Links 1/30/17

Yves is stranded in the Deep South thanks to the inability of Delta Airlines to keep its systems up and running.

Gandhi, who helped defeat the mighty British empire, struggled to win the battle with his own people  On 30th January 1948,  Jawaharlal Nehru announced the death of Mahatma Gandhi, assassinated by a Hindu extremist hours earlier, in an impromptu speech outside Birla House, Delhi: “The light has gone out of our lives.”

Quebec City Mosque Shooting Leaves Multiple People Dead WSJ

I am a difficult person at work and proud of it FT. Sorry to see Lucy Kellaway will be leaving the FT, in order to retrain as a maths teacher. I’ll miss her writing.

3-D-Printed Skin Leads the Way Toward Artificial Organs MIT Technology Review

France’s wild hamsters being turned into ‘crazed cannibals’ by diet of corn The Guardian (Dan K).

We Can’t Think of Society As Similar to the Market: Pankaj Mishra The Wire

Consumers lash out at Uber and turn to Lyft after Uber’s immigration response MarketWatch

2016 Post Mortem

Our Alternative Jacobin (Steve C)

With more than 1,000 water crossings, ‘extra large’ fight possible with Keystone XL pipeline Rapid City Journal (Anita F). There’s more to this war than the fight over #NoDAPL.

Hamon’s win highlights hunger for political change FT

Greece has three weeks to deal with ‘potentially disastrous’ debt, says IMF Guardian

Refugee Watch

4.1 miles video (Sid S)

Move over skimmers, ‘shimmers’ are the newest tool for stealing credit card info CBC (Tony K). “Another reason good old cash is superior for customers.”

Indian Currency Train Wreck

Understanding demonetisation: Why there’s a war on cash (and you are in the middle of it)Understanding demonetisation: Who is behind the war on cash (and why), and Understanding demonetisation: The problem with the war on cash Must-read three-part series on the war on cash, culminating in today’s final installment–  teases out implications that extend beyond India.

Pause! We Can Go Back!  New York Review of Books. Bill McKibben. Can we?

Crowds are wise enough to know when other people will get it wrong Ars Technica

Fake News

The Real 007 Used Fake News to Get the U.S. into World War II The Daily Beast (furzy). If I had a quid for every Brit identified as the real 007… (FWIW, I think the model was Fitzroy Maclean author of the splendid Eastern Approaches— pick up a copy if you can. You won’t be disappointed.)

Amazon Enters Trillion Dollar Ocean Freight Business: How Many Jobs Will Vanish Michael Shedlock (EM)

New Cold War

Much of the Cuisine We Now Know, and Think of as Ours, Came to Us by War Simithsonian (Micael) “Do they want war with Russia because there is no good russian restaurant where you can get a decent borscht and a smooth vodka in the US?”

The Brilliant Way FDR Got America Back to Work—While Beautifying the Country and Protecting Our Environment (resilc)

‘Hidden’ no more: Katherine Johnson, a black NASA pioneer, finds acclaim at 98 WaPo (Kokuanani)

Trump Transition

Wild Child Takes Charge NYT (Joe H)

Poll: Trump reaches majority disapproval in eight days The Hill (furzy)

No Time for Despair Jacobin (martha r)

Those ‘Resignations’: What Really Happened at the State Department

Malevolence Tempered by Incompetence: Trump’s Horrifying Executive Order on Refugees and Visas Lawfare (Carla– hoisted from yesterday’s comments).

Outrage About Trump Exposes “Librul” Hypocrisy Moon of Alabama (margarita)


What Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Does—and Doesn’t Do The Atlantic (UserFriendly). “Obama laid the groundwork.”

Who Hasn’t Trump Banned? People From Places Where He’s Done Business
NYT. Note that the two authors of this piece are involved in the Emoluments Clause litigation I posted about last week– and that their op-ed conveniently fails to mention the origin of this seven-country grouping.

Priebus: Immigration Order ‘Doesn’t Include’ Green Card Holders, But Anyone Traveling to Banned Countries Will Be ‘Subjected to Further Screening’ NBC News (furzy)

Trump Team Kept Plan for Travel Ban Quiet WSJ

Six other times the US has banned immigrants Al Jazeera

This is how Theresa May should have reacted to Donald Trump’s travel ban – for the sake of British Muslims Independent. Robert Fiske weighs in.

Tempest Trump: China and US urged to make plans for ‘major storm’ in bilateral relationship SCMP. Fasten your seatbelts. . . .

The Perils of Calling Trump a Liar Politico (Dan K)

It’s the Poverty, Stupid, Not Trump’s Imagined Carnage The American Prospect (resilc).  Aids level deaths from opioids isn’t carnage?

Abe, Trump agree to hold summit on Feb. 10 Japan Times (furzy)

An Infrastructure Fix  The American Conservative

What Exactly Does Mexico Export to the US? J W Mason (resilc)

Twitter diplomacy: how Trump is using social media to spur a crisis with Mexico The Conversation

The US is turning away Mexican avocados at the border Independent (resilc)

It Can Happen Here Dollars & Sense (Sid S)

Trump travel ban stirs faint corporate outcry beyond Silicon Valley Reuters

Trump Is Calling for a Missile Defense System That Already Exists Motherboard (resilc)

EXCLUSIVE: Women’s March Protesters Booed Trump Hotel Staffers Who Aided Woman Having Heart Attack Heatstreet (UserFriendly). “Nice one Pussy Hats! I’m sure every last hotel guest voted Trump…. and the video too.​”

Antidote du jour (J-LS photo, Gir National Forest, October 2016):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. jgordon

    On: Malevolence Tempered by Incompetence: Trump’s Horrifying Executive Order on Refugees and Visas Lawfare

    I would just like to point out that the author of that article said in it that he’s cool with nonjudicial indefinite detention, drone strikes on weddings, and torture. If the anti Trump diatribe is part of the package deal with the rest of his ideas, then you all are welcome to him.

    1. integer

      Regarding the author of the article:

      Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

      Robert Kagan, high profile neocon and husband of Victoria Nuland, is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. To put it simply, Benjamin Wittes is a neocon, and neocons don’t like Trump because he holds the power and is not sympathetic to their cause. Unlike ¢linton would have been, had she become President, btw. In case anyone is interested, here is a Glenn Greenwald article from 2012 about Wittes’ efforts to prevent the NYT from investigating and criticizing 0bama’s use of drones in the Middle East:

      The Brookings Institution demands servile journalism

      1. integer

        Unlike ¢linton would have been, had she become President, btw.

        Just to be clear, this part of my comment was not directed at jgordon. Rather, it was a reminder to those who are so eager to criticize people who voted for Trump that ¢linton had a murder of neocon warmongers in her camp and would be ratcheting up tensions with Russia on their behalf at this very moment had she won the election.

        1. MindfulPolitics

          Are those who voted for Trump going to spend the next 4 years arguing Clinton would have been worse? The point is that Trump IS horrible. His policies are bad. One does not have to support Clinton to admit to this truth.

          1. integer

            Imo there are currently no better options and there is no point in opposing Trump’s presidency until there are. The D-party’s failure to provide a viable option for the left is the real problem, and the party needs to be overhauled via thoroughly purging all corporatists and neocons from its ranks, which is basically the whole D-party establishment. Unfortunately many people who purport to be on the left side of the political spectrum are now legitimizing the D-party in its current form by focusing on protesting all things Trump (who has actually done some good things such as killing the TPP), rather than focusing on delegitimizing the D-party establishment and replacing them.

              1. integer

                No need to say it twice. I had to look the definition of cisgender. For others who aren’t familiar with the term:

                cisgender (adj.)
                Identifying with or experiencing a gender the same as one’s biological sex or that is affirmed by society, e.g. being both male-gendered and male-sexed.

                I stand by my comment and imo accusing someone of having “cisgender privilege” is laughable. Also, Niemoller seems like a bad choice for D-party status quo supporters considering it explicitly mentions Socialists (Sanders) and trade unionists (unions and deplorables), all of which the D-party establishment “came for”. Did you speak out while that was happening?

          2. Roger Smith

            I think the greater point is that very few would have paid attention while Clinton enacted the same disastrous policies (like they did with Obama). The current situation stems directly from the fact that there is no opposition party, just flag waiving and sports fandom arguments over who should be able to enact the same neolib/neocon, corporate policy.

            Trump is now the literal trump card of the establishment Democrats and so far he is working great at being used as a deflection. The crony establishment still controls the framing (TRUMP = BAD/HITLER/RUSSIAN!) and, at this moment at least, if a boring corporate Democrat were to take office, the majority of the left would fall back asleep. I do not think this will be resolved in one cycle. Many of these people are out because Trump! and because modern liberalism is “trendy”.

            1. Roger Smith

              Trump is the natural continuation (or conclusion perhaps? probably not) of the rot of our political system. In hindsight to me, Trump was just about running alone for the office. Sanders was his real opponent but thanks to cheating Dems and his political softness it did not come to fruition. It is really too bad Trump doesn’t have the policy because he has the attitude it took to smash all of these political barriers.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                The “rot” was Obama, who reversed the polarity of American politics, all of a sudden we were supposed to be “for” each and every one of Bush’s policies because a suave, handsome black man was pushing them. If Trump gets the sleepwalkers and ignoramuses who endlessly cheered Obama’s and Hilary’s actual corporo-fascist actions (versus their mellifluous weasel words) then I’d just say: it’s about time.

      2. Knot Galt

        Thank you for the salient key information. I had no idea of the political persuasion until you mentioned it here. I’m quickly assuming the notion that neither poo-litical party is worth a squat and that we as a country may be both rudderless and pilot-less.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And clueless, about locking in on and figuring out how to actuate the outcomes that we thoughtful folks think ought to be the outputs of the political economy we were born into and bred by.

