2:00PM Water Cooler 1/23/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Thanks, readers, for the surprising number of comments on my last gardening post; I still have to read and respond to them. –lambert


As our liberals and our famously free press dogpile on piss jokes, crowd size, and Tweeting, there are actual stories to cover. It’s worth noting that most Trump voters will see these measures as Trump immediately beginning to deliver on what he promised them.

“Trump Abandons Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama’s Signature Trade Deal” [New York Times].

“Trump To Announce Plans For Renegotiation Of NAFTA: Five Ways To Improve The Agreement” [Forbes]. “[A]s an agreement negotiated a quarter-century ago, there is plenty of space for the Trump administration to propose an update to NAFTA that would favor U.S. workers and competitiveness.”

“Although the new administration says its first trade action will be to withdraw from the multi-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as part of its ‘America First’ agenda, Wilbur Ross, the bankruptcy-turnaround investor nominated as secretary of commerce, has said he prefers to focus on boosting exports and using carrots to keep factory jobs in the US” [Lloyd’s Loading List]. “But Ross said the administration would evaluate punitive actions, such as the recent threat of a 35% tariff on automobiles made abroad, on a case-by-case basis, highlighting the fundamental shift the administration is undertaking in trade.”


Trump Inaugural

Another flare-up:

A correspondent remarks:

How do we know that black bloc is run by police informers? Because they break windows and burn cars but leave surveillance cameras unmolested.


Trump Transition

“A key fundraiser for Barack Obama and a Chinese conglomerate are buying Anthony Scaramucci’s investment firm” [Business Insider]. How cozy.

“GOP Senator Calls for Investigating What FBI Did About Russia-Trump Intelligence” [Mother Jones]. Lindsay Graham. C’mon, Mother Jones. Surely you can do better than this. I mean, for a minute I thought “GOP Senator” was credible!

2016 Post Mortem

“How Struggling Local Economies Helped Decide the 2016 Election” [Medium]. “[I]t appears that business closures helped the president-elect poach counties that had voted for President Obama twice before. Of these 209 counties, roughly 75% saw more businesses close than open from 2010 to 2014. It’s important to note that these counties ran the gamut from affluent to distressed; highly educated to below average; overwhelmingly white to majority-minority. In spite of their many differences, a decline in business dynamism is where the vast majority found common ground.”

Isn’t it pretty to think so:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“”The Democratic Party Can’t Just Whisper Sweet Nothings Anymore” – Nina Turner on RAI (1/4)” [Real News Network]. I like Nina Turner because she doesn’t crap around. If the Democrats were a functional party, she’d have a lot more experience in many more offices.

“C.I.A. Torture Detailed in Newly Disclosed Documents” [New York Times]. This will certainly come as a shocker to liberals upholding the CIA as an avatar of integritude.

And then there’s this:

While this reminds me of the “Five Stages of Grief,” another overly schematized process that’s been popularized, there does seem to be rather a lot of this going around. For example, the Twitter discussion on whether it’s OK to punch a fascist. Possibly so, if I trusted the Clinton operatives to be able to discern a fascist when they encounter one, and not to use their newly discovered punching empowerment to settle old scores or for personal gain.

Obama Hagiography

“President Barack Obama considered minting the coin” [Business Insider]. I should really write a retrospective on this; it’s quite remarkable, if true.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics today.

Debt: “The growth of per capita consumer debt appears to have stalled in the United States. After an extended period of growth, real per capita consumer debt slipped 0.1 percent in the third quarter, according to the latest issue of The Quarterly Debt Monitor” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “The new Landstar U.S./Mexico Logistics Service Center is 31,000 square-feet and on a 50-acre site that accommodates 450 trailers and also provides room for future expansion and is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Laredo, according to Landstar. And the company added that the center also is comprised of a highly secured C-TPAT (Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) certified site, which includes a 30-bay cross dock and transload facility and a dedicated platform and Heavy/Specialized freight area with a custom 120-ton standalone bridge crane, which has a clearance area of 35 feet high and 37 feet wide, which Landstar said accommodates the ability to transload many of the largest super loads” [Logistics Management]. A lot of bets on globalization have yet to play out.

Trade: “The eastbound remains a weak market with year-to-date North American outbound volumes the end of November a fraction below what was carried in the same 11-month period of 2015. Here, a strong dollar and subdued demand in Europe is not providing any momentum to the trade, which last saw any real annual growth in volumes way back in 2013” [Lloyd’s Loading List].

Trade: “analysis of U.S. trade statistics released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau, indicates that exports to California’s major Pacific Rim trading partners saw a healthy 17.4% jump in November. The gains were reflected in the increased volume of outbound traffic at the state’s principal international trade gateways” [Logistics Management].

The Bezzle: “Western Union admits to aiding wire fraud, to pay $586 mln” [Reuters]. Cost of doing business…

Rapture Index: Unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High: 189, October 10, 2016. Current: 184.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 54, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 54 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 23 at 1:11pm. For a change, the nineteenth hole was sober on Sunday afternoon….


“Exxon Mobil Corp. encountered a major setback on Wednesday when a Massachusetts judge ordered the oil company to turn over 40 years of documents related to climate change” [HuffPo]. “The Massachusetts ruling was particularly timely because it occurred on the same day former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson refused to say during the first day of his confirmation hearing to become secretary of state whether the company knew about the climate phenomenon.”

The Unsettlement

“How to Use Social Media at a Protest Without Big Brother Snooping” [Wired].

Class Warfare

“CAN BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE HELP IN FLINT?” [New Yorker]. Not as much as new pipes. “Nudge theory” in Flint.

“How Bullshitters Not Just Survive But Thrive, Until…” [LInkedIn]. I love that the piece is in LinkedIn. That’s so meta.

News of the Wired

“Other findings show that pen and paper have an edge over the keyboard. Research by Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles, published in 2014, showed that the pen is indeed mightier than the keyboard. In three studies, researchers found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. Those who took written notes had a better understanding of the material and remembered more of it because they had to mentally process information rather than type it verbatim” [BBC]. Wait. Computers make you stupid?

“The presidential communications equipment under Barack Obama” [Electrospaces].

In case you were wondering:

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (LR):

LR comments: “Re: Great foto from the California mushroom identification forum on Facebook!”

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. L

    “Other findings show that pen and paper have an edge over the keyboard. Research by Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles, published in 2014, showed that the pen is indeed mightier than the keyboard. In three studies, researchers found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. Those who took written notes had a better understanding of the material and remembered more of it because they had to mentally process information rather than type it verbatim” [BBC]. Wait. Computers make you stupid?

