% deadband is applied to suppress spurious signals. So last month’s reading wasn’t a recession alert.

      With this morning’s reading, the U rate is now 3.0% below its 12MA, back in expansion territory. In conjunction with strengthening retail sales and a rise in the ISM purchasing managers index, it looks like the US economy is gonna rock on through the winter.

      1. JohnnyGL

        My gut says it’s gonna be a false dawn. We’ll get a qtr or two of growth, then rate hikes and oil price hikes will finish off key sectors.

        OPEC just decided it needs to stop beating itself up.

        Bond market is already doing the hiking with the Fed to follow suit soon.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Quite agree. The Fed’s third rate hike in Spring 2017 likely is the one that will start to bite.

          They are still obsessed with “stockpiling ammo” in the form of a higher policy rate, without fully accounting for bond and forex markets already having tightened monetary conditions.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe U-3 rate, but as most people here seem to have concluded, that’s a nice fake number when it comes to the reality of the political economy that other-than-FIRE-people live in. U-6 at around 9% gets closer. And a flyover view might follow the number put out by Shadowstats, at 22.8% for November 2016.

      Of course “investors,” except for marginals and contrarians, seem comfortable running their scenarios off the U-3 number mostly, since the Dumb Money and Less Smart Money reacts to that one…

      Jobs, or JAWBS? What constitutes the various categories of “jobs,” and what do jobs mean to real people in their daily lives? And what kind of outcomes to all those real, ordinary people really need from the political economy they are born or migrate into? And cross-index that with what kinds of work are necessary to the survival of the species, let alone any kind of decent place and polity to live in? U, whatever value gets assigned by interest-seekers at the top. is a bit of a convenient fraud…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Fair enough, JT. But Gundlach’s U rate model relies only on the household survey being conducted in a consistent manner, even if its absolute value is understated by excluding discouraged workers.

        That is, relative changes in the U rate provide useful information, even if the headline number is half what it should be.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When one loses one’s job, it’s a depression.

      And one’s job is saved, one’s grateful.

      “The government ought to do more. Money is no object for a sovereign.”

      1. Waldenpond

        First, some might have survivors guilt but with the vast loss of jobs that just keep happening in waves, I would imagine they are aware it is a very temporary reprieve. The stress and depression and desperation to get finances in order before the final axe falls and knowing that long term unemployment is the likely outcome.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Long term unemployment issue is a big boat. It will take at least until inauguration, even to attempt to tackle it, much less succeed, in the face of, among other problems, the advent of the Age of Robots.

        2. jrs

          the thing is there is no real finances in order for long term unemployment, short of being independently wealthy, and that’s not an option for most. Maybe non-dischargable debt might be worth paying off (read: student loans) maybe not even that.

  7. Steve H.

    : The New Red Scare

    Good to see the Fighter Mafia still out there reality-checking.

    ‘The Pentagon isn’t a war-fighting machine, the Pentagon is a weapons-buying machine.’

    1. MtnLife

      That article gave me the distinct, if frightening, impression that our military is run by rabid carnival barkers. “Step up, step right up heeeya and see the wonderful terrors of our enemies. See the “agile” submarine that took 20 years to build. Cower in fear at legions of undertrained and underequiped infantry. But make no mistake, my friend, you will not leave here without understanding why we need another trillion for defense.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        And it’s gone beyond that. Now it’s more like the toy designers of the world, playing off fads and stretching for the Brass Ring of the next Nerf Shooter or Barbie Doll or Beanie Baby or Cabbage Patch Kid. Infinite possible “threats” to be imagined, and every counter-threat toy they design (ever more expensive) is a “threat” to be peddled by some other corporate scum in some other part of the global war materiel bazaar. Not much of a bazaar, really, since there is so little haggling over price and quality — more of an incredible Cornucopia, that just keeps spewing out MMT money and the crap and instability and destruction it buys…

        Can not be fixed.

      2. LT

        The military is run by people who know that the USA has been a “war” (real or imagined) econonmy since WWII.
        Even the vaunted tech sector serves the national offense industry first.

    2. NY Union Guy

      The Fighter Mafia guys opened my eyes up to just how corrupt and wasteful our imperial arms procurement system is!

      Chuck Spinney writes a fantastic blog on these issues, and his ‘Domestic Roots of Perpetual War’ paper is a great primer on the Military-Industrial-Intel-Congressional complex.

      1. River

        If you haven’t read it already, read Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram. See how The Fighter Mafia came into being.

