Links 12/8/2016

Don’t let free Wi-Fi wreck the holidays CNET

Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models PCWorld (Chuck L).

Who Won the ‘Make the Most Meaningless Thomas Friedman Graph’ Contest? From last week but v. popular with regular readers (and new to links): More Taibbi on Friedman and #Friedmangraphs. Lots of talent out there.

Revolutionary Heroes Aeon. Read this. Who wins— and loses– from trade, globalization, taxes, and subsidies– are far from new issues in American politics, and were in fact at the heart of the 1776 revolt.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Revealed: Rio Tinto’s plan to use drones to monitor workers’ private lives The Guardian (ML)


Cat Hulbert: How I got rich beating men at their own game BBC

Opinion: A female portfolio manager at Pimco explains the real reason more women don’t manage money MarketWatch. Plus ca change….One of my first grown-up summer jobs was working for the National Science Foundation, early during Reagan’s first term, on a project to understand why women were underrepresented in science and technical professions. I don’t agree with every word herein, but it seems the situation’s changed less than I would have liked or predicted.

New McCarthyism

Algorithms Can Help Stomp Out Fake News The Atlantic (furzy)

Deutsche Bank Records Alleged to Show Silver-Price Rigging Bloomberg

An Uncertain Alternative Jacobin. What happens next in Iceland now that neoliberal consensus is busted.


Twenty reasons why Brexit will be even trickier than we thought Guardian

Last night’s Article 50 amendment – proposed by the Government and accepted by the Commons – may prove to be a political and legal masterstroke Brexit Central

Theresa May wins Brexit vote after agreeing to publish plan FT

A Eurosceptic union is forming across Europe Brendan O’Neill Spectator

Why Corbyn Won Jacobin

In the UK, Pfizer and a partner hiked anti-epilepsy drug price 2600% overnight Ars Technica

Baby boomers ‘should work for longer to stay healthy’ The Guardian


Little tricks: how China’s response to Trump’s Taiwan call got lost in translation The Conversation

China vows to punish local government officials for forging economic data SCMP

Pope Francis compares fake news consumption to eating faeces The Guardian.  Note: This is a legitimate Guardian headline and not a spoof news site.

Refugee Watch

The EU-Turkey refugee deal only succeeded in one thing New Statesman

With Food Rations Halved in Kenya, Concerns for Refugees’ Health Arise The Wire

Famine Continues to Stalk Yemen American Conservative

Silicon Valley Stumbles in World Beyond Software Wall Street Journal

Apple blames iPhone battery fires on ‘external factors’ CNET

How Donald Trump saved a brutal new sport from extinction Spectator

Trump Transition

Trump’s “Mad Dog” stays as Theranos cuts figureheads and outs investors Ars Technica

Breitbart News: from populist fringe to the White House and beyond FT

Trump to pick foe of Obama climate agenda to run EPA -source Reuters

Trump follows Obama’s political blueprint Politico. They share more than knocking out frontrunner Hillary Clinton and her vaunted political team.

Who’s in the Mix to Serve as U.S. Solicitor General?

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill to Exempt Fracking from Drinking Water Rules DeSmogBlog (Bill B)

Trump starts churning out Cabinet picks Politico

A Monopoly Donald Trump Can Pop NY Times. Thoughtful piece by Eric Posner (joined by Fiona Scott Morton And Glen Weyl).

Opinion: Why a Trump economic boom isn’t so farfetched MarketWatch. Ken Rogoff consults his spreadsheet and concludes….

President Trump’s Plans For The Military: How The New Commander-In-Chief Could Give Defense Companies A Boost International Business Times

Trump thrills donors with tales of election night Politico

Donald Trump slams Carrier union and president in signature Twitter rant Independent

Made in America: Asian Tech Giants Say They Will Expand U.S. Operations Under Trump MIT Technology Review

Supply-side guru Arthur Laffer hails Trump’s tax policy FT. Oh no: what’s that what Lambert says? Kill it with fire!

2016 Post Mortem

Law Firm Offering Free Legal Advice To Electors Who Don’t Want To Vote For Trump HuffPo (furzy). Well, those contesting the election can certainly use all the help they can get: the legal strategy so far has been particularly inept.

2016 PERSON OF THE YEAR DONALD TRUMP I remind readers that Time’s Person of the Year is neither an affirmation of popularity nor does it reflect a moral endorsement (Adolph Hitler was once selected).

Alan Greenspan: prophet and loss Prospect

The Time Has (Finally) Come for a Single Regulator American Banker

Indian Currency Train Wreck

What Does Modern Money Theory Tell us About Demonetisation? The Wire

After Choi-Gate Jacobin

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Matthew Johnson

    Larry Lessig has written about a compelling and seemingly sound argument that state laws allocating electors using a winner-take-all system are unconstitutional. The argument is that these laws violate the equal protection clause when the same reasoning use does in Bush v Gore is applied to them. If states choose to use elections to allocate electors only a proportional allocation or national popular vote would be congruent with the equal protection clause. This seems to me like a case worth pursuing.

    1. sleepy

      In an earlier article in WaPo dated Nov. 24, Lessig argues that the constitution:

      says nothing to suggest that electors’ freedom should be constrained in any way.

      He makes this argument in support of his belief that the electors should ignore their states’ popular votes and instead, vote for Hillary:

      The winner, by far, of the popular vote is the most qualified candidate for president in more than a generation. Like her or not, no elector could have a good-faith reason to vote against her because of her qualifications.

      Yet on December 4 in the Medium article, in contradiction of the WaPo article, Lessig now argues that there are, in fact, provisions in the constitution that do constrain electors, namely equal protection that should compel Hillary’s election.

      Regardless of the legal merits of either position, Lessig’s primary position is extra-legal—that Hillary rather than Trump should be president and whatever legal theory he hangs that hat on is completely secondary to his personal political preference.

      And, yes, I understand that’s what we lawyers do, but generally when we are arguing on behalf of a real client, not opinionating on grand legal theories in an abstract manner on an editorial page.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Lessig is availing himself of what the insurance industry calls “moral hazard” — taking out a fire insurance policy the day after your house burns down.

        Knowing the electoral result under the rules which have prevailed for 224 years (yeah, precedent don’t matter anymore either — that’s the New Way), Lessig now wants to retroactively amend constitutional jurisprudence.

        This is not only legally laughable, but also shows a complete lack of intellectual rigor. Permitted to redo all my investment decisions based on retroactive knowledge, I’m richer than Buffett — and moreover expect public acknowledgement of same. :-)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL The Constitution LOL
          That’s a knee-slapper! Stop it you’re killing me

          Maybe ask the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave what he thinks about that ‘lil old piece of paper

      2. Matthew Johnson

        This is a gross misrepresentation of Lessig’s position. He is not arguing that *electors* be constrained in any way. He is arguing that the method by which *states* determine their electors is constrained by the constitution. These are not contradictory in any way whatsoever.

        He also *does not* argue that equal protection should compel Hillary’s election. Only that it should compel states to allocate electors proportionally. The electors themselves would remain an unconstrained deliberative body free to vote as they deem congruent with the intent that the chosen president be fit for office (of sound mind, free of foreign entanglements, etc).

        1. Vatch

          with the intent that the chosen president be fit for office (of sound mind, free of foreign entanglements, etc)

          Ugh. That disqualifies both Trump and Clinton.

