Links 12/31/2016

British child prodigy’s Cinderella opera thrills Vienna BBC

The Virtual Hagia Sophia The American Conservative

Take a butcher’s at this: a new history of slang New Statesman

A History of Dubious Hangover Cures WSJ

Brexit

Brexit transition deal may avert UK economic ‘catastrophe’ FT

Brexit vote sparks rush of British Jews seeking Portuguese passports Guardian

Smart electricity meters can be dangerously insecure, warns expert Guardian (Chuck L)

Turmoil at Troubled Fertility Company Ovascience MIT Technology Review

Why Google co-founder Larry Page is pouring millions into flying cars Vox

Self-Driving Cars Will Make Organ Shortages Even Worse Slashdot (Chuck L)

Class Warfare

The Coming Assault on Social Security Counterpunch

New York’s Teamsters May Have Their Pensions Cut. What Went Wrong? NYT

Average American Salary: Minimum Wage To Increase In 2017 For 20 States Including New York, California, Arizona International Business Times

Eight charts that show 2016 wasn’t as bad as you think Guardian

Why 2016 Seemed Like the Worst Year Ever Vice

The 52 Best — And Weirdest — Charts We Made In 2016 FiveThirtyEight

China?

Hong Kong’s illegal ivory hub status ‘could grow after planned mainland China ban’ SCMP

2016 Post Mortem

The Death of Clintonism Politico. We can only hope…. (I realize Lambert had this in yesterday’s Water Cooler but I’m repeating it here for anyone who missed it.)

Scientists edge closer to bringing back from the dead the fabled aurochs, giant wild cattle that once roamed Europe’s forests Telegraph

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

The Fight to Rein in NSA Surveillance: 2016 in Review Truthout

Is an NSA contractor the next Snowden? In 2017, we hope to find out Are Technica

Facebook is quietly buying information from data brokers about its users’ offline lives Business Insider

Canada’s Hemisphere Jacobin

New Cold War

Trump Transition

Nearing exit, Obama seeks to tie Trump’s hands The Hill

Your Political Correctness is Showing, Conservatives The Baffler.  Worth clicking on for the Trump-as-chihuaha photograph.

Giuliani: Obama trying to create problems for Trump with 11th-hour foreign policy moves Politico

Transition From Barack Obama to Donald Trump Turns Tense WSJ

How Dr. Strangelove Learned to Love Trump Project Syndicate

Four Cabinet spots still open in the Trump administration The Hill

Theresa May Scolds Kerry for Focus on Israel Settlements NYT

Syraqistan

Russia Reaches Syria Cease-Fire Pact With Turkey— and the U.S. Had Nothing to Do With It Truthdig

Turkey’s failed coup attempt: All you need to know Al Jazeera. The ramifications of the failed coup are still being felt, six months later.

Turkish Lawmakers Back Bill Giving Erdogan Executive Powers Bloomberg

Fragile Calm Settles Over Syria WSJ

What one journalist’s time in an Egyptian prison tells us about the fight against Islamist jihad Independent. Latest from Robert Fisk.

How Russia and Turkey brokered peace in Syria — and sidelined the US CNN

Antidote du jour:

northern_hawk_owl_owls_bird

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

252 comments

  1. JTMcPhee

    From the “smart meters” article, a very funny line: “Utilities have to understand that with great power comes great responsibility.” Tell that to Sauron, or Duke Power or PG&E,or the Clintons Trump or DimonBlankfein, eh? (The writer used that “one link to rule them all” meme, after all…)

    1. Clive

      I had to jump through the most inordinate of hoops to get my utility to put me on a time-of-use tariff (“Economy 10” as it is marketed in the U.K.) which was the most economical for my residence, system setup and useage pattern. Utilities are not remotely interested in saving their customers money nor, unless forced to by rate commissioners, in reducing useage. But we are seemingly stuck with them, because markets. Which rather defeats the whole point of smart meters.

      1. craazyman

        There are many utilities in the U.S. owned by cities and other municipalities — and not by investors — but the customer experience is largely similar overall. Fuel and infrastructure cost generally drive rates.

        Utilities are generally very well-regulated by state commissions across the U.S. and do a good job supplying an essential public service. Usage rates are a bit complicated, because the massive infrastructure from plants to grids required to serve any given house, when they turn on power, is incredibly expensive. It has to be there when they want it to work, even if they don’t use much power.

        Creating rate structures that don’t unfairly shift cost burdens from low users to those who can’t afford to cut back use — for family or business reasons — is a thorny issue in rate making.

        It’s hard for me to think of an industry with a better overall record that electric power. It’s sort of amusing to me how much grief they can get.

        I guess people like to complain. :-)

        1. JTMcPhee

          Maybe “generally well-regulated,” but here in FL we have a totally captured “regulatory” structure. The “power companies” get whatever they want. My local provider, Duke Power, gets to scam maybe $5 billion from us “rate payers” for just two things: the costs of decommissioning a nuke plant that one of its acquired utilities broke through arrogance and stupidity, and the “costs” of a nuke plant that was proposed and baked into the rate ripoff and WILL NEVER BE BUILT, so that is pure profit and executive compensation. Along with lots of little scams, like changing the billing cycle dates to push two periods together and then charge higher rates to retail customers because the Algorithm said their usage exceeded the base use level. Screw the poor folks, right?

          “A Well-Regulated Utility, being neceffary to the security of a free state…” That ain’t how it works — friend from law school went to work for a large New England utility in 1976, and had lots of tales about how the scamming and corruption worked, just in rate cases alone, way back then… We’ve only had a few major blackouts and brownouts and stuff, so what the hey, eh? With our wonderfully Rube Goldberg and vastly vulnerable power “grid…”

          And recent Big Power efforts to drown the baby solar home installation possibilities in the bathtub of ballot initiative fraud,, which at least the voters defeated after a huge grass roots opposition effort, what it took to defeat just a few millions deployed by Big Power, just chump change for one little sallie in a constant war on the public at large.

          1. craazyman

            sounds like rednecks have taken over. those are southerners down there!

            It makes you wonder if banking should be a public utility — like some people suggest.

            Or if it’s best just to let all hell break loose since it probably will no matter what.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Does “redneck” = “neoliberal looters”? If so, I’d agree with the craazy observation. But it’s just more of the same poisons the few have been serving up to the many. The Governator, Snick Rott, with the cover of a carefully built Chamber of Commerce majority in the gerrymandered legislature, fired all the PSC members who showed even the slightest inclination to “regulate” as that term used to be understood, and put cronies and looters in their spots.

              And it is not “redneckery” that produces activities like the ones so mildly described in this link: “Univita Health Losing Medicaid Contracts,” http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/univita-health-losing-medicaid-contracts#stream/0 What this all meant is that people who take care of sick and disabled people, provide nursing and aide and medical equipment to them, including low paid aides and nurses, were just not paid by the scammers, who disappeared into Chapter 7 with all the loot (general revenue money given by the State and feds to Univita, to pay forward to the actual workers and the small businesses that employed them, many of whom went under as a result of NONpayment.) F@kking over many of my nursing friends who provide home health care (which is demonstrably more “efficient” than what Scott also tried to do, force all of them into cronies’ “nursing homes” to be robbed, abused and early-deathed), and of course the people (“worthless eaters” mostly) who need stuff like oxygen and wheel chairs and dressings and simple attention to “activities of daily living” also got fokked.

              And that “consolidating for business efficiency” of all Medicaid and Medicaid-Medicare payment management into the solitary monopoly grasping hands of the Univita C-Suite-ers was engineered by Snick Rott and the smaller scale bunch of looters (compared to the Trumpening) that Sick Snott brought in with him, all done as a favor to a crony, with a lot of sneaky sh!t to snake it past various “legal requirements” and “regulatory reviews.”

              1. cnchal

                David Rockefeller, at 101 years old get’s his seventh heart transplant.

                Are we here at Anonymous, wishing for the death of a crusty old bastard who’s afraid to let nature take its course, and who has directly aided in screwing the American people over for decades? No. For as terrible a person as David Rockefeller may be, anyone who wishes for the death of another human cannot call themselves a champion for Human Rights. However, it is this appreciation for human life that causes the concern; when it comes to receiving a much needed transplant, everyone in society is supposed to be equal across the board, and yet that’s not what we’re seeing here. Citizens who are younger, healthier, and could potentially have more to offer society are dying, while wealthy corporate dictators who are so old, their skin is falling off their face, are allowed to bypass rules that come down to life and death.

                Happy new year.

                1. winstonsmith

                  Did you read the update? They basically admit it’s a made-up story.

                  Snopes (whether you choose to trust their accuracy or not) has yet to release an article on this recent viral story, however despite many citizens insistence on believing in its accuracy, chances are its false.

              2. Ray Phenicie

                Thank you for your very cognizant and well versed rant! I find the saga of Mr. Scott to be a well rehearsed meme of so many, way too many high officials in the land including the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. To put it as politely as possible: “I’ll eat very well, dress very well, have several spacious homes, drive very expensive cars, clothe my family in furs and diamonds and ask the public to pay for it all. Thank you very much. I am a good person.”

              3. Beans

                Ditto much of this for Texas under Gov Good Hair. Medicaid serves to enrich the wealthy and well connected – the recipients are merely the conduits of government cash.
                Excellent rant!

          2. jgordon

            While in general I agree that electric utilities are the epitome of evil, I have to say that Duke Energy is an amazing and progressive company that everyone should trust. Sure they may have done a few unscrupulous things here and there to maximize share holder value, but what company hasn’t these days?

            If you could only know all the initiatives they have going on to help the environment, I’m sure you’d change your mind about them. Employees are always being exhorted to go out and help environmental causes in the local communities; in fact just now there is a big push going on to fund efforts aimed at saving endangered sea turtles. Also I’d gladly pay every company out there top dollar to immediately shut down or not build all nuclear plants, so I don’t really see that as a fault either. Yes, I have no qualms about shilling for Duke because they are just that awesome! Seriously. Also I have my fingers crossed that someday I’ll get my deposit back from the service I cancelled months ago…

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              In case anyone wondered, the Duke family bought the naming rights to Trinity College outside of Durham, NC in the late 19th century. A notable alum is Dick Nixon.

              1. craazyman

                They bought naming rights and they called it “Trinity”?

                That’s so boring. You’d think they’d get their money’s worth and call it something like “The Academy of World Geniuses Overflowing with the Wisdom of the Ages and of God Probing All Mysteries in the Universe and Solving All Unsolved Problems of Science and of Mankind”

                Or something like that. Or maybe just “Crack the Books U” or something hilarious.

                1. o4amuse

                  Whoa there, Craazyman. From Wikipedia:

                  Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment, at which time the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

                  1. craazyman

                    Naming it Duke could mean anybody in the family — even a cousin or an uncle. Over a few generations it could mean hundreds of people. You’d forget who is who.

                    If they wanted to honor the dad they should have named it Washington.

                    I don’t know if that’s plausible. But wikipedia is good for most things. I gave it money earlier this year after I realized I was using it alot. I think to look up stuff about singers I saw on Youtube. I guess it’s not perfect though.

            2. davidgmills

              Then you need to learn about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs), the nuclear power we should have had and undoubtedly will some day because it can actually burn up long lived nuclear waste. The best way to get rid of long lived nuclear waste is to fission it in a reactor. There is enough thorium to last for thousands of years and since nuclear power is a million times as energy dense as a carbon/hydrogen atom, this kind of power would have an environmental footprint a million times less than with fossil fuels.

              We developed this kind of power at Oak Ridge in the 60’s and put it on the shelf since we thought we could make uranium breeder reactors work. These reactors are very small and since they operate at 1 atmosphere rather than 75 to 150 they do not need these giant concrete mausoleums to contain them. the could be produced on an assembly line like planes as they are no bigger and far less complex. Installed underground they are early invisible. And they operate at the very highest temperatures criticality reaches, so they can not melt down; if there is a problem, the freeze up. Orders of magnitude safer and orders of magnitude more efficient than the nukes we have today.

              America’s biggest mistake was not to get them into commercial production. Looks like China is going to do it though.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Oh yes, another inevitable technological fix (so “we” can keep increasing “our” energy use to support “our” ever more consumptive lifestyles) that just needs a little bit of development. Because peasants in India ought to get the same rights to energy so it’s really an eleemosynary act!

                If only “we” could just somehow trust that with all the wonderful history of Power, all “we” need is just commitment to the Next Big Thing that after all ran at Oak Ridge for a few years, a long time ago, and for all kinds of reasons like Westinghouse and GE and Sargent & Lundy and so on maybe getting some thumbs put on the scale and whatever, “we” end up with Fukushima and all that.

                And it appears that maybe the LTFR is not such a lay-down… https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jun/23/thorium-nuclear-uranium

              2. Gaianne

                You cannot “burn” nuclear waste.

                Nuclear waste consists of the radioactive fission products of the original fuel, plus radioactive elements that are created by exposure of non-radioactive elements to the radioactive environment. This is not one thing, it is many things, and the many things decay into yet more things–most of which are themselves radioactive. This predictable, yes, but that is no help, because each element would require its own treatment. Instead, you are constantly getting more kinds of (mostly radioactive) elements.

                Adding neutrons is no help—adding a neutron to an element just creates a new element–which is probably radioactive. Meanwhile you are just increasing the number of possibilities, most of which are radioactive.

                Add gamma rays? If you can get an element to decay earlier than it otherwise would, by adding a gamma ray, this could count as an improvement. But a gamma ray that could do that would be a gamma ray that could induce fission–and then you are worse off than before, having generated new fission products.

                Add decay products? This is worse than adding neutrons.

                This is all a dead end. And in sum, a scam.

                –Gaianne

              3. Skip Intro

                Thorium was shelved in favor or Uranium because the purpose of ‘civilian’ nuclear power was always production of plutonium for eventual use in nuclear weapons. Safety and power production were secondary concerns at best.

      2. JTMcPhee

        I’d ask what the real point of “smart meters” or “smart” anything actually is… The local water utility, on its way to being eventually privatized, is going to force all customers to buy (via rates) “smart meters.” This sets the stage for toll-gating by the eventual PE owner, and “cuts costs” by getting rid of meter readers, who perform a lot of other functions like informal welfare checks on residents, or used to until the pressures to “increase productivity” sped up their route-walking.

        The currently public utility makes noises about reducing water use (by the little people — “Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth” is a current advert snippet — while rich folks “who can afford it” use millions of gallons of drinkable depleting groundwater to irrigate their “plantings” and monoculture lawns and fill their pools and “water features,” and get a rate break because they are “large quantity users,” to boot. I can’t drill my own well and use it to drink or shower or wash clothe3s because that would reduce the net volume that passes through the utility’s toll gate and because of the way they bill for sewer connections (based on water in = sewage out). The goal of course is “”terminal growth” of water use until the Floridian Aquifer and surface water “resources” are depleted, then on to other neoliberal conquests…

        There are so many dysfunctional dysincentives baked into the Current Way of Life that it seems pretty clear that a board-clearing move is in the near future. Thanks for a fun dose of British “quaintness” this last day of the Western-calendar year… Councils, the Queen, the Clerk of the Green Cloth and Groom of the Stool and Flower Painter in Ordinary and Chalister of the Bag, knighthoods, and of course The City, and Trident.. And that paragon of capitalist ethos and worker subjugation, “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends–” do your work promptly and precisely, and never disappoint Sir Topham Hatt, aka “The Fat Controller,” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fat_Controller

        1. Mark Alexander

          I’d ask what the real point of “smart meters” or “smart” anything actually is…

          Here in rural Vermont, the real point seems to be that the smart meters save the power company some time and money. They don’t have to drive around to every house on every back road and driveway to read the meters.

