Links 1/26/17

If you were an elephant … Guardian

Endangered Hawaiian monk seal population rises to 1,400 AP

How insects like bumblebees do so much with tiny brains BBC

Goldman Has Done Enough for the Dow, for Now Bloomberg

The Fragile Economic Foundation of Dow 20000 WSJ

Harvard Management Company to Lay Off Half Its Staff Harvard Crimson. “In a message to Harvard affiliates Wednesday, N.P Narvekar—HMC’s newly-installed CEO—outlined his plan to revitalize the University’s underperforming investment arm, announcing that the company would move to eliminate its internally-managed hedge fund teams by the end of fiscal year 2017, among other reforms.”

It’s time for business leaders to wake up about Trump Larry Summers, WaPo

Anti-Corruption Populists Tend to be More Corrupt, Report Says Foreign Policy

When a “Golden Opportunity” to Bribe Arises, It’s Hard to Pass Up Psychological Science. First all at once, then all at once. Readers?

Accounting fraud admission wipes £5.5b off BT’s valuation Boing Boing

Panama suspends Panama Papers probe AFP

Federal agents raid Los Angeles charter school network LA Times

Dutch regulator mistakenly reveals Soros short positions FT

Apple executives submit proposal to set up iPhone manufacturing unit in India The Scroll

Indian techies nervous about stay in Donald Trump’s America; mull passage back home Economic Times of India (J-LS).

Will Evidence Matter In 2017? Health Affairs


Trump says he will order ‘safe zones’ for Syria Reuters

Kuwait Hangs 7 Prisoners, Including Royal, in Mass Execution AP


Brexit bill likely to face biggest trials in House of Lords FT. “Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes! Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses…”

Theresa May refuses to rule out private US firms taking over NHS services Independent

Whirlpool to Restructure Dryer Manufacturing in Europe WSJ

Brexit as a game of Chicken FT. I had no idea Thomas Schelling was a script advisor for Doctor Strangelove.

Trump’s Expected Ambassador to EU Says “Short the Euro, Collapse May Come in 12 to18 Months” MishTalk (Furzy Mouse).

France opens inquiry into right-wing presidential candidate Fillon’s wife France24

Greece’s Tsipras Insists on ‘Not One Euro More’ of Austerity Bloomberg


Bitcoin Lovers, Thank Beijing Bloomberg

How WeChat Founder’s Obsession With QR Codes Reshapes Chinese Internet WSJ. If QR codes become more or less universal, is there a business case for abolishing cash? Why not just let it do what it does?

2016 Post Mortem

Hillary: “I’ll Be Back!” Ed Klein. With a TV show. I’d take Klein with a dose of salts, in case he’s talking his book, but note the logic of anger as a self-licking ice cream cone.

Creating The White Tribe Rod Dreher, The American Conservative. Sonnet 121: “‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed / When not to be receives reproach of being…”

The collapse of the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership was inevitable South China Morning Post

Trump Transition

TRANSCRIPT: ABC News Anchor David Muir Interviews President Trump ABC. A primary source. Worth reading with this Frank Luntz interview in the back of your mind. Trump isn’t speaking to the interviewer at all.

Presidential Actions More primary sources: The actual texts of Executive Orders.

* * *

Israel’s border ‘wall’ the model for Trump, Senate Washington Times. So, since servicing Israel is bipartisan, what’s the issue here?

Mexican president rejects Trump’s border wall — and says he won’t pay for it LA Times

Trump Prepares Orders Aiming at Global Funding and Treaties NYT

Trump rushes to control communication of US agencies AFP

Canadian Scientists Warn U.S. Colleagues: Act Now to Protect Science under Trump Scientific American

Give Rex a chance The Economist

Cordray Says CFPB Will Continue Enforcement Mandate WSJ

Trump is obsessed with what his staff wears. Don’t let their costumes distract you. WaPo. As usual, story, which does have interesting detail, is at odds with the sexed-up headline.

Trump White House Senior Staff Have Private RNC Email Accounts Newsweek. Same structure as the Bush White House.

* * *

Chuck Schumer, Leader of the Resistance, Keeps Approving Trump’s Nominees Village Voice. I love clean messaging: Trump is a fascist Putin stooge history’s worst monster President, whose supporters are stupid deplorables Nazis not from around here, and who must be resisted by marches piss joke Tweets leaks from our friends in the CIA squillionaire funding punching them in the face by any means necessary (except for a von Stauffenberg solution) supporting the party that collectively approved his Cabinet appointments. And people wonder why the Democrats lost.

Kirsten Gillibrand has voted against almost all of Donald Trump’s nominees. 2020, anyone? WaPo. Oh, a revolving heroine!

Don’t look now: It’s President Pence! Donald Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment Heather Digby Parton, Salon. And hopefully our good friends in the intelligence community will keep helping out! Have fun, but this line caught my eye: “Trump managed to convince enough voters in just the right places….” In other words, Trump, the underdog, ran an excellent campaign. Right? Lordie.

Democrats, With Garland on Mind, Mobilize for Supreme Court Fight NYT. Yeah, that should do it. I’m totally dying in the last ditch for Merrick Garland.

What’s Causing Chicago’s Homicide Spike? The Atlantic

Imperial Collapse Watch

How America Could Collapse Matt Stoller, The Nation (2011). Worth a read today:

By the early parts of the last decade, the ideal American multinational made its profits by using its market power to gut labor and supply prices and by using its political power to eliminate taxation. All of this turned giant American institutions against making things.

In other words, rent-seeking.

US corporate leaders now see the idea of making things as a cost of doing business, one best left to others. What has happened as a result is that much of the production for critical products and services that make our economy run is constructed by a patchwork global network of suppliers all over the world in unstable regions, over which we have very little control. An accident or political problem in any number of countries may deny us not just iPhones but food, medicine or critical machinery.

I’m picturing a collapse movie featuring a fast-moving plague where the MacGuffin is the world’s supply of the plague vaccine, trapped in a single container somewhere on a Hanjin ship after Hanjin went bankrupt…

ECONOMIC RESCUE, RECOVERY, AND REBUILDING ON A NEW FOUNDATION​ (Steve C). Steve C: “Ugh! How about setting the world up for Trump?” I like the alliteration in “rescue, recover, rebuilding.” That’s the kind of service a well-paid staff provides.

Class Warfare

Upward mobility declines sharply as the rich make off with the growth Bill Mitchell (Furzy Mouse).

Demonetisation may have caused lasting damage to economy: political economist Barbara Harriss-White The Scroll (J-LS). A functional System D cannot make the powers that be happy. Perhaps this is a bug, not a feature?

Finding Balance of Public and Private in Community Fellowship for Intentional Community. Using permaculture’s zone system to organize public and private boundaries.

Mary Tyler Moore, Sweetheart of American Television, Dies at 80 Hollywood Reporter

The Dying Days of Liberalism: How Orthodoxy, Professionalism, and Unresponsive Politics Finally Doomed a 19th-century Project Zero Anthrology. Today’s must-read. Grab a cup of coffee for a massive takedown.

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Linda

    Lambert –
    Under Brexit,
    Whirlpool to Restructure Dryer Manufacturing in Europe WSJ
    links to the 1/24 Links page.

    It caught my eye because the link displayed as a visited link color, and I knew I hadn’t visited that article.

    1. Carolinian

      Er, thanks. The whole interview is cringe inducing with Trump rambling away and Muir the dogged interlocutor from The Resistance.

      DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I just have one more question on this. And it’s — it’s bigger picture. You took some heat after your visit to the CIA in front of that hallowed wall, 117 stars — of those lost at the CIA.

      Someone should tell the chowderhead Muir that many of those stars represent CIA officers lost in Vietnam where the CIA ran the anything but hallowed Phoenix assassination program.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I read New republic and Nation
        I’ve learned to take every view
        You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
        I feel like I’m almost a Jew
        But when it comes to times like Korea
        There’s no one more red, white and blue
        So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    2. The Trumpening

      I thought that interview was very informative.

      1. Trump jumped off the torture bus. Trump had seen how Ron Paul had flamed out in 2012 with a dovish foreign policy so Trump made sure to butch up his image by talking lots about torture to cover his anti-interventionist foreign policy which could be seen as pretty wimpy to rank and file Republicans.

      2. Trump kinda sorta promised universal health care.

      3. Trump mentioned that Obama promised to support TrumpCare if it was better than ObamaCare.

      4. Trump blatantly used the otherizing “the” when he said, “and I told the Republicans this”. He’s creating distance between himself and the Republican Party on health care.

    3. juliania

      I went to with the link and got to the transcript right away. It was very informative as to what the barrage of leading questions by Mr. Muir elicited from President Trump. He indeed thinks torture works, but will abide by his general’s anti-torture stance. And here is all he said about Syria:

      “I’m gonna be the president of a safe country. We have enough problems. Now I’ll absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people. I think that Europe has made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries. And all you have to do is take a look. It’s — it’s a disaster what’s happening over there.”

      This is not some interventionist policy the way it has been bruited about. This is Trump concerned about terrorist infiltration of host countries when enormous influx of refugees destabilizes them. It’s a valid concern. And it’s a future desire for battered Syria that it be able to re-populate its devastated country. The press has blown this all out of proportion, as it has done for many of the issues raised in the interview.

      Thanks for providing the original link. I hope others will take the route I have suggested above.

      1. Carolinian

        Guess it depends on what the meaning of “safe zones” is. Safe from who?

        No doubt it’s way too early to tell what is really going on and–in my opinion of course–we certainly weren’t going to find that out with Muir who seems obsessed with all the latest fake scandals.

      2. marym

        He said he would go with what “they” (Mattis and Pompeo) say. Pompeo is pro-torture. He also said he was surprised that Mattis was opposed to torture.

        1. juliania

          Here’s how that went:

          ” Well, I have a general who I have great respect for, General Mattis, who said — I was a little surprised — who said he’s not a believer in torture. . .As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire. Now, with that being said I’m going with General Mattis. I’m going with my secretary because I think Pompeo’s gonna be phenomenal. I’m gonna go with what they say.”

          Mixed bag interpretation-wise, but I think on torture he goes with Mattis, on general running of the CIA with Pompeo.

          1. curlydan

            And here’s also how it went at other stages:

            “But I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence. And I asked them the question, “Does it work? Does torture work?” And the answer was, “Yes, absolutely.” ”

            “I wanna do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works.”

            “And if they don’t wanna do it, it’s 100 percent okay with me. Do I think it works? Absolutely.”

            BTW, the guy really likes the word “Absolutely”

            1. The Trumpening

              Trump is right on this — torture does work.

              How do we test this? If torture doesn’t work, then we would prosecute for treason any soldier who was tortured and then spilled classified information to the enemy. Why should they be prosecuted? Because everyone knows torture doesn’t work!

              But absolutely no one believes tortured soldiers should be prosecuted. Why? Because everyone knows deep down that torture does indeed work.

              Now, given the fact that torture works, I would still refrain from doing it. As General Mattis no doubt realizes, torture destroys the moral cohesion of an army.

              So torture works on a tactical level but is destructive on the strategic level.

              The Battle of Algiers is an excellent movie that explores these questions.

                1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                  The Trumpening was not defending torture. He clearly said that he opposed it, but that in some cases, people who are tortured do provide correct information (which doesn’t imply that they overall provide more accurate information than people who are interrogated in other ways).

                  In the actual Algerian conflict dramatized in the Battle of Algiers, it does seem to be true that the French were, for a period of time, able to devastate the organizational capacities of the FLN by systematically using torture to unravel their leadership hierarchy. French “success” in this regard may have been due to FLN members not being prepared for the possibility of being tortured – since then it has become more common for groups to train for torture scenarios.

                  In any case, the French did not ultimately win in Algiers – the FLN rebuilt itself somehow. Furthermore, there is quite a lot of material in Fanon about how the torture program impacted the French negatively as well – I seem to remember an incident about a guy who wanted psychological counseling because he tortured Algerians all day long and then he would come home and be abusive to his family. He wanted Fanon to make it so he could continue to be nonchalant about torturing people but without it spilling over into his personal relationships; Fanon said he couldn’t help him.

                  1. aletheia33

                    they made a mistake hiring that guy. too sensitive.

                    in argentina the had priests ready to handle torturers’ anxiety about their own fears of damnation. apparently it helped ease their concerns quite a bit and enabled these young soldiers to keep doing their job. (i learned this from an academic book on the torture there that i read years ago.)

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Is it defending torture to say torture works (not that I am totally convinced it works, or it works some of the time)?

                  Does torture someone’s wife or kid in front of that someone works? It might. But any civilized person is against it. Still, it’s likely it works…at times.

                  Can drones take out some bad guys? Droning works, sometimes; and it doesn’t other times. To say it works, but not always, is not to defend droning.

                  Is it a deeper understanding of the issue, if one thinks torture works, but is still against it, because one believes that it is inhumane?

                  The other consideration is the case of a person who is against torture because he believes torture doesn’t work. In that case, it’s still possible, that with improved techniques (technology! progress!) that torture works some day. Then, will that person be for torture?

              1. River

                I’d say it fails on the tactical level as well.

                If your opponent knows they will be treated horribly if captured or they surrender, then you’ve put them on death’s ground as Sun Tzu wrote, and they will fight harder and more fiercely to avoid the fate of being tortured.

                1. The Trumpening

                  Your comment is more pertinent for conventional 1st world vs.1st world armed conflict where in fact the various soldiers can very easily believe they will be treated humanly if captured, having for example, watched reruns of Hogan’s Heroes. And so normally no 1st world army recommends torturing their 1st world prisoners and quite often these soldiers can be induced to surrender easily.

                  Where it works less well is in a 1st world vs 3rd world insurgency. Most of the 3rd world insurgents are 100% convinced of the profound evil of their 1st world oppressors and are not likely to fall for a “hearts and minds” campaign about how nice they will be treated if they are captured. There is much less surrendering in these types of conflicts.

              2. Yves Smith

                The reason for doubt on the tactical level is that people being tortured will say anything to stop the pain. With our record of repeatedly picking up marginal players or people who aren’t informed, you get a ton of garbage and degrade everyone involved (the perps either have to be sick to begin with and their bad habits are reinforced, or you make a mess of formerly healthy people).

                1. The Trumpening

                  Clearly the quality of information gathered will vary depending on the skill of the interrogator and the culture / motivation of the person being tortured.

                  Certainly in non-torture interrogations there is also a lot of misinformation given by the person being interrogated. This does not mean these types of interrogations do not work.

                  For the torture that occurred during Iraq War, we must ask what was the real goal of US torture there? Was it really meant to gather information or was the information gathering an excuse to punish and humiliate the torture victims?

                  But this leads us back to my original point. If torture doesn’t work, if the person suffering torture can easily lie and misinform his torturers, then why do we not prosecute our soldiers who give up critical information under torture? Has anyone seriously considered prosecuting John McCain for giving up so much critical information under torture?

                  It is my understanding the in the US military’s torture resistance training (SERE) that we try to get our soldiers to hold out for 24 hours before giving up critical information. If we really believed torture didn’t work then we would not discuss the 24 hour limit. Instead we would tell our soldiers to just lie and tell their interrogators anything they want to hear since we all know torture doesn’t work!