    2. MindfulPolitics

      It is possible to discuss the evil of what Trump is doing without changing the subject to “others do evil things too”? Those others are not currently president.

      1. pretzelattack

        that works two ways, though. i would love to discuss the bad things trump is doing without hearing about how irresponsible voting for another candidate is to blame for electing trump; i encounter this quite often, both in real life, and online. and while i’m sure these are often heartfelt convictions, there seems to be an effort to egg it on by the dnc or ctr types struggling to hold onto power in the democratic party. the “blame putin” trope is particularly worrying, because that seems to be part of an ongoing attempt to exacerbate tensions with russia.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        “It is possible to discuss the evil of what Trump is doing without changing the subject to ‘others do evil things too’?”

        Possible? Yes. Wise? No. Calling out the “other side” while giving “your own side” a pass for similar things is at the heart of all the mindless partisanship and identity politics that prevents us from seeing and from thinking and finally acting with clarity. Trump is evil–and so are the corporate DNC Democrats. Deal with it. Or live in a hypocritical fantasy world where we can’t identify our problems, never mind construct solutions.

        1. DarkMatters

          VERY good point, that partisan cheerleading too often gives one side an uncritical pass. Whatever you say about Trump, he’s shining light into some very dark and difficult corners of our policy, sometimes those of his political opponents. Only, I wouldn’t want to change the subject, but rather expand it.

          If you don’t like what Trump is doing, ask yourself, what did Obama do, and what do you think would Clinton have done? Yes, Trump is jumping in with both feet into some delicate problems, but it seems that the left has done little in the past but engage in hand-wringing and lament the difficulty of handling these issues (except for humanitarian bombings). Was inaction really preferable? Having the benefit of seeing what happens now, perhaps we’ll be in a better position to decide what action to take in the future.

          There are also historical points. For instance, it is interesting that the countries chosen for visa restriction were also restricted at one time by Obama. What motivated Obama’s selection, and is Trump moved by similar considerations? Dontcha wanna know?

          Sorry, speculating over evils (or goods) done by either side is too fruitful an activity to be silenced. We should be thinking along these lines all the time, not just when elections come around.

          1. Binky

            So Obama approved a Republican policy from an omnibus bill and signed it rather than shut down the government is equal to intentionally crashing the air transport system and putting all manner of people’s lives in chaos?

            Is that like Henry Ford published anti-Semitic tracts in the Dearborn Independent vs. Germany adopting and implementing a Final Solution to those problems? Ford took a medal for his work, Obama just gets grief from both sides.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              Two short paragraphs and already a Godwin tap out. Wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am.

              Is Trump causing chaos at airports like being an accomplice after the fact to war crimes in the form of an illegal invasion killing hundreds of thousands of innocents and nothing less than sadistic torture by cynically “looking forward”? Or perhaps like being an accomplice after the fact to the largest criminal systemic fraud in human history for, again, protecting the perps from legal accountability because (and there is no worse reason ever) they were powerful and wealthy and it would have had actual political costs to do the right and moral thing in either case?

              Sorry, Trump’s got a *lot* of evil work to do to get in the same class of evil as Obama laid down in his first months in office alone. Maybe he will, I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if he did, but he’s not there yet. Not by a mile.

              1. Lynne

                Someone throwing rape language has no room to talk about Godwin or anyone else. I thought we were here to discuss economics and policy.

                1. Kurt Sperry

                  It was a reference to a premature capitulation (the Godwin) before the argument could be satisfactorily be consummated. Binky was, in fact, the party lacking stamina, not I.

      3. nippersmom

        The silence of those who purport to be liberals when “those others” were president was deafening. Many of the same voices who are now so strident in denouncing Trump were also strident in denouncing Bush, but strangely absent when Obama pursued and normalized the policies they once again suddenly find so horrific.

        Until those who would absolve their Democratic heroes of all responsibility or complicity acknowledge that the policy or action is wrong regardless of who enacts/enables it, those “others who are not currently president” need to be part of the conversation.

        1. freedomny

          Because – the “core” of the Democratic Party – the liberal suburbanites and educated professional class don’t want to look in the mirror and see that they might be a part of the problem. I have a sister who still won’t speak to me because I refused to vote for Hilary. She is a perfect example of the “I got MINE” crowd that did not want to upset the status quo.
          Unfortunately, when you have 20% (or a portion of that) of the country, who doesn’t want to upset the apple cart because “I’ve got MINE” – the other 80% is going to get mighty angry. Our society cannot sustain itself with these levels of inequality.

        2. Praedor

          It’s simple. If a GOPer sets up illegal and unconstitutional spying on every American, it’s BAAAD. If a Democrap does it, it’s for our safety and we must accept it graciously.

          If a GOPer bombs the shit out of brown people, it’s BAAAAD. If a Democrap does it, it’s for our safety, in the best interests of the victims, and we must support our President.

          See how it is?


      4. Aumua

        Yes, it is possible to discuss the disaster of Trump, but unfortunately when you do it just makes you sound like part of the endless (and highly hypocritical) repetition of TRUMP EVIL TRUMP AWFUL that has been going 24/7 on every channel for months and months now. It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf at this point. It’s a very unfortunate set of circumstances we are in, no matter how you slice it. The truth is obscured by clouds in every direction.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          I was surprised to read that Trump was ever perceived as a Messiah.

          Not eve at Mile High Stadium.

          It’s always evil, awful, bully, loudmouth, boorish, strongman, another Austrian corporal, another failed architect/artist-wannabee, Putin lover, etc

        2. A

          But there always WAS a wolf. The boy kept crying and people just kept calling him “the boy who cried wolf.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If there was always a wolf, how could the boy keep crying, without getting killed by the wolf?

            I think you get one chance to cry and you have to get out of there. Next time, bring a gun and kill it, or go with a group of hunters.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Some wolf cry-ers were crying out that Obama was a wolf in a bespoke suit. How were they treated, by the As of the country? Yeah, there are wolves, all right. Many of them. And pledging allegiance to wolf breeders and wolf kings might not be a good long-term choice.

            Keep pitching the same curve ball, and somebody is going to pound it out of the park…

        3. Brad

          Yes that’s the problem with the constant liberal Democrat hysterics. Now it’s the “Muslim ban”, that doesn’t actually ban all Muslims, but only from countries previously designated by…Obama. The countries exempted are not “Trump business clients” (another liberal fake news item) but major military industrial customers.

          Point this out and you will be told to stop criticizing liberal Democrats. Anybody who talks like this is proposing themselves as doormats for Democrats. Unfortunately we have a whole layer of people whose entire political DNA is keyed to nothing but the creation of political openings and spaces for liberal Democrats, who share the same fundamentals as Congressional Republicans, and who only differ in matters of tactical degree and identity group preference.

          Now both Congressional Republicans and liberal Democrats have a convenient foil in Trump. Aim fire at the Congressional Republicans drafting behind Trump, not at Trump and his foolish nonsense. Hitting the Congressional Republicans – and their statehouse comrades – equals hitting the liberal Democrats.

          That doesn’t mean we don’t support and participate in the demos. On the contrary, we need to talk with the participants. After all they are de facto protesting Obama’s measures as well, in Trumpian form.

          1. zapster

            It amuses me that Trumpsters are all in favor of Mr. Obama 2.0 when he continues the policies they purported to hate when the black guy did it.

    3. Matilda987

      How does his views on nonjudicial detention impact his arguments about the incompetence of this administration?

      1. Skip Intro

        This is a very good point, neocons are really world-class experts in incompetence and its profitable application.

      2. Waldenpond

        When an R is claiming altruistic reasons in support of immigration, they are flat out lying. They snigger when they co-opt the language of liberals… the only act they are opposed to is blocking their exploitation of labor. Those less expensive immigrants (pay less for education and training) are good for their bottom line. Nothing else.

          1. Waldenpond

            Yep. Basic strategy:

            Lie: I want peace. I will end all wars.
            Lie: I want peace. I will wage war to kill all those against peace.
            Lie: I want peace. I will end all wars with war.
            Truth: I will say what I have to for war profits.

            I think I was just noting the strategy of trotting out Rs is odd. People don’t vote for center-right, when an actual right is on offer.

            If Rs are getting to the right ends, no matter the means, aren’t Ds normalizing R “negative” means? Lurch to the right.

      3. alex morfesis

        Ben Wittes wife worked for $hillary @ saggybottom…her job it seems, was regime change in syria…it probably would have been just a weeee bit honest to lay out that you lay down at night with the prrson whose finger was actually on the trigger…not to say that trump is not an ass…but he did not run as
        “the sensitive guy”…

  2. Teddy

    The Uber thing makes me really concerned. Silicon Valley is probably one of the most oligarchic, rent-seeking sectors of the economy, and if Trump lets it sleaze into his administration, the talk of “MAGA” will remain just talk. Although a silver lining may be liberals realizing the true colors of this “industry” (English is not my native language, so I have some trouble with describing an economic sector that doesn’t actually manufacture anything as “industry”).

  3. CRS

    “Obama laid the groundwork for Trump’s Muslim ban”

    Is there nothing this site won’t blame on Obama?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Did you read the article? The reader who submitted the link is referring to what’s discussed in the article, under the sub-heading: Why were those seven countries chosen? Would you want us to ignore that–especially since the source is The Atlantic, not hitherto known as a hotbed of pro-T, anti-O sentiment.

      1. CRS

        Yes I read the article. I would say a more accurate summary is not that “Obama laid the groundwork,” but “Obama had a sensible policy of not waiving visas from those 7 countries while Trump took things way too far with his partial-Muslim ban.”

        1. Merf56

          Obama had State put a warning to travelers regarding these seven countries. As in : “be very careful tourists and business and aid workers because these countries are particularly dangerous for American visitors”. He was in no way doing ANYTHING like Trump is doing Jerri-Lynn.