          That said, we refused the smart meters when the power company offered them to us. Being a semi-retired software engineers, I had this hunch that “smart” meant that the devices were inherently bug-ridden and insecure. I also saw these meters as a potential tool for the surveillance state, especially for those branches of government that are involved in the idiotic Drug War. We run lights to start our vegetables in winter, and I could easily imagine some poorly-crafted algorithm running on some govt. server (with data being fed to it by the power co.) that would see the usage spike and think we were growing something illegal.

          So in the end, we had to jump through some bureaucratic hoops to keep the old dumb meters. For a brief period, the company wanted to charge customers an extra monthly fee to NOT use the smart meters. But there was such an outcry that they backed down.

          The linked article confirms my suspicions about these “smart” devices. As Lambert says, always be suspicious when that word is used to describe some fancy new technology.

          1. Cry Shop

            “Smart” meters is too broad a scope, various types offer various benefits. A meter that just reports in via a modem the daily reading is rather “stupid”, if still a cost saver. A meter that tracks usage and applies algorithms to advise the user how to reduce their carbon foot print would be many fold smarter. *

            Consuming more power during peak hours increases capital costs (and thus carbon emissions) across the entire power supply chain. Hence a value to assigning time/timing to power consumed. Consuming power in a irregular (lumpy) way in non peak hours may be less capital intensive, but still can play havoc with the lifespan of the neighborhood’s HDTv and other sensitive electronics. Hence a value to measuring local power factor impact, or giving discounts to customers who use inverted driven heat pump units, refrigerators, etc, as well as effect capital investments in local distribution (step down transformer sizing, wire sizing, capacitor bank sizing, etc.

            Where it may be most interesting is if consumers on-site heavy users/local storage can communicate with “smart meters” to achieve certain objectives, like storing “cold” ie reducing the temperature of a heat sink when the grid has excessive wind power available, to be used later when the wind power drops off, etc. This probably won’t be treated with any urgency until after there is so much methane in the air that airborne bacilli re-evolve to consume it, and the earth is baking in 5-8 degree higher average temperatures. ;-]

            1. JTMcPhee

              It’s a wonder, on all the evidence, that people still believe that ‘smart’ ANYthing will deliver anything but scam and vulnerability and incompetence. And this: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/28/silicon-valley-homeless-east-palo-alto-california-schools And this: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/19/gurbaksh-chahal-domestic-violence-new-job-venture-capital

              And what a wonderful idea, to start tracking individual tiny bits of electrical use! And assigning “market values” to each of those bits, that can then be charged a toll and have a rent collected depending on Algorithms developed by ‘smart’ credentialed people who are just serving their corruptorate masters’ the public’s interests, in order to get their tiny pittance of a paycheck that surprisingly gets smaller and smaller as the tolls and rents keep increasing and the cost of just llving, in a humanspace and biosphere that is getting more vulnerable and untenable day by day, increases in pace with the temperature…

              How much does this >

              Consuming power in a irregular (lumpy) way in non peak hours may be less capital intensive, but still can play havoc with the lifespan of the neighborhood’s HDTv and other sensitive electronics. Hence a value to measuring local power factor impact, or giving discounts to customers who use inverted[r] driven heat pump units, refrigerators, etc, as well as effect capital investments in local distribution (step down transformer sizing, wire sizing, capacitor bank sizing, etc.

              cost, in dollars and stuff, and which segments of the political economy will be able to ‘afford it,’ to protect their fokking “HDTVs and other sensitive electronics” that are part of their fundamentally carbocombustion-based “lifestyles?” Oh, I know, baby steps, baby steps, and eventually you are running with scissors in both hands…

              “If ONLY some tech genius would innovate a tech device or algorithm or something that would let the corporate people CONTROL and MANAGE and DIRECT and RENT innovate the proper use [defined just how? by whom?] of rentable goods, services and resources, why then “we” could continue our comfortable lifestyles knowing that all was in good hands…

              Sorry, don’t mean to tee off on you, but fer Cripe’s sake…

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I don’t want a smart meter.

                I want a wise meter.

                A meter that is wise through zero-thought Zen meditation…a meter that will focus on the present, the task at hand, which to read usage.

              2. Cry Shop

                No problem, I heartily agree that we aught to consume as much as we can, as fast as we can. Screw everyone else.

          2. Carl

            Quite a few folks around here found their power bills exploded upon the installation of the said “smart” meters. We heard stories of bills totaling hundreds of dollars when people weren’t even at home for the entire month. Alas, once the meter is installed, it’s impossible to go back (and a lot of them were installed without the account holder’s permission).

          3. Katharine

            You’re lucky you fended off the fee. Those of us diehards who could afford to refuse were initially charged a one-time $75 fee plus $11 a month, later cut to $5.50 around the time BGE was asking permission to raise rates to cover expenses associated with the smart meters. (Uh-huh! Right. Run that by me one more time. Weren’t these things supposed to save the company money?)

      3. heresy101

        Smart meters have been developed because of “economists”. Pricing kWh by the hour is the mantra and not replacing the meter readers. Many more costs from databases and data personnel will be required than will ever be saved by sacking the meter readers.

        The only good thing about smart meters is that they can be adapted for two-way electricity exchange from EVs and solar systems. Also, EVs can be given a discount if they charge at night as in SMUD territory.

        Again, smart meters are the damn economists fault.

      4. Oregoncharles

        Utilities are legal monopolies, so there is no “market.” And when California created a market of sorts, the result was disastrous (Enron).

        Besides the municipal utilities Craazy mentions, we have customer-owned co-ops, with similar results – though I like the idea. Certainly the customer-owned phone co. in the next town over is far better than the commercial one we used to be on, before cell phones and wireless internet.

        Some states have created rewards for utilities for reducing useage, so they can be quite good about it. The “smart” meters are scary, though. Actually, the Public Utility District (a type of municipal utility) near us is putting them in, causing quite a controversy.

    2. KurtisMayfield

      Considering that the data from smart water meters is being used in a murder investigation, if I were a good defense lawyer I would be pointing out how easy they are to hack. Maybe by showing the CEO’s of the water utilities water usage.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Vladimir #Putin: I am inviting all children of the #US diplomats in #Russia to the #NewYear‘s and #Christmas celebration in the #Kremlin

    When Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, he stood 6 ft 1 in tall. As he exits, his stature has diminished to about 6 inches.

    Google adds that his daughter Malia has the same 6 ft 1 in height as her dad. If she ends up following the unwritten but almost universally observed rule that a woman’s partner should at least equal her height, it’s going to really restrict the candidate pool. Only 11 percent of males 20-29 years old are 6 ft 1 in or more, according to the Census Bureau.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Maybe that’s why obama “pals” around with a lot of basketball players. Might be one of his more shrewd moves–who knew?

      1. Emma

        With regards to parenting, Barack and Michelle Obama are doing the right thing ie. ensuring a supportive learning environment at home so their kids develop their own critical thinking skills and are better equipped to make their own way in the world as they mature (similar to the Deutschers with their daughter Alma, likewise those of two other child music prodigies, Emily Bear and Jay Greenberg.)
        So, Malia will know as and when required to run hoops around any basketballer (!), on the other hand, the young girl in the following family may well, in some instances, actually require a few basketballers run hoops around her father and his misplaced parenting priorities/concerns! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/31/girl-9-faces-shunned-ultra-orthodox-jewish-group-eating-mcdonalds/

        1. Plenue

          What a gray, joyless life Orthodox men must lead, prevented from socializing with girls and women, with only their dusty old tomes of Judaic law for company.

  3. ProNewerDeal

    Now that 0bama is about to exit as US Pres, perhaps it is time to revisit the Who Is Worse: Bush43 v 0bama question.

    Conventional wisdom among “Progressive” pundits, even good ones like SecularTalk, seems to be “yes, 0bama is better than Bush43, but that is a very low bar, & not a real accomplishment. 0bama still sucks”.

    IMHO, 0bama’s relentless pursue of 1 Grand “Bargain” Ripoff & 2 TPP, may alone make him Even Worse than Bush43, as far as to damage inflicted on USians had 0bama been successful in getting these 2 policies. 0bama tried for years getting these 2 policies enacted, whereas Bush43 tried quickly to privatize SS but then forgot it, & IIRC enacted small trade deals (DR-CAFTA ?). Bush43 focus seemed to be on neocon regime change & War On Terra TM, & even then IIRC around ~2006 Bush43 rejected some of Darth Cheney’s even more extremish neocon policy preferences, with Bush43 rejecting Cheney’s desired Iran War.

    IMHO both policies would’ve incrementally killed thousands of USians annually, far more than 1S1S or the Designated Foreign Boogeyman Du Jour TM could ever dream of. Grand Ripoff raising Medicare eligibility age (IIRC 67 to 69+ ?) would kill many GenX & younger USians in the future. TPP’s pharma patent extensions would kill many USians, especially seniors. These incremental killings might exceed the incremental life savings from the ACA (mainly ACA Adult Medicaid expansion). Furthemore, 0bama could’ve potentially achieved MedicareForAll or Medicare Pt O – Public Option in ~2010 with Sen & House D majorities, & 0bama deliberately killed these policies, as reported by FDL’s Jane Hamsher & others.

    Bush43 indirectly killed USians in multiple ways, including Iraq War, War On Terra, & failing to regulate fin svcs leading to the 2008 GFC; however it would seem that 0bama’s Death Toll would have been worse.

    “What do you think?!” (c) Ed Schultz

    How do Bush43 & 0bama compare to recent Presidents including Reagan & Clinton? What do you expect of Trump? I’d guesstimate that if Trump implements P Ryan-style crapification of Medicare into an ACA-like voucher system, that alone could render Trump Even Worse than 0bama & the other 1981-now Reganesque Presidents.

    It does seem like each President is getting Even Worse than the prior guy in this 21st Century. #AmericanExceptionalism (exceptionally Crappy)

    1. timbers

      You hit the right priority of issues IMO, and would add a few bad things Obamanation did:

      1). Bombing more nations than anyone in human history and being at war longer than any US President ever, having never requested an end but in fact a continuation of a permanent state of war declared by Congress.

      2). The massive destruction of legal and constitutional rights from habeas corpus, illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of all people, to asserting the right to imprison, torture, and assassinate anyone anytime even America children just because Obama feels like doing it.

      3). Austerity. This tanked any robust recovery from the 2008 recession and millions suffered because of it, we are living with the affects even now. In fact Obamanation’s deep mystical belief in austerity helped defeat Clinton 2016.

      1. Dave

        ProNewerDeal, Your excellent post would have been even better had you followed Timber’s clearly enumerated writing style. Try quoting yours vs his in another post and you’ll see what I mean.

    2. Pat

      HAMP. And not just ignoring bank mortgage fraud, but essentially enabling it and making it the norm.
      Deporting more people than Presidents before him.
      Passing the Korea and Columbia free trade pacts, even lying about what the pact did to get the Columbian one passed. KORUS alone made our trade deficit with Korea soar and lost an estimated 100,000 jobs in the US (and not those part time ones being created).
      Had the chance to pass a real infrastructure repair/stimulus package, didn’t.
      Had the chance to put the Post Office in the black and even start a Postal Bank, didn’t. Didn’t even work to get rid of the Post Office killing requirement to fund its pension 75 years out.
      Furthering the erosion of our civil rights by making it legal to assassinate American citizens without trial.
      Instead of kneecapping the move to kill public education by requiring any charter school that receives federal funding to be non-profit with real limits on allowable administrative costs, expanded them AND expanded the testing boondoggle with Common Core.
      Libya.
      Expansion of our droning program.

      While I do give him some credit for both the Iran deal and the attempt to rein in the Syria mistake, I also have to take points away for not firing Carter and demoting or even bringing Votel before a military court after their insubordination killing the ceasefire.

      Should I continue. Bush was evil, Obama the more effective one.

      1. John Wright

        Bush’s Iraq war will cost an estimated $3 trillion per Joseph Stiglitz.

        That does not count all the damage done to Iraq/Afghanistan people and property and American’s reputation.

        Iraq’s excess deaths due to the war were estimated at 500K to 655K.

        On a population adjusted basis, this would be equivalent to the USA losing 5 to 6.55 million people to a foreign, unprovoked, power.

        Bush scores quite high on being an effective evil, especially when viewed from outside the USA

        I score him the winner vs Obama on total damage done to the USA and the world

        1. Pat

          Was that a disastrous choice? Certainly and it is a big one, but it also ignores how much of the disastrous choices attached to that decision Barack H. Obama has either continued or expanded upon. It also ignores how that war continues under Obama. Remember when we left Iraq? Oh, wait we haven’t we just aren’t there in the previous numbers.

          http://time.com/4298318/iraq-us-troops-barack-obama-mosul-isis/

          And what about Libya? You remember that little misadventure. Which added to our continued Saudi/Israeli determined obsession with Syria has led to a massive refugee crisis in Europe. How many were killed there. How much will that cost us fifteen years on?

          https://www.ft.com/content/c2b6329a-9287-11e4-b213-00144feabdc0

          I get that the quagmire was there before Obama. I also get that he began to get a clue late in his administration to stop listening to the usual subjects in order to make it better. But see that thing above about not firing people who undermined that new direction in Syria, and are probably now some of the most pressing secret voices behind this disastrous Russia Hacked US bull.

          But I think only focusing on the original decision also ignores how effective Obama has been at normalize crime, corruption, torture and even assassination attached to those original choices – something that Bush didn’t manage (and that doesn’t even consider the same decriminalization and normalization done for and by the financial industry). Bush may have started the wheel down the bumpy road, but Obama put rubber on the wheel and paved the road so now it is almost impossible to stop the wheel.

        2. JCC

          As mentioned, Bush is a very low bar for comparison, and if that’s the best presidential comparison that can be made with Obama, then that says it all.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Mr. O long ago received my coveted Worst_President_Ever Award (and yes the judging included Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson).
            Handed the golden platter opportunity to repudiate the myriad policy disasters of Bush (which as cited above cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives) he chose instead to continue them absolutely unchanged, usually with the same personnel. Whether it was unprosecuted bank crime in the tens of billions, foreign policy by drone bomb, health care mega-bezzle, hyper-spy tricks on everyday Americans, and corporo-fascist globalist “trade” deals, Mr. O never disappointed his Big Wall St, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Big Surveillance-Industrial Complex constituents. Along the way he reversed the polarity of American politics, paving the way for a true corporo-fascist to say the slightest thing that might be good for actual workers and get into the White House. History will remember him as the president who lost Turkey and The Philippines, destroyed any remaining shreds of credibility with utterly specious hacking claims and war crime accusations of other nations, and presided over an era of hyper-concentration of billionaire wealth in a nation where 70% of citizens would need to borrow to fund a $400 emergency. Those failures are now permanently branded as “Democrat” failures. The jury is unanimous: Obama wins the award.

      2. crittermom

        “HAMP. And not just ignoring bank mortgage fraud, but essentially enabling it and making it the norm.”
        Exactly. That is #1 on my list making him worst president ever.

        1. Katharine

          I would question “ever” simply because I know I don’t know enough about the history of previous presidents, and I doubt any of us do; even historians who focus on this kind of thing, supposing we had any in our midst, might be hard put to it to review all 44 thoroughly.

          1. witters

            I like your epistemology! You don’t know, but you do know others don’t know either, even historians who clearly know a lot more on this than you.

    3. Ray Phenicie

      I vote the mortgage fraud situation (see Chain of Title by David Dayen -not really a plug for the book) as the worst aspect of the Obama Administration. What to say about it? Regular readers of this site are well versed in the details but one aspect of it needs to be expounded upon; stand on the housetops and shout it kind of exposition: the mortgage fraud worked on millions (3, 5, 7, maybe 12 million) shows that rule of law is now destroyed in the land. Dictionary .com says this about the phrase

      Rule of Law: the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced; the principle of government by law.

      The World Justice Project has several pages on the topic and starts off with this:

      * The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law.
      * The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights.
      * The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
      * Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

      I would invite the reader to take a moment and apply those principles to what is known about the situation concerning mortgage fraud worked on millions of homeowners during the past two decades.

