Links 12/4/16

USB Killer, yours for $50, lets you easily fry almost every device Ars Technica. Chuck L: “Public service warning.” Wowsers.

27 exotic ways with the ashes of your deceased Spectator

How we became more than 7 billion – humanity’s population explosion, visualised Aeon (Micael).

Great Barrier Reef progress report: We have to do better on water quality, says Australia Guardian

Eyes in the sky: Cutting NASA Earth observations would be a costly mistake The Conversation

New McCarthyism

Truthdiggers of the Week: Journalists Who Ripped Washington Post, PropOrNot for McCarthyite Hogwash Truthdig

Who’s Afraid of a Little Russian Propaganda? Politico

Naked Capitalism Website Denounces PropOrNot’s Attempt at ‘Censorship of the Worst Form’ Truthdig. Includes audio link.

Harvard research suggests that an entire global generation has lost faith in democracy Quartz

Late Is Enough: On Thomas Friedman’s New Book Rolling Stone. The latest entry to the extensive series of Matt Tabbi’s Friedman takedowns, collected here: The Definitive Collection of Thomas Friedman Takedowns Jillian C. York. (I’m reposting the collection for those who missed it when I posted it during the latter part of last week.)

Apple Drops Hints About Autonomous-Vehicle Project WSJ

Killer drivers on mobiles to get life The Times

New EU Energy Goals Are Just What Trump Aims to Avoid MIT Technology Review

The Rockefeller Family Fund vs. Exxon NYRB

Dorchester hotel ‘could be sued’ over grooming rules for female staff Guardian

Four Huge Cities Are Banning Diesel Cars MIT Technology Review

Pledge by four major world cities to ban diesel by 2025 ‘heaps pressure’ on London Independent

Villages are trying to replant mangroves in Kacchh to save the coast – and the world

Lawyer sues 20-year-old student who gave a bad Yelp review, loses badly Ars Technica

Police State Watch

The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters Counterpunch


Local vet organizing protection for pipeline protesters at Standing Rock Buffalo News (Martha R).

By What Authority? The Baffler

President Obama: Halt the Dakota Access Pipeline & Respect the Rights of Indigenous People Medium (Martha R).

Somes Bar 8th Grader Reports on Standing Rock Two Rivers Tribune (Martha R)

Yurts, cleats, coats: Dakota protesters dig in for brutal winter Reuters (Martha R)

Investors Take Stand on Dakota Access Pipeline Sustainable Finance (Martha R)

Indian Currency Train Wreck

There May Not Be Any Demonetisation At the End Of It All The Wire

Reserved Banker 7 days  Long knives out for RBI governor Urjit Patel as scapegoat for the demonetization debacle?

Italian Referendum

After rapid rise, Italy’s Renzi braced for fall France24

And the winner (in Italy) is … Donald Trump Politico

Trump Transition

Trump says he’ll cancel Obama’s ‘unconstitutional’ executive actions. It’s not that easy WaPo (furzy).

Hillary Clinton’s “Corrupt Establishment” Is Now Advising Donald Trump The Intercept

Trump’s New Defence Secretary Was Obama’s Go-To Man to Keep Pakistani Generals Happy The Wire

I Served With James Mattis. Here’s What I Learned From Him The Federalist. Rightwing comes out in his defense.

General Jim Mattis Brings Insight And Clarity To The Nature Of War Hoover Institution. Live! From the heart of The Blob!

Trump’s Charm of Not Being Obama WSJ Can’t agree with al of this but. . .

Trump puts steel at the heart of industrial policy FT

The Private Deportation Machine Jacobin

Big Brother IS Watching You

UK’s new Snoopers’ Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor The Register (Chuck L)

Uber knows where you go, even after ride is over Ars Technica

For Bangladeshi banks, social responsibility means loyalty to the ruling family The Conversation


Donald Trump’s phone call casts doubt over future of US arms sales to Taiwan SCMP

2016 Post Mortem

Faux News Channel The Baffler

The Democrats’ Biggest Disaster New Republic

Bernie Sanders in San Rafael: Democratic elite to blame for Trump victory (Martha R). Looks like Sanders is repeating his 2015 strategy: Barnstorm the country speaking to groups (and then crowds…) Bernie realizes the struggle continues, and we must persevere.

The lesson of 2016 is that identity matters – even for white people New Statesman. Could have just as easily have placed this under a Brexit heading but I don’t have one of those today.

Green Party’s Stein to pursue Pennsylvania recount petition in federal court Reuters. Is it over yet? Likely to go nowhere, especially as the state Dem apparatus isn’t on board.

Antidote du jour.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. fresno dan

      December 4, 2016 at 7:00 am

      We inhabit a world of managers and technocrats. “Let’s just concentrate on solving the problems,” they say. “Let’s just focus on making ends meet.” Political decisions are continually presented as a matter of exigency — as neutral and objective events, as though there were no other choice. Keynes observed this tendency emerging even in his own day. “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences,” he wrote, “are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

      When Lehman Brothers collapsed on September 15, 2008, and inaugurated the biggest crisis since the 1930s, there were no real alternatives to hand. No one had laid the groundwork. For years, intellectuals, journalists, and politicians had all firmly maintained that we’d reached the end of the age of “big narratives” and that it was time to trade in ideologies for pragmatism.

      excellent article
      The article has a lot about stultified ideas and I thought Keynes quote about “defunct economist” hit the nail on the head

      defunct economist – but I repeat myself

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Keynes and Harry Dexter White were both admirers of Stalin’s Russia and centralized planning, no wonder they came up with the ridiculous notion that an infinitely complex system heavily influenced by human emotion (money) could be “managed” by Ph.Ds with their formulae.
          So much for “exempt from intellectual influences”.
          Hint to JMK: it’s not working. 8 years after the crisis started the euro is getting crushed, people are fleeing the yuan every way they can, and there is no way in sight to rebalance.

        1. RWood

          Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery.
          Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice.
          The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love.

          Morihei Ueshiba

      1. Dave

        The mere presence of that whining Eeyore A’hole on the Gore Ticket in 2000 is why George Bush won.

      1. rd

        My wife is a passionate Democrat who is baffled by how Trump could have won. I actually brought up Geithner (again) earlier today as an example of how Obama started to set the stage for Trump to show up at the moment that Obama took the reins. The passionate Democrats still don’t understand how corrosive the neo-liberal repudiation of New Deal economics and the Rubin-Geithner financial access has been over the past 20 years. It has simply turned the Democratic into a diversity and pro-choice party with little to offer on the economic front. It is very difficult to make progress on the progressive societal issues if people are suffering economically.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And of course that suffering facilitates the use of divide-and-decimate tactics to make sure no “progress” gets made. Whatever “progress” happens to be, anything other than “more, for me and my mates…” Amazing how quickly a little “success” turns a devout ‘liberal” into a conniving fraudster — “Why should those welfare queens and ‘entitlement takers’ get paid not to work?”

          Cant. be. fixed.

    2. UserFriendly


      It would have been a tougher race for Donald Trump if Hillary Clinton would have picked Bernie Sanders as her running mate, a top adviser to the president-elect said in an interview aired Sunday.

      “He won 22 states and 13 million voters, and that ain’t nothing,” said Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway in a joint interview with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on CNN.

      Mook said Sanders was considered, but Kaine represented Clinton’s “views and values” best.

      “[Sanders] was up on that list because he deserved to be on the list. And he was considered fully along with over 30 other people,” Mook said. “But at the end of the day, she felt like Tim Kaine would represent her views and values if, God forbid, he had to become president; that he had the background and preparation to do the job. But also that that partnership and that chemistry was the right one. “

        1. Isolato

          It is sometimes said that the apple of discord was inscribed “to the fairest”. And each wished themselves so.

        2. UserFriendly

          True, but that doesn’t make the observation wrong. I could easily see enough Millennials taking that as an acceptable olive branch.

          Honestly… I wonder if she might have if it wasn’t for that stupid 9 out of 10 Sanders supporters will go to Clinton survey that was SO over reported.

        3. oh

          The apple was rotten and served rather than tossed to the people with a generous layer of cream by none other than O and the Dims.

      1. Pat

        That Kaine represented her views was one of the campaign’s problems. He very clearly said, any thing Clinton remotely said as a nod to Sanders supporters during the primary was utter bullshit including her stand on trade, minimum wage and even student loans. Oh, and that she didn’t give a fig about women’s reproductive rights as well.

        I cannot tell you how many times I flummoxed a Clinton supporter by reeling off Kaine’s positions and his actions as governor and then asking what that said about Clinton that with all the health questions this was her choice for VP. Funny how often that also stopped all discussion of how I didn’t know Clinton’s record and stands.