      3. Pat

        Not for nothing, but anyone who says that Clinton was the most qualified candidate for President in more than a generation has immediately disqualified themselves from being serious. First off her resume is First Lady of Arkansas and the United States, eight years as Senator, four years as Secretary of State. You really want to tell me that beats 8 years as Mayor of small New England City, sixteen years in the US Congress and eight years as Senator? How about eight years in Congress, eight years in the Senate and eight years as Vice President? Or you could try Congress, Ambassador, Director of the CIA, Vice President. Hell Lincoln Chaffee’s resume is mayor, Senator and Governor.

        Now I admit that list includes people who ran for the nomination and those who actually got it. And I didn’t include either Biden or Kerry, because the buttons on their resumes for this came after they ran for nomination and/or President. Still I think it makes it perfectly clear that “most qualified nominee for President in a generation” is a false media meme, iow bull shit. What I will give you is that her resume is better than her husband’s and Obama’s. But even for those who say that is all on paper, I still call it manure. Since I can pretty much shred her effectiveness at any job she has held and even those she was appointed to on that resume, I don’t think giving McCain’s resume equal time with hers is all that out there.

        She must be pretty good at giving speeches though. /s

      1. cocomaan

        It would have gone to the House of Representatives, Larry. Guess what would have happened then?

        If Lessig was smart as he makes himself out to be, he’d be focusing on the fact that our lower house has not scaled with our population for something like eighty years. Chasing the presidency around the bend when ignoring where the people’s true power lies is pretty dumb.

        1. UserFriendly

          I was half way through his piece when I typed that. Later on he suggests that there be a 5% threshold before EV’s are awarded. To which I replied something along the lines of; you are a huge hypocrite, either everyone’s votes count or they don’t. I am all for states splitting their EV’s to ensure that every vote counts but since you seam to be only interested in getting the couple that created the great recession back into the white house you can go to hell.

          I may have also said I would prefer we put Hitler in office than Hillary… The things we say when all we feel is rage. Sigh

      2. John k

        Given your numbers the winner would be decided by the house, one vote per state delegation. Trump wins because, once again, our founders intended to give small states a greater clout than proportional… either that, or the EC and this decider was what they had to give the smaller of the 13 in order to get them all to join.
        This is part of the checks balances, which we all support…

        1. hunkerdown

          “which we all support”, indeed. Are you British or something? It seems like that sort of arrogance of exerting power without appearing to be exerting power.

      3. oho

        all these electoral college arguments are dumb as in the event the Electoral College was proportioned differently/eliminated in 2016, Trump and Clinton would not have run the same strategies. Clinton still could’ve lost as she still would be a lousy campaigner w/30 years of baggage.

        You can’t just snap your fingers and say ‘Ceteris Paribus’ and all that.

        The fact still remains…a person who won the popular vote but lost the ‘electoral college’ in the 2008 Democratic Party primary should have hyper-aware of the semantics of the electoral game that they were playing.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          From Steve Kornacki this morning on msnbs, when asked how much of clinton’s popular vote margin was from California–“You can take clinton’s entire lead from California. The margin there is well over 3 million. So her national popular vote margin is 2.8 million….so from that state.”

          So, the same state that gave us nancy pelosi, dianne feinstein and barbara boxer and all their attendant garbage, would also have given us president hillary clinton without the Electoral College.

          I don’t want to be ruled by the people of California any more than I want to be ruled by the people of New York. That’s exactly what the Electoral College was invented to prevent.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            More from Kornacki:

            “….something like 3100 counties in the country, I think she (clinton) wins something like 450.”

            1. Anon

              Well, the counties in the western US are as big as whole states in the East. Some, in Nevada, have more cattle than people, others have 3x’s the population of Wyoming and Montana combined. This counting of counties meme is ridiculous.

              The real mistake was the Connecticut Compromise.

              1. cocomaan

                It’s not a mistake. These are united states. They were about to go to war with each other at the time of the convention. It’s entirely appropriate for it to work that way

          2. UserFriendly

            That is why I am in favor of keeping the EC and having each state go straight proportional. Not necessarily for this election, but going forward. It makes it so that they have to campaign in every state that might be close to tipping an extra EV their way. It also still keeps small states weighted more and makes it so they can’t just run up the score in Chicago, NYC, and LA. I am 100% against lessig’s stupid 5% threshold who’s only purpose is to anoint Hillary. Without it it incentivises the major parties to try and incorporate 3rd party ideas or risk them stealing EV’s. It might also encourage voters to go with 3rd parties knowing that they might get an EV out of it. It would also be less likely to be a negative campaign because we saw how that pushed voters to 3rd parties.

            I could also see it allowing for a rupture of the GOP. Since they have a lock on the house they know that as long as they keep the Dem under 270 it would be up to the house to decide if they had 2 candidates. Like if say Cruz ran anyways.

            It is a much better system than Maine and Nebraska’s congressional split which would favor whichever party did a better job gerrymandering, almost always the GOP.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              If you do that you might as well just use the straight popular vote – the result would be essentially the same, with one small problem noted above.

              If you keep the EC and go proportional the only difference would be the requirement to get past 270 electoral votes, ie over 50% of the popular vote. Currently a candidate only needs a plurality of the popular vote rather than a majority to win as long as they have a majority of EC votes (which is the only reason anyone ever heard of Hillary Clinton – if it weren’t for Ross Perot, Bubba would be an historical footnote). The problem with proportional EC comes in if no candidate gets a majority of the EC vote which would be possible in a non-winner-take-all system. As mentioned earlier, in this scenario we’d still get president Trump.

              IMHO, the best solution is to have ranked choice (aka instant runoff) voting – that way someone will get a majority at some point in the process.

              1. UserFriendly

                Ranked Choice is shit.
                Say you and your spouse want to vote Adam > Bob > Cara, and 4 other people vote the same way.
                2 people vote Bob > Adam > Cara
                3 people vote Bob > Cara > Adam
                6 People Vote just Cara
                After Round 1
                Adam 6
                Bob 5
                Cara 6

                Bob gets Eliminated, his votes go to their 2nd choice (3 Cara, 2 Adam) Final Result:
                Adam 8
                Cara 9
                Cara your least favorite wins

                If you and your spouse got hit by a bus on your way to vote then Round 1:
                Adam 4
                Bob 5
                Cara 6

                Round 2
                Bob 9
                Cara 6
                Bob, your 2nd choice wins.

                Not a good system if you get a better result by getting hit by a bus instead of voting.

                Score voting (aka Range voting) where you score the candidates independently 0-5 is a much better method.

                Since you are not ranking the candidates you avoid Arrows Impossibility Theorem. It is also the least susceptible to strategic voting.
                For the full math behind why range is better see here:

                Burlington, VT and several other cities had and repealed ranked choice.

                1. lyman alpha blob

                  I don’t see the problem – not as many others preferred my first choice so my 2nd or 3rd choice gets in. Isn’t that exactly how it’s supposed to work?

                  As far as strategic voting goes, I don’t really worry about that. People toss it around all the time but it takes too many people to organize it and how would you verify that it actually took place when individual votes aren’t public record?

                  The score voting is intriguing though, thx for the link. Sounds similar to the way sportswriters pick MVPs at the end of the season. That has some issues when it only included a couple hundred sportswriters (it is susceptible to strategic voting, ask Ted Williams) but I’d think that would be eliminated when you’re talking about hundreds of thousands or millions of votes.