      The Justice Department’s infamous attempts to cover up horribly harmful schemes worked by the mortgage industry perpetrators involved the cruel irony of aiding and abetting systemic racism. Not a lot was said in the popular press about the subject of reverse redlining but I’m convinced by the preponderance of evidence that overly complicated mortgage products were taken into the neighborhoods of Detroit (90% Black or Latin American, Hispanic) and foisted off on unsuspecting homeowners. Those homeowners did not take accountants and lawyers with them to the signing but that’s how those schemes should have been approached; then most of those schemes would have hit the trashcan. Many a charming snake oil salesman deserves innumerable nights of uncomfortable rest for the work they did to destroy the neighborhoods of Detroit and of course many other neighborhoods in many other cities. For this discussion I am making this a separate topic but I realize it is connected to the overall financial skulduggery worked on us all by the FIRE sector.

      However, let me return to the last principle promulgated by the World Justice Project pertaining to Rule Of Law and focus on that: “Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.” Now hear this: “are of sufficient number” for there, and gentle reader, please take this to bed with you at the end of your day: we fail as a nation. But look to the ‘competent, ethical and independent’ clause; we must vow to not sink into despair. This subject is a constant struggle. Google has my back on this: Obama, during both campaigns of ’08 and ’12, took millions from the very financial sector that he planned to not dismay and then was in turn very busy directing the Attorney General of The United States, the highest law officer in the country, to not prosecute. These very institutions that were in turn very busy taking property worth billions. 12 million stolen homes multiplied times the average home value = Trillions?

      Finally, my main point here (I am really busy sharpening this ax, but it’s a worthy ax) is the issue of systemic racism- that the financial institutions in this country work long hours to shackle members of minority neighborhoods into monetarily oppressive schemes in the form of mortgages, car loans, credit cards and personal loans (think pay day scammers) and these same makers of the shackles have the protection of the highest officials in the land. Remember the pitchforks Obama inveighed? Irony of cruel ironies, two black men, both of whom appear to be of honorable bearing, (Holder moved his chair right directly into the financiers, rent takers of Covington & Burling) work to cement the arrangements of racist, oppressive scammers who of course also work their playbooks on other folks.

      To finalize, the subject of rule of law that I have worked so assiduously to sharpen, applies to all of the other topics we can consider as failures of the Obama Presidency. So besides racism and systemic financial fraud we can turn to some top subjects that make ’09 to ’17 the nadir of the political culture of the United States of America. Drone wars, unending war in the Middle East, attempts to place a cloak of secrecy on the workings of the Federal Government, the reader will have their own axes to sharpen but I maintain if the reader will fervently apply and dig into the four principles outlined above, she, he, will agree that the principles outlining Rule of Law have been replaced by Rule of the Person.

      1. Ray Phenicie

        Here’s one of many scholarly articles that reviews the subject of systemic racism in the finance and mortgage industries.
        Am Sociol Rev. 2010 October 1; 75(5): 629–651. doi:10.1177/0003122410380868
        Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
        Jacob S. Rugh and Douglas S. Massey
        Office of Population Research, Princeton University

      2. Ray Phenicie

        Arghhh, the server is apparently napping-more caffeine please for the cables.
        Here’s one of many scholarly articles that reviews the subject of systemic racism in the finance and mortgage industries.
        Am Sociol Rev. 2010 October 1; 75(5): 629–651. doi:10.1177/0003122410380868
        Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
        Jacob S. Rugh and Douglas S. Massey
        Office of Population Research, Princeton University

      3. hreik

        The book deserves to be plugged. I thought it was great. A fast and infuriating read. And very well written.

        1. Yves Smith

          I have to tell you it is inaccurate in material respects, and many of the people who played important roles in the fight were written out entirely or marginalized.

      4. Christopher Fay

        This one’s a keeper. I have to take notes including writer’s name, post title, dates. Good summary.

      5. mk

        You remind me that Tavis Smiley was working for Wells Fargo when he went into black neighborhoods to sell them subprime loans. Later, after the housing crash caused by the TBTF banks like Wells Fargo, Tavis Smiley went on a speaking tour with Cornel West called the Poverty Tour.

        From Beneath the Spin*Eric L. Wattree: http://wattree.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-question-for-both-tavis-smiley-and.html

        A QUESTION FOR BOTH TAVIS SMILEY AND CORNEL WEST
        .
        Mr. Smiley, do you intend to return the Millions of dollars that you reportedly made from herding poor Black people and Hispanics into the Wells Fargo “Ghetto Loan” Scam to the people who lost their homes and life savings. According to the United States Department of Justice, it was the second largest housing discrimination case in the nation’s history. And Dr. West, in your learned opinion – and in accordance with the “Black prophetic tradition,” of course – what is the appropriate course of action for your good friend and associate to take in this matter?

    4. Ed

      GW Bush sort of had two administrations. The first two years and the last two years was sort of a generic Republican but sane administration, sort of like his father’s, and was OK. The crazy stuff happened in the middle four years, which maybe not coincidentally the Republicans had majorities in both house of Congress.

      Obama signed off on the Big Bailout (as did GW Bush, but my impression is that the worst features of the Big Bailout were on Obama’s watch(), and that defined his administration. Sometimes you get governments defined by one big thing, and that was it. But I suspect he may have prevented the neocons from starting World War III, but that is the sort of thing we won’t know about until decades have passed, if we make it that long.

    5. tongorad

      Obama promised hope and change and delivered the exact opposite – despair and decline. Obama should be remembered as the Great Normalizer. All of the shitty things that were around when he was inaugurated are now normalized. TINA to the max, in other words.
      It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics.

      1. Jess

        “It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics.”

        Bingo. Hit that one dead solid perfect, right in the ten-ring.

      2. Jess

        “It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics.”

        Bingo. You can say that again. Right in the ten-ring, dead solid perfect.

      3. Montanamaven

        You got it. Obama was hired to employ “The Shock Doctrine” and he did. He was and is “a Chicago Boy”; the term Naomi Klein used for the neoliberals who slithered out of the basements of U of Chicago to visit austerity on the masses for the enhancement of the feudal lords. It is laughable that he said last week that he could have beaten Trump. As always, He implied that it was the “message” not the policy. And that he could “sell” that message better than Hilary. For him it was always about pitching that Hopey Changey “One America” spleel that suckered so many. The Archdruid calls this “the warm fuzzies”. But the Donald went right into the John Edwards land of “The Two Americas”. He said he came from the 1%; but was here to work for the 99% who had been screwed over by bad deals. We will see if the Barons will stand in his way or figure out that it might be time to avoid those pitchforks by giving a little to small businesses and workers in general. Like FDR, will they try to save capitalism?

        The Donald has the bad trade deals right, but looks like he doesn’t know what havoc Reagan wreaked on working people’s household incomes and pension plans by breaking any power unions had and by coming up with the 401K scam; plus the Reagan interest rates that devastated farmers and ranchers and the idea of rewarding a CEO who put stock price above research and development and workers’ salaries. But again, I believe it was a Democratic congress and a Democratic president Carter who eliminated the Usury law in 1979. From then on with stagnating wages, people began the descent into debt slavery. And Jimmy started the Shock Doctrine by deregulating the airlines and trucking. But he did penance. Can’t see Obama doing that.

        1. LT

          And once usary laws went away, credit cards were handed out to college students, with no co-sign, even if students had no work or credit history and were unemployed.
          It took until just a few years ago before they revisted that credit card policy to students.

        2. alex morfesis

          dont want to burst your bubble(or anyone elses) but obama is not and was not the power to the throne…it was michelle and val jar (aka beria)…it was a long series of luck that got that krewe anywhere near any real power…mostly, it comes from the Univ of Chicago…hopey changee thingee was a nice piece of marketing by david axelrod..

          the grey lady

          5-11-2008

          In August 1999, Barack Obama strolled amid the floats and bands making their way down Martin Luther King Drive on Chicago’s South Side. Billed as the largest African-American parade in the country, the summer rite was a draw over the years to boxing heroes like Muhammad Ali and jazz greats like Duke Ellington. It was also a must-stop for the city’s top politicians.

          Back then, Mr. Obama, a state senator who was contemplating a run for Congress, was so little-known in the community’s black neighborhoods that it was hard to find more than a few dozen people to walk with him, recalled Al Kindle, one of his advisers at the time. Mr. Obama was trounced a year later in the Congressional race — branded as an aloof outsider more at home in the halls of Harvard than in the rough wards of Chicago politics.

          But by 2006, Mr. Obama had remade his political fortunes. He was a freshman United States senator on the cusp of deciding to take on the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton and embark on a long-shot White House run. When the parade wound its way through the South Side that summer, Mr. Obama was its grand marshal.

          but to capture the arrogance of hyde park…(read the last line)

          A tight-knit community that runs through the South Side, Hyde Park is a liberal bastion of integration in what is otherwise one of the nation’s most segregated cities. Mayor Washington had called it home, as did whites who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wealthy black entrepreneurs a generation removed from the civil rights battles of the 1960s.

          At its heart is the University of Chicago; at its borders are poor, predominately black neighborhoods blighted by rundown buildings and vacant lots. For Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a white Kansan mother and an African father and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, it was a perfect fit.

          “He felt completely comfortable in Hyde Park,” said Martha Minow, his former law professor and a mentor. “It’s a place where you don’t have to wear a label on your forehead. You can go to a bookstore and there’s the homeless person and there’s the professor.”

          also…note how the lib racist grey lady can not bring themselves to name the parade…it is the

          bud billiken parade…

          peaceful, fun, successful…

          heaven forbid the world should see a giant event run by black folk that does not end in violence…might confuse the closet racists…

          1. RudyM

            There are enough examples of such things for it to be a reasonable expectation.

            The parade also hasn’t always gone without a hitch:

            The 2003 parade featured B2K.[9] The concert was free with virtually unlimited space in the park for viewing. However, the crowd became unruly causing the concert to be curtailed. Over 40 attendees were taken to hospitals as a result of injuries in the violence, including two teenagers who were shot.[38] At the 2014 parade, Two teenagers were shot after an altercation involving a group of youths along the parade route near the 4200 block of King Drive around 12:30 pm.[39][40]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud_Billiken_Parade_and_Picnic#Violence

            1. alex morfesis

              happy new year…hopefully we can get away from the huntsville connected wakipedia usage and start using real research when trying to make some counter point…two youths “near” the parade area were shot…no deaths and 2 shooting event in the 85 year history of the parade where over 70 million people have attended…that is a fairly low number / % for anywhere…four people shot…none dead…

              have you ever been at a cubs game in chicago ??

              lived there over 10 years…

              much more dangerous dealing with drunken suburbanites around wrigley field…

              and how exactly has wakipedia become the “go to” source… a company that funnels 75 million in “non profit” money to a guy who started the venture as a porno company and still after all these years, one of the original funders from the chicago days has not been able to collect from these “noble” but hidden individuals…

              wiki edits & hides things

              there is a nice little company…American Traffic Solutions…the red light camera ticket company…notice there is no wiki listing for them…scratch a little and you might notice they are owned it seems in part (1/3) by goldman…

              i am sure there is no reasonable connection between goldmans ownership and wiki-nonsense companies lack of a listing for ATS /s

              oh…and rudyM…

              next time you just hurry up and cut and paste some silly-pedia nonsense, you might want to actually try to find the source they link to…only one of the three links goes to anything…and the one link that works to a “shooting” has some kid who had a hard time sitting for a while since he got a bullet that grazed his butt…

              very serious injury /s

              ;)

            2. alex morfesis

              happy new year…

              forgive me dear NC commiserati (& nc gatekeepers) as this vanished/poof with a new and improved screen i have never seen before…so…here might be a duplicate…(now back to our show…)

              hopefully we can get away from the huntsville connected wakipedia usage and start using real research when trying to make some counter point…two youths “near” the parade area were shot…no deaths and 2 shooting event in the 85 year history of the parade where over 70 million people have attended…that is a fairly low number / % for anywhere…four people shot…none dead…

              have you ever been at a cubs game in chicago ??

              lived there over 10 years…

              much more dangerous dealing with 30 thousand drunken suburbanites around wrigley field…

              and how exactly has wakipedia become the “go to” source… a company that funnels 75 million in “non profit” money to a guy who started the venture as a porno company and still after all these years, one of the original funders from the chicago days has not been able to collect from these “noble” but hidden individuals…

              wiki edits & hides things

              there is a nice little company…American Traffic Solutions…the red light camera ticket company…notice there is no wiki listing for them…scratch a little and you might notice they are owned it seems in part (1/3) by goldman…

              i am sure there is no reasonable connection between goldmans ownership and wiki-nonsense companies lack of a listing for ATS /s

              oh…and rudyM…

              next time you just hurry up and cut and paste some silly-pedia nonsense, you might want to actually try to find the source they link to…only one of the three links goes to anything…and the one link that works to a “shooting” has some kid who had a hard time sitting for a while since he got a bullet that grazed his butt…

              very serious injury /s

              ;)

    6. Oregoncharles

      Yes, they’ve been getting steadily worse (more right-wing) since Carter, without regard to party. That’s at least 30 years now.,

  4. Cry Shop

    Jerri-Lynn, do all these last minute moves by Obama fit the pattern you observed Obie-the-wan perform at Harvard?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Clinton did it, too. I think it’s a general pattern resulting from term limits – but in the case of sole executives, term limits do make sense.

  5. jgordon

    From the “self-drive get cars will exacerbate organ shortages” article, my first thought was that it surely is a shame that fewer healthy vehicle drivers/passengers will end up as accident victims, thus denying their delicious organs to the deathly ill. There must be something we can do to rectify this impending catastrophe.

    1. Mel

      A few other ways out:
      1) Flying cars will bring the injury rate back up.
      2) Breeding program to make up the shortfall.
      3) Proliferating superbugs will make surgery dangerous again, so that people won’t want organ transplants.

  6. RenoDino

    I agree, Tabbi in his Rolling Stone piece is now, finally, after his Trump induced psychosis, back on form. Something about the Russian Story does stink. Summing up, if the Russians did steal the election why the weak response now? Or is it just a good excuse for losing to Trump and/or is Obama is trying to protect his legacy by delegitimizing Trump? Either way, Obama looks to be underplaying or overplaying his hand.

    I wonder if this is really Obama, who is out the door, talking or is the national security state, who is not going anywhere? If it’s the latter, then things start to make sense. It says to me, they are not happy with the new direction in foreign policy that Trump represents. In fact, they refuse to accept it and him.

    How is this tension is resolved is the single most important question in the weeks ahead.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And let’s just say that the Russian Story isn’t ringing true with the IT community. Data point:

      https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2016/12/russia-malware-ip-hack/

      Key point from the conclusion of this article:

      “The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.

      “The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.”

      1. fresno dan

        http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2013/03/how-many-cyberattacks-hit-united-states-last-year/61775/

        ’ll leave you with some additional recent numbers on cyberintrusions, as reported by various actors:

        The energy company BP says it suffers 50,000 attempts cyberintrusion a day.

        The Pentagon reports getting 10 million attempts a day.

        The National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department, also records 10 million hacks a day.

        The United Kingdom reports 120,000 cyberincidents a day.

        That’s almost as many as the state of Michigan deals with.

        Utah says it faces 20 million attempts a day — up from 1 million a day two years ago.
        =============================================================
        WOW!!!! Seems like a really big F*cking deal!!!!
        Kinda makes me wonder how many laws and regulations have been enacted forcing internet companies and software companies to make their stuff more secure….

        Long story short – not too many
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber-security_regulation

        {{{{{{ In July 2012, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was proposed by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins.[15] The bill would have required creating voluntary “best practice standards” for protection of key infrastructure from cyber attacks, which businesses would be encouraged to adopt through incentives such as liability protection.[16] The bill was put to a vote in the Senate but failed to pass.[17]}}}}}}

        And of course (I don’t want to over link so you have to look it up yourself) there are the laws that ALLOW intrusion by the US government into your computer, of course makes computer systems LESS SECURE….