    3. UserFriendly

      Trump just adopted Bernie’s Offshoring prevention plan:

      The president-elect tweeted that his administration will “substantially reduce taxes and regulations on businesses.”
      “But any business that leaves our country for another country,” he added, “fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. ……without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!”

      Trump said there will be a 35_percent tax on the country’s “soon to be strong border” for companies that leave and then want to sell their products back to U.S. consumers.

      Of Course I can imagine huge companies will find ways to weasel out of this. Discontinue one product, start a new similar one next to an already off shored plant.

    4. Watcher2


      On November 30th, the House passed HR
      34, a 996-page bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act. They are now
      rushing to get it introduced and passed by the Senate on Monday,
      December 5th, at 5:30 EST. This bill must be defeated because it
      contains some very dangerous provisions relating to psychiatric
      treatments. This is an urgent call to action as we must let our
      Senators know that they need to oppose it. We have less than 72-hours
      to do this.

      Talking Points on Why This Bill Must Be Opposed:

      It drastically broadens the criteria for who qualifies for forced
      psychiatric treatment. For example, if you are labeled mentally ill,
      you can be court-ordered for psychiatric treatment just because you are
      “substantially unlikely to voluntarily participate in treatment.” All
      states already have their own laws regarding involuntary treatment and
      so there is no need for Federal legislation, especially with such
      dangerously broad language.

      It undermines FDA regulations that are essential for making sure
      medical and drug research is conducted ethically, scientifically and
      safely. Meaning it could cost lives.

      Additionally, this 996-page bill is being fast-tracked through as it
      is being introduced with no time for the Senators to fully study and
      understand the broad implications of it.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        As a friend recently remarked when I’d reported I was trolled: Congratulations. Let’s party!

          1. a different chris

            Haha well not meaning to harsh your mellow, but she’s suddenly not really busy at all…Birthday Parties! Receptions! Neera Tanden is available!

      2. integer


        The Podesta emails show that Neera “I’m a loyal soldier” Tanden is so slow on the uptake of what is going on around her that it is hard to believe that Podesta chose for her role for her any other reason than her pliability. To be fair though she seems to excel at the sort of bitchiness one might expect from a teenage girl who is pissed off that her friend keeps getting asked out and she doesn’t.

        To Neera: Hope you’ve been having fun lately! Hahaha! Think about something else!

  1. Jim Haygood

    Silly Jilly beats a retreat from the Keystone state (Reuters article above):

    The court gave the petitioners until 5 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) on Monday to post the bond, but said it could modify the amount if shown good cause. Instead, Stein’s campaign withdrew.

    Stein said she planned to announce “the next step” in the recount effort on Monday at a previously scheduled news conference at Trump Tower in New York City.

    Presumably Stein’s news conference will be held on the sidewalk next to the falafel cart, rather than in the president-elect’s Louis Quatorze penthouse with the gold-leaf doors.

    Buh-bye, bubbe …

    p.s. huh … skynet don’t like yiddish.

  2. integer

    VERY IMPORTANT NEWS!!! Steve Smith, captain of the Australian cricket team, batted brilliantly and then took a Caracal-like catch in the field and led Australia to victory against New Zealand in today’s one-day game. As the captain of the Australian cricket team, he has the most important job in Australia, and I’m being serious. Worth finding on YouTube if you like cricket. Well played Steve!

    1. Synoia

      Only in Cricket season.

      In the other season it is a combination of Rugby, Soccer or Australian Football.

      Cricket makes Baseball look dynamic. It is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

      1. integer

        “In the other season it is a combination of Rugby, Soccer or Australian Football.”

        Not a fan.

        “Cricket makes Baseball look dynamic. It is about as interesting as watching paint dry.”

        I’ll pretend I didn’t see those two sentences.

        1. juliania

          Oh, if only NZ’s captain had called for a review of that lbw Smith had in the first few overs! (Sing sorrow, sorrow. . .) He did do a good knock, though – all credit to him, on a tricky pitch too. (See, you are not alone!) We gave them a run for it, should have had Southee and Jeet ravel, perhaps.

          Baseball? Hah! Cricket is to baseball as chess is to checkers. Fine games both of them, don’t get me wrong.

          1. integer

            That was definitely pretty unlucky on NZ’s part and I imagine we would have seen a different end result if that decision had gone the other way. So yeah, not a win Australia can gloat about, but I did like that catch to faceplant by Smith. Commitment!

  3. ex-PFC Chuck

    A correction is needed in the second paragraph of the “Bernie Sanders in San Rafael” link”

    The Vermont senator said they should blame instead the elite leadership of the Democratic Party, which for years did too little nothing to address the economic pain of an increasingly large segment of the nation.

    There. Fixed it.

    1. integer

      Not quite there imo, though your version is better than the original. I’d go with:

      The Vermont senator said they should blame instead the elite leadership of the Democratic Party, which for years did too little (nothing) to address the inflicted economic pain o[n] an increasingly large segment of the nation.

      The D-party committed suicide. Well played 0bama! /s

      1. integer

        Just the “Well played 0bama!” part was sarcasm. Missed my chance to edit. Beer is a very important part of watching cricket.

          1. integer

            Those guys are rocket scientists compared to the D-party.

            “You can fool some people some times, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
            –Bob Marley

      2. Dave

        Marin County is a coastal fringe rotten borough of the Democrats where money, not population, is over represented.

        The most Republicans registered in Marin are in Belvedere, the home of hedge fund managers, investors, trust fund families and other billionaires. Guess where Hillary Clinton raised the most money? Belvedere.

        The next wealthiest towns are Ross, Mill Valley and Sausalito. All pouring enormous amounts into the doomed Clinton campaign. Meanwhile, Bernie lectures students about anticlassism in the college nearest to all this that was once run by nuns living off donations to their now enfeebled school.

  4. craazyman

    It’s not surprising to see stories about “investors taking action” etc etc. re: DAPL pipline. I know a little bit about investor social activism from my day job. It’s a field I’ve worked in for 15 years — the so-called “socially responsible investing” business, now more frequently called “ESG” investing (environmental, social, governance).

    I had a theory, without knowing any facts (since this is a specialized issue and I’m very busy with technical investment-related topics and I’m not a politician) that the the pipline firm probably failed to consult the local communities at the center of the protest. Evidently one of today’s links says a prominent ESG rating firm, Sustainalytics, gave the pipeline company a very low score for community relations. That didn’t surprise me, since “prior informed consent”, which is a buzz-phrase used to reference consulting with affected communities when big infrastructure or construction projects are in the planning stage, seemed missing from this DAPL fiasco. It seemed like the oil guys just said “We’re gonna lay this thing right through the reservation and to hell with them.”

    What’s a bit odd to me is that, now that I’ve made a small attempt at internet fact-finding, the reality seems more confusing. Evidently the Army Corps of Engineers believes it made many, repeated attempts to engage the local community and the community simply failed to respond. This is amply noted in several internet news stories as well as civil court documents (civil action 1654-JEB: US District Court, District of Columbia). There’s a lot of commentary on this if somebody wants to look for it and has internet skills. I’m not going to list a bunch of links here..

    I wonder if maybe the tribe felt the process was simply unfair and rigged against them, and didn’t participate on those grounds. Or if they feel they did participate and the court documents are misleading. I’ve also seen news articles suggesting the tribe was against this project from Day 1. There are usually at least 2 sides to every story, and sometimes 10 or 20. But what seems weird to me is the sincerity with which each side believes the other is wrong.

    The more I read about this, the worse it seems all around. I don’t think this is going to end well. I think a lot of people are going to get hurt or worse. What was that phrase James Joyce used — about escaping “the nightmare of history”? That nightmare I think has possessed this entire situation and it’s not about a pipeline anymore.

    Somebody quoted General U.S. Grant a few days ago, to the efffect that he “never once saw a situation where reasonable discussion couldn’t have prevented the drawing of a sword” or something like that. The original was worded more elegantly. Evidently that sort of discussion is not something humans are good at, just based on the evidence.

    1. integer

      Iirc, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners (Kelcy “we’re building the pipeline” Warren) oversaw a massive loss on their last project, then Sunoco bought ETP, and Citi is somehow involved with the financing. Sunoco is particularly poor wrt pipeline integrity (many leaks), and everything Citi touches turns to shit. Seems to me like they were all on the back foot since that last project failed and “need” this one to be profitable. Sorry for no links and I am happy to be corrected on any details.

