Links 1/29/17

White House Staff Reminded To Place Lids Firmly On Trash Cans After Steve Bannon Gets Into Garbage Again The Onion (David L)

This plastic bag is edible, compostable, even drinkable Treehugger

Why Did Sunny the Red Panda Escape a Virginia Zoo? Maybe to Avoid Mating NYT

Squirrel takes on rattlesnake BBC. Watch this excerpt from David Attenborough’s Story of Life– an inspiration for underdogs everywhere.

Pig-Human Organ Farming Doesn’t Look Promising Yet MIT Technology Review

Treating Depression With tDCS: Startup Ybrain Aims for the Mainstream IEEE Spectrum (Tony K)

Advance in high-pressure physics Harvard Gazette (Robert H)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Memo: New York Called For Face Recognition Cameras At Bridges, Tunnels Vocativ

Al Gore swoops in to save CDC’s climate and health conference Ars Technica


‘You can’t live in a museum’: the battle for Greenland’s uranium Guardian

For $14,000, a Weeklong Firehose of Silicon Valley Kool-Aid MIT Technology Review. Could run this article on a parody website without changing a word.


US UK Trade Talks to Begin Immediately In Defiance of EU Rules: What’s Trump Up To? Michael Shodlock (EM)

Theresa May’s visit to Turkey is more evidence of her desperate search for trading partners to replace the EU at any cost Independent. I always find time for Patrick Cockburn.

Trade deals are difficult to negotiate and Britain lacks the skills for the job The Conversation

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator says Theresa May’s promised trade deal by 2019 is ‘impossible’ Independent

Is chlorinated chicken about to hit our shelves after new US trade deal? Guardian (Joe H)

2016 Post Mortem

Why Early Voting Was Overhyped FiveThirtyEight. Last in a five-part series in which Nate Silver delves into data.

The Nixon Effect, The Money Cult, Ratf**ked Truthdig

Class Warfare

Neoliberalism, Cranked up to 11 In These Times (Judy B). If you haven’t read Jonathan Coe’s novel, The Winshaw Legacy, do it now– my favorite novel about the Thatcher years, a country house murder mystery reimagined as a Hammer shlock horror slasher flick: a black humor classic.

Obama Legacy

From the White House to the Boardroom Jacobin

New Cold War

A Game of Russian Roulette Jacobin

Minutes New Republic (resilc). “Get in line or trump will zero out federal $ to Az.”


Torture Produces Fake News—and That’s How We Got Into Iraq Truthdig

Russia’s knockout game in Syria Al Jazeera

Trump Transition

Trump’s Muslim Ban is Culmination of War on Terror Mentality but Still Uniquely Shameful. The Intercept. Glenn Greenwald. Important.

Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide NYT (Paul R) Reddit thread collecting responses university presidents are sending out to affected students, plus individual stories (Paul R)

Trump orders ISIS plan, gives Bannon role in revamped National Security Council Chicago Tribune (martha r).

Why Iran, but not Saudi Arabia? – TTG Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

The President of the United States Explicitly Endorses Torture — a Crime Against Humanity The Intercept (resilc)

Federal Court Halts Trump’s Order Barring Muslims After Protesters Swarm Airports  The Intercept (martha r)

Thousands at JFK airport in New York protest new visa and refugee suspensions LA Times (Sid S)

New York Taxi Workers Alliance Halting JFK Airport Pickups To Protest Immigration Ban Jalopnik

Trump’s snub for the Green Prince: US President ‘will avoid Charles on state visit to the UK because he wants to escape a lecture on climate change’ Daily Mail

Corporate America employs new tactics to avoid Trump ire FT

Trump Tries to Build a ‘Different Party’ Patriot Post. Nooners weighs in.

Trump May Be Pushing China Into Clash That Won’t Benefit Anyone The Wire

Zephyr Teachout: We’re Mired in Corruption The Baffler

Trump’s Executive Orders Are Scary, but Are They More Bark Than Bite? Vice

Bad‘ass’lands and national ‘snark’ service: Rogue US Twitter accounts take on President Trump Scroll

Democrats are putting up a tougher fight than liberals realize Vox. Dear readers, posted for your shredding pleasure, the inimitable Mattie Yglesias.  Enjoy!

What Trump Is Throwing Out the Window New York Review of Books

Texas Border Leaders Discuss How to Approach Trump on Security, Trade WSJ

Trump’s making his own rules as a diplomat, too Politico

Wells Fargo whistleblower site vanishes NY Post

The eclipse of the West New Statesman

Trump sets 5-year and lifetime lobbying ban for officials WKBN (martha r) “1/28. “There is this very weird feeling watching Trump hit the ground running doing stuff the way Obama could have done stuff in the last week of January 8 years ago.”

Antidote du jour:

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See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Why Iran, but not Saudi Arabia? – TTG Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

    This executive order invoked the specter of 9/11, yet Saudi Arabia gets a free pass once again. The country most responsible for supporting and sustaining both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda skates free. The Borg found it convenient to cozy up to the Saudis to further its goals, but why does Trump continue that coziness? He railed against the Clinton Foundation’s Saudi connections. I thought things might change. However, in August of last year, he told Fox News this.

    “Saudi Arabia — and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me,” Trump said in Mobile, Alabama. “They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
    To paraphrase a certain economist, and make it more ….reality based: ‘Reality has a money bias’

    1. Jim Haygood

      From Glenn Greenwald’s post at The Intercept:

      [Trump] is the logical and most grotesque expression of a variety of trends we have allowed to fester: endless war, a virtually omnipotent presidency, unlimited war powers, repeated civil liberties erosions, and the sustained demonization of Muslims as scary, primitive, uniquely violent Others.

      Last fall I described the presidential election as “The Crook vs The Flake.” I totally stand by that characterization.

      The Orange Flake is out of control. And there are no adults in the room to stop him, now that everything’s done on the Führerprinzip.

      Honeymoon’s over, b*tch. I puke in his general direction.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Do you really think he is a flake in terms of foreign policy? Clumsy and out of control he certainly is, but he seems to me to have been remarkably consistent in articulating and following through on his key issues – alliance with Putin, anti-China, anti-immigrant, anti-Iran. If he really was a flake, he’d be trying to get ahead of the parade on the anti-Russian nonsense (unless we have different definitions of what a flake, orange or not, may be).

            1. juliania

              Even though the AP tried to usurp my computer on that link, I very much like the order to restrict lobbying by executive officials and hope it will be rigorously enforced. Very good move!

              Foreign policy moves also, though I hope Iran will be more reasonably assessed.

      2. Carolinian

        So does that mean you now wish the “Hildabeest” had won after all? However misguided this latest step you can’t say it’s a surprise since it’s exactly what he said he was going to do.

        And as Greenwald rightly points out it’s really the pundits and MSM who are doing a 180 since it wasn’t that long ago they were spouting off about “islamofascism” and buying into the Israeli line that Arabs and other Muslims are natural born killers. After 9/11 the media eagerly promoted security theater like the color coded terror alerts and the over the top airport inspections that we still endure. Trump’s Muslim ban idea doesn’t seem to have popped into his head until the San Bernardino shooting during the campaign and its attendant 24/7 cable network coverage. Perhaps the MSM should be complaining that he spends too much time watching them.

        I for one am still grateful that HRC lost because there was no changing the course of that particular Titanic. Trump on the other hand, an amateur politician who is making it up as he goes along, seems to be capable of adjusting and learning from his mistakes. That may be wrong, but the jury is still out.

        1. A

          Oh yes, Trump is definitely capable of learning from his mistakes. You can tell by the way he’s eager to embrace reality even if it’s unpleasant (whether it’s crowd sizes or losing by 3 million votes or his declaring “it’s going great” yesterday).

          No, none of this is a surprise. Which is exactly why anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary owns this.

          1. ambrit

            I “own” this, completely.
            Exhibit #1 for my willing acceptance of the “blame” is the vision of Purple Broom Hillees predecessor and fellow travelers, “Barry and The Family” (TM) going forth on a billionaires private jet to a free vacation on said billionaires private tropical paradise in the Virgin Islands so as to de-stress from the trials and tribulations of trying to “Rule The World” on behalf of a congeries of delusional elites.
            I’m somewhat conflicted though. Is Obama Pinky, or the Brain?
            You want Trump snark?
            How about a poster of the Cheetos Cheetah with an orange comb over. The caption is, of course, “It ain’t easy being sleazy.”

            1. A

              You don’t like Obama cavorting with billionaires so you voted for a billionaire and a cabinet full of billionaires to protest? Makes sense.

              1. ambrit

                Yes. As the Democratic party discovered, when given the choice of voting for real Right wing whackos (Republicans) and Faux Right wing whackoos (Democratic “Moderates”), people will usually vote for the “Real Thing.” [Unless said voter has the sensibilities of a Henry James.]
                As for the “Sins of Trump,” well, if he does drag the “R” party down to oblivion, good for him. At least he isn’t promising to drag the world to Armageddon, as his defeated rival averred. Sometimes we have to thank the Deity for small favours.

            2. Lambert Strether

              No, I don’t want Trump snark. Go to Kos.

              The Democrat/”progressive” fetish for snark is a tactic that has demonstrably failed. It’s easy and it’s also lazy. It’s an example of singing in chorus and the very reverse of critical thinking.

              Snark also grows over everything like kudzu, and like Kudzu, it’s going to be a pain ripping it out. Don’t make us go there.

              1. A

                I don’t like snark too much either, but how else do you react to something like “Trump can learn from his mistakes”?

                I would put “gnashing of teeth” and “clutching pearls” phrases in the snark category too. It is not helpful to be so dismissive of genuine gnashing of teeth over Trump.

                My question about “what do you think about the argument that Bernie was polling well because there was no oppo yet” was followed up with the Newsweek article, but unfortunately it didn’t get any responses about the actual points it contains. Dismissing something as propaganda or snark or talking points isn’t really addressing it.

          2. Carolinian

            You should check out the PBS Frontline on Trump’s campaign that was linked here the other day. They showed how he would calibrate his message according to the way his large rallies reacted and he gained energy from those rallies. Lambert has talked about this too. If I were to put on my 5 cent psychiatrist hat I’d say that Trump is not some wacko Hitler trying to lead the country into a Wagnerian fantasy but rather a rather insecure type, often a bully, who is constantly seeking approval and validation–hence the odd obsession with the size of that crowd. He’s probably sincere when he says he is a vessel for those people who voted for him because he craves their adulation.

            Hillary on the other hand was absolutely secure in all the stupid things she believes–far more dangerous.

            Of course both may turn out to be quite dangerous but thanks to Hillary supporters like you this was the only real choice that we had. So both the Dems and the Repubs will be “owning it.”

            1. A

              I voted for Bernie and thought I’d never vote for Hillary. Then I saw Trump talk and Trump’s supporters react.

              You think Hitler was secure and didn’t feed on the adulation of the crowd or craft his message to his audience? Trump is dangerous precisely because he’s insecure, out of touch with reality and will do anything to be adored. He’ll force adulation, bring a clapping/cheering army, and anyone who dares pierce his bubble (the dishonest media, courts, opponents) will be silenced, one way or another.

              1. Carolinian

                will be silenced

                You are pretty sure about the things you don’t actually know will happen….just like Hillary.

                So are you saying Trump is the new Hitler? Just asking.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    The world itself is dangerous, or rather, full of danger.

                    And there are many dangerously competent authoritarians out in the open, or lurking to take power.

                    1. Anonymous

                      We are two academics in Los Angeles who supported Bernie to the max. We both voted for Trump and are grateful he won.


                      Had HRC won, there’d likely be her and McCain’s No Fly Zone in Syria, along with greater US military involvement. That would greatly ratchet up the risk of all-out war with Russia. We are convinced she and her NeoCon backers (Boot, Morell, Kagan, Wolfowitz, etc) were willing to risk that.

                      She surely would have passed TPP. She (and Citi’s Froman?) had a leading role in crafting its terms, and selling it, worldwide.

                      Many other reasons, too, why it’s good HRC lost, to say nothing of her staggering corruption and sociopathy.

                      Trump is making a lot of ghastly moves, but so far they do not out-weigh a Hillary presidency.

                  2. DJPS

                    He seems highly competent to me. After all, he carved through the establishment of both parties and won the election quite handily. That was despite being at a huge financial disadvantage and whilst having a universally hostile global media trying to take him down.

                    Unconventional, yes. Incompetent, not at all.

                  3. Octopii

                    I thought he’d be the less effective evil. But to date he’s proving quite effective. Some good stuff has been publicized as nuts, like the trade directives. Some bad stuff is buried in the noise, like demolishing net neutrality. Still too early to determine the evil, but it’s leaning that way for me.

                    1. Waldenpond

                      Maybe it was overflow from D politicians that there is never anything they can do? That some of us get so used to the theater, we forget it’s a lie?

                      I also remember others thinking there would be gridlock… the norm is collegiality. The Ds are constantly accused of being spineless and assuming the fetal position so the resistance was never going to come from the electeds. I don’t know if Rs do it, but the Ds are called out for their policy failures and capitulation, they’ve even used the ‘elections have consequences’. Rs are pretty good at herding together.

              2. Lambert Strether

                I think armchair psychological evaluations of office-holders are jejune, rather like diagnosing Terry Schiavo from video; it’s something quacks do. (The psychologizing is also being pushed as part of the next round of Democrat scheming from the rice bowl crowd, to get Trump removed via the 25th Amendment.)

                Armchair evaluation of Bush was so successful and vicious — and I most certainly participates in it! — that Bush won two terms and was able to ram through any number of horrid policies that Obama later normalized. Why reinforce failure?

            2. juliania

              My more charitable thought, Carolinian, is that he realizes at this stage of our history it is very much in his interest to support what the people want.

              Obama never did realize that. Or do it.

              1. JoeK

                Yes. I wrote an immoderate comment a couple of weeks back that was moderated out, perhaps for the best. But I then read a linked-to article by Ian Welsh that made the same point, that he represents and embodies much more of our essential characteristics as Americans than most of us in opposition would care to admit.
                A long hard look in one of those concave vanity mirrors is long overdue. Easy to say, I know…..

          3. philnc

            No. Those who own this are anyone who didn’ t vote for Bernie. There’s also a special place in hell for the Clintons and their DNC mafia who derailed democracy and poisoned the electoral well so thoroughly that the Democratic vote was depressed far more dramatically than the Republicans could have ever dreamed.

            1. AnnieB

              Well said. Clinton supporters have never talked about their primary election shenanigans, including collusion with the mainstream media, that favored her and tried to undermine Bernie. Even so, he almost won. I do not “own” Trump, and I reject any implication that because I refused to vote for war mongering Clinton that I am responsible for Trump.

          4. Fiery Hunt

            What about the millions of us who refused to vote for either this or that disaster?

            We get to blame Hillary supporters, right?

              1. LT

                And people are watching all the Beltway Dems right now….confirming the worst of some of the worst (Trump’s cabinet nominees – even when they do not have to – they could make the Repub congrssessional majority own it). And remembering exactly why they did not vote for Clinton or vote at all.

                    1. Waldenpond

                      Founded by Joshua Krafchin
                      [After holding key in-house marketing and sales roles at such companies as, Rocket Lawyer and eSearchVision, Josh started Clever Zebo in January 2011. A veteran of optimizing and growing the marketing programs of such former clients as Aeropostale, The Body Shop, Sandals Resorts, Fathead, etc., Josh built Clever Zebo in reaction to the over-channelization he saw rampant in online marketing agencies and departments, creating an alternative for executives tired of overpaying for specialists who were missing the larger revenue picture.]

                      and spouse Miriam Stone — brand strategist.

                      Looks like another grifting outfit.

                    2. beth

                      I checked it out and it looks like it. I will try to never again just vote D to be against the R. That is how we got Hil and her crew. I think Bill & Hil’s new plan is to be king and queen makers.

                    3. A

                      As opposed to what, electing R’s? Isn’t the common complaint about how many Dem seats were lost under Obama?

                      Seems like no resistance is good enough – can’t march, media can’t call lies “lies”, lawyers can’t sue over conflicts of interests or emolument clause violations. And I guess can’t try to flip your districts blue either.

                      So what SHOULD be done, according to the consensus here?

                    4. ambrit

                      Dear “A”;
                      The beauty of a site such as this one is the fact that adherence to a “consensus” is not required to participate. As long as arguments are somewhat coherent and proffer internally consistent points of view, the game is afoot.
                      Also, the quip about electing “R”s is not consistent with your avowal of support for Sanders. There are third ways available, for good or ill. The real evil here is the attempt to limit discussion and planning to a single pathway.
                      One strong reason that motivated many of us to vote for Trump was that one voiced by a dying Mercutio in the beginning of “Romeo and Juliet”: “I am hurt. A plague o’ both your houses!”
                      This is actually a rational response to the present situation. More of the same, or that great ‘leap of faith’ into the Void? Only time will tell.

              2. lyman alpha blob

                Oh for crying out loud. I’m so sick of this ridiculous argument. Actually it’s not even an argument, it’s just juvenile name calling.

                If you really want to find some support for it though there’s another orange colored website you might like. It’s just over to the right.

                1. ambrit

                  I agree with you up to a certain point. However, this sort of juvenile shaming exercise is representative of very much of what goes on in the generality of the “public discourse” today. So, do not feed the trolls aside, some arguments need to be visibly debunked, if only to assert higher standards for argumentation.
                  If my reading serves me aright, the Orange Satan became that way as the result of conscious decisions made by the site administrators over there. Hence, partisanship became the norm there. Here, the site administrators seem to have rejected the putrescent blandishments of irrationality. (I must admit to being enamoured of some “irrationalities” myself. To that extent, a partitioning of enthusiasms is needed, and done. Balance is all.)
                  So, hooray for us and boo for them. If that is partisan, then I plead guilty to partiality.

                  1. lyman alpha blob

                    I agree and very much enjoy this little oasis and prefer the comment moderation here. Overall I do think it best letting people speak their mind and debunking when necessary rather than have someone arbitrarily decide to simply start deleting what they might not like.

                    Sometimes debunking the same stupidity over and over really chaps my posterior though and elicits a cranky response. Being ‘a pox on both your houses’ type, I find the tired ‘your vote for x was really a vote for y’ canard especially grating.

                    1. ambrit

                      Fun with vocabulary leads me to mention that a canard, as used in aviation, is a wing set to the front of an airframe. So, a canard leads us on towards something. The “a vote for “x” was really a vote for “y”” canard is thus a leading statement in many ways. It is wonderful when form follows function, like getting out in front of the mob and calling it a parade.
                      Love your “handle.” You have a “galaxy” of red shifted fans.

              3. Donald

                Rubbish. I voted for Clinton, so I presumably escape your terrible judgment, but it was a shitty choice and people who didn’t vote for Trump are not Trump voters. Yes, I know what argument you are going to give. But a non Clinton vote in most states made no difference. My pro Clinton vote didn’t matter given where I live.

                What you really should be arguing is that people should not have said one single solitary critical thing about Clinton, ever, because once she got the nomination any criticism at any time might have lowered Clinton votes in swing states. Bernie shouldn’t have run. This was obviously Krugman’s position, for instance and the position of innumerable bitter Clinton supporters. I reject it, but it makes more sense than your position.

                1. A

                  She should’ve been criticized, Bernie should’ve run, Bernie should’ve won, though I’m not really sure he would’ve won against Trump.

                  Eventually, the choice ended up being Clinton vs Trump. If you live in a swing state and didn’t vote, you voted for Trump & everything he’s doing, that he said he would do. Oh, I forgot – “take him seriously but not literally.”

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    It’s not a linear world.

                    When you bomb Syria a little, you get a few refugees.

                    When you bomb Syria more, you get more refugees.

                    But when you go all the way, there are no more refugees, period (and no controversy about banning or not banning). Here, linear-projecting fails.

                    The concern was we were going to be looking at the far end of the curve.

                  2. Massinissa

                    Not voting/voting third party is apparently a vote for Trump AND for Clinton. Because that’s what I keep hearing from both sides. And neither side has convinced me that it is only the other side that benefitted from such a vote.

              4. Mark Alexander

                I have never understood the logic behind this argument. Back in October I overheard our local state representative (Democrat) use it while trying to shout down a friend of mine (a Sanders supporter) in an argument, and it made no sense then either. Republicans use the same argument but with the opposite conclusion (not voting for either candidate is a vote for Clinton).

                I didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton (I wrote in Sanders). Why is that a vote for Trump? Why isn’t it a vote for Clinton? The fact is, neither of them gained from my write-in.

              5. Kurt Sperry

                No, the people that voted Clinton in the primary having seen the polling data were the ones who voted for Trump. Except they obviously didn’t, but it’s still a better argument than yours.

              6. aab

                I voted for Bernie, legally, in California, whose electoral votes went to Clinton. Am I to blame?

                My writings here were used by Yves to try to warn the DC elite that Clinton was too hated to win. I feel quite guilt-free and patriotic. Nothing I said or did led despairing Midwesterners to stay home or flip to Trump.

                The Democratic Party is to blame.

                The Democratic Party is to blame.

                The Democratic Party is to blame — and anyone who supports, endorses, funds or votes for their monstrous, corrupt, murderous representatives.

                1. John k

                  We were free to write in Bernie, swing states had no such luxury. But it wasn’t trump voters that beat Clinton in those states, it was dems that knew the dem party had screwed them for years, and that Clinton would be more of the same, except maybe war with Russia… and they stayed home.
                  That is what won it for orange.

              7. Fiery Hunt

                Hey A,
                I live in California, the Bay Area to be exact…Her Almost Queen won by almost 75% here…my vote didn’t and wouldn’t have mattered BECAUSE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY REJECTED YOUR NOMINEE.

                Not my fault we got Trump…ITS YOURS.

              8. Lambert Strether

                No, they didn’t. This is an amazingly stupid and dishonest talking point, because it’s also utterly inconsistent with another amazingly stupid and honest Clintonite talking point, which was that the election was only decided by a few hundred thousand votes, hence Trump is illegitimate.

                So, if those hundred thousands had flipped the other way, you would have to say, using the same logic, that “You voted for Clinton.”

                Comments like this insult the intelligence of our readers. Please do not retail them.