        So, almost makes me think Trump, OF ALL PEOPLE, was actually CORRECT when he said:
        “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind the security we need. But I have not spoken with the senators and I will certainly will be over a period of time.”
        And how much the above is being mocked, by people without the presence of mind to ask, “how long, and how many hacks have already occurred, and WHAT WAS DONE ABOUT IT?”

        Hacking, that happens millions upon millions of times a year now for near a decade, but apparently only a BIG F*CKING DEAL when an incompetent dem SAYS she has LOST the presidency due to hacking….

        1. Grebo

          Over 40 million ‘attacks’ a day, on just three entities.
          Bollocks. ‘Attack’ is far too dramatic a word for a port probe.

          1. Vatch

            Did you say probe? I guess that settles it. The election tamperers were the four foot tall gray space aliens with big eyes.

            1. fresno dan

              Vatch
              December 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm

              Probes? I have never heard that used without being preceded by alien anal….
              So…….a lot of anuses are going to have to be checked???

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Russia hacking story goes back to early October with wiki leaks. Who is at fault for Trump? Sherrod Brown, Senator of a state where Hillary lost and prominent Clinton supporter despite his previous support for good policy, DWS, Tim Kaine, Donna Brazille, or Russians? Plenty of people are invested in not being held accountable for 2000. The front runner for DNC chair is a Muslim, Sanders supporter because even Democrats are growing upset, but one of the perks of Washington is celebrity. My guess is going forward Dems will be under greater scrutiny and will find significantly less brown nosers. Hillary is possibly the worst serious candidate ever. Emails and speeches aside, she was a disaster with no business running for President after her prominent national career. This was obvious to any sane and decent human being. The lesson of 2016 is even the “good Democrats” such as Sherrod Brown and Liz Warren need short leashes. In 2020, all these people have to go to Iowa (very close), New Hampshire (a blowout), and Nevada (openly rigged by former Senator Reid). How does a candidate push their “progressive” credentials after throwing in with Hillary? Hillary primary voters have the unfortunate age issue.

      Then of course, there are people who don’t want to believe they bought this bs when Hillary should have been dumped ages ago.

      1. Montanamaven

        The DNC is not the government. It’s a private entity called a political party. Phishing or hacking it is not interfering with our government whoever does it.

        And will somebody explain to me how Putin and his henchmen made Hillary say “basket of deplorables”? Was it an earwig they snuck in her ear? Did they sneak into her room and hypnotize her to say that horrible statement? Did they plan for Obamacare to become a major f**k up in October? I’m pretty sure Russia and China were really pissed at her adventure in Libya; so that escapade was not something they got her to do.

        I negotiate for a living. I would not call the person I’m dealing with a thug like Hitler. I would not poke the guy/bear with pompous statements. That’s just stupid. Maybe we do need people in charge who actually know how to negotiate to get the best possible deal without having things blow up in our faces.
        All those Dems you named are mediocre managers without anything interesting or innovative to say. Even if the Russians did expose the DNC and Podesta emails, The Russians did not make these courtiers mediocre.

    3. timbers

      How is this tension is resolved is the single most important question in the weeks ahead.

      Sometimes the simplest “solutions” are the ones we never think of – Assassination of Trump by the Deep State, the Blob, whatever you call it. But this may take more that just weeks ahead to materialize if at all.

      If you believe President Kennedy was killed by the Deep State (I’m agnostic on that due to never researching it), and if Trump does deal with the bi-partisan War Party Deep State Blob elements by standing them down as he did his Republican primary challengers and Apprentice guests …. then this may be the logical way to put an end to the threat Trump represents to the establishment. And there is so much that is threaten by Trump of the established order.

      Trillions of war armament purchase orders from NATO and the US military hinge in the balance by continued US and NATO belligerence towards Russia. Add to that the gas pipeline thru Syria that will be less likely to happen under Trump. The lost looting if no regime change in Russia like we did in Ukraine – all that lost oil and natural resource the global elites will be denied. All the lost military spending. The lost boogyman to instill fear for more surveillance of the citizenry. The Deep State, Blob, War Party will be furious.

      That’s a lot of trillions.

  7. tgs

    Re Taibbi:

    Yes, it is positive that he openly expresses skepticism in the current environment. But why this?

    If the Russians messed with an election, that’s enough on its own to warrant a massive response miles worse– than heavy-handed responses to ordinary spying episodes.

    Leaking emails would require a ‘massive response’? Has he seen Zero Days? What kind of response would be appropriate for hacking a nuclear plant? Assassinating nuclear scientists? Is he aware that we have ‘hacked’ elections for years? Not to mention overthrown legal governments.

    And this:

    I have no problem believing that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the American election. He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything.

    Would Taibbi ever use similar language to describe Obama? So many in the media and other elite circles are suffering from Putin Derangement Syndrome.

    1. Eureka Springs

      How many countries have Obama /Clinton attempted regime change to covert/direct interference in elections/leadership? I would imagine the answer is far more than my quick list below. We couldn’t hack/leak internal emails among the players because our bloody hypocritical hands would be all over them.

      As for Russia if all they did was expose truths via party emails, well I thank them for that. And considering what Clinton said and did to Russia over the years it would be irresponsible for a Russian leader to sit by idly and do nothing. Even though we seem to be destroying ourselves quite well enough on our own, we have and continue to threaten the rest of the world, beginning with Russia with nuclear holocaust.

      If Taibbi can call Putin all those things, then what the heck are Obama Clinton?

      Ukraine
      Russia
      Syria
      Venezuela
      Honduras
      Egypt
      Yemen
      Iraq
      Palestinians
      Libya
      Paraguay
      Turkey?
      Brazil?
      Argentina?
      Thailand?
      Hong Kong?

      1. hunkerdown

        Taibbi has some personal journalistic history with previous Putin governments. It’s understandable that he’d cast side-eye Putin’s way, though none too healthy in this deranged environment (just wait until some corporate Dem tries to use him as a Surprising Validator). Let’s keep Taibbi on turn watch though.

        It seems the need to celebrate some leader is less conntected to said leader’s performance than to some perceived need to be led, to believe that the very concept of hierarchy is just.

    2. annie

      I used to read and respect articles from Matt Taibbi.

      This one is a revelation and what it reveals is that I have been mistaken.

      I will skip his contributions in the future.

      1. UserFriendly

        I do not understand this attitude at all. A writer who generally does good work says something that I disagree with so I will never read them again. It’s tantamount to saying I refuse to read critically. I don’t want to see anything I don’t agree with 100%. It’s petty.

      2. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Hi, new annie.

        It’s true that the other annie has been posting comments on the site for a while, so it would be less confusing if you were to modify your handle so that people can tell you two apart.

        On the other hand, don’t take any of the comments from people who were concerned personally – obviously it’s easy enough for two people to share the same name, and the software doesn’t flag when you are using a name that has been used before.

    3. Steve H.

      – Putin Derangement Syndrome.

      I heard a report that Lindsey McCain et al have armstwisted Trump into hearing the CIA report on the Russian hack. What are they going to say? ‘You won the election because of teh Russians!’

      “Good gracious me! You’re the CIA, find me out what his favorite liquor is so I can send him a bottle!”

      So they’ll tell him to his face he wasn’t competent to win the election himself? My guess is says brief me again when I’m President, they walk in the door and he properly fires them. And his face will be like this.

    4. Cry Shop

      “warrant” and “executing/capable of carrying out” are two different things.

      As Putin has shown, Obama’s capability threshold so low that it’s rather moot to discuss warrant. It’s now up to Congress to do something magnificently stupid, violent and utterly worthless, or rather worthy of the great American tradition.

    5. witters

      And what on earth is the journalistic point of saying “I have no problem in believing something for which there seems to be no credible evidence and which is being pushed by obvious partisan interests?” I think Taibbi is ‘normalising’ fast.

  8. hreik

    I dunno. President Obama is not great but the comments here make me feel like it’s time for me to skedaddle. Thinking he might be worse than Shrub? 6″ tall, smh

    1. Pat

      Oh I admit it can be a tough choice, but you might really want to add up the good and the bad for both. Not surprisingly there is little good and a whole lot of long ongoing damage inflicted by the policies that both either embraced, adapted to or did little or nothing to stop. Even if the list of bad was equal, I have to give Obama for the edge for two reasons. First because Bush pretty much told us what he was going to do, Obama campaigned on change and vague promises, but still change. Instead he normalized atrocities that most of us had been screaming about in the Bush administration AND he didn’t just squander the opportunities he had to change our course domestically because of the crash and the majorities in Congress, no he couldn’t throw those away fast enough.

      Your position is obviously different.

      And I don’t give a damn what height either of them are, both are small people.

      1. Lost in OR

        Indeed. Bush was a known quantity. “Compassionate conservatism” was was blatantly hollow jingoism. My only surprise under W was how virulently evil Cheney was.

        The big O, though, was handed the opportunity to change the course of history. He took power with Wall Street on its knees. The whole world hungered for a change in course. Remember “never let a crisis go to waste”. O turned Hope into blatantly hollow jingoism.

        In the end, the black activist constitutional lawyer turned his back on all that he seemed to be. Feint left, drive right.

        With W we got what we expected. With O we got hoodwinked. What a waste.

      2. dcrane

        Wait…Bush told us what he was going to do? Not with Iraq, which was his most consequential act. It’s been many years, but I remember Bush and Cheney explicitly campaigning against optional overseas military adventures (they had Clinton’s Bosnia war in mind) and for bringing the political focus back home again.

        Admittedly, Cheney was already on board with the likes of PNAC, so I should have been able to assess the risk of something like the Iraq debacle anyway.

        As lame and annoyingly corporate as Obama has been in many respects, he hasn’t screwed the pooch on anything as badly as Iraq, and he has brought an example of good temperament and caution to the job that we’re likely to miss in short order.

    2. ambrit

      Look, if you don’t like some of the comments you see, say so. We have some thick skinned people here. A little rancorous debate is fine. If some reasoned argumentation is thrown in, the comments section is doing it’s job. (I know, I know, “agency” issues.)
      Obama can be legitimately described as worse than Bush 43 because Obama ran as a “progressive” and flagrantly broke almost all of his promises and governed like a “Moderate” Republican. At the least, Bush, Sr. and Jr. ran as right wing politicos. The people basically got what they voted for with them.
      Finally, “…it’s time for me to skedaddle.” WTF? I’m assuming, yes, I do do that, that you are a responsible and thoughtful person. That needs must include the tolerance of and engagement with opposing points of view. Where do you want to run to; an “echo chamber” site? You only encourage conformation bias with that move. The site administrators have occasionally mentioned the dictum; “Embrace the churn.” The site, indeed, almost any site, will live on long after any of we commenters bite the dust. If, however, one can shift the world view of other readers with good argumentation and anecdotes, our work will be worthwhile.
      So, as I was once admonished by my ex D.I. middle school gym teacher; “Stand up and face it. You may get beat, but you’ll know you did your best. That’s a good feeling.”

      1. craazyboy

        Picking the #1 Worst Prez is a fallacy inherent in our desire to put things on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s so we can say, in this case, #1 was the WORST, and then forget about #2 thru #10.

        It’s like picking the #1 Greatest Rock Guitar Player. There are too many great guitar players and too many styles. It’s just not possible.

        Even so, I’d like to see the Russian citizen ranking of Putin vs. Yeltsin. Secret ballot, of course.

        1. ambrit

          America will be lucky if it avoids something similar to the earlier Russian people’s ranking of Tsar Nicholas versus Karensky and subsequent events.

        2. Oregoncharles

          They’re doing a lot better under Putin, so the result of that relative ranking is very predictable. I gather Putin is extremely popular there. Of course, a lot of that dates to when oil prices were high – it’s an oil state. But I gather he’s weathered the downturn a lot better than, say, Venezuela. The sanctions, too.

          1. Ohnoyoucantdothat

            From the heart of Russia (Crimea):

            Russians love strong leaders. My wife says Russia suffers under weak leaders (last czar, Yeltsin as examples) and thrives under strong. Putin is a very strong leader so, for the most part, he is respected. Crimea is better under his leadership, I think. It was a train wreck in Ukraine and Russia has invested big bucks in fixing things. We got reliable electricity and gas from Russia. We are seeing major infrastructure projects and Putin is actively trying to restart tourist trade which suffered under sanctions. He’s also trying (with little success unfortunately) to address rampant corruption. Medvedev is here every few weeks pushing the bureaucracy to reform. But inflation is really high … officially around 15% … and strength of ruble hurts us as funds are in dollars. So it’s a mixed bag. Putin was very magnanimous to let me remain here when he could have easily tossed me out. I guess that means I’m conflicted just a bit. But I think we are much better out of Ukraine. We most likely would have joined Donbass conflict had we stayed. Not a very appetizing thought.

      2. hreik

        I like your response. Thanks.

        I don’t think he’s worse than Bush but I agree he was horribly dishonest to run as a progressive. He’s far from progressive.

        I think the ACA, deeply flawed as it is, was/is a good thing. It wasn’t enough and it was badly brought out. I hope many thousands don’t get tossed off health insurance.

        My major criticism of him and most politicians is that he has no center. There is nothing for which he truly stands and he has a horrible tendency to try to make nice w the republicans. He’s not progressive. Bernie, flawed also stands for something… always has, always will.

        1. Vatch

          Obama is highly deceptive, but I think that Bush (43) was worse. I doubt that Obama would have performed many of his worst deeds if Bush hadn’t first paved the way. But we’ll never know for sure, so it’s possible to argue on behalf of either side of the dispute.

        2. ambrit

          Sorry if I came across as harsh. I enjoy your arguments, so, I tried to encourage you to hang in there.
          Happy New Year

        3. hunkerdown

          In other words, Obama’s a Kissingerian realist, or a businessperson (but I repeat myself): only permanent interests.

          Happy New Year, and try to don’t run off so easy. :)

    3. Steve C

      The liberals have so much invested in Obama they can’t bear to admit he’s a backstabbing failure. There is no sugar coating Bush’s awfulness. There also is no denying things now are worse than they were in 2007, before the Great Recession began. The liberals like to say things are better than they were when Obama took office. But that’s a comically low bar. Rock bottom of the Great Recession. We have not recovered.

      Obama isn’t gaudy bad like Bush. Obama’s pathologies are smoother, like his desperation for establishment approval.

      1. Arizona Slim

        The liberals like to say that things are better than they were when Obama took office. Sorry to share this tidbit, but I must:

        On Friday, March 18, I was among the 7,000 people who heard Bernie Sanders speak at the Tucson Convention Center Arena. Guess what he said.

        And, to my utter and total amazement, the audience burst into applause. I couldn’t believe it. Much of Sanders’ appeal was based on how lousy the economy still was for so many people. Including Yours Truly.

        My response to Sanders’ praise of Obama’s handling of the economy was a slow clap. A few minutes later, I left the rally.

    4. Jeff

      So criticism of Obama isn’t acceptable? Would it be better to let his poor decisions/actions just go unnoticed?

      Or are you referring to something else?

      1. hreik

        Of course it’s acceptable. It’s even important, vitally. But his height? I know I know it was not really an ad hom, but why even mention it?

        He fetishized making nice w the rethugs to our and the country’s detriment. He had 2 years to get something done. And honestly I have no idea if it would have been different w a less hostile congress. My complaint is he didn’t really try. Everything was half measures, pablum.

        1. Plenue

          Far too generous. He did try…to get Republican policies enacted. He wasn’t a weak Democrat, he was a driven Republican who was only thwarted by a comically, stupidly hostile GOP that sabotaged things like the Grand Bargain/Great Betrayal because they had such a virulent hatred of the black guy.

        2. reslez

          If Obama had enacted the agenda he ran on– even in part — the Democrats would not have lost Congress in 2010. Obama’s “only having two years” is thoroughly on himself and his party.