                  There is a detailed discussion of these issues in during the Algerian War in Alistair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace. His conclusion was that torture did work tactically in that war but was as corrosive as acid to the overall moral of the French Army and destructive to the personnel who actually engaged in the torture.

                  Perhaps a similar debate would be whether slavery works. I could see arguments that say while slavery did indeed work (at least at some level) it is totally destructive to a nation’s moral and should be avoided at all costs.

              3. Gaianne

                Torture is mainly about personality destruction. That is what it is good for. And it is good for people who like to do torture.

                Information, not so much.

                The basic problem is that the victim of torture ends up telling you what you want to hear. So you cannot find out anything you don’t already know. Yes, you can expand that envelope a little bit by pretending to know things that you don’t. In practice that gains you less than you might think.

                The big gaping hole is that you will confirm things that are false–the things that you know but know falsely, the things that are actually wrong. There are a lot of these things. You will miss almost all of them.

                This is not a big secret.

                “Torture works,” comes from the immoralists–folk who willingly and willfully want to do evil–to persuade you to become complicit in their evil.

                You should not do that.


              4. zapster

                Torture doesn’t work. People say what they need to say to get it to stop. It’s usually false. During the Iraq war, torture got completely false stories (remember Chalabi?) that wasted many man-hours following up. All it gets is what the torturers think they want to hear.

      3. ChrisPacific

        Safe zones in Syria would be a good idea, although exactly how that will be achieved is a question. Not using the region as a staging ground for a proxy war with Russia is a good start though.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Mme Fillon’s little local difficulty, one wonders if the revelations had anything to do with her hubby’s desire to normalise relations with Russia, especially after the meeting with Merkel a few days ago.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Needless to say, the sock puppets on the left are out and up in arms on both sides of la Manche. I did not hear them complain about / question Labour minister and anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain employing his mother as office manager in the noughties. The admirable lady was in her eighties then.

      1. David

        I doubt if it has anything to do with Russia, and in any event the employment of his wife is not illegal. About 10-15% of French MPs employ a partner in this way, according to the records. But what would be illegal is if she was paid without doing any actual work. Technically, Fillon is her employer (the money goes into his pocket first) and if she were not actually doing anything, then he has obtained the money under false pretenses. There are also limits on how much MPs can pay a spouse, and it’s quite significant that, when Fillon was a Minister (and so had to give up his Parliamentary seat) his “suppléant” (who took his seat over) raised her pay to the maximum permissible. It’s all looking a bit shady, and, whilst fraud is going to be hard to prove directly, you can’t rule out several highly publicised interviews with the law enforcement authorities between now and the Presidential elections in May. Spotting a man who’s down, the rest of the political class is starting to put the boot in.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I think the French Establishment is fully behind Macron thinking that Fillon would likely lose to Mme Le Pen in a 2nd round. They liked him at Bercy, they’ll love him in Elysée.

          Also – the question of how Macron used his “envelope” at the Finance ministry to fund his campaign building prior to declaring was buried in PenelopeGate news yesterday.

          1. David

            But it’s come back today (e.g. in Le Monde) as what looks like an orchestrated counter-attack by the Right. Macron is alleged, in a new book, to have spent nearly all of the Finance Ministry’s entertainment budget for the year in the eight months he was a Minister there – sometimes organizing two dinners a night. The allegation, of course, is that he was using taxpayer’s money to prepare his Presidential run.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, David.

              One wonders if that money was also used to get Paris Match et al to regularly feature Macron and his wife on the covers. Apparently, these covers were the best sellers last year.

              I have seen Macron with his former employer, the Rothschild brothers, at the races in France. L’hippisme est une de mes passions.

              1. ambrit

                Oh, yes. Take the boat train to Calais so as to make it to Longchamp in time.
                Growing up partially in Miami, Florida, the flamingos at Hialeah track are a wonderful sight. I dimly remember watching kids allowed training races on Sunday mornings. Now, as with everything else in our decayed world, Hialeah is reduced to Quarterhorse racing and a casino.
                As I have been known to tell our children, now grown with families of their own; “There was a Golden Age.”

              1. alex morfesis

                It would be simpler if we just honestly declared all political parties mafia crime families…it would explain their actions and would allow most humans to not stress by expecting so much from them…

                it is what it is…

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, David.

          I had observed from watching French TV news in the last couple of days.

          1. David

            Oh yes, as feox says down thread it would be fraud, and theoretical maximum penalties come in the 5-10 years in the slammer range, even if that’s hard to envisage in practice. More interesting is Fillon saying that if a criminal investigation actually started, he wouldn’t run (not that he’d have much choice I suspect).

      1. David

        Well, Fillon is not denying the story as such, and the Canard have copies of the actual pay slips. The issue is various statements by Fillon and Penelope the she’s a good middle class Catholic housewife who doesn’t have a job, as well as the bafflement among Fillon’s own staff at the suggestion that she ever worked for him. Not mentioned in the UK media, I think, is that she was also “employed” at a colossal salary by a French publisher friend of Fillon’s, though nobody remembers her actually turning up for work. The Canard is a French institution, feared and hated by the political class, with an almost pathological devotion to the truth. They’ve been wrong, but not very often.

    2. feox

      Conspiracy theory. Le Canard cannot be questioned as part of some tinfoil-hat international cabal. Emploi fictif is fraud. It’s worst coming from a social right wingers and economic thatcherist that want to cut down les profiteurs.

  3. Tom

    The Dying Days of Liberalism: How Orthodoxy, Professionalism, and Unresponsive Politics Finally Doomed a 19th-century Project Zero Anthrology is a fascinating article that performs an autopsy not only on Hillary’s failed campaign, but of liberalism itself.

    From the article:

    All of the preceding add to the reasons why I am arguing that it is not just Hillary Clinton, nor just the Democrats who were defeated, but something much larger. Too many “large” institutions failed at their basic tasks, too much fell, when so much was put up for grabs, i.e., globalization, US military bases, trade, class, the judicial system, schooling, healthcare, etc. Yes, the Democrats have been reduced to little more than a party of mayors, whose “survival” only really registers at the municipal level, having lost the presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives, most state governorships, and the majority of state legislatures. The breadth and depth of the defeat, and the entire architecture used for conveying and defending their ideology failed to such an extent that we must conclude that it was the ideology itself, and the social and economic project that it championed, that was also rejected. In being rejected, against all the apparent odds, and to such a degree, one has to assume that the damage done is irreparable.

    All I can say is, that better be one hell of a TV show.

    At one point the article includes some excerpts from Listen Liberal by Thomas Frank and it just so happens there is a 4-part interview with Thomas Frank on the Jimmy Dore Show. For those interested, here is Thomas Frank interview Part 1.

    1. Jeff

      One of the reasons NC is the best website this side of the galaxy, is that it offers ‘curated links’ that allows one to discover sites like Zero Anthropology or subjects like ‘Fabricatory Depth’ – for free.

      1. Tom

        Agree. Today is the first time I’ve ever heard of Zero Anthropology and it’s already been bookmarked for further exploration.

        1. From Cold Mountain

          and our heads
          heavy with knowledge
          make it that much harder
          to get up
          and get out
          and get on with it

          1. aletheia33

            not sure if it’s the weight of the knowledge
            or of other burdens like the typical arrogance of the knowledge holder
            and his dependency on his status as such.
            for example, lambert and yves convey knowledge that is invaluable.
            information is crucial to effective action.

        2. UserFriendly

          I decided to check out some of their old posts too because I found that article very compelling. This article is a bit too critical of Sanders IMO.

          While I don’t disagree with the critiques of US imperialism and I agree Sanders has a less than optimal voting record on defence bills and the like I think it neglects the reality of what it takes to campaign effectively in this country. It’s pretty clear to everyone the press was not on Sanders side, but I don’t think people really appreciate it could have been worse. What little press he did get in the early days played him up as a quirky long shot. If he had begun to criticize our foreign policy with any seriousness does anyone doubt that the press would have spun that as attacking Obama? While such a rebuke is highly deserved I can pretty much guarantee that would not have helped him with the broader Dem primary voter.

          It’s purity tests like that which are toxic to the left. At some point you just have to say I trust this person to do the right thing more often than not.

          Also, this passage from another article is a complete miss for me.

          One might have expected the neoliberal crisis to be a boon to the political left. However, over the past decades, and more so now than ever, the left is deeply splintered–it is divided, and thus conquered. Large portions have “neoliberalized,” at most calling for a greater domestic redistribution of income derived from neoliberal globalization, without challenging the international order itself. Bernie Sanders largely falls within the latter camp of tamed leftists, whose past “revolutionary” associations seem to be a point of embarrassment

          Which of course isn’t to say that the site is bad, or even not worth reading. It just gives you an idea of what to expect.

          1. hunkerdown

            > If he had begun to criticize our foreign policy with any seriousness does anyone doubt that the press would have spun that as attacking Obama?

            No. Would people have paid them any heed? Probably not. John Robb, a great analyst with terrible allegiance, seems to define the exclusive ability of the powerful to create propaganda as a component of “reasoned political discourse” and considers the democratization of propaganda the end thereof.

            > It’s purity tests like that which are toxic to the left. At some point you just have to say I trust this person to do the right thing more often than not.

            The bourgeois left is not the left. Liberalism is not entitled to get to yes, and social welfare does not net out across citizens. So, I’m not at all sure what you’re counseling here other than submission for its own sake.

            1. UserFriendly

              No. Would people have paid them any heed? Probably not.

              My facebook and twitter are full of millennials who all voted for Bernie (I did not see any support for Hillary until after the primary, not one post). 95%+ of them freak out with varying degree’s of cognitive dissonance when I point out how much of a corporate sellout disaster Obama was. There is no chance they would have been open to supporting someone the press decided to label as anti 1st black president,

              The bourgeois left is not the left. Liberalism is not entitled to get to yes, and social welfare does not net out across citizens. So, I’m not at all sure what you’re counseling here other than submission for its own sake.

              I’m not talking about bourgeois left, I’m talking about the certain strain of left thinkers who went beyond criticizing Sanders in an attempt to sway public opinion but actively refused to support him because he was insufficiently leftist and/or he was only trying to sheepdog for Hillary. Those are the kind of people that frustrate the hell out of me. I’m not saying they shouldn’t voice concerns, but I saw a few people refuse to support him.

          2. nobody

            Purity tests? The guy did not care who would win the election back in May, but by the time October came around he openly endorsed Trump:

            For those US voters for whom anti-imperialism is of paramount importance, the choice is rather clear: either the transitional hybrid who crashes globalization and renounces US global leadership, or the oligarchic manager that seeks to maintain everything as is, with the prospect of newer and more dangerous wars and heightened global inequality. In this respect, it’s not a matter of being “strategic” as a voter, nor does one need an inordinate amount of time to decide which figure will do the greatest harm. While for Trump we rely more on his words to judge him, in Clinton’s case we have a track record of disaster-creation. As Walinsky explained, “Trump marks himself as a man of singular political courage, willing to defy the hysteria of the Washington war hawks, the establishment and the mainstream media who daily describe him as virtually anti-American for daring to voice ideas and opinions at variance with their one-note devotion to war”.

            In a long-term perspective, the candidacy of Donald Trump and the popular movement behind it, represents an inevitable confrontation with the US polity’s recurring struggle between imperial ambition and republican self-possession. Every generation for well over a century has produced a new range of writers and politicians who denounce the US’ imperial missionary tendency. After the Vietnam generation, another emerged with the end of the Cold War, one that loathes imperial adventurism, with Trump’s most obvious and immediate predecessors being Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul. One does not usually get to choose the messenger, but it would be more than just foolish now to ignore the message. Waiting for the perfect and pure messenger to arrive, before one commits to change, is the most fatalistic form of messianism, one that even Christian conservatives would eschew. For those who are seriously invested in arresting US imperialism then, as some have found already, among the leading candidates there is only one viable choice: Donald Trump.

            1. UserFriendly

              I hadn’t read that one. Interesting how he was comfortable endorsing Trump in the general but not Sanders in the primary.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Large portions have “neoliberalized,” at most calling for a greater domestic redistribution of income derived from neoliberal globalization, without challenging the international order itself. Bernie Sanders largely falls within the latter camp of tamed leftists

            In the abstract, I think the author is correct. But when you think of who has to be defeated to get, say, Medicare for All, then how does that not “challenge” the international order?

            1. aab

              I’m not going to pretend to know what is in Bernie Sanders’ heart at this moment. He’s an old man, who has spent his entire adult life pushing against the tsunami of neoliberalism. If he has internalized a defensive posture, I’m not going to blame him.

              However, given some of what he said during the campaign, his bringing Kelton on to assist him on the budget committee, his openness to learning from the BLMers, etc., I suspect his values and desired outcomes are FAR to the left, still, of what he advocated for during the campaign. Given how propagandized the American people are, I think it was smart to target his message the way he did. The fact that Clinton and the media elite felt comfortable declaring single payer health care utterly impossible when it’s the standard across the developed world not only shows how debased the Democratic Party consensus is, I think it helped crack people’s thinking open a bit. Starting from the opposite direction (nationalize banks, etc.) would have been impossible, from a practical standpoint. Remember how very little press he got, advocating for a position that was Democratic Party orthodoxy not long ago.

              And I think Lambert’s point about Medicare for All and the international order is significant. If you look at what the TPP focused on, you can see how our terrible rent-extracting medical system acts as a contagion designed to sweep the globe. That one proposed change has a whole lot of radical action packed into it.

              1. UserFriendly

                Exactly! No one but Sanders knows exactly how far he would have gone left had he won, but it is indisputable the world would be in a far better place had he been given the chance.

    2. fresno dan

      January 26, 2017 at 7:58 am

      “Liberal democracy has been reduced to a shell, more a name than a fact that deserves the name. For many years, liberalism has been liberal authoritarianism or post-liberalism or neoliberalism, with a high elitist disdain for democracy and a fear of the masses everywhere. Promises of inclusion, fairness, and welfare, were replaced by sensitive-sounding rhetorical tricks and tokenism.
      Liberal leaders claimed to be upholders of peace and order, while multiplying the number of wars. Obama himself is personally responsible for the killing of thousands, many of them civilians—in 2016 alone, the US dropped 72 bombs every day on average, in wars in seven countries. Obama oversaw the rapid acceleration of wealth transfer, and heightened domestic poverty, and then he is praised by pseudo-left liberal scholars and writers for having “governed well” and doing so with a professional, graceful demeanour.”

      “Obama oversaw the rapid acceleration of wealth transfer, and heightened domestic poverty, and then he is praised by pseudo-left liberal scholars and writers for having “governed well” and doing so with a professional, graceful demeanour.”
      Ah, “the soft bigotry of low expectations”

      Of course, we don’t have liberalism. Just as corporations sell something “branded” as maple syrup, the relation between the sugar and corn syrup concoction bears as much relation to the sap from a maple tree as a bee* bears to a F-35**.
      * flying pollinator extremely important to support life on earth
      ** flying killer that supports not only the oppression of those it attacks, but most of those in the county that builds it…..