            1. Aumua

              Yeah we were screwed either way, and I do blame anyone who subscribed to either side of the NON CHOICE that was shoved in our faces. Still love you guys though :)

          5. tegnost

            No. I am endlessly amused by hillary/obama supporters who castigate trump for doing things that obama/hillary would also have done. Trump won because of hillary and obama, and you, A, and all the hillary or no one crowd own it 100%. Hllary courted republicans, obama governed as a republican. They lost because of this, and due to the fact that they find a significant portion of the population deplorable. Bernie would have beaten trump, but those deplorables and truck drivers weren’t going to vote for her. You own it. I’ll continue to think it’s high tragicomedy.

            1. A

              Bernie would have beaten Trump according to polls that said Hillary would beat Trump. I’m sure none of the deplorables would have an issue voting for a Jewish person (and a ‘socialist’).
              Exactly what would Obama/Hillary also have done? Question green card holders before letting them back home? Crack down on voting rights, deny climate change? Hide their tax returns? Or appoint a white nationalist to security council.

              Noam Chomsky was right about how wrong never-Hillaries were.

                1. EndOfTheWorld

                  Bernie would have beated Trump simply because he was not under criminal investigation by the FBI, had a rapist spouse, widely suspected of murder of Vince Foster, Travel gate, China gate, running a criminal “foundation”—-little stuff like that. No dirt on Bernie. I think even Biden or Kerry or any other dem would have won the election. The Democratic party demonstrated their complete dysfunctionality by putting up a horrible candidate, and now this obsolete organization will go the way of the Whigs.

                  1. aab

                    It’s simpler. Bernie would have carried all the Democratic States, and he would also have carried the Rust Belt. He would, therefore, have been elected President.

                    And given what’s going on today with Booker and Harris being actively pushed by not just the DNC but Our Revolution (so, damn, @ActualFlatticus is right again), I’d like to remind any Hillbot scolds joining the conversation that the Democratic Party was openly anti-Semitic against Bernie, and has floated the idea that Keith Ellison is unfit to head the DNC because he is a Muslim.

                    The Democrats and their lackeys keep dancing with the devil and then expecting him to offer them his hand and heart. Funnily enough, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

                    1. Lambert Strether

                      > It’s simpler. Bernie would have carried all the Democratic States, and he would also have carried the Rust Belt. He would, therefore, have been elected President.

                      Exactly. And the Democrat establishment in the form of the Clinton campaign worked actively to prevent this.

                      Won’t it be great when the South Caroline firewall organized by the Black Misleadership Class turns out, by having defeated Sanders, to enable Booker 2020?

                  2. NotTimothyGeithner

                    Hillary won NY, a safe seat, by 10 points against a bum, replacement candidate too extreme for Peter King. By comparison, Gore won by 25 points. Even with Hillary’s celebrity, she saw a significant drop off against a lunatic. Iraq and investigations weren’t a big deal. The problem is the third way.

                    Right wing Democrats will always need Republicans who can’t dress themselves to win elections or safe districts where even Hillary can’t screw it up. Cough 1992 cough. 43% of the popular vote. Ross Pert wanted to lock up alcoholics, and Bill came away with 43%. 1996 is estimated to be the lowest black turnout since the 50’s. Even then Bill mustered 49% against Skeletor just after 2 years of Newt Gingrich bumbling around Washington in a manner that predicted Trump. Hillary then lost to the clod Obama in a race where Hillary’s campaign simply didn’t understand delegate allocation rules. Then of course, there is the state of the Democratic Party under the guidance of Clintonistas.

                    If you voted for Hillary, you voted for a political bloc with a history of under performance at the ballot box. If you aren’t a third way Democrat, then a vote for Hillary was a vote for the worst possible candidate in a general election.

              1. marym

                But there is evidence of Trump voters who would have voted for Sanders.

                I’ve only seen this “but he’s Jewish” claim against Sanders’s electability from Clinton supporters in post-election comment threads. Of course that’s anecdotal as I don’t read that many of them. There was also the issue of an apparently anti-Semitic T-shirt sold at the DNC convention. I hope Clinton supporters aren’t projecting something of their own onto others.

                1. Patricia

                  Yep, that nasty Sanders shirt was revealing, considering their ID politics, pro-Israeli concerns, and ClintonIsFeminism. The Dems easily and aggressively sacrificed their standards for ego and position.

                  And they still haven’t stopped. Insisting that one voted for Trump if one didn’t check the box for Clinton—that’s a bully tactic which ignores their own narrow standards.

                  They are a lost bunch.

                2. A

                  It’s hard for you to believe in a virulent strain of anti-semitism among Trump supporters? Breitbart comments, anti-semitic attacks on journalists, that “elders of Zion” Trump ad, etc. Priebus was just on TV saying how ‘everyone suffered in the holocaust including Jews’. Come on.

                  1. integer

                    It’s hard for you to believe in a virulent strain of anti-semitism among Trump supporters?

                    I wouldn’t deny that it exists, though from my perspective it is simply a(n admittedly crude) manifestation of a valid concern about the disproportionate amount of economic and political control the Israel-first Jewish cohort has over the US.

                    Also, it should also be noted that the Israel-first Jewish cohort is seemingly willing to label anyone of Jewish religion who doesn’t agree with their Israel-first views as a “self-hating Jew”. I didn’t see much Jewish solidarity coming from Saban towards Sanders in the Podesta emails, for example, and I would not be surprised at all if the idea for the Sanders t-shirt came from the mind of an Israel-firster.

                3. A

                  Reposting since I’m not sure if last comment went through…

                  Trump wouldn’t disavow anti-semitic attacks on a journalist because “look, she wrote something bad about me.” His supporters chanted “jew-s-a” and “lugenpresse” at the press at his rallies. His last campaign ad sounded like something from the protocols of Zion. And then there’s this:
                  Pretending there’s not a lot of anti-semitism among Trump supporters is kinda nuts.

                  1. Patricia

                    A, do you honestly believe, because one writes about the easily-dumped standards of the Clintonites, (in this case) regarding Sanders’ Jewishness, that it means one approves of what Trump says/does?

                    This is the same emotive burp as: “if you didn’t vote Clinton, you voted Trump”.

                    Your approach isn’t accurate to reality. It might help you feel righteous and can give you a place to put your legitimate anger, but it cuts you off from a lot of other good people.
                    Keep following this line of thinking, and your world will become increasingly narrow/small.

                    1. EndOfTheWorld

                      I’m a Bernie supporter who voted for Trump. On my garage door there are three bumper stickers: Bernie for Prez, Hillary for Prison, and finally, when there was no other choice, Trump for Prez.

                      No need for all the post mortem. Give the new guy a chance. Hell, if HRC had been elected I would have given her a chance, and wished her the best. Of course she would have been impeached, probably.

                    2. A

                      I didn’t say you approve. My point was about Sanders’ being Jewish impacting his electability among Trump voters.

                      I am angry. I’ve been reading this blog for years and then found it gleefully celebrating Trump’s win. Before the election, the tone was becoming more & more pro-Trump but I thought it was just in the interest of fairness and “truth-seeking”. No. When you zoom in on one side’s scandals and give the other side, the worse side in every single sense, a pass, that’s not the truth.

                      This attitude of a pox on both their houses can only come from people who won’t be impacted by any of this shit personally. How nice it must be to engage in an FU vote that others will, no, already are paying for. Voting for Trump was an emotional reaction itself, there’s nothing rational about it.

                    3. none

                      The FU vote was entirely rational and is the only thing to do when faced with threats from a bully like Hillary. You have to tell them where they can stick their threats. Otherwise you cave to a protection racket that will never stop, like the local hoodlum who extorts you to keep you safe from the mob boss downtown. The only rational answer is: fuck you hoodlum, let’s get it over with. I will take my chances with the mob boss and you can go to hell.

                    4. Patricia

                      Hey, A, responding to ur 4:20. Yeah, NC combox went somewhat Trumpish for a while. I went away; came back.

                      Look, when voters are electorally cornered, over decades, most eventually opt-out or explode. Both happened here, as among working classes. Desper- ation does that. Advice to (effin’ private!) political parties: stop manipulating.

                      NC combox is varied, yes? Many are personally safe; some aren’t. I’m disabled & thought long/hard, not only of self, not only short-term. Voted neither candidate: “I’ll pass”, not FU. Neither candidate. My vote is mine, belongs to no one else.

                      I don’t insult your choice of Hillary nor those who chose Trump. Horrible choice was foisted on us. And yep, we are all angry.

                    5. Patricia

                      A, re Sanders’ Jewishness, conservatives aren’t a monolith. Evangelicals would’ve considered it an advantage in him, with their support of Israel, biblical “God’s first chosen” etc. One leaked DNC email suggested a smear of Sanders for supposed atheism not for ethnicity, to direct towards religious conservatives.

                      IMO, it’s quixotic to talk about attracting conservatives, but Sanders had that small plus to add to his economic message. Clinton had nothing.

                  2. marym

                    Let me say this carefully so it doesn’t cross the line of accusing you of thinking something you may not personally think.

                    During the campaign there was anti-Semitism among Trump’s supporters. These anti-Semitic supporters most likely would not have voted for Sanders and did not vote for Clinton.

                    Thus, what you appear to be arguing in saying that a Jewish candidate would have cost Democrats the election is that there are anti-Semitic Clinton supporters who would not have voted for Sanders.

                    If that’s what any Clinton supporters think, they should stop blaming non-Clinton supporters for the outcome of the election. If that’s not what they think, they should stop making this argument.

                    1. aab

                      Since I am sincerely going to try to dial back on my NC participation after today, I’d like to take a moment to say I always appreciate your posts, marym, and this is elegantly argued (which is exactly why I’m not confident I can rip myself away from here. Reason is so precious, and in such short supply these days in our culture.)

                    2. Anonymous

                      The only Bernie-inspired item for sale in the DNC store during the primary was a T-shirt with an anti-Semitic caricature of Bernie with rat whiskers, straight out of Nazi depictions of Jews.

                      There was not a peep out of anyone in the HRC camp protesting this.

                    3. integer

                      Since I am sincerely going to try to dial back on my NC participation after today

                      Dial back if you must but please keep commenting. I do understand though. One can end up making commenting at NC a full-time endeavour if one is not careful, and my experience suggests that it becomes more addictive the more one engages.

                  3. Fiery Hunt

                    The only openly Anti-Semite I know is a 60 something wealthy white woman would went all in for Her Almostness. Foams at the mouth over Trump but actually said during the primaries that she couldn’t vote for “that Jew” meaning Saunders.

                    There aren’t enough a**holes like that to care about.

                  4. integer

                    His supporters chanted “jew-s-a”

                    This was shown to only have been one person. There was a discussion and analysis of this incident here at NC at the time.

                  5. Lambert Strether

                    > His last campaign ad sounded like something from the protocols of Zion

                    Unfortunately, all the partisan sources are so polluted by propaganda it’s not possible for me to verify your claim, for which you provide no link. Here’s the best I could find, from DNC house organ Salon:

                    While this footage may seem innocuous, anti-Semites watching the ad will immediately pick up on the fact that — aside from Hillary Clinton — every insider mentioned in the campaign spot is Jewish. Aside from their Jewishness, they don’t have very much in common: Soros is a financier well-known for his philanthropy for left-wing causes, Yellen presides over the country’s top financial regulator the Federal Reserve, and Blankfein is the CEO of Goldman Sachs, the elite investment banking powerhouse.

                    That a billionaire, the chairman of the Fed, and the chairman of Goldman Sachs are said to have “nothing in common” other than their ethnicity is IdPol carried to the level of parody.

                    I’d have to listen to the ad to find out of the dogwhistles are there also, which I don’t have time to do.

                    Once again, however, simply retailing Democrat talking points distorts. Please stop doing it.

              2. none

                Stop trolling, Bernie is the most popular politician in the US according to approval ratings. And saying Hillary doesn’t own this because Bernie also might have lost is like a murder defendant saying “your honor, if I hadn’t shot that guy he might have had a heart attack, so I should be let off”. It doesn’t work that way, pal.

              3. Yves Smith

                This is just twattle.

                The 1:1 polls CONSISTENTLY showed Bernie beating Trump by 10-15 points, sometimes even 20.

                By contrast, Hillary averaged around 4 points ahead of Trump. That is within the statistical margin of errors for polls. 10+ points is not.

                And did you forget specifically that Bernie trounced Clinton in Michigan, a Rust Belt state? Bernie would have done very well in Flyover. Several readers reported they knew blue collar voters who went for Sanders in the primary and Trump in the general, and were clear they wanted Sanders, not Trump.

                1. A

                  What do you think about the argument that he was polling so well because Republicans hadn’t really attacked him yet? That they were waiting to reveal their opposition research on him only after he became the nominee?

                  1. aab

                    That is literally ludicrous. You claimed to have voted for Bernie, but you sound exactly like a Correct The Record employee in your messaging across this thread.

                    He had to be stopped at the primary level. Everybody knew that. A hero of the civil rights movement was used to smear him with blacks at the start of the Southern primaries, in order to help get a racist Goldwater Girl elected. When Bernie was invited to the Vatican right before the New York Primary, New York media went completely silent, when they weren’t misrepresenting it to make him look bad. Correct The Record floated every smear it could through all available channels, including nonsense about his wife’s employment, and it didn’t stick. David Brock works for the Democrats now, remember?

                    Do you have any actual EVIDENCE that the Republicans had oppo that Clinton didn’t have? Because otherwise, drop this.

                    Edited to add: Do you really think Clinton would have resorted to having the AP call the nomination on the eve of the California primary if she had useful oppo left to drop? Again, who or what do you think would find dirt the Clintons couldn’t?

                    1. aab

                      This is a reply to A, because there’s no reply button beneath that post.

                      Now I know you are lying about having supported Bernie. Newsweek is a well-known propaganda outfit for the Democrats, and published despicable nonsense numerous times during the election. If you had really been supporting Bernie, you would know that. I would no more read Newsweek now than I would Infowars. Is this one of Kurt Eichenwald’s screeds typed while watching a cam boy?

                      Saying Trump’s an “evil lunatic” is both sloppy and inaccurate. How is he more evil than Clinton? Please be specific. How is he clinically insane? Please be specific. You aren’t going to learn to think critically until you get pass consuming and regurgitating stuff like that.

                      If you’re not in Brock’s employ, I suggest you stop typing and start reading the articles here and learn from the other commenters about how to evaluate news sources and information.

                    2. A

                      aab, when you say “you’re lying” you’re only confirming to me to be wary of people who sound erudite, smart and confident while being 100% dead wrong.

                      No, I didn’t realize Newsweek is considered propaganda, since when? Which points were wrong? The DNC emails that showed DNC was against Bernie weren’t dated May when he had no chance of winning? All those oppo things it mentions are false? Bernie didn’t use Clinton’s emails against her. Maybe Clinton didn’t want to throw everything at Bernie either, there would be good reasons to avoid doing that.

                      As for how Trump is a lunatic, where do I start. 70% of what he says is a lie, including “it stopped raining when I started speaking”. Someone who can’t acknowledge weather is deranged. How is he more evil? “Pepe the Donald” and Steve Bannon. The neo-nazis & Breitbart chose Trump, not Clinton.

                      Anyway, as things continue to deteriorate, I’ll try to keep my anger to myself.

                    3. integer

                      Maybe Clinton didn’t want to throw everything at Bernie either, there would be good reasons to avoid doing that.

                      Such as? Having read enough of the Podesta emails to get a sense of how the Clinton campaign was operating, I find it very difficult to believe that they would have shown any refrain.

                  2. carl

                    Oh please. The “big bad Republicans” argument is really getting old. HRC and her cronies turned everything they had on Sanders, and the best they could come up with was “unrealistic.” Simply put, Sanders was not a dirty candidate with the baggage and trust issues that HRC came with.

                  3. Lambert Strether

                    Here’s what I think:

                    I think you’re trying to get other people to do your work for you.

                    We don’t take kindly to being given assignments. If you have a case to make, make it.

                    “What do you think of the argument,” forsooth.

              4. Anonymous

                HRC represented WW3 with Russia, TPP, corruption, fraud, NeoLiberal policies.

                HRC said anti-fracking environmentalists were Kremlin stooges, sold fracking to the world, would not agree to a simple carbon tax.

                The CF and CGI were both pay to play fraudulent organizations; funds were used for staff salaries, luxury trips, conferences.

                Clinton was not the lesser evil.

              5. Lambert Strether

                > . I’m sure none of the deplorables would have an issue voting for a Jewish person (and a ‘socialist’).

                They didn’t in West Virginia. You know, all the toothless KKKers sitting round the fire saying “Yeah, we gotta get that socialist Jew in there.”

          6. timbers


            It’s those who supported Hillary who “own’ this. Hillary supporters deserve a great big “thank you for allowing us to win” from Trump supporters because her liabilities were both undeniable and off the charts in size and Sanders who could have won by a landslide against Trump was denied the nomination by Hillary supports, thru dishonest means.

            Hillary supporters have learned nothing from there catastrophic mistake of supporting Hillary, and it is they who “own” Trump’v victory.

            1. ancient1


              You are 100% correct. Our present situation is a result of the Clinton controled DNC and those voters that supported her come Hell or High Water. There is an old saying that I paraphrase: “The Past you cannot change; the Future you do not know and the Present is all you have some contro of events”. We should not be arguing over events of the past election, but seek to find ways now to change what has occured for the better. Live with it and stop blaming one another.

              1. none

                We should not be arguing over events of the past election, but seek to find ways now to change what has occured for the better. Live with it and stop blaming one another.

                Nope. Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

          7. tongorad

            I wonder why this “you own this” formulation keeps coming up over and over again. It seems strategic, although I can’t fathom what the aim is. Enforcing group norms?

            1. ambrit

              I sense that it is a form of shame normalization. It’s like the tradition of having the victim kiss the whip that chastises them. Not only does it foster a sense of personal worthlessness, but it reflexively validates virtue signalling and “elite” consciousness.

              1. none

                It’s to establish the cause of the Trump presidency (Dem establishment corporatism and disregard for voters) in the hope of not repeating the same mistakes next time.

                1. ambrit

                  There is a disconnect between the public’s self knowledge and the political elite’s self knowledge. The public feels the effects of the elites actions first, and with more effect. The elites feel secondary effects. This attenuation is what needs to be addressed. When the political elites become strongly coupled into the cause and effect world of policy; then meaningful change ensues. So, long story short, this “ownership society” has to include everyone, without exception.

            2. Aumua

              It’s just them stealing yet another of my positions and running it into the ground as something I would never support. No port in a storm, man I’ll tell ya.

            3. feox

              Do you have a problem with responsibility of the electorate for who they elect? Should we pretend it doesn’t exist?

              1. aab

                As someone said here yesterday, our ruling class offered America a Sophie’s Choice. So, no, I do not believe voters should be blamed AT ALL.

                Moreover, guess what? That tactic, which the neoliberal New Democrats have used since the Clintons (if not before?) never worked. Nobody voted for Barack Obama out of obligation. They thought he actually was a decent guy who would help them. And then he didn’t. They can hold enough fools to keep enough seats to block the left and keep their corporate masters happy, I guess, but you don’t win elections and power by constantly offering people spoiled milk and telling them they have to drink it because the other side is only offering urine.

                If you want to blame the electorate, first remove ALL the obstacles to Third Parties. Then make registration automatic and all primaries open. Then institute only paper ballots counted by hand in public with representatives off all parties present. Then do only public financing of all federal elections. Require all media to be non-profit. Then, MAYBE, the electorate can be held accountable. But in a system where the choice produced was Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, blaming the electorate is ridiculous, and voting for Trump, for many people, was an entirely rational choice, because they had nothing left to lose.

                The entity to be blamed for that problem would be the Clinton-controlled Democratic Party.

                1. A

                  Honest question: why do you think Bernie himself campaigned hard for Clinton? What about the Democratic party platform that Bernie managed to get a lot of his agenda in? All your goals above are now more out of reach than ever. As Chomsky said, old battles now have to refought just to stay where we are, forget advancing. For ex. Hillary only wanted a $12 minimum wage! Well it now won’t be raised at all.

                  1. Fiery Hunt

                    Sanders campaigned (hard is subjective! :) because
                    A) he said he would
                    B) Trump’s terrible
                    C) because Trump’s agenda isn’t aligned with his (Bernie’s)

                    But remember, incrementalism NEVER gets to the point. Fighting for a $12 dollar/ hour is NO DIFFERENT than keeping the existing minimum.

                    It’s just a sweet nothing to woo overprivileged Demo tribalists to ignore the RIGGED system they enjoy.

                  2. aab

                    She didn’t “want” $12 an hour. She wanted no change at all. And if she had been elected, no change is what we would have gotten.

                    Do I really need to explain the long history of the Clintons, Obama and the other New Democrats saying progressive things to win and then NOT DOING THOSE THINGS AT ALL?

                    If Trump brings even some jobs back, that’s more than Clinton or Obama did or Clinton II would have done. She made it very clear she didn’t care in the slightest about the poors — and by “poors,” I mean everybody who doesn’t summer with her, or even get to use “summer” as a verb.

                    Those goals are now more in reach than ever, not less. To get them, we must crush the New Democrats into dust and blast the ashes into space. They are the enemy of everything you claim to want. They are what stands between the American people and universal health care, free public college, and enhanced Social Security. How do I know that? Because we elected one of them with practically a super-majority in the Senate and a mandate to enact real change, and he and the party did NOTHING FOR THEIR BASE. They helped banks steal people’s homes. My business was destroyed, and as a small business owner, there was no help for me at all. Clinton would have enacted NOTHING from the platform that Bernie worked so hard to get put in. He and his team pushed anyway for all sorts of good, practical reasons that I will explain if you really need me to. Hint: notice how he used Trump’s promise not to touch Medicare and Social Security to immediately put a stake in the rhetorical ground once Congress was in session?

                    There is no excuse for how Obama governed, and his party is reaping what it sowed. It is unfortunate that so many of others did suffer for it and will continue to suffer for it, while the Obamas and the Clintons feast with billionaires. You are talking exactly like the white moderate that Martin Luther King so aptly identified as the true obstacle to progress. Have you not yet noticed that the Democrats’ vaunted “incremental change” is only incremental in the wrong direction, as they tiptoe through the house stealing the valuables while hoping you won’t catch them at it?