    5. fresno dan

      hreik
      December 31, 2016 at 9:09 am

      The site would be poorer and I would be sadder for the loss of your comments.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-30/can-this-political-union-be-saved
      Shortly before I got married, I received a piece of sterling advice that I have been mulling a lot over the last year: “You have a big decision to make: Do you want to be married, or do you want to be right?”
      ….
      The more determined you are to win every battle, the more likely you are to lose what’s important: the person you love so much that you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with them. And so every time you have a real disagreement — the kind that cannot be finessed by agreeing that tonight you’ll order Indian, and next time you’ll get Chinese — you have to think carefully before you decide to have that fight. Is this really the hill that you’re willing to let your marriage die on?
      …..
      While traveling a few months back, I ended up chatting with a divorce attorney, who observed that what we’re seeing in America right now bears a startling resemblance to what he sees happen with many of his clients. They’ve lost sight of what they ever liked about each other; in fact, they’ve even lost sight of their own self-interest. All they can see is their grievances, from annoying habits to serious wrongs. The other party, of course, generally has their own set of grievances. There is a sort of geometric progression of outrage, where whatever you do to the other side is justified by whatever they did last. They, of course, offer similar justifications for their own behavior.

      ======================================================
      Every friend, every association we make, every relationship with a relative, every political entity can be dissolved. One can insist one is correct on every matter, and live a long life with ever fewer associations…until maybe one has none at all.

      As to which president is worse, your all wrong. Supposedly , 99 senators believe Russia hacked us. Our country apparently is composed entirely of imbeciles without regard to race, creed, sex, or party….

    6. reslez

      If you can’t bear to encounter comments that contradict your political opinion then you should probably also skip Thanksgiving dinner and other family get-togethers.

      Whether you read the comments here is up to you, but I’d suggest continuing to visit for the articles at least. You won’t find the same level of analysis elsewhere. The MSM is heavily invested in pushing their “narrative” whether or not it’s true. I believe we have a duty as citizens to seek out the best sources of information. NC is on that list.

    7. reslez

      If you can’t bear to encounter comments that contradict your political opinion then you should probably also skip Thanksgiving dinner and other family get-togethers.

      I believe we have a duty as citizens to seek out the best sources of information, even if that results in encountering opinions that are uncomfortable to us. NC is one of those sources. Whether you read the comments here is up to you, but I’d suggest continuing to visit for the articles at least. You won’t find the same level of analysis elsewhere. The MSM is heavily invested in pushing their “narrative” whether or not it’s true.

    8. Montanamaven

      The DNC is not the government. It’s a private entity called a political party. Phishing or hacking it is not interfering with our government whoever does it.

      And will somebody explain to me how Putin and his henchmen made Hillary say “basket of deplorables”? Was it an earwig they snuck in her ear? Did they sneak into her room and hypnotize her to say that horrible statement? Did they plan for Obamacare to become a major f**k up in October? I’m pretty sure Russia and China were really pissed at her adventure in Libya; so that escapade was not something they got her to do.

      I negotiate for a living. I would not call the person I’m dealing with a thug like Hitler. I would not poke the guy/bear with pompous statements. That’s just stupid. Maybe we do need people in charge who actually know how to negotiate to get the best possible deal without having things blow up in our faces.
      All those Dems you named are mediocre managers without anything interesting or innovative to say. Even if the Russians did expose the DNC and Podesta emails, The Russians did not make these courtiers mediocre.

  9. timbers

    You hit the right priority of issues IMO, and would add a few things Obamanation did:

    1). Bombing more nations than anyone in human history and being at war longer than any US President ever, having never requested an end but in fact a continuation of a permanent state of war declared by Congress.

    2). The massive destruction of legal and constitutional rights from habeas corpus, illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of all people, to asserting the right to imprison, torture, and assassinate anyone anytime even America children just because Obama feels like doing it.

    3). Austerity. This tanked any robust recovery from the 2008 recession and millions suffered because of it, we are living with the affects even now. In fact Obamanation’s deep mystical belief in austerity helped defeat Clinton 2016.

    1. beth

      I think the following quote summarizes the article and the writer’s attitude toward those experiencing this tragedy:

      Conclusion:

      For the group as a whole, there was only a 10% loss in income in November. However, the impact on certain types of occupations was high, with income loss up to 44% among the self-employed.

  10. Dita

    Re Something About This Russia Story Stinks, I feel like Obama’s weak response is a passive aggressive way of telegraphing that he doesnt believe The Russians Did It either.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Since the NSA not the CIA would be the main actor involved with cyber security and Obama has instructed the CIA to take action and noted his CIA reports, it’s clear “OMG Russia” was always red meat to help Hillary with Republicans. The problem is the Dems told such an incredulous lie in early October many of their own voters and donors believed it because “Obama wouldn’t make something up.”

      Obama needs to do enough to soothe Democrats who believe this nonsense while not gaining the ire of the sane. Obama will never utter the truth or do the right thing. Polling indicates his Russian story isn’t catching on. When Congressmen go home to their districts, they might not be so eager to discuss Russia when they find the voters don’t care Podesta’s emails were leaked.

      Certain Dems especially Clinton connected ones who swore Hillary was a tolerable candidate and the msm after being in the tank for Hillary for so long are desperate to regain credibility. Admitting the Russian story was an obvious sham means acknowledging complicity or being a mark. See how easy it is. It’s not my fault. It’s the foreign leader you have no control over who was at fault.

      1. Rhondda

        I think “Russia hacked the election” is a (seemingly pretty successful) psyop to inoculate as many as they can against being willing to hear anything about charges for Hillary’s basement server State Dept. They’re sweeping hacks and leaks of different types and kinds into one big dust bunny and stuffing it under a rug misleadingly called “Russia hacked the election” — rather than “Russia hacked Hillary’s illegal basement server” which would of course be a big legal problem for some people. Those people and their cadre don’t want anyone saying that or even able to think it. Squirrel!! FakeNews!! Resist!!

    2. LT

      Obama knows he beat Hillary in 2008, when she was also expected to be crowned.
      And he knows he beat her for the same reason Trump did: people wanted anyone who wasn’t perceived (emphasis on perceived) to be if the long time political establishment.

      It’s funny that no reporter, if they really nelieve this, has asked Obama how far back the intelligence committe was investigating “Putin’s interference”. Russia knew both Clinton and McCain had their hawkish sites set. The Clinton campaign was a leaky mess back then and no one once cried “hacking.”
      Imagine the hilarity if it were true and Russia helped elect Obama.

    3. Lemmy

      I think you’re right.
      On the one hand, we are told to believe our intelligence agencies’ assertions that Russia directly influenced the results of our Presidential election — in other words, that they intentionally subverted our democratic process (such as it is) in order to ensure the election of their preferred candidate. That’s pretty heavy stuff.

      So what is the official U.S. response? We’re gonna send some Russian folks home right before Christmas … really screw up their holiday plans!

      Well played Obama — that will totally make them think twice before installing the next puppet president.

    4. Rhondda

      I think “Russia hacked the election” is a (seemingly pretty successful) psyop to inoculate as many as they can against being willing to hear anything about charges for Hillary’s basement server State Dept. They’re sweeping hacks and leaks of different types and kinds into one big dust bunny and stuffing it under a rug misleadingly called “Russia hacked the election” — rather than “Russia hacked Hillary’s illegal basement server” which would of course be a big legal problem for some people. Those people and their cadre don’t want anyone saying that or even able to think it. Squirrel!! FakeNews!! Resist!!

  11. tgs

    The Russians are at it again. The Washington Post

    Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say

    And Rt:

    Meanwhile, a number of IT specialists that have analyzed the code and other evidence published by the US government are questioning whether it really proves a Russian connection, let alone a connection to the Russian government. Wordfence, a cybersecurity firm that specializes in protecting websites running WordPress, a PHP-based platform, published a report on the issue on Friday.

    Wordfence said they had traced the malware code to a tool available online, which is apparently funded by donations, called P.A.S. that claims to be “made in Ukraine.” The version tested by the FBI/DHS report is 3.1.7, while the most current version available on the tool’s website is 4.1.1b.

    The Report by Wordfence

    The Washington Post seems to have a fake news problem.

    1. Mariah

      I can’t read the Washington Post story because of the paywall, but here is what VTDigger has to say about this story. While I didn’t read the Post story, the difference in headlines is interesting. VTDigger’s headline is “Russians Penetrated Burlington Electric Department Computer” which seems less alarmist than the Post’s “Russian Operation Hacked a Vermont Utility, Showing Risk to U.S. Electrical Grid Security, Officials Say.”

      https://vtdigger.org/2016/12/30/russians-penetrated-computer-burlington-electric-dept/

      Aside from the hysterical quote by our outgoing governor Peter Shumlin, the Vermont officials seem fairly calm about the incident. I would also note that Shumlin’s failure to keep his promise on universal health care probably endangers more Vermont lives than the Russian hack attempt.

      1. Cry Shop

        … the Russian hack attempt.

        at this point, any claim of agency by this administration is almost proof of the opposite.

      2. marym

        The govt released a report of “evidence” for the alleged DNC hacks. Arizona Slim at 9:30 am here posted a link to a critique of this “evidence.” Meanwhile, utilities and other entities started checking their systems for similar “evidence.” Burlington found an instance on a laptop unconnected to the grid.

        Here’s a summary from emptywheel – she’s actually somewhat of a believer in a Russian DNC hack, but not in this grid story.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The problem with the DNC hack story is “who cares?” The Democrats are a private organization* with very poor cyber security as evidenced by Hillary’s basement server.

          Podesta was not a government official conducting government business. Hacking and releasing his emails is simply not interfering with the election.

          *They made this claim in the primaries. The Democratic Party is in no way part of the U.S, government. They warrant as much attention as a local business as they don’t receive defense contracts.

          1. fresno dan

            NotTimothyGeithner
            December 31, 2016 at 11:02 am

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/chinese-hack-of-government-network-compromises-security-clearance-files/2015/06/12/9f91f146-1135-11e5-9726-49d6fa26a8c6_story.html?utm_term=.4b8cea31c097

            Do you remember the Chinese hack of USA! USA! USA! SECURITY CLEARANCES!!!!!!! TOP SECRET STUFF!!!!

            Do you remember the uproar and all the consequences to China?
            All the trade sanctions???
            The Chinese import restrictions???
            DEF CON superduper ONE…or what ever number they use for top DEF CONS now a days…
            How the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war and total global annihilation because of this ACT OF WAR????

            Yeah………..neither do I.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Arms manufacturers have an interest. The Russia is too small and too distant to overwhelm most countries outside of the Baltics and the Caucuses. The Chinese if they are let in can overwhelm most countries through soft power. Why change U.S. shackles for Chinese ones? The Russians offer many of the same weapon and tech options as the U.S. and China without the soft power threat of being overwhelmed.

              Part of the neoconservative rationale back in the day was the state of defense tech advancement would neutralize our wunder weapons and soldiers on the ground would matter again. We needed to block the Chinese and Russians by destroying or assimilating anyone who wasn’t 100% loyal or could move into the Moscow sphere or cut into profit margins. The neoliberals pushed the U.S. would dominate free trade because the US. would run defense, tech, and finance. Russia and China are threats to every neoliberal promise.

          1. fresno dan

            marym
            December 31, 2016 at 11:02 am

            There was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid.” The truth was undramatic and banal. Burlington Electric, after receiving a Homeland Security notice sent to all U.S. utility companies about the malware code found in the DNC system, searched all their computers and found the code in a single laptop that was not connected to the electric grid.

            Apparently, the Post did not even bother to contact the company before running its wildly sensationalistic claims, so they had to issue their own statement to the Burlington Free Press which debunked the Post’s central claim (emphasis in original): “We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop NOT connected to our organization’s grid systems.”

            So the key scary claim of the Post story – that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid – was false. All the alarmist tough-guy statements issued by political officials who believed the Post’s claim were based on fiction.
            ========================================
            Thanks for that marym!
            I guess – no, I now KNOW it was just idiotic of me and a naive and foolish belief in “progress” that I thought people could no longer be manipulated, like Americans in the 50’s with the Red Scare. If anything, it seems the mechanism for ginning up mass hysteria is more effective now than it was than….

        2. Arizona Slim

          If I may be permitted to comment on my comment, permit me to say this about my article link’s origin:

          The writer of said article runs a company called WordFence. Its flagship product is a WordPress plugin that protects websites against hacking.

          If you ever get the opportunity to manage a WordPress-powered website that has WordFence among its plugins, be forewarned. You are going to be a very busy site manager.

          Why? Because you’ll get frequent e-mailed admonitions from WordFence. Better update this plugin, your WordPress installation, your website theme, or some combination of these things. Yeah, it’s annoying at times, but the good news is that WordFence is a very vigilant plugin.

          So, heed those admonitions and do those updates. Now!

  12. Carl

    Wow…that Putin guy is smart. Brokering a cease-fire in Syria and brushing off Obama in one week. Forget the 11th dimensional chess, this guy’s the real chess player. Really knows how to make a countermove. His exposing our failed policies is really what’s driving the heated anti-Russian rhetoric by the political establishment, imo.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    Yesterday I mentioned having taken a class in Assyrian archaeology. Turns out the city I studied, Nimrud, has been turned to rubble by the Islamic state.

    Katniss responded with a comment about it being harder to rewrite history if people were actually aware of it. Really at a loss for words as to how people could do something like this. You’d think these ISIS ass***es would revere the Assyrians, being fellow head choppers and all but instead they raze the place.

    The city of Nimrud in northern Iraq is in pieces, victim of the Islamic State group’s fervor to erase history. The remains of its palaces and temples, once lined in brilliant reliefs of gods and kings, have been blown up. The statues of winged bulls that once guarded the site are hacked to bits. Its towering ziggurat, or step pyramid, has been bulldozed.

    Funny thing is most of the good stuff from these sites was pillaged by the Brits 150 years ago and a lot of the best reliefs can be found scattered through small New England liberal arts colleges. Always thought they should be repatriated. Love to see these slabs lowered back into place in Iraq someday especially if there are some Bush era neocons and ISIS types underneath them when it happens.

    1. ewmayer

      Remember the “bridge of death” scene near the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where after seeing Knight #1 walk safely across the bridge after getting 3 really easy questions from the bridge troll, Knight #2 excalims “that’s easy!”, rushes to the front of the queue, and after getting 2 easy questions, is stumped by “what is the capital of Assyria?” Funnily enough, I actually knew that one – Nineveh. Or thought I did, because doing a quick lookup just now I see Nineveh was the oldest city in Assyria and its ancient capital until its destruction in 612 BC, but Nimrud was an earlier capital, from 879–722 BC. So the correct answer is in fact, “it depends.”

      Very sad what IS did to Nimrud, though.

  14. Jeff

    Hi,

    Is there an update on the demands from NC towards WP and associated liars about the fake news stories?
    Just saw a tweet mentioning the editorial WP added to their original stuff, but couldn’t see an update in any of the ~posts here on NC.

    Thanks,

  15. Paid Minion

    2016 Post Mortem

    Can somebody please kill this fantasy that Clinton I was “eight years of peace and prosperity”?

    For many of us, it was the beginning of 25 years of working harder and making less. And of hacked government stats to make the economy look better than it actually was.

    1. Lupemax

      Clinton 1, the best repug in the dem party, gave us
      1) Haiti – a failed state
      2) telecommunications bill that has given us the 5 corporations that offer the worst lamestream media in the industrial world that lies endlessly.
      3) end of the safety net (welfare as we know it) for those with the least increase in corporate welfare
      4) Glass-Steagall and corruption on Wall Street and all white collar crime actually that goes completely unpunished
      5) continuation of massive, runaway inequality
      6) Hillary Clinton
      7) NAFTA
      8) increase in childhood poverty
      9) sick care insurance that doesn’t cover anyone for healthcare at all
      10) and he also provided privatized social security with Newt Gingrich but Monica (good for her) intervened.