      1. different clue

        Is there a way to find out what other pipelines ETP owns or co-owns or operates on behalf of others?
        Is there a way to find out whether they move oil from only certain places to only certain other places?
        Is there a way to find out whether some of the oil they move gets sold by everybody or by only a targetable few sellers? Is there a way to organize selective boycotts of those few targetable sellers ( if they exist and can be isolated) to torture them into breaking contact with ETP and only accepting oil coming from other pipelines or coming by train? Would enough people doing that hard enough for long enough be able to strangle ETP’s revenue stream to the point of torturing ETP into dropping the pipeline or otherwise drive ETP into permanent liquidation?

        1. integer

          I was mistaken that Sunoco owns ETF. Sunoco is a subsidiary of ETF, purchased by them in 2012. They are notorious for pipeline leaks. When I was looking into it I saw interviews with Kelcy “we’re building the pipeline” Warren where he was talking about his other pipeline projects so I imagine by starting from there someone could piece it all together. I just had a quick look and noticed this, which is a worry:

          WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Last question for you. President Trump, president-elect Trump is — I know he holds some stock in your company, reportedly, and I know you’re a big supporter of his. Do you think, when he becomes president, that he will simply authorize the construction of this pipeline?

          KELCY WARREN: Well, I don’t think — I don’t think a president actually authorizes an easement. I think he allows the rules, procedures and laws.

          WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But you think it will happen when he takes over?

          KELCY WARREN: I do, yes.

          1. integer

            ETF ETP (Energy Transfer Partners)

            Must’ve read too many of Haygood’s stockmarket posts lately hahaha.

      2. Procopius

        Don’t remember where I saw it, but there was a comment to the effect that the guy in charge went ahead and ordered the construction before all the necessary permits and easements had been approved. It was a clear case of financial mismanagement, and the investors deserved to lose big because of picking such a jerk to run their project.

    2. Steve H.

      Craa, engaging an dispute within a particular theater gives implicit authority to who owns the theater.

      Perhaps if the mil had used its Human Terrain experts… Ah, but that would’ve been a different message, eh?

      1. Tvc15

        I agree Cman, it won’t likely end well and swords have already been drawn.

        I may have missed it, but don’t think this has been posted in links/water cooler before. Here is a link to a poignant interview of the father whose daughter was severely injured while supporting the indigenous people at Standing Rock Reservation in ND. To me, it humanizes what is occurring there. I read a list Lambert previously provided of all the banks funding the DAPL project which included all the usual suspects, so I’m baffled why this interview isn’t generating more mainstream attention. /s

    3. hreik

      Well, likely they were against it from the beginning as

      An early proposal for the Dakota Access Pipeline called for the project to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck, but one reason that route was rejected was its potential threat to Bismarck’s water supply, documents show.

      It was too risky to be so close to white people but not Native Americans. There are ample links all over the internet that substantiates that this was the original plan.

    4. RenoDino

      When the Army Corps of Engineers engages in community outreach and input for a proposed project that involves massive investment in a controversial infrastructure project, the dye has already been cast. The project may be delayed, but it will be built. In most cases it won’t even be slightly mitigated, but some minor objections might be addressed. The EPA usually stands on the sidelines wringing its hands, suggesting an Impact Statement might be a good idea, but then quietly goes away after Corps rules that there’s nothing to see here.

      Given the ferocity of the protest, I worry that after the pipeline is completed as planned, there will be some form of sabotage that will result in the worse fears of the native Americans and eco-protestors coming true. That would be doubly unfortunate.

      1. different clue

        We know what sabotage to the pipeline AFter it is full of oil would result in. What would sabotage to the pipeline beFORE there is anything but air inside it result in?

    5. Eclair

      What were we talking about here yesterday regarding the British wrapping the bullets in animal fat (that had to be bitten off before loading) that led to the Sepoy (?) rebellion in India? The British had been exploiting, supressing and sauntering like great white gods, all over the Indian subcontinent for decades before that. There was simmering discontent, anger and hatred among the native population. Just waiting for the spark.

      Look at the Dakota Access Pipeline as one indignity in a long long line of indignities imposed on the Native American peoples since 1492. Treaties made and broken. Entire communities massacred. Trails of tears. Children literally kidnapped and sent to boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their language or practice their religion. Water supplies of entire communities polluted and made undrinkable by mining operations on Native lands. Traditional food supplies killed off (the bison) or forbidden by law (salmon fishing). Forced conversions to the religion of the colonizer (that’s us white people). Plus, an largely successful effort on the part of the oppressor’s educational system to persuade us that the ‘Indians’ had just ‘died out and disappeared.’ Conveniently leaving the land empty and available for appropriation. And, the few remaining survivors were labelled as savage, uncivilized, stupid, dirty drunks.

      It is immaterial whether or not the Army Corp and DAPL ‘consulted’ with the Standing Rock Sioux (and, in another indignity, “Sioux” is not the name the Hunkpapa Lakota call themselves; it was imposed by the US government.) As another commenter points out, when one party has all the power, it is not a ‘consultation.’ How often does an oppressed people roll over before they pick themselves up and say, “No more.”

        1. Eclair

          The Native Americans have been facing the reality of ‘martyrdom’ (although some may term it ‘genocide’) and being bulldozed, rounded up, herded into reservations that were essentially concentration camps, for centuries. Third-world poverty, alcoholism, meth epidemics, teen suicides are the ‘way of life’ that so many of the tribes experience on a daily basis; all as a result of deliberate US government policies. Led by the Standing Rock water protectors, they are forging an alternative. For themselves and for us all. We are all being bulldozed by the fossil fuel interests. And, we all face the martyrdom of living on a planet made increasingly uninhabitable by these corporate vultures.

      1. aletheia33

        eclair, yes!

        plus, the assembly of many indigenous people’s representatives camped at standing rock are not just saying “no more” to genocidal oppression.

        they are saying, the pollution of the world’s water supply stops right here, right now. and they mean it.

        they are done with mere surviving and have chosen to make this confrontation a turning point in history. and they will go down doing it if that is what it takes.

        this kind of commitment cannot be easily suppressed, however many people the state hurts. so it becomes in the state’s interest not to kill even one of them, because that is what they are prepared for the state to do, knowing that if the state does it, they will win.

        this is not a movement to be underestimated. it should not be perceived as being merely about a particular pipeline or river or tribe or reservation. it is about them all. it will grow in power.

        the people who started occupy, bernie sanders, donald trump, the people who started NoDAPL, none of them expected the groundswell of joiners and supporters to occur that has occurred. (i don’t list black lives matter here because i don’t know what its initiators expected.) the temperament of the people has shifted and the leaders don’t even realize it yet. much is roiling “under the surface” and now since the election most people sense it and all are scared of one outcome or another.

        there is a strong sanity and wisdom at the foundation of the standing rock camp that resides in the elders, as far as i can tell. i have more confidence in the strength and hope that will come out of that than i have regarding any other current locus of activism.

      2. Procopius

        John Company insisted at the time that the lubricant it used was solidified vegetable oil, not animal fat, but they lacked credibility with the Indian people.

    6. Dita

      The original route would have threatened Bismarck’s water supply and bismarck fought the project successfully. Pity Bismarck isn’t supporting these protesters (that I know of) in solidarity.

      1. jo6pac

        At lest the local paper is writing about it. The other day law enforcement asked Ace Hardware to stop selling heaters and propane to people at the protest. The Ace Hardware stores in the area twitted they would sale to everyone who came to the store.

        1. Procopius

          It’s a pity the Republicans have so neutered the IRS that they can’t investigate the top law enforcement people there. I think it would be very interesting to see the sources of recent large deposits to their bank accounts.

    7. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks for this. Always dig the riffs but appreciate the research and nuance. No, it will not end well, which is heartbreaking.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        The judge’s opinion denying an injunction– which I wrote about here: — does discuss the failure of the Lakota Sioux to engage in consultations.

        My piece includes a link to that opinion, which is worth reading. I have no idea why the Standing Rock Sioux tribe chose not to engage in more extensive consultations. Judge Boasberg was aware of the abysmal history of treatment of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) find any legal authority to halt construction of the pipeline.

        One thing I was stunned by is this passage from the judge’s opinion (p. 2):

        A project of this magnitude often necessitates an extensive federal appraisal and permitting process. Not so here. Domestic oil pipelines, unlike natural-gas pipelines, require no general approval from the federal government. In fact, DAPL needs almost no federal permitting of any kind because 99% of its route traverses private land.

        Think about that for a minute. Domestic oil pipelines, unlike natural-gas pipelines, require no general approval from the federal government. And, the project was clearly designed so as not to traverse federal lands.

        1. Katharine

          Also, the company apparently got around a requirement for more stringent review by pretending it was not one long pipeline but a lot of little pipelines, and why the government accepted that pretense might be worth investigation, if only from a standpoint of wanting to know the truth.