    Not surprising. The basic upshot is that computers encourage distraction and even when that is controlled for they encourage people to type down what they hear (i.e. transcribing) and not to encode, or distill it down to the important concepts. This latter is important because it means you are listening at a deeper level and thinking about what you are getting and are thus more likely to recall and use the knowledge later.

    1. Greycat

      Another version of this idea is described by Richard Sennett in The Craftsman (Published 2008 by Yale University Press,) in regard to how architects, for example, design public spaces… The results are always better when the designer draws by hand instead of on computer.

        1. Gary

          It was the author’s opinion. I read the book several years back. He makes some good and interesting points but it’s mainly advocacy of craftsmanship over technology.
          I commute and love audiobooks but I have found I retain more of the book and the style in which it is written if I actually read it.

          1. jsn

            Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language” addresses this in a much more substantial way.

            Alexander was pretty grounded in anthropology and archaeology which made his a universalist aesthetics folks who get indoctrinated into “progressive” arts and architectural thinking tend to be repelled by because it limits their “freedom”. But it results in work people not so indoctrinated tend to like.

            The core of it is that Alexander rejected industrial production as a way of organizing our built, human environment, from the car to pretty much anything manufactured. That rejection of the machine left people to make what they could which in turn produced evidence, or not, of the care, or not, they put into both design and construction.

      1. Adam1

        When i was in college I literally recall being stuck on exams and just closing my eyes and literally thumbing through my notes in my mind looking for the place i had written down what i needed. Encoding is so key!

        1. Ruben

          This is a very nice observation. Handwriting means encoding, with a personal methodology and aesthetics, which makes it for a stronger memory imprint.

      2. LT

        Musicians can point to the same thing.

        Expense and time can be saved, but more engineering has to be done on recording to keep everything from sounding like a robotic march.
        And you have to have a feel for “the feel” to realize you should even make such adjustments (depending on genre).

    2. HotFlash

      Back in the day we were advised to take written notes in class rather than tape record lectures. Same reason: if you listen and process as you take notes, you have better understanding and you can ask questions if something doesn’t click.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Also, you are using your physical coordination more in writing with a pen than typing. So it sticks with you better. Same principle used in having children physically play games to help them learn something.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          Kurt Vonnegut maintained that reading an actual book with paper pages was a better experience that reading an electronic device, because you are physically turning the pages and holding the book.

          1. jrs

            What if you write all over the book? Bad for the environment as noone else can use it I guess? Sigh … it’s hard to be a saint in the city.

            1. albrt

              I don’t like it when people write in books because I see books as a multi-generational legacy.

              That said, I bought used textbooks in law school. The notes of the prior owner may be ugly but they don’t prevent you from reading the book. If the prior owner was smart the notes may even be interesting.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      I would say, based on personal experience, of which I have a great deal, that it’s because when one is typing what one is hearing, the frontal lobes disconnect so the words can go directly to the fingers. I know that if I try to pay attention to what’s being said while also trying to type it, I end up making typing errors. If, however, I just allow the words to flow through my ears without attempting interpretation, I can easily acquire an almost error-free copy.

      That can’t be done when one is writing it out longhand.

      1. Yves Smith

        This is one of the many reasons I am a terrible typist. I’ve never had this “words go to the fingers” thingie happen. And I took a full summer typing class after third grade.

    4. RMO

      Written notes always worked well for me when I went back to school most recently and had the option of using my laptop. It made me feel old and out of date scratching away with pen and paper when so many of the students were using laptops or tablets but on the other hand when it came to grades I was in the top 5% of the class. Handwritten notes are just what I was comfortable with and it’s interesting to find that they may in fact be better than using an electronic device for most students.

      1. Jim Haygood

        If a class is about anything technical, you need to sketch diagrams and charts. SketchUp ain’t gonna cut it, when the prof has already moved on to the next graphic.

        Of course, some of the students will be shooting video with their phones, while ogling the coeds walking by outside the window.

      2. Waldenpond

        I had a professor in college… his theory was that you had to do something multiple times to ‘learn’ it so he advised his students to scan the readings, underline or highlight (a physical act) and then re-write notes (another physical act) and that, along with lectures, lab time and work, you would have learned the material rather than a short term goal of memorization and regurgitating the material for an exam and then abandoning the material.

    5. integer

      I gave up writing notes of any kind while in lectures as I realized I never read them and it distracted me from the material being covered. Prior to that little revelation I used a pen and paper. I suppose the validity of this approach depends on the nature of the topic(s) being covered and whether one has access to books that cover similar material though.

      1. a different chris

        bingo — i just ,,,, listen

        As you said, if you don’t have backup though that takes quite an attention span at a minimum. As an undergrad engineer, everything was in the textbooks anyway so why write it down? As a grad, you got a lot more interaction with a smaller set of stuff so still no reason to do whatever it was people thought they were doing when they were “taking notes”.

    6. Daryl

      I don’t think typing is fundamentally inferior to writing, but certainly the modern computer is a clusterf*** of distraction. Not surprising that some of the most prolific authors also have weird typing setups (some use typewriters, George R. R. Martin uses Wordstar 4.0 on a DOS computer).

      1. Optimader

        I prefer composing on a computer. I can write blocks of thoughts then rearrange.

        Notes? Only longhand on spiral quadrille paper

        This kinda stuff.. my little finger on an iPhone mostly. I confess I am tired of the iPhone nontactile keyboard.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Questor, which Twitter post do you mean? Rather than responding with a copy of the transcript, provide links: to the Twitter post you think is wrong, and also to the (correct) transcript.

  2. Tim

    How fitting to have the ICBM video right above that mushroom that is a dead ringer for a mushroom cloud from a nuclear blast. Freudian slip?

    I’m still wondering about that UK trident test incident where the ICBM headed towards Florida instead of further out into the Atlantic…system malfunction or user malfunction? “Sorry! We accidentally selected it the “Nuke Mira Lago” mission profile, instead of the “Nuke Putin” profile.”

      1. timotheus

        Yes, beautiful, heroic music to accompany mass slaughter. Made me think about the film HIDDEN FIGURES about the expert scientific work of unsung women forced to use the “colored” restroom. Did any of their calculations help make ICBMs more accurate? Much too complicated for that comfy morality tale.

    1. ambrit

      I love how that test failure was withheld from just about everyone until after Parliament had voted to “upgrade” the U.K.’s atomic forces.
      Corbyn makes noises about diminishing the U.K.’s atomic forces. Shades of “A Very British Coup.”