      1. Eureka Springs

        Love me, I’m a liberal is as poignant today as it was 50 years ago. I’m not really sure neo should have ever been added to liberal. Clearly ‘liberals’ have learned next to nothing.

        On another note… Stoller is most always a good read but I’ve noticed a collective across the board disappearance of mentioning high speed internet to every home on the grid when people talk about infrastructure spending. Seems like Cable and Telcos are less touchable than Pharma, MIC or insurance these days. Frankly I would much rather have fiber to my rural home than work on roads or high speed rail. Not that I think we shouldn’t work on all of that and more, but I think the drop of even advocating for it really misses what should be top priority.

        Maybe we should start calling high speed internet, pipelines, and protest against the very notion… so both Dims and Pugs will love it. Seriously, we should tell teh Donald it’s his path to greatness both now and in history books along with tri-care for all.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          So much in agreement with this.
          It could be done via the Rural Electrification Act.
          My only choice is wireless or dial up.
          TV is either over the air or direct/dish
          Fiber to every home would create thousands of well paying jobs from laborers to techs to management.
          They could then pull the copper out of the ground to offset costs.
          There are literally millions of pounds of copper in the current telecom infrastructure.

          1. hunkerdown

            Also too, the Postal Clause.

            Most of that copper can’t be used for high-speed internet anyway, as it is unshielded twisted pair, so only a few pairs in a trunk cable can be used for OFDM without reducing the capacity of other users’ indivdual pairs.

            +1 “neo” is a lizard tail decoy to let the ancaps in.

      2. Tom

        fresno dan
        January 26, 2017 at 8:44 am

        “Of course, we don’t have liberalism.”

        No, but we’ve had plenty of “watch what we say, not what we do, please.”

      3. Massinissa

        “We don’t have liberalism”

        I’m tired of this false logic. As far as this logic goes, Liberalism has never been ‘real’, Conservatism has never been ‘real’, communism has never been ‘real’, capitalism has never been ‘real’, NOTHING has EVER been real because the real thing apparently doesn’t fit the theoretical definition. No True Scotsman at its finest.

    3. cocomaan

      Many academics have written long, increasingly bitter and resentful complaints against the public—that is, the source of their clientele and funding.

      Oof! That one hits hard because it cuts to the bone on how colleges function.

      I actually disagree with one thing he said about anthropology being analogous to the Human Terrain System: it’s the same damn thing. If I’ve learned anything from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s that Anthropology as a discipline functioning outside academia is mainly following its roots, which involves imperial conquest and subjugationof foreign lands and their people. The Human Terrain System is just applied anthropological theory.

      What an article! Thank you for posting. I am sending on to friends and relations that need to be depressed this morning, haha

      1. Ted

        And more than a few anthropologists I know are happily lapping up big contracts from bad actors. But what of it, the same is true and on a much grander scale in the other disciplines. And when they can’t get big contracts or patents, the game is to write “critically” to ensure a healthy set of speaking engagements in the halls of the professional classes (who smugly nod in self assurance thet their virtue is above reproach). At the same time, it is anthropology and its primary method, ethnography, that provides at least some meaningful connection between the elite and various Others.

        That said, the blog post in the site referenced above is excellent and shows Anthropology to be a more diverse camp than your comment allows.

    4. foghorn longhorn

      The clintoons could recast Groundhog Day, maybe Nightmare on Main Street, or even The New Price is Right.
      My fave would be Take The Money And Run.
      I could also see Leave It To Putin or Fun With With Bill and Hil.

      1. Tom

        Good game. What movie best encapsulates the Clintons?
        The Wild Bunch — An aging outlaw gang, trying to exist in the changing modern world.

          1. ambrit

            “Shadow of the Vampire” about making the film “Nosferatu.”
            Willem Dafoe as Murnau doing “what it takes” to get his film made is a perfect metaphor for H Clinton’s raging ambition.

      2. polecat

        How ’bout ‘The Gong Show’ ?? .. that way they can be hooked, and yanked off stage … hopefully for good !

        1. Tom

          Yes! Hooked off stage amid hoots and derisive laughter, with a shot or two of seltzer water for good measure.

    5. Carolinian

      A fine rant indeed despite the somewhat gratuitous swipe at BDS. Perhaps the key insight is that knowledge isn’t the same as truth since you can know lots of things that aren’t true. The public, interacting on a day to day basis with reality, often gets this in ways those in the knowledge business do not.

      1. Cat's paw

        Yes, this begins to point toward perhaps the most glaring indication of the breakdown of the liberal world order. Yet it is only beginning to dawn on a few people here and there though the problem has been with modernity from the get-go, baked in as it were.

        A defining characteristic of enlightenment liberalism is the will to knowledge and the subsequent development of a vast multiplicity of “knowledges.” But as Nietzsche was already pointing out 140 years ago there is a problem. Knowledge and truth do not inevitably constitute a unity. One cannot presume that a given knowledge, even if it is “effective” or predictive or accurate, to be animated by or grounded in truth or justice or the good. Knowledge does not, or very rarely, serve its own ends–as a good in and of itself. Knowledge is really more of a tool or an assembled technology that is guided and directed from the “outside” for ends well beyond its control. Which is why, say, engineering can so easily be applied to the world in ways that are both helpful and harmful.

        What the “knowledge-workers” of the last 150-200 years have refused to grapple with is that knowledge alone, in and of itself, can never be its own justification. There is always a deeper or higher or more powerful force(s) which guides its development and application–and orders the value of it and everything else in relation to it. But that couldn’t be spoken of or countenanced in polite company–until now. The rolling conflicts we are seeing aren’t about knowledge per se, the truth or efficacy of it. Rather, these conflicts are about the values and power that animate, direct and drive knowledge production to particular ends and outcomes. The faith that knowledge alone is enough to make the world good is eroding away. The wherefore and the why–the aims that guide knowledge production–are finally coming up for general debate.

        1. PhilM

          Love this kind of comment. Thank you so much, completely agree. Daring to tailgate your comment: two figures in Raphael’s School of Athens: Plato, pointing heavenwards, following Socrates’ belief that to know the good is to do it; Aristotle, pointing earthwards, indicating we should examine how people actually behave.

          Nietzsche here was following Aristotle, which is not to say that’s a bad thing, because I love Nietzsche, and in particular I use his Genealogy of Morals as my primary interpretive tool for political discourse after 1815. No, it is only to say that this struggle is not going away any time soon, either “in the air” or “on the ground”; knowledge-workers, or as I would say, philosophers, have been at it from both sides for 2600 years, and the process is–Nietzsche again–an eternal recurrence.

          After all, Nietzsche was first and foremost a classicist. Mencken was first and foremost a Nietzschean. Great reading to be done there.

          1. knowbuddhau

            Very interesting. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a different Renaissance painting, also depicting two types of approaches to knowledge.

            It’s by Pinturicchio, and it’s in the Vatican’s Borgia chambers (found an image, but not the name, sorry). Nevertheless, it shows Isis (not disguised as Mary, Isis herself) teaching two disciples: on the right, Moses, and on the left, Hermes. Campbell says1 that it depicts the rational, literal, historical (Mosaic) approach vs the mystical, irrational, transcendental (Hermetic). Mythological symbols can be read either way. IMNSHO the former, when it reads poetry as prose, when it mistakes perennial truths found in myths for quotidian facts found in newspapers (or should I say “facts”?), utterly loses the message of the symbol.

            The Hermetic approach has been all but abandoned by TPTB. Witness our 17 “intelligence” agencies. So much information, so little understanding.

            And consider Trump’s style, particularly wrt taking him seriously vs literally. That’s also how one reads myths: they’re metaphorical, symbolic, Hermetic. Reading them literally and dismissing them for being at variance with “facts” loses the message in the symbol.

            Maybe his appeal to his “deplorable” and “irredeemable” base, and his surprising ability to confound the more literal minded PTB, have something to do with his having a more Hermetic approach to knowledge. So maybe it would behoove us to take him more symbolically than literally. He certainly doesn’t take even his own words at face value.

            Also in the Joseph Campbell video series Mythos, he says2 that the Western tradition is dominated by Aristotelian rationality and an ethnic, as opposed to universal, revelation. The truth is revealed exclusively to and for a specific group by the means of a rational, literal, historical approach to knowledge. Sounds like neoliberalism and IdPol to me.

            (I should point out that I’m not a fan of Campbell, I’m a student of comparative mythology. Got my own problems with JC, and am open to hearing what others think. I don’t like relying so heavily on one source, for starters.)

            I’m no art historian, nor a philosopher. But I really like the Hermetic vs Mosaic distinction as an heuristic. Explains a lot about me and my problems fitting in. I like to “fly by the seat of my pants,” “play it by ear,” make it up as I go. I look for synchronicities and other non-linear, non-rational cues. I drive my more literal, prosaic, Mosaic friends and family nuts. Vive la difference, say I. We need both approaches, personally, politically, socially, you name it.

            Links and quotes below.

            1. PhilM

              I beg to differ with you. You are indeed a philosopher, whatever else you may be. Your comment gave me chills. Thanks so much for taking the time.

            2. knowbuddhau


              Campbell claim 1

              Now I want to introduce you to the symbolism of this Apollonian idea as it was reawakened in the Renaissance, after having been lost during the deep Middle Ages. During the first three centuries of the Christian development in the Near East, developing alongside Christianity – I mean before Theodosius came down with “the axe of love” – were the classical Hermetic traditions and a body of text known as the Corpus Hermeticum. As I mentioned before, Cosimo de’ Medici asked Marsiho Ficino to make a Latin translation from this Greek text that had been brought to Italy from Byzantium, and when he did so, art immediately took on a whole new radiance; for what was recognized was that the symbolic imagery of the pagan world was equivalent in its mystic meaning to the mystically interpreted symbology of Christianity. So artists of the time began to use both Old Testament and classical themes, and they were all singing the same song. This was a great moment, which brought forth a glory of art, and it came precisely from the inspiration of this translation of the Corpus Hermeticum, wherein the very symbols of the Christian cult – which, as we have seen, go back to the classical world – were reinterpreted in terms of Hermetic rather than of Mosaic mythology.

              In the Vatican there is a great picture by Pintoricchio of the goddess Isis on a throne instructing two disciples. One of them is Hermes, and the other is Moses. These are the two ways of reading symbolic forms – Hermes being the Hermetic, symbolic way; Moses, the literal, prosaic, historical way. There are two aspects to the form, and you take the one you want….

              One of the problems addressed by Zen is that of having an experience. People talk about trying to learn the meaning of life. Life has no meaning. What’s the meaning of a flower? What we are looking for is an experience of life, getting the experience. But we’re shoving ourselves off the experience by naming, translating, and classifying every experience that comes to us. You fall in love. O.K., is this going to lead to marriage or is this illicit or whatnot. You’ve classified and lost the experience. So, put your head in the lion’s mouth and just say, “I don’t know what the hell is going on.” And something will come out of it.

              Putting your head in the mouth of a lion and seeing what happens sure describes the gamble taken by many of Trump’s “volatility voters.” Trouble is, it’s put all of our heads in.

              2 In a discussion laying the groundwork for an explication of his view of the Perennial Philosophy. All the world’s many myths tell the same story in different forms and with different inflections. What is that story? Aside from that, this quote is the source of my remarks above about the Western devotion to Aristotelian rationality and biblical emphasis on an ethnic revelation.

              If we are to think of the old perennial philosophy as a manifestation to our mental mind of the wisdom of the body, we may think of the Aristotelian approach as addressed to and from the mental. When you are reading Aristotle – whether it’s his Aesthetics or The Soul or whatever – you realize that what he’s doing is rendering through rational terminology references to, and something of the implications of, the older tradition. He’s talking about the soul and about transcendence of rationality by means of rational language. What has happened since is that the rational has taken over, and the reference to the transcendence drops out. That’s one of the characteristics of our tradition. So in the West we have these two heritages: Aristotle and the Bible.

              Aristotle’s rationality was rational in its reference to something transcendent of rationality, but it has become increasingly strictly rational. In the Bible the stress is on the ethnic rather than the elementary aspect of the message. And these two have given us a commitment to time and space in and for itself, against which the transcendence of the perennial philosophy comes as a threat. A lot of people get the feeling of being threatened by this other thing because it threatens their rational, ethnic, stance.

              Both are found at

              I hear echoes in this of our present situation. Anyone else?

        2. witters

          “knowledge alone, in and of itself, can never be its own justification. There is always a deeper or higher or more powerful force(s) which guides its development and application–and orders the value of it and everything else in relation to it.”

          True – but the Enlightenment view met this criterion. The pursuit of knowledge (justified true beliefs) was an essential component of human flourishing. It helped rid of illlusion, dellusion, ignorance and self-deception. It exhibited courage and tenacity. It involved a certain asceticism, and so on.

    6. Benedict@Large

      “… we must conclude that it was the ideology itself, …”

      Of course that would be a part of it, but I must point out how zealously the Clinton’s guarded the cash box, which while generally full, was never opened for anyone outside of the narrow Third Way belief set. The “Big Tent” party under the Clinton Machine became the Narrow Tent party, and it was a well-funded narrow tent that failed, while the unfunded big tent was unable to broadcast its own far more inspiring message. The dinner table had many seats, but very few were fed. Is it any wonder then that the party’s starving masses have gone elsewhere looking for food.

    7. Waldenpond

      It’s taken as given that democrats are republican-lite. How about liberalism is conservatism-lite and progressivism is liberalism-lite…..

      It looks like the plan is to take the core of the D alliance of liberals, progressives and neo-libs and attempt to kick out the neo-libs and accept some aspect of the left. Maybe, liberals and progressives need to look at their policy proposals and decide what they can give up and what policy wins they will give the left.

    8. Lupemax

      Also recommend the Jimmy Dore interview with Frank. All four parts – great interview – most of what Dore does is great.

      Despite all that Frank says against the Democrats in Listen Liberal his newest book and how they’ve screwed everyone for years, especially their base, and suck up to the rich and Wall Street and Corporations and Big Pharma for funding and how much damage Bill Clinton did and how much Hillary would do he says he actually voted for Hillary. At least Jimmy Dore, who loathes the totally corrupt democrat party, stuck to his guns and supported and voted for Jill Stein. He figures, and I agree with him, Hillary would do what Trump is doing, except more slowly and behind closed doors, still dissing their former base. I too voted for Stein and as I say when I say that: no I did not vote for Trump – I voted for Jill Stein.

    9. susan the other

      wow, what a thread! The Dying Days of Liberalism was so salient and accessible it was probably more therapeutic than a shot of insulin. Straight to the point. Thank you, I loved it.

    10. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s the nut graph, indeed. Key perception, just to underline:

      Too many “large” institutions failed at their basic tasks, too much fell, when so much was put up for grabs

      That’s why I’m just a wee bit skeptical of the “resistance” hashtaggers. Are we really looking at resistance, or something more akin to the Bourbon restoration? (Note that things can be different at ground level, as with the sadly decapitated Black Lives Matter.)