        2. Chauncey Gardiner

          Summary of the “Dakota Access Pipeline protests” posted on Wikipedia is also educational. Includes an informative map of the original and current pipeline route:

          There have been at least two oil pipeline ruptures since 2011 that have lead to significant contamination of the Yellowstone River, a tributary of the Missouri River, and severely impaired water quality downstream.

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      I can’t help connecting the DAPL protests with the The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters Counterpunch
      As suggested at the tail of this fairly lengthy essay the 2000 veterans joining the DAPL demonstration could lead to an important change. I agree with pretzelattack’s comment yesterday suggesting this protest held promise of becoming another bonus march.

      However, if that occurs I believe veterans hold the key to developing strategy and tactics for future protests through the opposing force analysis many of them learned in the military. The peaceful protest marches of the past face a new array of weapons, tactics and strategy and a much more vicious enemy. New enemies and new situations require planning new courses of action and new methods of attack and defense. Continuing the old ways will only lead to unsung matryrs to the cause. Veterans have the knowledge and the skills to create a more effective opposition to the Iron Heel.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I read your link quickly — though not carefully. It sounds like the presence of the veterans has had an impact. Longer-term, I believe the presence of veterans could have a transformative impact on this and future protests. The is a new situation for protests in which the old-style peaceful demonstrations are an anachronism. This will not be like our grandpaw’s protests.

          How would Gandhi’s march to make salt fare in 1938 Germany? Without slow-motion work and cinema of-a-day … I think it could be a very short movie — something like the March on the Winter Palace but on a larger scale.

          1. Lynne

            As you say. But will veterans be interested in the future, or was this a singular event, the result of successful messaging and a sympathetic group of protestors romanticized by the press? It would be encouraging to think the former, but fear the latter.

    9. Waldenpond

      DAPL halted. Reported that the DAPL has been halted by denying it’s permit. Trump is in office in what is actually just a few days so it will shortly be granted it’s permit. Looks like the oil company employees can have the x-mas and new year holidays off.

    10. oh

      Most of the time, EIA (Emvironmental Impact Analysis) is a joke. The lead agency, in this case, the COE or any other already knew what the answer was (i.e. okay to build DAPL) and the community hearings were stacked in order to get that answer. Participation by local communities was irrelevant. The whole NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) process is flawed and biased in favor of big business.

      1. craazyman

        If somebody treats it like a joke the joke’s on them. But the joke’s not funny. Several hundred people just about got killed in a auto da fe of martyrdom. The Army Corp halted the project on environmental grounds, so that wasn’t a joke this time anyway.

        This isn’t 1870 it’s 2016 and people should act like it. Chairman Archambault seems like a pretty savvy guy. Who the hell knows what went on behind the scenes. But looks like cooler heads prevailed and everybody can walk this one back, including the clueless oil guys who nearly blew their pipeline up with head in the sand arrogance or cluelessness about cultural issues, it’s hard to know, before it made any money.

        Hopefully everybody shows up from now on if there’s a request for local community commentary and a public hearing. If you’re really bored, read the court record. It’s kind of jaw dropping actually. Of course nobody evidently could analyze that as part of their framing because it wouldn’t be politically correct or something. Incredible.

        Well the Big O earned his pay on this one. The oil guys should thank him because he just saved their butts to live another day.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “nearly blew it up before it made any money.” From earlier post, “very busy with technical investment-related topics.” Do those include determining real costs and “money-making” (profit?) from “projects like DAPL? What I recall from my days at EPA was that if one expended a little effort to figure out the externalities, so many “projects” made no or negative “economic sense.” Of course that implies some mechanism for forcing, e.g., pipeline profiteers and owners of major league sports teams, to eat their externalities instead of dumping and leaking them on the larger economy…

  5. fresno dan

    “I don’t want them moving out of the country without consequences,” Mr. Trump said, even if that means angering the free-market-oriented Republicans he beat in the primaries but will have to work with on Capitol Hill.

    “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Mr. Pence added, as Mr. Trump interjected, “Every time, every time.”

    “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Mr. Pence added,…
    The free market doesn’t work perfectly!?!!???? GASP!!!!!!!!!!! FAINTS…..revives a few minutes later….WOW…what a hallucination…..I actually thought I read where a repub said the free market doesn’t work….glances over at article…..faints dead away again….

    NEXT UP: repubs announce Putin better for stability in the Mid-East, good for world prosperity, kind to animals, and terrific in bed.

      1. skippy

        You know I’ve been quietly watching your new guise and to some degree hopeful…. and then you inevitably revert to mean… “gov privileges” for a – usury cartel – free market sad…

        Disheveled…. FYI that kinda conduct is disingenuous…

        1. BecauseTradition

          What I said is not necessarily an endorsement of the free market – just a statement that a free market is impossible with government privileges for depository institutions. Labor, for example, can be dis-employed with its own legally stolen purchasing power.

          Not to say that a free market is possible anyway for long without periodic wealth redistribution by government to prevent excessive power accumulation but it certainly doesn’t help that government subsidies wealth concentration in the first place.

          1. skippy

            See your doing it again… sigh…

            We both know that post GD the deal up to the 70s [+ a bunch of accords et al], so not unlike around a hundred before the drama has always been balance between risk mitigation in both the private and public money creation sectors.

            Disheveled…. its not like the commies unleashed the uninformed kraken again…

            1. BecauseTradition

              Those deals and accords haven’t worked so well, have they? When will they ever? I say never because we can’t have honest accounting with sham liabilities.

              Now maybe what I propose is not sufficient but how can basic honesty hurt?

              Commies? I’m not impressed by gold-bugs of any ideology.

            2. skippy

              Drama is… those deals and accords did work for the BSD club [lets not forget whom was running the show – now]. Hence your liabilities – winners and losers aka EMH or Pareto optimality thingy….

              Just because you’ve given up one deductive anchoring point does not negate all the rest, you just wrap them around your new monetary outlook.

              Disheveled…. the mention of gold bugs is not a good term considering your adherence to some deductive methodology and the results of that over the period in question…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Take that, Sarah Palin.

      “But you can still work for me. I take all kinds of hackers. I set the goals, you swamp guys and gals are just here to provide your technical know-how to stop hacking.”

      “Oh, no, Trump is hiring creatures from the Swamp!!!”

    2. skippy

      Pareto optimality [EMH] in a atomatistic matrix [free markets] not working as advertised [propaganda]….. almost 500 billionaires vs the unwashed…..

      Disheveled…. I think someone linked above about enforced psychiatric treatments….

  6. Jim Haygood

    At the nine-month mark since its inception on March 2nd, Craazyman Fund has gained 9.22%, versus a 6.26% gain in its stock/bond benchmark.

    Among Craazyman Fund’s three components, junk bonds (50% weight) have been the star, gaining 13.88% despite a fusillade of posts at the Z site and elsewhere, claiming that energy sector defaults would send junk bonds crashing to destruction. Wrongo!

    Emerging market stocks (30% weight) also have acquitted themselves well, gaining 11.24% despite the drag of a strong US dollar post-Trump.

    The booby prize goes to our lovely pet rock, gold (20% weight), which as always is the mirror of the dollar. It’s down 5.43% in nine months.

    Turning to the benchmark portfolio — a 50/50 mix of SPY and AGG — SPY (S&P 500 stocks) gained a sparkling 12.10%, while AGG (Barclays Aggregate bonds) delivered a feeble 0.41%.

    Bonds are having a bad, bad year as rates soar, producing capital losses for bond funds. Ironically junk bonds, which are correlated to surging small-cap stocks, have had a much better year than the solid investment-grade bonds held by AGG.

    1. BecauseTradition

      The booby prize goes to our lovely pet rock, gold (20% weight), which as always is the mirror of the dollar. Jim Haygood

      If so [mirror of the dollar], part of the reason is that the Federal Reserve may buy gold when it should be forbidden by law from buying ANY assets from the private sector.

      That ability should be revoked and then we’ll see your pet rock sink even more.

      1. Jim Haygood


        The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 required the Federal Reserve System to transfer ownership of all of its gold to the Department of the Treasury.

        A small portion of the gold held by the U.S. Treasury (roughly $600 million in book value)–about five percent–is held in custody for the Treasury by the Federal Reserve Banks, as fiscal agents of the United States.

        The remaining 95 percent of U.S. Treasury gold ($10.4 billion in book value) is held in custody for the Treasury by the U.S. Mint.

        The Federal Reserve is not involved in the gold market, and hasn’t been for 82 years.

        1. BecauseTradition

          Then what about this:

          2. Powers
          Every Federal reserve bank shall have power:

          Dealings in, and loans on, gold

          (a) To deal in gold coin and bullion at home or abroad, to make loans thereon, exchange Federal reserve notes for gold, gold coin, or gold certificates, and to contract for loans of gold coin or bullion, giving therefor, when necessary, acceptable security, including the hypothecation of United States bonds or other securities which Federal reserve banks are authorized to hold;

          [12 USC 354. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended. See also 12 USC 5116 through 5118.]