  3. Altandmain

    It is tragic that people like Nina Turner are not given more opportunities. I suspect that if she ever gains prominence, the corporate Democrats will try to undermine her like they did to Sanders.

    The corporate Dems are using “sweet nothings” because they have nothing to offer. They didn’t use identity politics because they cared about minorities. If they did, Clinton would have opposed her husband’s drug bill, the “end of welfare as we know it”, and other similar actions. It is a cynical move.

    The Flint example is poignant. Clean, lead free water is what is desperately needed, not behavioral science, which seems to be little more than coercion. This is like HR departments in companies that make it seem like they are on people’s side, but are little more than an enforcement mechanism for senior management.

  4. rich

    Protest in the Era of Trump

    The best way to control the opposition is to lead it.

    I am of the strong belief that any administration which comes into power in the current environment of nearly unrestrained executive authority, a lawless and sprawling intelligence agency complex, and a debt-driven, rent-seeking rewarding fraud economy should be assumed to represent a serious threat to the civil liberties and remaining freedoms of the American public. This would’ve been true under Hillary, and it’s also true under Trump.

    Personally, I think Trump will be reacting to events outside of his control more than he will be controlling his own destiny given the extremely precarious point we are in during this geopolitical, cultural and economic cycle. This is a very dangerous period, and it will likely only get more dangerous as the years unfold. Not because of Trump, but because of the circumstances we have allowed ourselves to be boxed into as a people. As such, I fully understand and appreciate the role of non-violent protest and civil disobedience in the Trump era, just like I understood it and advocated for it during Obama’s transgressions.

    Trump’s administration got off to a serious bang with the Women’s March over the weekend, which were unquestionably large events. While I think protest is important, and I don’t want to minimize the achievement of getting that many people out in the streets, there were many aspects of it that left a very foul taste in my mouth. Let’s start off with some of the people actively involved.

    From the LA Times:

    The Women’s March on Washington may have been filled with celebrities, singers and all sorts of Hollywood A-listers, but it was longtime feminist and writer Gloria Steinem who really revved up the crowd.

    Upon exiting the Women’s March after her keynote speech in which she emphasized that protest means more than hitting the “send” button, a crowd formed around Steinem. Mothers rushed up to introduce their daughters to her; protesters held out their signs for her autograph.

    Gloria Steinem, feminist icon and CIA-operative in the 1950’s and 60’s. Oh, you didn’t know that?

    From The Chicago Tribune:

    CIA agents are tight-lipped, but Steinem spoke openly about her relationship to “The Agency” in the 1950s and ‘60s after a magazine revealed her employment by a CIA front organization, the Independent Research Service.

    While popularly pilloried because of her paymaster, Steinem defended the CIA relationship, saying: “In my experience The Agency was completely different from its image; it was liberal, nonviolent and honorable.”

    Wait, what? The CIA was headed up by one of America’s most notorious psychopaths during that time, Allen Dulles. She must be aware of this fact. This is an interesting person for women to hold up as a role model, and to help lead the “resistance.”


    1. Quentin

      Right. And she also admonished young women who supported Bernie Sanders of doing so only to get close to the ‘BernieBros’ in their tree houses, presumably to get their share of the action, the implication being sexual. Is this feminist crone from time immemorial saying that young women aren’t allowed to have fun? Maybe they then belong in that special circle of hell Madeleine Albright reserved for women who did not vote Hillary. That circle must be really full now. When these two women vented their venom the SS Clinton took on a whole lot of fatal ballast. The Women’s March was very impressive and I hope all the participants had fun and enjoy nice memories. The midterms are in 22 months. Another major fail is in the offing if people don’t now get organised and focused on matters outside identity politics, like poor and rich, sick and healthy, environment and so much more. Sorry to say I doubt this will happen. The Democratic Party will not allow it to happen.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        It’s important to remember there are more than a few state elections coming up not in 22 months but in 11, including governorships. We have to be careful we don’t get so focused on Congress we lose sight of the other upcoming opportunities.

      2. Eureka Springs

        @ Quentin

        Is this feminist crone from time immemorial saying that young women aren’t allowed to have fun?

        I think it’s much worse than that. She’s implying women have no ability to think for themselves, or even that they think at all. She’s saying no woman is above their hormones. She’s saying to diiffer with her and or Her–> is sub-deplorable.

        Had any man said it…. much less rapped about it. Treehouse! Really?

      1. Gary

        I don’t think Cronkite was an agent or worked with the CIA. He made a big deal of confronting GHW Bush about it, but you can say of course he would. Cronkite worked for CBS, the ABC reporter that accused him of it was later found out to be a CIA informant/agent, what ever you want to call him.
        I don’t know that it would have made a lot of difference one way or another.

        1. TheCatSaid

          Cronkite was already an intelligence asset at the time he was hired. That was how he started his career.

              1. integer

                Here is the relevant paragraph:

                The ties between the intelligence community and the news organizations were formalized at the highest levels of management and ownership, and included, according to Bernstein, cooperation with media tycoons like Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Henry Luce of Time Inc. and William Paley of CBS. Towards the end of his career, Sig Mickelson, the head of CBS News in the 1950s and the man credited with launching the career of “the most trusted man in America”, Walter Cronkite, admitted that CBS News worked closely with the CIA.

    2. Waldenpond

      The part that stood out to me is the people labeling themselves organizers. Organizers are the supervisors. At different jobs, we were subjected to the organizers: the boss who would post flyers, send e-mails for their child’s fundraiser and then call a meeting to see who was in. Ever been subject to the organizer of a corporate event to extract unpaid labor from you? Aren’t you a team player? Don’t you want to volunteer?

      Personally, I have the term ‘volunteer’. It’s labor. Pay people and knock off the language of the elites to excuse theft.

  5. Jim Haygood

    It’s quite remarkable that the Fear & Greed Index is at a dead neutral 49, with the S&P hovering barely half a percent below its Jan 6th record high. This is called “lack of perspective.”

    For the past six weeks since Dec 7th, the S&P has flatlined within a tight 2 percent band. Typically such a compressed range precedes a sharp breakout. Two-month chart showing the flatline:


    Although a breakout could be in either direction, the rising volume of snarls and growls from bears signals about a two-in-three probability of breaking out to the upside.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Today the Nasdaq 100 index of tech glamour stocks (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, the GOOG) reached a fresh record high, eclipsing its previous record of last Friday.

      A market that’s hitting new highs day after day is telling you something.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It says there is a lot of money on the sidelines?

        As for Nov, 2016, $50 trillion cash (I just googled it).