          1. funemployed

            I don’t know, Lebanon, Turkey, Germany, and the other countries taking in our millions of refugees might see SOME similarity, no? I think even John Oliver did a segment on how crappy the US gov’t treats those who face danger for helping us make wars. Let’s also not forget the refugees from the drug war funded and armed by US citizens who Obama decided to imprison and deport, and the aid he elicited from the Mexican government to impede their flight from near certain torture, robbery, rape, slavery, and/or murder.

            This is not, in any way to defend Trump. Just to point out that according to international norms, laws, and ethics, we have long been among the cruelest to those seeking refuge on US shores.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              My memory is the U.S. had taken in around 70 Iraqi refugees by 2008 and Norway had taken in over 10,000 which is not a small number.

              Assad’s Syria took in close to two million Iraqi refugees.

        2. funemployed

          I keep being accused of being a Trump apologist for saying that many of Trump’s policies represent intensification of Obama policies, even though I’ve been complaining about those same Obama policies for 8 years. The halo around that family is blindingly bright.

          (I don’t mean this as a personal dis. I think Obama, Bush Jr., and Reagan were all decent human beings, just not particularly perceptive and overly dependent on ideology for thinking. Consequently, all easily led about by cleverer sorts with less transparent ambitions. History will tell I guess, if we still have history then…)

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Don’t confuse civility with decency. Those three were and are vile human beings. Willful ignorance is a sin. “If only the czar knew” is not an excuse. They ran for President and won. They had the abilities to not be confounded by bad actors in their administration.

            1. Roger Smith

              ++ I too am tired of this “They are terrible and indefensible! But they are smart and nice people!” shtick. (No offense to funemployed, I see it a lot). In my opinion it is one of Thomas Frank’s downfalls and I was surprised and excited to see Jimmy Dore challenge him on that (great interview by the way. The most relaxed and open I have seen Frank, greatly contrasting with his book tour outings).

              1. funemployed

                I respect y’all not wanting to give evil a pass. Just think the powers that be privilege pliability over ability, and that they’re the ones who pick the choices we get to choose from (Trump excepted, I suppose). There are a lot more followers in the world than leaders, and the three I mentioned strike me as followers to the core. Condemn them morally if you’d like. It’s certainly justifiable. My sights are focused the people who gave them their marching orders.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  They ran for President of the United States. They are followers of nothing. Obama listened to the likes of Larry Summers because he wanted too.

                  His whole 2007/2008 campaign against Hillary amounted to “I agree with everything she says except she shouldn’t be President, I should.” That’s not a guy who is a follower.

                  Reagan was the President of the Screen Actors’ Guild and Governor of California. Short of jokes about him being Sonny to Nancy’s Cher, Reagan was the boss.

                  Shrub did whatever he wanted.

              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                Just as an additional point, virtually everyone is “friendly” in person except if they are having a particularly bad day. Politicians are especially “friendly.” It’s part of the reason they became politicians.

                Loving one’s children and family don’t make people good people at heart. It makes them people.

                1. funemployed

                  Haha. You’ve exposed me. I came from a family that didn’t act like the “people” you describe. So yeah, you’re right. My definition of “decent” people does hinge on that. Their social and political awareness and whether they’re doing good things professionally sits on top of that, and I guess I tend to blame systems and power brokers when talent and labor is misallocated in socially destructive ways.

                  Worth some reflection though, for sure. Thanks for sharing thoughts.

                2. funemployed

                  Also, for balance sake, LBJ, Nixon, and Clinton x2 were/are all terrible people in my view. 2 of them were better presidents than Obama though (which is not to say great).

                    1. freedomny

                      The Thomas Frank – Dore conversations are wonderful. I sent the info to all my friends and family who want a better understanding of what is doing on now.

              3. geoff

                I saw that as well, and was kind of glad to see that someone as knowledgeable as Frank (who says he’d seen Obama around in Chicago before he entered politics) had been “taken in” by Obama’s “charm”. But I was a bit surprised that after all the (new!) wars and drone assassinations, Frank STILL said he had great respect for Obama. Dore’s right: O was just a pretty face slapped on top of the same neoconservative war machine. The destruction of Libya was not much different than that of Iraq.

            2. Brian

              So that’s your theory? If the last three presidents hadn’t turned out to be “vile human beings,” things would be so much better? We sure are having bad luck here in the US. Those particular candidates just turned out to be master manipulators, successfully hiding their repulsive, reptilian agenda. Who coulda knowed?

              Well, at least we have a prez who wears his vileness like a medal, pinned to his puffed out chest.

              Y’all drinking some strange cool aid in these parts.

              1. pretzelattack

                the system is rigged to give us bad candidates, if that is your point. trump being one of them. pointing that out doesn’t involve drinking anything.

        3. Quanka

          ha, “Obama’s sensible policy” was the same policy Trump leveraged with his EO. So its “sensible” for BO but when Trump extends the policy it becomes bad.

          Now I get it!

        4. Steve Roberts

          Obama ordered the bombing of 5 of the 7.
          It’s immoral to prevent travel from those countries,
          yet completely moral to bomb them.

          The Kill List?
          The DOJ position that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee a trial but a process which can be as limited as the President reviewing your case and legal authorizing guilt and execution.

          The outrage today is justified, was more justified the last 8 years also.

        5. Brad

          Difference in degree only, not in *kind*. Sensibility pertains only to the latter. If we now equivocate on Trump with “partial Muslim ban”, then in what sense were Obama’s measures not partially antagonistic to Muslims? And why not extend it to the military-industrial sacred cow countries? (that question answers itself, doesn’t it). Why is excluding Saudi Arabia “sensible”? Why is supporting the US military industrial complex “sensible”?

          Bottom line is the same: Why the compulsion to make political space for LibDems like Clinton and Obama who, whether they “intended” it or not, in practice pave the way for Trump?


    2. jgordon

      Obama was genuinely one of the worst and least effective presidents in US history. It’s completely reasonable, if entirely too easy, to find things to criticise about his regime.

      I would also like to point out that as a perfectly factual matter Obama was far to the right of W. Bush, so I’m not sure why you think you’d find many defenders for him in a place like this.

      As to the particular matter at hand–yes, it’s an indisputable fact that Obama laid all the groundwork needed, and Trump only came along to lay the cherry on top. Or are you so willing to defend Obama that even empirical facts about things he provably did don’t have to taint His majestic legacy now?

      1. Steve C

        Nah. I’d say Obama only did about 3/4 of the horrible, unforgivable things Bush did. Or maybe 7/8.

        But Trump is doing horrible, unforgivable things at a rate two or three time that of Obama or what would have been Hillary’s.

        1. j84ustin

          Agreed, and while Obama was certainly not a socialist or even progressive, to broadly say he was to the right of W is disingenuous at best.

          1. bigorangecat

            It is not being disingenuous at all. Obama is to the right of Bush on plenty of issues. Bush prosecuted far more white collar criminals from Enron to Worldcom. Obama was also to the right of Bush on state sponsored surveillance. Obama also nixed habeas corpus in his 2011 NDAA, that’s far to the right of Bush. Obama also tried to cut social security and medicare. You clearly don’t know what you are talking about.

            1. TedWa

              You’re right, and he made the banksters above the law. That is most egregious thing he did in my mind.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                “I will stand between you guys and all of the people with the pitchforks” said the handsome black man to the assembled billionaire bankers. “After all, you only stole a few trillion dollars. I’ll be sure to protect your bonuses while 10 million people lose their homes…and don’t worry, I’ve instructed my Justice Department to be sure not a single one of you sees the inside of a prison cell”. The group then retired to the caviar and canapes while discussing their plans to meet again in Martha’s Vineyard and Davos.

                Until so-called *Dems* embrace the actual *facts* about the *actions* of their favorite Teleprompter-in-Chief I will pay absolutely *no* attention to their blatherings about the Orange Man.

            2. pretzelattack

              uh bush would have too if he hadn’t been distracted by something worse by far than obama, bad as he was, actually did–the triumph of the neocons, the iraq war. i’d think of obama as more like romney, a corporate tool.

            3. neo-realist

              You did get Judges farther to the right from W Bush than Obama. Roberts and Alito are total crap on civil rights. If you’re not black, you can afford to not give a damn.

              And yes, I understand judicial appointments from both are pro corporate.

              1. anonymous

                And if you aren’t Jewish you can afford not to give a damn about how Bannon intentionally mourned every group exterminated by Hitler, except for Jews, on Holocaust Remembrance Day… right when Trump announced the immigration ban.

                And you can afford to not care about articles like this — describing how Anne Frank’s family got turned away from the US because then it was the Jews who were accused of being spies/ German sympathisers.

                BTW, I totally get how Obama laid groundwork, which is only one of the reasons why I voted for Jill Stein in 2012 as well as in 2016.

          2. Roger Smith

            Who is more the fool? The person who did the bad things, or the one who knew about then said “meh, we’ll let it go”?

            If Bush was worse, why didn’t Obama reel it in and fix it instead of expanding or ignoring it?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              For added good measure, he first promised to reel it in and fix it, then, only then, he failed to do so.

            2. pretzelattack

              bush was worse, because the iraq war killed several hundred thousand more people, and damaged a lot more people. obama let it go, and damaged a lot of people. that doesn’t make obama far to the right of bush, it just makes him a corporate tool that killed fewer people.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Heard this morning from Trump “advisor,” Stephen Miller, speaking to Charlie Rose, regarding the travel ban executive order:

        “I think any time you do anything hugely successful that challenges a failed orthodoxy, you’re gonna see protests. In fact, if nobody’s disagreeing with what you’re doing, then you’re probably not doing anything that really matters, in the scheme of things.”