          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            In 2014 the IMF said central and bullion banks who pretend “other gold-related instruments” is equal to a shiny bar in a vault should change their accounting. In other words, the famous horde in Fort Knox is actually the property of someone else (leased out) but nobody’s the wiser. Ditto NY Fed. So yes, the CBs are involved in the gold market, by leasing out their holdings. Chinese banks are using the same trick to artificially inflate their balance sheets. Gold is a Tier 1 asset under Basel III, so they can get a Tier 1 credit even though what they actually hold is a piece of paper issued by another bank (which is most definitely not Tier 1).
            The guys at BullionStar have done the best research:

          2. Jim Haygood

            Let’s put it this way. The Fed’s H.4.1 report for June 27, 1996 (the oldest report currently posted) shows gold stock of $11,050 million then.

            Twenty years later, the current H.4.1 report shows gold stock of … wait for it … $11,041 million.


            Dunno what happened to the missing $9 million. Prolly mice in the basement of 33 Liberty Street nibbled on it.

            But I stand by my assertion that the Federal Reserve is a complete non-factor in the gold market.

            1. BecauseTradition

              But I stand by my assertion that the Federal Reserve is a complete non-factor in the gold market. Jim H.

              The question is MAY the Federal Reserve create dollars to buy gold, not if it can keep the gold or if it has bought any since 1996. That ability would certainly add to the value of gold.

              Besides, the Federal Reserve can do currency swaps with other cb’s right? Thus providing those cb’s with dollars to buy gold if they desire? Thus indirectly boosting the price of gold in US dollars?

              Dunno what happened to the missing $9 million. Jim H.

              Storage costs?

    2. griffen

      That ten-bagger is closer within reach !! Well played on the riskier spectrum of high yield as well. 2017 – 2018 should be interesting times for market mavens, both professionals and amateurs.

    3. johnnygl

      Well done, haygood and crazy!

      The next big question is 1)when and 2) how the shift occurs. Fin crisis first, or recession first, and when?

      This rate hike cycle can’t last long…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Gee, I dunno, nickels in front of bulldozers. Currently the median S&P company is in the 98th percentile on valuation, you need to feel pretty lucky to stay at that party

      2. Jim Haygood

        Yep. I share your view, Johnny. Short-term bullish (next few months), intermediate-term Ursus major (Big bear!).

        This is gonna be a real-life tightrope walk. We’ll have to do the best we can, with the tools available to us.

  7. RenoDino

    Love how Trump dared to recognize the existence of Taiwan after 37 years of Kissinger’s One China Policy.
    The best part was how Kissinger was in China at that very moment reassuring Xi that Trump was under his control. Trump has a genius for stating the obvious and blowing up carefully constructed agreements that are fundamentally flawed. Note his support for Brexit, and his derision of the EU and NATO and, of course, ObamaCare.

    The fact is he struck at China’s softest underbelly literally on day one, throwing them totally off their game. Judging by the above article, they don’t know how to react.

    Now that America has exported its middle class to China through the use of brilliant statesmanship and subtle diplomacy, it may be too late to get back anything meaningful using Trump’s blunt force trama. Still it’s nice to hear the truth once in awhile in the halls of power. (I would say the White House, but Trump will never move into that dump.)

  8. xformbykr

    Green Party’s Stein to pursue Pennsylvania recount petition in federal court
    ZH reported that Jill Stein has dropped her court case to seek a recount in Pennsylvania and will hold a news conference Monday. Meanwhile, Truthout/buzzfeed reported that a trump surrogate threatened indictment if hillary joins recount effort:
    This makes it seem like the clinton campaign support for stein’s recount has backed off due to the threat.

    1. Bullwinkle

      I believe JS dropped her case filed in state court since that court wanted $1,000,000 bond. She has since moved over to Federal court. Given that election laws are left to the states, I’ve been wondering exactly what her Federal suit will be about – the bond? Meanwhile, Wisconsin continues to recount and Michigan’s recount is ready to role on Wednesday barring court action. JS has also filed suit in Michigan to begin the recount immediately, that is , tomorrow. Interesting that someone who has complained about the expense of litigation doesn’t seem to get enough of it.

      1. cwaltz

        The only way to audit the vote correctly right now is through litigation.

        As it stands if you have questions about whether or not the machines or anything else were manipulated then to get access to them you need to sue.

  9. Quanka

    Good to hear Yves’ voice on the Truthdig podcast/audio link. Love the Don Henley plug at the end, being from the younger side I didnt realize what the song was about. The Acela love their dirty laundry!

  10. Jim Haygood

    Our channel to the Middle Kingdom:

    Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a longtime friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is the frontrunner for the crucial post of U.S. ambassador to China.

    Branstad and Xi met when China’s leader made his first trip to Iowa in 1985 during a sister-state exchange. At the time Xi was a young agricultural official from Hebei province, working as director of the Feed Association of Shijiazhuang Prefecture.

    The two men have reconnected several times since then. Despite their cultural differences, the pair forged strong bonds and have used their mutual love of agriculture to bridge the gap between their respective countries on human rights, economic issues and other tensions.

    Branstad in 2012 feted Xi, then China’s vice president, with an elaborate dinner at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, and days after Trump’s election embarked on a previously planned, week-long trade mission to China and Japan, his fourth trip to China in the last seven years.

    It’s beautiful karma that the current US ambassador, former Sen Max Baucus, will be returning to see his signature “achievement” — Obamacare — repealed.

    Let us hope that mobs with pitchforks will not chase the good senator down the streets of Helena.

    Not that this is probable. Young Max is more likely to be seen strolling the diamond-paved sidewalks of K Street in his white shoes, once the weather warms up in Foggy Bottom. After Stanford Law, you see, Max graduated from his youthful love of agriculture. :-(

    1. oh

      Does Max really care? He’s probably lined up a fat cat job as a lobbyist for the insurance and pharma industry!

  11. Lee

    Killer drivers on mobiles to get life The Times

    Saw an auto accident in S.F. the other day at the busy corner of Van Ness and Hayes. A transit van came barreling through a red light, missed my car by inches and wishboned another. Up until the moment of the collision the van driver had his eyes glued to his phone’s screen. It was near City Hall at lunch time and the intersection was packed with pedestrians. Fortunately none of them were hit.

    The number of people I see texting while driving is absolutely appalling. I have to watch my own driving while distractedly staring at them in disbelief.

  12. The Trumpening

    I’m been a little disappointed in the recent articles on identity politics so I will try to provide a broad view on the subject. Identity politics is a form of tribalism where an identity group attempts to gain an advantage over the other tribes or groups by working together. Typically this would be a minority grouping because the larger the identity group, the harder it is for it to hold together as a cohesive whole. Also the best identity glue is the idea of being oppressed by the powerful or the majority, so again this tends towards minorities forming cohesive identity groups.

    The smartest strategy for a small tribe within a larger society is to internally preach particularism (tribalism) while externally preaching universalism (rejection of tribalism) to everyone else. Even better is to make taboo any mention of the small group’s tribalism.

    Normally the majority group can accept some minority identity politics, but if multiple minority groups start gaining too much of an advantage, the majority group could lose its grip on elite positions and actually start losing real power and control over the society.

    Engaging in identity politics themselves is the best way for the majority group to dissuade minorities away from identity politics. Being the majority combined with difficult to achieve tribal cohesiveness will make life very difficult for minorities; who in response will have to increase their calls for universalism.

    One could be tempted to say white Americans are starting to engage in identity politics but it is a little more nuanced than that. White Americans are now split between on the one hand urban “goodwhites” who tend to be better educated and financially comfortable and on the other hand rural / exurban “badwhites” who tend to be less educated more financially uncomfortable. Of course I don’t literally mean goodwhites are good and badwhites are bad; only that these two terms are very descriptive and people immediately recognize these categories.

    Politically the Democrats are the party of rich people, goodwhites and most minorities. The Republicans are the party of the rest of the rich people, badwhites, and some rebel minorities.

    Culturally and economically, goodwhites have been ascendant for some time: for example goodwhite virtue signaling on Facebook is rampant. Economically badwhites have been in decline for some time: layoffs, heroin, spiraling death rates, etc.

    During the past few election cycles Republicans have at least superficially moved culturally in a goodwhite direction and have become increasingly embarrassed about having to appeal to their badwhite base. And in response badwhites voted in fewer numbers. One of the revolutionary acts of Donald Trump’s candidacy was to loudly and proudly embrace badwhites on an economic level by resisting globalization and on a cultural level by promiscuous “vice signaling” which really, really bothered the goodwhites!