        1. Jim Haygood

          That’s one aspect. But neutral consensus opinion when a market’s near a record implies that full euphoria (or “full retard,” if you’re bearish) hasn’t been reached yet.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Some claim there is another 5% to go on the upside.

            Yet, when a curve is parabolic, a small deviation on the x-axis, delta-x, can mean a huge delta-y (both ways, up or down).

  6. jgordon

    Damn, that’s a great photo of a great mushroom! I admire that the colors were oversaturated, just like how the whole world looks when I enjoy mushrooms.

    Speaking of mushrooms, I recommend Paul Stamets books, including Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and Psychoactive Mushrooms of the World, to experience a deep and epic journey through the soul and reality. Try listening to a youtube video of the Toa Te Ching being narrarated while enjoying mushrooms for profound results. Of course I’m speaking of portobellos.

  7. cwaltz

    For me Ross is Trump’s most interesting pick. Here is a guy who has the support of the Chamber of Commerce AND labor unions. That’s a needle you normally don’t see threaded.

      1. jsn

        Ross is old enough he may still remember how the New Deal worked, and it worked pretty well for him.

        When I worked with him in the 80s the business unit I was dealing with paid its way with Wicks Law projects in New York. IIRC Wicks Law was a New Deal era New York law passed to ensure multiple smaller, independent business stayed in the race for all State funded projects. It prevented industry consolidation, required “prevailing wage” for labor and ensured competition. Ross’ businesses were successful in that environment.

        I don’t know that he understood the purpose, but he made a lot of money playing by those rules when others couldn’t. I’ll judge him by what he does.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Last week I was trying to recall the name of that law, but couldn’t find it by searching generic terms. Thanks.

          “The Wicks Law was enacted in 1924 by the New York State Legislature. It mandates separately bid contracts for Construction, Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing on publicly funded projects over $50,000.”

          In some cases, state agencies did such a poor job coordinating these separate contracts that a general contractor would have saved money … and still have hired HVAC, plumbing and electrical subcontractors.

          But 93 years is like 3 New York minutes, at the state’s glacial pace of political change. ;-)

          1. jsn

            There was a lot of graft and petty corruption around it 80s, but still, small scale distributive grift beats Amazon, Facebook and Tesla: it actually spreads the wealth!

  8. shinola

    Re: the Linkedin article “How Bullshitters…”

    Is it just me?
    No matter how much I squint, back away or change my viewing angle I don’t see a cow.

    As for the article itself – Scott Adams has been producing daily vignettes on the subject for years

    1. jhallc

      The three oval shaped black spots forming a triangle on the left side of the picture, are the ears and nose of the face staring at you.

      And yes , Dilbert [W-S] and the pointy haired one [S-W] are great examples. Not sure were Wally fits in.

  9. Carolinian

    We here in SC apologize yet again for our Lindsey. We tried keeping him tied up next to the house but he keeps getting loose and barking at people.

    Perhaps with the departure of the incomparable Nikki he will decide to run for governor and spare a grateful nation.

    1. John Parks

      Re: Lindsey

      Keep him on a short leash and do not let him develop tactical nuclear weapons for the local national guard to use for crowd control.

  10. NeoGeshel

    The point about surveillance cameras is silly. The purpose of such strategic violence is to draw attention to the protest in a way that peaceful demonstration doesn’t. Producing footage of their actions is the whole point. And, obviously, they are wearing masks.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The idea is, I’m pretty sure, to discredit whatever protest they are parasitic upon. Undercover cops behaving badly for a paycheck.

      1. ambrit

        Well, false flag or not, do notice how “high profile” the forces of the State are when the venue of the action is in upper class areas, such as trendy down towns, Government zones, and high rent suburbs. Contrast that with the almost hands off attitude when the burning people, places and things are lower class.
        Feedback requested. I’m wondering if my thesis is sound or not.

    2. pretzelattack

      we don’t know what the purpose was. if they are heavily infiltrated by undercover cops, the purpose would be to discredit the protest, and give cops an excuse to arrest everybody.

  11. flora

    re: “How Struggling Local Economies Helped Decide the 2016 Election” [Medium].

    Thanks for that link. It’s an important story.

  12. cwaltz

    Oh and yes Bush- er I mean Lambert,

    -Everyone who has said the CIA is not responsible for decisions but for carrying out orders is also saying the CIA is filled with integrity.

    Or do you really believe it was a bunch of CIA agents that unilaterally decided to torture people?

    What was that? You are either with us or against us? The sum of every person can completely be determined by the sum of half a dozen people in a set ? That’s right people who are in the military and those that served, you’re all Lynddie England because nuance is hard. It’s good to know “progressives” can be as simple minded as their conservative counterparts. Very heartening.

    *heads to room to bang my head against a desk because both sides of the aisle aggravate the crap out of me*

  13. Praedor

    File this under “Class Warfare” too.

    About rich bastards in Finance and Sillycon Valley going all Prepper, figuring out ways to safeguard their wealth and comfort and privilege if/when SHTF and our society collapses.

    The good news: IF SHTF in a way such as they fear, the gloves get to come off and there’d be no law enforcement to protect them. It becomes 1%er hunting season.

    1. River

      The selfishness is amazing. Instead of preventing this scenario from unfolding they encourage it by withdrawing. Ounce of prevention/pound of cure.

      What will happen when the servants they take with them revolt, since your currency is worth zip. They serve you because….?

      A bunch of green backs or gold coins that are worth as much as toilet paper won’t be of much use.

      1. jrs

        The thing is I really truly suspect that this is how the rich think. It’s enough to make one sensibly and rationally hate the rich, if one didn’t already that is.

        “In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change.”

        never mind the absurdity of imagining there are private FB groups, native Americans are facing down the full force of the police state to protect the environment and their land out of a larger purpose and these rich people who may actually have some influence make it their priority to just personally be somewhere safe from the effects of climate change (as if that were possible haha). Like Gandhi is rumored to have said: Western civilization – it would be a good idea.

        1. River

          I think you’re right in how they think. “I would rather spend 1,000 dollars on myself then give 1 dollar to help someone else (and protect myself in the long run)” does seem to be the thought process.

          To continue in that vein. “But you would be saving $999 if you gave $1”;

          “What did they do to *earn* my largesse?”

          Truly baffling when looked at rationally, but as a species we’re not all that rational.

      2. Arizona Slim

        And what about the gated communities they live in? Those guards at the gate won’t be there to protect them any more than the US mission guards were in Benghazi.