        Excellent book.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Knights of the air,” who flittter around at high Gs getting into position to stick their missile or bullet up the other guy’s a$$…

  8. Carolinian

    From the Unz Review Karlin article, a Conspiracy Theory you can believe in:

    I am getting the distinct impression that this is a very well planned information operation that was that was meant to kick into high gear upon Hillary Clinton’s election, perhaps in conjunction with the “Russia bombed The Last Hospital in Aleppo” meme to set up the groundwork for a showdown in Syria (there are hints that this is indeed what Hillary Clinton was planning upon assuming the Presidency).

    Given the extensive ties of Western intelligence services with MSM editors, as claimed by whistleblowers such as Udo Ulfkotte and Paul Barril, and the CIA’s allegiance to the “blue empire,” the direct involvement of Western intelligence services cannot be excluded.

    Whether or not Trump turns out to be the new Reagan domestically I think it’s safe to say that we have dodged a bullet by keeping Hillary away from foreign policy. One might further speculate that she hoped to make this new cold war the a way of maintaining public support as president given her obvious lack of other political skills.

    It’s a CT for sure, but more plausible than most.

    1. integer

      This is what I was seeing as the election unfolded and it scared me. I believe commentariat member Fiver put forward this theory too.

      1. hunkerdown

        ProPorn seems like a rear-guard Clinton campaign action to me too. Especially in light of our friend Brad de Long’s gleeful and comprehensive threat:

        Mind you: The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for Guevarista fantasies about what their policies are likely to do. The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for advocating Comintern-scale lying to voters about what our policies are like to do. And it will be important to do so then–because overpromising leads to bad policy decisions, and overpromising is bad long-run politics as well.

        But that day is not now. That day will be mid-November.

        J. Bradford de Long, whose career, work and life should be gleefully and comprehensively trashed.

        1. integer

          Yep. Btw, I checked the staff pages of CAP and it doesn’t look like his son got the job there (that he emailed Tanden and Podesta about) after all. They probably thought the optics would be too bad after the Wikileaks revelations. Hahaha. It must feel so lousy to be so intellectually compromised.

          They’re still out there trying desperately, but I think they know it’s over.

    2. Optimader

      My position is HRC ‘s foriegn policy proclivities were more of an existential threat than Trump’s likely domestic policies. The latter is less likely to start a hot war.
      I assume Trump is not interested in ethusiastically deploying a “muscular foriegn policy” as a initial “diplomatic tool”.

      1. uncle tungsten

        I trust that is so Optimader. But that assumes that the masters of war at home and abroad wont contrive a false flag horror to herd the Trumpster in the right direction. I suspect that Erdogan is perfectly placed to be used to that end. The sunni wahabis are boxed in badly right now by both moderate sunni islam and shia islam. Anything is possible in the middle east to stampede the USA into a ‘correct’ response.

        The unfolding Palestinian process is a loaded dog for Trump to avoid if he can separate fact from fiction from chauvinism.

  9. DJG

    There is nothing surprising about the possible win by the No vote in Italy. The constitutional amendments are poorly written, and there are too many of them crammed into the same ballot.

    Here is a quote from an article in La Stampa that will seem familiar to U.S. readers:

    Il Censis fotografa il Paese nel suo Rapporto annuale, e scrive che il problema «più serio per la nostra società» è la divaricazione tra il potere politico e il corpo sociale, impegnati entrambi in «reciproci processi di rancorosa delegittimazione». E le istituzioni, che dovrebbero fare da cerniera tra i due poli, sono in una «profondissima crisi».

    There is a splitting going on between political power as exercised and the body politic, resulting in delegitimization. Political institutions, which are supposed to be intermediates, are in a deep crisis.

  10. fresno dan

    You need not be a fan of Donald Trump to say that trade has had a big impact on manufacturing jobs, you really just need to be someone in the reality based community.
    There are three points worth making here. The first is a simple logical one, we have a trade deficit of around $500 billion a year, a bit less than 3.0 percent of GDP. This is basically all due to a deficit in manufactured goods (we have a surplus on services). Does anyone believe that the extra imports associated with the trade deficit are not associated with jobs? Can $500 billion worth of manufactured goods be produced without hiring people?

    It really is quite amazing how much effort among economists goes into labeling anybody who wants manufacturing to OCCUR, STAY, or RETURN to the US as a luddite – so it is refreshing to get some pushback from Dean.
    A cynic might postulate that as CEO’s funnel money to institutions that employ economists, economists want to keep them happy…..but that would be cynical

    1. John k

      Problem is furriners want to save in dollars, which explains the never ending trade deficit… in addition to individuals that don’t trust their own currency (now including china!), some countries need dollars because that is their currency… curse of reserve currency (not really a curse, you can enjoy both that free stuff and full employment with the right deficit.). Tariffs would just raise value of dollars vs other currencies, ending up with the same trade deficit.