    In America there is currently a tacit understanding that certain minority groups are allowed to engage in tribal identity politics. The test is to imagine the various groups trying to start a student group at a university. Black student group? OK. Asian student group? OK. Jewish student group? OK. La Raza student group? OK. White student group? That’s racist!

    Goodwhites understand why this situation exists and have no problem with it. Badwhites on the other hand see it as profoundly unfair. When goodwhites bandy around terms like white privilege badwhites respond that they don’t feel so privileged.

    Badwhites have been taught tribalism (especially white) is wrong and we must all be universalists. So when confronted with the apparently tribal slogan Black Lives Matter they responded with, “no, we must be universalists and so All Lives Matter”. They were then often called racists by goodwhites, much to their badwhite confusion.

    So while Trump was building up badwhite moral and cohesiveness behind his candidacy; Hillary Clinton’s job was to attempt to disrupt badwhite tribalism. But she made the typical goodwhite mistake of simply calling badwhites racists (deplorable) and thinking this is going to shame them into obedience to their goodwhite betters. The overbearing Puritan goodwhite superiority was getting too much for many whites sitting on the fence between good and bad and so badwhites developed a cool rebellious cache of resisting the goodwhite schoolmarms. And so her attacks on badwhites only reinforced their internal cohesion. Before Trump, Hillary had actually been pretty good at subtly appealing to badwhites. But once Trump started his blatant vice signaling, Hillary’s margin to dogwhistle to badwhites totally evaporated.

    But we shouldn’t see the goodwhite and badwhite categories as discreet, especially on economic issues. Bernie Sanders’ base was no doubt goodwhite but he also had crossover appeal to some badwhites.

    So now that the election is over, if Donald Trump does succeed in flooding America with well-paid middle class jobs he will theoretically be breaking badwhite victimhood and therefore cohesiveness and their tendency towards identity politics. But badwhites will be exceedingly grateful and will stay faithful to Trumpism at least as long as it delivers. And while in contrast the Democrats have largely kept blacks poor and faithful for the past 50 years, I doubt that Trump can get away with doing nothing for badwhites but keep them faithful by pointing at the evil Democratic boogeyman. And this seems to be where the debate in Democratic circles leads. Democrats have to leave the door open for badwhites to crawl back to the party if Trump screws them. Conversely if Trump does succeed in making badwhites great again then many goodwhites are going to start moving his way.

    1. Oregoncharles

      ” Identity politics is a form of tribalism where an identity group attempts to gain an advantage over the other tribes or groups by working together.”
      That isn’t the usual meaning, in fact it’s a self-serving distortion, so it undercuts the rest of your post.

      1. The Trumpening

        Can you please be a little more specific in your objection to my definition?

        Surely identity politics is when a tribal group works together to gain an advantage over other groups. Why would they bother working together if they didn’t think by doing so they would improve their lot relative to other groups compared to what the situation would be if the identity group didn’t work together? Is there anything wrong with an identity group who feels oppressed or disadvantaged trying to improve their lot relative to other groups?

        Surely by working together identity groups are not attempting to disadvantage themselves compare to other groups?

        One can complain that identity politics is self-defeating or ineffective but that is why I used the word “attempt” in my definition.

    2. different clue

      I might consider arguments about this for some tribalisms. But all tribalisms? What advantage are Indian Tribes trying to gain over non Indians by maintaining and asserting Tribal Indian Tribalism?

      1. The Trumpening

        That’s a good point. Identity politics is a form of tribalism but the word “politics” implies there is a choice in the matter. So not all forms of tribalism count as identity politics. Native Americans banished to a reservation may well constitute of form of tribalism but this would not necessarily be identity politics unless they have a choice in the matter.

        I certainly think that historically some forms of African American particularism (tribalism) were forced upon them and so the fact that black churches existed in the 1870’s was not necessarily a form of identity politics.

        Another example would be the Cagots in France, who up until the 19th century were a despised minority, basically untouchables, despite the fact that there was no ethnic or religious difference between them and the rest of the French. The Cagots developed a separate culture but this was obviously forced upon them and can in no way be considered identity politics.

        So a key part of identity politics is having the choice of going the universalist route but instead choosing particularism anyway. Where this will get confusing is that a group making such a choice will always deny it is a choice and will claim societal oppression forces them to band together through identity politics..

        1. Lambert Strether

          In my view, the less we universalize “identity politics,” and the more we identify it as an ideology motivating a faction of the Democrat Party, the better.

          I like “idpol” for that purpose (again, hat tip to the reader who coined it, whose name I have spaced out on).

  13. winstonsmith

    Re: Naked Capitalism Website Denounces PropOrNot’s Attempt at ‘Censorship of the Worst Form’

    I was curious what the Propornot Chrome addon did, so I installed it, made this screenshot of NC as rendered by it, and then removed it. In keeping with Yves’ remarks about the amateur nature of Propornot, it makes the page look like it’s been scribbled on by children with crayons.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thank you! The “YYY” is the same idea as “the scarlet letter,” isn’t it? If I were a paranoid guy given to unfounded speculation, I’d note that ProP0rNot is not only is technically incompeten, but that is employs a shaming strategy, and damn, if there isn’t a well-known Beltway institution that has that signature!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Let’s not play innocent. We all know that YYY stands for Yellowcake Youth Yobs, helping to smuggle nuclear material to the Russian Axis of Evil, while disguised as innocent backpackers.

      2. integer

        My guess: Ukraine are acting as useful idiots for Israel, who I expect are the “brains” behind this bs. There was a very similar Google plugin available for a while that highlighted (((semetic names))) which got pulled by Google. Chances are that propornot has refurbished that plugin rather than built their own from scratch. Too many coincidences. Russia is essentially a reinforced brick wall infront of Israel’s ambitions for expansion. I have always thought it was very interesting that ISIS made a point of destroying all historical cultural landmarks they came across in Syria. Almost like someone wanted the Syrian culture to be destroyed by ISIS so they wouldn’t have to rationalize destroying it themselves once they moved in…

  14. John Wright

    Re: Truthdiggers of the week: Journalists who ripped the Washington Post

    If one goes to the link and drills down to the New Yorker’s Adrian Chen report criticizing PropOrNot, there is this text in the closing paragraph :

    “the hack of the Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s e-mail seems likely to have been the work of Russian intelligence services”

    How did Adrian Chen determine “seems likely” that this was the work of Russian intelligence services?

    “Seems likely” might be interpreted “seems probable” = seems greater than 50% probability that this was the work of Russian intelligence services.

    Chen should give his readers the supporting information in detail.

    Where has ANY connection between the leak of Podesta Emails and Russian intelligence been documented in a verified manner?

    Is this a case of one of the journalists decrying fake “Russian Propaganda sites” news spreading his own version of fake news?

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for pointing this out. It’s the meme that fails to die. It’s almost as if Chen is flashing a symbolic membership card in the Serious Media Club when he writes this without any citation whatsoever.

      It devalues but doesn’t entirely discredit the author and the substance of his piece.

    2. Propertius

      Because absolutely nobody except Vladimir Putin could crack an account protected by such a strong p@ssword. I should think that would be obvious.

  15. griffen

    establishment listing, its a who won what over the last 25 years & so can youse too !! Surprise surprise, but Larry Fink is a nifty chameleon.

    Daniel Yergin only name on the list worthwhile. Wondering how former factory GE towns view Mr. Welch.

  16. Robert Hahl

    Re: “Lawyer sues 20-year-old student who gave a bad Yelp review, loses badly Ars Technica”

    Note that the defendant was able to get a lawyer for free, not because what she said was true necessarily, but because the anti-SLAPP laws have turned first amendment cases into a lucrative business for defense counsel. The key is that the client must never settle or take down the derogatory online posting, so that attorney’s fees can be awarded.

    1. davidgmills

      You have this case very wrong from what I can tell. (I am a retired attorney). In this case a woman got sued by a law firm that was very unprofessional about the way it handled her legal matter, including coming to her home uninvited. She wrote about the matter on Facebook and the law firm sued her to shut her up. A lawyer came to her defense pro bono and was later awarded attorneys fees most likely as a result of the frivolous lawsuit against the woman. The judge probably felt (as would I if these are the real facts) that the law firm needed to be sanctioned by the bar association, it’s conduct was so egregious.

  17. ChiGal in Carolina

    If this was already linked to, apologies.

    So because [“outsider”] Trump the establishment doubles down on civil liberties likely to negatively impact Muslims, on whose behalf because Trump there has been so much hand wringing.

    Honestly, the head spins. Except for one thing: as seen in today’s Intercept link re “Clinton peeps” on the transition team, Trump IS the establishment. Oh, except he tweets and makes random phone calls, i.e. lacks impulse control.