  4. fresno dan

    If you were an elephant … Guardian

    No room here for the infantile phallocentric Nietzscheanism that is destroying modern human culture. If you were a boy you’d be on the margins, drifting between family groups (but never allowed to disrupt them) or shacked up with your bachelor pals in the elephant equivalent of an unswept bedsit (though usually your behaviour would be gentler, more convivial and more urbane than cohabiting human males). Your function would be to inseminate, and that’s all. Government would be the business of the females.

    I imagine 95% of human males could go along with that. But it is an amazing thing that a tiny minority can convince the vast majority to travel long distances for scant reward to kill other humans who are no danger to them while greatly endangering themselves, while the people giving the orders are in no danger at all….

    If only naked apes were as sensible as elephants….

    1. Steve H.

      I strongly recommend The Pride of Chanur as an investigation of that frame of reference. Strong matriarchal society interacting in the market with very different cognitive systems. Love and honor.

      Should’ve been made into a movie years ago. But there ain’t no ideal jedi here. “Don’t trust humans, Pyanfar.” A bit close to the bone on that.

      1. Rhondda

        The whole 3-part Chanur Saga is instructive. As are all CJ Cherryh’s novels, imho. I’m a big CherryhHead. Fictive anthropology where you are in the Other’s mind. Sometimes makes you very uncomfortable. Serpent’s Reach gave me insect-heebie-jeebies.

        With cat-persons, and especially “pirate” fem ones with golden earrings to the social fore because “males are too emotional” — one really does wonder how the Chanur books avoided film-ification.

        I have always been fascinated by the rat-like Kif. I’d like to see more about their homeworld…

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          They haven’t been made into video because – despite the loud whining to the contrary from the Right – Hollywood is run by guys who really, really, really do not like the idea of matriarchy as a joyous or high functioning thing.

          The “creative class” decision makers there can’t even imagine how to sell such a story.

            1. Rhondda

              Did you notice this un-footnoted bit of dismissive chaff in there?

              “Historically the Mosuo lived in a feudal system where a larger peasant population was controlled by a small nobility. The nobility was afraid of the peasant class gaining power. Since leadership was hereditary, the peasant class was given a matriarchal system.”

              A contested Wikipedia space, methinks.

        1. ambrit

          I’ve often wondered how much of a “debt” Cherryh owes to the early works of Alice (Andre) Norton.
          I prefer the “Company Wars” plots.

          1. Rhondda

            IIRC she has said she was influenced by Norton and interestingly, was a classics major– turned school teacher.
            I also like the stories set in the Company Wars and Union/Alliance.
            Action, adventure, aliens, political machinations.
            What’s not to like?

            1. ambrit

              True. Rule One of popular writing is, “Make it enjoyable.”
              Thankfully, she hasn’t, as far as I know, fallen into the ‘Franchise Universe’ trap.
              As a primer on thought patterns informing culture for it’s time, her works are fascinating.

              1. ChrisPacific

                I like Cherryh too, although it sounds like I haven’t read the same ones all of you have (Foreigner series, Fortress series, Morgaine series). The Foreigner aliens aren’t quite as alien as she would have you believe – a Japanese reader would probably relate more to their society than the human one in the story, for example. But she is very good at political machinations and intrigue. The Fortress series, especially the first book, is a good example (if you like fantasy settings).

                She is prone to writing books where you will get 20 pages of introspection and theorizing, and sometimes nothing much actually happens as a result. I think she would drive some readers mad, but if you like that sort of thing she does it very well.

                I read a lot of Norton when I was younger and I can see some similarities. I think Cherryh is more fond of living civilizations while Norton liked dead ones and mystery.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  Yes, Cherryh is one of the very best, though I’ve read a lot less of her later works. It must be those that give you “introspection and theorizing;” I remember her work being incredibly propulsive. Obsessively so, but very exciting, and full of ideas.

                  Another author who produces a fireworks show of ideas, many political: Ken MacLeod. He’s productive; the “Fall Revolution” books are especially political. “Stone Canal,” “Cassini Division.”

                  1. lyman alpha blob

                    Seconded. I just finished “Newton’s Wake” which is very good but not quite to the standard set by the “Fall Revolution” series.

                    Iain Banks’ Culture series is also excellent for scifi fans who also like politics.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Andre Norton’s Galactic Derelict was the very first science fiction novel I ever read (Jules Verne doesn’t count). The nice thing for me, I realize now, was that I could identify with both Ashe and Ross….

    2. aletheia33

      FRESNO DAN 8:02 A.M.

      >it is an amazing thing that a tiny minority can convince the vast majority to travel long distances for scant reward to kill other humans who are no danger to them while greatly endangering themselves, while the people giving the orders are in no danger at all<

      tim o'brien's The Things They Carried beautifully illuminates the internal emotional/thought process of how a midwestern american kid ends up going to vietnam, basically because he is afraid not to, because shame.

      speaking of anthropology: warrior cultures are shame cultures.
      i learned this while reading the iliad in college and have never forgotten it.

      all cultures must find a way to manage the explosive testosterone-fueled aggression of young males. imperialism employs it (fueled by coercion when needed, shame, and the promise of battle spoils) to conquer and take territory and the associated resources and to enslave those conquered. perpetual warmaking has the added benefit of killing off a portion of the young males, who threaten the regime. industrialization has made this easier to do. better weapons allow more killing. easier communication enables better propaganda. snowballing death and devastation have followed inevitably.

      1. Tigerlily

        all cultures must find a way to manage the explosive testosterone-fueled aggression of young males.

        The interesting thing is that the misandry implicit in this statement has gained such wide purchase that it is generally regarded as unremarkable.

        Anyway I would suggest your sociological analysis is based on a false dichotomy between manipulators and manipulated: historically the ruling elite was a warrior elite. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also a male elite.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Look up the Nayar, of Kerala in south India.

          No marriage, matrilineal. The warrior and ruling caste

          Arundhati Roy is from Kerala; her novel is about its history.

      2. PhilM

        I’m putting on my scrotum-hat for this one. “A Handboy’s Tale” is just down the road from this kind of thinking, and I am really sick of it.

        Warrior cultures are “honor cultures.” Subsequent generations, brainwashed by ressentiment and Christian cheerleading for weakness, see only the shame.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > explosive testosterone-fueled aggression

        I don’t imagine for a moment that such simple-minded biological determinism would accepted for one second if an equivalent statement were made about women. And rightly.

        1. aletheia33

          OK, i have checked out some of the more current research on testosterone and young male aggression and i stand corrected. researchers seem to think that young male aggression in humans seems most likely to arise from social not biological causes. it seems that social factors may in fact stimulate testosterone levels going up, not the other way around.

          i stand corrected. mea culpa. i will try to be more careful about making such statements going forward. also, on principle, to recognize (as i failed to do) when i’m touching a hot spot in the current zeitgeist so i can refrain from fueling fires that these days it is dangerous and irresponsible to feed.

          in general, and not directly on topic, what outis said at January 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm (quoted below), in the context of racism and homophobia, i find hugely important. i want to learn how to communicate in the way he describes, not just with those leaning right but with those leaning neoliberal (without even knowing what neoliberalism is) who consider themselves “progressive”. i think i have a long way to go.

          outis: “Closer to home, there is research evidence that while some diversity programs can reduce prejudice, ones that emphasize forceful responses like “call-outs” tend to exacerbate it.

          The original quotation is noteworthy in that, in my experience, it is uncommon to find right-leaning people confessing that they are struggling with feelings of homophobia or racism. I think it makes more sense to build on an opening like this rather than using their confession against them.”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The NC comments section (if I may assume the role of speaking for them) thanks you.

            On another note–

            > outis: “Closer to home, there is research evidence that while some diversity programs can reduce prejudice, ones that emphasize forceful responses like “call-outs” tend to exacerbate it.

            That’s called a self-licking ice cream cone… .

    3. Oregoncharles

      I’m convinced that war is combat mating (eg, lions, stags, horses, seals…) gone suicidally wrong. (For an especially human version of combat mating, try the bar scene in “Goodwill Hunting”.)

      That has implications: combat mating, which is clearly* in the human background, ultimately depends on the cooperation of females; it reflects their genetic interest in mating with the biggest, strongest males. I can never remember the name of the classic Greek play where the women put a stop to it (wishful thinking on the playwright’s part, and a comedy), but it could be a useful model – at least for an anti-recruitment campaign.

      *It’s the reason males are larger and stronger – even though we frown on it now.

      1. PhilM

        It’s Lysistrata.

        War is not anything gone wrong, it is part of human nature. It is how people “do” violence. People are rational animals, so war is rationally directed, organized violence.

        1. aletheia33

          i apologize if i overgeneralized to the point of sounding misandristic. would love to see confirmation that young males’ aggressive energy is far from universal and does not raise difficulties that most human societies try to manage in one way or another. i hope an anthropologist (or other) reading this can provide same.

          i do not fully understand the objections of tigerlily and philm to what i wrote but i can perhaps clarify a bit:

          i think the association of a non-war-making society with matrilinearity is a myth. matrilinearity in itself guarantees nothing in particular. matrilineal societies have made war. plenty of women in power going back millennia have been bloodthirsty and ruthless in controlling subordinates within and waging war against those outside their societies. i make no association between femaleness and peacefulness or superiority to maleness in any way. in our own time the vast majority of women support all the horrific wars we have seen.

          while i will not admit to misandry, i will admit to hatred of war. i do not in any way think that men, as opposed to women, are solely responsible for it. i accept that wars are often inevitable, given human nature and competition for limited resources. i think modern technology has allowed TPTB to make us all victims of wars horrific beyond anything imaginable even 100 years ago, and we have all allowed this to happen because we have all allowed ourselves to be massively manipulated and duped. this is all fairly obvious. to attempt to describe is not the same as to judge.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I guess Metrosexuals and scrawny garage band-ers and couch-sitters in the Beavis and Butthead vein, all the ineffectual mopes that women usually reject out of hand or look straight through, those males must have some lack of that sterone that leads to violence of the warfare kind. Though of course a lot of those young males sublimate urges by handling them, and other ways, like twiddling the joysticks of a game controller while they turn other avatars into pink mist and body parts, with joyful grunts and whoops into their headsets… And of course there are the wimps in bespoke suits who park their butts before other screens and in conference rooms to plot and execute the “trades” that fork over the Lesser Males and the rest of the species…

            1. Yves Smith

              Hate to tell you but lots of studies have found higher testosterone men are better traders. And my observation is that a lot of them have more libido than they can manage well.

              1. Successful traders were exposed to more testosterone in the womb:


              2. Traders do better on days when their morning testosterone is higher:


              However, the latter correlation is questionable, since a trader who has had a bad run or is sitting on losses is likely to be depressed or anxious, which might dent his testosterone. And traders who are trying to recoup from a loss are famed for more often than not digging their hole deeper.

              1. JTMcPhee

                And the National Law Journal as I recall organized and paid for some teestosterone testing of various types of attorneys back in the ’70s. Results not surprisingly were that litigation types (trial by combat and all that) both male and female were 50% or more higher in serum testosterone than tax attorneys and the “general population.”

        2. Oregoncharles

          War is now a threat to our very survival; I’d say that’s pretty wrong. It has been locally for a long time. And under modern conditions, it kills a lot of women and children, which combat mating isn’t supposed to do (though it happens.)

          I’d like to think we’re rational animals, but I don’t.

          1. PhilM

            Sorry to come back here so late.

            I appreciate your optimism about rationality; you and Bertrand Russell; but to me, and to Aristotle who used the phrase, being rational doesn’t make anything in itself morally good. It is just an observation about a tool that human animals have that other animals do not have (or have less of). So, for people, it means the ability to organize their thought in such a way as to move toward their goals–whether their reasoning is good or bad, or that goal is good or evil. At one end, “Rational philosophy” uses reason to achieve knowledge; at the other, “rational eugenics” for the Nazis meant using reason and logic to exterminate races of people.

            Reason allows us to “rationalize” our needs and emotions with words, as well. How much of human communication boils down to “Give your X to Y”–where X is usually your resources (time, money, sex) and Y is usually “me or a group including me”? Much of the boredom of contemporary life, for me, arises from factoring communications, the way you can factor numbers, and finding there are no other factors present than that. What a waste.

          1. PhilM

            Again there is no trite answer here, because the definitions themselves are complex. Socrates did not write, because it was static, necessarily superficial and inadequate, and deprived the dialogue of flexibility, context, and humanity that move the learning process along with many fewer misunderstandings. This generation has only at last learned from internet forums why he was so right, and why this kind of discussion is best reserved for spoken conversations, where good will can be so more easily ascertained on all sides.

            That said….

            Greed is a a word for sin of excess: it is the sin that leads to excessive desire for, and accumulation of, wealth. There is no fixed line where greed starts, but presumably it starts where the commonly sanctioned competition for scarce resources, executed mindfully, patiently, and with due regard for the common good, ends. So one must fall back on the DSM requirement for any condition to be a disorder: “the patient finds it to be a problem.” The patient is the political body, and “finding it to be a problem” is a political determination, carried out by people who associate in institutions that are designed using reason, and who often function within them by instinct–as rational animals.

            So, “Rational” does not trump “Animal” in this phrase. They are both indispensable, maybe with animal foremost. That is why it is a characterization of such genius: it strips people of any right to special self-regard as a “higher being,” yet at the same time endows them with the obligation to use their reason to assess their own behavior.

            See Alasdair McIntyre’s great discussion of Kant and emotivism in “After Virtue.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think there’s an aggregation issue (along the lines of comparing government to a household).

        IIRC, there was no such thing as “war” until the invention of agriculture; not enough surplus.

        We’ve only been “civilized” for 5000 years or so, an eyeblink in geological time. Either warmaking has been adaptive, i.e., not suicidal for the species, or Darwin hasn’t had time to operate. (That’s not to say war might no longer be adaptive but, if so, where are the signs?)

        1. PhilM

          As usual, you go right to the heart of the matter. War can be defined as the organized use of violence; if you go Clausewitzian, you add “as an extension of politics.” That’s a useful addition because group hunting anticipates martial behaviors: the same ethic that operates in effective military units presumably operates in group hunting of large mammals. I say presumably because I never brought down a mammoth with a bunch of other guys; but I can certainly imagine how it would be done.

          That’s what makes me a rational animal: the ability to imagine how a bunch of guys and I could bring down a big mammoth, then go out, do it, and eat the mammoth. What makes it war is when we do the same thing to the bunch of guys that are coming to eat the mammoth we brought down. That only happens when population density makes it adaptive to try to take somebody else’s mammoth, or stock of grain, rather than kill or grow your own. So around 5000, it all comes together pretty nicely; it’s not easy to grow grain “when you need it,” and by then the large mammals had been pretty much wiped out. All of a sudden war makes a lot of sense.

          So people figured it out: better build a wall now. Boom, walled cities.

          Anyway, whatever people do–whatever they decide is adaptive at the moment–is done using our unique endowment of rationality. So when it becomes adaptive to use violence–in either hunting, or forced expropriation, for instance–the more effective violence is rationalized, the more effective it is. The case of the late Roman empire shows where that breaks down under the weight of shear numbers.

          So they figured, better build a wall.

          I think that’s going to become my Carthago delenda est. It really is a sign of a certain kind of thinking, and worse yet, of a certain kind of time.