                    I am sorry that Chomsky has gotten weak and foolish in his old age, but that’s not my problem. Appeals to authority won’t work with me, and shouldn’t with you.

                    Propping up the hollowed-out, rotten husk of the current Democratic Party won’t help anyone. Please consider not doing that.

                  3. Lambert Strether


                    1) Sanders saved a generation of Democrat insurgents from the “Nader Nader neener neener” crap the Democrat establishment hurls (for which he deserves thanks from those to the left of him, not blame);

                    2) Sanders believed that HRC was a (marginally) better choice than Trump. This is consistent with the powerful position he would have had as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

                    IMNSHO, these are perfectly respectable judgment calls — as it being a volatility voter when the Democrat establishment presents voters with a Sophie’s Choice.

                    1. A

                      He was saying “Donald Trump must never be allowed to become president”, “he’s a pathological liar.” That sounds like he considered Trump an unacceptable option, not just marginally worse. In my (also not very humble) opinion, he was beyond right.

              2. hunkerdown

                Don’t people who support a Party that markets like a Church while operating like a Racket bear any responsibility for the racket? How do we vote the Democratic Party and its ersatz salvation meme out of existence? How do we fire you?

                We can’t. We have to let you tear up the shop, beat up other workers, steal their jewelry, siphon their gas, sell equipment off the back dock. We have no way to stop you until the end of your scheduled shift lest you have the legal right to club us to death with a wrench. Do you understand why your right to rule over our objections absolves us of any of the consequences acted out in our name?

                Abolish the right to rule, allow any Democratic official, staffer, or consultant to be barred from contact with any Party official on a simple 51% popular constitutent vote, and you can start talking about accountability and responsibility and all that other corporate trash. Until then, the arrogant mendacity on your part of withholding the tools to discipline you as peers while guilting us about our choices is duly noted.

                1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                  Re “allow any Democratic official, staffer, or consultant to be barred from contact with any Party official on a simple 51% popular constitutent vote”: hunkerdown, is this something that has been suggested elsewhere? Or is it your own idea? Is it meant more as a concrete proposal, or more as a rhetorical question?

            1. polecat

              I voted for Sanders in the primary …… hoping the democrats would see reason.

              They didn’t, so I marked my FU vote for Trump, knowing full well he could possibly set-off a cluster-f*ck which might hasten the demise of the republic ….. a republic that has sooo many conflicting issues as to be insoluble, at this point, to mending for the good of all ….

              ….. so be it !

              1. JTMcPhee

                Don’t feel bad, it ain’t a republic and hasn’t been for centuries, if ever —
                “The Birth of a Nationn Empire.”

            2. Old Jake

              Same. My response to A is “yes and your point is?” As if perhaps those who didn’t vote for HRC should go defeat Trump now while the As can sip latte and make snark.

              Editing: the proper response is to make common cause to mitigate the damage. That might mean political activity but it also should include aiding those who are injured, locally, person to person, where we can do so. Just do it.

              1. none

                the proper response is to make common cause to mitigate the damage. That might mean political activity but it also should include aiding those who are injured, locally, person to person, where we can do so. Just do it.

                To mitigate the damage one first has to stop more of it from happening. To do that, one must recognize the cause. As long as people refuse to do that, there is no mitigation possible. We’ll just see the same thing again in 2020.

                My lefty officemate who held her nose and voted for Hillary is convinced that Trump will be re-elected. The only way to prevent that is for the Dems to not nominate another corporate fuck next time. Which means stop defending the existing corporate fuck who already lost to Trump.

                1. aab

                  And also her corporate fuck offspring. I’m not voting for anyone who endorsed Clinton. I’m not voting for Booker, Gillibrand or Harris. I’m not voting for sell-out Sherrold Brown. Nope. None. Done.

                  I’m not coming back to the pen. I’ll work to the end to make my country — that I couldn’t escape even if I wanted to — a better place for its citizens and for all the rest of the living things on this watery rock. And I know I have no reason to feel guilty because there’s nothing “lesser” about the evil New Democrats and neoliberalism have inflicted upon us all. Even if the Democrats are able to scam enough people to put one of their Trojan Horses in the presidency, it won’t change the way the country operates in any meaningful way. That party is never coming back to true national power. Anybody helping them hold on is more complicit in Republican rule than people like me who oppose them.

                  1. Aumua

                    What about Sanders then? Unfortunately, you kind of have to put him in that list too. Very unfortunate, this whole mess.

                    1. aab

                      I respect Bernie tremendously. I also recognize that he’s probably under tremendous pressure, because TPTB know what a threat he is as an icon.

                      That’s why I warn people against treating ANY personality as being enough of a guide. If Bernie only advocates for “protecting” the ACA, he may be broken, or he may be working his way into power to bring Medicare for all. How can I know? Meanwhile, even Barack Obama tottered grudgingly to the left, just a little bit, once the left started slipping between the bars of the pen and pushing him. That’s the great thing about policy-specific relentless activism; it has the potential work regardless of who is in power.

                      Anybody with the courage to have endorsed Bernie this time around is probably worth electing. But I won’t vote for Bernie himself if he just parrots neoliberal talking points.

                      It will be an interesting couple of years.

                    2. Waldenpond

                      It’s pretty bad for Ds right now. Sanders has serving as the official Outreach Coordinator of the Ds and has taken his turn in the D theater to vote for Trump nominees.

          8. Skip Intro

            No, the DNC owns it for ignoring polling and the mood of the world and sticking with a candidate with record-breaking unpopularity while cheating a very popular candidate and conspiring to make Trump the GOP candidate. They wanted Trump more than Bernie, and with their crooked primary and incompetent general campaign, they put trump in office. Blaming the victim/voters is disingenuous and somewhat pitiful.

            1. John k

              Repeat the dem elites and their owners prefer trump to Bernie over and over. Can’t say this enough.
              Anybody think Goldman prefers Bernie? Anyone?
              And dem elites will continue to fight any progressive that tries anything tooth and nail.

          9. Buttinsky


            You voted for someone who supported, advocated, voted for policies that maimed, killed and violently displaced millions of human beings, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria, and then you come here and demand others own every action of someone they didn’t even vote for. This is “intellectually dishonest and morally indefensible,” as Jeffrey St. Clair noted of Noam Chomsky’s vote-Hillary rationale. Clearly, neither you nor any other Hillary voter was taking responsibility for her evil, yet you presume to charge others with moral culpability for everything Trump does because they refused to vote for either monster.

            Please, at least have the decency to wait until the elected monster’s numbers of destroyed lives approach those of the monster you voted for before playing such a reprehensible and dishonest game.

            1. A

              Ok, I don’t think Trump voters are personally morally responsible for Trump’s actions. But when choosing between someone who did the terrible things you listed (whether/how much choice they had is another debate), and someone who’s just as bad *and* advocates torture and carpet-bombing and using nukes, and taking the oil? I will never get how anyone could’ve seen Trump as the lesser evil. I don’t need to wait but I’ll be waiting for more and more people to come to the conclusion that maybe Hillary wasn’t worse.

              1. aab

                Neera Tanden advocated for taking the oil to Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama tortured. Hillary Clinton chuckled about the torture of a man whose regime she overthrew, to steal the oil, among other things.

                Barack Obama ramped up our nuclear weapons program before leaving office. He moved serious military materiel close to the Russia border in the past few months.

                The Democratic Party starved and exploited its own voter base, and reaped the rewards. Trump was at least legitimately elected, despite the howls about the popular vote margin.

                Yes, electing Hillary Clinton would be worse. She’d be launching a hot war against Russia RIGHT NOW and drafting my daughter to fight in it. She’d be working to murder the Muslims Trump is detaining at the airports.

                If you really want a better, more peaceful, more equitable America, stop helping the corporate Democrats and join the real left.

                1. Waldenpond

                  shhh… Stop this. Next will be listing Clinton’s support for TPP and fracking. Then it’ll be goin’ on about my personal favorites … when State lost billions and she blocked investigations against herself and crushing workers (and their request for measly pennies) on behalf of US garment corporations.

                  Next thing someone’ll be pointing out to liberals and progressives that Trump is using the Secure Act Fence that Biden, Clinton and Obama voted for.

                2. Young

                  Who can fire the superdelegates who voted for HRC, so that these kind of accidents won’t happen again.

                  1. aab

                    They’re not accidents. The Democratic Party is working as intended. The superdelegates were installed precisely to stop any left wing insurgent who might get in the way of the corporatists.

                    That is why the New Democrats and their lackeys must be uprooted down to the last seed and tendril and the earth salted where they grew. It will be very difficult. That is why people like me are so furious and strident. Soft, polite liberalism will not do. Standing at airport railings is not enough. Wearing cute hats is nothing. Marching in safe Democratic enclaves while cops smile is purely performative. That’s being allowed so people can blow off steam and then be herded back to the Democrats who destroyed the left, progress, decency and huge swathes of the nation and the world.

                    Don’t do it. Do the hard work. Call your electeds with specific demands. Never use Democratic Party talking points. Focus on clear, simple, universal benefits and policies. Ignore the rest. Tell the Democratic Party and all its affiliated groups that their lies and misdirects are seen for what they are. I unsubscribed from Our Revolution the instant it used Democratic Party marketing messaging, and told them that was why I was doing it. If David Brock is funneling money to someone — even Bernie — be suspicious. Distrust until you have verified, and do not use personalities, brand identity or appealing dress and behavior as your guide. How have they voted when the vote was tough? Did they endorse Bernie in the primary? Who’s funding them? If they are not promising clear, simple policies, ignore them, no matter their color, gender, orientation or pleasing biography. The tentacles of corruption are many, slippery, and strong.

                    None of what has happened was accidental.

          10. none

            Which is exactly why anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary owns this.

            It’s still Hillary herself and Dem establishment who own this. They were the ones who ran a candidate who couldn’t beat Trump, while doing everything in their power to stop the one who could.

            1. Annotherone

              Exactly! Though what benefit there can possibly be in finger-pointing, in any direction, at this stage of the game , I’m not sure. The USA now owns Trump, like it or not. Things are as they are because they were as they were.

          11. Teejay

            Hillary owns this. After she won the primary, Team Bernie offered her campaign info and assistance (per the Podesta emails) on Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. They were repeatedly turned down or outright ignored. Hillary the darling of the establishment offered up status quo, Milquetoast policies explaining the results there. She couldn’t beat a candidate whose disapproval rating was 60% on election day.
            The DNC owns this. Fingers on the scale for Hillary and undermining the Sanders campaign anywhere possible. The Democratic National Committee wouldn’t let ThePeople decide. Ironic, no?
            The Media owns this, specifically the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Times printed Senator Sanders campaign announcement on page A21(IIRC) and the Post put on line 18 hit pieces in less than a day.

            The establishment offered up a deeply flawed candidate to the electorate that was screaming for real positive change in their economic lives. She lost to a carnival barker with a 60% disapproval rating. It’s on her not the voters.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I suspect Trumps modus operandi is less ‘learning by mistake’ than ‘throwing stuff around and see what sticks’. So far he has proven remarkably teflon covered when it comes to his errors, he just pretends they didn’t happen and his supporters are happy with that so long as he scores victories too.

          Its not necessarily a bad strategy – its entirely possible he could score a lot of successes by just trying lots of things – this was, after all, what FDR advocated during the Great Depression. The problem comes when his opponents, whether they are in Congress or foreign governments, work out how to use this against him. As the Wire article posted above suggests, the Chinese are already plotting how to use his aggression to strengthen their own position geopolitically. The real test will be how he will respond to being visibly outmanoeuvred. I wouldn’t be optimistic.

          1. DH

            So far, I have only seen two things that could make Trump modify the interpretation of his order:

            1. Mo Farrah is in the US on a green card and he will now be unable to travel abroad (and return) for athletic meets. This will be high visibility evidence of something not working right.

            2. Trump’s State Visit to Britain is now in jeopardy. This would be a blow to his ego, as he is supposed to cancel, not have others cancel him. He could be accumulating state trip cancellations faster than any previous president in history, following Mexico’s cancellation.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              May and the Tories are absolutely desperate for a US/UK trade deal. There is no way they will cancel Trumps visit, it would be a disaster for her Brexit policy, such as it exists.

              1. DH

                They will likely get their meeting at 10 Downing Street but there is a high probability that Trump will have to buy a postcard to see Buckingham Palace and the Queen if it is not an official state visit. That would tock off The Donald to no end.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              (OK, I’m ready for the heaps of abuse I will receive for even suggesting this line of questioning).

              I think with the ban Trump is sending a signal about *cultural differences*. Should America make a distinction about admitting people who do not share the Judeo-Christian cultural values the nation was founded on.

              We’re told we should reject such distinctions in favor of “globalist inclusion of all peoples”. But let’s think through how that plays out.

              France is currently 11% Muslim and with a much higher birth rate that is expected to pass 50% by 2035. That majority will enable them to vote in and impose the cultural value systems they prefer. Sharia law? Maybe Notre Dame would be better as a mosque? (see Hagia Sofia)

              We can pretend these cultural value differences do not exist. May I suggest a visit to Marseilles, with a 35% Muslim population it also happens to be the most dangerous city in Europe. Women in Germany were told not to dress provocatively and not to wear heels, instead to wear tennis shoes so they can run away from attackers, whose *cultural values* may lead them to misinterpret a woman’s stylish dress. (Of course wearing a burka would solve this).

              I live near a suburb that now has a large Chinese population, and the local community center is running a show featuring a comedian. One problem: the show is in Chinese. So my choice is to either forego local entertainment or learn Mandarin?

              The Japanese and the Swiss and others seem to successfully avoid this issue. The benefit is a set of shared values that provide coherent narrative myths that help bind the society together. Are we really happy instead to aim for some kind of amalgamated least common denominator “global myth”? That perhaps includes and embraces cliteroctomies and forbidding women from driving? And if not, where is the line?

              It’s so incredibly un-PC to even pose this as a valid question. But have we even thought through the consequences and how this plays out? If I want to see women in burkas or hear Chinese comedians I can travel to Riyadh or Beijing. (Oops, no, sorry, I would not be permitted for *cultural reasons* to travel to Riyadh…)

              1. Stephen

                I love this site and especially the comment section, but it is interesting the you haven’t had any direct replies (yet) to your oh so pertinent, non p.c. question. I used to ask much the same question to my “liberal” friends but then they “unfriended” me.

              2. Patricia

                This is the opinion of many of the more conservative Evangelicals (and there are a fair number of them).

                But you know what would be simpler than having to grapple with clashes of culture? Not bombing people’s countries into hell. Then only those would join a different culture, who were amenable to much of that culture’s values.

                Too, then, they wouldn’t be carrying such rage around with them, which I also would carry if my home/city had been flattened by a bloody empire from the opposite side of the globe.

                If you find it offensive that you cannot see a comedy in English near you, how much more than offended would you be if your own town, its trees, streets, coffeeshops/bars, and theatres, were a pile of dirt and rocks merely because some rich jackass bombed it for oil?

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Thanks Patricia we are of exactly of the same mind as to US actions that immeasurably exacerbate cultural hatreds. But I’d suggest we would still need to grapple with clashes of culture even if we stopped raining bombs on brown people.
                  One problem I see is that the overarching narrative myth of America (the American Dream, upward mobility, etc) has died and there is no replacement. I personally feel all agitation should be at the *class* level rather than at the divisive gender or cultural levels…maybe I wouldn’t be bothered interacting with a woman covered head to toe with a burka so long as we both were getting a decent wage and good healthcare.

                  1. Patricia

                    IMO, we probably should no longer call a decent job, healthcare, housing, the American Dream. Other nations are better at supporting such an idea. We’ve been internally pillaged. American Fantasy, now.

                    Immigrants generally take a generation to become part of a new society, not melting pot, but to establish place/position/stability. It’s never been simple but it’s been done again and again, across nations. Patience and generosity are needed.

                    But it’s easier to be patient/generous with others when we ourselves aren’t stumbling around like abused spouses: raw angry insecure needy. And when the immigrants who arrive are carrying their own rage, yikes.

                    So yes I agree, we need to be agitating re *class*. If we managed to markedly lessen inequality (unlikely as it seems), immigrant issues would feel less onerous and threatening. Maybe even become fascinating and broadening.

                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      Hear, hear.
                      Get people to up their game when they are asking for “change”. Help them see that “divide IS conquer”, so long as people are yelling at each other about race and gender and sexual orientation then the billionaire Davos elite (R and D) can continue to ride roughshod.

                  2. Aumua

                    Your original post seems to assume that the U.S. had a real culture to begin with, or at least “Judeo-Christian values”. I assert that what culture and values America ever had has disintegrated (by our own hand) into a pile of bland consumerism, dog-eat-dog competition, isolated, disconnected boxed-in living etc. etc. etc. It’s not the immigrants’ fault that American culture is crap on top of more crap, and that it can’t stand up to actual culture and community.

                    So our solution then? Suppress and ban the ‘alien’ cultures. It’s sad all around.

                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      Gee that’s pretty harsh, I’d say that as late as 1970 you could say The Dream was still alive. Dad was working, Mom had a nice casserole in the oven, Junior was on his way to college. If you got sick you had a shot at being treated without breaking the bank, Dad’s pension was good enough to let him get in a few rounds of golf and have a rest.
                      With just a little bit of *class consciousness* we can get the billionaire class to cough up the *trillions* they have squirreled away in Panama and various other grifter schemes, we can get there again. Be hopeful.

                2. Waldenpond

                  War is horrible policy. Murdering people, destroying infrastructure, destroying communities, destabilizing communities so corporations can more easily exploit human beings and resources.

                  Emigration/immigration is a policy with many negative externalities. It isn’t needed to effect an exchange of ideas. It’s the result of activities other than war that exist equally to destabilize communities so exploitation of peoples and resources can go forth. A corporation depletes the water aquifers and people are forced to immigrate. Water is poisoned and people are forced to immigrate. Jobs are purposefully eliminated and people are forced to immigrate.

                  Domestic and foreign… immigration has many negative externalities on communities. Communities are already being pounded by the loss of jobs, infrastructure, public institutions …. emigration/immigration i.e. the turnover in the community and the loss of social connections and cohesion are another.

                  This isn’t either/or…

              3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                If democracy is about who gets 51% of the vote, then, is it something to exploit?

                Instead of sending soldiers, an aggressive state ships out strongly patriotic immigrants who will culturally identify as a block?

                And the most populous country will have the strongest advantage, given equal openness of the democracies to be invaded.

              4. Old Jake

                But Switzerland and Japan are not great experiments” with the rights and responsibilities that entails.

              5. Waldenpond

                If you have preferred traditions…. yes, you have to give them over. Immigration of conservative, religious cultures will of course change communities.

                I asked the same thing …. emigration/immigration is resource intensive, the abandonment of the local movement and yes, the abandonment of the community (that was just being discussed as important yesterday).

                Liberals/progressives have hierarchies for everything. L/Ps seem to admit that tribalism exists, but it is only to be allowed based on certain identities/beliefs. Certain identities/beliefs will be the norm and others can not be considered as a norm (I prefer to be free to associate with whom I choose and to free not to associate with those I don’t). I haven’t figured out the emigration/immigration thing yet.

                It’s very confusing. Over-population is bad, everybody immigrate. The power of wealth is increased by the ability to move across borders so labor should be allowed freedom to immigrate.

              6. DH

                Europe, Japan, and China have great difficulties assimilating people from other cultures as their very identities are based in their own ethnicity, language, and culture.

                US and Canada are melting pot/mosaic cultures where just about everybody came from somewhere else. A generation in, you can’t tell one ethnic origin from another on a phone call, but you can often figure out what state they grew up in due to their accent.

                Hypothetically, if we don’t want Muslims, then we should ban immigrants from the countries where most of them live such as Indonesia, Pakistan etc. If we want to ban radical Islamic terrorists, then we should ban immigrants Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt etc. where the people who have actually attacked us come from.

                In general, the countries that were banned have little economic importance to us at the present but many of the areas have been subject to civil war and aerial bombardments, creating lots of refugees. The vast majority just want to live in peace.

        3. LT

          “seems to be capable of adjusting and learning from mistakes…”

          Not only is the jury still out, such a statement would depend on his definition of “mistake.”

          1. DH

            I was unaware that it was possible for him to make a mistake. I thought he was the infallible supreme leader.

            1. LT

              Yep, that’s why I wouldn’t hold my breath for any apologies from Trump either. Can you imagine all the mental jujitsu you’d have to go through to try to convine him he was wrong about anything?

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Many harbor delusions of grandeur, but the real risk is when people actually believe in false saviors or Messiahs, and experience trance in huge stadiums.

                1. Massinissa

                  I usually see this kind of thing on both sides of the aisle, at regular intervals of every 4 years, for some reason. I wonder why?

                  1. LT

                    Goes back to the question I posed the other day…
                    Why does the country need the office of the President? It is very possible to have a Republic or Democracy without a president.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Or a chancellor, a prime minister.

                      Just the poliburo, without the one top guy (or gal).

        4. Dave

          January 29, 2017 at 9:39 am

          “So does that mean you now wish the “Hildabeest” had won after all? ”


          It’s confusing to know who you are replying to when a thread gets this long. How come there aren’t vertical lines leading back to what you are replying to?

        5. Oregoncharles

          “Trump Tries to Build a ‘Different Party’ Patriot Post. Nooners weighs in.”

          Maybe NOT “making it up as he goes along.” The Peggy Noonan article is definitely worth reading. He’s actually trying to keep his campaign promises, an unprecedented act that’s blowing everyone’s mind, and she says he has an avowed strategy – to make the Democrats obsolete. Remember, he used to BE a Democrat.

      3. Waking Up

        More from Glenn Greenwald’s post:

        “Beyond U.S. support for the world’s worst regimes, what primarily shapes Trump’s list is U.S. aggression: Five of the seven predominantly Muslim countries on Trump’s list were ones bombed by Obama, while the other two (Iran and Sudan) were punished with heavy sanctions. Thus, Trump is banning immigrants from the very countries that the U.S. government — under both Republicans and Democrats — has played a key role in destabilizing and destroying…”

        So, Trump is just taking the next step to “in your face” actions on the homefront which directly resulted from previous actions by Bush/Obama administrations and Congress. If we hadn’t spent the last FIFTEEN YEARS bombing the Middle East, would Donald Trump have made stopping Muslims from entering the U.S. a priority?