    They weren’t her peeps, she was their tool. We have taken a tiny step toward direct rule by the oligarchy is all, why have the middleman technocrats in the way? Unblockable texts to all Americans (evidently the elderly don’t need to know) indeed.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      What if they are oligarchs who honestly believe America can be great again via middle class jobs and wages? Instead of via the globalist/Silicon Valley/Hollywood/financializer crowd. We shall see, I guess.

      1. Massinissa

        “What if they are oligarchs who honestly believe America can be great again via middle class jobs and wages?”

        Try finding an oligarch who actually thinks that. I dont think there are any major ones who do.

      2. griffen

        I’d really like to believe when I see it, but it only happens if their equity values or stock options are increased in tandem.

        So many of them don’t really give a crap past the next Qtr earnings, or at least it really appears so.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Hillary Clinton’s “Corrupt Establishment” Is Now Advising Donald Trump

    I’m sure the Dem establishment will criticize this absolutely predictable hypocrisy about as much as the Republican establishment criticized Obama for turning brown people into pink mist, ie the only criticism will be he isn’t doing enough of it.

    It’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

    Very glad to see that Sanders is travelling the country and continues to remind people of this fact.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We will see if he’s hiring hackers from the Swamp to stop hacking, or if these creatures from the Swamp have taken over.

      I have no idea, but I will be watching.

  19. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Trump and the Carrier plant deal

    I’d been thinking that Trump won the optics on this one even though the deal he made was less than ideal as Sanders pointed out. US workers keeping their jobs is what will resonate more than any policy minutiae.

    That is until Trump crammed his loafers into his chewhole in the midst of his thank you tour:

    Trump also said he basically forgot about the promise to Carrier workers until he saw his own remarks replayed on the evening news:

    “I’m saying to myself, man. And then they played my statement, and I said, “Carrier will never leave.” But that was a euphemism. I was talking about Carrier like all other companies from here on in because they made the decision a year and a half ago. But he believed that that was—and I could understand it; I actually said [it]—when they played that I said I did make it but I didn’t mean it quite that way.”

    Really don’t know what to make of such a statement. The video of him saying this is really quite astounding.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Hey, he’s a busy guy! He can’t be expected to remember every little detail! (This is going to be the Republican version of “The President is not a dictator.” Just watch.)

      1. cwaltz

        Hey buck up, Carrier got it’s graft and can use it to contribute to the GOP party to ensure tariffs don’t get enacted……because free markets.

  20. OIFVet

    Re The Democrats’ Biggest Disaster New Republic:

    The losses in November are part of a sharp and unprecedented decline for the party at the state level. Since Obama took office eight years ago, Democrats have lost over 800 seats in state legislatures. For the first time in history, they do not control a single legislative chamber in the South. Overall, the party is now at its weakest point at the state level since 1920.

    Wait, wasn’t 0bama a community organizer? All that organizin’ he did really amounted to somethin’, didn’t it. Must be that he just couldn’t find that comfortable pair of shoes he talked about in 2008.

    1. Carolinian

      The Dem party seems practically dead in my state. Maybe Stein will step in now that she has all that funding.

      1. cwaltz

        She can’t use any of that funding for organizing. The best she can do is use the emails to help people stay politically active.

        The funding would need to be specifically for the recount effort.

  21. human

    Harvard research suggests that an entire global generation has lost faith in democracy

    Just another special snowflake bemoaning clinton’s lost election in spite of the vote count, glossing over the fact that our Constitutional Republic is not and never has been a democracy and that actual democracies worldwide, and our own First Nations, have been the object of our gunboat diplomacy for more than a century. including at the hands of the current administration and its former SoS. Has he never heard of The Monroe Doctrine? Is he intellectually challenged or just dishonest? Talk about fake news…

    The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

    1. UserFriendly

      It’s a real trend.

      Why would Millennials have any faith in democracy? They showed up in force to elect Mr. Hope and Change who preceded to do nothing for the blown up economy, and let them twist in the wind with student debt. Then ‘Democracy’ made sure their candidate went down in flames in the primary, and they were told to shut up and get in line. They begrudgingly did, and then their candidate loses the electoral college while winning the popular vote. At this point I’d support a military coup. That couldn’t be worse than Trump or Clinton.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Yeah, just got around to reading the article which is idiotic in the extreme. The fact that Bernie is still drawing SRO crowds including and especially millennials wherever he goes is the obvious counterexample.

      To equate valuing democracy/not being a fascist with voting for HRC makes my blood boil.

  22. Paid Minion

    The USMC is famous for following orders from higher authority without question, no matter how bad/stupid/criminal they might be.

    Putting a Marine in charge of the DOD is just the ticket for a oligarch/kleptocracy that is being challenged worldwide.

    Mattis is dismissive of those “uneducated” in military matters. “Uneducated” in this case meaning those who aren’t indoctrinated in the military establishment, and question the motivations and judgement of military leadership.

  23. Paid Minion

    As Trump puts his cabinet together, the character of his administration is coming into focus.

    With any luck, in four years, we’ll be able to tell the “run government like a business” blowhards to STFU.

    I’ve also come up with a “stump the chump” question for Trump fans.

    “Suppose Trump starts suffering from dementia, talking and acting like the “crazy uncle” at Thanksgiving. How are you going to be able to tell????”

    1. Vatch

      in four years, we’ll be able to tell the “run government like a business” blowhards to STFU.

      I hope we’ll be able to do that in 2 years, at least as far as the Congress is concerned. But it won’t happen unless people pay attention to what the government is doing, and most people either don’t have the time for that, or don’t have the interest.

  24. sd

    There was a discussion yesterday about the use of Clintoon, 0bama, Obamameter, Cheetoh head, etc. After a bit more thought, I agree with the original poster and would like to see this kind of childish name calling retired as it has the opposite effect of ridicule and plays into their power.

    This editorial rings a warning bell.

    The Right Way to Resist Trump
    By LUIGI ZINGALES NOV. 18, 2016

    Criticize and call out their policies, behavior, and hypocrisy.

    1. Vatch

      I agree, that’s good advice. When one sees factual errors posted online, correct the errors, but try to avoid insulting the person who posted the error. He or she might be a paid troll, but it’s very likely that the person is merely misinformed. Similarly, if Trump fails to follow through on his promises, such as restoring Glass Steagall, make sure that people know about his inconsistency. If he does follow through, then praise him. But he really needs to follow through thoroughly to earn praise. For example, his recent deal to save some jobs in Indiana is only a half hearted effort that did less than he promised during the campaign. 1,300 Indiana Carrier jobs will still be lost, and a plant in Huntington, IN, will still be closed.

    2. hunkerdown

      What damage, exactly, does that do? And why not disable one’s opponents if one believes they have no business at the table? It’s why the rich win and the left loses.

      Learned helplessness loves company.

      1. hunkerdown

        Adding, Carl Beijer here quotes Emma Goldman’s disagreement with joyless struggle, which he calls a form of liberal Taylorism. Self-care is important.

        Besides, taking orders from the vanquished, or to-be-vanquished, is always in the interests of the speaker, almost never in those of the spoken-to.

    3. integer

      So the NYT wants to tell people the right way to do something? In case you missed it, they have 0 credibility, just like 0bama.

      1. Vatch

        The article is not an official editorial by the New York Times, nor is it an article by a regular columnist for the paper. It’s a guest opinion piece by someone with knowledge about Berlusconi, which could be very useful, since there are strong similarities between Trump and Berlusconi.

    1. Massinissa

      If only we had a revolutionary youth or worker movement instead of a few aging politicians to champion leftist causes. This isnt always about individuals.

      1. hunkerdown

        The prevailing culture is obsessed with glory and greatness and pride (i.e. sticking out to annoy others). If one doesn’t want to use the good old Exceptionalist messiah narrative, where it is reliably almost always about individuals, discrediting it would appear necessary.

        okie farmer, from the Moon of Alabama dacha, posted a rather long review of some book about the twelfth century and the development of feudalism. One rather interesting observation was a cultural unawareness of any distinction between “lordship” and “office”. I see this model informs the organization of most daily news. What your lords want you to know about the outside world, what they want you to think about it, what benefits (or punishments) the good or bad boys and girls will receive, conventionally attractive people showing us how to consume righteously[1], then weather then sports (see [1]).

        Given the irrelevance, indeed, counter-utility of such model to one’s own daily affairs, it’s no wonder people are turning that stuff off. Unfortunately, when so-called representatives spend too much time in Washington, they spend too much time reading the Post and getting friendly with our class adversaries, so can be led to do anything.