        1. jrs

          I’m not sure this is the point though, some rich people own guns and know how to use them (and not always just guns but homemade weapons etc.) so I wouldn’t be so sure or smug that they are relying on their guards. But so might the proles. Class (cold) war turned hot.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          The gated communities will become concentration camps. The gates repurposed to confining the wealthy within for easy targeting.

          1. John

            I think the Archdruid writes of the gated communities full of rotten corpses after their security forces decide to take over. I don’t see why they would let them live except for perhaps some of the young women.
            That is the way it has worked in every late stage imperial collapse in early history.

    2. RMO

      Awww… it’s touching isn’t it? The naive way the billionaires think their pilots and armed guards would continue to obey their orders in a doomsday/survival scenario…

      1. River

        Ya, they really should play some Fallout. The real life “vault-builders” may have other ideas.

        Plus, the Machiavellian maxim about fortresses not being all that safe, but the respect of the people being a true safeguard for a prince.

        I mean if I was a multi-billionaire, I’d move to Detroit rebuild the infrastructure, and turn the city into an estate with loyal citizens. I keep them safe now, SHTF, they keep me safe. If nothing happens, then they benefit greatly, and I’ll be remembered by history as a decent person.

        1. Andrew Watts

          That’s ridiculous! The fictional America in the Fallout series was run by a fascist government hellbent on winning the war with China at any cost…

          Uhh, so they were just a bit more competent at achieving their aims I guess?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I have to be “that guy,” but the Vault Tec vaults were built as elaborate social experiments to determine how to best transport colonists on theorized, future spacecraft. The U.S. didn’t intend to launch a mass nuclear strike, but the Chinese saw the start of the vault experiment as preparation for a first strike. The fascists didn’t even under their own experiments properly.

            1. River

              That’s ok. I love the Fallout Lore. Is the space colony Bethesda lore or Interplay lore?

              I like that even the Vault-ride showing the colonies….they were doing experiments on ride patrons, and the scientists doing the experiments were having experiments performed on them!

      2. Praedor

        Fun fact to keep in mind: those silos or other fancy bunkers with air filtration to clean out chemical, biological, or nuclear contaminants will not block carbon monoxide or any oxygen displacing gas. So, once rich Silicon Valley or Wall St piece of shit bunkers down, you pull a car or truck up to their air intakes and start pumping your exhaust in. Fill the fancy bunker with carbon monoxide, halon, etc.

        Bastards deserve the had chamber of their own making.

    3. Kokuanani

      Seeing how the billionaires and cent-millionaires choose to use their money for this makes a strong case for increasing taxes on them A LOT.

      [For those who haven’t read the article, it’s about some entrepreneurial Doomsdayers creating “condos” in abandoned missile silos near Wichita. Or moving to New Zealand.]

      I did love the part about how you need to take the family of the pilot who’s manning your escape helicopter with you as you depart from the crashing “civilization.”

      1. jrs

        “Seeing how the billionaires and cent-millionaires choose to use their money for this makes a strong case for increasing taxes on them A LOT.”


      2. VietnamVet

        This is the base problem with self centered neoliberalism greed. All of the guards’ families have to be inside the walls or silo. The water, air, electricity and food sources have to be secure. A growing season of food is needed plus farmers, armorers, teachers, medics and teamsters. More than a few hundred people, you need government, rules, militia and empathy to survive.

    4. Massinissa

      Wow. There is some weird stuff in there.

      Some of them think they are prepping by…


      Derp, apparently they forgot that Bitcoins arnt accessible if theres no electricity or internet. God, that makes the guys who stock up on gold coins look like geniuses in comparison.

  14. lyman alpha bloba

    RE: the black bloc

    First of all I hate this ridiculous name. Secondly these people are cops, it’s pretty obvious if you watch them long enough as the correspondent in the links mentions. M\aybe not all of them but enough to get the job of provoking and discrediting done.

    I believe we all saw the pics/video of the bandana-ed cops who pulled their guns in fear once the real protesters called them out. Can’t remember exactly what demonstration that was off the top of my head but I believe I saw it when it was linked to here. I’ve also seen video from a surveillance camera of one of these guys allowed to go behind police lines at one demonstration.

    I watched the Ferguson riots start the night after the verdict was handed down. There were enough cops, jackboots and spooks there to start an army for a medium sized country – the whole area was infested with them. And yet the crowd was pretty peaceful at first after the media had told the public to expect rioting for a week in the runup to the announcement. And yet that first police car got surrounded by the black bandana guys and suddenly not a cop to be found. They pushed it, beat it, started it on fire without a single person trying to stop them. Because they were cops. We’d been fed a narrative about riots and we were going to get one dammit!

    Lastly, I was on the street in my town during the Occupy protests. Everyone was peaceful but the crowd was getting larger as more people stopped by. Mostly a bunch of older people dressed for the weather. And then I saw a younger guy with a hoodie which couldn’t completely hide his cop-like buzzcut underneath. He was trying just a little too hard with dressed down urban youth look and was by himself. He got out a phone, very quietly said a couple sentences and then disappeared around a street corner. About a minute later the police cruisers came rolling by.

    One other point – for a bunch of poorly dressed anarchists, these guys seem to be pretty well organized and have an awfully large transportation budget. They don’t seem to get arrested much and if they do we never seem to see mug shots or any news of their subsequent treatment which seems odd for people trying to incite large scale riots.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Thanks and to be clear, the first couple examples I saw digital evidence after the fact, the Ferguson stuff I watched unfold on live TV and the Occupy stuff I saw with my own eyes.

        We aren’t to the point of it being ‘data’ yet but there sure are a lot of anecdotes around that could lead one to this hypothesis.

        1. Steve C

          Am I barking up the wrong tree to nurse a resentment against a handful of rich narcissistic white boys for play acting at being revolutionaries and playing into the cops’ hands?

    1. Aumua

      Ok, how about some proof?

      I certainly wouldn’t put it past them, but the allegations are serious enough to warrant a little more evidence than the circumstantial and second hand inferences I am seeing so far.

      edit: I’ve read the sfgate article, and while it does seem to indicate undercover agents at a protest about police violence a few years ago, it doesn’t connect the dots for me to: “Cops are instigating the violence” Once again, I’m not saying they aren’t.. but evidence would be good.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I have none.

        However a quick search will find any number of examples of the authorities hitting up young Muslim men, asking them if they have a beef with the US government, would they like to bomb something, and then providing them with what the victims at least think are the means to do so.

        There is ample proof that the above has happened. It stands to reason that the authorities would use similar tactics with other groups too.