                  1. UserFriendly

                    In the first scenario, where you voted, your least favorite candidate won.

                    In the second scenario, the only thing that changed is you didn’t vote, but you got a better result, your 2nd favorite won.

                    Anyone who has ever voted for X to stop Y has voted strategically. The Strategy is different for ranked choice, but it is there.

                    The further left you go on this graph the ‘better’ (most consensus) the result. For each voting method the right side of the bar is with 100% strategic voters and the left side is with 100% honest.


          3. temporal

            Not a disagreement but a refinement. We’re talking about rule by a few very large cities.

            Hillary didn’t win much of anything outside of downstate New York City. Upstate NY mostly went red, in part, because Hillary and crew put everyone else in the basket that was to be attacked, ridiculed and ignored. Team D, with the exception of the one temporary member, continues to spend far too much time in their echo chamber of globalist nirvana.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That area, and a few others, constitute the beating, living heart of the Neoliberal Dragon.

              There are her natural supporters.

            2. davidgmills

              If winning 15% of the counties wins the election, welcome to the city-state. Athens and Sparta here we come.

              1. Ignim Brites

                Cook County is a good candidate to lead the way. This is a city-state that has almost zero need for defense.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We here at California have benefited a lot from the hollowing out of the Rust Belt, as products that used to be made in America, but are now made in Asia, are imported, warehoused, distributed from and shipped through here, with freeways and railroads constructed to accommodate that.

          5. Anon

            Hmm… then maybe it’s time for Cali to secede. They send more money to D.C. than any other state. At what benefit?

            1. sleepy

              I suppose one could argue that the benefit is the warehousing, distribution, and shipping of imports through California, “with freeways and railroads constructed to accommodate that” as MyLessThanPrimeBeef says. All of which are the direct result of policies enacted in DC.

              If secession is on the table for regions hurt by those policies, it would be the Rust Belt that should secede.

              Not that warehousing and distribution are any sort of hot shot jobs. My native city of Memphis is arguably one of the poorest in the US, yet it is a massive warehousing and distribution center, a way station of sorts with very few items manufactured locally, but many things shipped in and out. Until recently, it was the world’s largest cargo airport with FedEx DC10’s buzzing the poor neighborhoods every 5 minutes.

              1. Anonymous

                This transport and warehouse business is of limited benefit to most of us who live in California. Our freeways are the worst in the nation because they’re flooded 24/7 with large trucks, shredding the roads we pay for while siphoning the profits to Wall Street, and siphoning the jobs to China. If we started making stuff in America again, a handful of (terrible) warehouse jobs would be lost, but it would be more than made up for by having an infrastructure that is usable by the people who pay for it.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          all these electoral college arguments are dumb as in the event the Electoral College was proportioned differently/eliminated in 2016, Trump and Clinton would not have run the same strategies.

          – oho

          Propertius made the same argument yesterday.

          I also said the same the day after the election or whenever the argument first popped up.

          But yesterday, I wondered just what it would be like without the winner-take-all, and thanks to UserFriendly, I have the answer, keeping in mind that everyone would have run the campaign differently. The point is, it doesn’t have to be a Constitutional amendment to get the EC vote more aligned with the popular vote – we can do it at the state level.

          A couple of issues.

          1. the equal protection issue, as mentioned by Matthew Johnson.

          2. All states will have to do it

          Regarding #2, think of it this way – states that are winner-take-all are more appealing to the candidates than states that allocate electoral votes proportionally.

          What states want to give that advantage up?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As for the equal protection clause, we can also use that to eliminate the Senate.

            No senator Shumer, no senator Sanders, no senator McCain, no senator McConnoll, etc.

          2. UserFriendly

            Yup, it would have to be by court order, federal law, constitutional amendment, or pact that triggers when all states agree.

      4. JohnnySacks

        public class Democracy extends UsaPseudoDemocracy {
          private void postElection() {
             try {
              Candidate winningCandidate = getCandidateWithMaxVotes();
              country.setPresident( winningCandidate );
             } catch ( tiedElectionException ex ) {
             // TODO: Implement functionality for runOff();
            country.setPresident( houseOfReps.pickWinner() );

  2. allan

    Life expectancy in the U.S. was 36.5 days shorter in 2015 than in 2014 [LA Times]

    A person born in the U.S. in 2015 could expect to live 78.8 years, on average. That’s 0.1 years — or 36.5 days — less than in 2014.

    The main reason for this decline is that eight of the nation’s 10 leading causes of death were deadlier in 2015 than in years past, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease and suicide all claimed more lives last year. …

    One bright spot in the report was that the age-adjusted death rate for cancer fell 1.7% in 2015 compared to 2014. It was the only leading cause of death to experience a decline last year. …

    The feel good bipartisan stampede for Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot (H.R. 34) encapsulates a lot of what’s wrong with Washington. A permanent giveaway to Big Pharma, paid for with funds taken from prevention, for a what almost certainly will be a short term and ineffective research surge, aimed at the only top-10 killer that’s actually going down. Heckuva job, D.C.

      1. UserFriendly

        No Prob. It was a good read. I always like history as a narrative. I tried to take Asian history in Highschool but not enough people signed up so it didn’t run.

      1. sleepy

        A year ago an RN at the local hospital told me how in the past five years she had started seeing many young people in their early and mid 20s whose internal organs had been wrecked by alcoholism. She said that until recently that was observed generally only in alcoholics 35 and older.

        And to add the normal political angle–yes, this upper midwestern county had been resolutely dem for decades, including for Obama, and flipped for Trump this go-around.

        1. UserFriendly

          As someone in my early 30’s who went to college in the midwest after growing up in a rich Connecticut suburb I can tell you without a doubt that I got most of my hard drinking out of the way back in highschool. By the time I got to college it was old hat. I still drank, but not nearly as much as the kids whose parents never let them when they were home. I had a few friends I probably saved from alcohol poisoning more than once. Tell someone they can’t do something and it just makes them want to do it more.

          Of course I’m sure the fact that most college kids don’t ever see a life without mountains of debt in their future plays a role. I sure don’t. I don’t expect to be able to afford to retire, ever. No wonder they drink.

          1. cocomaan

            At 31, what you wrote was my experience as well. I know many white collar functional alcoholics.

            What scares me about the life expectancy decline is that it’s largely a matter of self termination: heart disease, stroke, overdoses are the three big ones, and are really lifestyle diseases.

            The BBC article also says the last time it was this bad was because of an actual malady, HIV. Malaise is an even more insidious malady. People are destroying themselves and there’s a reason why.

            Good news, though, cancer is less lethal than ever!

            1. JamesG

              One phrase that needs extermination: “functional alcoholics.”

              Most alcoholics are functional.

              The daily inebriates who live on the street are a tiny percentage of our alcoholic population.

              We even put an active alcoholic on the moon. (Google will confirm that about Aldrin.)

              1. cocomaan

                Point well taken. Sobriety is overrated but alcohol is a damaging substance. I’d encourage people to find low calorie, non toxic alternatives.

              2. UserFriendly

                IMO What makes someone an alcoholic has less to do with how much they drink and more to do with how they handle drinking. My mom only drinks once or twice a week but she is a raging alcoholic. When she is drunk everything that has ever gone wrong in her life is whoever is in front of her’s fault. She once, in complete seriousness, called me a son of bitch and was totally confused when I laughed in her face. She can never stop at just a drink or two and even as I am half a continent away I still know better than to pick up the phone if she calls past 8pm.