      Problem is not enough dollars, Solution is more dollars, I.e. Much more deficit spending, which boosts us jobs while also offsetting the money drained out of the economy by us and foreign savers (inequality is a part of this narrative as money flows up and is saved because the rich can’t/don’t spend all their income, boosting total savings.)

      It would help politically to change back to the way Bls calculated unemployment before Clinton changed it, we would see much higher values, including the millions that have given up. This would help counter banks press for higher interest rates and politician’s push for balanced budgets. Clinton’s change was a major move towards neolib.

      1. John k

        In fact, all taxes drain money from the economy, so new tariffs would be counter productive, draining money while not affecting net trade… overall there would be a net loss of jobs.

        1. Goyo Marquez

          Not sure what you mean by drain. Does the money just disappear? Is money somehow more valuable when spent by CEOs than when spent by the government?

        2. Pat

          I’m going to disagree. Not all taxes drain money from the economy. It depends on how the taxes are used. For instance the taxes that businesses pay towards unemployment compensation obviously benefit the economy when they keep people housed and fed (the person receiving the benefit spends it). The taxes that go toward SNAP are a proven econic stimulus. One could even look at the benefits of having fully employed teachers and government workers spending money in their communities as a net plus.

          Now yes unless the tariff is onerous enough to make corporate bean counters bite the bullet and sacrifice their increased profits by keeping manufacturing in America you could probably say that it was a net loss. Still I think a case could be made that if tariffs are earmarked for distressed community rebuilding projects manned by job programs even they will be better than continuing the status quo.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The taxes DO drain money from the economy.

            They are not “spent”. The spending is created by the government spending directly.

            The fact that particular programs link the two is a political action. It has nothing to do with the fundamental nature of the process.

        3. Jim Haygood

          “taxes drain money from the economy” … while spending puts it right back.

          The buffer between the two processes is the Treasury’s account at the Federal Reserve. As FRED tells us, Treasury’s checking account is bulging at the moment with $409 billion:

          Generally, governments operate hand to mouth. Hoarding of tax revenues without corresponding spending would be an unprecedented change in behavior.

        4. todde

          But tax money stays in america.

          If you send it overseas it will only come back as an investment wanting a ROR.

          Draining even from the economy

          1. hunkerdown

            No, todde, taxes extinguish money. It is only a matter of ill-considered policy and the privileges of private banks that we simulate and enforce the conservational behavior of a closed, inward-facing loop rather than a responsive open system.

        5. HotFlash

          all taxes drain money from the economy, so new tariffs would be counter productive, draining money while not affecting net trade

          Do not get this. Taxes only drain money from their *own* economy; tariffs drain money from the *other* guy’s economy. Which is, I believe, what “we” want?

      2. Michael

        There are two kinds of economists — those who understand accounting identities and those who don’t.

  11. BeliTsari

    I believe it’s pretty obvious why Naked Capitalism is being targeted, reading the superlative Uber articles. Any number of former posters on the Liberal blogs had noticed David Brock’s trolls reverting to their various K Street tropes, about how forced-pool fracking, kleptocracy, bio-engineering, police militarization & regime change were core American values, well before election night’s shocking denouement? I’m really hoping the WaPo witch hunt deepens in scope, so great blogs like ProPublica & DeSmogBlog share in any increased exposure & revenue?

    1. Oregoncharles

      John Michael Greer, the Archdruid, is very offended that he was left out – Archdruid Report, current post.

      1. uncle tungsten

        Perhaps he hasn’t criticized Hillary overtly. It seems that only those who have transgressed are ‘on the list’. An (in)convenient payback as I see it.
        Hell hath no fury…..

  12. Jim Haygood

    Fiat currency pathology:

    Domingris Montano needed to buy groceries. A package of rice would cost 3,500 bolivars, more than half the daily withdrawal limit, and the ATM might be empty by the time her turn came. “I’ve had to go to six different ATMs just to get 6,000 bolivars [worth $1.30],” said Montano, a 36-year-old hair stylist.

    It can take hours to acquire the equivalent of $6, about one-third of the monthly minimum wage that many earn. “Sometimes I go to five ATMs without getting anything at all,” Ramon Tovar said, because the devices are busted or bare.

    When he’s desperate, he heads to a market where a vendor will swipe his debit card and give him cash — for a 25 percent service fee.