        A perfect encapsulation of the “scandal-free” (and accomplishment-free) presidency of barack hussein obama.

        1. Optimader

          Are superlatives like huge, fantastic, wonderful, amazing, disastrous all just typical NYC vernacular-speak or is it more a case of hyperbolic carnival barkerish speak congenitally ingrained in Trump? Not quite used to it so it jumps out in my ear just a little bit. Clips/sound bites of it edited together will eventually stalk in a critical way when some initative or policy he framed as “fantastically successful” inevitably blows up

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I do not know if those superlatives are nyc vernacular peculiarities or not. They certainly seem to be Trumpisms. And you’re right when you say that they’re different from what we’re used to hearing.

            If I had to guess, however, I suspect that with continued use they will become as irrelevant to the conversation as certain words used often by the previous administration. Words like success, merit, trade, inflation, unemployment, robust, recovery, inequality, conflict and peace come to mind.

            1. flora

              Without a commenting on the merits or demerits (heh) of any of Trump’s actions this week, I’d say his actions are functioning like a Rorschach test for both parties.

              e.g. voter fraud. Is there voter fraud? If so, what kind? Is it the kind that advantages or disadvantages your party? Do both parties agree?

              e.g. refugees. Since 2012 the NDAA has given the president the “right” to detain and/or kill American citizens without meaningful due process – eliminating habeas corpus for american citizens – because the war on terror is so dangerous (they said) that such actions are necessary. If that’s true, then certainly keeping out as many “terrorists” as possible is also true.
              If it is not true, then roll back this assault on the Constitution and restore habeas corpus. So, which is it?

              Like I said, Trumps acts are a kind of Rorschach test on the politics of the past 16-20 years. (I say this without making any claims about the rightness or wrongness of said acts. That isn’t the point of my comment.)

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                A very good point.

                When is the next million strong protest against total surveillance?

                1. pretzelattack

                  exactly, and how many protests from climate scientists on obama increasing drilling or going after charles monett for pointing out that polar bears were dying in the arctic, or million person marches on the way the obama administration shut down ows?

            2. Optinader

              I recall during rhe campaign Dilbert Adams wrote an article describing Trump as expressong himself with hyperbole which people elsewhere in the Country (world) might mistake as literal expression.

              His humerous example was along the lines of a LA commuter who might describe being in a traffic jam as a sressful and upsetting experience, whereas a NYC-er might be more along the lines of: Goddmn, it was so bad if he had a gun he would have shot hinsrlf in the mouth. Personally i can recognize the later and enjoy it, but otoh i can see the case where some more literal people in other geography, mother toungeor in this case more politically correct might not see the trees from the woods in the messaging.

              But you do have a point that the suprlative may eventually be tuned out as so much extra word-noise.

              I do think DT underlyinly wants everyone to like him, and in kind tends , for example, to descibe people in positive superlative form until he percieves criticism or contraryness to his perspective which is then responded to with amped up negative superlatives.

              Thing is, in life and pilitics there is alot of gray nueance for which the supurlative language doesnt fit too well.

              1. MtnLife

                The superlative filled speech is a class marker of the coastal elites in their game of one-upsmanship. If you live a 5 star life you need to talk about it in 5 Star terms. You kids’ schools are amazing, accommodations are spectacular, your home is luxurious, dinner last night was to die for, your last vacation was fabulous, etc.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef




                  It’s even better if you can say it in French, and maybe Chinese..

                2. optimader

                  This could well be a reasonable explanation. I really don’t hear this in the Midwest, with a few notable exceptions, so it may be regional. Kinda like some of the Southern/Texas insincere sincerity (which I don’t mind)

      3. horostam

        the legacy of obama includes some (unintentional?) idiological plus points. one, “socialism” became an undirty word, due to ACA bullshit. this opened the door to sanders in many ways. also, the racist backlash against him opened many people’s eyes to the skeletons in Americas closet.

        and he was a neoliberal… but hey nobodies perfect

        also commuting chelea manning was nice

        1. pretzelattack

          while pronouncing chelsea manning guilty before the trial (so the conviction was much more likely) was not so nice. and i don’t think obama helped rehab the word “socialism” with his heritage foundation model “healthcare” plan.

            1. pretzelattack

              well the pr that pushed it discredited single payer when the product turned out to be such crap.

    3. Sandy

      It’s getting ridiculous. And I debunked it in that comments thread too. Obama was NOT in support of that ban, Republicans forced his hand by including it in a major appropriations bill.

      1. OIFVet

        Is there anything the Republicans didn’t force Barry to do? Or did he run out of veto pens in that particular instance?

        1. Pavel

          He was so busy closing Gitmo and working on the public option (under the full glare of C-SPAN cameras) he promised voters during the campaign. He can’t do everything, for god’s sake!

          1. Optimader

            ,,, well he did work tirelessly on importnat civil rights initatives to ensure people can take a poop or shower wherever they want. Sadly there is still quite a rukus when i go into the Ladies Locker Room. Why are those haters still so prejudiced against me?

          2. RUKidding

            You left out how he put on his Union-supporting shoes and marched in WI to support the Unions there… like he said he would.

            Or how Obama defended ACORN against the scurrilous and easily disproven videos and lies spun against them and kept ACORN as a the helpful dynamic organization it is.

            Or how Obama was on the leading edge and really got out there and pushed for Gay marriage.

            Or how Obama finally closed Gitmo.

            I could on, but I’ll stop now. Our Sainted Savior Obama who never did anything wrong and all the bad things in the world are the fault of the mean bully Republicans.

            Let’s all look forward….

            1. pretzelattack

              he saved us from quite a few military age males, who might possibly have someday become terrorists if we invaded their countries and killed their families, based on extremely vague intelligence. and wedding parties, can’t blow up enough wedding parties.

        2. Sandy

          Read carefully. Obama could not shutdown the government because Republicans wanted to limit visa waivers. Another example of why a sensible Constitution restricts appropriation and taxation bills exclusively to those matters. Amazing how you all seem to see a lack of a veto after a dirty rider was attached as an “Obama policy.” Give me a break.

          1. OIFVet

            He could veto any appropriations bill, if he had the courage of his convictions. On this matter, he did not.

        3. FluffytheObeseCat

          Obama did plenty wrong on his own. However, the whine-fest here among those who don’t want to look hard at Emperor Trump includes far too many comments about men (and woman) who are not President. Who will never be President going forward.

          Trump, being the iconoclast that he is, could easily have chosen to exclude immigrants from the KSA, Kuwait and the emirates. Whose elites have long funded those who fly planes into our buildings. He didn’t. Therefore painting his exclusion choices as in the interest of national security is BS. People from those 7 banned nations are more likely to be in imminent danger than those from nearly anywhere else in the world. Trump is keeping out the weak and needy. Because, that’s the way he is. That is what he does. Down punching uber alles.

          Trump carefully avoids hitting anyone who might, just possibly, be able to hit back.

      2. Quanka

        I love how Obama was not in support of so many of the things he did. He was totally against increasing drone use and killing children, those pesky CIA and DOD people just forced his hand. He was totally for Single Payer, those pesky Repubs just forced his hand.

        Most powerful man in the world, reduced to begging for his preferred policies. Is that right??

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “If only the czar knew”

          Team Blue partisans have to justify their cultish devotion to Herr Obama. If they voiced opposition, Obama might not have been such a loser, and Biden, as bad as he is, or some random member of Congress might be President. I’m assuming a relevant Obama would have stomped a Hillary bid as Hillary already lost to an empty suit where she demonstrated her campaign didn’t understand delegate allocation rules.

          1. Optimader

            “campaign didn’t understand delegate allocation rules.”

            That one I consider to be breathtakingly amazing….

            At the least, wouldn’t you think that the electoral college strategy would have been the most popular big donor dinner small talk before handing over the duffelbags of $$ to Huma??? No less, amongst the (gag) “campaign strategist” professionals?
            Were they so smothered by HRC’s subliminal fear of success or were they trying to do the Country a favor while still taking the cash? If you cannot run a campaign with the most fundemental objective in mind, what are the expectations to “run” a Country? I presume this question remains unasked in our marvelous msm?

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The embrace of the hyperbole of Obama’s political genius by Team Blue at large was partially driven to distract what utter disasters the Clintonistas really are. If Obama wasn’t a once in a century political figure, what does that make Hillary, a candidate with 100% name recognition, unlimited resources, and the power of nostalgia? Or what does that make her cronies?

            2. Brian

              Please, everyone, no biting?
              We have submitted to a government that ignored our laws now for at least 24 or 40 years, and there is no sign they will stop. It is not a fight amongst ourselves that will cure this, but finding what we have in common, and demanding it is implemented with one voice.
              the neoconvicts and neolovebombers are the same ilk. If they get you to fight one another, we won’t be able to rid ourselves of their hatred directed at us. They win, remember?

              1. bob

                Let me be a voice of dissent, in favor of dissent.

                I think what really screws things up more is self appointed, “center” grabbers. Appoint and anoint yourself as reasonable, then admonish others as being childish.

                There is no shortage of self appointed “reasonable” very serious people, who never say anything after grabbing the stage. We could do with A LOT less of that.

                1. freedomny

                  I completely agree. Healthy discussion and “agrees to disagree” are fine. But (and maybe I am seeing shadows all around me) I have always felt & thought that keeping Americans divisive and racist is part of the plan. Their power (elites) can never be truly challenged if we are fighting among ourselves. Why didn’t Obama really ever do anything meaningful for the Black/Brown communities? Someone, please correct me if I am wrong – but I haven’t really seen many 1% black celebrities in the past couple of years really getting involved in Black Lives Matter. You’ll see more sports figures than other elite segments. I have been outraged…and keep asking my black friends – why isn’t there significant outrage among the black elite? They can’t answer me. Because……

                  This is about class. It is not about race.