  16. Webstir

    While making no excuses for the ineptitude of our current establishmentarian politicos, I think many of the commenters on here who seem in awe of Putin’s political savvy forget an important point: He’s an autocrat. Whatever the U.S.’s current political failings, there is still a generally effective system of checks and balances. Putin, as an autocrat, does not face these challenges. He is free to shape his statecraft as he pleases and to implement tactics at the drop of a hat. Our political system does not (and lord help us under the trump regime — should not) enjoy this luxury. Whether you feel like the hacking is a ginned up conspiracy or not, cozying up to an autocrat like Putin is an existential threat to all democratic nations.

    “11 dimensional chess” … give me a break.

    1. HBE

      “Whether you feel like the hacking is a ginned up conspiracy or not, cozying up to an autocrat like Putin is an existential threat to all democratic nations.”

      But what about about an oligarchy?

      Our “democracy” has been dead for awhile for anyone not in the top 10%. You can’t really be an “existential threat” to something that doesn’t exist.

      1. Webstir

        Thus my statement: “Whatever the U.S.’s current political failings, there is still a GENERALLY effective system of checks and balances.” And yes, it can (and most likely will) get worse, before it gets better. I’m not blind to the US’s frailties. However, I feel there is still a “chance” that we can step back from the brink of utterly destroying this 200 year experiment in representative democracy. The closer we step to abiding autocracy as a matter of course, though, the closer we step to the brink of not being able to reverse the considerable mistakes we have made.

    2. alex morfesis

      No one anywhere ever is an autocrat…no king, no dictator, no president, no fearless leader and certainly not raz-putin…and no one has ever been…that is a pedestrian image of what it takes to run an enterprise…not castro, not saddam, not mao, not stalin….no one…

      1. Webstir

        Fine. I’ll play the semantic game.

        Your statement does not; however, negate my assertion. Putin’s ability to maneuver politically (within whatever system you’d like to call it) is substantially less hampered by checks and balances than ours. Our absolute polarization in this country has opened the door for “autocraticish” world leaders to seriously undermine our “admittedly weakened by oligarchic influences” system of representative democracy.

        1. hunkerdown

          Our checks and balances were designed to serve the oligarchy. For some reason, you don’t seem to have a problem with things that are unfit for purpose as long as they demand attention.

          1. Webstir

            I address the first sentence of your reply alone, because the second makes no sense.

            So great, it’s always been an oligarchy. I’ve read Zinn. But since you append no solution, am I left to believe that the solution is let Putin destroy said oligarchy and replace it with autocracy? Seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me. But I get it. Some people just want to see the world burn.

            1. hunkerdown

              The world is not debate club and it is not a business. You are not entitled to a solution. I believe it’s arrogant of you to believe that you are.

              What’s more, you’re not ready to overlap your solution space with that of the people. Like I said, the world is not debate club. This is an attempt to meet minds, not to pray like a Pharisee.

              Let’s start with this principle: does human welfare “net out”?

            2. hunkerdown

              Adding, I understand that “world burm” stuff is on today’s meme list, as I’ve seen it in plenty of comment boxes around the Web, so you can stop pretending you’re not on assignment. I want to watch liberals’ world burn for their arrogance, and I defy you to tell me why they don’t deserve that or worse.

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                Moving from the topic at hand over to accusing another commenter of being “on assignment” is generally unhelpful. It shifts the tone of the discussion towards personal attacks and the proportion of effort dedicated the original question correspondingly plummets. Similar comments apply to Webstir’s (unpublished) rejoinders.

        2. witters

          Forgive me Webstir, but isn’t Russia a capitalist democracy? Doesn’t the UN etc get to monitor their elections? Putin gets voted in in the usual way. If that is a problem, then it is a problem for ‘Democracy’ generally. And remind me, these “checks and balances” – is that the CIA versus the FBI? Is it the the DOJ and financial crime? What is it?

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              Webstir, if you disagree with the statement, then explain why. In general, effort thrown into sarcasm is almost always better spent elucidating the issue at hand – it is in particular better for readers stumbling upon the disagreement from outside the original discussion.

    3. Carl

      I guess that comment was directed to one of mine. Sorry, but I was just trying to express how inept Putin makes our war-mongering political establishment look (probably because they are) just by making a few strategic moves. If that came across as “cozying up” to the man, well, you might be reading too much into it. And the 11th dimensional chess remark was /sarc.

      1. Webstir

        I was just trying to express how inept Putin makes our war-mongering political establishment look (probably because they are) just by making a few strategic moves.

        Your right, I may have been reading too much in. And my apologies if I took your sarcasm wrong. Thank you for being civil. More than hunkerdown seems capable of.

        My point, as I hope I effectively expressed, is that too many are willing to trade the devil they know for the devil they don’t.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      “Cozying up to an autocrat like Putin is an existential threat to all democratic nations.” Huh!????? Not maintaining “amicable relations” with Putin and Russia is an existential threat to ALL nations of the world.

      And how is it cozying up to Putin to question the plainly false assertions by our Security Industrial Complex or admire some clever but relatively straightforward responses to Obama’s “retaliations”?

      Do you believe the President of United States has no capacity to control and direct the actions of the Executive Branch? The President has considerable autocratic power — little or not mitigated by “checks and balances” — as the head of the Executive Branch of the United States.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      “Cozying up to an autocrat like Putin is an existential threat to all democratic nations.” Not maintaining “amicable relations” with Putin and Russia is an existential threat to ALL nations of the world.

      How is it cozying up to Putin to question the plainly false assertions by our Security Industrial Complex or admire some clever but relatively straightforward responses to Obama’s “retaliations”?

      Do you believe the President of United States has no capacity to control and direct the actions of the Executive Branch? The President has considerable autocratic power — little or not mitigated by “checks and balances” — as the head of the Executive Branch of the United States.

      1. Webstir

        As I said earlier in the thread, I think that too many are willing to trade the devil they know for the devil they don’t. You sound pretty certain that the hacking is something ginned up by the establishment. I don’t know that. You don’t know that. There are clues that either, or both may be true. In my experience, the truth always lies somewhere in the middle. Here is a good article on who to “trust”: http://www.ianwelsh.net/groups-only-a-fool-trusts/

        And here is a good one on the dispelling of the Russian diplomats:
        http://www.ianwelsh.net/on-trumps-reaction-to-putin-not-expelling-american-diplomats/

        As he says in the second link, we need to stop the hysterics. On both sides. And btw … if you’re not reading Ian Welsh, you’re not reading.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Aurochs, back from the dead.

    Now, we can feel better about finishing of those bees, because…we can bring always bring them back later.

    More enabling of Nature-abusing, should it become a part of cost-benefit analysis – the cost of preserving a species, versus letting it die now and bringing it back 50 years later – because we humans know exactly what we’re doing. Having more options is always better.

    In the mean time, get the award ready for another display of superior intelligence.

    1. flora

      I don’t disagree.
      For me, teading the story brought up this segue:

      The general appearance of the auroch bull is similar to the smaller Spanish fighting bull. Which reminds me, there are several kinds of bull fighting. Portuguese bull fighting isn’t featured in movies but wow is it something. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS4bGwA0QSc

      There’s the ancient /modern sport of bull-leaping. Sport in some form goes back at least 3500 years judging from Minoan frescos.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AukHt8_N1zs

    2. jhallc

      Look on the bright side. They might be developing a superior supply of rodeo bulls to ride. However, the clowns may need some extra padding.

  18. fresno dan

    Is Obama using Russia to force a wedge between Trump and his party? Guardian

    Having compromised national security in order to defeat Hillary Clinton, the Republican leadership may now see Trump as expendable. After all, he chose a standard rightwing Republican, the Indiana governor, Mike Pence, as his running mate, which means McConnell and Ryan can always arrange to have Trump impeached if he becomes too much trouble.

    For Obama, Russia is thus a uniquely effective wedge issue, with the potential to divide the president-elect from his party. If Trump tries to remove the new sanctions, he could face blowback from Congress; if he doesn’t, his friendly relationship with Putin could be damaged.
    ===================================================================
    If Trump is truly not fervently anti Russian, than he was gonna have problems with the repubs soon enough. As I commented yesterday, to me the issue is Trump strong enough to resist the many and varied forms of persuasion that will be marshaled by the MIC and associated hangers on to continue the very lucrative cold war funding.

    I saw a retrospective on the Trump campaign, and the part where Trump got sat down and questioned on abortion. Trump finally answered the question, “do you think women who have abortions should be punished?”
    Trump’s answer of yes reveals two things to me:
    1. Yes, of course he is a politician and gives an answer that he believes his base wants to hear. It took him a while to learn the standard inconsistent but repub politically correct answer.
    2. I doubt very much, to the extent Trump has “core beliefs” that Trump was against abortion. But Trump, maybe more than most, will change to mollify the base.

    Now, I don’t think the repub base actually gives a rat’s as* about spending money to contain Russia, but I think the modern elites can sure make it seem like they do. I am hoping, but I doubt Trump, has the backbone, skill, and intellect to really counter a sustained effort to keep us at the status quo ante (i.e., keep us knee jerk anti Russian).

    The question is: are there REALLY 99 senators who believe Russia hacked the election or same difference, 99 who will vote that Russia hacked us?
    And you know what that means? It means that we are governed in mass, by seriously incompetent people with ideological blinders on – Trump is the least of our problems….

    1. Foppe

      Fancy that, Harvard still has a “cold war center” with nitwits who sell this as “analysis”?

      Mark Kramer, the program director for the Project on Cold War Studies at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, told Business Insider in an email Friday that Putin’s “conspicuous announcement today was intended in part to give the impression that Obama’s measure are weak and inconsequential (as indeed they largely are) and do not deserve a response.”

      “Putin can thus depict himself as taking the high road,” Kramer added, “and undoubtedly will be praised in European and Third World countries that are always eager to condemn the United States.”

    2. HotFlash

      If Trump is truly not fervently anti Russian, than he was gonna have problems with the repubs soon enough.
      ========================================

      I dunno. Mr. Trump, excuse me, President-Elect Trump, has a real gift for knowing what the people want, or at least what they want to hear. And the R’s are conditioned (by the Tea Part et al) to fear their base. May it be that the Repubs (elites) will have problems with Trump? As for the Demos, Demo-friendly pundits and the vast “left wing conspiracy”, I keep having the feeling that all this Putin-blaming stuff is because “Empress Hillary said so” and the DC/Demo-apparatus does not dare (yet) pile on the Trump wagon. See what happens on Jan 21.

  19. petal

    A correction to the OvaScience story-Jon Tilly is not at BU, he’s been at Northeastern since leaving MGH. I was in the little Center when that work was done(by colleagues/friends). There were 3 groups that shared space.

  20. Cry Shop

    It’s going to be a hot time in the hard town tonight.

    capacity by an estimated 250 million tonnes this year and to reduce the share of coal in its energy mix to 62.6 percent by 2016. The country also intends to modernise its coal-fired power plants by 2020 to reduce emissions of “major pollutants” by 60 percent and is committed to stabilising its CO2 emissions “around 2030“. Environmental NGOs are nonetheless cautious, worried in particular about the unbridled construction of new coal-fired power plants in China, at the rate of almost two new projects per week in 2015 alone – even though there may ultimately be little need for the extra capacity. (AFP)

    Say Goodnight, Gracie.

  21. Brian

    Hacking and leaking; something one does when the flu is in town?
    The government claims the Russians hacked something not connected to the internet and expect everyone to believe it. All that is waiting now is the 200,000 IT specialists that could read the code and would disagree.
    this time, the big lie is going to be dispelled in every coffee shop, workplace and wifi hotspot in the land. The IT folks are going to be asked by their friends and customers if it is true or not, and it will all unravel.
    Why would our government make claims so easy to demolish?

    1. knowbuddhau

      Why? Because they work. And once people act on them, it becomes almost impossible to get them to admit they were hugely and publicly wrong. Propaganda and advertising are similar in that the message doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to achieve the intended result.

      I don’t share your faith in the power of facts to dispel beliefs that confirm cherished myths. ISTM that beliefs, world views, come first, and “facts” are noticed, selected, and accepted relative to their support thereof.

      It’s a fact that genocide of native Americans was official US policy. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It’s a fact that treaties were “negotiated” at gunpoint. It’s a fact that we broke them anyway. It’s a fact that we stole millions of acres. It’s a fact that we have no intention of returning stolen property.

      It’s a fact that freedmen were promised “40 acres and a mule.” It’s a fact that that promise is still unfulfilled.

      It’s a fact that the Tonkin Gulf “incident” did not happen as reported. Still, many, maybe even most Americans believe we were attacked, and further, that we had to stop the dreaded “domino effect.”

      It’s a fact that the invasion of Iraq was based on lies. It was an illegal war of aggression. And still is. Nevertheless, anyone who participates in uniform is a “hero.” And anyone who reveals exactly how effed up was our prosecution of that illegal war is, in “fact,” a most scurrilous villain. Just try defending Manning or Snowden to diehard American Exceptionalists.

      It’s a fact that US forces tortured people in black sites all over the world. It’s a fact that the Convention Against Torture demands investigation and prosecution. It’s a fact that our constitutional scholar-president looked “forward, not backward,” putting our government in breach of the CAT. Where are the impeachment proceedings for this high crime?

      I could go on and on. It’d be nice if facts controlled politics. Fact is, beliefs do.

      1. fresno dan

        knowbuddhau
        December 31, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Unfortunately, you are exactly right. It seems humans are just hard wired to be cheerleaders for their own team, tribe, country….beliefs come first, and than cherry picked facts, or facts too good to check that support the beliefs.

        I have said it a million times, I believe the most difficult thing for a human to do is admit they were wrong about something.

        1. knowbuddhau

          Thanks, fd, glad you agree. I (almost ;) always enjoy your comments.

          I’m not so sure “unfortunately” is the word I’d use, though. More like “naturally.” I don’t regret being more belief-driven than data-driven. I think it’s only natural. I think if people were honest, they’d admit they are, too. Or am I supposed to think they’re Mr. Data? That’s what makes us human, right? I think the mythological is a realm of human experience just as natural as is the psychological.

          It’d be nice if facts controlled politics. But first we’ll have to come to a more universal agreement as to exactly what world/universe/multiverse we’re living in. I think it’d behoove us to take into consideration the world views of those we oppose. We can’t assume we’re living in the same world. ISTM we’re often bringing facts to faith-based arguments. And that even we, who have faith in the scientific method, make them, too.

          All the data in the world won’t move people unless it’s in a narrative and/or symbolic form that speaks to people directly, no thought required, like art does. Ask climate change scientists.

          The scary thing is, as Red Scare 2.0 shows, or Trump’s entire campaign, the opposite is true, too. If you hit the right notes, it doesn’t even have to make sense. Works almost as well as the flashy thing (neuralizer) in Men In Black. Not because we’re stupid “sheeple” (how I hate that phrase!), but because we’re “human, all too human.”

          Men In Black in 5 seconds
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymSEibHKOgo

          PS: Regarding admitting mistakes. You won’t mind, then, if I point out that you often use “than” when I think you mean “then.” I like it when others kindly point out my mistakes, so in that spirit.

  22. annie

    there is an ‘annie’ commenting above on the taibbi piece who is not me! and does not express my sentiments at all.
    i’d thought that one’s user name was sacrosanct here. i’ve been using ‘annie’ for many years on n.c.

    1. fresno dan

      annie
      December 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      I was spoofed ONCE on this site – I was gonna change my moniker to the “realfresnodan” but through sheer laziness, I never got around to it and it ?never? happened again. I don’t know, but I imagine software that verifies your address has to allow a different address or computer at least once, otherwise one would have to change your moniker every time you bought a new computer or changed your internet provider, etc.
      Plus, when the new secret police come to get me, I will always have the defense, “its documented that I am being spoofed!!!” I LOVE OBAMA/TRUMP/BUSH!!! – I can’t decide who I love more!!!! (need I say sarc?)