    Some banks don’t restrict amounts in interactions with live tellers, but there’s a rub at the counter. “The last time I cashed a check, it was for 44,000 bolivars and they gave it to me in bills of 5 and 10,” said Elyn Hernandez, a 27-year-old assistant chef. That many bolivars in notes of 10 would fill a duffel bag.

    Inflationary burnout usually ends within two years, typically with either a new domestic currency having credible protections against overissuance, or else the legalization of foreign currencies (as in Zimbabwe).

    1. Tom_Doak

      Maybe they could get all the 50 and 100 Rupee notes taken out of circulation in India and use those?

  13. Optimader

    Dutch parliament votes to ban burqa in public buildings Christian Science Monitor. Given the crazy costuming one routinely sees on the street in NYC, I find this hard to fathom.

    Good for them. A small country pushing back on religious zealots that want to convert it’s society w/ their religious bullshittery.

    Has NYC fashion degenerated that far since i was last there? Chicago these days is a walking brand impression for the The North Face

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Didn’t China frown on Halloween costumes?

      “The scary invasion of Western values,” according to one paper.

      1. Optimader

        That would be their perogotive even in tbe context of a one day celebration, not that the Chinese demure away from costumes for celebration, or am I wrong on that?

        All that, but I consider Holliween costumes a poorly concieved false equivalency to a burka which is nonelective, 365 days a year and targeting only 50% of the population for compliance at the very real risk of fatal results for non compliance.

        So when the fundamentalist Male muslims start stoning eachother for not wearing a burka I will reconsider it as something more than a device for gender based abuse and social control
        Whats good for the goose is good for the gander Beef?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was comparing the Chinese reaction (not able to fathom them) to Halloween costumes to our inability to comprehend those routinely on display in New York, and not about burka.

    2. witters

      No. They just want the freedom to wear the clothes they choose to wear (I understand that this freedom and rights and humanity stuff is hard for many when it includes people they don’t like).

      Now I teach quite a few burqa wearers at post-grad level, and I have to say it is not the burqa I dislike, but the sun-glasses and especially mirror sun glass wearing ‘right kind of people’ I get in my office. The eyes are the window of the soul. When they are closed away we confront zombies.

      I think we should think seriously about a “No Zombies” movement.

    3. HotFlash

      Interesting. Way back when, I went to school to nuns. They wore medieval outfits then — wimples, long gowns, pinned-on sleeves,veils and other funny hats. There was speculation that they shaved their heads (turns out not true) and at least one of my (Protestant) friends did not believe they had feet. I got some pretty good education from them, though, and learned to respect these Brides of Christ, who IMHO are not sufficiently valued by their Church. Seen that kinda thing in a lot of marriages, though, sad but not mine to interfere.

      I stand by the right of my sisters (and brothers) to wear or not any damn thing they please. Don’t governments have some governing to do? Maybe fixing climate change or something?

  14. Benedict@Large

    “… close ties to anti-Russia propagandists in Ukraine.”

    I’m surprised this is still in the “Theories” category, although I suspect your target is just slightly off. All of this started happening almost exactly when the first stories started appearing about the Iraq War dead enders moving to Camp Hillary, where I suspect they were given a free reign, an operating budget, and access to the MS media stenographers. Instead of Nuland as the target of your theory, place (her husband) Kagan and his ilk. These people are all part of the extended family of the old Committee on the Present Danger, which explains the almost immediate switch to Russia and nuclear weapons themes that we’ve seen. (There really hasn’t been any precipitating incident for this otherwise.) These are very dangerous people, not because they can actually do anything, but rather because (both here and with Iraq) they keep hitting all the hornets’ nests, forcing everyone to always be in the react mode. Fortunately the Trump victory has disabled them somewhat, although it’s pretty clear that they are still operating out of Camp Hillary. That woman really needs to just go away.

    1. integer

      Now more documents, in the massive 2,500 leaked tranche, show the immense power and control Soros had over Ukraine immediately following the illegal Maidan government overthrow.

      Soros and his NGO executives held detailed and extensive meetings with just about every actor involved in the Maidan coup…from US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, to Ukraine’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Health, and Education.

      The only person missing was Victoria Nuland, though we are sure those meeting minutes are waiting to see the light of day.

      Plans to subvert and undermine Russian influence and cultural ties to Ukraine are a central focus of every conversation. US hard power, and EU soft power, is central towards bringing Ukraine into the neo-liberal model that Soros champions, while bringing Russia to its economic knees.

    2. Rory

      But she won’t, which means that people who oppose these efforts need to remain vigilant and active in opposing them.