                At the other end of the spectrum my ex used to drink a bottle of wine a night, sometimes more if it was a weekend, and it just made him more social and relaxed. When he did get wasted it was just funny, never mean. I think we had one drunk fight in a year and I can’t even remember about what.

                Like night and day.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Exactly right. Notwithstanding the health impacts I know quite a few people who drink a staggering amount of alcohol, but are always in control – they will never drink when it would interfere with work or relationships, and they are always capable of stopping when its needed. They just enjoy drinking a lot.

                  But as you say, there are people like your mom who can be quite modest or occasional drinkers who just make life hell for people around them when they drink and seem unable to accept this. I used to work as a barman and I could spot immediately those who had alcohol problems and it wasn’t necessarily those who spent most at the bar. You could see it in their faces after a certain amount, just a complete personality change.

            2. JTMcPhee

              And there seem to be more and more “stories” about physician assisted dying and death with dignity and death by choice and all that cant. The New Normal, legitimization, acculturation.

              It appears investors have noticed, and now Hospice is a turnover business to be franchised and rent-extracted. A real “growth industry.”

              And this:

              So pretty soon I envision that “investors” will be able to lay bets on what I guess might be called the “death parlor industry,” which “efficiency” would suggest would include the “harvest” of still-usable organs and other body tissues for profit… Pay To Die — the last dig…

              1. Lemmy

                I can see a remake of Glengarry Glen Ross, with exhausted Death Parlor salesman trying to make their month-end numbers by “closing” deals with terminal prospects. Trouble is the lead lists are lousy, filled with cancer patients in remission and therefore underwhelmed by various assisted death products and services pitched in the glossy brochures.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  The Neoliberal Overlords thsnk you for your liberal support of a central piece of the Strategy: “Go Die!”

                  Because it’s a Natural Right! Right? Of course nothing keeps anyone from jumping, shooting, drugging, drinking or car-crashing oneself to death, if feeling depressed or annoyed or hopeless. Happens all the time. Wall Street wants to monetize it be making it all nice and legal and all “Suicide is Painless,” and monetized and rent-extractable. Gotta love that, right? A 9 mm cartridge goes for about 50 cents at Walmart, and if you put a good edge on a steak knife and slash an inch deep under the angle of the jaw, it’s almost free…

                  “It’s My Right! ” Yup, but why make it a profit center, all crapified too?
                  Freedumb, freedumb, FREEEEdumb…

                  1. hunkerdown

                    nothing keeps anyone from jumping, shooting, drugging, drinking or car-crashing oneself to death, if feeling depressed or annoyed or hopeless.

                    Except, perhaps, some concern, whether compassion for the poor sad sack who’d have to clean you up or whose car/tree/wall you landed on, or simple karmic self-interest.

                    Also, there are schools of thought which believe one’s status after shuffling off this mortal coil depends on how at peace one is during the shuffling. Some of that stuff hurts like a mofo.

                    Bob Widlar, HR-noncompliant integrated circuit pioneer, lived an interesting and well-sauced life, to put it mildly. After sobering up, he had a heart attack while jogging along a cliff-side trail. I like to imagine he knew he wasn’t going to make it back to civilization, and leapt off toward the ocean for one last ride like Thelma and Louise.

                2. aab

                  I’m already having a bad day, so I won’t belabor this, and then I think I have to give Naked Capitalism a rest for a while.

                  People that I cherish grapple with depression. Several generations of brilliant, talented, caring, loving, honorable people. Depression has a genetic component. So if you think that people whose brains sometimes malfunction in a way that makes they long for death means they should be helped to kill themselves rather than having their illness treated and their circumstances improved, do you also advocate that no one get eyeglasses? What forms of illness do you believe should receive amelioration?

                  And I am in favor of people being able to unplug and/or die with dignity. I had to gently pressure my father to unplug my mother’s brain dead body, as per her request, fiercely asserted for years; all she had left was breathing and the ability to experience pain, but he was struggling with letting go of her. That is not the same thing as my beautiful, otherwise productive loved ones who would qualify for assisted suicide under your approved paradigm when in the grips of their illness.

                  Please reconsider your position.

                  1. UserFriendly

                    At no point did I say they should be able to just off themselves after about of depression. If you watch the video I linked to, they have a very thorough process before approving her for euthanasia. They tried multiple courses of treatment for many years with different specialists. Having dealt with severe depression myself I know how useless it makes you feel. It’s cyclical, you feel depressed so you lie around miserable and then you feel guilty for lying around miserable, than you start to hate yourself for not having the ability to fix it yourself. Sometimes just knowing you have an out, extreme as it may be, is enough to make you realise you do have some control in your life. That little nugget of knowing you can do somthing is a huge weight off your shoulders. Making it all Clinical gives you a chance to explain it to loved ones, tell them it isn’t their fault, and that you really just can’t go on anymore like this. As opposed to them walking in to see your brains all over the wall. Really, watch the video. I think you’ll like it more than you think. It might also help you understand severe depression a little better.

                    1. kareninca

                      I refuse to watch that video. I know loads of people who are depressed; I have known five people who killed themselves. Half of my family is on antidepressants; my father and brother are academic psychologists (father is retired). I know plenty about depression.

                      In all the articles I have read about euthanasia in Europe for psychological ailments I have not read a single case in which it appeared that the doctors had tried everything they reasonably could. People think that the medical treatment there must be great since it is this wondrous program provided by the state to all. Perhaps parts of it are good, but these are small countries with medical systems that are minuscule compared with the U.S.. They have as many psychiatrists in the whole country as we would have in one city; they have as many research institutions in the whole country as we would have in one state (or far fewer).

                      Did the depressed person in the video get to try TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation)? Laser brain surgery? Deep brain stimulation (via a brain implant)? Vagus nerve stimulation? Magic mushrooms? Dextroamphetamine? Ketamine? Or any of dozens of other experimental treatments that you can get in the U.S. at a teaching hospital or (for free) in a clinical trial? I’m sure they did not. They got “everything” that their puny medical system had available. And then they were disposed of.

                      It is bad enough that not everyone in the U.S. gets these treatments (they may be free but the logistics of joining a trial may be too hard), but at least we are not pretending to ourselves that we have “done it all” when we haven’t.

                      BTW, if you have serious depression you should try some of the things I listed if you possibly can.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if they are all related to the drinking problem:

          Stress from work

          Travel for work to Europe/Asia, alone, drinking to get some sleep on the flight over or, in the hotel room to get used to the local schedule.

          Social attitude (all my friends do it)

          Bad economy

          Being alone, not in a relationship or with family members close by, when encountering problems in life

          Pent up frustrations from not being able to say what you feel, lest you’d be labeled a deplorable or anti-immigrant, or other PC bogeyman charges, etc.

          Easier to get (in many places) than Marijuana

      2. timbers

        Quite the legacy for President ZERObama. But nothing a judicious application of Fake News algorithms to screen this Russian inspired propaganda out can’t fix.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Good stuff from Weaver. Glad the Hill published it, too.

        I saw a link to Jeb Bush calling for term limits or some crap. Trump did this country a lot of good by vanquishing the Bushes and the Clintons off to the Phantom Zone for what I hope is eternity. Good Riddance!

        Brock and his ilk championed an amazingly bad candidate and ran an amazing bad campaign and lost spectacularly.