    2. The Trumpening

      Trump is trying to base these travel restrictions on decisions already taken by Obama. The seven countries have already been named by Obama as nations of concern. Basically Trump is taking Obama’s 2011 ban on Iraqis traveling to the US and applying it to Obama’s seven nations of concern (of which Iraq is one). When Democrats complain he will ask why they didn’t complain when Obama restricted Iraqis.

      As for Saudi Arabia, Trump needs them to reign in ISIS (along with Qatar). Implicitly the threat is now on the table for Saudi Arabia and Qatar to join this list in the coming months. Or they can stop supporting ISIS and Trump will keep them off the list. In any case the world is receiving the message that Trump is not playing. The more people complain about the Saudis not being on this list (and the complaints are 100% justified) the more leverage Trump gains over the Saudis.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Why is that so difficult for so many to understand? al CIAdah… From at least the time of bin Laden funded by US in Afghan Soviet battle times forward.

          Seems like Obama and Trump both realize it’s not a good idea to bomb the merde out of a country and them let survivors or moderate traitors who helped the empire do it, into the empire.

          And let us platinum coin our way out of the 750b US – Saudi treasury notes. Once and for all. Call it a Trump coin, put his head on it. Heck, sit back and watch the Saudis imploding on their own at that point… we’ll get more than half back in weapons sales.

          1. JTMcPhee

            None or almost none of that btrillions in weapons sale money goes to the mopes in flyover country, I believe. But “we” should be grateful it provides private island and some “good paid middle class jobs…”

      1. integer

        It’s also worth considering how this move will shape the dynamics in the Middle East. What will the extremist takfiri groups think about Saudi Arabia and Qatar not being on the list of banned countries?

        1. JustAnObserver

          Maybe a few 1000s of Riyals in a few royal palms & hey presto a Saudi/Qatari passport appears in theirs.

    3. integer

      Why Iran, but not Saudi Arabia?

      Even WaPo admits it:

      Saudi government has vast network of PR, lobby firms in U.S. April 20, 2016

      “Saudi Arabia is consistently one of the bigger players when it comes to foreign influence in Washington,” said Josh Stewart, a spokesman for the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks money and influence in politics. “That spans both what you’d call the inside game, which is lobbying and government relations, and the outside game, which is PR and other things that tend to reach a broader audience than just lobbying.”

      The Saudi government has threatened to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other U.S. assets if the bill [granting the families of 911 victims the right to sue] is passed. A White House spokesman on Monday hinted that Obama would veto the measure if Congress were to pass it.

      “Having an array of people representing the country in Washington helps Saudi Arabia keep the focus on what a great ally it is in the Middle East, not on issues like what women are and aren’t allowed to do there,” said Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director at the government watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. “Typically a country like this will hire Democrats and Republicans, to make sure it has a broad reach, and will include people who used to work for key committees or agencies — sometimes even former members of Congress.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Czan’t find the link right now but I recall an iPhone “selfie” sort of video a couple of years ago of some Saudi princeling driving his Land Rover SUV over some mope who had effendi’d him in some way. One small splat for a man, one giant illustration of the nature of mankind…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Tom Hanks in A Hologram for the King couldn’t eve have beer in the kingdom.

              Once let out, it’s understandable you would want to make up.

        2. bob

          The dart, sordid subtext-

          Prince Al- Maria, why didn’t you come over here? I have the horses out, it’s a beautiful night. The fine fabrics are catching the dessert breeze beautifuly. I told you the last time was just a misunderstanding. I did not mean force you to be my 4th wife, we are very generous people, see? We just bought one of your banks. This is not a one way deal. Come over here and I’ll explain it all. I’ll meet you at the airport, just please come! I promise not to have my security detail with me, they were the cause of that last accident. I’ll ride in on horseback. I have many horses.

      1. LT

        And why not Pakistan, too?
        But then I remember that the Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are big arms customers for the USA …among other things.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And the Pakistani Spy-vs-Spy types and their institutions are the CIA’s kind of people, part of the whole filthy “great game-ery” that the participants know damn well has nothing to do with “protecting the nation” and everything to do with constant play of that idiot Game of Risk! that has the Atomic Scientists nudging the doomsday clock ever closer to midnight.

          Hell is a security state bureaucracy tied to a war economy…

      2. LT

        I think the Trump administration is using this week’s ban on immigrants, refugees, and visa holders to get a clearer “shot” at who the opposition will be.
        Who are the judges, organizations to target and where are the weak links.
        It’s a chaos created to prepare for a long fight.
        Hope everyone stays as safe as possible.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          So far, it’s mostly the usual suspects, plus maybe one judge.

          On the other hand, recalcitrant NeverHillary people are further exposed and can now be better tracked…or so it seems.

          “Repent! Sign the confession that you failed Hillary, and then, you can leave this star chamber.”

      3. Carla

        Why on earth would any former member of Congress going to work for any foreign government not be charged with treason? I really don’t understand my country at all.

      4. juliania

        They are assuredly on my list. I read a library item a while back about Saudis shopping sprees in the US. Nieman Marcus would be lost without them.

        Good riddance.

    4. timbers

      Why Iran, but not Saudi Arabia? – TTG Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

      Wish another question was being asked like “Travel visas, but not work visas?”

      I would have been a lot happier if Trump went after those ever increasing H1B visas I see flooding Boston area public transportation on their way into our work force each day and making it harder for me to get better paying jobs.

      I’ve seen entire IT Departments at major corporations – Citizens Bank, State Street Corp – staffed with 100% browned skinned Indians with not a single white person (American) to be seen.

      How has that gone unnoticed as possible racial hiring? And yet I’ve worked with middle aged white Americans in lesser paying jobs yet have those skills.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Serious question – is there really that many H1B’s issued to make such a visible difference? Its not a subject I know much about, but wikipedia indicates that 150,000 are issued every year, which would mean there would be around 0.5 to 1 million people in the entire US on a H1B. With around 40 million foreign born in the US, in overall terms, thats pretty much a drop in the ocean – around 2-3%. And of course lots of them are blonde East Europeans, like a certain Mrs. Trump. I wonder if those people you are seeing are on other visas.

        1. timbers

          I’ve read it is about 600,000. Yearly issues are added to existing previous pool, I think. See quote below. I’m no expert, but I see what is in front of my eyes at work and on the Redline T (public transportations) every morning going to work, and the entire apartment complexes occupied by Indians.

          Just take a ride on the Redline in Boston area and see for yourself. Plus, Obama recently allowed the spouses to H1B workers to come and work in the U.S. If you know how people from say Brazil get into the U.S. and acquire citizenship thru fake marriage, this basically means in theory that H1B’s could be been effectively almost doubled what ever figure is accurate.

          Debate over the H-1B foreign worker program often focuses on the number of visas issued each year for one sub-category, 65,000. But that number, while accurate, is misleading; to understand the full impact of this, or any other, long-term non-immigrant program, we need to know not just the annual admissions — the “flow” — but also the “stock,” the number of people here in that status at any given time. There is no official estimate of the size of the total H-1B population; our estimate is 650,000 as of September 30, 2009, 10 times larger than the flow number usually referred to.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Perhaps concentration in certain locales contributes to impress more vividly.

            You do not expect to find H1B visa holders in, say, rural areas in the Rust Belt where the country needs rejuvenation and revitalization.

          2. Ann

            Yes, I suspect the numbers are larger than reported, in part because employers use visas besides H-1B to employ foreign workers.

            So there are two problematic areas here: the hiring of foreign workers to displace Americans, and the hiring of foreign workers in lieu of Americans. H-1B is largely used to displace older workers; this is the situation you commonly hear about where experienced workers lose their jobs and are forced to train their replacements as a condition of their severance. Older workers are more seasoned but also more expensive, and today, you can define “older” as anyone over 35.

            There is also OPT (Optical Practical Training), which allows employers to hire foreign graduates to work for up to three years after graduation (in STEM fields, it’s only one year for others, I think). This used to be in effect for just one year but in 2016, it was extended to three years for STEM graduates. Without OPT, those entry-level jobs would have to go to younger US-born workers or anyone who needed to reinvent themselves in a beginner’s position.

            To tell you the truth, I’ve heard about employers using pretty much any visa they can get their hands on to get their cheap labor. Like Timbers, I wish Trump would focus more on this.

        2. SoCal Rhino

          I think the typical progression is outsource 80-90 per cent of the work to a low cost region, then bring in workers on visas to replace most of the remnant. The host of the Confluence blog describes a similar dynamic in pharma research. No idea what that looks like for the US as a whole but 10 million seems a better guess than 1.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Do they include H1B visas in the Bureau of Labor statistics, like number of jobs created?

        3. Yves Smith

          They are significant enough that there are virtually no entry level jobs for computer science graduates. Go read Slashdot. For the last 10+ years, they’ve from time to time featured posts by recent grads lamenting their inability to find a job, and the oldsters will tell them there pretty much aren’t any and how to get by despite that. Mind you, this sort of thing started before the financial crisis.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am watching A Hologram for the Kingdom, and not very realistically, it seems to me, none of Tom Hanks’ IT team from Relyand Corporation looks like a H1B visa holder.

            All three of them look like graduates of American universities.

            The director fails badly on the diversity front there.

        4. DH

          The tech firms dominate the H1B applications. A high percentage of their staff are H1B. Imagine the uproar in NYC if the financial sector and hedge funds drew most of their entry level staffing from H1B visas. The people who had sent their kids to the private kindergartens, prep schools, and Harvard would be screaming.

      2. Jason Boxman

        It particularly sucks because the cost of housing here in Boston is crazy. I haven’t noticed this so much because I just moved here recently and work in Kendall Sq. I guess this is the financial district area? I’m always looking to meet new people in the Boston area. Send me an email if you’d like.

        1. timbers

          Yes. In Quincy, entire apartment complexes are known to be mostly/entirely Indian. And I’ve spoken to Indians who tell me Quincy is not an especially popular Indian place to live. On a hot summer day you drive by one with a pool full of traditional Indian women who must be fully clothed, as they wade into the pool in front of the complex. It literally stops traffic it is such a spectacle for the U.S.

      3. Lambert Strether

        Hmm. Does their skin color matter? If so, why? Suppose the H1B’s came from, say, Ireland. Would that be different? If so, why?

        I would have thought losing one’s job, and no doubt training one’s successor, would be the main focus. And, of course, the management that made it all possible!

        1. Waldenpond

          If the job immigrants are brown, maybe R elites aren’t acting out racism, maybe the job immigrants are better for the bottom line in which case the Rs have just another front on their class war.

        2. timbers

          Skin color matters in that you can more quickly realize the group of people you see are likely Indian and H1B workers. It is unusual to have an entire office room or area filled only with dark skinned people in Quincy, Ma when the rest of the office is varied. Beyond that of course skin color doesn’t matter.

        3. Laughingsong

          Actually a portion do come from Ireland. However, the population difference (~5 million vs. 1 billion+) means they could never be an overwhelming majority :-)

          As someone who has worked in computer tech since the mid-80s, I can say that the practice has slowly increased over that time, with an acceleration after 2000. It’s not strictly a skin color thing, except for the fact that a lions share of the replacements are from Asia. But I have seen whole departments of companies I worked for replaced both by H1B and outsourcing. These two things are all of a piece.

          1. timbers

            ZH just up with graphs on related subject – not H1B but immigrants in general. As you say regarding H1B, most come from Asia. Ireland doesn’t even make the top ten list. U.S. far and away takes in the most. India is leading immigrants sending nation edging out Mexico at 2nd. I’ll make an educated guess that India sends the most to the U.S. and one leading reason is H1B. Maybe Trump needs to take his Mexican Wall and place it around India …. (half joking. I think.)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The invisible walls people put up in their hearts to those dying in the Rust Belt.

              All in all, just more walls with or without bricks.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Yes, immigration has essentially the same effect on native labor as offshoring, somewhat modified because the activity takes place in the American economy. This is an example of the misapplication of Ricardo’s rationale for “free trade” – his theory “assumes” minimal movement of either capital or labor.

            Yet it’s used by economists to justify the free movement of capital – and sometimes even labor, when it’s convenient (H1B) for their corporate masters.

            Corporate globalization was the issue that got me involved in politics. It hasn’t gone away.

      1. marym

        He’s now also dropped troops into Yemen.

        Medics at the scene said 30 people were killed, including 10 women and three children.

        Eight-year old Anwar al-Awlaki – the daughter of U.S.-born Yemeni preacher and al Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011 – was among the children who died in the raid, according to her grandfather.

        Source in Yemen says the people targeted in the US raid in Yemen were not senior people. Among the dead: several children and one US soldier

        1. pretzelattack

          so that’s 3 people from that family that have been assassinated by the us. making america safe by killing children.

    5. Felix_47

      I believe that much of Citibank was owned by Saudis and Gulf Arabs. I wonder how much of the bailout was aimed at preserving their equity. I have not seen much written about it. Do any of the readers know? Was the USG bailing out Saudi investors? Of course given the insane population growth of Saudi at some point we will have to face poor, starving Saudi immigrants. I wonder if the welcome mat will be out for them or the displaced Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers in Saudi.

      1. integer

        I couldn’t find up to date info however here is some info on (Saudi prince who is thought to be the manager of the Saud family’s personal investments) Alwaleed bin Talal’s Citi investment:

        Alwaleed invested in Citigroup through Kingdom Holding in 1991 with an ownership of 3.6 percent and in January 2008 participated in a $12.5 billion private offering of convertible preferred securities of Citigroup, Kingdom Holding said in the statement.

        He was also involved in this:

        But the plan to bail out the Saudi Prince, Sandy Weill and a select group of “private investors” is cryptically contained in this proxy statement dated June 18, 2009.

        The private investors, who made their purchases on or around January 15, 2008 were going to be made whole on their $12.5 billion investment on or around March 18, 2009, despite the fact that Citigroup’s stock had fallen by 88 percent in that period of time. (Their preferred stock was convertible into common.)

        From what I understand, all up he owns about 4%, and Abu Dhabi owns about 5%.

    6. Chief Bromden

      One of the commenters under the Sic post linked to another piece showing that Trump’s XO is just an extension of Obama’s previous…. and that it was Obama’s DHS that singled out the different countries- which is now being done by the media and not the WH. Somebody run this through the traps.

      “The President Obama Department of Homeland Security already targeted those seven listed countries for the past several years as nations of concern.

      In February of 2016 the Department of Homeland Security announced that was continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of additional concern.

      DHS: “limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.” DHS noted “the three additional countries designated today join Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria as countries subject to restrictions for Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals.”

      President Trump is carrying out an executive action in support of the US Customs and Border Protection Act of 2015, which relates to “the Visa Waiver Program and Terrorist Travel Protection Act of 2015“. President Trump did not select seven countries – the US Congress and Obama’s Department of Homeland Security had singled out these countries.”

        1. Chief Bromden

          Ha! Apologies… it’s a hunting phrase used to “run” back and see if you actually caught something in your trap set. I was just trying to see if any of the well-informed around here could corroborate the story. I am suffering from research exhaustion from all the misdirection going on in the media.

          1. Waldenpond

            This is one of the last few sites I read. There is plenty to research no matter what one consumes.

      1. Sandy

        You are wrong, Obama did not want that ban. Republicans stuck it in a big Appropriations bill so Obama could not practically veto it.

        That visa waiver suspension combined with Fridays So is why dual citizens such as an Iranian-Australian living in Australia for 30 years cannot even visit the US as tourists right now.

        1. Chief Bromden

          Sandy, I was not making any assertions, hence my question. As for whatever Obama “wanted”, I can only survey 8 years of collusion with the “Republican” faction of the united Kleptocrat party of the United states with regards to corporate/military adventures- both abroad and domestic- which are entirely too hairy for someone like me to try and disentangle. My personal opinion is that this script was handed down by Bibi and the PNAC and was merely in a holding pattern waiting for the proper stage cue.

          Gulen, one of the most prominent Islamo-terrorists in the world, is sitting in a blue team cultivated safe haven compound in Pennsylvania thumbing through his congress critter caucus bribe slush fund…..but Obama “thinks” Putin is sticking his nose into U.S. sovereign affairs. This whole security thing is an offense to good kabuki theatre.

          I’ve got my popcorn out wondering if Trump will try to build a wall around Florida.

    7. Isolato

      The United States dollar would be worth much less were it not for the “Petrodollar”, that is, the requirement by OPEC (and particularly Saudi Arabia) to only accept dollars for oil. This creates an artificial external demand for our currency that allows us to run 500 billion dollar trade deficits year after year. At least that is how I understand it.

      And, as noted further down in the comments the Sauds have not been shy about threatening to use their dollar holdings in revenge if we allow 9/11 suits to proceed.

      1. Yves Smith

        I haven not had time to debunk this, but the argument is bogus. However, it is widely deployed, I expect as a justification for our US bank-boosting “strong dollar” policy, which helps them at the expense of workers.

        The invoicing requirement is irrelevant. The Saudis can trade their dollars for another currency any time they want to. The Chinese wind up holding a lot of dollars as a result of selling to the US. Historically they held Treasuries because they are liquid and pay interest. They have been diversifying their FX reserves to include more of other currencies. Has anyone cared? Has this created a crisis? No.

        And selling their holdings would have no impact. The US creates its own currency and does not need to issue debt to fund operations.

        1. Oregoncharles

          On a large enough scale, it would have a big POLITICAL impact, because “printing” dollars to fund operations is against long-standing policy. (The “cui bono” is pretty obvious.)

          Wouldn’t it weaken the dollar? That would be good for workers and bad for banks, as you say.

          1. alex morfesis

            In my useless opinion, Most economic theories about money printing and inflation seem to take out the mitigating disinflationary value of modern equity markets…the excess money ends up pushing up the russell 3000…sadly, too much of the money never makes it out of corporate america…but there will be no great inflation from “money printing”…credit printing perhaps is what creates inflation…not money printing…most economies are based on capital allocations…

            there is not and has never been any solid money…even gold backed money was a myth since the “holders” of the gold were self auditing….there was no professional accounting world in the days of “your royale…”(not sure we actually have one today either)

            Track down a copy of “a counting house dictionary” by richard bithell (1893)…available as a public domain book download…300+ pages of currency & money history…

            Hopefully the take away from anyone who reads it is that life goes on…and humanity adjusts…
            and thallars become dollars and the latin monetary union collapsed because germany cheated…leading to ny fed chair (& macys ceo) Ruml talking and walking the idea of a united europe just after ww2 to the euro today…

            He who makes the gold makes the rules…alchemists all…

        2. aab

          Yves, I know making requests is not allowed, but should you ever decide to put up a piece or do a link to a piece that explains to we amateurs what EXACTLY is truly necessary for the United States to maintain its fiat currency, I would be deeply grateful. I know I should educate myself much more thoroughly on fiat and MMT issues, but having failed to help bring Democratic Socialism to America, I really need to focus on income-producing activities at this point.

          But it seems to me that to break the neoliberal stranglehold on this country, we absolutely have to understand and be able to explain not just that we have a fiat currency, but what is necessary to maintain it, and what is not. Is our relationship with the House of Saud necessary? It sounds like it’s not. Is our military being stationed and utilized around the globe on behalf of resource extracting companies and dictatorships necessary? I hear that all the time — that our military is what backs up our fiat, and without it, all the great arguments for MMT-based social spending would be moot. Would searching through New Economic Perspectives article titles find me the information I need?

          1. John k

            A good start, plus warren Mosler 7 innocent frauds. Can be read free.

            We have a trade deficit because many foreign savers want to save dollars, and the only way they can obtain them is to sell us more stuff than we sell them. Think about it… would you want to save yuan? This has little to do with our military or Saudi oil and a lot with our willingness to run trade deficits.

            A second reason is that china and Germany think they are better off, I.e. Less unemployment, if they sell us more stuff than we sell them, which forces them to save dollars. They would rather receive interest on their dollar holdings, so they use the dollars to buy treasuries.
            Imagine they want to hurt us, and choose to dump their treasuries? First they sell interest paying treasuries for dollars… what then? Buy our stuff? Buy Saudi oil and store it? Buy gold and store that? So what does the seller do with the cash? If they want to earn interest, they buy treasuries… or, they can buy our stuff. Or use green toilet paper… options are limited.

            In any event the fed can always vacuum up any amount of treasuries if the market place doesn’t want them. Note that the QE programs vacuumed up far more treasuries than were issued… now it is the fed that earns interest on all these notes, not the private sector, I.e. The private sector receives less payments than before, obviously deflationary. And what does fed do with its new interest received from treasury? Gives it back to treasury. So, of course fed could just vacuum up all the treasuries and burn them.

            Crying some foreign gov could hurt us by dumping treasuries feeds neolib policies of low deficits, not realizing that fed deficit is private sector net income… or would be if trade were in balance…
            Trade deficit drains cash to foreign savers, local savers also drain cash, must be compensated by fiscal deficit plus net new bank loans to avoid net drain, falling demand, and recession, but locals can’t afford more loans, fiscal deficit too small to compensate for world wide savers, result recession until automatic stabilizers kick, boosting deficit and cash to private sector.
            And fed raising interest rates, reducing housing auto demand, thinking trump will spend big on infra… but not till 2018, if then…

          2. Grebo

            we have a fiat currency, but what is necessary to maintain it, and what is not.

            As long as the government is able to collect most of the taxes it levies its fiat will remain in demand domestically.
            External demand is affected by various factors including the Dollar’s perceived stability and safety relative to other currencies, and its usefulness in trade with third parties. The petrodollar may not be decisive in this, but the State Department obviously thinks it’s pretty important.

          3. ChrisAtRU

            Nothing “maintains” a fiat per se except the fact that it is the government’s unit of account, and the government imposition of taxes denominated in this unit of account obligate citizens to acquire and use the fiat currency. This is Chartalism. See Pavlina Tcherneva here.

            Chartalism explains how a sovereign nation is able to afford anything denominated in its own currency (disclaimer: not pegged to any other; freely floating; non-convertible to gold or other metal), since such a nation is the monopoly creator/issuer of said currency. So those of us in the #MMT community always say it’s never a question of affordability when we’re talking about things like Healthcare, the social safety net or infrastructure spending. The real question is whether high spending by the government will create undesirable inflation.