  15. Bill

    “For those old enough to remember the Vietnam War, “domino” is a dog whistle. ”

    The last time the old “domino theory” was ascendant, 58K+ American soldiers died. I wonder how many Italians will be lost.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s the Euro that’s endangered by the “dominos.” Quite a number of Greeks, and probably Spaniards, etc, have already died to “defend” it.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Just an old piece of parchment:

    Scott Pelley: Have you told [Trump] that being president is not being CEO of the United States, that the Congress is going to have a say?

    Paul Ryan: Oh, we’ve talked about that extensively. We’ve talked about — the constitution, Article I of the constitution, the separation of powers.

    He feels very strongly, actually, that — that, under President Obama’s watch, [Obama] stripped a lot of power away from the constitution, away from the legislative Branch of government. And we want to reset the balance of power, so that people and the constitution are rightfully restored.

    Being a corporate CEO with a hand-picked board of directors is indeed very different than sharing power with 535 legislators and eight nine senior judges.

    1. Vatch

      eight nine senior judges.

      This is ominous. Earlier this year Trump effusively praised the dead Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He may nominate a Scalia clone, which would be very bad for the country. I hope a few Democratic Senators have enough backbone to filibuster against such a nominee.

    2. JohnnyGL

      This gets back to the problem where Trump constantly lies. He may have told Paul Ryan what Ryan wanted to here, but I suspect Trump will absolutely stab Ryan in the back when convenient. He also knows Ryan will do the same to him.

      Every Republican seems to think they’re getting exactly what they want out of Trump. Some of them are bound to be very disappointed, but which ones????

    3. optimader

      Being a corporate CEO with a hand-picked board of directors is indeed very different than sharing power with 535 legislators and eight nine senior judges.

      More like managing a hostile BOD after selling the IPO of a mismanaged/moribund Entity, w/ the implied notion of a herd of sparkle ponies on the horizon, that continues on a flat line EKG .

      Have you told [Trump] that being president is not being CEO of the United States, that the Congress is going to have a say?

      On the other hand, it’s all in how you frame a question. Who the fk is Scott Pelly to lecture anyone on anything?

  17. Tim Solanic

    New McCarthyism Suggestion:

    Create a quick website with a catchy name tied to a hashtag like maybe #NewMcCarthyism AND unfortunately gather donations to fund ads in Facebook & Twitter to promote the real info to debunk that idiotic WaPo article.

    Or if anyone has seen the already successful hashtag out there – we could run with that.

    Surely if you lead the way Yves or Lambert – by coming up with the name / hashtag – the community will step up and create the website/campaign.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      McCarthyism is to investigate without evidence.

      That’s McCarthyism.

      It’s similar to charging foreign hacking when there is no evidence of it.

  18. hemeantwell

    Re the Mattis appointment to SecDef, it’s worth noting that Juan Cole quotes him as having termed the Israeli system of control as apartheid.

    It’s also worth noting that Ellison’s bid to lead the DNC is running into flak for similar statements.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Poverty Doesn’t Need Technology. It Needs Politics. The Concourse (Dan K)

    Chock full of great observations.

    Philanthropy is fine and dandy. Show me a good charity, though, and I’ll show you an idea that could be practiced on much larger scale by a government. (One of the world’s most effective anti-poverty charities does nothing but send money directly to poor people. Hello, redistribution of wealth.) [Duh!] Fighting poverty—and making our nation more economically fair—is not a mystifying riddle waiting for a technological breakthrough. It is a question of political will. If we want to push more wealth down the economic chain, we will.

    The idea that zuckerburg and his wife can and will do more about fighting poverty and inequality than the u. s. government because he made billions inventing facebook is as bizarre and deluded as it gets.

    It’s just another example of obama’s preferred method of pretending to do something so he can do nothing, and become an honorary member of the club in the process.

    It’s an illusion. The rich and the poor were around long before Silicon Valley. It’s not another class at Stanford that we need. It’s class war.

    Amen. And let’s get this party started.

    1. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      December 2, 2016 at 11:01 am


    1. Vatch

      Interesting articles about the prohibition on recently retired or active duty military officers serving as Defense Secretary. The one exception was the appointment of George Marshall as Defense Secretary in September, 1950. At that time, the war in Korea was going badly for the U.S. and South Korea, and Truman needed to replace Louis Johnson with someone with a track record of success. Former Army Chief of Staff and Secretary of State Marshall was one of the few people who had such a track record at high levels of the military and diplomacy, so the Congress granted an exception.

      I don’t think we have a comparable military crisis now, so I wonder how many members of the Congress would be willing to grant such a waiver?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        From the Politico article re: the waiver for Mathis –

        But to get the job Mattis will need something highly unusual: a waiver. As a result, his selection is viewed by some as a major departure from tradition.