  15. Montanamaven

    TPP is dead and Russian military claims Russian air strikes in Syria with US coordination. US denies it. RT and Associated Press reporting. The start of some turnarounds.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Never believe anything until it is officially denied. Wait a minute! Is INHERENT RESOLVE (@CJTFOIR) actually claiming that they don’t share strike data with Turkey?

  16. ScottW

    “Western Union admits to aiding wire fraud, to pay $586 mln”

    I am not sure it has learned any lessons as our most recent credit card bill had 3 cash advances from Western Union of $450 each on 2 consecutive days. We have never taken a cash advance on our credit card, much less used WU.

    The credit card company reversed the charges, fees, and interest, but never explained why we weren’t given a fraud alert in light of the strange charges. When we asked if we could block future cash advances because we never use them, we were told No. Just a cost of doing business.

    As a side note, the transaction fees and interest charges are quite eye popping.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Come to think of it, it is undeniable that Bernie probably would have won. Almost everyone who voted for Hillary would have shown up and voted for Bernie, same for many of the stay-at-home Democrats, and even a few Trump, Stein and Johnson voters would have crossed over. Imagine, Stein could have got even less than her pathetic 1% against Trump.

      1. Vatch

        Polling data supports the belief that Sanders would have won. See:


        Aside from the opinion polls, there are good intuitive reasons for believing that Sanders would have won. First of all, Sanders would have won the states that Clinton won in the general election, such as California, New York, and Illinois. In the primaries he beat Clinton in both Michigan and Wisconsin, two of the critical states that Trump narrowly won, so Sanders probably would have won those states. Sanders was more sympathetic to the plight of working class white people than Clinton was, so he very likely would have performed better in Pennsylvania and Ohio than Clinton did against Trump. Wins in any three of those four states would have defeated Trump. Wins in just the two states of Pennsylvania and Ohio would also have defeated Trump.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A. Hillary would have won, as well, but for…

          B. Redo the simulation again on the Holodeck, what other strategy would lead to a different outcome for the D nomination? Does it lead always to Hillary as the nominee?

  17. Waldenpond

    Punching nazis… I’m with the argument that you don’t punch nazis. You are giving them readers (and the opportunity for those that share the nazis sentiments to spread the writing… oh my look how awful but this part isn’t so bad) and sympathy (violence is never right! we must listen to all voices!). When you punch, you are contributing to the growth of a segment of society you claim to oppose.

    1. fosforos

      Violent defense is a legitimate, lawful response to “fighting words.” The words of real (not “alleged”) Nazis are fighting words *as such*, and fighting back is always justified and often necessary. And the worst of those fighting words are the Nazi symbols like the hakenkreutz (reverse-swastika) and the SS “lightning bolts” so conspicuously displayed by the Banderist “freedom fighters” of present-day Western Ukraine.

      1. Waldenpond

        Violent defense is legitimate. Punching is ineffective. Oh great, looky there…..punching this particular nazi got him just what he wanted….. sympathy, readers, attention and….. tada! paid interviews (profit!).

        If you think the worst thing about the nazis is the patches they wore… uh.

      2. alex morfesis

        See a nazi, hug a nazi & give them hot chocolate…declare peace and laugh at the darkness…you only get to see one star in the daytime…

    1. UserFriendly

      … and he has a follow up to the perceived insensitivity and this lie really nails it.

      The right believes that individuals and groups are to blame for what they do. When the left sees poverty, it asks “What is it about our economic system that strips these people of the resources and opportunities they need to live comfortable, happy lives?” When the right sees poverty, it responds “These people should take responsibility for themselves.” When the left sees crime, it asks “What is it about our social system that is pushing people into lives of crime?” When the right sees crime, it responds “These criminals should take responsibility for themselves.” Because the right always thinks the individual is the problem, it can disavow collective responsibility for poverty and crime. To the right, these aren’t social problems, but indicators of personal moral failure. The left separates itself from the right by rejecting that view.

      Yet we tend to reverse this when we talk about the -isms. When the left sees racism, it doesn’t ask “What is it about our system that is causing people to find racism attractive?” Instead, it acts like the right and says, “These people should take responsibility for what they say and do.” Because we tend to see the -isms as evidence of personal moral failure rather than as social problems, our approach to them is quite reactionary. This is what causes so many of us on the left to get so mad at racists. What we need to remember is that when we tells racists to “educate themselves” we’re no different from the conservatives who tell the homeless guy they see on the corner to “get a job”. We’re denying a collective social problem by pretending it’s a matter of personal moral failure


      1. Robert Hahl

        I don’t see political arguments as rational, they are mainly just slogans which people pledge allegiance to, to signify which team they are on at the moment. Reminds me of:

        “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

        -Dom Helder Camara, a Brazilian archbishop

    2. hunkerdown

      Studebaker’s calling for improvement in the speech acts on the part of the guiding classes, whose aspirations have finally captured the “left” in defining-down. He stops well short of counseling anything resembling the abuse of regular order or obstruction of policy, instead advising improved talk and feelings and appearances and “shaping” policy, as if their own deliberate, positive alignment and actions against the working class were somehow ineffective in “shaping” policy by mere moral misalignment, as if their hands were nowhere near the wheel the whole time. I just can’t buy that sneaky self-absolution.

      Notice in the second piece he doesn’t argue from the perspective of the stagnation of wage growth, but argues on the basis of GDP, as if rising tides lifted all boats. Do not trust.

      1. Benjamin Studebaker

        There’s a clear connection between higher and more equitable wage and income growth and higher rates of sustainable GDP growth–without wage increases we won’t get the demand necessary to keep things rolling. I’ve discussed that elsewhere and didn’t want to spend the words reiterating that in this post. I generally focus very heavily on inequality (my PhD is on inequality and democracy). Here are a few that should establish my lefty bona fides for you:

        In this particular post I’m focused more on the way the left presents anti-discrimination arguments to the white working class given conditions of poor wage, income, and GDP growth (all of which make the white working class less receptive). The way the left has argued about discrimination has made it harder for the left to win the white working class over, not merely on discrimination but on distributive issues too.

  18. JohnnyGL

    Re: $1trn coin and Obama

    Yet another opportunity to do the right thing, and make a significant change, and again Obama failed to grasp the opportunity and laughed it off as completely non-serious.

    Shaking my head again at the idea that Credit Ratings Agencies have real, awesome power over us and we are beholden to their omniscient analysis.

    1. John k

      this was a bad night for him because it was the only solution and he knew the banks would hate it, showing gov has no need to borrow. And rich people would hate it for the same reason, they like a guaranteed return on and of their money.
      He was relieved that the reps caved under pressure from the same banks and rich people that are their real base.