    1. Lee

      “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” A flash of previously unknown (to me) illumination from the past. Thank for drawing my attention to a linked article I otherwise would have skipped.

  3. Tom Lewis

    “Pope Francis compares fake news consumption to eating faeces – The Guardian. Note: This is a legitimate Guardian headline…”

    It may be legitimately from the Guardian, but it is not a legitimate headline. According the the Pope, and the article, the sin is not consuming fake news, but propagating it. And the sinful condition is a fascination with excrement .

    1. hunkerdown

      Approximately the same people were told the same thing two thousand years ago, and they didn’t take it to mind then, either.

  4. Will

    That rio tinto article is an awesome example of the propaganda peddled in msm outlets. It’s pretty easy to shred, and lots of meat to sink your teeth into.

      1. Lord Koos

        Not sure if it is still the case but a couple of decades ago the Marriott chain was linked to organized crime, ie the mob.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Seems that most all big bidness is “organized crime,” if one reads enough of what one can learn and encounter through NC… Monsanto, Pfizer, Boeing, Google…

          1. Berit Bryn Jensen

            The most lucrative, best organized of globalized crime: Big PHARMA, Recommended reading the Danish professor and researcher Peter Götzsche; Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime, Deadly Psychiatry and Organized Denial.

  5. vlade

    Re yesterday’s Brexit vote:
    I’ve commented yesterday that the “motion” basically killed the court case. Just goes to show that Labour MPs are pretty clueless bunch, and that May, at least on on technical terms, can be actually pretty crisp.

    1. vlade

      that said, while I now believe that the “will of Parliament” point is moot, as the Parliament, by approving – even in motion – the schedule implicitly approved A50 invocation, there still remain constitutional issues, namely about devolution, and most importantly about Northern Ireland. If the Supreme Court were to rule that govt has to seek even just NI’s approval, it would throw a yuuuge spanner into the works.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      It did seem a bit of a stroke, although given the way it was worded, I don’t think its quite the game changer that the Brexiteers think it is. But Labour were idiotic not to see that coming.

      1. vlade

        the important thing is that the parliament voted – and passed. It become much harder to argue the parliament must vote, when it just did.

        That said, there is still the devolution question, and most importantly the NI question, which could throw a yuuge spanner into the works

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m no legal expert, but I would imagine it would have to be a direct vote on the meat of an A.50 Declaration to be considered ‘a parliamentary vote’, but it certainly has set up an argument for the Brexiteers.

          The Devolution question is a big one – a major problem though for Remainers is that Arlene Foster, the First Minister, is an ardent Brixiteer, despite the majority vote for Remain. Essentially, its the DUP against everyone else on this, and most of the other parties are in one form of chaos or another, so can’t provide a strong counter argument. Only Sinn Fein have a platform, and their influence in London is, for obvious reason, not particularly strong. The Irish government has also handled this quite badly, I don’t think they realised just how ardent the DUP are about Brexit, even against their own economic interests, and for political reasons they refuse to give any support to Sinn Fein, so they’ve been left hanging loose with little influence or input.

          1. The Trumpening

            For Northern Ireland, Westminster would have to make it clear that a vote to reject Brexit would be a vote to unite with the Republic — which at the end of the day isn’t such a bad idea. This would concentrate Loyalist minds and the wealthy Protestant business owners would have to decide between economic or tribal interests.

            For Scotland, I am not an expert, but in principle its seems to me that what Parliament giveth. Parliament can taketh away. While it might be a bit extreme for Parliament to strip Scotland of their devolution, and the very least Parliament can pass a law clarifying the issue and declaring Scotland has no veto on Brexit.

            1. Oregoncharles

              That would guarantee Scottish secession – even unauthorized. Granted, I’m not there, but that seems like a basic human response. Devolution was a compromise to keep them in the Union.

              My take, just on public information, is that Scottish independence and Irish re-unification are inevitable, anyway. The question at hand is how and when.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I’m not a close follower of Scottish politics, but my reading is that the current situation in the EU and the Eurozone has made some Scots think twice. I think you could well see a situation where May essentially dares the Scots to opt out, timing it (for example) with a major banking crisis in Italy. So I don’t think its cast in stone that an aggressive Brexit move could lead to Scotland breaking away – the Scottish people got cold feet before and it could well happen again.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              The thing about Northern Ireland at the moment is that the traditional representatives of the Protestant and business establishment – the OUP and Alliance parties – are extremely weak at the moment. I expected the traditional business folk in NI to rise up in fury at the Brexit vote, but it just didn’t happen. The DUP represent people who would be UKIP voters if they were in England, and the structures in NI have cemented them in place. So you have the bizarre situation where its the left wing radicals of Sinn Fein who are de facto presenting the arguments for the establishment business class.

              So while it would be entirely logical for the establishment in NI to seek a special arrangement with the Republic which could lead to unification, or some sort of special constitutional arrangement within the EU, the political structures in place prevent that. Sinn Fein would of course push for it, but the problem is that the current Irish government refuses to deal with them. So a rapid Brexit would almost certainly result in NI being pulled along against its own interest, with their First Minister a cheerleader.

              The only way this would change I think is a quick election in the Republic. According to opinion polls, the next government would most likely be FF with Sinn Fein as partners. That would change things very quickly as you would have an Irish government which would be pushing very hard in the EU for an special arrangement.

  6. oho

    ‘Opinion: A female portfolio manager at Pimco explains the real reason more women don’t manage money ‘

    that article is very big picture. at the individual level, it’s all about spouse choice. whether you’re a man or woman.

    my sister-in-law works in asset management. travels a lot to Europe and Asia w/two small kids at home.

    without an understanding + load-carrying spouse, it’s tough to have it all. again regardless of gender.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its a bit of an odd article, it didn’t make its arguments very clearly. Surely the real issues are not whether women and men are, on average, attracted to different careers (which seems pretty obvious), but whether there is active discrimination within particular sectors, and whether there is discrimination in pay and conditions between male and female dominated employment sectors.

      1. Portia

        in the 60s, anyway, I was told (by a male teacher in 6th grade) that I must have cheated when I did well on a math test. He gave me a D. My Mother met with him to no avail. Thus my math anxiety was born, and I was afraid to do well for fear of being punished and shamed. I was also told I “didn’t have to” go to college, “wasn’t supposed to” pick things up quickly, etc., etc. I am sure this was not uncommon, for white blue collar kids, hispanics, blacks, females. People were channeled into the workforce from public schools “appropriately”. Don’t think that has changed.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m sure it was common – although probably more invidious is the type of very subtle discrimination which even well meaning teachers can be guilty of. A few years ago I read research that black students were often given greater encouragement when they showed talent in sport or music, while white students tended to be told ‘that’s great, but focus on your studies’. I’m sure there are all sorts of subtle biases at work relating to class and race and so on.

          It can happen even within families, with odd results. I know a family of three children where the older boy and girl were from an early age well within the top 1 percentile in maths and science. The youngest, a boy, was not quite so bright early, but loved art, and his parents encouraged him to think of himself as the artist in the family, as they didn’t want him to feel pressure from his super high achieving older siblings. He was pretty average academically for most of his school years, but in his final year suddenly developed a love for maths and physics, astonished everyone by zooming up the class in a matter of months, and is now acing his physics exams in University. I suspect he always had that talent, but his parents insistence that he wasn’t so academic meant he felt a sort of reverse pressure not to do so well. Expectations are a strange thing and have a very powerful influence on us all.