    2. ProNewerDeal

      HillaryB0ts & 0bamabots would say Putin is falsely impersonating you.

      Sorry, some gallows humor. Hopefully the impostor gets banned

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        We’ll look into the general issue. Of course deliberately impersonating another commenter isn’t okay, but sometimes two people take the same user name simply by accident.

        1. ewmayer

          Outis, is it possible to tweak the registration/post-processing setup so each commenter’s profile is stored as a unique UID/email-address pair, and someone attempting to use a UID already linked to a different e-mail gets a “sorry, this userid is already taken” error message? Seems like a pretty basic anti-spoofing measure for any halfway-decent comments system to support.

          1. JTMcPhee

            That will cause me problems, since my personal situation has me using three different devices, no, five counting computers where I now only occasionally work, to participate here. But it’s not my space, so it goes. Protect the discourse. Besides, no one seems to think it worth spoofing me😏.

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              If the proposed system included information about the device, it would be unworkable for precisely the reason you mention. I can imagine a way to work around that, but it may or may not be feasible — it will depend on the flexibility of the back end. I’ll try to look into it.

        2. JTMcPhee

          From the multiple posts of the same msg by several people, I get the feeling that others are having the same experience I am: I scribble, click “post comment,” and then get a white screen rather than a return to a posted, moderated or disappeared comment in the thread. I refresh the page, which then warns me that “this comment has already been posted” on a white screen. I re-load NC, search out my insert point, and maybe the note is there, maybe not. And if I pick the option offered in a text box when refreshing from the white screen, to ‘re-send the form,’ it usually results in a multiple post of the same text. I have tried refreshing the screen and even re-booting, same thing happens. Just offering my experience with the site lately. This started a couple of days ago.

          1. Mel

            I saw the same thing this morning:
            December 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

            Browser is Firefox on a Raspberry Pi..
            In case this helps.

    3. Katharine

      Whoa! Good luck getting that straightened out! I should think it would feel really creepy to see alien sentiments under your local identity.

  23. Pat

    Even though I have weighed in, the truth is that who was worse for the country Obama or Bush really won’t be decided until more time has passed after Obama has left office. Think of it this way, we didn’t have a clear view of how many disastrous choices/decisions/terrible legislation was part of the Clinton administration until years after he left. The full force of NAFTA hadn’t been felt, the devastation of Welfare Reform would only get deeper and deeper, and then there was the repeal of Glass Steagall and the Gramm Bliley Leach atrocity that in reality has been a leading component in the world wide Depression we are still dealing with (and with no FDR unfortunately some of us are waiting for crash pt. 2). Just think how much worse it would have been if he hadn’t been impeached and got his entitlement reform. I have to give the Tea Party the Monica Lewinsky Earned Benefit Savior Award for managing to derail Obama’s multiple attempts at the same, but similar to Bill it will merely be a “and it could have been worse foot note” to his history. But whatever else the last three Presidents do have one thing in common all have ended their terms with a lot of Americans, probably even most demanding change.

    Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and while it is more likely that Trump will just accelerate the descent this country has been on for over three decades that part of me still sings that it might not be that way and sees chance for sanity and humanity to triumph over greed, selfishness and corruption. Unlike Dickinson’s my version was abashed for most of the last six years, and it could become dormant and silent in even less time for Trump. But it still exists, still beats and still sings and will again for Americans do not give up on change, someday we will get it in the manner we really want.

    1. fresno dan

      Pat
      December 31, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      ” give the Tea Party the Monica Lewinsky Earned Benefit Savior Award ”

      THAT IS RICH!!!
      hmmmmm….was the sloppiness of the fore mentioned young lady…uh, hiding the evidencedue to her being a repub “undercover” agent? Hmmmmmm…..

    2. OIFVet

      There but for a sloppy BJ and a cigar… Says a lot about the precariousness of what was once called the “Third Rail” of politics.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Seems to me it doesn’t matter, except as a debating point or for bragging rights or tribal supremacy, or other inconsequentialisms, which figurehead was “worse for the country. ” Seems to me there’s not much of a “country” remaining. And from the standpoint of this one ordinary person, GWB/BHO are just file tabs in the Rulers’ great cabinet of horrors.

      But may I offer the obligatory and mostly sincere traditional wishes to all here, that you have a peaceful and kindly New Year!

      1. hunkerdown

        Indeed, isn’t the obsession with ranking a major driver of the emptiness of liberalism as the game is played? It’s learned, I’m certain; I’m as certain it can be unlearned, given stern enough measures.

    4. aab

      Coming back hours after I read it to say I love this comment, and I love the extention of the Dickinson metaphor. Let us sing and beat our wings until the vibration cracks the bars on our cage.

  24. fresno dan

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/312307-washington-post-raises-dark-suspicions-about-trumps-russia

    “Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicions persist.”

    The editorial concluded by connecting the president-elect’s “odd behavior” toward Russia with his lack of transparency when it comes to his business empire.

    “Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives?” The newspaper speculated.

    “We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the president-elect, cannot be easily explained.”

    ==========================================================
    SO it begins…..

    I was thinking my impeachment hypothesis was premature, given Trump hasn’t even been sworn in…..but now I don’t think so.

  25. DJG

    The recording of the chant in the virtual Ayia Sofia embedded in the American Conservative story is indeed beautiful. There has also been considerable speculation about the acoustics in San Marco in Venice, which is also a modified Byzantine layout. One writer points out that more than one choir was stationed in San Marco, so as to enhance the polyphony. I wonder if this was the case in Ayia Sophia, with its gigantic galleries.

    I was reminded of the importance of the tradition of chanting (no musical instruments) among the Orthodox Christians and the Churches of the East. It is a distinctive tradition not much known in the U S of A, where people like to make claims that unimportant splinter groups like the Seventh Day Adventists have universal appeal. (But so much of “American religion” is so thoroughly parochial–and we are sure to be treated to much much much more of its certainties in the Trump cabinet.) Ayia Sofia, the church of the holy and divine wisdom is a cautionary tale about universal appeals, as is its new, thoroughly iconoclatic decor.

    Ayia Sofia is indeed a contraditory place, as the article notes. It is suffused with the Istanbul melancholy that Orhan Pamuk describes. Not so far away, in the Fatih neighborhood, and higher up, the Suleimaniye mosque (built by the Sinan the convert) also glows in contradictory splendor.

  26. Jay M

    Taibbi making his serious journo bones?
    “Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.”
    “He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything.”
    I realize the Crimea/Sudetenland parallel makes Putin out to be Hitler . . .
    And 0bama to Chamberlain? Oh wait!

  27. Jay M

    Taibbi making his serious journo bones?
    “Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.”
    “He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything.”

    I realize the Crimea/Sudetenland parallel makes Putin out to be Hitler . . .
    And 0bama to Chamberlain? Oh wait!

  28. Jay M

    Taibbi making his serious journo bones?
    “Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.”
    “He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything.”

    I realize the Crimea/Sudetenland parallel makes Putin out to be Hitler . . .
    And 0bama to be Chamberlain? Oh wait!

  29. Pespi

    I have a question for anyone who’s been around a little while. Has political/media rhetoric always been as inflated and over the top as it is now? ie Washpost calling Russian hacking “cyber pearl harbor.”

    Is this old hat or something caused by the attention economy?

    1. Katharine

      This is way worse than it used to be. There was something to be said for stodgy journalism. Even when it misrepresented reality, it did so in terms that sounded comparatively measured and adult, not like hysterical kids on a playground.

      1. Susan C

        I agree – I have never seen journalism like this before. Have been watching a lot of MSNBC and CNN during the past few weeks and I can’t believe how over the top they are about the Russian hacking story – it goes on for hours. And the papers too. Is it that it is a slow news period and they have to keep their audiences shocked and awed all the time? I have no idea why this is going on about the Russian hacking unless the media is trying very hard to change people’s opinions about Russia, and if they are, why? What’s the objective? And the 99 senators too are in on this? They make it sound very serious and yet it seems everyone is being hacked all the time anyway.

    2. fresno dan

      Pespi
      December 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Good question Pespi. I don’t know, but it seems worse to me. But its kinda like asking a fish if its drier than it used to be – we live in a media world, and its not so much the answers they give, but the questions they ask. I’m so old I remember when Obama MOCKED Ronmey for asserting the Russians were a threat…..But no one asks Obama how the harmless Russkies became a threat on his watch….

      AND I am old enough to remember when the the press was considered leftish because of Vietnam and cynicism about government pronouncements. So this belief by the press in the virtue of the CIA is something that I have a tough time processing….

    3. Aumua

      I offer my subjective opinion, not backed up by anything other than that I’ve been around for 4+ decades.

      The level of brazenly open propagandizing is unprecedented. It was over the top through much of the election cycle, and now it’s gone completely off the rails. The credibility of a) the politicians, b) the news agencies, and c) the 3 letter agencies behind the current balls-to-the-wall effort is at risk of being completely destroyed. Apparently they think the stakes are that high that they are all in on this.

    4. Waldenpond

      I think it has to do with repealing the law that put some limits on the ability of the govt to propagandize it’s own people. Journalists now print whatever bs some anonymous official sends them, no questions ask, or alternately sit on twitter.

    5. JTMcPhee

      You folks need to go back in time to the 18th and 19th and early 20th Centuries in America, when political invective was both more colorful, vicious, and inventive than the fairly bland Bernaysian sauce and tribal butt-baring and chest-thumping that’s au courant.

  30. Andrew Watts

    RE: Russia Reaches Syria Cease-Fire Pact With Turkey— and the U.S. Had Nothing to Do With It

    Why would Iran and Hezbollah go along with it? The only plausible answer I can think of is that neither believe this cease fire will last. Already there are unconfirmed reports of renewed jihadi-rebel in-fighting and hostilities between pro-government forces and the not-so-moderate rebels.

  31. Tom

    Re: Brexit vote sparks rush of British Jews seeking Portuguese passports

    Amusingly, Jews in Britain actually voted as a majority in favor of Brexit. Perhaps the press is furthering anti-semitic stereotypes which claim that Jews seek internationalism and consolidation of power at the expense of local governance? You might consider posting articles on this sensitive subject which are more than just a description of an event followed by pointing and sputtering.

    1. hunkerdown

      Linkage is not endorsement. It may be difficult for those that prize bourgeois loyalty and tribal exceptionalism — you know, Americans — to understand, but there it is.

      It’s a big Internet, paid Democrat troII. There are many places for you to ply your trade where you would be welcome.

  32. Andrew Watts


    RE: Russia’s response to Obama ‘is frankly the most damaging and embarrassing answer we could receive’

    I don’t think Putin and Lavrov are playing good cop/bad cop. As per the rules of diplomacy Lavrov expects to answer every tit with a retaliatory tat. Putin is different. His professional experience is formerly of counter-intelligence. Which means he probably realizes what’s happening and Russia isn’t the actual target in this propaganda war.

    Consider the following…

    RE: Something About This Russia Story Stinks

    Taibbi and his friends in the media are right. They have every reason to be worried. After all they’re the primary target in this propaganda war. It took me awhile to figure out what was happening even though something seemed familiar after the Washington Post story about fake news and the slandering of Naked Capitalism. I finally figured out why and the reason the CIA was taking the lead in promoting the “Russia election hacks!” story. But then I remembered the stories about the British Security Coordination (BSC)…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Security_Coordination

    The BSC didn’t just recruit journalists or influence newspapers in it’s operation to tilt public opinion towards the Allied cause. They engaged in misinformation/disinformation campaigns against people they perceived as their enemies; anti-New Dealers, isolationists, and right-wing Republicans. They had sympathetic journalists plant false new stories in their papers that attempted to incite legal action, death threats, and in at least one instance an eviction notice from the target’s home through intimidation of the landlord.

    What the CIA is doing now reeks of the BSC. Up to and including inciting the country into a war. After all the CIA’s predecessor agency the OSS learned everything they knew at their feet.

  33. Bernard

    inverted totalitarianism, or a police state, whatever you call America today, America is run by the rich, for the rich and by the rich. Checks and Balances designed to “safeguard” Government are working to insure the Rich keep their control.

    Naivete/Willful Ignorance is such a frightening mindset. Watching others, who have no clue, speak about how much better our Banana Republic (America) is, say, compared to Mother Russia’s version proves how well American have been “trained.” American Exceptionalism! Because America!!!

    scary, absolutely scary to see the endless displays of ignorance; no matter the cause, watching the fruits of Fascism/Inverted Totalitarianism flow unchecked and unchallenged is not something I can stomach. a wince here and an “oh no” there. the descent into Fascism is really awful. no matter what you call it.

    1. Waldenpond

      It isn’t just apparent the parties have morphed, the base of the parties have also. It looks like about the same number of Rs believed at one time O was born in Kenya as Ds believe Russia, Russia, Russia took the win from their beloved oligarch Clinton (52%).

    2. Trixie from Dixie

      … the future we leave for our children. Will they forgive us? Can we forgive ourselves? How’d that hope and change work out? No worry, rump to the rescue! Happy New Year everyone! And thanks to NC for all you do!

  34. Andrew Watts

    *I was in a rush yesterday so this is a follow-up to yesterday’s hastily written comment on the torture report. Any fault or errors in that comment can be attributed to my gullibility.

    Most of the information about the specific instance of the CIA torturing an individual in Lebanon came from a biography on Bob Ames titled The Good Spy (2014) by Kai Bird. Which was a pretty good book. Ames has an interesting history. He forged a relationship which the author characterized as a friendship with high ranking individuals in the Palestinian Liberation Organization at a time when the PLO was labeled as a terrorist organization. It was this back channel connection that formed the basis of American diplomacy for peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. He died in the 1983 embassy bombing.

    -The individual who was tortured and died soon afterward was Elias Nimr. A Christian intelligence chieftain who appears to have played every side and angle he could during the Lebanon Civil War.

    -The name of the CIA contractor who tortured Nimr was identified as Keith “Captain Crunch” Hall. He was originally identified by Mark Bowden in his book Road Work: Among Tyrants, Heroes, Rogues, and Beasts. (2007) A former Marine before he joined the CIA and was later a cop in California.

    Similar methods that resulted in the death of prisoners during CIA’s systemic torture program during the Bush Administration were used. They’d dump cold water on’em and leave them in a cold cell. Nimr was left in a cell with a fan blowing cold air on them. Hall wasn’t present at the time Nimr died.

    -Bob Baer neglects to mention this specific incident of torture in See No Evil but doesn’t blame Nimr for the bombing of the embassy. *cough* Appropriately titled book if you ask me. *cough* A part of his theory on the masterminds behind the ’83 embassy bombings involves a former PLO turned Hezbollah operative named Imad Mughniyeh. Baer claims that Mughniyeh is was still in contact with his old Fatah contacts when the embassy was bombed.

    Besides the embassy bombing Mughniyeh was blamed for a lot of other terrorist acts that I think are based on nothing more than circumstantial evidence. Contemporary analysis suggests it’s basically the “Blame Putin!” trope in action.

    -The name of the alleged defector from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was actually a deputy defense minister and former brigadier general named Ali Reza Asgari. There was and still probably is controversy whether he was kidnapped or defected. The Iranians wouldn’t want it known that such a high ranking defector went over to the West hence the kidnapping story.

    Hah! Guess not posting much for a few months finally caught up with me.

  35. JEHR

    Re: Canadian Hemisphere: I have always been ashamed of Canadian mining and resources extractors who work in other countries, especially Latin America. Most Canadians think of themselves as fair and judicious but that is not always true when it comes to mining in foreign countries. Canadian mining companies have despoiled land, water and air while exploiting workers’ human rights. It is a depressing aspect of Canadian resource imperialism which is every bit as destructive as any other “imperial” adventure.