                  1. A

                    He said “if I had a son he’d look like Treyvon” and the racists lost their minds. In their minds he advocated for police murder by just saying that, caused “divisiveness” and a deterioration in race relations.

                    It most certainly is always about race. And class.

                2. Brian

                  That works both ways. Stake out a purist claim as a doctrinaire social-democrat, decry the corporatist Dems as no better than the repubs, vilify Clinton supporters as oligarchs or stooges, and you shut people up just as fast.

                  At this point, I see no chance to stop Trump, without the support of “The Establishment,” so to the extent that is your desire, it might behoove you to stop with the ridicule of “centrists.”

                  If you are all for Trump, then by all means carry on.

                  1. aab

                    I think you are wrong. The Establishment got us here, and intends to keep us here, only with a slightly more polite set of rapacious warmongers feasting on the bones of the citizenry.

                    Speaking only for myself, I will never join with the Establishment again. Did that. Won’t get fooled again. If that was going to work, it would have. Out of curiosity, what good do you imagine would come of putting corporate Democrats back in power? Did you just like how Obama governed and want it again? If not, what do you want changed?

                    1. Brian

                      We disagree then. I do have more thoughts in a detailed comment below, in which I lay out my argument…

              2. Brian

                OK, I feel like I’m posting too many cranky things, but I have to strongly disagree with the sentiment you are expressing here.

                By trying to paint the government of the 24 years as outlaws, you are engaging in a dangerous “idealization of the past.” My suspicion is that you are doing this, maybe unconsciously, as a rhetorical strategy to undermine centrist Democrats, who have been part of mainstream of political power, though not dominant.

                IMO, the US is largely a Right Wing nation. I don’t think it is in our cultural DNA to support a social-democrat, left wing type of government. Trump is the first real break from the status quo in a long time, and he is a total reactionary, who uses the techniques of a demagogue to manipulate un-sophisticated voters into believing he is looking out for their interests. It is all very calculated. There is nothing genuine about his populism. He shameless panders to people’s xenophobic instincts, to create an “other” which he can point to as a cause for their problems.

                It blows my mind that we have seen, across mainstream media, the definition of the “elite” changed to be the professional administrative, academic, and media workers. It would be hilarlious that people have fallen for this orwellian twisting of the facts, if it weren’t so dangerous.

                The elite in the US is the upper echelons of the corporate, industrial, financial, military, prison, political machine. The same rich cabal that Trump is empowering to take more power than ever, right now!

                I remember bitterly arguing with my Nader supporting friends back in 2000 about the threat the Republicans represented. All I got back was, “there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats.”

                So when Bush won, I tried to be open minded. “Maybe it won’t be so bad,” I thought. It was bad, very bad.

                These attempts to discredit the Democrats by painting them as being part of a historically unique, lawless phase of US government undermine the very real social progress that has been made over the last 80 years, which has been spearheaded by the Democratic party since FDR.

                This attempt to paint the Dems and Reps as equivalent ignores the progress that was hard fought for in civil rights, social welfare, and war policy.

                We live in a complex world, and things change. Many of the problems now facing rural citizens are not the result of simply being ignored by the elite. There have been ongoing technological and cultural shifts, that have moved the ground underneath some people’s feet. Many challenging social patterns that arise are not due to the machinations of any elite. They are simply emergent phenomena, beyond the control of any party.

                Anyhow, we have seen real progress, and real setbacks, in the road towards a more just society. The fact that a black man was even elected president is proof of this. I happen to think that the Democrats are more likely to support continued progress. I don’t believe this idea that “you can’t work within the system, man.” The system is all we have.

                24 years ago, we were just at the end of the Cold War, in which illegal actions by the US government were just as bad, if not worse, than what we have seen in the last 10. The CIA was involved in training and support of right wing governments, and death squads, throughout the world. This happened through the 70-80s. Mercifully, the US had avoided any big hot wars for a while (ignoring little skirmishes like Grennada and Panama). The CIA had to by content with their nefarious activities in Central and South America, mostly.

                Rather than this being attributed to a “respect of law” by the mostly Republican administrations during this time, I attribute this to public wariness of war based on the catastrophe of the Vietnam War. This is why Reagan and Bush had to rely more on covert activities.

                The Vietnam War saw carpet bombing of civilian populations by the US! The whole 20th century in general was an incredible caldron of violence and genocide.

                Jim Crow laws were active in my lifetime. The sexism that was accepted as “just how it is,” was quite vile.

                And you going to try and argue that the US government was more law abiding in the past?

                This lawless targeting of civilian populations is simply not acceptable anymore, and that represents tremendous progress. While we are still engaged in bombing in other countries, and I hate this, there has been a lot of progress made in minimizing civilian casualties.

                The total casualties from Obama’s military actions pale in comparison to Bush’s. I don’t think Obama was a war monger. He was a straight establishment candidate, no doubt. The first black president of the US was not going to be a lefty-radical. Nor would the first woman. Sad to say.

                Obama has had some notable successes with the wars. He has in fact reduced the number of US troops abroad, which is one of the main reasons he has increased the drone strikes.

                One thing that pains me to see is that he gets no credit for keeping the US out of a shooting war in Syria, which he took a lot of political flack for. Some people try to lay the blame for the civilian death toll, and Russia’s involvement, at his feet, because he didn’t intervene!

                He has not undertaken needless wars of conquest, unlike Bush. Most of the US military activity now is aimed at containing the blow-back from our long history of the cold war, and imperialist strategies.

                The US is not “at war” right now. The reality is we are entangled in a series of messy civil wars, for which there is no easy strategy to deal with. If it were up to me, random nobody on the internet, I would pull all of the goddam troops out, and cut off all arms sales from the US. Let those crazies fight it out, civilian casualties be damned.

                I am most troubled by Obama’s increase of arms sales, and in general the arming of various factions in the civil wars in the mideast. It’s like, we shouldn’t be surprised when “the gun in the first act, goes off in the third.”

                I don’t understand exactly where the momentum for the US military-industrial complex comes from. It is very disturbing. But it is quite real. Military contracting is spread across many states, which makes it harder to stop. We have also allowed a mercenary force to be established, which means that much more political/financial pressure to maintain war activities.

                It would have been nice to see Obama prosecute the Bush administrations for warcrimes. But that was just far outside of what any establishment candidate could do, politically. The first black president? Forget it. Obama couldn’t even close Guantanamo. The Republican-Right demonized him from the beginning, and did everything they could to sabotage his administration, despite the fact he was just a doctrinaire, establishment, president. How was he supposed to enact a progressive agenda. His cabinet is like, warrior-oligarchs, on steroids. This is an electoral disaster.

                It might take a “Nixon goes to China” type situation to put a stop. But I see no indications that Trump is that man. He, against all logic and reality, has accused the previous administration of letting the military get weak, and is proposing massive increases in military spending.

                By continuing to harp on centrist dems, like Clinton and Obama, the left is ironically carrying water for the worst aspects of the reactionary right. There is no significant left wing faction in the US. The Greens poll at nothing. Sanders lost the primary to Clinton, who was one of weakest, most unpopular democratic candidates ever to make it that far!

                Though he fought valiantly. It would have been interesting to see how a Sanders-Trump matchup would have went. I am unpersuaded that he would have stood a chance, against any of the republican candidates. They could have easily painted him as a unrepentant pinko hippy from Vermont. I can’t see the “Guns God, and Gays” crowd ever going for that. They can sniff that liberal shit right out. Who knows. It’s a counterfactual, it can’t be known.

                Don’t be surprised when the gun in the first act, goes off in the third.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            No. This is why the Clinton campaign was a disaster. Trying to win “moderate Republicans” was about as sound of an idea as training unicorns for the Barnum and Bailey Circus next year.

            Republicans vote for that big “R” and don’t care.

            1. NYPaul

              A few reporters questioned Clinton’s campaign strategy of completely ignoring working class voters a/k/a “The Deplorables.” Obviously the DNC and the Clinton Brain Trust knew the electorate far better than what the polls were indicating. When questioned by a NY Post reporter regarding this phenomenon, the brilliant Wall Street Gopher, Chucky Schumer, stated (with a condescending smirk on his face, no doubt,) “For every blue-collar Democrat we will lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two or three moderate Republicans in the suburbs of Philadelphia.”


      1. Lambert Strethet

        I think you mean “N-o-o-o-o….” as in the final wail of despair after reality sets in.

        Fixed it for ya

        1. River

          Time to edit Revenge of the Sith and Vader’s “Nooooooooo!”

          Emperor Obama “Trump will succeed me.”

          Hilary Vader “Noooooooooooooo!”

          Obi-Wan “It was if 50 million liberals screamed in pain.”

      2. MindfulPolitics

        Half of the same voters who were against Clinton for private servers have no problem with Trump having private servers. The lesson is that people would much rather be partisan than intellectually honest.

        1. nippersmom

          And half the same voters who were convinced Trump would lead us into war were unconcerned that Obama already had us bombing 7 countries and Clinton was actively trying to start a war with Russia. That lack of intellectual honesty is not limited to Trump voters.

          1. Brian

            Really? Do you have any evidence for this claim? I don’t know very many folks at all, of any political persuasion, who are unconcerned about the interminable military conflicts the US is engaged in.

            Of course, the concern about Trump I have isn’t that he will lead is into war. It’s more that he will choose to annihilate large numbers of innocent brown people, as soon as takes up his promise to wipe out ISIS.

            But whatever, it’s just more dead brown people.

            1. aab

              Do you recall massive protests against Barack Obama’s droning? Because I don’t. Do you recall corporate media screaming about Obama’s brutal yet ineffective warmongering and nation-destroying in Libya and Syria, just to name two? Because I don’t.