  7. paul

    Healthy dogs, let alone mad ones, don’t do retirement planning. ‘Economically Rational’ Mattis might be more appropriate.

  8. Carla

    Very happy to report that this morning the beautiful antidote appeared on my Links page. Thanks to whoever — or whatever — caused this happy outcome. Hope other NC’ers who experienced the same problem have also found it to be resolved.

  9. Rakesh

    @Jerri-Lynn – Here’s another interesting website that seems to be more critical than usual of Indian media, for example they are the only ones I have seen that are critiscing the mainstream media for incorrectly reporting on the various deaths related to India’s demonitisation –

    They do however at first glance seems to be anti-liberal. From their about page – “ is a news and current affairs website that curates content from various sources.

    We don’t publish every damn thing, because we value our time. We don’t hate long form journalism but our reports are mostly short and concise, because we value your time.

    In India, politics and journalism attract some of the worst brains, thanks to the system that has evolved over time. is an attempt to break free of this system.

    Our website supports libertarian politics and journalism that is free from the burden of liberal bias and political correctness.

    Our writers are not regular journalists, but various professionals with analytical skills and political bent of mind. These professionals are either our contributors or they are tracked by our team, which curates their opinions and comments left on social media.”

    Hope you find it a useful source.

  10. Michael

    I probably shouldn’t post this, but I’ve played with Cat Hulbert numerous times and she is merely a charlatan good at self-promotion. She is not awful but not particularly good either and there is no chance she’s won millions in poker, I would bet my life on this.

    Vanessa Selbst is a woman and probably top five in the world at tournament poker.

      1. Michael

        I agree, she is a great writer with a lot of gambling knowledge. After reading the article, it is plausible she has won that much money as part of a blackjack team. Given her age, she also may have made money at poker as games were very soft in the 20th century.

  11. TiPs

    Rogoff scolds left-wing hypocrisy over higher projected Trump deficits….hmmm…

    Rogoff: a debt/GDP ratio > 90% will slow growth (gross debt is above 100%).

    Rogoff: trump’s policies will increase debt by $5 trillion, but could lead to an economic boom.
    Who is the hypocrite Kenneth?

    1. craazyboy

      Apparently Kenny is a supply sider – and who can argue with supply side economics? With the track record and all. Looking at post Reagan huge deficits and then again post GWB huge deficits. If I had to guess, “we’ve” enjoyed so much growth that the national debt should be zero at this point. But I haven’t looked up the actual number yet. hahahaha. Just kidding.

    2. Katharine

      He made this comment:

      On election eve, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman unequivocally insisted that a Trump victory would lead to a stock-market collapse, with no recovery in sight. Investors who relied on his insights lost a lot of money.

      My reaction was that investors who rely on a pundit’s “insights” to that extent probably shouldn’t be managing their own portfolios.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If Rogoff wants to kick Krugman while he is down (or even if he is not), we should encourage him to do it more often.

        1. craazyboy

          I’ll help Kenny. In 2009, after GWB was safely gone, Krugman was having a mental breakdown over the Great Depression ii (yes, NOT GFC), and was screaming incoherently over the need for massive deficit spending. Fighting off an imaginary alien invasion was a proffered spending priority. Maybe he was reaching across the isle, we’ll probably never know.

          To add even more convincing argument to his barrage, he screamed out, “The Japanese stock market went from 40,000 to 8000 and didn’t come back for 20 years!”

          Then we had S&P 500 go from 666 to 2200.

          Not to brag I caught the move. I didn’t. Just my reasons for staying on the sidelines were different.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If an imaginary alien invasion worked for him, I would suggest an imaginary Clinton presidency for the next 4 years.

            1. craazyboy

              Yup. That would be like having your cake and eating it too. Thorazine for Krugman. Peaceful bliss at last.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Why are people still talking about Rogoff ‘s 90% debt/GDP ratio? The UMass people proved conclusively that not only was the 90% a coding/data mistake, but also that even the concept of that ratio impacting growth was wrong. (A second UMass candidate further demonstrated that it was the response to the ratio that impacted growth, and not the ratio itself. A causality error.)

      People really need to stop promoting this junk science. Harvard is just a mill of it these days, and they don’t need any more outsiders helping them.

  12. Jim Haygood

    From that prospering opposition paper, the NYT:

    If you believe the team at the Pantone Color Institute, which calls itself the “global color authority,” green will be everywhere in 2017.

    Not just any old green, of course: Pantone 15-0343, colloquially known as greenery, which is to say a “yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring.”

    That is, the Color of the Year for 2017.

    Eh … still prefer avocado. Cuz it looks so great on old Chryslers and Ford Torinos, not to mention vintage range-ovens.

    In a larger sense, this article is simply a corporate press release, dressed up with some quotes and fashion photos.

    It goes so well with the “What you can buy for $4.2 million in Seattle, Vail and Coconut Grove” real estate porn.

    1. Annotherone

      I enjoyed that read for the pure inanity of the piece – went well with first cup of coffee.
      I’ve seen one or two cars in that leaf green color – not a suitable car color, to my mind. British Racing Green is the only green for 4 wheels – or the avocado you mentioned.

      Towards the end of the piece:
      “There’s a Japanese concept called ‘forest bathing,’ which says that when you are feeling stressed, one of the best things to do is go walk in the forest,” Ms. Eiseman said. “But if you can’t do that, what can you do? Bring green into your environment. Put in on your body, or in your house or near your desk. That symbolic message is very important.”

      Reminded me of a movie we watched recently: “Sea of Trees” about a Japanese forest where people often go to commit suicide – quite another kind of ‘forest bathing’ !

      1. Optimader

        Yes well that was stylish in italy last year..
        Complete the metrosexual look with three button jacket thats too tight and a manpurse.
        I think it’s a style salute to Curly Howard

    2. Annotherone

      Mr Haygood – I enjoyed that read for the sheer inanity of the piece – went well with first cup of coffee.

      I’ve seen one or two cars in that leaf green color – not a suitable car color, to my mind. British Racing Green is the only green for 4 wheels – or the avocado you mentioned.

      Towards the end of the linked piece:
      “There’s a Japanese concept called ‘forest bathing,’ which says that when you are feeling stressed, one of the best things to do is go walk in the forest,” Ms. Eiseman said. “But if you can’t do that, what can you do? Bring green into your environment. Put in on your body, or in your house or near your desk. That symbolic message is very important.”

      – Reminded me of a movie we watched recently: “Sea of Trees” about a Japanese forest where people often go to commit suicide – quite another kind of ‘forest bathing’ !

    3. integer

      Personally, I’ll be waiting for Bradford deLong to write one of his brilliant articles comparing the respective lengths of colors before I make any decisions on the validity of my favored color schemes. Of course as an independent thinker I will be conducting my own analysis on the widths of these colors too, lest I be accused of not thinking for myself.

      1. integer

        …and just for the record, I am aware that colors are actually wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (within the visible spectrum), and thus technically do have a length. The mental image I had when making the above comment was of deLong with a Pantone chart and a ruler, smugly content that he had found a new angle on an old topic…

        1. integer

          …so I guess he would’ve also needed a protractor.

          (Cricket is on tv today! Aus. vs. NZ one-dayer 3 of 3)

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Among the earliest glazes was the color green. And most of the glazed pottery wares from the Han dynasty were green, with lead oxide as the principle flux. The glaze turns greyish sliver over time, like thousands of years.