            When it comes to the external sector, MMT uses Wynne Godley‘s sectoral balances approach to show that government deficits are not inherently bad, and that further, in cases where a nation like the US, for example, has persistent trade deficits, a government deficit is absolutely necessary to maintain the financial well being of the private sector (households and businesses).

            Neoliberalism rejects everything above. Neoliberals are against government spending because they believe incorrectly that any increase in the money supply creates inflation. See an interesting rebuttal to Milton Friedman’s “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon …” belief here by none other than the Dallas Fed. Neoliberals focus on monetary policy as the preferred instrument to regulate the economy. Low interest rates are posited as the main mechanism by which economic activity can be increased. Folks in the #MMT community see income and sales as the main drivers of economic activity, and focus on improving things like the wage share of national income (payroll tax holiday, min wage increase etc) and the use of fiscal policy.

            IMO, America’s excursions around the world are not fundamentally about creating or maintaining value in the currency. In the twisted neoliberal playbook, they do constitute more avenues for an assortment of odious players to benefit from freer capital flows. Oddly enough, one of the reasons the USD is so widely accepted is that the US is seen as a paragon of stability. I remember when the S&P lowered the US debt rating. Very next auction, the US had no problems selling treasuries at still very low rates. Granted, those of us on the #MMT side don’t see that exercise as the US “getting into crippling debt”, but for some countries in the EZ who truly have to finance themselves, a similar downgrade can be disastrous.

            If you’re familiar with NEP, I would recommend going through the MMT Primer there at your own pace. I followed along as Randy Wray was writing it, and he actually answered questions from site visitors.

            1. aab

              Thank you for this. Hopefully, you all have taught me enough that I’ll be able to get through Tcherneva’s text. I follow her on Twitter, so perhaps if I get lost, I can ask her directly. (Hey, Kelton’s retweeted me; anything’s possible.)

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              My problem with the above is that goosing the “fiscal” side eventually means government accounts for a bigger and bigger share of economic activity. I read that gov’t share of GDP in 1913 was 14% and today it’s 40%. In France the number is closer to 70%. Of course in communist countries (in theory) it is 100%. Do we think government is an efficient user and deployer of capital?

              1. ChrisAtRU

                I disagree about the “goosing”. The way I like to phrase is that if the government spends $W employing people, where do those people spend the money? Do they go to the government general store to get food and other goods? Do they gas up their vehicles at a government owned gas station? When you bring in the multiplier effect, you realize that what MMT’ers say about government spending going directly to private sector net financial assets is true. And in this regard, I think you may be conflating economic activity with owning “the means of production and distribution”. In communist countries, where there is little or no concept of private enterprise, my little anecdote goes topsy-turvy, right? Because yes, in such countries, money spent by the government (in the form of wages, for example) invariably comes back to government via a vast network of state owned companies and institutions. As for efficiency, well I dunno … I like to poke fun at current efforts in “space privatization”. Let’s defund NASA, which can basically launch shit in its sleep, and have private sector n00bs like Musk take over … basically learning (and blowing up rockets) as they go along. Doesn’t seem very efficient to me. ;-)

    8. LT

      It’s not only Trump’s businesses. You also have to remember that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are major buyers of US arms and weapons.
      Again, it’s important not to loose sight of the deep state players while the “orange clown” performs.

    9. LT

      I’m only posting this again because comments keep defaulting to lacations all over the place. Hoping clearing my cache helps:

      The Saudis and Pakistan buy a lot of weapons from the USA.

  2. witters

    “Putin uses social conservatism and nationalist rhetoric to deepen his authoritarian rule — hence his support for anti-LGBT legislation that criminalizes “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors and statements that jailed members of the feminist, anticapitalist punk band Pussy Riot “got what they asked for.”

    Anticapitalist punk band?

    What have I missed?

    1. ambrit

      “P—y Riot” is really a Dadaist collective. They use sexual hijinks in public places as social criticism. Imagine, oh, someone using fellatio in the Oval Office as a means of defining down political “classism.”

        1. ambrit

          Gore Vidals books of “Underground History” disguised as fiction about Americas ruling elites paint a pretty fair picture of the City and the Pillar.
          As for Samantha Power, well, what can I say?

    1. fresno dan

      January 29, 2017 at 7:53 am

      A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings.***

      As I shall explain, in the short term, the incompetence is actually good news for people who believe in visa and refugee policies based on criteria other than—let’s not be coy about this—bigotry and religious discrimination. The President has created a target-rich environment for litigation that will make his policies, I suspect, less effective than they would have been had he subjected his order to vetting one percent as extreme as the vetting to which he proposes to subject refugees from Bashar al-Assad and the bombing raids of Vladimir Putin.

      Two points.
      1. Bush, being politically and administratively more savvy, was able to institute torture, i.e., enhanced interrogation pretty easily. Funny how many were for it before they were against it…
      2. The courts were pretty damn supine and were enthusiastic to use national defense and terrorism to excuse almost anything, such as torture or ever more government monitoring. AND this went on NOT only under Bush but Obama. Now all of a sudden the courts will find their spine???

      If Trump gives the press, the courts, even the congress the b*lls to stand up to the president, that will be a very good thing. Or Trump will learn Washington speak, and do what he wants in the mumbo jumbo of verbosity.

      ***I hope that border agent knew Trump’s twitter account….

    2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Comprehensive and informative– I would have linked to this piece if I’d seen it (and will certainly include it in tomorrow’s Links). In the interim, readers should read this. Thanks for posting this Carla.

      1. Carla

        You’re most welcome. And thank YOU Jerri-Lynn, and of course Yves and Lambert, for all your hard work on Naked Capitalism. We need NC now more than ever. In fact, I think I’ll visit the Tip Jar.

      2. Carolinian

        refugees from Bashar al-Assad and the bombing raids of Vladimir Putin.

        Maybe not that informative. In Syria’s case they are refugees from the war that we the US along with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and their partners created. Russia wasn’t even in the picture until a few months ago. Pretty sloppy lawyers.

        1. Michael

          I agree.

          I hope everyone is reviewing the differences between a visa and a green card, as well as the different types of green cards, ie some are conditional. The abuse of them by people to come and go as they please has gone on for years.

          Also the court orders, there are four I think, are very limited at this point.

          Did people really think there wouldn’t be a slowdown in the admission of entrants starting Jan 20?

          1. beth

            Personally, I would prefer that their be a slow down of work visas/green cards w/o jeopardizing those who are already admitted. They have been used to lower the wage rate in more professions than IT.

            I recently had an immigrant complain about the low pay of medical researchers. She was a young woman who has worked for a major medical university for 15 years. I have no personal knowledge, but have heard that it is happening with architects also.

            Back in 2002, I met a young computer techie from India who complained to me that he was only making $50 thousand whereas Americans with less knowledge were making $100,000. He was correct, but what he didn’t understand was that fewer and fewer Americans were in that position.

            Americans who were on an inside track in my city, were sifted through a local favored University. Many companies hired only from this pool for the higher paying positions.

            There was a strong anti-female, anti-black bias also. Taking a course there to learn a new language, I was assumed to not be capable and the genius middle-aged instructor was “surprised” at my score on the first exam which he stated publicly in a class of 50. Why?

            Yet, let me emphasize that kicking out people already here will jeopardize our knowledge base and only hurt all of us in the long run. Yesterday I learned of an immigrant who had gone back to his home country for a visit and Trump was not allowing him back. I do hope this is temporary and to allow Trump to “show off.”

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Almost quit reading at that point myself but I did continue and the author clearly states their bias a little later:

          As readers of my work know, I believe in strong counterterrorism powers. I defend non-criminal detention. I’ve got no problem with drone strikes. I’m positively enthusiastic about American surveillance policies. I was much less offended than others were by the CIA’s interrogations in the years after September 11. I have defended military commissions.

          So my takeaway from this is that if even a fan of torture and extrajudicial murder is finding fault with this executive order, there is definitely something wrong with it.

        3. Olga

          Wow – do we really need another piece blaming Assad and Russians for the effects of the war on Syria? Really….? Isn’t there already enough mis(fake)-information?

          1. alex morfesis

            Sadly he is talking his wifes book…she worked for $hillary at foggy bottom…at the time of the “new troubles” in syria…her post “near middle east”…her gig…”democratic” transitions…mepi

            Trumpettes needed to make sure the media did not focus on his call to the former kgb agent raz-putin…mission accomplished…

            For all the noise of el donaldo being “out pf control”…

            There are very few things as complicated or as treacherous ss building a tower in an urban environment…a thousand things can and usually go wrong…he might be an ass but he is no idiot…and not crazy…

            The wild man or unreasonable guy or greedy guy is an opening gambit in a “walk back and win” negotiation strategy…one can climb up or climb down….

            When you climb down, your opposite imagines “they” won, when you were playing them all along…

      3. Foppe

        Unasked question for the reader: what’s “morally worse”: WJClinton who happily refuses to end the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity in ~’96 (or any of the other things discussed by Frank in Listen, Liberal) in order to virtue-signal towards his desired base, or Trump who deliberately crafts this EO, in order to virtue-signal towards his desired base. If either is worse than the other, why? Because it is (not) recognized as evil? Because it’s bureaucratically incompetent/savvy?

    3. jgordon

      From that article: “I believe in strong counterterrorism powers. I defend non-criminal detention. I’ve got no problem with drone strikes. I’m positively enthusiastic about American surveillance policies. I was much less offended than others were by the CIA’s interrogations in the years after September 11. I have defended military commissions. Some of these policies were effective…”

      From my perspective the refugee acceptance program is just a neocon/globalist effort to invite in a fifth column full of criminals and terrorists to destabilize politics and terrorize citizens. Once that is thoroughly achieved the corporatist authoritarians then get to drop in a ready-made totalitarian police state to “keep everyone safe”. It’s really no surprise that the neocon you linked to there was horrified that their little destabilisation effort was halted.

      1. Katniss Everdeen


        Malevolence is dangerous in the hands of inexperienced amateurs.

        It should remain the exclusive province of bona fide experts, who know what it’s supposed to be used for, and how to use it “competently.”

        These people were never going to go away quietly.

      2. Waldenpond

        Well, USians are decidedly passive lot. It’s rather hard for the corporatists to cull the excess labor from the herd when they don’t fight back. The elite have lit the fuse multiple times and the darn thing keeps fizzling out. They’ve made people homeless and pffft. They starve people and pfffft. They’ve militarized the police and pfffft. What else are they supposed to do to up the violence? .

      3. Aumua

        Wow, so you guys are subscribing to that? Refugees are part of a plan to bring violence to the U.S. and destabilize the population? Asserted with no evidence, and you’re backing that? And this is being done by who, exactly?

        I disagree with that assessment. From my perspective, the world is simply a smaller and smaller place as we go forward, and whatever nefarious plans may be in place by TPTB, ultimately all borders must soften, and the problems of some of us, are the problems of all of us. Is it not obvious yet?

        “I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
        I’ve heard their stories, heard them all
        but love’s the only engine of survival”

        1. Waldenpond

          Why must borders soften? Moving humans is resource intensive. Is this moving the labor pool or a response to war profiteering?

          Also, emigration/immigration are not compatible with the call to buy local, grow local, manufacture local, develop jobs locally, use local labor … is this abandoned already? What is it replaced with?

          1. Aumua

            Because ultimately borders are imaginary constructs, arbitrary lines on a map. Because although we Earth people have real differences, what’s more important is how we are alike. Because we in the west have been living well at the expense of the rest of the world for some time, and part of wealth redistribution means population redistribution. Because the human species must mix to survive.

            The globalists have their ideas, I know, but what I’m talking about is more fundamental than any machinations of global control imposed by the elites. They are working together globally, across various kinds of borders, and we have to work together, worldwide to cast off the oppression that is on us all. And by all, I mean everyone on Earth.

            I know that I tend to shoot from the hip, and I admit my argument is not very well supported. I apologize for that.

            1. moving left

              I think you are talking about a kind of “local” globalization (to coin an oxymoron). Immigrants are often people quite like us who come to form part of our communities, some refugees, some not. We need to work with them, and others like them in other countries, to counter the ” machinations of global control imposed by the elites.”

              I agree with you (and I think we may live in the same state, perhaps city).

            2. jgordon

              Just watched The Jimmy Dore show tonight where he debunks this whole Trump muslim ban fake news thing. I didn’t even realize how messed up this was until I saw it:


              Turns out you all can thank Obama for everything. Just another case of Obama trying to blame Trump for something Obama has been doing, and the corrupt fake news corporate media going along with it

              1. Aumua

                I watched the video (at 2x speed, thank you youtube), and it does not really debunk anything. It points out that there were already (limited) travel restrictions in place for some people traveling from certain countries, it makes the (good) point that it was our bombing in the first place that displaced many of these people, and it accuses the media of selective coverage, which of course is true.

                Yes, there is some major hypocrisy going on, but that doesn’t excuse Trump, and unfortunately as full of sh*t as the anti Trump contingent has been, they may just be right about some things. It is a very unfortunate situation all around.

                moving left: something like that ^_^ it’s not strong on practical details I know.

                1. jgordon

                  First, I don’t disagree with anything Trump has done here. The Supreme Court itself has determined that the executive branch has sole and nigh unlimited authority to decide who can or can’t enter the United States. IE Trump has every legal right to ban whoever he wants from the US for any reason or no reason.

                  Secondly, you may have missed the part where Trump’s executive order very specifically *only* mentions Syria. And that makes sense because the CIA has been drone bombing Syria and training/arming terrorists there to overthrow the elected government of Syria. The Syrian refugees who come to America all have reason to hold serious grudges against America. Yes, Obama and America destroyed their lives and wiped out their relatives and now Obama’s supporters want to invite them in to live next to them. We could probably call that “justice” but as a practical matter it’s not very smart.

                  And as already stated, Trump did not target any other state but Syria with his order. Anything else was previous discriminatory policies arranged by Obama that Trump only enhanced a bit.

                  1. marym

                    I’m not going to listen to the Dore show, so you don’t have to read this twitter thread (5 tweets) but the claim in the thread is that Obama designated the countries as dangerous to visit, but they

                    were NOT designated as a source of immigrant-related terrorism, which is a different metric for immigration considerations.

                    I also don’t think tones of people with green cards were being detained at airports around the country as a matter of course. Many of this week-end’s detainees are seasoned travelers with reasons of family, work, medical treatment, and school taking them back and forth without the detention or deportation taking place now.

                  2. Aumua

                    Trump’s order only explicitly mentions Syria. It mentions the other countries via referring to section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), a list that yes, was made under the Obama administration. But Trump has targeted ALL of the countries, explicitly and implicitly mentioned in his order, with an outright ban on travel to the U.S. which was not in place before this.

                    Maybe Jimmy Dore doesn’t think we can read. I don’t know, but this disingenuous, misleading B.S. is why I don’t listen to the guy. Whatever correct points he makes is overshadowed by his willingness to use the exact same kind of selective fact emphasis and sensationalism that he accuses the MSM of using.

                    1. jgordon

                      We have gotten this far, and so I would now like everyone to note that you have not yet stated that 1) these refugees are harmless and 2) that Trump does not have the authority to keep them out. If you do want to say those things, please take the opportunity to do so now.

                      From my perspective we have a group of dangerous people and Trump is exercising his lawful authority to keep them out. In opposition we have powerless people (because Americans just booted them out office all across America) who are whining about Trump’s (popular and lawful) policies. I don’t think this is a good idea, but ok.

                    2. Aumua

                      Well I can’t very well state those things jgordon, because there is no reply button on your post. Sorry bout that.

                    3. marym

                      Reply to jgordan January 30, 2017 at 1:30 am

                      1) Refugee ban


                      “This is a response to a phantom menace. From 1975 to the end of 2015, 20 refugees have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all in the 1970s.
                      Zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The annual chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.6 billion. The other 17 convictions have mainly been for aiding or attempting to join foreign terrorists.”

                      (so the already existing vetting process had been effective)

                      2) Yes, the executive has sweeping powers. As of last night at least 4 courts had ruled that even these may have been exceeded. Whether these powers should be legal is of course a larger question.

          2. Grebo

            Why must borders soften?

            Because I should be free to go where I want, and so should everyone else, unless there’s a specific reason a specific person should not be.

            1. aab

              True. But the current system disempowers most of us, and we need a process to gain enough power to change it. We’re not calling a global plebiscite any time soon, and if we did, frankly, it would probably not go the way Western citizens want. We use more of the resources yet have a smaller percentage of overall population.

              If someone has a better idea than to throw out the globalists and push like hell for democratic socialism within national borders as step one to fixing this mess, I’m all ears. But even that goal is going to be hard to achieve.One world democratic government with one fiat currency in which everybody’s share of fiat travels with them everywhere would be awesome in many ways, but I can already think of numerous obstacles and problems. The evidence at the moment is that human society doesn’t scale up well.

            2. Waldenpond

              The borderless position seems to be some hybrid of libertarian tribal (theocracy based on population) system that loops back on itself.

              Finance is globalized (borderless). Elite rule is globalized (borderless). A large amount of labor is globalized (borderless). The solution to the negative externalities is to increase the globalization of people.

              Eliminate arbitrary country borders and what? Eliminate govt? Have multiple digital currencies as there are logistical difficulties in distributing paper currency world wide? If everyone has the right to settle anywhere they want….. no parks, no reserves, no protected lands or species? If yes, we have just circled around to arbitrary boundaries and necessary enforcement.

              1. Grebo

                That people are free to go somewhere does not imply that they are also free to ignore the local laws when they get there. Nor that there should be no local laws.

                The Daily Mail used to have stories about Polish immigrants eating the Queen’s swans (they are all the Queen’s). Maybe it actually happened. But if they were caught they’d rightly be put in the stocks like any local poacher.

                Mind you, if there were the death penalty specially for Polish swan eaters I’d look askance at that.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I strongly suspect that Trump and those around him know full well that these orders will never survive legal challenge and are probably unenforceable.

      The whole point is two-fold.

      1. Create the impression that he is fulfilling his election pledges.
      2. When they fall apart, he can blame the courts, the Dems, other Republicans, etc.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        The idea that campaign promises are meant to be kept is a dangerous precedent to set. Voters may come to expect it.

        I’d imagine the “courts” and other politicians are eager to prevent such blasphemy from gaining any sort of a foothold in the minds of the body politic.

      2. jsn

        More than that, they are actually designed to fall apart. By the time they fall apart, which will take a while all of which time he’ll be credited by his base for having delivered, his team will have figured out how they can really use these policies here and abroad and re-tool them accordingly.

        Taken in context with the Noonan article, the Visa kerfuffle is dazzle camouflage for a frontal assault on the environment and what residue of loyalty (very little I expect) the Dimmercat party still has from unions. This implies potential long term, major internal political realignments.

        Backwards looking infrastructure with attendant well paid jobs is where Trump is most likely to succeed and actually improve the lot of his base. So while he’s working on that he’s got the best minds in the Dimmercat party asking “Why isn’t Saudi Arabia on the Visa black list?” and as The Trumpeing mentioned above that just gives him leverage agains the Saudis. If “the opposition” keeps chasing the shinny toys, he’s going to succeed.

      3. DH

        Much of the executive order is probably constitutional because the Executive Branch has a lot of latitude on immigration. It is likely that green card and other visa holders will end up exempted by the courts because they have gone through promulgated regulatory processes. Congress may put specific waivers in place for military support personnel, like Iraqi translators. I expect the rest of it will survive unless the Administration is convinced it is a stupid idea (not likely, especially since it is not possible for Donald Trump to have a stupid idea that requires rescinding).

      4. Waldenpond

        The elite are not giving up their less expensive labor. They make education/training expensive here and then import those that get it less expensively in other countries.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is also the ‘debt of gratitude’ aspect worship for the powerful (maybe God-like) people who import them to the homeland.

      5. Brad

        More importantly, the courts, the Dems, other Republicans – aka “the real problem” – can blame Trump.

    5. OIFVet

      What I really want to know is, where was the liberal outrage when 0bama’s policies unleashed the refugee and migrant tsunami, and then allowed only several thousand refugees to come to the US while Europe was left holding the bag? Not that Europe wasn’t an accessory, mind you, but in the end Europe follows the US, and the US is the main culprit for the wave of humanity whose lives have been upturned.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Heard this morning on msnbs (joy-ann reid’s weekend propaganda round-up) from someone named Vince Warren, Exec. Dir., Center for Constitutional Rights:

        What “they” don’t get to do is “pretend that there is some sort of chaos in the world that justifies this.”

        I shit you not.

        1. Tom

          I think Barbara Bush said it best, when speaking of war in Iraq:

          “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

  3. fresno dan

    Trump Tries to Build a ‘Different Party’ Patriot Post. Nooners weighs in.

    In a statement after the meeting, the glassmaker Corning, whose CEO attended, announced plans to expand its U.S. manufacturing base significantly over the next few years. Because I live in New York and work at the Journal, I see and talk to American CEOs. I’ve never heard them bang on about a need to boost American jobs and manufacturing, ever. They usually talk about targeted microloans in India, and robots.

    More important still — the most important moment of the first week — was the meeting with union leaders. Mr. Trump gave them almost an hour and a half. “The president treated us with respect, not only our organization but our members,” said Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, by telephone. Liuna had not endorsed Trump in the campaign, but Mr. O’Sullivan saw the meeting’s timing as an expression of respect: “He’s inaugurated on Friday and we’re invited in Monday to have a substantial conversation.” The entire Trump top staff was there, including the vice president: “His whole team — we were very impressed.” They talked infrastructure, trade and energy. “The whole meeting was about middle class jobs, how do we create more?” Mr. O’Sullivan believes the Keystone pipeline will eventually generate more than 40,000 jobs. Mr. O’Sullivan said he hopes fixing “our crumbling transportation infrastructure” will be “the largest jobs program in the country.”
    t’s a mistake for observers in Washington and New York to fixate on Mr. Trump’s daily faux pas at the expense of the political meaning of what he’s doing. He’s changing the face of the GOP. It is a mistake, too, to see Mr. Trump’s tweet on how Chicago had better solve its problem with violent crime or he’ll “send in the Feds,” as merely stupid — just a tweet that raises the question “What does ‘send in the Feds’ mean?” If you’re a parent in a tough Chicago neighborhood, you’d be heartened to think the feds might help. You’d be happy the president noticed. You’d say, “Go, Trump!”