        Mattis is technically ineligible to be Defense secretary because the law requires retired military officers to be out of uniform for seven years before they can become the military’s civilian leader. That’s in an effort to ensure that civilian control of the armed forces, a bedrock of the American democratic tradition, remains inviolate.

        Unless Congress votes and the president signs an exception, “a person may not be appointed as secretary of defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force,” the law says.

        If Congress has to vote I’m assuming that means both chambers and the Dems could filibuster this in the Senate I would think. I also think they will decide to once again ‘keep their powder dry’.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The current law is that an officer has to wait a certain number of years (5 or 7, now, I think).

        Does it apply to running for the White House, or for the Senate/Congressperson/Mayor, etc…

        What about running the VA?

        1. Vatch

          It only applies to the Secretary of Defense. The purpose is to maintain civilian control over the military. Since former officers such as Eisenhower and Grant became President shortly following military service, one could argue that it should also apply to the President. But that would almost certainly require a Constitutional amendment.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Especially so for the commander in chief.

            The Secretary of Defense takes orders from the President.

    2. integer

      I like your site but you are not exactly perfect either, especially wrt typos. In fact ime the frequency of typos has made your writing painful to read at times.

  20. JohnnyGL

    Interesting links this am….
    Interesting article on how Tip O’Neill got the better of Reagan in the 1982 midterms. Shorter version: He gave him exactly what he wanted and let him OWN it.
    ESPN shedding subscribers at this clip seems like a really big deal. Sports and cable have been untouchable for so long and deemed “recession-proof”. People starting to see things differently? Or is the economy so bad that cable is just unaffordable?–finance.html
    People aren’t screaming for full repeal, in fact, they want it fixed.
    Jim Webb’s decent in this speech, too. Words of wisdom regarding Syria here:
    The sergeant I was laying next to underneath this wall said, “Sir, never get involved in a five-sided argument.”

    1. fresno dan

      December 2, 2016 at 11:28 am

      good links! I think football has the same problem Trump will soon have – too much exposure and people just get bored with it. Morning, noon, and night and Monday, Thursday, Sunday and soon enough Saturday playoffs as well – it used to be rare.

    2. voteforno6

      Thanks for the Jim Webb link. I don’t always agree with what he says and writes, but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into it. I think the same can be said for The American Conservative.

    3. Waldenpond

      So they are back to waiting for R overreach. Can’t wait until 2020…. D candidates are going to go with ‘I told you so’ (which is blaming the voters) instead of offering an affirmative platform in opposition to the five pillars of conservatism.

    4. Waldenpond

      ESPN shedding subscribers….I looked at ticket prices. 2006 average $62. 2016 average $93. Tickets sold: 2010 16.3 mill, 2013 16.6, 2014 16.1, 2015 17.5. So average price up and tickets sold in 2015 are up. I don’t care enough to look up how 2016 is doing but I would also be interested to know if pubs and other businesses have increased subscriptions and people are choosing to watch with friends and neighbors.

  21. fresno dan

    We’re in a world where, in the last 10 years, 40 percent of newspaper jobs have disappeared, and they have not disappeared EVENLY across the United States. Jim Tankersley has done great work that shows that media jobs are actually increasing in D.C. and L.A., but they’re decreasing substantially in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Minneapolis. If you go back to the 1990s, there were people like Barlett and Steele, who got two Pulitzer Prizes at The Philadelphia Inquirer for writing about D.C. issues from a Pennsylvania perspective. They did that series, “America: What Went Wrong,” linking up change in economic policy with what’s going on on the factory floor. But all of that has disappeared. People at the metro dailies, the radius of what they write about has become much more restricted. I used to think of that as a local or state problem, but if we’re keeping score through the electoral college, our failure to understand what was going on in Wisconsin or Michigan led people to be very surprised.

    An article about the media but surprisingly revealing about economic prospects.
    “….that media jobs are actually increasing in D.C. and L.A., but they’re decreasing substantially in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Minneapolis.”
    So not enough people are employed in the media in the midwest to report on how lousy it is in the midwest – meanwhile, employment prospects are going gangbusters on the coasts….

  22. Waldenpond

    Amazon signups? I can almost believe this. There are members of a household that will never sign up for any of the sites and all it takes is one member to sign up for facebook, twitter, amazon etc. I also wonder how many years of data they are using and whether they are counting those under 18 that signed up while at parents and have subsequently moved out and those that have had three different apts in two years….total addresses rather than current individual users with a unique address.