  19. Jason Boxman

    The liberal rage over Trump dumping TPP is bizarre to read in the NYTimes comments. What a strange world.

    1. Aumua

      Ok, I will allow a tiny smidgen of Trump optimism around this one thing.. TPP is dead! Woot Woot! Ok, back to cynical pessimism.

    2. oho

      A lot of those NYT comments in the TPP article smell like astroturfed spam (generic user names, ‘real’ comments tend to be a mixture of witty, snarky and cranky, etc).

      alas, can’t prove it.

      1. Art Eclectic

        Total astroturfing. My Facebook friends list is full of liberals and not a peep out of any of them, and they reliably post the day’s outrage. The only people who cared about TPP were corporate cronies who had money riding on it, the thing smelled to anyone on either side who wasn’t on the payout list.

    3. jrs

      At this point I think I’d rather be a registered Republican than be at all aligned with those idiots. At least as loathsome and often selfish as they are, they are occasionally capable of coherent thought, which I honestly don’t think liberals are at this point. They have just become too cult-indoctrinated.

      So Trump does something good even though the TPP was probably dead anyway, so maybe it’s just a little tiny more for show than anything else, good in the grand scheme of things but it’s still a good. And all he gets is useless commentary on whether he personally manufactures globally or something. It doesn’t matter. How can liberals really have become so braindead as to think personal hypocrisy is more important than public policy? No Al Gores large wasteful houses don’t discount the points he makes about climate change. No Trump’s business decisions don’t make his getting rid of the TPP a bad thing. Meaningful public policy on climate change is more important than Al Gore personally being virtuous. Stopping trade agreements that don’t prioritize workers and the environment is more important that Trumps business and whether it is virtuous.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When your opponent deserves credit, you give him that.

        Silence on that front, together with untimely protests better served at more opportune occasions (when invariably those issues come up) would make you, optically, the unreasonable party.

        As Bill Clinton once said, after getting entangled with male-female issues, let me get back to the business of helping the American people (and workers).

    4. Arizona Slim

      Liberal rage? It’s burning white-hot on the Faceborg. Had to log outta there and come over here where the adults are.

    5. John Wright

      In the comments to this article, one needs to go to the 25th NYTimes readers’ pick to find a Times Pick reader who was actually critical of the TPP,

      And this one took still took a swipe at Trump:

      “Donald Trump was right in avoiding TPP, and Hillary Clinton finally had agreed with Bernie Sanders, to avoid TPP. So avoiding TPP was one of the few things that Bernie, Hillary and Donald agreed on.”

      “No doubt, Trump will prove to be one our three worst Presidents, perhaps the worst, and he’s quickly proving it. Will he be our own Mussolini or more of an Alfred E Neuman?”

      Of course, HRC’s anti-TPP stance was expected to be “inoperative” after she assumed the presidency as the trade negotiators dotted an “i” or crossed a “t” she had noticed.

      The Times comments are “moderated” so the Times employee moderators can decide which comments are available to be posted, and the moderators know that the Editorial department supported the TPP.

      The Times is further indicating it is speeding down the road to complete irrelevancy as the Times caters to its Neoliberal base.

      Go for it, Times, kick the Turbo in.

  20. LT

    LinkedIn piece on BSers…

    So many more people that covered for over hyped, shuck and jivers in the corp world would leave for smaller companies or ANYTHING if it weren’t for the benefits factor.
    That is one of the main reasons the establishment likes to tie health insuarance to employment: it’s a bigger burden on smaller companies (affecting what they can spend on development of better services etc..)and they know a lot of people would scamper right away from their appearances driven model for success.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’ve been wondering for years why the hell big business isn’t pushing for socialized medicine since it’s such a large expense.

      Your explanation is the first I’ve ever seen that makes sense. I knew I wasn’t cynical enough yet…

      1. Mel

        ISTR a couple of decades ago, when the issue started heating up, the big players like GM and Walmart were saying nice things about single payer, because they could drop a big expense. I don’t know what happened since. Maybe they bought insurance companies.

    2. Optimader

      Yes that and the fact that it captures/imobilizes corporate employees at the descretion of the employer. I know a csncer victim that could not leave his engineer position because he coild not ridk a lapse of i suranve. He was eventuall laid offf (Honeywrll). Veeerry anti-employee culture, more do than any other large corp i am aware of actually..

  21. LT


    Speaking of corporate appearances…
    As a world, we can’t do better than the old suit and tie.
    How old is that BS?

  22. djrichard

    Debt: “The growth of per capita consumer debt appears to have stalled in the United States. After an extended period of growth, real per capita consumer debt slipped 0.1 percent in the third quarter, according to the latest issue of The Quarterly Debt Monitor” [Econintersect].

    This suggests deflation unless it’s being outpaced by non-consumer debt growth (which it probably is, but who knows).

    On a related note, I don’t believe college debt funded directly by the Fed Gov is inflationary as it doesn’t actually get printed from fractional reserve lending facilities (i.e. banks). That is, it’s just the Fed Gov redirecting money that’s already been printed into the monetary base.

    1. I Have Strange Dreams

      Banks have not operated fractional reserve lending since the 1930s. Time to update the textbook.

  23. Kfish

    Here in Australia, our corporate overlords are still trying to pretend that the TPP horse isn’t dead. Despite the US having pulled out unequivocally, our leaders are still trying to ‘explore’ ways that the TPP might be ‘continued’. Disgusting.

    1. integer


      The LNP recklessly signed the China free trade agreement assuming they could counterbalance it with the TPP. Now they are running scared. Fwiw I’m seriously unimpressed with the ALP too. On the bright side, I am highly amused that one little Malcolm Turnbull is going to have to deal with Trump. Turnbull sure got more than he bargained for when he scraped over the line in the last election hahaha.

    1. flora

      wait, what?… Think Progress believes ceding national sovereignty to a tiny, un-elected, unaccountable to the public, panel of corporate appointed “judges” and lawyers (ISDS) is leadership? /s

  24. Ranger Rick

    There’s a lot of noise being made about this “world leadership in trade” business. Are people actually worried that imperialism is on the wane? Is this just political shorthand for not having the clout to dictate the terms of trade deals without having to negotiate? Did any of these people bother to read and digest the implications of the TPP?

  25. Waldenpond

    Dark money groups: getting tired of the D dark money groups and those that make excuses for why their particular group does not disclose. Here’s another one…. what bs Cenk (a former republican who stated he would go back to being an R is aspects of Sanders platform were ever accepted by the D party) is now the left wing of the Ds. hahaha! Well, one good thing about this one, is I don’t even care who funded this blatant bs.