      Green is often used to describe blue. The four cardinal directions were associated with four animals (mythical or otherwise) by ancient Chinese.

      East – Azure Dragon (green or blue) – Wood
      South – Vermilion Bird – Fire
      West – White Tiger – Metal
      North – Dark Turtle/Snake – Water
      Center – Yellow Emperor – Earth

      One can combine these 5 elements with the 12 year zodiac cycle. Thus, you can have Water Dragon, instead of just being born in the year of Dragon.

      Will 2017 be the year of the Azure Dragon of the East, if it’s green?

    1. Optimader
      King Crimson Epitaph with lyric

      Original KC, always the BEST music to drop fourway hits of windowpane with, freakin gimmacing grins in years gone by
      Lizard, Red, Larks Tounges in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black.. all that which got me through college days..

      I owe a little bit of permenant hearing shift to that guy via Ampzilla cranking a double set of Advents

    2. Mark Alexander

      Crap. I still haven’t gotten over Keith Emerson’s death, and now this.

      The one bright spot in all this is that the music still lives on. There are some pretty awesome international collaborations on youtube that recreate a few of ELP’s works. Search for “Rachel Flowers” and you’ll find them.

  13. Optimader

    Cat Hulbert: How I got rich beating men at their own game

    thought this was going to be about writing in snow after five beers.
    Then i was emasculated to find out i have never had the inclination to play blackjack or poker.
    WTF have i been missing? :o(

  14. Optimader

    Pope Francis compares fake news consumption to eating faeces The Guardian. Note: This is a legitimate Guardian

    It’s a developed taste, ask any dog!

    The old saw
    “Dad why does Rex lick his Butt”
    “Son thats to get the taste of your mother’s meatloaf table scraps out of his mouth”

    1. wombat

      Pope Francis/ The Guardian: “The means of communication have their own temptations, they can be tempted by slander, and therefore used to slander people, to smear them, this above all in the world of politics,” he said.

      I guess The Supreme Pontiff’s infallible slander (“Those who build walls aren’t Christian”) is OK though. Never mind the stone walls… ugh I mean BRIDGES… that surround the Vatican.

  15. human

    It never ceases to a amaze me that one can be so easily duped into giving something in return for something proffered “for free.”

  16. b.

    The Grand Unified Identity Politics Theory of Change Elections – in regards to Trump being the continuation of Obama:

    Or maybe it’s a Grand Oligarchy Acclamation Theory.

    May the best con win! Changelings of the world, prepare to retainer and run.

    It is maybe in this light that Ellison’s candidacy for the DNC chair – and Trumka’s support for him – has to be seen. Thus far, the possible exception among all high-profile incumbency would be Sanders.

    Like any good theory, the Grand Oligarchy Acclamation Theory also predicts the nature and quality of the “deliverables” of the Trump presidency. In any sense of the “deliverables” – aren’t we, voters, after all?

  17. LT

    RE: “Made In America: Asian Tech Giants Plant to Expand USA Operations…”
    “Softbank and Foxconn both plan to broaden their American operations, and the president-elect is happy to take credit.”

    So will American workers get the “social safety net” or “Foxconn’s safety net?”
    “Foxconn Installing Suicide Safety Nets”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      First, the jobs have to come back.

      Second, this is our home turf. If we can’t defend ourselves and defeat Foxconn’s safety net, then we have to go back to Step One above, and strengthen ourselves before we bring back jobs.

      I believe we are up for the task.

      Just bring back those jobs, baby.

      Or do we worry and say, “Oh, no. They are bring those Foxconn jobs to America! We are doomed!????”

    2. craazyboy

      PCB assembly is very highly automated – you can’t do it any other way – so the industry, even when we used to have it in the USA, has a extremely high sales revenue to employee ratio. The good part is the jobs it does offer are mostly technical and middle management. Those are supposed to be skilled, better compensated jobs.

      Thing I’m not sure about is the assembly of PCBs into whatever the end product is. Foxconn does employ a huge number of people in China, and it may very well be there is no such thing as an iPhone assembly and packaging robot.

      1. hunkerdown

        I had a couple of friends working in electronic assembly. They’re not in all that much better conditions than any other factory employee. Also, electronic components have an extremely high price:volume ratio and cost-plus assembly is just free money.

        Part of the cachet of the iPhone is craftsmanship, which robots can’t really simulate or detect reliably yet. I’d hate to work in a job shop running appearance parts for Apple. I’d hate it 100x as much if they wanted the jobs run without an operator.

  18. TK421

    a project to understand why women were underrepresented in science and technical professions

    Was there a similar project for garbage collecting?

  19. Steve H.

    How Donald Trump saved a brutal new sport from extinction Spectator

    Best quote: ‘…at WrestleMania XXIII, when he body-slammed the promoter Vince McMahon before pretending to pummel him on the ground.’ Poignant with T’s selection of Linda for Small (*snurt*) Business Admin (tho we won’t know what T’s agenda is until the You’re Fired’s start trumpeting forth).

    The article does, however, ascribe far too much individual agency to its subject. MMA was a global phenomena, well established in Japan and Brazil, and the UFC can be sourced as an unbroken arm of the Gracie marketing team.

    1. optimader

      Why was the next President of the United States so eager to attend an event that would have probably horrified his predecessors? Simple: he loves a sport that is, in essence, a battle for physical dominance. ‘It’s sort of like, you just — somebody dies’.’

      HIs Predecessor prefers watching drone strikes in a dimly lit room… events where someone(s) actually does die!

      at WrestleMania XXIII, when he body-slammed the promoter Vince McMahon

      Refining his Kayfabe Performance Art for later application to the Political Ring? Lets see if Insane Clown Posse and select Juggalos are invited to the WH for their interpretation of John Phillips Sousa best hits.

  20. Dave

    Sony cameras and backdoors…

    I’ve bought and used audiovisual equipment for the last 30 years. After using Sony’s “latest and greatest camera”, the RX-100, I have come to the conclusion that their products have become crap.
    Incredibly complicated, no customer support and a defective motorized lens that costs more to repair than the camera costs.

    Look elsewhere for cameras IMHO.

    1. integer

      Get yourself a mechanically sound Leica m2 (or m4 or m6) or a Pentax mx (or a Nikon fm2, fe2, or fm3a) and learn to develop b&w film or use Provia if you like color. Of course, there’s also Hasselblad and Rolleiflex (twin lens reflex) cameras if you want a bigger neg/chrome. Much more satisfying imo.

  21. Elizabeth Burton

    Trump starts churning out Cabinet picks

    Should I be embarrassed that I initially say an R in that last word?

    I need more caffeine.

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Donald Trump slams Carrier union and president

    Once again Trump is winning the optics. Chuck Jones calls him a liar and Trump responds by calling Jones crappy at his job. Once again I can’t believe I’m forced to defend Trump but yeah, how many Carrier jobs would have gone to Mexico if Jones were left to negotiate himself? – apparently all of them.

    Saw this retort from John Nichols at the Nation and he gets in a twofer – he manages to underestimate Trump and also be condescending to Chuck Jones:

    The union president’s language was blunt—as the language of working Americans and their champions often is.

    Yes, the upper class liberals would never stoop to such salty sailor talk. Spare me.