    Here is one description of such despicable Canadian behaviour.

  36. Bernard

    inverted totalitarianism, or a police state, whatever you call America today, America is run by the rich, for the rich and by the rich. Thanks to Congress, Republican and Democrats, Partners in Crime. All those “Checks and Balances” designed to “safeguard” Government are working,for sure, but now working to insure the Rich keep their control. The Republican and the Vichy Party/Democrats make sure “Government” does whatever Business wants. Who need competition when you own The US Government! not Capitalism!, that’s for sure. or as i’ve heard, Capitalism can only be failed. Like Conservatism. The age old scam of stealing from the Poor to give to the Rich.

    Watching others, who offer platitudes, speak about how much better our Banana Republic (America) is, say, compared to Mother Russia’s version, proves how well Americans have been “trained.” American Exceptionalism! Because America!!! I know very little about Russia, but i know a lot more about how we/Americans are being scammed. That is what Congress is for.

    scary, absolutely scary to see the endless displays of ignorance; no matter the cause, watching the fruits of Fascism/Inverted Totalitarianism flow unchecked and unchallenged is not something I can stomach. a wince here and an “oh no” there. the descent into Fascism is really awful. no matter what you call it.
    of course, then again, i can see who is stealing what from whom, and it ain’t pretty to watch it go on, year after year. Thanks to Congress and the American Voter, we have reaped the whirlwind.

    1. Trixie from Dixie

      it makes one physically ill… Not to mention psychologically ill.
      Maybe lots of red wine is needed…. I heard it is good for health?

  37. Plenue

    >The Virtual Hagia Sophia The American Conservative

    “The sense of tragedy over the fate of the great cathedral is unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”

    Hahaha. Ahhhhh, Christians. “This giant Church being converted into a Mosque dedicated to the same Abrahamic God is a great tragedy.” Get over yourselves. It’s a poncy over-enginereed shrine.

    1. Vatch

      I’m rather partial to the Bagan Hindu temple complex in Myanmar/Burma, to the Buddhist temples in Borobudur, Java,and to the Abu Simbel temples in southern Egypt. It’s a pity the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, are gone.

  38. fresno dan

    https://theoutline.com/post/351/valley-of-the-dolts

    Let us state the obvious: None of these men are Roman Emperors, and they haven’t got the wherewithal to “blow up” anything but a stock market bubble. They are not Lex Luthors or Gandalfs or Stalins. Their products do not bring about revolutions. They are simply robber barons, JP Morgans and Andrew Mellons in mediocre T-shirts. I have no doubt that many are preternaturally intelligent, hardworking people, and it is a shame that they have dedicated these talents to the mundane accumulation of capital. But there is nothing remarkable about these men. The Pirates of Silicon Valley do not have imperial ambitions. They have financial ones.
    The vast majority of Silicon Valley startups, the sort that project lofty missions and managed improbably lucrative IPOs despite never having graced the cover of The Economist or the frontal cortex of the president, work precisely like any other kind of mundane sales operation in search of a product: Underpaid cold-callers receive low wages and less job security in exchange for a foosball table and the burden of growing a company as quickly as possible so that it can reach a liquidation event. Owners and investors get rich. Managers stay comfortable. The employees get hosed. None of this is particularly original. At least the real robber barons built the railroads.
    ==============================
    Why IS Facebook, a not nearly as crappy email system, worth so much money?
    Thats like asking why do intestinal parasites want to eat your sh*t? No, they want to eat YOU….

  39. Elizabeth Burton

    Considering part of the original Cold War mania was devised to cover up the fact the US was importing a slew of former Nazis for varied and sundry reasons, not to mention allowing them to slip into hiding without any real effort made to find them, one does have to wonder at the coincidence that we are now engaging in neo-Cold War rhetoric just as the “alt-right” neo-Nazis have been granted dispensation to go public.

    Of course, one could believe the idea that all those former Nazis were really just poor souls who only worked for the Third Reich out of fear for their families and were, therefore, only too happy to embrace the joys of American freedom. One could, were it not for the other coincidence that similar fascist organizations have arisen almost simultaneously to public attention throughout Europe.

    But never mind. That’s tinfoil-hat stuff. We trounced all that Nazi scum, and besides most of the people weren’t really Nazis and didn’t believe all that stuff. Right?

  40. Jay M

    (to beat this dead horse a little more)
    Taibbi making his serious journo bones?
    “Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.”
    “He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything.”

    I realize the Crimea/Sudetenland parallel makes Putin out to be Hitler . . .
    And 0bama to be Chamberlain? Oh wait!

  41. Jay M

    sorry about multiple posts, I kept getting a screen that NC page wasn’t working, and remembered about the site update finally
    don’t think my comment was that wonderful, and happy new year

    1. petal

      Same thing happened to me but I didn’t think it was during the time window. My apologies for the double post!

  42. ewmayer

    o “Why Google co-founder Larry Page is pouring millions into flying cars | Vox” — Because haedlines about such squillionaire “thought leader” pipe dreams keep his name in the news and help to goose Google’s share price? Nah, that couldn’t be it…

    o “Self-Driving Cars Will Make Organ Shortages Even Worse | Slashdot (Chuck L)” — Because they’ll kill off all the bicyclists in Year 1, leading to a donor-organ boom/bust?

    o “Scientists edge closer to bringing back from the dead the fabled aurochs, giant wild cattle that once roamed Europe’s forests | Telegraph” — Without a roamable forest for the critters to live in, what’s the point — more animal cruelty?

    1. Waldenpond

      AVs and people will have to be kept separate once the market has benefited from the needed short term boom in organs. AVs can’t even handle fixed red lights let alone moving objects. Perhaps pedestrian overpasses or simply ban cars on every fourth street and designate to bikes and pedestrians.

      Profit! There will be a market for aurochs…. canned hunting expeditions on private property and niche meat like they do with bison provided they don’t carry brucellosis
      .

    2. hunkerdown

      They gotta foam the roadway, man. Set quotas and stuff like that. And, hey, when it’s time for David Rockefeller to get heart #11, he can just Uber it.

  43. Lupemax

    Clinton 1, the best repug in the dem party, gave us
    1) Haiti – a failed state
    2) telecommunications bill that has given us the 5 corporations that offer the worst lamestream media in the industrial world that lies endlessly.
    3) end of the safety net (welfare as we know it) for those with the least increase in corporate welfare
    4) Glass-Steagall and corruption on Wall Street and all white collar crime actually that goes completely unpunished
    5) continuation of massive, runaway inequality
    6) Hillary Clinton
    7) NAFTA
    8) increase in childhood poverty
    9) sick care insurance that doesn’t cover anyone for healthcare at all
    10) and he also would have provided privatized social security with Newt Gingrich but Monica (good for her) intervened.

  44. Code Name D

    The death of Clintonism may be a bit premature.

    It may come off as a shocker, but I found this piece to be too apologetic of the Clintons.

    “By 2016, spurred by anger at Wall Street, and at Washington gridlock and business as usual, the Democratic Party had moved well to the left of the one Bill Clinton had inherited in 1992. And while Hillary Clinton recognized the change intellectually, she seemed unable to catch up to the practical realities of its political implications for her campaign.”

    I tend to see this sort of language peppered throughout the article. First is the choice of wording. “The Democratic Party had moved well to the left…” The problem with this language is that it ignores the issues in place of an empty word “left”. Voters did not “move to the left”, but rather had new issues that needed redress that didn’t exist then, or that morphed and evolved from past issues. At no point did the Clintons campaign ever talk about the issues beyond their platitudes and sound bites. Clinton’s take on global warming is literally just, “investing in new technologies and renewable energy systems to wean our dependence off of foreign oil.”

    Second, the author declares several times that “Clinton understood this, but was unable to capitalize on it.” As a general rule, I try not to pretend what people think or understand. I am not a mind reader and any claim to that effect will be nothing more than speculation. All I have to go on is what someone says and does. And when all that you say is little more than empty platitudes, the claim that she understands anything is rather hard to justify.

    In regards to the authors specific claim that Clinton understood that the electorate “moved to the left of the party,” I find this hard to accept, even from its own vapid context. If anything, Clinton seemed to have nothing but contempt for “the left”, and certainly for Sander’s supporters. Indeed, the Democratic narrative has always been that election are won “at the center” or just “left of center”. If she understood that the party had “moved further to the left”, then she also believed that the party had moved too far to the left and needed to be dragged back to the center in order to avoid losing to Trump.

    “[The] Democratic Party that was seen as more sympathetic to criminals than to victims was not a Democratic Party that was going to win elections. Bill Clinton had to correct that, and he did, and by 2015 we just did not have that kind of violent crime any more,” Kamarck says. The Clintons expressed regret for their 1990s posture, in light of declining crime rates, but Donald Trump still managed to paint the pair as somehow soft on crime,”

    Here we come to one of the central tenants of “Clintionism”, the issue of perception trumping reality. The problem: Republicans were painting Democrats as being too sympathetic to Criminals. Solution: Start beating on criminals until the image is repaired.

    At no point is the question ever asked if the Dems really were “too soft on criminals” or even what that means? To Republicans, giving prisoners blankets and a pillow to sleep on is being “too soft.” Today, being “soft” now includes a reluctance to torture, not embracing capital punishment, or insisting suspects get a fair trial. What’s next? Would being “too soft” soon mean not shoveling coal fast enough into Trump’s furnaces?

    The proper response is to first reflect on the question. Are we, or are we not too soft on criminals? If the answer is yes, then admit to the mistake and effect change to your platform accordingly. If no, then stand up for your position and defend it. Or… heaven forbid, call out the Republicans for their barbarity!

    But this isn’t a bug of Clintonism, but a feature. The question itself is irrelevant. Instead, you had the prison industrial complex turning a profit by how many heads were held behind bars. For the privet prisons to see profits, the courts needed to convict more black people, convicted them faster, and hold them for longer sentences. And of course, poor prison conditions were the inevitable consequence of cost cutting. Why give a black inmate a blanket and a pillow when the money would be better used on stock buy backs and corporate bonusses.

    The importance of image is then only relevant for winning elections. Being “too soft on crime” had more to do with shaping the expectations of the electorate so that they would rubber stamp the policy incentives handed to them by the donors.

    “… Clintonism was always Bill Clinton himself, and his singular ability to speak to both the most elite audiences and the most everyday ones in ways that could move each…”

    This is the heart of Clintonism, moving both the elites and electorate. Back then, voters had no idea this was happening, and even trusted “Bubba” that he knew what he was doing. But even back then, Bill was duplicitous. I remember voting for Bill Clinton because he opposed NAFTA and campaigned against it. A necessary position in order to win support of the unions, who was the backbone of the Democratic Party at the time.

    But it turned out this was his “public position”. Once he got into office, he signed NAFTA into law, without any explanation as to why his position changed. This was his “privet position”, more than likely reflected in the speeches he made to the elites at the time. So at the end of the day, Bill’s “singular ability” was the power to lie to the voters in order to get elected and pass the donor’s agenda.

    Today, it’s irrelevant if HRC understood this or not. The electorate has becoming increasingly aware of Democratic duplicity, and it turns out they do not appreciate being lied to. Nor is this a new lessen. This is largely why Obama beat Hillary eight years ago, by replacing Clinton style duplicity with an emotional appeal of “hope and change.” Eight years later, she returned to the stage with the same playbook that failed her the last time.

    Indeed, this seems to be the authors point. It worked for Bill – so it should have worked for Hillary twenty-five years later.

    “Do I think it will hurt Bill Clinton in the long run?” Sperling asks. “No, because he will still be most remembered for helping to bring about eight of the best years of shared growth and peace our country has had.”

    This also seems to be the hallmark of Clintonism, self-aggrandizement. This is the Washington narrative that Bill oversaw the best years of shared growth. But both popular and academic perceptions of this period are changing, and not for the better of the legacy. Rather than overseeing massive shared economic growth, Bill is not seen as laying the foundation for the economic collapse that took place decades later.

    The Clinton miracle was unsustainable. A fact that was already apparent even during Bill’s administration as the various trade deals Bill passed ended up producing that great sucking sound of jobs leaving the nation. Today, we are surrounded by the ruins of Bill’s legacy, factories abandoned in the 90’s are now in such poor condition that they are caving in from their own weight. Production lines that once was the arsenal of freedom, has been to trees and shrubs piercing cement floors and reaching for gaps in the ceiling.

    We couldn’t rebuild now even if we were allowed to, not without first fully razing Bill’s legacy to the ground.

    And yet, the establishment continues to labor under the delusion that this is what works. Even as Obama surveyed the smoldering ruins of the housing markets originally created by Bill’s deregulation, his first compulsion was to immediately begin re-inflating the housing market. Democrats have become like the robot arm trying to build a tower of blocks, unaware that the tower it has already build has collapsed in on itself. So now the Democratic Party keeps lofting up new blocks and dropping them into thin air, incapable of grasping that it has become an absurd parity of itself, incapable grasping the world around them, let alone self-reflection.

    “Now Clinton’s time as the party’s Mr. Fix-It, and even as its “Explainer-in-Chief,” as Obama famously styled him, has ended for good. It will be left for someone in the next generation to build a new New Democratic coalition, one that can somehow rise above prevailing identity politics (much as Clinton did) to forge an interracial coalition of working-class voters who can carry the big swing states in the heart of the country that count in the Electoral College…”

    Is it? This is the main question I am asking. Is Clintonism really, truly dead? The author seems to be lamenting the death of Clintonim, while I would say good riddance. But I fear that far from Clintonism being dead, it goes into hibernation.

    Clintionism has already survived a long hibernation cycle. Indeed, the author actually noted that the majority of time under Clintonism, the Whitehouse was held by Republicans.

    Clintonism is basically about influence pedaling. Your generous donations will almost always result in that mining lease, pipe line route, or pollution permit you always wanted. And the more offices you hold, the greater your ability to influence legislation, and the more “influence” you have to sell. So what happens when you lose an election, and start running out of influence?

    Don’t forget about the revolving door. Being voted out of office his hardly a political death these days, not when there is a limo waiting for you, ready to whisk you away to a lucrative career as a lobbyist, media commentator, or think tanks professor. As the saying goes, how can we ever miss you if you never go away.

    1. hunkerdown

      unaware that the tower it has already build has collapsed in on itself. So now the Democratic Party keeps lofting up new blocks and dropping them into thin air, incapable of grasping that it has become an absurd parity of itself, incapable grasping the world around them, let alone self-reflection.

      Could Simone Giertz, of sh*tty breakfast robot fame, have possibly done better?

      I note the hope for a new generation to create a “new New Democratic coalition.” Apparently that just means it’s someone else’s turn to sell liberal oligarchy to the Eskimos. Clintonism may be dead, but the desire for a “big tent” made of big money is very much alive and well. It will be left to a future generation — this one this time tomorrow, in Democrat-speak — to find a way to inoculate this parasitic organism into the American discourse, they hope.

      Nuke it from orbit? It is, after all, the only way to be sure…

  45. Jay M

    I see the chef at the Russian consulate in SF was sacked by the 0bama credo.
    No doubt the microfiche was secreted in the crab in season.

  46. FitzD

    Just discovered this site. Looking at the archives a bit, I see that it has covered finance and economic issues extensively. Is this still it’s mission or is it now a political opinion site? I am looking for helpful sources to go over the ongoing mess in global finance since the GFC, but am having trouble finding many sites that still maintain a focus on finance, debt, and economic fragility. I know Trump and the Russians are pretty darned interesting, but it seems to me that the real drivers of global goings-on are still the titans of finance and industry. Any suggestions welcome.

    1. hunkerdown

      Links are somewhat constrained to go where the news goes. Blame the NYT and the WaPo for causing the drama, if anyone.

  47. homeroid

    My best wishes to you Yves And Lambert. Thank you and i do follow all the time.

    Dance a bit. I laugh.

Comments are closed.