    I’m old enough to remember when the preeminent issue in presidential campaigns was always jobs, and the word GDP was never uttered. I’m old enough to remember when repubs ignoring problems in the black community was racist – now dems saying there are no problems is “progressive”
    Of course, I’m so old I remember when the CIA were bad guys….
    The world sure has gone screwy….

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘I’m old enough to remember when the preeminent issue in presidential campaigns was always jobs, and the word GDP was never uttered.’

      Until 1991, “the economy” was measured by GNP (Gross National Product), which included income from overseas investments that was not part of domestic production.

      Beauty is not an easy thing to measure. It does not show up in the gross national product, in a weekly pay check, or in profit and loss statements. But these things are not ends in themselves.” — Lyndon Johnson, Feb 8, 1965

    2. Ivy

      There may be two aspects to the week’s executive order reactions. The visible, audible one is on the news. The less visible one is among Trump’s current and potential voting base. They see the outrage, hear the chants, feel the mix of pain and contempt, and some react again as they did by voting earlier.

      Trump or his people may be surveying those reactions. As a good developer, he is looking for a revenue stream, in this situation as voters instead of cash, to spend in Congress. All those activated voters may contact the appropriate parties to voice opinions, and that has an impact on people looking ahead to 2018 elections.

      1. LT

        I don’t see reports of protests in any places that would affect the electoral college tally, which selects the President.

      2. LT

        “Trump or his people may be surveying those reactions…”
        These protests show how many people’s votes did not count in the Presidential election due to the existence of the electoral college.

    3. David Carl Grimes

      Trump wasn’t kidding when he said he would hit the ground running. He has frightened the horses every single day of his presidency.

      Substantively, what we’ve seen the past week was daring and bold. The administration is taking shape before our eyes, with unusual speed. Normally it takes time for the ideological disposition of an administration to emerge. Normally presidents ease into the job, rejecting the dramatic: “Don’t frighten the horses.”

    4. Katharine

      > If you’re a parent in a tough Chicago neighborhood, you’d be heartened to think the feds might help.

      Not if you think the Feds once sent in would murder even more recklessly than the cops.

      1. Aumua

        It really depends on what he means by send in the Feds.

        Aren’t we rich? But not over there.
        How bout some boots on the ground and drones in mid-air?
        Send in the Feds

        Aren’t you pissed? Won’t you approve?
        Gangstas keeps tearing around and the people can’t move
        But where are the Feds? Send in the Feds

        Send in.. the Feds

        Are we talking about troops? The military, or the national guard? Cause if so, we’re asking for martial law, and we might not want to do that just yet. If we’re talking about some kind of task force.. then maybe. I don’t know.

        1. alex morfesis

          Marshall law and sharia law already exists for working class women in poorer and improperly policed neighborhoods in chicago…the gangs are the law…and if you dont follow their commands they will physically confront you…

          and if women are not dressed in long church dresses to their ankles and not fully covered up, some local banggangers will harrass them verbally or worse…

          That is the daily reality for folks abandoned by our great democracy…

          One of the problems with modern policing is the prosecutors mostly live their lives wanting to get in the newspapers with “solid cases” that won’t fall apart, where citizens just want a safe environment to enjoy their lives…

          this trains police to the point of instead of just interacting with crime to disrupt it instead of “building cases”, they tend to be mouthed off at and told to make arrests…which they then interpret as a license to beat and then sadly…kill…

          1. Aumua

            While it may very well be true that some form of oppression is perpetrated by gangbangers against women in the hood, that’s not really the same thing as martial law, or sharia law.

            1. ambrit

              I beg to differ. Both systems are Patriarchially based systems of oppression and pseudo chattel slavery. In both, women are treated as “objects” to be used and abused. True, primitive Sharia Law is a formalized system that supports a cultural norm, but, when women in “da hood” have to hide and skulk around out of fear of the ‘attentions’ of strange men, is that not also a cultural norm in action? Pragmatically, anything that changes one’s behaviour from it’s
              normal” state is an oppression.

  4. fresno dan

    Pig-Human Organ Farming Doesn’t Look Promising Yet MIT Technology Review

    If this f*cks up bacon, that’s it – revolution!

    Man, this bacon tastes like chicken. You know, that chicken-people hybrid. You know I like spicy – Thai, Korean, Chinese, Mexican chicken-people but my friend told me that I should expand my palate and try English chicken-people. Gaack! it was so bland it was inedible – who in the world can eat that stuff??? I’d eat kale before I ate that….

    1. Tom

      What worries me is that any proposed Organism of Origin Legislation will get shot down and we’ll have surgeons trying to transplant crazy Pig-Dog organs imported from China.
      Doctor to patient in recovery: Who’s a good patient? You are!!!

    2. PlutoniumKun

      What terrifies me about this technology is that such genetically altered pigs are prime petri-dishes for viral diseases to make cross-species swaps – and pathogens are at their most dangerous when they swap species.

    3. polecat

      ” I’ll have one of those ‘pigoon’ pseudo-cheezy ‘secret burgers’ bro …… with extra sauce ” **

      ** just ask MaddAddam … he’ll fill ya in !! ….. ‘;]

    4. ChrisPacific

      When I saw the headline I wondered whether it should be filed under Class Warfare. But “pig-human” is apparently not a compound noun.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From your own link:

      Israeli citizens can visit 147 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival, ranking the Israeli passport 25th in the world.

      As of 2017, Israel is the only country whose citizens may travel without a visa to all of Europe.

      Duh — as residents of a rich OECD country, Israelis are a lot freer to travel than residents of poor countries.

      Is your ax sharp yet?

    2. sleepy

      Does Israel restrict citizens of those nations from entering Israel? I also know that Israel restricts its own citizens from travel to certain nations, Lebanon for one if not others. Unless of course they are members of the IDF. And how many Palestinians in the OT are allowed to enter Israel in order to vacation at the beach in Tel Aviv?

      Indeed, where is the outrage?

        1. Spring Texan

          Thanks, Jim Haygood. It’s good to remember that there are people working against this crap in every country . . .

  5. PlutoniumKun


    Trump May Be Pushing China Into Clash That Won’t Benefit Anyone


    In an intriguing op-ed in the New York Times, Yan Xuetong, a leading Chinese academician has painted a dramatic portrait of what China can become if it is put into the pressure cooker by Trump.

    Instead of playing it on the backfoot, China could, he said, actually take on the attack on the frontfoot and emerge as a “full fledged super power”. What does that mean? First, it could fill the vacuum left by the US abandoning free trade by creating a new trading bloc to replace the TPP. Australia and South Korea would be encouraged to join, but Japan would be left out of the new bloc.

    Its an intriguing notion that China may use Trumps aggression to strengthen its own role in the world. Russia was greatly strengthened by their intelligent strategy of using Obama’s overreach in Ukraine and Syria to its own end (as well explained in the Al Jazeera link Russia’s knockout game in Syria Al Jazeera above). Similarly, Iran came out strengthened by Bushes Iraq miscalculation. The Chinese excel at long term strategy – they can and will wait for opponents mistakes to take steps forward. A hyper aggressive but very unpopular US strategy in Asia could be just the opportunity they’ve long sought to peel off SE Asia and Central Asia from US influence and isolate Japan and South Korea. They have their own loony nationalists to deal with (who no doubt are pushing for military action to take Taiwan), but smarter heads in the CCP will be gaming out how to manipulate Trump’s clumsiness for their own ends.

    1. jsn

      If Xi and Trump, or anyone important on their respective staffs actually understand MMT, they’ll see the tremendous overlap of interests in US jobs and employment and Chinese “rebalancing” away from the export led growth model.

      I’m pretty sure the Chinese understand this having met Andrew Sheng at the Minsky conference about 8 or 9 years ago. Pretty sure Trump doesn’t. China just needs a plausible external threat to impose discipline on its oligarchs and whether he understands it or not Trump appears likely to oblige.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With the Dollar as the global reserve currency, Korean, Japan, Taiwan, China, etc all know they will always be export-reliant, and it’s better to err on the side of exporting too much than not enough (on the treadmill, you can’t risk being less competitive than your rivals).

        1. jsn

          Back in 2008, when deficit and inflation hysterics were concerned that Fed actions were about to precipitate currency revulsion, there was instead a massive flight to safety in the dollar.

          Since then, the ascent of the American oligarchy and its success in entirely escaping the tax regime suggests that “exorbitant privilege” from which the dollar has “benefited” (at the expense of its citizens) may now actually be nearing its demise: I can’t see how, in a fiat system, a polity that can’t enforce tax collection can sustain itself.

          That it’s fiat has allowed our outgoing administration to maintain the fiction that everything is as it was, but the ballooning Fed balance sheet since 2009 gives the lie to that facade. Trump gives all outward appearances of really intending to change our trade relations, but it beggars the imagination to suppose he might actually start taxing himself or his fellow plutocrats!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think it was because the current system was an unnatural setup that there was instead a massive flight to safety in the dollar.

            If all the dollars accumulated by a country by shipping goods and providing services to us, and then invested in our government bonds, can be replaced by a Platinum Coin, that would seem like we being belligerent to them.

            1. jsn

              Yes, leaving them looking for a way out. Chinese distrust of the party has been fueling capital flight for the last decade but after HNA bought 25% of Hilton in December for $6.5B the hammer appears to have come down in China.

              So what’s a Communist Party to do with that massive savings account it has at the US Fed? Start importing stuff from countries that sell stuff to the US and draw that account down as quick as they can.

              If they manage that in the context of disciplining their home grown oligarchs (see Putin on this for technique) and channel some form of QE, helicopter money or jobs program to keep the middle class growing, they become the market all the mercantilists want to sell to and as the US run since 71 has shown there is a lot that can be imported with fiat.

              I’m of the opinion that “the middle income trap” is just the institutional inability to dislodge the entrenched incumbents of industrialization and that perceived foreign aggression is one of the ways its’ historically happened.

              1. John k

                We import with fiat because foreign savers want to save in our currency. If and when this stops the dollar will fall, trade will be in balance, jobs will be plentiful, and the need for fiscal deficits will decline.

                1. jsn

                  I see a different causality, foreign savers mostly have no access to dollars to save in, their governments however do. Exporting countries want the demand from the United states to sustain local employment, making their living standards rise at our expense. They suppress their local wages so their workers can’t afford to purchase what they produce, Germany and China have both been very clear about this, and then sell stuff to us. When exporting companies get dollars, they can’t spend dollars in their country so they convert them to local currency leaving their local government with the dollars. Because those governments intend to continue to export to the US, they don’t purchase many real goods or services from the US but instead by Treasury Bonds.

                  Treasury Bonds under the gold standard were used to lock up dollars in an investment instrument for a defined duration in order that the central banks stockpile of shiny metal could be protected from runs for the value of bonds sold: it was a way for the central hoarder to prevent runs on there shiny stuff.

                  In absence of a gold standard, the Fed has been using the bond market to set interest rates, increasingly across the yield curve with QE, but the residual use of this tool, now for interest rate policy, has left the system open to manipulation by erstwhile mercantilists. I say erstwhile because they can no longer collect our gold at the end of the year, which historically had been the point of mercantilism. Now they are simply buying our demand by recycling dollars into bonds rather than purchasing real goods and services.

                  As the only true believers in Neoliberalism in the world, we’ve been letting them since 1971 but we could stop it any time we wanted by simply not selling Treasury bonds and regulating the economy with tax and fiscal policy rather than the blunt and ineffectual tool of interest rates. But alas, that would require a functional government…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t know how much China can count on

        1. Vietnam – how many historical invasions from north the Red River were there?
        2. Ryukyu or Okinawa – maybe they like being a tribute state
        3. Japan – well not just now
        4. Taiwan – like One China and One Taiwan?
        5. Nepal – they were also a tributary state not too long ago
        6. Korea – maybe North Korea
        7 Pakistan – yes
        8 India – not with Pakistan together. China would need to work hard on this.
        9 The Philippines – yes for now. Maybe Trump can work some magic there.
        10 Singapore – I think they like to be neutral, like Switzerland.
        11. Thailand – they stayed out of WWII, sort of. That is a good tradition.
        12 Indonesia – that’d be a good catch for China.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Are there many Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia?

          In that case, Trump can move the Philippines back to the camp of the good guys through the kingdom perhaps.

    1. Waldenpond

      Well, I hope you are inclusive. The Woman’s March was roundly criticized for not including pro-lifers (they did, CAIR even had a speaking slot).

      I look forward to the creationist contingent; the oil, coal and gas contingent; the livestock over wildlife contingent; the current climate cycle is of a pattern, not human caused, human caused irrelevant, tech will save us all contingents.

  6. financial matters

    Russia’s knockout game in Syria Al Jazeera

    “”What is clear however is that, through Syria, Russia has achieved the perception of global parity, if not supremacy, with the US””


    It seems pretty clear that we went into Syria for pipeline interests and had no problem working with terrorist groups and that Russia had the high ground in this region. I think Trump is on the right footing in wanting to actually work with Russia against terrorism.

    But now it seems comes the hard part. How to provision these resources? How to constructively work with Iran?

    Mary Mellor may provide some insights with her work on provisioning sufficiently within ecological limits.

    “”At present, capitalism appears to have won what John McMurty calls the ‘value war’ between the global market economy and the ‘life economy’. As a result: “The livelihoods of millions are discarded as “uncompetitive”. Life security for whole societies is abolished as “unaffordable”. (Debt or Democracy)

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t think you need conjure up pipelines as a justification for US interference in Syria. The US has been actively interfering in Syrian affairs since the 1950’s at least – since the retreat of the old colonial powers, the US has always seen the entire Middle East as within its ‘sphere of influence’, and the Assads have been a thorn in the side of US dominance there for decades. Certainly, the Iraqi’s and Qatari’s would love an option to put a pipeline through Syria to the Mediterranean, but financial matters have always mattered less than geopolitical principles to neocons. The Imperial Project has always been about power first and foremost.

      1. Michael

        Read Syria by John McHugo for a very readable history of Syria over the last thousand years. The chapters from WWI forward also gives a picture of what the rest of the Middle East was doing in and around the country the Assads have ruled since 1970.

        “In McHugos telling, Asads rise to power appears to be more an outcome of character than the result of political strategy. Asad was a pragmatic, disciplined, cautious, cool-headed workaholic according to this book and everything else I have read…”Mary C. Wilson, Syrian Studies Association Bulletin

      2. Brian

        +1, the sphere of influence is expanded to all of the neigboring regions and then the world. There is no vacuum that leaves out the jewels sucked up in the flow. When we acted to control/destabilze the middle eastern countries, we acted to destablize Europe. Where did the US believe these refugees would go? What difference did it make if we can make that pipeline connect to revenue? Bush/Obama knew very well the destablization was the means of controlled chaos that benefits only us and the friends, the oil partners. It is the best way to make the countries affected do what you ask. Now much of Europe is terrified of invaders again, just like the 1950’s.

          1. HopeLB

            Interesting Olga. It looks like there has been some mission creep and the US itself is undergoing a few of the tactical implementations of “controlled chaos” psyops. By our own government? (Or by aliens?)

      3. Alejandro

        >” financial matters have always mattered less than geopolitical principles to neocons. The Imperial Project has always been about power first and foremost.”

        Yeah, but…as complementary means to the same ends as hyper-capitalists, aka neoliberals…the power to shape, re-shape, structure, re-structure, structurally adjust etc., a social order that serve the “masters of mankind”…e.g., transnational corporate “persons” are not ‘foreign’ anywhere, by definition, and draped in “flags of convenience”, consequently have rights everywhere, that most real persons do not…unelected, unaccountable with the power to shape, re-shape, structure, re-structure, structurally adjust and re-adjust the social order…

      4. carl

        A good read on historical meddling in the ME is Lawrence In Arabia, Scott Anderson. It goes back much further than the 50s.

      1. financial matters

        More interesting I think is that it puts control of the resources more up for grabs. Will be interesting to see how Tillerson plays into this. Negotiation would be better than war.

  7. oho

    >Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide NYT

    It’s a win-win for Trump. “Activist” Obama judge gets blamed. Bases on both sides get mobilized. The Left gets thrown a ginormous shiny toy that sucks all the media oxygen for the next 5 days away from anything else Trump related.

    just saying.

      1. phred

        We seem to have a separation of powers problem.

        Huh. If only the [expletive deleted] courts hadn’t spent the last 15 years turning their blind eye towards the usurpation of power by the executive branch.

        So now we have a lawless Department of Homeland Security. Whocouldanode?

      2. phred

        Adding… that the courts have allowed themselves to be treated as doormats by the executive branch for so long that I don’t know that they can muster the power to fight back against an entirely lawless regime.

        We have reached our constitutional crisis much sooner than I had expected.

        1. aab

          I’m pretty sure that the President installed illegally by the Supreme Court who then phonied up a war, legalized torture and shredded parts of the Bill of Rights; and the next President who after being legally elected (as much as one can be legally elected in our corrupt system) then let all the criminals off the hook from the previous administration AND refused to indict the criminals in the banking and insurance systems who all but destroyed the world economy, instead REWARDING THEM WITH FIAT CURRENCY AND who protected his Secretary of State who was breaking serious laws while in his employ as part of a privately enriching corruption scheme and who he continued to protect as she attempted to steal the presidency despite being manifestly criminal and unfit, AND this SAME president who in addition to all this shredded even MORE parts of the Bill of Rights while continuing to take advantage of the gaping holes his illegitimate predecessor had ripped open, while launching numerous new wars extra-constitutionally for precisely the opposite reasons he was giving to his citizens, including assassinating American citizens without due process were also lawless.

          In fact, Trump is just building off a series of orders, claims, actions and rules put in place by Bush and Obama, isn’t he?

          That doesn’t make what he’s doing to green card and visa holders good. I’m not defending it. But the faux sanctimony enrages me.

          1. phred

            If you thought I was being sanctimonious, you misread my tone. I tend to be brief, clearly I should not have been. My intention was only within the frame of reference of the Trump presidency, i.e., a constitutional crisis in one week. And yes, I think DHS putting out a statement that is nothing less than an f.u. to the judiciary is the textbook definition of a constitutional crisis. Judiciary: Stop it. Executive: No. Now what?

            I don’t dispute any of your comment, we’ve been in constitutional free fall for years. The DHS has been creating its police state at the airports first. We have shiny new militarized police forces throughout the country with spiffy hand-me-downs from D.o.D. Congress and the courts haven’t done a damn thing to check the egregious power grabs of the unitary executive. So where do we go from here?

            I just watched the Jimmy Dore video Glenn Greenwald linked to in his Twitter feed. And Jimmy is right, Trump’s over-reach isn’t coming out of a vacuum. Our indefensible Team Blue / Team Red politics with its Mighty Wurlitzer created this. For 8 years I’ve been waiting for protests, and there have been some, but they’ve been few and poorly attended. Unlike the massive (and under reported) anti-war protests of the Bush era. If it takes Trump to get Dems to give a fuck again, then I’ll take what I can get. I was damn glad to see the airport protests and to be able to join the one in Copley Square.

            The present state of affairs doesn’t undo the damage of the last 15+ years, but if this is what it takes to start reclaiming some semblance of constitutional order, I’ll take it.

            1. Yves Smith

              Lordie. This is NOT a constitutional crisis. Not even close. Stop the hysterics.

              Trump is using executive orders to create an impression of momentum. The press has too regularly reported on them as if they were law when many of them aren’t, in fact some are only glorified press releases.

              The press is also reporting on bog standard transition stuff that no one normally pays attention to and then making it sound sinister. It turns out that it is normal for an incoming Administration to put a gag order on agencies until it has its new team in place.

              As Nate Silver said on Twitter across 4tweets:

              After his first week in office, seems like we’re all having trouble distinguishing between about 4 categories of Trump stories…

              1. Genuinely unprecedented and troubling stuff.
              2. Sensational but inconsequential stuff Trump does to troll or distract people.
              3. Prematurely or incompletely reported rumors misreported as stuff that already happened.
              4. Relatively normal POTUS stuff, exaggerated.

              Need to read beyond headlines. Signal-to-noise ratio should improve over time but it’s tough being a news consumer (or reporter) right now.

            2. Waldenpond

              People might not like what Trump is doing, but he has a legal basis.


              8 US code1182 was passed by Ds, used by Ds

              [And it was utilized by Jimmy Carter, no less, in 1979 to keep Iranians out of the United States, but he actually did more. He made all Iranian students already here check in, and then he deported a ton of ’em.]

              Please, please, I am begging at this point, do not make me link to the times Obama ignored injunctions and court orders.

              1. phred

                Huh. So we complained about Bush’s abuse of power. And we complained about Obama’s abuse of power. And we complain and complain and complain about the lazy ignorant electorate not doing something about [fill in the blank]. And then, when people decide they are unhappy enough to protest, we criticize that, too.

                Like you, I can cite historical precedent for previous occasions where executives have behaved badly, it certainly isn’t new, but I found Charlie Savage’s book, The Return of the Imperial Presidency a persuasive argument for the ongoing ratcheting up of executive power at the expense of the other branches and ultimately, the public. And the other branches have been all too happy to go sort their sock drawer rather than do their jobs.

                Here’s what has me so angry about this particular executive order. We pretend we are a nation of laws, that we have due process. If that is true, it should not be possible for one man to sign a piece of paper and instantaneously change the rules so that green card holders are not allowed to go home to their families and visitors with proper documentation are not allowed to enter and go about their business. It should not be possible to instantaneously change requirements while people are literally in mid-air.

                This is an abuse of power and it is right that people are outraged and protesting.

                1. aab

                  Be angry about what he did. But acknowledge that this is not unique or a shattering change from the status quo. It a continuum.

                  Protest, but notice how the Democratic Party is using this chaos — ramped up by its affiliate media — to elevate scumbags like Cory Booker. That, in the long run, is bad for us AND the refugees from Muslim countries.