              Yes, there were people expressing horror and dismay. — here, for example. But Nippersmom did not claim that “no one” was unconcerned. So is your query for detailed data proving that “half” is precisely correct?

              I would like my government to stop killing people, everywhere, in every way.

              1. Brian

                That’s the point, not-screaming in protest ≠ unconcerned.

                Plenty of folks were, and are, quite distressed about the war where I live, but for whatever reason never felt motivated to protest. I happen to live in rather lefty neighborhood, so it’s perhaps not representative. I would wager that concern about the war activities ran higher among Obama/Clinton supporters than Trumps.

                But what is the point at harping on this? Because “liberals” failed to protest Obama’s policies, they hereby lose their right-to-protest card?

                I’m not one prone to hysterics, but from what I can see Trump is a monster, and better late than never that people wake up.

                1. aab

                  That’s the problem. Trump is not a monster. He is a human.He is a human who figured out how to beat the Democratic machine as a underdog, helped by the incompetence and corruption of the Democrats and their allies. And if you want to end Republican hegemony in this country, playing right into the hands of the corporate Democrats who have handed that hegemony to the Republicans is probably not a good idea.

                  I did not see Obama and Clinton supporters protesting the war. They seem committed to defending both politicians’ warmongering to the bitter end. Anybody who goes to a protest and ALSO makes it clear with their signage and chants that they oppose the Obama and Clinton legacies and demand that the droning and use of special forces and CIA as military speartips and instigators ALSO be stopped is cool. Let’s do more of that.

                  Someone on Twitter suggesting shouting down every Democratic politician who shows up to mouth faux support. That sounds great to me. But bear in mind that huge swaths of the country have tuned the Democratic Party, liberalism and globalism out. They see all of that as their enemy, because they were and ARE their enemy, and they see the hypocrisy. Liberals are a minority in this country, distributed in a way that undermines their capacity to climb back into power (gerrymandering doesn’t help, but it’s not all gerrymandering) and while they have a lot of economic and other institutional power, they don’t have governing power any more, and are rightly hated by the majority for what they have done to the people of this country.

                  Liberals are not my friend. I am a leftist. And if you want a non-Republican, non-right wing national government any time soon, you need to be aware that lots of people see the airport protests in a negative light, because they see people who wouldn’t stand up for for their fellow citizens, but will stand up for strangers, among other problems with the “optics,” as the Democrats like to say. And they’re not wrong. Of course, part of the problem is that corporate media is covering these protests extensively, to undermine Trump and help their corporate Democrat allies. I know people protested the droning; they did it in my neighborhood — little handfuls of people, usually at intersections.

                  I see people talking about how great it would be to impeach Trump and put Pence in. I’m sorry, that’s delusional. There is no magic remedy for Republican hegemony in the near term. That option was taken away when Bernie Sanders was cheated out of the Democratic nomination.

                  So please, protest away. But be thoughtful about it, and do what you can to undercut the Democratic Party’s attempts to use it to elevate people who previously voted to build the wall, stop admitted Muslims at the airport, etc., etc. Please don’t help them promote Cory Booker, because he will lose whenever he runs for president, and he’s already being pushed HARD by all the usual suspects.

                  If you only protest bad acts if they’re done by the other “team,” yeah, that IS a problem. Because the way things sit now, you won’t get the change you want, because that takes power, and to get that power takes discipline and a lot of hard work, and having the moral high ground also helps gain support. Getting hysterical now may not leave you with the capacity to protest worse stuff later. And I think there’s likely to be worse stuff, don’t you?

                2. Lynne

                  I would wager that concern about the war activities ran higher among Obama/Clinton supporters than Trumps.
                  I think you would lose that wager. How many in your “lefty neighborhood” had family that actually got shot at in Afghanistan or Iraq? Among the people I know, the percentage was rather higher with the Trump voters than Clinton supporters.

                  1. Brian

                    Well, that’s true. Not a lot of solders around here.

                    I’m not aware of significant opposition to the wars in the populations that are actually providing the solders. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of some vets turning against the wars, but never got the impression this was widespread.

                    Weirdly, as I remember, there was much more opposition to the Afghanistan when it started, than there was to the Iraq war in my neighborhood.

                    But after a few months, everybody I knew was adamantly opposed.

                    I don’t live in a typical neighborhood though. This was Bernie central, not hide nor hair of Trump or Clinton signs. Even after the primary people left the Bernie signs up, and you then more Clinton signs came out.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The customer is always right.

          To say a voter is wrong voting his/her choice, is to intimidate.

          You vote, then you move on…you get on with your life. What does it matter how others voted that we should go and say they are wrong?

          1. MindfulPolitics

            You are describing dictatorships and markets, not a representative democracy. The later requires reflection and accountability, or it does not work. That is why our two choices were Clinton or Ttump. Neither side is willing to own what they pick.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              But we are not going to go around judging voters.

              That’s dictatorship.

              Criticize policies, not voters. Put forth alternatives.

              1. MindfulPolitics

                A. Accountability is the opposite of authority. Authority is license that cannot be questioned. Thus tyranny. Thus why majorities can be dictatorial over minorities. They are authority without accountability.

                B. Cherry picking a word I said just to reinforce your odd view of politics as divorced from decisions we make reinforces in my mind that neither Trump or Clinton apoglists really understand the heavy lifting of democracy.

        1. witters

          And this is perfect. The Stones Doom & Gloom

          I had a dream last night
          That I was piloting a plane
          And all the passengers were drunk and insane
          I crash landed in a Louisiana swamp
          Shot up a horde of zombies
          But I come out on top
          What’s it all about?
          Guess it just reflects my mood
          Sitting in the dirt
          Feeling kind of hurt

          When all I hear is doom and gloom
          And all is darkness in my room
          Through the light your face I see
          Baby take a chance
          Baby won’t you dance with me

          Lost all that treasure in an overseas war
          It just goes to show you, don’t get what you paid for
          Battle to the rich and you worry about the poor
          Put my feet up on the couch
          And lock all the doors
          What’s that funky noise
          Guess that’s the tightening of the screws
          Sitting in the dirt
          I’m feeling kind of hurt

          All I hear is doom and gloom
          But when those drums go boom boom boom
          And through the night your face I see
          Baby take a chance
          Baby won’t you dance with me
          Baby won’t you dance with me
          Ah yeah

          Fracking deep for oil
          But there’s nothing in the sump
          There’s kids all picking
          Ar the garbage dumb
          I’m running out of water
          So I better prime the pump
          I’m trying to stay sober
          But I end up drunk

          We’ll be eating dirt
          Living on the side of the road
          There’s some food for thought
          Kinda makes your head explode
          Feeling kind of hurt

          But all I hear is doom and gloom
          And all is darkness in my room
          Through the night your face I see
          Baby take your chance
          Won’t you dance with me
          Yeah, come on
          Baby won’t you dance with me

          I’m feeling kind of hurt
          Baby won’t you dance with me
          Oh yeah
          I’m sitting in the dirt
          Baby won’t you dance with me!

    4. alex morfesis

      Obama & trump had the same problem stepping into the presidency…total control but with a congress that is not on your side even though you are from the same party…

      Obama allowed that racist university rent-a-cop in cambridge to talk him down in july…that cop was not just stupid…he was a flaming idiot…

      that was the end of hope and brought on the small change…

      he never recovered from that moment…

      Although he did make wall street great again…

      However, the wholesale prosecution of S & L crisis execs was an anomaly…hardly anyone went to jail from the great depression wall street induced crash of the 30’s…

      Having lived thru the a ball league years of val jar & misha obatz in chicago, somewhat face to face, they were probably helmed in by the chicago media perception of promote not any non complacent black folk…

      Like jimmy carter perhaps, obama did not have a large “team” of his own…he had to borrow the daley machine apparatchiks…and we all know what a great job they have done promoting chicago(‘$ $uburb$)

      Many who voted for him were thinking they were getting james earl jones or at least bernie mack…they ended up with george jefferson…

      He was expected to do better…he failed…keeping the ship at sea so it avoids any hazards is not something one gets a trophy for when you are sitting in the oval office…

      1. Brian

        To bad about that. I for one am a big fan of ships I am on avoiding hazards, and being kept at sea.

        1. pretzelattack

          i’m a big fan of captains who don’t deliberately run into icebergs (iraq) and if the replacement captain only rams a few smaller icebergs, and refuses to blame the previous captain because he wants to look forward not backward, this does not renew my faith in the system that provided both.

  4. OIFVet

    STARBUCKS CEO: We’re going to hire 10,000 refugees. How about you hire 10,000 Americans instead? Of course, the main point of Schultz’s announcement was PR, and in this he succeeded brilliantly. It set liberul hearts aflutter on my faceborg feed as many vowed to support Sturbucks (at the expense of their LOCAL coffeeshop, but that’s left unsaid), albeit with the occasional grumble about having to condescend to rub elbows with the proles and subjecting their precious taste buds to inferior brew. Sacrifices need to be made though!

    1. Arizona Slim

      If they are into making sacrifices, why don’t they skip the expensive coffee and drink water?

      1. OIFVet

        But they do drink water, bottled water. Sometimes even while bemoaning Trump’s disregard for the enviroments. Fiji water, Smartwater, alkaline water: you name the designer water, they drink it.

      2. Pavel

        How about Starbucks paying its bloody taxes for a start. In the UK they claim very little profits — because any “profit” is paid as a “royalty” to a Luxembourg sham company.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Schultz’s exploitation of the identity politics issue du jour to sell bad coffee is nothing short of legendary.

      But wasn’t there a time when these express distinctions in hiring were called “discrimination,” and hasn’t a lot of noise been made about how “un-american” such practices are?