      3. Waldenpond

        I’m going with it’s a distortion of the basic survival instinct of resource accumulation. Species ending overreaction (psychopathic hoarding) to accumulating the basic needs clean water, food and shelter for survival.

  5. Sam Adams

    The Democrats have rebranded as #VichyDemocrats. No opposition, just rodents scurrying to protect their individual rice bowls. Call the exterminators.

    1. David

      I think you’re being unfair to the Vichy régime. They did at least believe they were genuinely acting in the national interest.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Quick tip: If your “resistance” is led by capital-p Professional “never-had-a-real-job”-ers like Neera Tanden, you’re stuck in a cattle chute…

      The #Resistance is #ControlledOpposition

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      In the past, I haven’t much liked “Vichy Democrats,” because while the phrase captured the flaccidity and corruption of Democrats well enough, I didn’t see the structural similarities.

      Now, however, the times have caught up with the phrase, and we have Vichy leading* the #resistance. I wonder how that will work out?

      *Or at least trying to; the situation seems quite fluid to me, although when you see pink pussy hats on the cover of Time you gotta wonder.

  6. allan

    From the marketing geniuses who brought us Are You In, Forward, and Green Shoots. Good luck with that.
    Better keep the G550 fueled and ready for a quick departure.

    1. Em Tee

      Obama 2020? Which one?/ Taking a page from the Clintons?
      as a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool to his folly….

      1. craazyboy

        Getting to sound almost inevitable, don’t it?

        Bring back BO as the mature, elder statesmen. Just make sure Michelle keeps from committing any felonies between now and then. What to do with Hillary? She may kick the bucket any year now. She gets cranky and would refuse to work for a male ahole like BO and take the State Dept job again. The obvious thing to do is pickle her like a gurkin. No more uncooperative belligerence and you can just transport her to State Dept and prop her up in an office somewhere. The Neocons can enter, kneel, and with head bowed, speak to Hillary. They know how it works. They did it that way with Reagan decades ago. As long as pickled Hillary doesn’t turn too green, you take photographs for press releases too!

        It makes too much sense for the DNC to pass up. Even Donna Brazeer can use her Al Gore playbook over again.

        1. Dave

          What would her TV show be called?
          Titles I suggest:

          “The Beverly Hillbots”
          “Green Cankles”
          “The Untouchable”
          “Hilligan’s Island”
          “The Invaricosers”
          “All In The Family”
          “How The Worst Was Spun”
          “General Hospital”
          “Groveling Pains”
          “Designing Woman”
          “The Twilight Zone”

          and my favorite:

          “77, Sunset Script!”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I really think I should invent a new word for stuff like “cankles” (which you would, I think, never allow to be said of your own mother, or sister). Ditto “invaricosers,” since that reminds me of my mother’s stroke. It’s particularly juvenile and lazy. It’s also disempowering, since “progressives” have been doing this for a solid decade, at least, and where are they now?

            Perhaps “smark” (combination of “snark” and “smirk”).

            That said, I vote for “Jeers” and “Groveling Pains,” both of which capture essential aspects of HillaryLand quite well.

      2. Dave

        Here’s one for Hillary, also from Proverbs:
        “Beware of a clamorous woman, for her tongue is as smooth as oil”.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    Dear Mary,

    Thanks for getting me through all those 70’s Saturday nights when I was a dead broke college student without a date.

    And thanks for the idea that “You might just make it after all.”

    I’ll miss you.



    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Me too, me too. So sad to see her go.. :(

      I watched her show and loved it, though being (even at that young age) a curmudgeonly little male. But she made me laugh, and memories of her show also remind me of that special time in my life, when Mom & Dad where still happy together…when the worst thing I feared in life was whether I would be able to scavenge enough $$ for that Schwinn bike, and how little studying I could get away with but nevertheless pass the History test.

      And that little jingle and its associated visual of happy Mary twirling on the street – “You might just make it after all.” -..pure unvarnished happiness. We need so much more of that today…. :)

    2. HotFlash

      When she told Ed Asner re his justification for not paying her as much as a man, which was that men support their families, “But if that were true, you would pay a married man more than you pay a single man, and you don’t do that!” the scales fell off my eyes. Thank you, and loved your MTM kitten.

    1. JEHR

      So if we begin to believe that Trump’s behaviour is “normal” activity, then we may all begin to lie, cheat, steal and become misogynist, racist, homophobic? That is, honest people are not going to influence change in him but we may begin to change our behaviour to suit (not challenge) his actions. What a scary idea! But I see the mandarins of the GOP who denounced Trump at first, now coming around to learning how to behave with (not against) him.

    1. MtnLife

      The author sounds like the moderate republican voter that Hillary was aiming for. I like good CT and all but this was thin, reaching, and hard to believe when premising the theory on the idea that Snowden was basically an idiot when allies and foes both refer to him as a whiz kid (and the reason he got such a high level position).

    2. fresno dan

      annie moose
      January 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

      It remarkably accurate accounting of 127 dimensional chess Putin plays. But misses big grifting elephant in forest trees….
      Let me elaborate, as hammer and sickle pajama bunny slipper wearing with rabbit ear antenna to transmit to Putin while he riding horse without shirt (and Putin isn’t wearing shirt either) commie cellar dwelling mole.
      As I note in previous posts, I employed at NASA in seventies. There, using technology from Radio Shack, I completely infiltrated entire US intelligence establishment.
      But real goal was to find what we call “useful neoliberals” as we know, according precept historical materialism, contradictions capitalism would downfall your system. After leaving NSA burrow, I learn democratic leadership council, and particularly really weaselly Arkansas politician (but I repeat myself) called Bill Clinton.

      Clinton caught attention inventing non-apology apology, when said, regarding car tax he started, that he sorry people upset….i.e., Clinton not sorry about what he did, he sorry rubes mad and no re-elect him. I realize Clinton self absorption fit goals mother Russia perfectly.

      So conspiracy theory correct except we MAKE Clintons 1 presidency, and we hacking election to GET Hillary elected for Clinton 2 to conquer US….Who knew she so, so inept???
      Putin knew “blue wall” in danger, and as I describe in posts, I ordered to journey, driving most advanced commie technology 1985 Yugo, fueled by Dunkin’ and drived by ideological fervor. However, all the Hillary supporters were busy getting massages, networking, doing yoga, and attend seminars on how to get cheaper foreign nannies, to vote.

      Still, I see still many “neoliberals” about, and I suspect in future I able to use them to further Putin’s nefarious plots….

      1. ambrit

        Comrade, come see us at CIA; “Commie Infiltrators of America.” We have, courtesy of long running “alternative funding mechanism,” tons of useful “white powder” to sprinkle on top of Dunkins with which to “normalize” Americans to serf status. Think, opioid epidemic meets “wake up with a smile!”
        Who would have guessed that Glorious Leader Putin would facilitate the emergence of the “Workers State” through using Trump as the “Vanguard of the Proleteriat?” One person as Vanguard??? Genius!!! Ochen kharashaw!

      2. craazyboy

        Mother Russia extends sympathy most heartfelt for Hillary failure you make. Yugo girl not useful idiot. She idiot in furry beaver hat and one little bad hack 40 years of glorious work die death of 30,000 paper cuts. Comrade Bernie hosed. You are still forgiven patriot in sight of Motherland. We behind you any struggle you have to destroy America in future. Keep up good work.


        P.S. Keep fraking up weather. It has many potential to downfall.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Please don’t post CT on any account, whether it’s a “fun read” or not. It’s hard enough to sort the current ginormous wave of bullshit coming from all side without adding to it. If you want a “fun read,” try to find one that doesn’t activly disempower readers (as CT does) or make the blog look bad (as CT does). Thanks in advance.

  8. RenoDino

    The Luntz interview is an attempt to explain the Trump phenomena to those who don’t get it, namely the elite and highly educated living on the two coasts. As such, it does provide some answers, but misses the main themes and lets the Democrats and Hillary entirely off the hook. To simplify what he left out:

    1. Trump was authentic. Hillary was a phony. The real Hillary appeared on inauguration day.
    2. Trump promised economic justice. Hillary promised social justice. No contest.
    3. Trump spent his own money. Hillary was owned by her donors.
    4. Trump embraced Bernie voters. Hillary threw them under the bus.
    5. Trump ran mostly positive ads. Hillary spent one billion dollars on negative attack ads.
    6. Trump told his supporters he loved them. Hillary asked her supporters to love her.
    7. Trump was lying half the time. Hillary was lying all the time.
    8. Trump wanted world peace. Hillary wanted world war.
    9. Trump said country was on the wrong track and the solutions were simple. Hillary said the opposite.
    I0. Trump had a beautiful family. Hillary’s was cringe worthy.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Luntz fails to mention any of these points because he’s acting as the interpreter of the election for those who don’t want to see what went wrong. They just want to be told that somehow Trump spoke to the downtrodden, uneducated and abandoned members of working class America who were cut off from society and were therefore easily suckered into buying his snake oil. This overarching explanation makes the establishment still feel good about its loss. Stupid people do stupid things.

    It’s funny to me that they are talking to Luntz like someone who has been to the dark side of the moon and can describe what goes on there. All this played out in front of everyone and the establishment stills remains intentionally clueless. Admitting what really happened would mean the game is really over.

    1. Irredeemable Deplorable

      “Nearly Half Of Country “Strongly Approve”

      Rasmussen Reports released a new poll on Thursday that shows the majority of American’s approve of new President Donald Trump.

      The poll’s results are in stark contrast to the narrative that is played out on a daily basis throughout the fake news mainstream media. Rasmussen Reports is typically regarded as one of the most accurate and credible sources for polling statistics.

      From Rasmussen Reports:

      The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-one percent (41%) disapprove.

      The latest figures include 44% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 31% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of +13 (see trends)

      sorry if it double posts, having a bit of a glitchy time with comments today

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Rasmussen Reports

        Skews heavily Republican. It’s not at all “typically regarded as one of the most accurate and credible sources for polling statistics.”

        Can’t we just say that Trump has a lot of support, which is true, without overeggging the pudding? Substantively, this is the same as Clintonites acting like they (and only they) represent “the people.”

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Most of your ‘points, are propagandistic false statements. But, none was worse than the “Trump had a beautiful family, Hillary’s was cringe worthy.” And I – a Sanders partisan – reaallly do not like or admire the Clintons.

      Crapping on Chelsea Clinton’s appearance was the diagnostic tell of a creep in the Limbaugh 1990s and it is still today. The surgically altered faces of the Trump bevy should not be held up as superior to the natural face of a healthy woman. One of the weirdest, most telling things about Trump onstage during his campaign were the over-groomed, over-painted women in ankle-breaking heels who flocked out on cue when ‘the family’ was called upon to put in an appearance. Their super-coordinated monotone wool crepe suits and dresses were lovely, but so rigidly defined, so required, that it ought to bother everyone.

      His essential authoritarianism and punishingly demanding nature were made apparent everytime we got to look at what he (clearly) expects of his dependents in the way of appearances.

      1. B1whois

        Pot calling the propaganda black with this?

        His essential authoritarianism and punishingly demanding nature were made apparent

        by the clothes his family wore…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Beautiful or beauty is skin deep.

          On the other hand, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

          “My cat is beautiful.”

          “I like Rococo.”

          “I love minimalist.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If Trump lies 51% of the time, then, the statement ‘he lies half the time’ is false.

        That was like when people took exception to the number of jobs he saved at the Carrier plant,

      3. djrichard

        If we’re confining ourselves to propagandistic false statements, I haven’t seen a better list.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I disagree (and I think Luntz says most of this already, making the central claim of the comment false). Here’s what I would not discard:

          2. Trump promised economic justice. Hillary promised social justice. No contest.

          No contest for Trump voters, certainly. And the attempt by liberals to frame real suffering (see Case Deaton for tens of thousands of “despair deaths” every year) as “economic anxiety” makes me want to throw up.

          4. Trump embraced Bernie voters. Hillary threw them under the bus.

          More correctly, Trump attempted to embrace Sanders voters. Clinton threw them under the bus with her pivot to suburban Republicans, especially women.

          5. Trump ran mostly positive ads. Hillary spent one billion dollars on negative attack ads.

          I don’t have a TV, so I can’t say. Clinton, IIRC spent $1.4 billion on the campaign as a whole, and her “investors” didn’t get the return they wanted

          6. Trump told his supporters he loved them. Hillary asked her supporters to love her.

          That’s what #ImWithHer boils down to.

          9. Trump said country was on the wrong track and the solutions were simple. Hillary said the opposite.

          Ding ding ding ding ding for #9.

          Clintonites are mostly in the “Clinton can never fail. She can only be failed.” Can’t lead a successful #resistance with that mindset, which makes me question the nature of the hashtag.

          1. djrichard

            Hmm, I guess I could have generalized my statement: If we’re not confining ourselves to propagandistic false statements, I haven’t seen a better list.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > 8. Trump wanted world peace. Hillary wanted world war.

      Trump didn’t want a war with Russia (quite sensibly). Hillary, and The Blob, did and does (batshit crazy).

      That’s not the same was wanting world peace, a ludicrously exaggerated claim.

    1. cm

      Your reading of the article doesn’t match mine:

      A full year has passed since Chicago raised serious questions about the accuracy of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked top cop, Garry McCarthy. The investigation found that the department underreported homicides in 2013 by misclassifying at least 10 killings, including that of Tiara Groves. We also revealed how the department systematically downgraded other violent felonies and serious property crimes. More than 40 current and former police officers of various ranks told us that the misclassifications resulted from intense pressure that top police superiors put on rank-and-file officers to produce crime numbers that go in only one direction: down.

  9. Jim Haygood

    ‘The Fragile Economic Foundation of Dow 20000 — WSJ’

    This is the sort of skeptical article that the MSM peddles in a late-stage bull market, when it’s not quite over yet. It’s based on the faulty premise that one should be able to “figure it out” with rational calculation. Not so: it doesn’t have to make sense.

    Trying to correlate the market with the economy doesn’t work, since the market leads the economy. Every big rally starts with the economy in recession, as it was in March 2009 when Bubble III started. Most rallies end with the economy still expanding, or believed to be expanding (as in the Bubble II market peak of Oct 2007, followed by the economy entering recession in Dec 2007).

    Practically speaking, a “fragile economic foundation” leads the Fed to stay easy, providing credit rocket fuel for the final stage booster. Far from being a problem, it’s the setup you want for the final fireworks display. Let’s rock …

    1. cocomaan

      I love the language of fragility around “the economy”. If touched, all will fall to pieces.

      The idea of fragility now seems to extend to every single institution we have: government is fragile and can fall apart with the wrong administration; churches are shrinking and can’t react to the changing religious attitudes; healthcare cannot be changed because the costs would be too great; bureaucracies need to function the way they always have or we will face destruction.

      The flip side of this is that actually fragile things are ignored: the ecosystems influenced by human behavior can fall apart in an instant; water can be ruined through energy extraction; technology, especially the internet, relies on cables laid across the ocean floor, ever more expensive electricity, and international cooperation; learning is a process that needs care and attention and instead is managed by school reform boards.

      It’s a weird world we live in.