  23. Oregoncharles

    Just in case you haven’t already posted this:

    Was near the top on Gnews this morning – I don’t know how much it’s tailored to me. Makes the usual point about the anonymity of the source and describes PropOrNot as “propaganda.” A smaller reach than WaPo or the NYT, but amplified by Gnews – did anyone else see it there? Looks a bit like Google’s editors taking sides.

  24. Oregoncharles

    Following up on the New Yorker Adran Chen article, it’s definitely helpful, especially if widely posted on Gnews, but there’s a disturbing glitch:

    “In a phone interview, a spokesman for PropOrNot brushed off the criticism….Another major issue with PropOrNot is that its members insist on anonymity.” An insistently ANONYOUS “spokesman,” yet Chen relays what he had to say. I understand that Chen had a dilemma, but going along with that anonymity and even rewarding it is part of the problem.

    How hard could it be to hack into such an amateurish organization?

    1. Oregoncharles

      To clarify: I saw the article posted high up on Gnews, but I don’t know whether what I see is tailored for me (I don’t have an account, but they certainly have my IP). Did anyone else see it there? I figure that’s really wide exposure, and quite possibly the Google editors taking sides.

  25. LT

    From Brexit to the USA to Italy, everybody points to the voters as causing economic turmoil, but by the amount of whiny, panic it is clearly the banks

    One day people vote, the next day the people at banks and traders (not the “markets”, but panicky, whiny people) freak out. No legal agreements have officially changed or been renegotiated, no mass movement of people happens the very next day, no bills are automatically signed into law…nothing actually changes the next day.

    But the immediate panic by people working the markets just goes to show how fragile their house cards really is. It’s a testament to a global economic system that strikes out every time someone pokes at it. The fear mongering is because they are scared they can no longer believe their own hype.

    Watch Italy. The economy is in trouble because of the rentier establishment (just like everywhere else). But they will blame it on the way people voted.

  26. 3.14e-9

    Re: Fake News

    I was just scanning the PropOrNot report and saw a network map on p. 15 (it includes NC) credited to this guy:

    Sounds like somebody who would be involved in this kind of smear campaign, although you have to wonder why the report would name him if they are so worried about keeping their identities secret.

    (Apologies if someone has brought this up already.)

    Meanwhile, the PropOrNot debacle has been incorporated into Wikipedia’s entry on “fake news,” which was created on Nov. 15. Although the entry includes opposing views (including a mention of NC), it treats PropOrNot’s claim as legitimate and presents criticism as the opposing view. The “further reading” list includes a link to Timberg’s article and others cautioning against fake news, but no links to criticism. Same with the list of external links. There are links to Greenwald, Taibbi, and other critics, but they’re buried in the list of 138 footnotes. I don’t have time right now to read the entire edit history, but if someone is interested, maybe it could provide clues about who these people are?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Should I be concerned that the pop-up post-to-Facebook window on RT America stopped working today? Never had a problem before.

  27. Kim Kaufman

    U.S. Journalists and Professors Appearing on RT America Get Blacklisted

    “Yves Smith, the founder and widely respected writer at Naked Capitalism has appeared on RT television on several occasions. In the interview featured below from 2010, she was afforded the time to make her brilliantly cogent points on the systemic corruption on Wall Street that has yet to be remedied despite the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression. In 2011, Smith alerted her readers that she was going to be appearing on RT America, noting that she “seemed to be banned from US TV channels, but the flip side is this was a much more substantive conversation than you’d find on the usual suspects here.” Indeed, RT America has allowed independent journalists and professors adequate time to make detailed arguments against establishment group-think in America, something that is regularly lacking on corporate-controlled news media in the U.S.”

  28. Oregoncharles

    “Trump’s Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast New York Times”
    Playing devil’s advocate here: this is how Americans used to conduct foreign policy, and prided themselves on it. Furthermore, I question who’s at fault; the article mentions that the State Dept. has offered to “help;” why didn’t they do that sooner?

    “Protocol,” when laid out for all to see, sounds like an exercise in silliness. I’m not convinced that handing over international communications to professional stuffed shirts is constructive. Sure, there will be “misunderstandings” from Trump’s casual approach – but there are when the diplomats are in charge, too. Remember April Glaspie and the start of the Iraq War? Her comment was almost certainly scripted, raising all sorts of questions.

    Trump’s phone calls may not be very “presidential,” but I’d wager they’re very popular with his voters, if they hear about it.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Afterthought: the whole concept of “protocol” goes back to court behavior and dealing with monarchs. That’s why Americans used to disrespect it.