      1. Waldenpond

        TYT purge to come? Some were encouraging a certain group at TYT to break out but I was expecting certain people to get kicked to the curb as they don’t fit with the lib/neo-lib focus of the network. I see some of them have gotten in line with this $h!t$show so I predict the last couple of hold outs will be pressured to get on board, marginalized into nonexistence or given the boot.

        1. integer

          The election day meltdown was enough to permanently discredit TYT as far as I’m concerned. That Jordan guy seems ok though. I liked how he put Brazile on the spot and didn’t let up. I assume he is one of the holdouts?

          1. Waldenpond

            Oh, this is too funny. Jimmy Dore’s on board. Cenk as left.


            Jimmy Dore

            Jimmy Dore Retweeted Cenk Uygur

            Proud to support @cenkuygur & “Justice Democrats”. Exactly the kind of movement the Left needs to actually defeat the corporate oligarchy.

            That’s right, taking advantage of a lawsuit to circumvent meager and pathetic campaign donations so you can rake in the big donors is so lefty, anti-corporate and anti-oligarchy…..

            Good grief, there’s no need for a purge. I don’t think a single person held out against this grifting exercise.

  26. Optimader

    I will note that the icbm minkey if a keyboard finger pecker.
    He is looking at the keyboard instead of the screen
    Do they get a regular typing test

  27. oho

    the Clintons just won’t go away. yes, it’s the Daily Mail–but they’re good at getting credible gossip.


    Hillary and Bill Clinton are looking at a series of reports to diagnose what went wrong with her 2016 bid for the White House

    Allies and party leaders suspect the couple will eventually return to campaigning and fundraising for the Democratic Party, though won’t run for office again

    1. John k

      Fundraising for the party, as distinct from fundraising for themselves, would be something new for them. I will believe they don’t retain a generous portion when the certified accountant signs off. Maybe.

    2. Jim Haygood

      The Clintons spent sixteen (16) years derailing the D party, including the unexpected 8-year Obama detour.

      They ended up with an eight-figure net worth … while their party ended up more marginalized than it’s been in decades.

      Trump has just hijacked the D party’s union base, with a meeting today that union leaders described as “incredible.”

      If the D party doesn’t hire some bouncers to eject the Clintons, it’s going the way of the Whigs.

      1. Gareth

        “Trump has just hijacked the D party’s union base”


        All of those union leaders are from the building trades. Anyone who knows unions knows the leaders of those unions have a rep for being right wing, if not mobbed up. Still, excellent propaganda.

        1. Waldenpond

          Union leaders are separate from union members. Currently union leaders act more as extensions of corporate HR departments: negotiating tiered pay, reduced pay, tiered outsourcing and trying to prevent strikes.

      2. djrichard

        If the D party doesn’t hire some bouncers to eject the Clintons, it’s going the way of the Whigs.

        Even if they do eject the Clintons it might be too late. The Dems had a window of opportunity, and they blew it. I’m thinking that window doesn’t open again unless Trump blows it.

        If Trump is on top of his game, he’s not only setting out to establish his 8 years, but a new party that will live on after him – a new party which co-opts the name of the GOP and whatever other legacy pieces of the GOP that still make sense to hold onto. But otherwise, a populist party.

  28. ProNewerDeal

    NCers, I read that Trump wrote an “executive action” that possibly weakens or destroys the ACA Individual Mandate. Any take on this issue? I wonder what this is likely actually mean for we the USian ppl.

    Although ConManDon is horrible on other policies, credit where it is deserved to Trump, on these 2 issues, if he actually kills TPP & the ACA Individual Mandate. I doubt ConManDon will actually honor his campaign promise to not cut SS/MC/Medicaid, but if so, that will be another issue he is superior to 0bama on.

    1. pretzelattack

      yeah not getting in a hot war with russia and killing the tpp were (are) my fondest hopes for a trump administration. i’m not sure what the republicans will replace the aca with, it might be even worse. the rest of it is likely to be predictably horrible, but i will wait and see a bit.

      1. Waldenpond

        I did think we might end with gridlock. Now I’m wondering how we got UKIP. More a sense of loading it all in a griddle and adding lighter fluid.

  29. Kim Kaufman

    How the NYT Plays with History

    Special Report: By failing to tell the hard truth about Establishment wrongdoing, The New York Times — along with other mainstream U.S. media outlets — has destabilized American democracy, reports Robert Parry.


    A few days old so I don’t know if it’s been posted here. I never get tired of reading how much the establishment media has mis-reported to us over the years (decades).

  30. allan

    U.S. judge finds that Aetna misled the public about its reasons for quitting Obamacare [LA Times]

    Aetna claimed this summer that it was pulling out of all but four of the 15 states where it was providing Obamacare individual insurance because of a business decision — it was simply losing too much money on the Obamacare exchanges.

    Now a federal judge has ruled that that was a rank falsehood. In fact, says Judge John D. Bates, Aetna made its decision at least partially in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $37-billion merger with Humana. Aetna threatened federal officials with the pullout before the lawsuit was filed, and followed through on its threat once it was filed. Bates made the observations in the course of a ruling he issued Monday blocking the merger.

    Aetna executives had moved heaven and earth to conceal their decision-making process from the court, in part by discussing the matter on the phone rather than in emails, and by shielding what did get put in writing with the cloak of attorney-client privilege, a practice Bates found came close to “malfeasance.” …

    Bates is as movement conservative as they come: assistant to Ken Starr, nominated by Bush 43, obedient member of the FISA court. If he found Aetna’s behavior outrageous, it must have been bad.

  31. Questor

    PLEASE Take this down!

    That Twitter is FAKE News…check the transcript! Listen to the speech…oh, you could stand do that?

    The Twitter Account was just checked…it is not there! Emailed you too!

    And people wonder why nothing that anyone says is trustworthy, and never can be again.

    People have had the impression that what was written down was immutable, even when it was just on paper. People believe almost anything that is written. But not now, and this is why.

    No one truly cares about the truth, only if it fit’s their mindset the day they see it. And now you have spread a lie.

    Can I ever believe you again?

    View image on Twitter
    Diane N. Sevenay @Diane_7A
    ? A secret message was found in Trump’s #Inauguration Address: “BERNIE WOULD HAVE WON.” ?
    12:33 PM – 20 Jan 2017
    1,524 1,524 Retweets 2,701 2,701 likes

    1. Yves Smith

      Oh come on. This is so clearly a joke that this is a big case of “Shame on you” for not getting it.

      I suspect you’d take Duffleblog seriously too if no one had clued you in.

Comments are closed.