                  Starbucks is proudly announcing it will hire 10,000 refugees. That’s all well and good, but the millions of American citizens without good jobs, economic security, health care and homes who voted for Trump will see this as more liberal betrayal. That’s part of the problem. Yes, the United States should take in refugees of the countries it has destabilized. Yes, people who have gone through the lawful and apparently arduous green card process shouldn’t be detained at the airport and treated like a criminal. But if these are the only reactions from the liberal elite, Republican hegemony will reign for decades, until we’re actually Waterworld. Again, that won’t be good for anyone reading Naked Capitalism, or any refugee, or any Muslim citizen of any country. Or any citizen, of any country.

                  It is important for people to recognize that Trump is building on Obama’s actions, if we’re ever to get to a better, less violent, less exploitative governing paradigm. It’s not just neener, neener, neener. Don’t protest Trump, protest American policy overall. Don’t merely demand that green card holders be let in at the airport, demand that American citizens ALSO be seen and heard, and their needs met, even if they never get within a thousand miles of JFK or SFO. Demand we stop droning. Demand we start reducing visas, so citizens here can get those jobs. It’s easy to sympathize with a little girl kept away from her mother by scary men in uniforms. But there is a much bigger, more complex system that led to this; it didn’t start with Trump, and it isn’t just the Republicans.

                  Again, we haven’t been a nation of laws for a while. Maybe someone should protest wherever the Obama Foundation has broken ground. He gave us this mess, in about a dozen different ways. And Michelle is already saying they’ll be back.

                  I’m disheartened because this is exactly what I feared: the corporate Democrats and their corporate media arm would ramp up hysteria so they can stay in personal power. They won’t get governing power back this way. But then, they clearly don’t’ really want it any more. It’s so inconvenient, with those rubes in their ill-fitting clothing demands respect and a taste of that sweet, sweet fiat currency the ruling class doesn’t want to share except with really well-mannered servants.

                  It’s fine with me to be appalled at what is happened at the airports, as long as you don’t pretend it isn’t partly the responsibility of the Clintons and Obama. They need to own it too, so none of their rabid, pilfering hoard can climb back into power. We all need off this horror movie style merry-go-round.

                  1. Waldenpond

                    Give jobs to refugees is good war PR. Support for it is a defeatist acceptance of the war profiteering system.

                    For me, it’s another example of the insufficiency of liberal and progressive policy solutions and ceding the ground to the Rs five planks of conservatism.

                2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Um, OK, some perfidy about green card holders. But you wouldn’t say, for example, that a secret memo that is kept locked in a safe, written by Dick Cheney, embellished and improved and enshrined by Obama and his lawyers, that allows the President in his person, personally of his own accord, to order the immediate assassination of anyone, anywhere on the globe, anytime he sees fit, without accusation, charges, judge, or jury, based on evidence that is also kept top secret…is maybe a bigger and more important overextension of executive power? The screams of outrage over that were…undeafening.

              2. Aumua

                From the linked article:
                “Rush Limbaugh said it best.”

                He sure did. Thank God for Rush. As always, here to put things into perspective for us all.

                Here’s some more insight from Maggies Notebook:

                How many Muslim “refugees” coming here to kill us (and we know some are) will convince U.S. authorities they are being persecuted under Muslim law? The answer is every single one of them.

                Fun fact: zero acts of terrorism have been perpetrated by refugees in the U.S. since 1980. The refugee process is a long and difficult one, with multiple levels of scrutiny from different government agencies.

                But of course that wasn’t Walden’s point. The point was that these provisions Trump has invoked were previously codified into law (in the 1950s). Which is the truth, unfortunately.

              3. pretzelattack

                even rush limbaugh tells the truth on occasion, but i’m not sure how comparable this is to what carter did.
                none of the countries trump targeted have engaged in acts of war against the us, as the iranians did during the hostage crisis. nor did carter target muslims, nor any other class of iranians besides students, according to the link below.



          2. Annotherone

            Hear! Hear, aab! Yes, faux sanctimony – there’s a lot of it on the loose right now, and it does get right up my nose too!

            1. phred

              If you still feel that I am being sanctimonius, that is certainly your right. But I assure you it is not faux. I am blazingly angry.

      3. alex morfesis

        The DHS statement says no such thing…nice try though…read the fine print…when a jurist in federal court hands off an order to the US Marshall Service and makes the specific statement to take all action needed to insure this order is enforced…not just delivered…enforced…no way the executive branch will not blink…

  8. sid_finster

    The fundamental problem with the FiveThirtyEight article is that it appears to assume that mainstream pollsters and the MSM were acting in good faith when they proclaimed HRC’s early voting numbers were indicative of an easy election victory.

    Throughout the campaign, most pollsters and the MSM were acting as the unpaid propaganda arm of the Clinton campaign. Any information or data that they got was spun as to favor HRC as much as possible, or buried, if no such spin were available.

    1. oho

      There are numerous causes of head pollsters (like the one for Emerson College) being on record on Twitter as supporting HRC or donating to Team Clinton.

    2. sid_finster

      In other words, it’s not that the pollsters and MSM made an honest mistake (whoopsies!) – rather, they were lying from the start.

  9. Cojo

    Re: For $14,000, a Weeklong Firehose of Silicon Valley Kool-Aid in MIT Technology Review.

    MIT probably upset they didn’t come up with the idea first.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And to think that I experienced the same firehose back in 1994. I attended the two-week Stanford Professional Publishing Course, which featured all sorts of Valley blowhards. Including Saffo.

      When the Valley Boyz got up to speak, I took naps. Or I would sit in my seat and mumble snarky remarks.

      SPPC wasn’t cheap. It was $2,500 — and that was quite the challenge for me to come up with.

      But let’s just say that I learned a lesson in how full of shhh! Silicon Valley really is.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From AP:

    PHOENIX (AP) — To build his highly touted deportation force, President Donald Trump is reviving a program that deputizes local officers to enforce federal immigration law.

    The program has fallen out of the favor in recent years amid complaints from critics that it promotes racial profiling.

    More than 60 police and sheriff’s agencies had the special authority in 2009. Since then, the number has been halved.

    Why the Phoenix dateline — a subtle reference to Sheriff Joe?

    In fact, Sheriff Joe Arpaio got booted out in Nov 2016, by voters disgusted that his office cost Maricopa County taxpayers $142 million in legal expenses, settlements, and court awards.

    Sheriff Joe was in court this past Wednesday, fighting a federal criminal contempt of court citation. His ass could be headed to jail, although he won’t be required to wear pink underwear in federal lock-up.

    If the Orange Flake thinks he’s gonna make political hay playing Sheriff Joe in DC, I’ve got news for him: it ain’t gonna work.

    1. Carolinian

      Arpaio’s stance worked for him for a long time. He was in his mid 80s when he finally got kicked out.

      It would be a mistake to think of AZ as a pro immigration state regardless of what happens with that Indian tribe. It’s a state filled with Northern retirees and gun toting conservatives while, for sure, becoming somewhat more Democratic.

  11. Timmy

    Amid the furor of executive orders, little notice that the DOL took down its page for Wells Fargo whistleblowers. I suspect a cold wind is blowing through the SEC as well. Watch for Scaramucci, rich from his very quick and very sketchy sale of his hedge fund firm that (in partnership with all the big retail stock brokers) sells hedge funds to retail investors, to play point and settle scores for Wall Street. At this stage, I am a buyer of prosecution futures for this arrangement.

  12. ancient1
    (Is chlorinated chicken about to hit our shelves after new US trade deal? Guardian}

    This is an article that lists agricurtall practices in the US vs. the UK (EU) and the concern that the UK will be forced to adopt the US Ag. practices with a trade deal. Just let me say that I was taken aback with those US AG Practices described. US Corporate Farming and those US/International Agricultural Corporations that have imposeded these profit practices, with government backing, on the American people. I can understand the UK raising the flag about this. Evidently the only realy healthy food is what is called “organic” and we can’t be sure of that. The article is a good, eye opening read.

    1. Dave

      Simple solution: Buy Organic.
      Demand for it is growing at such a rate that the suppliers cannot keep up.
      The only segment of the food industry that is growing.

      1. juliania

        Indeed. Put your money where your mouth is. (I don’t have a lot of the former, and probably too much of the latter.)

        1. Dave

          It’s actually cheaper for two, among many other reasons:

          1. More minerals from the rich organic soil, more enzymes, therefore it tastes better, satisfies your cravings more and your body knows it’s getting the nutrition. Therefore, you eat less quantity at a sitting of the organic food and that equals or exceeds the extra cost versus eating more low quality junk.

          1. How much is your deductible for doctor visits for “stomach flu” or “allergy attacks” or “asthma” from GMOs?, let alone the cost of your first round of “Infusion therapy” aka chemotherapy, from eating pesticide residues in non-organic food?

          1. Waldenpond

            There is a reason the recommended daily allowance of vegetables is increased… the soil is depleted and nutrients per serving are reduced.

          2. kareninca

            There is an organic farm near me whose produce has no flavor whatsoever. I asked someone with connections to the place about it, and he said that they didn’t add the sorts of mineral powders to the soil that they should (due to cost). He was very reluctant to talk about this; it was an uncomfortable thing for him to admit. The produce is definitely certified organic, and it looks just fine. Just no flavor at all, and I presume it is not especially nutritious.

            1. Waldenpond

              Yes, even ‘organic’ farms are being corporatized. Large, mono-crop, acquifer depleting, overuse of organic pesticides, no waste facilities for staff, processing in large chicken plants spreading the same bacteria, etc.

              Some farmers reject the ‘organic’ certification. They see it being used as a gimmick. They list the organic pesticides they use, where their water comes from, crop rotation etc.

              1. kareninca

                The particular farm I’m talking about is in no way corporatized. It is not large at all, it is not mono-crop, it is run by a local foundation. It relies heavily on volunteers, and has happy animals to pet; everything “looks” great; it looks like an old time farm. It is in all ways perfect – except the produce itself. I can see why this would happen with a corporate organic farm – as you say – but this place isn’t that type of place. It just goes to show that very individual farming decisions matter.

                  1. kareninca

                    I’m not sure of the point of your question.

                    You claimed that food grown in “rich organic soil,” certified organic by a legitimate organization, is more nutritious (and consequently tastes better). I gave a counterexample, which may not be a rare one; I have no way to know. What difference does it make whether I personally buy from that source? As it happened, I noticed and inquired and got an honest account of the reason from a long-term employee of the place who is also a friend of mine; most purchasers (it runs a CSA program) would likely not notice or just think even organic produce was naturally flavorless.

                    FWIW, I’ve never bought their produce; I volunteered there and took some home for free and ate it. It was absolutely fresh (I’d picked it) and lovely looking. No flavor.

                    When I have grown produce I’ve made sure the soil contained a variety of minerals, and the produce had flavor. And, I’ve had conventionally grown produce that had far more flavor than the produce from that organic farm.

                    1. Yves Smith

                      I have a relative who is very deeply involved in the healthy eating community (had two businesses in that field, one of which was acting as a business coach; knows all the local farm to table providers, etc). She says the reason that virtually all people who buy organic food pay the extra bucks is to AVOID bad stuff, like pesticides and GMOs and in meats, hormones and antibiotics. They do not believe it is more nutritious. In fact, defenders of Big Ag try to claim that organic food fans believe that organic food has more nutrients, and then produce studies showing no difference.

                      The other reason that chefs and many cooks use organic food is that it is often more flavorful. I have found this to be true for some foods but not notably so for others. Organic carrots and organic sweet potatoes are much better than non-organic. But I can’t taste any difference in green beans, broccoli, asparagus, or other green veggies.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Evidently the only realy healthy food is what is called “organic” and we can’t be sure of that.

      That is, um, kind of alarming.

      1. Dave

        As to “being sure of organic”, look at who the certifier is.
        Lowest quality, co-opted and possibly fraudulent fake organics are certified by QAI, or Quality Assurance International, which labels much of Whole Foods so called ‘organics.’
        (About 70% of what they sell doesn’t even pretend to be organic, instead, trying to hoodwink customers with the “natural” or “our best” horseshit labels.)
        Much of their produce comes from China where local ‘certifiers’ are paid to swear that the products have been grown responsibly.
        Excellent overall review here:

        Working up the ladder in quality of certifiers, is the generic USDA Organic label, which is OK, but doesn’t mean much relative to the most trustworthy certifiers of the highest quality organics, such as Oregon Tilth or California Certified Organic Farmers.

        Note, getting certified organic and is expensive. Many small farms don’t bother and rely on their small size and excellent local reputation. You know your real local friends when you are an environmentalist.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          I was lucky when I found a store with organic edamame grown in Oregon, and not China. I will remember to check the next time who the certifier is.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Cali plots civil disobedience:

    The state of California is studying ways to suspend financial transfers to Washington after the Trump administration threatened to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities, KPIX 5 has learned.

    Officials are looking for money that flows through Sacramento to the federal government that could be used to offset the potential loss of billions of dollars’ worth of federal funds if President Trump makes good on his threat to punish cities and states that don’t cooperate with federal agents’ requests to turn over undocumented immigrants, a senior government source in Sacramento said.

    California could very well become an organized non-payer,” said Willie Brown, Jr. “They could recommend non-compliance with the federal tax code.”

    California is among a handful of so-called “donor states,” which pay more in taxes to the federal Treasury than they receive in government funding.

    State nullification of federal laws is a subject that goes back to the 1790s. Cali’s Prop 215 which legalized medical cannabis in 1996 was a nullification of federal law. Insisting on California’s right to establish sanctuary cities is a logical extension of this principle.

    Progressives who supported the centralization of federal power are now seeing the downside, as conservatives use the vast federal machinery to shove illiberal policies down their throats.

    Starve the Beast.

    1. LT

      But I also remember some vague rumblings in the past about people in California pushing to split the state into two states.
      If it got crazy, I wouldn’t be surprised if any type of secessionist move was put on a ballot, it would share space with a break up Cali bill.
      Just theorizing how crazy it could get.

      1. Dave

        Whoa pardner! When they say “California secedes”, they mean Coastal California up to almost the Oregon border, and desert areas in which live lots of illegals and legal immigrants down in the desert, plus the ski condo areas of the Sierras. The rest of the state is in the Trump Camp.

        Much of Northern California and part of the Coast, plus parts of rural Oregon have been attempting to form the “Nation of Jefferson” for many decades. All they have is water, crops, timber and lots of guns.

        What if the food stamp EBT cards stop working in Coastal California? Then what? Will the California National Guard rescue the Sanctuary Cities? Doubtful.

          1. Dave

            Until you get to San Jose, then you want to follow the Hayward and Rogers Creek Faults. Maybe it’s something in the water which is affected by the rocks which are determined by which side of the fault you are on?

        1. LT

          The federal food stamp program has already been decimated to the point that about 1 in 7 Americans rely on food banks. Most food stamp recipients and a good number of medicaid recipients are children, too young to vote.
          By far the biggest welfare recipients are monopolistic corporations strutting around.

    2. Waldenpond

      CA is planning on further decimating vulnerable groups by blocking federal funds to programs. Energy programs for the poor are funded by the feds. Food programs are federally funded. CA is planning on stripping even more funds from public education? Roads?

      There is nothing CA can do to state violence that can’t be done in return and then some.

      1. LT

        I’d imagine there would be a lot of running around the globe looking for independent trade deals with countries – like the British Prime Minister.

        The plot thickens even further when you consider the moves of the Trump administration in the last few days has migrants, refugees, immigrants from countries on the list again looking at EU countries.
        Then consider how operatives like Bannon have been making cause with the Le Pens and other groups in the EU/Eurozone that have been labeled right wing populist.
        That pressure to enter those countries by the dispossed will coincide with a lot of upcoming elections on the other side of the Atlantic.
        It really becomes not so simple.

      2. feox

        Are you actually arguing for California letting sanctuaries being starved to death? Because that’s what arguing for California not to retaliate in kind is.

        1. LT

          A lot of support for Cali’s retaliation will depend on the unemployment rate.
          If the unemployment rate rises to a certain level and lingers, it was the federal government that provided extensions to the citizens who are long term unemployed. These are people of voting age.

          1. aab

            Since California gives more than it gets, I assume California could fund all the economic support programs that are currently being funded in whole or part by the Feds, like SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, etc. But will our neoliberal Democrat controlled super-majority actually do it?

            You can work full-time and still need SNAP and Medicaid in this scandal of a country. It’s not just about unemployment benefits. If Jerry Brown and Willie Brown throw a tantrum and don’t deal with that first, they’re responsible for the deaths that will result in short order.

        2. aab

          I would like a more data-based understanding of what real benefits are produced for American citizens by sanctuary city status. I realize that using the word “citizen” is a red flag to some, but until the United States starts delivering real material benefits to its citizens, we won’t get a government that will pass laws that adequately protect our non-citizen workers from corporate exploitation that hurts citizens and non-citizens alike.

          San Francisco, for example, is a mess. Only the rich can live there. It and Oakland have terrible housing crises. Homelessness in San Francisco and Los Angeles is exploding, along with police crackdowns. Who exactly is being truly protected by sanctuary city status? I’m honestly asking, because I have come to realize that so much of what Democratic liberals embrace and promote as virtuous is mere performance. I don’t want people to be shipped home to murderous regimes supported by our government. But the same party backing sanctuary cities is the party that worked to destabilize those countries and economies so that those people came here.

          California can’t effectively retaliate, if I understand things correctly. Elections have consequences. And apparently, so does facilitating primary theft.

          1. LT

            Yes, the cost of housing has exploded in the main regions preparing for battle with the feds.

            And it would be foolish to think supply demand factors don’t cross people’s minds…no matter what feelings certain buzzwords ignite.

          2. LT

            I’d love to see these same types of large and sustained protests happening in these same cities pushing for affordable housing.

          3. Fiery Hunt

            Living here in the Bay Area (East Bay edition) here’s what I know…

            Both corporate parties use the Wall Street/Silly Con Valley bezzle to siphon off their cozy DC allotments…Unless the Trumpster actually goes after that particular set of grifters (which I DO NOT EXPECT), then there won’t be any real fight between California and the Feds. Lots of public wailings and pleas for funds from the saps, but nothing really changes.
            Instead of Fed subsidies, you’ll get lots of Tech donations (not enough to fix anything but enough to continue the various “sanctuary cities” grifts…the various “Homeless Advocates” industries live on “free money” ). Trump’ll cut the Titans’ taxes so everyone in on it continues to get theirs…and nothing changes. Housing continues to be an investment scheme for the rich, the poor continue to slowly drown in unaffordability housing and health costs and the masses continue to cheer for whatever Team they’ve chosen.

            *Footnote…My rent on a 600 sq. ft. studio apartment an hour from Berkeley just went up 23%…cuz the landlord wants more.

            No reason to believe any meaningful change in our society is afoot.

          4. Dave

            You cannot have a welfare society and open borders.

            You cannot expect to strike for or demand a livable wage when there is an endless flow of illegals willing to undercut the wages of locals.

            You cannot solve the homeless situation when millions of illegals crowd into what were once inexpensive rentals and each pay an exorbitant rent, thus allowing the landlord to harvest much higher rent than a single person or a couple.

    3. Oregoncharles

      It’s civic civil disobedience.

      After all, the Feds are demanding that the state or city ENFORCE Federal law – not just that they obey it.

      Why would they?

  14. Rajesh

    I think that in the long term the Muslim ban will help as it will force Muslims to wake up and modernise. This may be an incorrect analogy but Perry’s black ships opening up Japan by force did help the country modernise. What is unfortunate that this will be another feather in the anti-Americanist’s hat. This is especially unfair since this is definitely not what the average American who voted Trump voted for. They just voted for their jobs and a stronger economy. Sad.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The history of Islam is full of moderate, open minded devotees who have been in one way or another very influential. The problem as I see it is 2-fold:

        1. The malign influence of Saudi money pushing the most retrograde and poisonous strain of Islam – Wahhabism, has done untold damage in Islamic communities around the world. The irony is that the Iraq war removed the main funder of more moderate mosques around the world – Saddam Hussein. Every religion (and secular philosophy) has its reactionary strain, in Islam its unfortunate that its worst strain has so much money behind it.

        2. Much of the islamic world is poor and isolated, and so the people from those areas can be reactionary and defensive and don’t sign up to modern notions of equality. But that applies to poor, isolated communities of christians, jews, buddhists and hindus, just as much. Its not religion that makes people ‘backward’ its their social and economic circumstances.

      2. Tigerlily

        Because you think Islam needs to embrace the doctrine of justification by faith alone? ;-)

        Seriously, the appropriateness of the Protestant reformation and analogy aside, what specific “reforms” do you think Islam needs?

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Why? Islam isn’t a monolithic organization based on Roman imperial structure. Islam is far more a religion of individual conscience based on previous religions and local superstition. Occasionally, they can get enough Imans to gather and make bold changes such as changing “halal” to include less violent means of animal slaughter based on technological progress.

        In many respects, Islam is its own reformation of areas dominated by Imperial Christianity where the power of the church was thrown down.

        1. alex morfesis

          Islam is jews for jesus
          (& Muhammad 2)

          Sadaq and tzedakah
          are the same

          Musselmani = muslim= followers of moses

      4. DH

        There are over a billion Muslims. The vast majority have nothing to do with “radical Islam.” It is just a handful of populations in a few countries that have bought into these ideologies.

    1. I Have Strange Dreams

      If only we could find proof of WMDs in those countries, we could send our armies into the ME to bring democracy, light and Halal chili dogs to the oppressed brown people. We could call it Operation Iraqi Freedom or something.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt are prominently not on the list.

      Turkey thinks itself as secular.

      Malaysia and Indonesia, among others, have many believers of that faith.

      Is this a religious ban?

    3. Tigerlily

      This may be an incorrect analogy but Perry’s black ships opening up Japan by force did help the country modernise.

      Speaking of unintended consequences.

      Japan’s modernization led it to becoming the dominant power in East Asia and the main rival to American influence in the region, eventually resulting in a world war.

      Some might say that America’s drive to force other countries to absorb its manufacturing surplus turned out to be a case of cutting off its nose to spite its face.