  29. ewmayer

    Re. Amazon Prime, I can readily believe the “half of US households” figure. Amazon has been aggressively crapifying their offerings to non-Prime members, pressuring people to sign up by the way of the “this item only available to Prime members” lever. I’ve had this happen to multiple common goods in my Subscription list, things as mundane as Jif peanut butter. I steadfastly refuse to pony up for Prime, but it appears I am in the minority. Admittedly, for households buying large amounts of stuff under Subscriptions and making use of the free-content-streaming that comes with Prime, it may well mke good economic sense. But it doesn’t for a low-volume non-streaming person like me, and I find the extortion attempts extremely irritating.

  30. Alex morfesis

    That Heron @ vinoy park in wondrous downtown st pete looks as annoyed as me with the seasonal invasion of the kanukistanis and other non native varmints clogging up the roads and driving as though on a backroad in iowa…

    there are three lanes…choose any one you want…take your time…

    1. JTMcPhee

      Florida joke:

      Q: What’s a Floridian’s favorite sight?

      A: A New Yorker headed north, with a Canadian under each arm… budabump KISH!

  31. Brad

    “Those jobs are going son, and they ain’t coming back”

    Think that’s a Bruce Springsteen line, and its true.

    But most did not go to Mexico or China. They went “poof” due to capitalist automation.

    See for example . A bit dated but go to Fig. 5 and note “manufacturing” share of total employment has dropped from ~30% in the early 1950’s to ~10% in 2007.

    See also the section on “offshoring” and note that it mostly affects “white collar professions” and IT. In general, it would be easy to show that offshoring could not possibly account for the two-thirds fall in manufacturing share, and not be too difficult to show that it accounts for only a *small percentage* of that fall.

    Finally note that the shrinkage of manufacturing share has been taken up almost entirely by the expansion of non-productive service labor. All the other categories follow virtual parallel diagonal lines down from upper left to lower right (government after the mid 1970’s, a function of politics).

    Sure, “don’t underestimate” Bannon or Trump, but don’t overestimate either. No capitalist politician anywhere has an answer for this that wouldn’t upset the applecart of their libertardian utopia where all must have job or die. Because otherwise people discover that ~15% of the labor capable population is all that is needed to realize the libertardian nemesis, Free Stuff For All. (Recall the Podesta email hit piece proposal against Sanders carried precisely this libertardian theme)

    Game over for capitalism.

    1. hunkerdown

      Provision of Free Stuff For All by ~15% of the labor-capable population is dependent on a flow of many, many joules of stored energy. Without that fund to draw upon, 25-50% of the labor-capable population seems more believable to me, past which requires more labor input than the natural drives of boredom or sociability might compel on their own. Measures can be taken, such as grand projects or cultural “debt”, to compel production beyond the satisfaction of a natural level of individual and group needs and wants, and “Free Stuff for All” is quite attractive to get us started. But often enough, those grand projects get lives of their own and destroy more than they build, and the modest goals sometimes known by the swear word “enough” are, pardon my French, enough.

      “Enough” — now there’s game over for capitalism.

  32. pricklyone

    Does the Governor of Indiana have unilateral power to grant tax concessions to United Tech, without consent of the legislature?
    Could all the hoopla be a mirage, if they do not agree?
    After all, they turned it down before.

  33. robnume

    On WaPo’s New McCarthyism: It seems pretty clear to me, based on Russ and Pam’s background research of Timberg, that this ‘reporter’ is one of many CIA disinformation plants, a practice which has been acknowledged by CIA itself. Timberg’s career path has taken him to places that CIA would naturally want to “f$#k” with, given their love and support of “regime change” operations worldwide. Pretty disgusting stuff, but not surprising. The MSM have been losing readers for a long time now and it would seem that this is their idea to shore up their ever dwindling bottom line. Must discredit any real truth tellers out there, such as NC, Counterpuch, ZH, the Unz Review, etc. It figures that Bezos would be the one spearheading this effort. These tech squillionaires need to be put out of business completely. Boycott Amazon, people! I am. And don’t forget to tell them why you won’t be spending what little money you have with them.

  34. bob

    Context on Carrier-

    “The deal represents a big shift in position for Carrier, which rejected a much larger incentive package of $210 million in 2003 before the company closed its last two manufacturing plants in its former hometown of Syracuse.

    Carrier’s decision to reject the incentives from New York state and labor unions resulted in the layoffs of 1,200 workers in 2004 who made cooling equipment at two plants along Thompson Road in suburban DeWitt.”

    “The manufacturing plants, which helped Carrier employ about 7,000 Central New
    Yorkers at its peak, have been bulldozed.”

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