    2. LT

      It’s a “pump and dump” economy.
      The most innovative can not survive it, only the most heavily taxpayer subsidized companies and monolopolies can linger on in such an economy.

  10. olga

    On the Stoller article excerpts – reminds me of where P. Escobar explains that part of Trumps rise has to do with bringing back into the US (at least) some of the productive capacity from China. This happened when PTB realized that even military spare parts are now manufactured in China – meaning that in case of a war ag China, the US would be – shall we say – at a bit of a disadvantage.

    1. fresno dan

      January 26, 2017 at 9:11 am

      the thing of it is, we can go to war with China over the South China Sea (funny how our Monroe doctrine lets us dominate any “America” with “south” in front of it, but it don’t apply to no one else….)
      Or Taiwan….
      Or their general challenging of our hegemony because we don’t like hegemony…except our own.
      But if during hostilities China cuts off military parts export to us, we CAN”T, CAN’T, POSITIVELY CANNOT engage in a war based on …….because trade wars are bad, bad, bad….that is why we have real war….and WHY we have neutron bombs to bomb the US military exporting parts factories….so we don’t endanger our high tech military advantage.
      Do you people see why trade is so, so important now?

      1. olga

        US would not go to war w China over the islands (those are just a symptom) – the war will be over the maintenance of hegemony by the US – that is what the elites (at least some) care about. That is – unless the people wake up. China is the only country that has the capacity seriously to challenge the US (what with its 1.4 billion population) – and it will (because making a reasonable life for its population requires a different world order).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have always wondered, with 1.4 billion subjects, why China doesn’t send some spare people over to conquer peacefully, say, California (Vermont is too easy).

          It may require multiple amnesties, but medium to long term, it’s viable.

          Peace to all.

          1. Tom_Doak

            Clearly, you have not walked around the campus of UCLA anytime lately!

            However, the Chinese who have come to California have mostly done so in order to get away from China. Presumably that would be the problem with your plan … the government does not trust their people to stay loyal after the move. And with good reason: it’s not like most people in China have a choice about how their government works, or whether they can go elsewhere.

            1. witters

              “it’s not like most people in China have a choice about how their government works, or whether they can go elsewhere.”

              It is, of course, different elsewhere…

            2. MyLessThanPriemBeef

              I have been thinking about how they will mask their plan.

              Perhaps by brain implanting of a patriotic device that can be activated by the Poliburo at any time.

          2. aletheia33

            >vermont is too easy<

            mltpb how dare you insult my (adopted) home state in this manner :)
            when the usa is invaded, vt will be the last natural fortress to hold out.
            i bet you have no idea what's hidden in the mountains up here.
            the rest of the country has no idea how lucky they are that we just leave them alone.
            be careful how you speak of vermont.

      1. Clive

        A notion bolstered I think by the Wikileaks disclosures of statically important assets — quite a large proportion of which were specialized manufacturing and were, in effect, single sources of key military hardware components. The supply lines looked awfully long and fragile in the context of any sort of disruption — which could be as simple as storms or earthquakes without worrying about civil unrest etc.

  11. alex morfesis

    Don’t look now/salon/impeachment..
    All these deplorables’ haters should probably go consult a criminal lawyer and ask them to read the fine print on “constructive levying of war” as it was ruled on by scotus for the whisky rebellion…(us v vogel; us v mitchell)…

    On the other side of the coin, we have ignored the intent of the framers with all this “thought crime” where some beer bellied pinkman with a badge arrests someone for talking out loud online about something deemed a threat to a govmint official…

    “constructive treason” was vehemently opposed by the framers of the constitution as it had been used in england to stiffle dissent… thus the intent of the two direct witnesses clause…

    “direct” as in participating person who was there, not govt witness describing their “training and experience”….

    Yeah yeah jt/mc…rule of law and my vivid imagination…dead trees vs dead presidents…franklin vs benjamins…

      1. PhilM

        They Founded with principles, but they governed with laws. The difference between them and nearly everyone before them is the first part, not the second.

      2. alex morfesis

        Surgo Ut Prosim…benjamin franklin bache…the sedition act was not an act/law created by the constitution and was extremely partisan in its inception and enforcement…

        “lightning rod junior” was arrested and died from yellow fever he may have contracted while incarcerated…
        his case never went to trial…

        2 years after the signing of the act, the sitting govt had been removed in the next election…it’s over reach had self destructed…

        Something the current “trumpettes” might give some consideration to…unless they just intend to steal what they can in the next 2 years and run…

  12. RabidGandhi

    I had a righteous rant on the Transparency International corruption/populists article, but SkyNet smote it. Anyhoo, long story short: TI is talking their book, the list is Washingtonn-slanted BS as usual, and “populist” has no meaning. I have the rant stored in the RG archives, however, should SkyNet repent.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Frustrating when a long post (it’s always the long ones) goes to the WordPress spam file.

      From the FP article:

      “Some analysts believe Americans are historically less tolerant of bribery, especially while the media remains independent, making it less likely to tolerate the sort of rampant corruption prevalent elsewhere.”

      “While the media remains independent” … ha ha ha! Yeah, the media was so totally objective and disinterested in the recent US election. We all know this. /sarc

      Our War Party brain trust at Foreign Policy needs credible media to carry on molding public opinion on behalf of the empire.

      Meanwhile, correlating populism with corruption seems impossible to measure. Anecdotally, though, I think of the Louisiana empire of Huey Long, and the pampas empire of Juan Perón. In both those places, to this day, one can see evidence of the social accommodation featured in “The Corruption Experiment” posted above by leftover.

      Not to pick on these two examples; they are just ones that I’ve witnessed personally.

      1. WJ

        In further support of Jim Haygood, the article is similar to potted histories of the final days of the Roman Republic.

        As if the populism that by bringing Julius Caesar to power also enabled new forms of corruption happened out of the blue, rather than being itself a response to the structurally corrupt oligarchy masquerading as “republic” that Rome had long before become.

        Cicero, “famed defender” of the republic against Caesarian corruption, recall, fought agrarian reform, ignored standing laws enforcing the redistribution of monopolized lands, and railed against the tribunes. Before selling himself out (one last time) to the triumvir Octavian who would then approve his assassination, Cicero wrote the De Officiis, wherein he argues that, so long as the Roman republic keeps expanding, keeps extracting, keeps conquering, it will be able to overcome (by masking over) the extreme material inequality of its citizens…,,

        Sound familiar?

      2. RabidGandhi

        Your post is not clear: were you here under Perón (1946-55, 1973-74) or in Loosiana under Long (1930s)? Or are you claiming that Perón and Long were corrupt and have intrinsically corrupted Argentina and LA?

        Leftover’s point is very well taken, and if I understand it correctly, it is an abject rejection of the Transparency International report. TI does not consider systems like the US– where lobbying and revolving door regulators are 100% legal– to be corrupt, so it ignores the highest levels of corruption because they are so endemic that they are normalised and legal. Eg, see Yves’ last Calpers post.

        Not only does TI convey no understanding of what corruption is, they have now further muddied the waters by adding another term “populist” that really has no definition. It is rather like the word “terrorist”: no more than a slur to denigrate leaders they (and their paymasters) don’t like. The article and its underlying report thus fall into so many category errors that they are barely intelligible.

        Politicians such as Long and Perón who radically change policies to benefit the popular classes are always accused of corruption by the oligarchs and their media lapdogs.[1] In my experience this is the de riguer countermove from the oligarchs because stories about millions of dollars being pilfered can be used to turn people against politicians who are improving the economy not by millions but by trillions. Furthermore, it gets people to focus on personalities instead of policies: a win-win for the PTB.

        [1] This is some kind of law of physics as the examples are just overwhelming: Chávez, Lumumba, Sukarno, Aristide, Rousseff, Sankara, Árbenz, Correa, Yrigoyen… and too many others to list.

        1. ambrit

          The list goes on and on.
          The elites and the oligarchs had better relearn their history, before history “schools” them.

  13. timbers

    Trump Transition – Chuck Schumer and Heather Digby Parton

    Yesterday I texted a Dem friend who thinks I read fake news. I keep urging him to read NC Links so he can exit his fake news bubble and the Matrix.

    ME – “Obama promised to end G Gitmo day 1 and eight yrs later it’s still here. Trump promised to end TPP and and it’s now gone. Dems are we learning?”

    Him – “Yah I was promised a blow job by someone 12 yrs ago and I’m still waiting, so what?”

    Me – “So no, Dems are not learning?”

    Dems have not learned anything from losing to Trump. Granted Digby is more verbose and magniloquent and can write with dripping sarcasm interlaced with lots of social identity markers along the way to make us feel smug and superior and look down on the other side. But still missing the point of Dems having thrown working people under to bus for a long time with no plans to change or any realization they need to change or acceptance that it Dems fault they lost. No looking in the mirror going on here, move along.

    Note: I realized I may have mis worded Obama’s Gitmo position don’t know if he actually said day 1.

    1. Quentin

      I used to read Diby, stopped when she went into full Obama/Clinton adoration mode. She can express herself very well but she has no contact with I see as the ‘real world’. A good bank account/income might account for total omission of white slobs in her calculations. She moves in the fantasies of the California self-designated meritorious and credentialed. She lacks everything Bernie Sanders has: she is not a mensch.

    2. flora

      “still missing the point of Dems having thrown working people under to bus for a long time

      but, but,… see.. a working class person is by definition a racist and reactionary. …. unless said person is also, in addition to being working class, black or female or Latino or a member of some other ID group. The important qualifier is their ID category and not the fact that they work for wages or work in a crappifiying economy. So declining or stagnant wages for the working class isn’t really an important issue. So it’s all good.


    1. Marco

      Really disgusting. I’m sure Digby would have some finger-wagging tut-tuting for Tulsi after not going to the Women’s March.

  14. DJG

    Max Forte, Zero Anthropology: Agree. The read of the day. Especially interesting for how well he has distilled the ills of the time into a single article. If you were having any trouble figuring out why the Democrats made a mess of things, why liberals are often so illiberal, and why Trump has appeal, you should read the article.

    My only quibble: He makes an offhand remark about “monolingual” Quebec. But Quebec isn’t monolingual, even though French is given much preference. English is the working language for about a tenth of the population. I’d be more sympathetic to his remark if I hadn’t read about how French speakers were treated in the past. It isn’t pretty. What is it about Anglo-American elites and their absolute obsession with humiliating people? And now the quebecois are slowly exacting revenge…

    1. oho

      >What is it about Anglo-American elites and their absolute obsession with humiliating people?

      Always wondered about this….English elites all descend from Vikings—-ie 1066/William the Conqueror (Norman French-Viking descent) + his crew who wiped out the pre-1066 Anglo-Saxon elites.

      William the Conqueror was pretty ruthless in the post-1066 years over the Anglo-Saxon natives and Anglo-Scandinavians. Practiced what would be deemed ethnic cleansing today.

      set the tone for the next 800 years

      1. olga

        Funny thing – Russia’s (or Kievskaja Rus’) first ruling dynasty was supposedly also of Vikings (Ruriks); however, they got absorbed into the wider Slav population (and mellowed – or it may have been the effect of the 250-yr-Mongol rule).
        But – steeped in both cultures – I only see a profound (totally, the most, ginormous) cultural difference between the anglo-saxon and russian zones. A completely different approach to life, in fact.

    2. olga

      And the article on the home page has a nice rendition of Hillary as Queen Victoria (which reminds me: always was hoping that John Stewart would sooner or later put a nice 17th century wig on Mitch McConnell’s head – it seemed to scream for it – would have made him look soooo much better).

  15. Vatch

    Kirsten Gillibrand has voted against almost all of Donald Trump’s nominees. 2020, anyone? WaPo

    From the article:

    She has now voted against three of four Trump Cabinet-level nominees, which is still more than any other Democrat.

    I don’t think this is true. She started out by voting against Trump’s first three nominations, but when she voted for Haley to be the UN Ambassador, two other Democrats caught up. Sens. Udall and Heinrich both voted for Mattis for Defense, but then they voted against Kelly (Homeland Security), Pompeo (CIA), and Haley. For those who are keeping track, Sanders voted against Pompeo and Haley.

        1. beth

          I sure wish someone had the time to spreadsheet the D votes, so we’d be able to publicize them with tar and feathers. I wish I had the time. Anyone?

  16. fresno dan

    ECONOMIC RESCUE, RECOVERY, AND REBUILDING ON A NEW FOUNDATION​ (Steve C). Steve C: “Ugh! How about setting the world up for Trump?” I like the alliteration in “rescue, recover, rebuilding.” That’s the kind of service a well-paid staff provides.
    how about:
    Pusillanimous, perfidious, prevaricating, purport and of course, due to recent events…pussy…..footing comes to mind

    1. ambrit

      You forgot, “pussy-animus,” for all those penally proscribed pondering Patriarchal panderers potently prancing past, Pardner. “Fortune and men’s eyes,” and all that, eh?

      1. fresno dan

        January 26, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        I concede – You Win – I am out “P’ed”……I don’t want to get into a ….”p” ing contest…..

  17. oho

    >Kirsten Gillibrand has voted against almost all of Donald Trump’s nominees. 2020, anyone? WaPo

    The Beltway loves itself too much. The path to any future non-GOP rule lies in state legislatures and governor mansions.

    But the Dem bench has been hallowed out during the Clinton-Obama years thanks to DNC-approved septuagenarians and baby boomers hanging on to power for far too long.

    Where’s a forest fire when you need one?

    1. pretzelattack

      i’m sure they will approve cory booker and the like. and lots of millenials will be willing to sell out. it’s not the age it’s the ideology and susceptibility to bribery.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Reuters: Senate leader McClownell says Congress moving ahead with $12 billion – $15 billion to build border wall.

    Hey, that’s only four years worth of aid to rich Israel. We can afford it. :-)

    What happened to the country that built the Berlin Wall in 1961? What happened to the wall itself, for that matter?

    Walls are for paranoid losers.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Tunnels go under, planes and balloons go over, and corruption and human ingenuity and the grasping greed of our Business Class open big old holes as fast as they can be noted and patched by Border Agents who really don’t give a sh!t or are on the take themselves.

      It’s a cheap date, too, for Trump:

      The Wall thing is just a symbolic wave in the direction of the new Base. A silly idea that like so many before it has taken wings and grown a “reality” of its own.

      1. Jim Haygood

        If we pay the same workers who put up the wall to take it back down again, the stimulus will be twice as great.

        That’s what Kurgman told me, anyhow. :-0

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Krugman Trismegistus’ response: Build, tear it down and rebuild is 3 times as great.

          1. craazyboy

            GDP Multiplier predicts Wall will be 2.12 Times as Great.

            However, this is temporary stimulus…..

    2. JustAnObserver

      Jim – Remember that the Berlin Wall was meant to keep people *in* not out … Just a thought.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Are you sure that ours isn’t?

        Ten years ago I strolled across the bridge from El Paso into Ciudad Juárez totally unimpeded — no outgoing US customs/immigration; not the slightest interest from officials on the Mexican side as I walked past their booth without stopping.