      2. aab

        It looks like we’re starting to get one. I want to know more about the military vets that went to Standing Rock. If they have become radicalized by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and seeing that our wars only benefit corporations, they could be a powerful ally in the fight for social and economic justice. It can’t be a coincidence that Obama finally moved to deescalate ONLY when they arrived en masse at the site.

        aab thesis: Nixon’s Silent Majority relied on WWII vets and their families having experienced a winning war that was at least arguably on the side of peace and justice. They were amply rewarded by their government for fighting in that war. For them, the government and its military worked. If 21st century war vets see the government as corrupt and cruel — which, logically, they should — it could be a key disruptive element in shattering the status quo and moving the country left.

        1. UserFriendly

          Interesting hypothesis. I have noticed a bunch of left vets, but I have no way of knowing if this is more or less than there would have been.

  25. voteforno6

    Re: Sanders in San Rafael

    I see a lot of Clinton dead-enders stating that Sanders lost to Clinton, so people should just shut up shut up shut up about him. Maybe so, but Bernie’s still standing. Where’s Hillary?

    1. nycTerrierist

      Exactly. Seems it was all about the power, and snagging the crown jewel for her c.v.

      Sans that, we see how much she cares about policy.

      She could be out there advocating like Sanders.
      But she isn’t.

      1. Massinissa

        Heck, she could be advocating for anything she wanted. E.g., no fly zone in Syria or some complete nonsense like that. She isnt even talking about that or anything at all, its like she has decided shes going to retire now that she has lost. She seems to be talking about less issues than, say, Romney did when he lost.

        I guess it really was just a crown jewel for the Clinton Foundation.

        1. aab

          Except her people are burrowing into the Trump administration. The no-fly zone bill just passed the House, didn’t it? Why would she speak out? Much of what she wanted is moving forward just fine. What she wanted and isn’t currently getting is stuff like TPP, which voters do not want, and speaking out will not help.

          I mean, yes, I’m sure this was mostly finishing her CV, getting in the history books and delivering on the lucrative contracts signed by the Foundation. But it’s also true that her preferred policies were unpopular, and would not benefit by her speaking out publicly for them. That’s why she lost.

  26. tongorad

    A Few Billionaires Are Turning Medical Philanthropy on Its Head

    Parker, whose net worth the Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts at about $3 billion, started his institute with money from his nonprofit Parker Foundation. Zuckerberg and Chan, with a net worth of about $50 billion, are beginning with $3 billion from their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which unlike typical philanthropic outfits is a limited liability company. That gives the couple more flexibility; for example, they don’t have to give to charity every year and can make investments and political donations.

    All hail the conquering disruptors!

  27. Anon

    RE: World population expansion

    I’ve seen this video before and wonder how it excludes the Native Americans. The timeline shows the area of the US and Canada with 1 million in and around what appears to be the Chaco Canyon culture (Southwest) at 1492 (Columbus). This is counter to the writings of historians and anthropologists: they estimate the Native Americans had a population (before Columbus and the onset of disease and slaughter) of up to 20 million. The Civilization at Cahokia on the Missippi (St. Louis Mounds) was estimated to be larger than that of London, England (during the same period).

    Seems the lack of a recognizable historical record (Native Americans used pictograms; not an alphabet) is again being ignored in making this video.

    1. Massinissa

      You may be right, but maybe the problem is that those 20 mil Native Americans were spread out in such a large region of the continent that they only got a couple of dots which represent 1 million in each dot. Its possible the video places a bias on urban living as opposed to rural by utilizing 1 million as its building block.

  28. subgenius

    Well, if the Italian exit polls have any validity, looks like Renzi is out and the EU is continuing to destabilize….

  29. Altandmain

    Not sure if this was linked, but Thomas Frank’s article on Nov 29 2016

    Basically conventional wisdom is totally wrong. Working class people want left wing economic policies. The Democrats betrayed them for decades.

    We have an elite that has extracted economic rent from the rest of us, while isolating themselves from the consequences. They are able to dominate our political system and abandon any pretense of democracy when that dominance is threatened.

  30. Annotherone

    Re the piece about staff “grooming rules” of the Dorchester Hotel in London:
    “The Dorchester said the rules were not emailed to all staff, but were provided to job applicants. The hotel’s general manager, Roland Fasel, said: “The Dorchester has a proud community of employees who uphold world-leading hospitality standards, including grooming, in line with many other brands. All new applicants, both men and women, are sent a copy of our grooming standards in advance of interview.”

    I’m surprised the hotel company’s solicitors weren’t asked to scan the material sent out to applicants as a matter of course – or if they were, then the Dorchester ought to find some more efficient solicitors!
    Arguments about employees’ dress and grooming requirements have been going on for decades, solicitors these days ought to be well aware of potential pitfalls . There must be lots of case law from years of Employment Tribunals as guidelines.

    I worked on the administrative side of the Employment Tribunals in England for a quarter of a century, so know this first-hand. The first such case I recall was way, way back, probably late 1970s : whether a woman who worked in a bookshop, and had to climb ladder to access high shelves, should be allowed to wear trousers at work. That particular woman won her case.

    1. windsock

      Yes, but… The Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition government changed rules about taking cases to Employment Tribunals in 2013.

      Fees were introduced by The Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 under powers conferred by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

      Proceeding to a full hearing for a simple case (e.g. refusal to allow time off) now attracts fees of £390. For a more complex matter (e.g. unfair dismissal), fees amount to £1,200, where none previously existed.

      Who is going to pay then when they don’t even have a job?

      The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees for claimants in employment tribunals in July 2013 has led to a drop of almost 70% in the number of cases brought.

      ( is the source of the information.)

      1. Annotherone

        @windsock ~ I’ve been out of the loop for too long, here in the USA – thanks for the update.
        Fees would certainly have rung a death knell to the hopes of many who would otherwise have become applicants. :(

    1. clinical wasteman

      A screenshot of any front page showing that Key and Renzi quit on the same day would almost qualify as an Antidote.
      Not that anything much better is likely to follow: the NZ National Party (formerly “Farmers Party”, as in big freeholder farmers vs. tenants, farm labourers, urban workers, Maori and Polnesians) has plenty of other gargoyles to choose from, while standard Italian practice suggests that the head of the fourth successive appointed “technocratic” government is likely to be one M. Renzi, or maybe Letta II (yes, prime ministers get sequels, as in Prodi I & II, Berlusconi I, II, III, IV; Andreotti I, II, n…). And Renzi, at 40-something, has about a 50-year (anti-)political career ahead of him by local standards.
      But still, good riddance in stereo!

    1. different clue

      If the Bismarkians want it so badly, put it under right under Bismark, or at least upstream from Bismark. One could come up with a new acronym for telling the people who want something to host it themselves.
      In Your Own Back Yard. IYOBY. Put in IYOBY. Put it In Your Own Back Yard. IYOBY.

      If one wants to be ruder, one could say: Cram it up YOBY. Your Own Back Yard.

      If one is talking aBOUT the people who want to build something in someone else’s back yard, one could invoke TOBY. Their Own Back Yard. Let Bismark cram the pipeline right straight up TOBY ( Their Own Back Yard).

  31. William

    With regard Mattis and the Marine’s “tribal hatred” of fhe Shias, was not the U. S. Navy lobbing heavy ordinance ( really big explosives ) into South Beirit when the attack on the Marine base occurred? Just what is terrorism in such circumstances ?

  32. bob

    USB ‘killer’

    It’s barely above a paperclip. The paperclip probably works out better in reliability, procurability and concealability. I can’t image you’d ever be doing anything legal with it. It’s also easier to lose after use, no CC receipt req’d

    Newer USB ports have a “power negotiation” between the device and the outlet. That would stop the USB killer, not a paperclip.

    Aluminum foil, also. That’s advanced. I sell the week long course describing the hack from $30,000 to $80,000, depending on how many initials you, or your agency, have.


  33. Cry Shop

    Taiwan and Trump / a different view from Hong Kong expat

    The really telling reaction, however, is from US/Western (liberal/‘elite’) mainstream or establishment or whatever commentators. To them, it seems to be a mark of insider-ish sophistication to accept Beijing’s definitions and preconceptions as reasonable. It’s an Orientalist ‘inscrutable-Chinese’ thing. Hence the unquestioned assumption among Western media and officials that Taiwan somehow causes the cross-Straits problem and disturbs US-China relations by being democratic and free. (For more on this, see here and here.)

  34. Lambert Strether

    > USB Killer, yours for $50, lets you easily fry almost every device

    Sounds like a plot point for Office Space II

    Adding, I seem to remember a William Gibson novel, where somebody — an employee of Hubertus Bigend? — sticks a USB device that’s been wired up to a cattle prod into a port on a machine wired up to a corporate network…

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