    Then there’s the WaPo which quotes another labor boss:

    Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO, called Jones after Trump’s tweet caught his eye. Jones, he said, had just left his office in Indianapolis, where he manages the needs of about 3,000 union members.

    This guy makes pennies for what he does,” Voorhies said. “What he has to put up with is just crazy. Now he’s just got the president-elect smearing him on Twitter.”

    Pennies? If Jones and Voorhies aren’t both making low to mid six figure salaries while the midwest continues to hemorrhage jobs you can slap my a** and call me Sally.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just watch a bit of his interview on MSNBC.

      Host (paraphrasing): You regret making that statement, using that language (Trump lying his b**t off about jobs going to Mexico)?

      Jones:, maybe…


      Host: You colleagues not happy with you for making that statement?

      Jones: Some are upset.

      My question:

      Colleagues – are they other union leaders or he meant workers at that Carrier plant? What percentage of workers at the plant are upset?

    2. cnchal

      Lets recall that Donald got upset enough to tweet twenty minutes after Chuck Jones said Trump was lying his ass off, and the number of jobs saved wasn’t 1100 but 800. All that Jones was pointing out, was Donald’s loosey truthy, and Donald blows his stack, which raises the question, what the hell is he doing paying attention to idiotic minutia in between interviewing psychopaths for high level positions?

      It is easy to earn the ire of a narcissist, just not cheer enough or worse, mildly disagree. They demand absolute fealty from their underlings, which from Donald’s perspective is everyone else in the world. We are being trained, and going after Chuck Jones was a lesson meant for the ungrateful peasants and those he is surrounding himself with.

  23. Lee

    Different countries, same shit; Clintonoids and their ilk take heed:

    Why Corbyn Won Jacobin

    There’s another factor as well. The quality of Labour MPs declined in the Blair period. Because the New Labour project put such an emphasis on shutting out the Left and ensuring that their preferred candidates got selected to Parliament, conformity was prized over talent. So Progress [a Blairite pressure group within Labour] would take promising-looking people from student politics, give them roles working for a right-wing MP, and gradually move them through the system — as councillors, special advisers, MPs, and eventually cabinet members.

    The cumulative result was a parliamentary party full of people who had never had to struggle for their political philosophy or fight for their positions. Their abilities became increasingly limited, until they lacked anything like a political worldview that would allow them to adapt when confronted with a new situation. They lack big thinkers or any kind of real ideology beyond a certain technical competence.

    A Eurosceptic union is forming across Europe Brendan O’Neill Spectator

    I’ve never felt so connected with European people. The EU is a union only of elites. It isn’t internationalism, it’s escapism: an institution designed to allow politicos and lawyers and well-fed activists to do politics far from the madding crowds of their own nation states. It’s the cosmopolitanism of contempt, motored by distrust in the moral and political capacities of ordinary people. The new European union, the coming together around Euroscepticism, is a far truer cosmopolitanism. It’s an expression of trust in ourselves, and by extension in our cousins across the continent. Its opposition to Brussels translates into a faith in ordinary people, be they French, Greek, Italian, Hungarian or British. It has great potential to bring solidarity to Europe, if only sniffy observers would stop defaming it.

  24. Pat

    Right after the election, someone asked me how I would change things that would address the popular vote being different than the electoral college vote. My response was, is if you want a popular vote system you eliminate the Electoral College and watch the candidates pay no attention to much of the country outside of the Virginia to Massachusetts eastern coastal area, some Florida, Texas and lots of time in California. Or you have the states apportion the electoral college votes by winner of the voting precinct or district. They rejected both those. The first because I think they like NY not having the intense media focus of the candidates, the second because I’m pretty sure they had already figured out that Clinton still would not have won, even if it was more divorced from will of the people than the current system. I’m pretty sure what they wanted was some bonus electoral college vote for every ten thousand or so votes they are ahead.

    Ultimately it comes down to the idea, do you think that smaller less populous states need protection in the system that demands some recognition on the part of the candidates that they are important and have issues that need to be addressed by the President. That it cannot be just about the House of Representatives. Learning how unaware the Acela belt is about the state of much of the country over the last ten or twelve years, I think it is necessary. Maybe if I thought this election was really about the failure of society because people eat organic and recognize gay marriage, I might reject it. But I do believe if you dig deep it really was about the abandonment of huge segments of the population from the last decades when “I’m in, start the car” has been the mode of governance. And that this has been bad not just for those left behind, but for many of us who managed to make it on the bus but still have to get out to push it regularly and for the state of our country physically as well. None of it will change until we get better candidates, but those better candidates will have more of a shot if the bubble doesn’t get to decide out right and ignore the invisible and the deplorable.

    1. Lynne

      Ian Millhiser’s moronic tweets about Terry Branstad yesterday is the perfect example of why an electoral college is necessary. His first one was bad enough, but his “retraction” that he based solely on being “told that Branstad has a personal relationship with China’s president that justifies this appointment” displays a hubris and level of ignorance about this country and the economy that is beyond embarrassing.

  25. Oregoncharles

    The Cat Hulbert article reminds me of an episode from my youth, when I was living in a small coastal community loaded with hippies. The chief hangout was a local tavern, and one guy, referred to as “Dirty John,” was very proud of his pool game.

    One evening, he played against a friend’s wife; she was pretty, nursing, and wearing a low-cut blouse. She beat him, thoroughly and publicly. I don’t think there was any money at stake, but considerable pride.

    It occurs to me now that pool, like poker, does not showcase strength or size, so it’s a game where the sexes are equal – unless someone is very distracted.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “What Does Modern Money Theory Tell us About Demonetisation? ” – contains about the clearest exposition of MMT I’ve seen; granted, I haven’t read the founding documents, but they’re probably meant for economists, not me.

    The article implies that Indian demonetization is an informal test of the theory; if India does NOT experience a serious recession as a result, the theory needs some work. It’s clear from some of the reports posted here that the government has failed to replace the demonetized currency quickly enough.

    Incidentally, India raises another issue: how do you maintain a fiat currency when your tax collection is very, very inefficient? Seems to me it falls back on the government’s role as enforcer of contracts – that is, the “fiat” side of the theory. We’ve seen statements that Indian currency is extremely well accepted, despite the huge “black” economy. Probably it takes both.

    And the Zimbabwe (?) example raises another interesting point: what maintains the value of offshored dollars? The amount is huge, and mostly the US is not collecting taxes on that money.

  27. ewmayer

    o “Famine Continues to Stalk Yemen American Conservative” — As does the KSA/USA military alliance for Freedom and Democracy™. Quite a coincidence, no?

    o “President Trump’s Plans For The Military: How The New Commander-In-Chief Could Give Defense Companies A Boost International Business Times” — Contrast that with a Reuters piece from yesterday, “Trump lays out non-interventionist U.S. military policy”. [Article-ID: us-usa-trump-military-idUSKBN13W06L]

  28. Procopius

    I’m surprised nobody else has pointed it out, but Time Magazine selected Adolph Hitler its Man of the Year in 1938. That was before he invaded Poland and people still thought he was just standing up for the poor, oppressed German people who were treated so shabbily in the Versaille Treaty. Oh, sure, there were concentration camps, but those were for criminals and homosexuals and gypsies, and the conditions were pretty bad, but they were meant to reform the parasites on society. Besides, I’m sure Henry Luce was glad that Hitler was such a staunch enemy of Communists and labor unions, which he hated about equally. A lot of people in America admired Hitler in 1938.

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