        When this changes, it will tell us something. Mexico benefits economically from easy entry of US tourists into border zones. But having been grossly insulted by Trump, Mexico may well respond by putting visiting Americans through the same bureaucratic interview/inspection gauntlet that we impose on them.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          See Wiki’s Tumu Crisis.

          It’s about a Ming Chinese emperor’s attempt to venture near his Great Wall to war with the Barbarians.

          The lesson: leave the wall to the generals…or something like that…maybe it’s ‘don’t go too far South.’

    3. PhilM

      A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
      And like a high wall in his own imagination.

      proverbs 18:11

  19. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Collapse movie, title suggestion:

    Oh… and the bad guys are a group of genius billionaires who’ve taken the hard decision that a culling of the herd is required for the survival of the species.

  20. Vatch

    Trump says he will order ‘safe zones’ for Syria Reuters

    The article says that Trump hasn’t specified what a safe zone is. Could these be the same as the no-fly zones that Hillary Clinton advocated?

        1. ambrit

          Lots of available rust belt properties available. Syrians are supposed to be generally well educated and civilized. A perfect pool of talent from which to draw a new wage suppressing worker population from while the American heartland is re-industrialized. That and the legalization of drugs and we have a “Win to the Infinite Power” business opportunity.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That would only work if we simultaneously send our Rust Belt unemployed workers (also civilized and who is to say not educated) to repopulate Syria.

            1. craazyboy

              Then they can both learn a new language and then we can finally see if any of ’em know anything. Next, start yer own biz…

              Yeah, I like it.

              1. Optimader

                Well we could certainly use a few straight up authentic Syrian restaurants in the Chicago area. But that should be addressed with conventional immigration .

                I must say, considering all the Refugee crisis media bandwidth consumption, there really seems to be no candid media reflection on why a refugee crisis exsists.

                Time to rewind the tape and do some honest root cause analysis on why these countries that have had indiginous populations with civilized societies for not hundreds but thousands of years suddenly are confronted with fleeing their homes.

                That is the real “refugee crisis”.

  21. dbk

    Just thought I’d mention that the Doomsday Clock was moved back half-a-minute at 3 pm GMT; there’s a sane-sounding presser right now at The National Press Club (being live streamed).

  22. PhilM

    I confess that I found “Dying Days” annoyingly sloppy, even though I wanted to agree with the message. It started a rookie blunder: the failure to define terms. In describing the liberals as inheritors of a 19th-century tradition, we already know we have a problem in the absence of attributions: books, names, ideas, at least in a reference note. That’s especially bad given the mission in title, because if we’re going to discuss the failure of an ideology, it needs to be defined. For instance, “late-1910s Marxism, as presented in the context of western European pamphlets, was not realized in the Soviet Union of 1950s.” The problem is that doing something like that makes it so much harder to actually say something that is not obvious–as in that example.

    The whole introduction desperately needed an editor, or even just a second draft: I would have given it back to the student ungraded and said, bring me your best work. To exemplify, take this excerpt: “Liberal democracy has been reduced to a shell, more a name than a fact that deserves the name. For many years, liberalism has been liberal authoritarianism or post-liberalism or neoliberalism, with a high elitist disdain for democracy and a fear of the masses everywhere. Promises of inclusion, fairness, and welfare, were replaced by sensitive-sounding rhetorical tricks and tokenism. Moral narcissism, virtue signalling, identity politics, and building patchwork quilts of diversity were the order of the day.” What is “moral narcissism”? Using both “identity politics” and “patchwork quilts” is redundant. “Liberalism” in the classical sense never implied “democracy”; in fact it excluded it as a likely cause of tyranny of the majority, which would violate its fundamental principles of individual freedoms. What does it even mean to say “More of a name than a fact that deserves the name”? Do “facts” “deserve” “names”? I could go on but you have probably already stopped reading this anyway.

    The personal insult of Trudeau is no more than envious vitriol. That snippet alone discredits the author. Good luck finding anyone else as promising on the world political scene as that pleasant, civil, effective, humane, intelligent young man. He’s Lorenzo de’ Medici, in comparison to his peers from other lands.

    The evidence presented in the FRED graphs was useful, and available elsewhere, but nice to have it collated.

    Overall, to me, it’s derivative echo-chamber material at best. Diana Johnstone, quoted at length, shows the rigorous argumentation, informed historical perspective, and tight prose that could reduce that article to three pages; but then, most of it would have been cliche for the readers here. Lambert has more wit in a paragraph, and wit is the winner, as this laborious critique itself has proven once again.

    1. olga

      The optimism on Trudeau here is way off – if you watch what he does, instead of what he says, you could drop the pink-coloured glasses rather quickly (as many Canadians are already doing). The PM T. reminds me of Obama-light – he’ll do exactly as the PTB tell him to do.

      1. PhilM

        Tough crowd! OK, he is not Vaclav Havel. And, he is a dynast (yecchhh). And, it is a long road, to come back from Stephen Harper. But if you had only a multiple choice format question–say, with these (not randomly chosen) names: Abe, Merkel, Trudeau, Trump, Turnbull, May, Hollande/Valls/Cazeneuve (your choice), Renzi/Gentiloni (again your call); would you really refuse to pick him as the winner?

        By the way, I am not Canadian and have no axe to grind here. I merely think that when there is a least a decent human being involved, like Bernie Sanders or (most likely) the young Trudeau, we can give credit. The only name in that list that competes is, to me, Abe; and that is probably only because I don’t really grasp Japanese politics too well.

        I can tell that you and I differ in our fundamental views, because I don’t believe the PTB “tell people what to do.” I believe that various PTB tell, and are told by, various people what to do, in a dynamic struggle between influence (exerted by money and lawyers) and power (imposed by laws and therefore by guns). Even the herd of swine is not big enough for the legion of the PTB these days–to mix the biblical metaphors, it’s Babel out there.

        So we will probably agree to disagree. But for my education, which Canadian you would prefer as Prime Minister?

        1. JEHR

          I think Trudeau is trying to travel the fine line between two worlds–protecting the environment with carbon taxes versus obtaining employment with pipelines. However, there are other things that he has not paid enough attention to; such as, repealing Bill C51 (on surveillance) and repealing a lot of the laws that Harper introduced. I am slowly becoming disillusioned with him but he is young and may yet learn how to lead. I did not vote for him, however, but felt that a third party needed a chance at governing with him.

        2. nobody

          Young Man Trudeau is not being singled out among a multiple choice set of current heads of state. Young Man Trudeau is being discussed in relation to the Canadian author’s local context. (“[Here] In Canada, we see a replay of the collapse of the liberal project which tries to conceal class differences and class exploitation under the signs of diversity and identity politics…)

          Does the whole introduction need a second draft? Bear in mind what the author says about the writing on this site, in the “About” section:

          While at times seeking to register a particular or different perspective on a matter of public importance, or taking part in a debate, writing on this site is primarily about taking advantage of an opportunity to present draft work, explore different frames of analysis, and develop lines of investigation that may (or may not) become important for teaching and further research purposes. In other cases it is not about sharing work in draft form, but in its final, published form. Readers can generally tell the difference between the two modes.

          Derivative echo-chamber material at best? I don’t think so. To get more of a sense of where the author is coming from and for the operative frames of reference, consider his series on “the new Victorianism,” or explore, say, his most recent course syllabus (“New Directions in Anthropological Research” ANTH630).

          Wit wins over laborious critique? This piece did not strike me as laborious critique, but if Forte is not in finest form here try these paragraphs:

          The standard sort of rational, bureaucratic, professional, managerial, and positivist schooling which most US journalists, think tank sorts, and many politicians have received, is not adequate to understanding the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. They will wish him away as a joker, a clown, maybe even a crook–not realizing that, in this election, those are selling points. They will drill Trump on his Plans for Problem X, and he will respond with comments about winning, everything will be so great that everyone’s going to love it. Then they will say he has not answered the question–and here is the problem: he has answered. Donald Trump is the plan, and you are not supposed to “think” about it. You should sense it.

          I may still be proven wrong (and I do not care who wins this US presidential election), but I have been convinced from the moment Trump first started campaign speeches in 2015, that this is who was going to be the next US president.

          “Make America Great Again” is a nostalgic statement. It obviously implies that “America” is no longer great. Something has gone wrong. Someone has to come to the rescue.

          As Trump repeatedly says, “we don’t win anymore, we don’t win with trade, we don’t win at the border, we don’t win with ISIS…”. One might explain Trump in terms of nativism and secular revitalization, but that is hardly sufficient; it may even be inappropriate. But at least Trump, in producing a slogan, willingly offers us a clue–he is to represent Americana.

          Donald Trump is an American Classic. Trump is a Hall of Fame. He is an arena rocker. Trump is both the stadium, and the phalanx of heavily armoured football players at the same time. His supporters sense this, they see it, and that is what moves them. Once moved in this way, no amount of “fact checking” will deter them. They are drunk on his aroma. No pope, no tax returns, no past interview transcripts can sober them up.

          There is no one word for the Trump concept in either political science or political anthropology. If there were a word, it would need to do what no word can, which is to register with all the senses. It would need to combine a sense of chrome, neon, enamel, crystal, gold, green marble, Miami pastels, blonde, high heels, lipstick, Coca Cola, apple pie, bacon, steak, cash, velvet, suede, silk, elevator muzak, brass horns, laughter, mirrors, dancing, revolvers, and the distant smell of jet fuel coming from a tarmac.

          Donald Trump sprays his crowd with pheromones of primordial Americana. Affectivity trumps policy. His “movement” is an almost bodily one, of deep, mass emotional attachment to powerful symbolic cues. However, I think Trump can be understood more as a scent than a movement. (Of course, he also has his brand name fragrances: Empire by Trump and Success by Trump.)

          Only a Ronald Reagan would be able to defeat Donald Trump–maybe. Not an angry, rich, old lady with all her dishonesty issues and the cruel, greedy face that goes with that; not a coughing, old, working-class Jewish man who talks “socialism” to a US audience; not the strangely turgid Cuban-American mannequins, nor the rusty lunch pail from Ohio, and not the earnest yet terribly boring neurosurgeon.

          I do think that Trump’s mystique is very urban–symbolized by the skyscraper–so we do not know how he would fare against a rural counterpart who fuses cowboy boots, jeans, stetsons, shot guns, DD+ bras, freckles, country music, skinny dipping in quarry ponds, tire swings, RVs, hickory smoke, Wild Turkey, etc.

          The real genius of Donald Trump is that he implicitly understands all of this. Trump understands that this presidential campaign, perhaps more than any in recent memory, is amorphously cultural and not specifically political. That is also why I think he will win. In fact, he now owns the word “winning”.

          (“To Understand Donald Trump is to Not Explain Donald Trump,” February 26, 2016)

    2. broadsteve

      Well put. I think I’ll file the piece alongside Fukuyama and, ahem, ‘The End of History’.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > [1] Moral narcissism, [2] virtue signalling, [3] identity politics, and [4] building patchwork quilts of diversity were the order of the day.” What is “moral narcissism”?

      [1] Here’s a fine example of moral narcissism (from Water Cooler 1/13/2017):

      Preening oneself on the purity of one’s intent with regard to race, while fearing and loathing the working class you hire.

      [2] See here on virtue signaling.

      [3] Identity politics is the theory, and [4] “patchwork quilts of diversity” is the political implementation.

      For myself, I could have wished the piece shorter. But I felt putting all the arguments into one place was very useful, and I have not seen the conclusion — that we’re seeing the end of liberal hegemony — unimpeachable.

      And what’s with the Trudeau hagiography?

  23. Jim Haygood

    Leading indicators on a roll:

    The Conference Board’s leading economic index grew 0.5% in December, marking its fourth straight rise.

    The biggest push came from the change in the 10-year Treasury bond (minus the federal funds rate), which has climbed in expectation of growing inflation.

    Other contributors included the gain in the S&P 500, the rise in consumer confidence and the gain in the new orders component of a manufacturing survey.

    A common term for the awkward locution in the 2nd paragraph is “the yield curve” — that is, a long-term interest rate minus a short-term interest rate.

    Using their definition, the yield curve climbed from (1.8 – 0.4) = 1.4 percent before the election to (2.54 – 0.66) = ~1.9 percent today.

    A rising yield curve signifies expectations of stronger Groaf ahead. Whereas flat or inverted yield curves typically precede recessions.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m feeling it in my little freelance biz.

      And, if I may be permitted to share a heretical thought, here it is: Said freelance biz did much better under GWB than it ever did under Clinton or Obama.

      And that’s a fact. It’s coming to you from a red-hot flamin’ liberal who voted for Clinton and Obama. Twice.

      Bush? Never voted for him or supported his policies.

      Trump? I didn’t vote for him. Nor did I join the meltdown-fest that still seems to be playing out on Facebook. To me, it seems childish.

      Yes, I oppose Trump’s policies. And I do think that it’s time for the melter-downers to think about what they propose as alternatives and how they plan to bring them about.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Question is how the Janet & Stanley Show responds to these green shoots. The first report on 4th quarter GDP comes out tomorrow, followed by an employment report on Friday next week. The Atlanta Fed’s GDPnow calls for 2.9% GDP growth.

        Trump has gotten the animal spirits going. But in fact if he realizes his protectionist dreams, it’s going to take years to rebuild and retool US manufacturing. Getting from here to there will involve a painful recession, which I still have penciled in for later this year or 2018.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      In terms of stuff that it’s harder to game:

      1) Architectural Billings Index up

      2) Chemical Activity Barometer up

      3) The carnage in trucking and rail seems to have eased.

      FWIW, as I read it these are secular trends, not animal spirits from Trump’s election.

      Of course, J-Yel could try to take away the (thimble-sized) punchbowl.

  24. Gavin

    That Ed Klein link contained a couple of stunners.. First, that Hillary Clinton could speak about progressive values.. Second, the last sentence has the chilling one – “position herself for another run at the White House”

    How about.. No!

      1. Gaianne

        //“But,” Nakamura adds, “their phones aren’t ringing.” And I wept openly as he went on to describe how they sit forlorn in a “state of indefinite limbo” in their law firms, think tanks and university faculty lounges just thinking about all the great things they can do for their country. Yes, “serve their country,” indeed. Nothing personal in it for them. Nothing personal when they denounced Trump and called him incompetent, unqualified, a threat to the nation and even joined Democrats in labeling him a racist, misogynist, homophobe, Islamophobe and bigot. And they really got off when they explained in some detail how The Donald was a Russian agent. Nothing personal. It’s was only business. So let’s let bygones be bygones and, by the way, where are the jobs? Top level Pentagon or National Security Council only, if you please!//

        There’s more! :D

        Thanks much Reno Dino!


  25. curlydan

    Having just returned from 3 weeks in China, I can attest to WeChat’s and QR’s extreme popularity there. Everyone seems to use WeChat (I think they call it QQ there), and restaurants are really starting to use it for ordering and paying.

    I took my iPhone there and did not get a sim card because it’s a work phone. Big mistake. Tons of transactions need a code messaged to your phone as well. If you can’t get text messages, you’re kind of S.O.L.

    I suspect we’ll see similar trends ramp up in popularity here. It would be funny if WeChat surpassed Facebook in popularity here.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      WeChat is incredibly popular all over Asia, not just China. I suspect it will grow in popularity everywhere as FB crapifies Whatsapp.