  15. Expat

    If waterboarding is not torture and is justified in saving just one American life, then we should use it for cabinet confirmations, voting in Congress, and any testimony or decision made in or by federal officials or federal venues.
    I would love to see the Trump cabinet nominees answer “We look forward to working with you on that very issue” while being waterboarded.
    Fuck Trump, fuck America for electing him, and fuck humanity for producing Americans.

    There! That’s out of my system. with apologies to humanity, without whom I would not be here.

    Disclosure: I am probably human.

    1. Tom

      I can’t get what one commenter said recently out of my head when the debate about waterboarding comes up: If waterboarding isn’t torture, then what are we doing it for?

  16. Rajesh

    That being said this ban excludes the most right wing Muslim countries and so I don’t see how this can be effective. Its also possible that some Saudi Muslims, although not denied entry will nurse a grudge over this move. This could make things worse? Let’s hope not…

  17. Eclair

    Hmm, Rajesh, could you define ‘modernize?’ And, perhaps, give concrete examples of ‘modernizations’ that you consider to be good things?

    I am confused, because the Muslims I have known over the years seem to be pretty much like me.

    1. Rajesh

      Triple talaq, stoning women to death for extra marital sex, not letting women show their faces or other body parts in public, not letting them drive, slaughtering goats in the name of their god etc etc etc.
      Look I believe that the average Muslim is a decent human being with a good heart but in my opinion some of their customs are archaic to say the least…it is never ok to kill a cartoonist for offensive cartoons, run over pedestrians on the street and say that I did it for my god. Moderate Muslims, who are wonderful, lose the most when such incidents occur.

      1. alex morfesis

        Islam is not one religion…it is not monolithic…there are dozens if not really hundreds of branches and interpretations…just like the other abrahamic religions…

        and is it not quite illegal for men and women to kiss in public in india.??

        and dalits just have an absolute happiness fit when some Brahmin hits them with a shiv for the joy of watching them bleed to death…

        Khula…the right of a muslim women to demand a divorce from her husband by petitioning the qadi…??

        And among the reasons she can petition for a divorce…??

        that he does not want to satisfy her in bed…

        The koran “requires” a husband to take care of his wifes carnal needs…

        And for those religious jewish wives whose husbands refuse 2 grant them a religious divorce…how does that work out for them…??

        and catholics who can not agree on or get an annulment ?

        And “slaughtering” goats in the name of god ??

        Halal = kosher so not sure what you mean…

        And having been raised greek orthodox…kleftiko goat for easter or other occasions…
        mageiritsa soup too…

        yummy…you should try some

        Oh and last I checked…at least in theory, there was this little gathering about a week ago…american women…for many of them…worrying about some christian sharia nonsense that mens sperm is allowed to legally tresspass into their uterus and that some politicians want to make their womb some kind of public common for any man whose sperm can find a way to tresspass…

        Since you seem so worried about womens rights under islam…maybe you might think about womens rights under the other religion from the other wife of Abraham…

        Rachel and sarah…

        maybe a new tv show…

        The real divorced wives of abraham

      2. Eclair

        ” … it is never ok to kill a cartoonist for offensive cartoons, run over pedestrians on the street and say that I did it for my god.”

        But it is ok to kill a person on the street, before witnesses, for selling cigarettes (and Being Black)? Or to move entire groups of people from their homes and lands, because they happen to be located over a uranium or coal deposit (and they are just Indians)? Or to invade and bomb a small country on a false pretext because they happen to have major oil deposits (and are Muslim)? And …. we are One Nation, Under God. Who approves this message. As so many of our Dear Leaders have told us.

  18. dcblogger

    a great idea from a friend at faceborg:

    Friends – the racist trolls of 4chan are targeting undocumented folks by tracking the hashtag #undocumentedandunafraid and using that to identify targets. They are calling ICE and turning over personal information on their selected targets in the hopes of getting people deported.

    Those of us who aren’t undocumented can do is mess with their plans by publicly posting unrelated/irrelevant content and using the hashtag. Flood #undocumentedandunafraid with cat photos, cartoon gifs, and random content until they get so overwhelmed that the trolls back down.

          1. aab

            If you have regular strength ad blocker and anti-viral protection, Wikipedia should be safe. I can’t vouch for 4Chan.

            I think of 4Chan as Reddit’s nastier cousin, for whatever that’s worth. There’s also 8Chan. It’s places like this where disgusting guys pass along nude, explicit photographs of Jennifer Lawrence hacked from the cloud, and talk about red pills and feminazis and the like. It’s also where FBI agents allegedly were anonymously ratting out the contents of Weiner’s laptop. It’s that kind of place.

            Since I don’t go to 4Chan, that may be an unkind representation of it. But that’s what I know about it.

    1. kareninca

      The dudes on 4chan have far more time on their hands than you can possibly imagine. Flooding them with random stuff would just amuse them and whet their appetites. They would drink another six-pack of Mountain Dew, eat another half dozen Jack in the Box tacos, and get at it. It would be like a compulsive video game activity for them.

      Also, they’d quickly come up with a program to weed out the fake hashtags posters. Sorry to be a bummer, but that is reality; the one guy I know who is on 4chan (who is not trying to out anyone, btw) could easily write that sort of program.

      1. Old Jake

        OK, for a start, what would be the decision criteria? Programming and gaming types are notorious for their poor interpersonal skills, which are what is needed to assess backgrounds. It cost me 15 seconds, how much time will it cost your trolls (not including your friend, and note there are a lot of people using 4chan who are just into gaming and tech and care nothing for trolls).

        1. kareninca

          People are on 4chan for all sorts of things. Some of their boards include Papercraft and Origami, History & Humanities, Auto, Food & Cooking, and Literature (along with Anime, Video Games and Pony, which you’d expect).

          Well, the thing to do here, rather than the two of us guessing, is to go to the relevant part of 4chan and see what they’re saying about this and doing. From what I hear they are into group activities and sharing techniques and methods; they’d rather get attention and results than be secretive. I’ll let you do this.

  19. Bada Bing

    Good for the Intercept, but it wouldn’t do to get all emo about Trump’s torture statements. In anything affecting CIA impunity, Trump is reduced to a ventriloquist’s dummy. President Trump wouldn’t dare say a word without a script.

    Note that Trump defers to Mattis on torture. Torture is CIA’s bailywick. Even JSOC, the war-crimes branch of the armed forces, is just another CIA cutout, dependent for impunity on CIA’s Get Out of Jail Free card.

    In 1954 Houston and Rogers executed an MOU subverting 28 USC 535 and ruling out a formal policy. Every AG is held to that mob-style illegal handshake agreement. That loophole lets the CIA Director pick and choose his crimes and get away with the ones that are… secret. Furthermore, E.O. 12036 restricts government crime reporting to federal offenses. And guess what? Torture’s not a federal crime. The US Delegation acknowledged that in HRCtte 110th session: United States.

    CIA went through all kinds of criminal contortions to preserve its impunity for torture in municipal law. Although the Intercept writes that torture is a breach of the War Crimes Act, CIA made Congress cut out all the inconvenient parts. Congress decriminalized outrages on human dignity or denial of the rights of trial.

    See what they did there? Outrages on human dignity are crucial tools for mental torture: making you jerk off and crawl and so on. And if that doesn’t work, CIA can coerce a confession in denial of your right to be silent: live burial with crawling insects, penis-slitting, object rape, anal rape, child rape, it all turned out fine, didn’t it? No one went to jail. It’s obviously Okey-Dokey. The DOJ’s weasel word for this is ‘compulsion.’

    This is why Francis Boyle says that the US Government is a criminal enterprise. So ignore the beltway mobsters when they talk tough about torture on their turf. The real action is international.

  20. DH

    Trump’s immigration ban may be a smoke screen hiding something more “interesting”. Trump signed an executive order yesterday that may effectively be sidelining the Director of National Intelligence and The Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs in the National Security Council Principals meetings. They will now be invited to attend if “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”

    One of the advantages of living in a world of alternative facts is that there are then numerous occasions where facts from the intelligence agencies and the military are simply not pertinent to decision-making. The DNI and Chairman are Congress approved positions and are statutory advisors to the NSC. Presumably that means that the NSC will frequently not require advice that otherwise can’t be obtained from Steve Bannon.

    1. Old Jake

      I’m not willing to grant Trump or even Bannon the guile needed to think of smokescreens like this. However the practical effect is likely the same. A previous commenter noted how the #resistors and that ilk are launching fireworks about this weeks’ executive directives, spending all their money and energy fighting cheap “cannon-fodder” gambits and leaving them spent when the fit hits the shan. I think that is worth consideration,

  21. Waldenpond

    The plastic bag…. of course, not a plastic bag. CA corporations worked around the bag ‘ban’ by doubling and slapping ‘recycle’ on the existing bags. They are ‘improved’ by doubling and still single use, it’s magic! Only forcing people to pay is getting people to use the very thick plastic carriers and many are switching to fabric. Practical for some, fashion item for some, craft project for some.

    No customers ever said anything over the several years we have used fabric…. First, it was bizarre to watch an individual angrily stuff multiple plastic bags in with their purchases. Now we are actively sneered at for using fabric. I just respond by pointing out we even use light weight fabric bags (available on Amazon! /s) for bulk and produce (carrots etc last longer so it saves money!). Rub it in by pointing out that the bags are marked with 2/4/6/8 cups and bell jars on aisle 8 are really cheap storage.

    1. Dave

      Another scam,
      Harry’s razors, come in a plastic box with a chasing arrow recycling emblem on it and “please recycle”.
      No number to show what the material is, therefore no one can or will recycle it.

      1. Waldenpond

        CA is big on recycling *statistics*. Volume per city, volume % of total waste etc. CA has a deposit on plastic (I had no idea as I don’t buy drinks in plastic bottles) just as some regions have deposits on glass and metals. When you see those semis with bricks of plastics going down the road? People erroneously believe they are going to some corporation. They are usually driving to a landfill as there is no market for those self proclaimed ‘recyclables’.

        Another example of the performative nature of Ds.

      1. Old Jake

        I think not much, as it is the executive that must do enforcement. Unless Congress cooperates by cutting off funding. The Washington state supreme court has several times over the past three years ordered the state to increase funding for public schools, going so far as to find the legislature in contempt. It’s not had any impact whatsoever except to generate some newspaper headlines.

  22. CRS

    Howard Dean was just on MSNBC and said that the Department of Homeland Security was refusing to honor the court order and was still deporting people. He speculated that the administration was telling them to do this. It looks like a dictator has indeed been elected.

    1. Waldenpond

      This could be disproven by supplying links to the occasions that Obama ignored a court order. sigh…..

      Downing of helicopter:
      There are numerous items where O defied the courts on immigration but the are nearly universally right-wing sites and the center-right ignores these issues when it’s a D doing it but I will provide if needed.

  23. LT

    My Vox article shred will be simple.
    In bipartisan fairy land, the Republicans in the Beltway just look at those compromises with Obama and say, “See, we voted for your “liberal extremist” nominees, why can’t you cross the aisle and vote for our nominees?”

    As for consumer credit reform, there is no reform without bringing back usory laws to battle consumer interest rate hikes.

    1. fresno dan

      January 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm
      It would be fascinating if CalExit passed, and then the citizens within the state said, “Well, why stop there?” and continued seceding to create their own little quilt of Luxembourg-style countries. After all, citizens within the state, particularly those in Northern California, have been trying to secede from California to create their own states. They feel as left out by a state government dominated by coastal progressives who don’t care how their favored policies and regulations affect the economies in less-well-off parts of the state.”

      Total population 36,969,200
      Registered voters [note 1] 18,055,783 48.8%
      Democratic 7,932,373 43.9%
      Republican 5,225,675 28.9%
      Democratic–Republican spread +2,706,698 +15.0%

      Hard not to look at the CA map and see a microcosm of the US.
      Up in Redding, where I just moved from, Trump would be viewed as a wild eyed liberal. But what actually struck me most about Redding was the number of churches. And the biggest dichotomy is that the religious folk try to support the homeless, and making Redding a….”sanctuary city” while business and the non-religious very much don’t want the homeless sheltered or fed. And the 2nd biggest dichotomy is the pro marijuana versus anti marijuana split. And when you talk, and LISTEN to people, there are some really…interesting….bizarre beliefs and politics.
      And one other point, if your not on the coast, for the most part your not very well off. Lots of trailer living in Redding….and a lot of it looks similar to West Virginia.

      Secession for me, but not for thee?
      If only there could be a state of Fresdan……..the free hookers and blow would stimulate my….economy.

  24. dcblogger

    Just got back from a demonstration at Lafayette Park, in front of the White House. It was called yesterday afternoon to protest the Muslim ban. The whole of Pennsylvania Ave from 17th to 15th Street is full, as is Madison St. Almost all of Lafayette Park is full. Amazing turn out for such short notice.
    Lots of families, dogs, strollers, a very good natured crowd. But clearly angry with Trump and what is being done. Made me proud to be an American.

    1. phred

      Just got back from Boston protest, same thing, huge turnout for such short notice. Filled Copley Square, spilled over onto the surrounding streets. Police closed Boylston up to the Common, the street between the Common and the Garden, and around the corner up to the State House. Amazing.

      Still so angry about the DHS flouting the judiciary, I’m shaking, but getting out to the protest helped.

      Have to admit, singing “where the hell is Charlie Baker?” in front of the State House to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic made me giggle. That was fun : )

      1. hreik

        Thanks to you and dcblogger for doing this. I would thank each of you separately but it’s counted as duplicative here so I can’t even tho it’s to two different ppl. So thank you both.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Trump keeps some Muslims from entering the country and the country erupts in outrage. Obama kills 22 Muslim patients in a Doctors Without Borders Hospital…a few weeks after blowing 33 Muslims to a pink mist in a wedding party with remote-controlled robot bombs…WOW you should have SEEN the size of THOSE protests!

    2. DH

      Trump, Paul Ryan, and McConnell aren’t going to care about protests until they are happening in Nashville and Omaha.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The sliver lining is they haven’t listened to Google and Apple protests, but hopefully to the those of the Deplorables.

      2. marym


        Over 600 people protest at Boise Airport to oppose Trump immigration ban

        #MuslimBan Protest at IND #NoBanNoWall

        Protest at Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.

        Trump immigration protests spread to Louisville

  25. oho

    Exhibit #1294 on why the Left is painting itself into a corner pushing virtue signalling over economic justice issues—corporate exploiter Lyft wraps itself around the ACLU while ignoring the plight of its own drivers.

    …Hours after the controversy popped, fierce rival Lyft announced that it would donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is battling Trump’s ban on travelers from certain primarily Muslim countries….

  26. Brad

    This is the approach I will push with all and sundry from now on. It keys off the profound insight of intellectual historian J.G.A. Pocock, who called the American revolution of 1776 “A Revolution against Parliament”. As in, not against the King, whether George III or Donald Trump, but against the London Parliament. It was these and not the King that originated the Acts that sparked the rebellion. They only went after the King when he failed to respond to repeated requests to act against parliament, requests made all the way up to July, 1776.

    At present these are the Congressional and State Legislature snakepits of Repuglies and their LibDem enablers. They plan to draft behind Trump and use his people as foils for all the hornets’ nests they’ll stir up, while the LibDems will misdirect the hornets towards the foil and away from the snakepits. So we already have Ryan (and Pence!) tisk-tisking about the Muslim ban and the torture memo. But they don’t really care so long as they can enact their agenda, which is to make us all poorer and more dependent upon capitalist despotism. Once they make achievements on that, they’ll throw Trump into the ditch.

    So people need to keep their fire on the snakepit, not the Trump people and their sideshow foil.

    Let Trump build his Mexican wall. Our proposal is to hire back all those construction workers to tear it down. The ultimate make-work.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think we should not call it ‘Muslim ban,’ as has been discussed.

      It’s more like a ’90-day, 7-country ban.’

  27. DarkMatters

    “Why Iran, but not Saudi Arabia? – TTG Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)”
    “That being said this ban excludes the most right wing Muslim countries and so I don’t see how this can be effective.”

    1. Fake news alert: it’s incorrect to call this a Muslim ban. Trump’s stated motive was to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”, but it should be kept in mind that only 7 countries out of the 57 nations in the UN’s Organization for Islamic Cooperation were targeted; immigration from other Muslim nations is still permitted. Furthermore, several Christians from the banned countries have been harassed during entry.
    2. FWIW, an arguable rationale for the ban of 6 of those 7 countries have some major form of Islamic State engaging actively in self-identified organized military jihadist activity. Iran is just because axis of evil. The Gulf States and Pakistan are ok, because they just support the terrorists, without having any actual fighting on their territory. Pretty sleazy, but there is a sort of sophistic self-consistency.
    3. Geopolitically, I’m sure a lot has to do with Israel: Iran’s support of Hezbollah can’t be helping. And by some twisted logic, Saudi Arabia and Israel seems to be allies of expediency, perhaps because they’re against Assad.
    4. To those who think that our immigration policies have been conscientious and enlightened, and that improvements of visa security are unwarranted, check out Springmann’s book “Visas for Al Qaeda”.

    Some reform is certainly called for, though as in most political matters, policy change rapidly degenerates into the kind of food fight as we see here. I wish they’d throw more popcorn my way.

    1. Massinissa

      “3. Geopolitically, I’m sure a lot has to do with Israel: Iran’s support of Hezbollah can’t be helping. And by some twisted logic, Saudi Arabia and Israel seems to be allies of expediency, perhaps because they’re against Assad.”

      Uh, the US has been allied with Israel and Saudi Arabia both for at least half a century now. Its not directly related to Assad.

      1. DarkMatters

        Removing Assad would weaken Israel’s historical antagonist Syria: the Golan is still divided by a buffer zone. And there have been sporadic reports of Israeli hospitals patching up rebels and sending them back to fight, excused in the name of “humanitarian aid”. I maintain there’s no love lost, and that it’s to Israel’s obvious advantage to see Assad removed and Syria weakened. Of course, I do agree that US has been allied with KSA. Just in the last 8 years, they’ve given enough to the Clinton Foundation alone to have bought the US State Department lock, stock and barrel. But seeing Israel and Saudi Arabia playing footsie is a more recent development.

        1. Massinissa

          I don’t dispute any of that. Those are all good points, but are sort of missing the point.

          All I was saying is the alliance is about more than just Syria or Assad. There are more important factors at play, I think, Assad/Syria only being a secondary concern, albeit an important one.

    2. Vatch

      15 of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. can’t do anything about that because so many U.S. residents are addicted to fossil fuels. It’s not realistically feasible for millions of people to give up driving, because public transit is deficient or nonexistent in many areas. Public transit will always be nonexistent in some places. But these aren’t reasons why people’s personal cars need to have 8 or even 6 cylinders. Sometimes people do need bigger vehicles for professional reasons, but there is absolutely no good reason why people need fuel guzzlers for commuting, grocery shopping, and visiting friends. If we’re going to ban people from the U.S. because of fears of terrorism, then we ought to ban drivers of SUVs and inefficient luxury cars as well, since they’re the ones who make terrorism possible.

  28. Waldenpond


    Brian Fallon Verified account

    The Brooklyn federal courthouse where @ACLU secured stay is literally across the street from Clinton’s former HQ.
    The fight goes on.



    stephanie Retweeted Brian Fallon

    people at airports are holding signs made out of paper, paper comes from trees, found in the woods, where hillary resides.
    the fight goes on


  29. Oregoncharles

    “Trump’s snub for the Green Prince: US President ‘will avoid Charles on state visit to the UK because he wants to escape a lecture on climate change’ Daily Mail”

    Charles will be King any day now, unless the job jumps a generation – he’s pretty old, since his mother is 90-odd.

    And a meta point: another Daily Mail link. Is the paper’s editorial strategy changing? Though I can see how a tabloid would like this story.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Trump Tries to Build a ‘Different Party’ Patriot Post. Nooners weighs in.”
    Wow. Since when is Peggy Noonan this perceptive and useful? Very clarifying.

  31. Foppe

    Is this correct / implications drawn accurate or overblown?
    Quoting first few items of twitter feed

    First and foremost, it is NOT NORMAL. Obama filed for 2012 reelection in April 2011. Incumbent declaring before midterms is unheard of. /2
    22 replies 2,465 retweets 3,507 likes
    The Resisterhood ‏@resisterhood Jan 28

    Several MAJOR implications. If officially a candidate, can use candidate status to curry favor with PACs, businesses, other organizations /3
    15 replies 2,313 retweets 2,980 likes
    The Resisterhood ‏@resisterhood Jan 28

    Because he’s acting as Trump the candidate, not Trump the president. Different rules apply. /4
    12 replies 2,022 retweets 2,746 likes
    The Resisterhood ‏@resisterhood Jan 28

    Even more importantly – completely changes how non profits can handle him. 501c3’s cannot “campaign” or risk losing nonprofit status. /5
    26 replies 2,237 retweets 2,596 likes
    The Resisterhood ‏@resisterhood Jan 28

    It means they can’t speak negatively about him. Imagine @PPact having to convey risk to #PlannedParenthood w/ limits on how to address. /6
    33 replies 2,004 retweets 2,401 likes
    The Resisterhood ‏@resisterhood Jan 28

    This throws nonprofits’ strategy for next few years into chaos. They must figure out how to work against Trump w/o “campaigning.” /7

    1. Waldenpond

      501c3s are education, limited in expenditures tax deductible and can’t touch elections. 501c4s are social welfare and not tax deductible. Example: Planned Parenthood has a c3 and a c4. Another is Cenk’s JDs, they also have dual funds.

      Ds have plenty of soft money 501c3s and dark money 501c4s (like Priorities USA). They’ll be fine.

  32. marym

    This is a reply to aab @ January 29, 2017 at 5:27 pm
    Thank you very much for such a compliment. I also look forward to your informative and closely reasoned comments. I hope you’ll be able to take a refreshing break and return, because reason is, as you say, precious and in short supply.

  33. alex morfesis

    So is the US Marshall service refusing to “enforce” as directed by the Honorable Ann Donnelly or is the opposition just enjoying the attention and confusion and not walking over to the US Marshall Service and directing them to parts of dhs who are not cooperating…??

    Her order was direct…and the US Marshall Service, although paid by the justice department, works for the court system…can’t imagine the trumpettes want to give her cause to expand her order by walking towards contempt…

    But it draws eyeballs…

    now if the aclu would only be that involved in defending the rights of actual “current” americans…

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