    3. NIck

      If they’ve been resettled in the US, refugees are basically guaranteed a green card after a year. Your “instead” doesn’t much sense, as “refugees” used here refers to a subset of Americans.

    4. sleepy

      With our booming economy and full employment it’s difficult to find citizens willing to take lowly jobs at Starbucks.

    5. Optimader

      Schultz is brilliantly successful at selling an environment with a very consistent product. Ultinately no one holds a gun to the consumers head.

      I do agree that he should be announcing his intention to hire more Americans in this country, but that presumably is a less leveraged cynical press release?

    6. FluffytheObeseCat

      Seeing as how we likely don’t have 10,000 unemployed refugees in the ever-lovin’ USA, this means they’ll be bulking up on staff in their Canadian stores.

    7. Praedor

      Uh…if he hired Americans they would have to be paid better. If they hire desperate refugees, they can offer them shit and the refugees will SMILE and cry with happiness. The refugees wont fight for $15, wont fight for healthcare, wont fight for decent hours because desperate and blindly grateful.

    1. Felix_47

      Interesting. Every doctor in the US is going to generate millions per year in referrals and tests. Increasing the number of doctors will only lead to more expense, unnecessary surgery, and deaths and complications. It will not lead to a decrease in health care costs. I wonder why we do not encourage doctors from the Sudan, like this one, to practice in their native countries. They are desperate for doctors in Sudan and many American doctors volunteer in that part of the world. Are there not enough US born college and medical students to do it or are they not intelligent enough?

      1. Eclair

        This is a tangled situation. My understanding, admittedly superficial: it’s a combination of really high professional education costs (resulting in $100,000 + in student loans, unless your family is wealthy enough to pay full freight), plus the high costs of establishing and maintaining a medical school in the US. (It’s really cheap for a university to start a law school, thereby insuring a huge supply of lawyers. Gah!) This insures a bottleneck on the number of doctors we produce here, although supposedly, due to our high standards, the ones we do produce are excellent. So … send our US students to lower cost medical schools in Mexico and Granada (with a US Marine escort/s) …. or import already minted doctors from foreign schools, who know they can make more money here and, in many instances, have a lower chance of being killed.

        Then, we have (or had, their influence might be waning), the AMA, and various other professional unions, which, to keep compensation high for their members and, supposedly, to ‘protect public health’ (like we’re being ‘protected’ against terrorists), encourage laws and regulations that, for example, bar midwives or nurse-practioners from practicing unless they are working for a physician. Other countries, with better health outcomes (i.e., France, Sweden) don’t do this.

        Also, other countries pay the costs of professional education for their budding physicians, so they don’t start out their practices with a load of debt and an incentive to take up cosmetic surgery instead of becoming a GP.

        I have read articles extolling the excellence of Cuban medical education, although I cannot attest to it directly. They export doctors to less ‘civilized’ nations, plus have excellent care at home.

        A system where, at the entry level, we have plentiful and competent health professionals who don’t need 6 to 8 years of expensive graduate training, that are available to all at a low, or no, cost, who can deal with the non-serious and common health complaints, such as colds, aching backs, diabetic care compliance, well-baby check-ups, maternal health up to and including delivery and follow-up care, would probably work better and be less expensive.

        And, yeah, I agree with you, Felix_47. Sudan desperately needs doctors; we have too many, highly and expensively, educated doctors who, due to our litigious system (back to those cheap law schools again!) order batteries of tests so that they won’t be sued. Myself, after nearly dying due to prescribed pain medication and an ignored blood test result, then nearly being killed by a misdiagnosis and massive doses of unneeded thyroid (recommended if you want to lose 20 pounds fast and hate to waste time sleeping) … but I was saved by a ‘better’ doctor at the local university … I rely on a holistic chiropractor, a massage therapist, daily stretching and yoga, and the hot tub at our town recreation center.

      2. Bob

        This physician was a recent medical school graduate (graduated last summer) and is only about 6 months into an internal medicine residency (training) program that would ordinarily last 3 years. Following the completion of her training it might be hoped that she would return to Sudan but many graduates of US residencies remain in the US. I hope that answers your question. I don’t care for your statement ” Are there not enough US born college and medical students to do it or are they not intelligent enough?”

  5. voteforno6

    Question about MMT:

    This isn’t directly related to any of the above links, but I’ve been reading some of the older posts on MMT, and I have a couple questions that hopefully could be answered by the commentariat. Please forgive me if this topic was covered in a previous post about MMT – if it has, a link would be appreciated. I’m not an economist, but I think that I can keep up with all but the most technical discussions.

    What is the role of U.S. Treasuries in the economy? Do they serve to soak up an excess of savings? Also, how does the market for Treasuries actually function? The previous posts on MMT that I read had excellent discussions of taxation, but I don’t recall seeing anything on how Treasuries fit into this.

    Anyway, any help on this would be greatly appreciated – this has been kind of bugging me since I read those other posts.

    1. paulmeli

      MMT doesn’t weigh in on the role, if any, of Treasuries as an economic attribute (as afar as I know). MMT shows that whether a government issues bonds or not it is a choice rather than a necessity, and that the monetary system would function the same in a bonds or no-bonds environment. Treasuries are but one way of many to manage interest rates in the inter-bank banking system. Another way is to pay interest to the banks on excess reserves, which we are now also doing.

      Treasuries also act as savings accounts for large sums of dollars that cannot practically be held in savings accounts. Government bonds are by far the most risk-free savings vehicle for cash holdings.

      For example, Apple Computer has about $250 Billion in cash holdings. To be safe, the cash would have to be held in 1,000,000 individual savings accounts insured at the FDIC limit of $250,000. (Apple only keeps some of it’s cash holdings in Treasuries, the rest is in marketable securities. You would have to look up the portfolio mix).

      This is only for Apple’s cash.

      There are ~6800 banks in the FRBS. There is ~$14 Trillion in bonds held by the public.

      Just as important is selling of the (false) idea that comes from issuing Treasuries…that the government has to borrow to spend. It was claimed at the beginning that issuing bonds was less inflationary than leaving the cash in circulation. Bonds are an asset-swap, not a loan. The paying of interest to bondholders was a choice made by Congress, not some inherent budget constraint.

      1. voteforno6

        Does the government determine how much in bonds that it will issue, or are they offered on-demand (the latter, I’m guessing)? I guess the conceptual hurdle here is, that if you believed that these bonds represented government debt, then you would think that they made up the difference between spending and revenue. Also, how is the interest rate determined – is it essentially the same as how other rates are set?

        Please forgive me if these are really basic questions – I don’t have a background in finance, and I’ve found that MMT has caused me to reorient my thinking on this matter. That being said, from a layman’s perspective, MMT seems to be the most market-friendly approach to finance, an opinion which I doubt is shared by market fundamentalists.

        1. paulmeli

          “…you would think that they made up the difference between spending and revenue”

          It does, for the most part. If you were to add up all of the deficits (and surpluses) over history you would find that Bonds Held by the Public does not account for all of the difference. There is net cash in the system. The amount of net cash used to be around $1.5T but since the QE’s it is likely much higher. QE swapped $ for bonds (reverse of Treasury ops), increasing the level of dollar holdings, most of which I presume went to gambling in equities.

          Here is one of many discussions of rates, what they mean and how they fit into the system by Prof. Bill Mitchell, the pre-eminent MMT scholar who writes a daily blog (billy blog):

      2. Praedor

        The government DOES borrow to spend…from itself so the “borrowing” automatically cancels out to nothing.

        You CANNOT borrow from yourself. Claiming you do is wordgame and nothing more.

    2. Goyo Marquez

      There is no real need for treasuries. The Federal government has no need to borrow dollars, since it owns the right to produce dollars.

      Part of the confusion with MMT is that the system has changed, but the bookkeeping has apparently remained the same. Prior to Nixon the dollar wasn’t a fiat currency but was backed by gold. Which meant that as far as bookkeeping was concerned the amount of dollars the federal government could produce had to balance with the gold the federal government had on hand. So a deficit was a real thing, that is a deficit of gold, a shortage of gold to cover your dollars. Every time the federal government spent dollars into existence there had to be a balancing bookkeeping entry in the gold account. If the Federal government didn’t have enough gold to cover the dollars then the balancing entry would be negative, i.e. a deficit. In that case you might need to borrow gold, or dollars backed by gold, to cover the deficit, the shortage.

      But after Nixon took us off the gold standard, you didn’t need a balancing gold entry for your dollars. You couldn’t have a deficit of gold, a shortage of gold, because you no longer needed gold to back your dollars.

      But after going off the gold standard we continued the bookkeeping system of deficits. Every time the federal government spent a dollar into existence they still marked it down as a deficit. A deficit of what, a shortage of what? Not gold, we’re no longer on the gold standard. A shortage of dollars? We can’t spend more dollars into existence because we have a shortage of dollars? That doesn’t make any sense.

      You could say a shortage of dollars that were in existence at the time we were on the gold standard, but that’s just another way of saying we’re still on the gold standard.

      I think it helps to keep in mind that people who own dollars or who are owed dollars, don’t want the supply of dollars to increase because that lowers the value of dollars. I think it also helps to keep in mind that people who own dollars lost a lot of power when the Federal government no longer needed to borrow from them.

      … that’s my best shot at it.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Yep I get that part, where there is no longer a limit to the amount of debt that can be issued. Remind me the part where this debt-issued money that is created in infinite quantities retains any purchasing power? Or do we just index wages to the quantity of new scrip, so when you pay $1M for a loaf of bread it’s OK because you just got a pay hike so you now earn $1B per year?

        See also: Alchemy.

        Of course governments want to issue scrip in “infinite” quantities so they can endlessly and infinitely expand war and social obligations. It would also be handy to have an anti-gravity machine, it would make intergalactic travel so much easier. Or dehydrated water pills, you could just ship them to all of the places with no fresh water.