  26. burlesque

    A #NoDAPL update:
    Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II’s letter to President Trump regarding the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement process:

    From the Chairman’s letter:

    President Trump, the EIS is already underway. The comment period does not close until February 20th and the Department of the Army has already received tens of thousands of comments. This change in course is arbitrary and without justification; the law requires that changes in agency positions be backed by new circumstances or new evidence, not simply by the President’s whim. It makes it even more difficult when one considers the close personal ties you and your associates have had with Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco.
    Your memorandum issues these directives with the condition that these actions are carried out “to the extent permitted by law.” I would like to point out that the law now requires an Environmental Impact Statement.

    1. ambrit

      They could be running for cover. Does the FBI have any news conferences slated for the next week or two?

    2. polecat

      … And there much rejoicing and great joy throughout the land !! ………….. between the coasts ..

      1. Jim Haygood

        Maybe Vickie can transition to being a warden at a womens penitentiary.

        Or administering the injections at a euthanasia clinic.

    3. Waldenpond

      Isn’t this just tradition? The staff of one administration submit symbolic resignations as the theater of switching to another administration?

      1. Old Jake

        Yes but they are commonly ignored through the transition, and many are never accepted. The entire top echelon leaving is unusual and supposedly will cripple operations at State, not just policymaking.

        1. craazyboy

          “supposedly will cripple operations at State”

          Uncle Sam gets an immediate 40 point boost to his IQ. Trump scores again!

  27. olga

    Were these guys part of the 50 who signed a letter to Obama to get more tough on Syria? Like in …bomb it a bit more? That would be good…

  28. Anne

    Apparently, David Brock is not so well-regarded among Democrats:

    Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You are Killing Us

    As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding a demoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.

    Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.


    “I don’t think David Brock has been helpful to the party to date, and I don’t think he will be a big part of its future,” a former senior Clinton campaign official told The Daily Beast. “And it’s surprising that many other people don’t see it that way.”

    Another senior 2016 Clinton aide, who asked not to be named because the ex-staffer did “not want to deal with Brock’s bullshit,” described Brock and his organizations in 2016 as “useless—you might as well have thrown those [tens of] millions of dollars down a well, and then set the well on fire.”

    1. PhilM

      “you might as well have thrown those [tens of] millions of dollars down a well, and then set the well on fire.”

      It’s witty! And what’s more, it might even be possible. If the well is in fracking country. Not funny; just sad.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Never, in the course of human history, has so little been accomplished by someone with access to unlimited resources.

      JUST. GO. AWAY.

  29. Marie Parham

    About Israel’s wall as a model, note this dated Reuters’ article. Dated but it makes a point. Also remember that Trump’s wall is much longer than Israel’s wall and would most likely fail by letting in larger numbers of people than Israel’s wall.

    “The barrier that snakes through the West Bank is made up of mostly fences and some cement walls. It is the primary hurdle for the more than 30,000 thousand Palestinian labourers, who work illegally in Israel, and crossing it comes with different risks.”

    A more recent New York Times article agrees with the dated Reuters’ article. (sorry, pay wall…..walls are always problems never solutions)

    “Estimates vary widely on the number of illegal workers. Mr. Shikaki said 30,000 was a reasonable guess; Mr. Nuriel said it was closer to 60,000, depending on the time of year. Most work in construction, agriculture or restaurants..”

    1. juliania

      How about they just plant cholla? Lots and lots of cholla. . .

      Maybe some prickly pear in between for the birds and animals, but cholla is very discouraging. I would donate some of mine.

      It could be an international preservation project. And, great way to employ war criminals, banksters and the like – this side of the forest at least.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump’s Wall, a prophecy.

      When Trumpets sounded,

      The Walls of Jericho fell.

      Trump eats the Trumpets.

    1. jrs

      But hasn’t Trump frozen federal hiring? So it’s definitely not going to be government workers doing those jobs unless the freeze comes off. This is not WPA. It’s all going to be pubiilc-private partnerships as many have said. The freeze guarantees it.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      1) IIRC, this is a draft put together by a consulting firm because the Trump administration needed something toot sweet. Not sure the list will look the same after DOTs’ Elaine Chao (Mitch McConnell’s wife* gets through with it).

      2) If these projects turn out to be public-private partnerships where the public has to pay user fees, that’s gonna suck and not provide stimulus.

      Be careful what you wish for….

      * No scandal there!

    3. RabidGandhi

      The bailouts did not preclude an infrastructure plan even larger than Trump’s proposed $1tn. The US could have bailed out the banks, nationalised them and multiplied the paltry Obama stimulus by a figure of 10. The decision not to do these things was not due to a resource limitation but rather due to conscious policy decisions by the ruling class.

    1. Waldenpond

      That was a good piece. Thanks.

      [These Clean Slates had three elements: Number one, they would cancel the personal debts – not the business debts, not the debts denominated in silver among merchants and other rich people. These debts were business contracts, and they remained in place. It was the petty debts, the consumer debts, that were canceled. Number two, lands that had been forfeited were restored: the crop rights, if they’d been pledged to creditors. And three, all the human beings who had been pledged as bondservants would be free to return to their families.]

      [It’s very funny: If you go into Congress – I was the economic advisor to Dennis Kucinich – you go into Congress and there’s a big mural with Moses in the center and Hammurabi on his right. Well, you know what Moses did? He gave the law. Leviticus, right in the center of Mosaic law, canceled the debt. What did Hammurabi do? Debt cancellation as well. ]

      [Deuteronomy 15:4 says: “You will have no needy person among you if you follow the commandments that I am giving to you today.” And then proceeds to explain what those commandments are. The forgiveness of debts is first. The release of slaves is connected. And the lending of money, even though you know you’ll never get paid back, is third.

And what does Deuteronomy 15:11 say? First it says: “But you all are a greedy people that will be disobedient to me,” ]

  30. aletheia33

    lambert, you are in great form today! that plus today’s comments have cracked me up almost continuously…

    i too qualify for naked capitalism anonymous. we need a list to guide one to see if one is officially “addicted” and may need intervention.

    1. You “defer” (don’t get done) work so as to read ALL the comments [leading to loss of income and swift descent toward a hard bottom].

  31. WheresOurTeddy

    “Anti-Corruption Populists Tend to be More Corrupt, Report Says” – Foreign Policy

    “Foreign Policy is a globalist rag put out by the CFR and are cheerleaders for War and Empire” – Me

    1. pictboy3

      To be fair, they’re not wrong. But it’s kind of a pointless assertion because a lot of these “anti corruption populists” are just products of incredibly corrupt political systems. They’re no more “anti-corruption populists” than Obama was a “progressive reformer.” I think a lot of the problem with foreign policy literature (academic or otherwise) is that they try to identify trends and then try to shoehorn subsequent events into those trends as a way of explaining why things happen. It’s hopelessly reductive and doesn’t really help people craft meaningful policy that will actually fix things.

      Come to think of it, it’s a problem across pretty much all social science that strays too close to politics, as we keep seeing pieces talking about globalization like it was some unstoppable force of nature, rather than a conscious, man-made course of action.

  32. LT

    What if the POTUS position has become much too devisive?
    Anyone else pondering how a government could work without the President office?

    Think about it. Everything they do and say to get elected has to do with divide and conquer tactics, then we expect that to change once they get in office.

    1. juliania

      Au contraire. Obama DID change into Bush-alike-but-more-so. And so far Trump has been doing what he said he would do. I don’t see divide and conquer in either one – the press are the dividers, I would guess (not listening at present so that is just a guess.)

      1. LT

        The press is all over the place and if you can stand watching, cable “news” networks do nothing but put on the talking heads for the campaigns.
        The language is not coming from the press. They present the divisiveness and expound upon it, but it originates from the political campaigns.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One option is to divide the divisive office into 4 co-emperors.

      The Romans tried one time.

      Being a melting pot, we can also copy the ancient Chinese system of 2 capitals.

      1. PhilM

        Yes, two sets of two, not alternating in power like the two consuls of yore, but rather with clear subordination. Early US tried it with President and VP as two top winners of EC, did not work out though.

      2. oho

        prefer just to split the country into 4. Old Union, Old confederacy, Pacific West and the Rocky States. +Alaska can go wherever it wants.

        Having 1/3 of the country constantly upset at the other 1/3 w/the final 1/3 not caring either way, ain’t good for a society in the long, long run.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I remember from the novel Lake Wobegon about the church the author used to attend.

          Many doctrinal disputes and splits later, he belonged to a church of only one member…because there were (and will always be) people one disagreed with, no matter the crowd size (except one…or not eve, if you like to argue with yourself).

      3. LT

        Interesting you used an “emperor” example at all.
        That is also part of the issue: the myth of the “great man or great one” that can guide humanity.
        Cutting up that idea into 4 alleged “great ones” doesn’t work either.

    1. ambrit

      The lesson here is that the people have to protect their data against interference from all “leaders.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can we repeat the experiments to generate again those data?

        Repeatability or reproducibility is a key principle of the scientific method.

        Climate science is not a science fs we can’t reproduce climate pre-Global Warming in order to conduct pre-Global Warming experiments (that have not been done before).

        1. witters

          This is just false. Think evolution. (Where do these ‘meta-experts’ on science come from? Was it some line in some dated text-book?)

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            The part about what counts as “science” risks devolving into a debate about terminology. It’s completely reasonable to say that evolution and climate science are both farther from a certain ideal of what science might be (falsifiability, reproducibility, etc.) than certain other fields, and it’s also reasonable to say that they could fairly be considered part of the scientific enterprise on the basis of less stringent criteria.

            1. JEHR

              Outis, Can you say this in words that I can understand? We are talking about scientific data being destroyed.

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                Destroying libraries is terrible. However, my comment wasn’t about that.

                MyLessThanPrimeBeef had stated that climate science did not yield reproducible experiments and was therefore not technically “science;” witters countered that evolution does not involve reproducible experiments either and we still consider it “science.” My response was directed at their disagreement, not at your original comment.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Climate science and evolution are what Steven Jay Gould called “historical” science – based on analysis of events, rather than laboratory experiments.

          However, both are BASED on reproducible laboratory experiments. Bacteria or flies can be allowed to evolve over human time spans; the greenhouse effect of various gases is established by fairly simple lab experiments. Plus of course we have fossils and dating systems based on physics and chemistry.

          It’s a methodological distinction, not one of validity.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          People used to say that evolution wasn’t scientific because results couldn’t be observed in real time. Now they can.

          I would bet — pure speculation on my part — that the same will turn out to be true for climate science.

        4. UserFriendly

          Can we repeat the experiments to generate again those data?

          Repeatability or reproducibility is a key principle of the scientific method.

          Data sets are from a fixed time, unless you happen to have a time machine collecting data from the past isn’t an option. The scientific method does not require data sets to be reproducible, it requires the relationships established between them in a hypothesis to be accurate if someone else went and created an additional data set.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Beware he who would restrict your access to information, for in his mind he imagines himself your master.

  33. Waldenpond

    Space… public and private. We are just beginning to explore coliving with family and yes, private space is primary. For group cooking/eating the agreed upon set up preferred is buffet style with separate tables (think coffee shop). Sharing the work but not emotional energy. For entertaining….home is a retreat, entertain out, limited events at home. Accomodating interests etc…. we haven’t figured it out yet.

    1. aletheia33


      sounds great, hope you will keep us posted. are kids involved? i think that can be the hardest part–families agreeing on the rules for the kids. and as for adolescents–an important early commune in northampton, massachusetts was fine until their kids’ adolescence, when the parents fought bitterly and broke apart because some wanted to allow them far more license than others did.

      also i hope you’ll let us know how your group is handling use of devices, social media, and the like or is that not a concern.

      i hope to pool resources and colive with other elderly people when i can no longer work and afford my own tiny home. it’s much more appealing than the thought of lonely single living in a cell in a low-income apartment building. not to say that such a building cannot have good vibes from the people in it… or that one can really know in early seniority what will matter most when that later time comes.

    2. knowbuddhau

      Best of luck. I’m CWF right now (and now I have an acronym, cool!). After my landlord jacked my rent by $300, and took away amenities to boot, I decided I’d rather live with my folks and deposit my rent money in the Bank of MomnDad. It’s the only way I can save any.

      It’s not so bad. My folks are pushing 80. Mom has rheumatoid arthritis, dad has COPD. I used to be a certified nursing assistant.

      For privacy, I used my secret super power (cleaning/organizing) and turned the garage into a man cave so I could have a friend/co-worker/neighbor (who’s also CWF) over and share a growler from the brew pub where we work. But then the guy who covers for me on the weekends got a couple cool internships through the community college program for ex-cons he’s going through, so he can’t cover for me anymore. Now I’m working 7 days a week, three nights, and every other weekend.

      This working thing is really cutting into my drinking. I can have all the fresh ale I want, for free, and yet I’ve almost completely stopped. Life’s funny that way.

      OTOH, working all the time makes it easier to share this little house.

  34. Plenue

    >Creating The White Tribe Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

    “I remarked to my wife a couple of weeks ago that witnessing the left’s histrionics for the past several months has made me more racist, more sexist, and more homophobic than I ever would’ve been otherwise. Now, I don’t like that about myself, and I try to self-critique and keep in check some of the more knee-jerk impulses (I must strive for Christian charity above all else, of course), but that’s obviously way more than the left is willing to do. What the left doesn’t get is it’s turning people like me—reasonably moderate, go-along-to-get-along types—into full-blown reactionary radicals.”

    I’m trying to wrap my mind around what this guy is even trying to say. The whining of liberals made him more homophobic? How is that supposed to work? The hysterics of liberals should have no impact on ones own personal positions. Seems more like the guy was always just a bigoted asshole, and is attempting to blame outside factors.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      I believe that when he talks about noticing racism, etc. inside of himself, he is not talking about foundational philosophical principles but about things like implicit bias. If implicit bias on racial issues makes someone a bigoted asshole, then according to the Harvard implicit bias tests, 70% of Americans fit the bill.

      In an ideal world other people’s attitudes might have no effect on one’s own personal positions, but it’s clear that they often do have an effect. Here is William James, speaking in 1907 (Lectures on Pragmatism):

      “Temperament is no conventionally recognized reason [for a philosophical viewpoint], so he [an aspiring philosopher] urges impersonal reasons only for his conclusions. Yet his temperament really gives him a stronger bias than any of his more strictly objective premises. It loads the evidence for him one way or the other […]”

      Closer to home, there is research evidence that while some diversity programs can reduce prejudice, ones that emphasize forceful responses like “call-outs” tend to exacerbate it.

      The original quotation is noteworthy in that, in my experience, it is uncommon to find right-leaning people confessing that they are struggling with feelings of homophobia or racism. I think it makes more sense to build on an opening like this rather than using their confession against them.

  35. Catullus

    I find Scott Adams, the Dilbert Creator, to be pretty spot on Trump.

    He came out with a new blog entry today (1/26) which may explain the Trump behavior of late.

    Outrage Dilution

    Worth a read. My personal summary: Expect more of the same Trump behavior this week for the rest of the Trump years.

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