        1. a different chris

          Nice bout of hysteria, there. There are certainly problems with printing money because the 1% have a way of hoovering it upward, not because Starbucks is going to charge you what seems like lot for your latte.

          The smart way to do it *was* issuing Treasuries, with returns well under inflation. The rich would buy them to be sure they will stay rich in their old age, but I think you can see how this would slowly re-balance the accounts from rich old to striving young.

          Then the brainaics proudly killed inflation, and here we are.

        2. paulmeli

          Remind me the part where this debt-issued money that is created in infinite quantities retains any purchasing power?

          Strawman. No one has ever proposed creating money in infinite quantities, just that that there are no mathematical constraints on the how much money a government can create (or borrow if that’s the way you see it). It is necessary to point this out to those that claim the debt-to-GDP ratio or some other meaningless metric shows ‘we can’t afford’ this or that or that we’re near bankruptcy.

          The point is that there is always money available to buy what is available for sale in your own currency. To do otherwise, leave production unsold, is to unemploy people. Unnecessarily.

        3. Waldenpond

          hmmmm.. Consider which parts of paper debt you might be willing to write off. What about if debt gets out of balance, there is a jubilee for the people, not business. Should there be debt for education? No (for purposes of discussion). Offer education for free or jubilee the debt out of existence. There is cost of infrastructure but ‘credentialing’ is a social construct. Prestige wages, bloated administration?

          It could be there is a difference between paying the cost of producing a physical item versus debt for interest, fees, prestige, mark up, what the market will bear etc.

        4. ChrisAtRU

          Remember, buying treasuries is essentially an asset swap. Selling treasuries doesn’t create new money. Somebody pays for the treasuries with dollars … dollars that come from a bank … a bank that has a reserve account at the Fed (or bank that has an account with its Central bank which has an account at the Fed). It’s essentially swapping a non-interest-bearing asset (cash) for an interest bearing one (Tsy).

          With respect to money creation, there’s a difference between such money entering the real economy – the pockets of Joe and Jane Shmo – and the sleight of hand that stuff like QE represents.

          Here is the monetary base of the US from FRED (St. Louis Fed). See that spike at the crash? That’s the start of QE – Fed creating money to purchase all manner of securities. Now all that money added, but no $1M dollar loaves right? All high powered money a.k.a. reserves. Fed still can’t get inflation up to 2%. Now if that money was used to pay off student loans, or for mortgage forgiveness, that would be a different thing. If would free up income and then maybe, we’d see some pricey bread … ;-)

        5. Praedor

          You leave out core aspects of MMT.

          You cannot simply create infinite dollars. You CAN issue a hell of a lot more dollars than currently exists and the top end is not a solid line. Ultimately, you an issue dollars until the economy is at full steam (never has been in any of our lifetimes) and the economy is at FULL employment (which has tie ins to full economic output). If you continue to pump out dollars after the economy is at full capacity, THEN inflation can start being a problem.

          The government could EASILY fully fund an even better Social Security system than we currently have without raising a single tax. Same is true of Medicare. Sadly, taxes and budget panic ONLY applies to things that actually benefit the non-rich. ANY and ALL programs that help the non-rich always sees demands from the GOP and neoliberal Democraps for cuts and increased taxes, while “defense” (offense, actually) spending has NO limit on how much can be pumped into it from nowhere…EXCEPT the money over-spent on offense is used as a debt bugaboo that “requires” cuts in all programs that help the non-rich.

      2. alex morfesis

        Was the dollar actually backed by gold or was it “photo op” gold…taking the dollar of a “golden ledger” by nixon was just removing the curtain and showing the wizard…it was always a yellow brick road…it was always fiat money…the history of gold based currencies anywhere evah is just a bed time story told to children waiting for the tooth fairy…

        Currencies were produced not by the us govt directly, but by private banks and their self proclaimed “gold” holdings…when Lincoln, to deal with the out of control inflation decided to slap a ten percent excise tax on currency issuance, the idea of the “check” & checking account kicked into high gear…the banking local clearing houses for checks was a private tax evasion action…at least until it took on a life of its own…

        The “gold standard” latin monetary union was undermined by german interests who obtained a stable silver to gold conversion ratio, then flooded the market with conversions…

        Adulterated medals have plagued history as have adulterated currencies…

        Ok…ready for the backlash from the gold fever krewe…

  6. Brian H.

    Great round up Jerri. Hope you make it home Yves (Delta has been sucking lately, speaking as a native Northwest (minneapolis) guy).

    Question, whats the “purchase” as they say in business/optics marketing, of posting that booing of DT hotel workers? A few awful people yes, out of a million and part of the biggest marches in the world. I personally feel spreading that kind of tars a massive, massive group of people for no real reason. My 0.02c.

    1. nippersmom

      I haven’t traveled regularly on business for nearly twenty years. Even back in the day when I flew in and out of Hartsfield regularly, Delta’s service was terrible,

    2. UserFriendly

      I felt it was relevant because the march was being billed as against policy not against Trump…. Obviously no one has control over every attendee at a rally but I thought people might want to know what the right wing will be holding against them.

  7. JamesG

    There is, of course, nothing funny about the killings at that Quebec mosque.

    However if the reports that one of the apprehended killers is a Moroccan immigrant and shouts of “‘Allahu akbar” during the massacre are accurate it makes the hysterical reactions to Trump’s temporary restrictions risible.

    1. Active Listener

      Let’s assume that report is true. There are something on the order of one billion members of the Islamic faith in the world. Blaming every Muslim, or even every Moroccan (which is not on the table right now), for the actions of one immigrant from Morocco would be about as justified as holding you in custody the next time someone of your ethnicity and nationality commits a mass murder and attributes it to race or religion.

      By that logic, we are all potential suspects for the vilest of crimes, and none of us should be given an ounce of leeway in how we are treated as we move through our lives. We should all be in detention areas because we might decide to radicalize one of our belief systems and take violent action.

      If people have valid green cards, or even valid visas for that matter, they shouldn’t have their lives thrown into chaos (lose their jobs, lose access to their homes, lose the companionship of their families, etc.) by blanket proscriptions on entry that take effect immediately and without warning, and that are based solely on national origin. I have lots of friends and acquaintances who are permanent residents of the U.S., and they aren’t living out of suitcases, ready to be shipped off to wherever on a moment’s notice. They are settled here, some for a lifetime, and many of them would have little or no recourse if they were suddenly uprooted and sent back to their country of birth. A few would even be at risk of being killed rather quickly by the people from whom they were fleeing.

      1. oho

        collective guilt is stupid at all forms.

        Whether all Muslims (or any other people) are to blame terrorism.

        Or whether all Europeans/white people (or any other people) are to blame for colonialism/slavery.

        (guessing this statement is going to rile up someone)

        1. witters

          You need to distinguish collective guilts.
          1) I am not collectively guilty of X – as I didn’t participate in producing X (wasn’t around etc.)
          2) I am colletively guiltly of profiting from X (as I am others have made out from the unrectified injustice).

          So not riled up. Just trying to clear things up.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        A few would even be at risk of being killed rather quickly by the people from whom they were fleeing.

        Or by one of the bombs dropped by the very “sensible” obama during the myriad of wars he waged every single day of his eight year tenure, or the seven years of war waged by the previous administration and the abject destruction these wars have caused and the havoc they continue to wreak.

        The idea that the “chaos and confusion” at american airports caused by Trump’s travel ban has done an “irreparable harm” that even approaches what has been done during the last 15 years simply does not pass the laugh test.

        Hysterical hashtags notwithstanding.

        1. Active Listener

          Specifics. I have one acquaintance who had to flee her hometown in Jamaica after a crowd of people attacked her for being transgender back in 2006. She managed to make it to the U.S. with my help and especially with the help of a semi-underground LGBT rights organization that itself was constantly in danger. (I think one of the people at JFLAG who helped her get to the U.S. was murdered a couple of years later, actually – I saw it in the news.) I have a friend who fled a dangerous situation in Honduras in the mid-2000’s (her family followed a few years later), and another friend who left Laos illegally (floating across a river on a raft, with armed patrolmen looking out for runaways) about 35 years ago. (That last situation is probably safer now, but she still hasn’t gone back to see family members who stayed behind, to my knowledge, and I think it had something to do with a person in power who wanted something from her – she’s a very attractive woman.)

          In terms of the danger any of them might face if they were forcibly returned to those countries should their permanent resident status be disregarded, I don’t think it can be measured by comparing it to the outcomes of American bombing/drone war campaigns in other countries over the last couple of decades. They are separate issues.

          Not that I am disagreeing with the notion that a lot of people here ignored a lot of what happened to other nations under the Obama (or even Bush) administration.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            A modicum of calm is in order here.

            Nothing in this temporary immigration ban suggests that a permanent resident of 35 years from Laos will be returned to her home country.


            In fact, “According to governmental data, the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history.”

            And, “President Barack Obama has often been referred to by immigration groups as the ‘Deporter in Chief.’ “


            This hysteria is a figment of the clinton campaign’s imagination, invented in an attempt to drag a loser candidate over the finish line. You do yourself and your friends no good tilting at these invented windmills. You risk missing the really important stuff that actually deserves your attention.

            1. Active Listener

              If you read my original post, I didn’t say mass deportation of green card holders was imminent. However, there were people from the seven named countries with valid green cards who were turned away/detained over the weekend (the words of Reince Priebus aside), and pooh-poohing their problems because “Obama was way worse” is not constructive either. I may not know any of those people personally (to my knowledge), but it’s fair to assume that at least some of them would suffer tangible harms by not being allowed to re-enter the U.S. for three or four months. And I did join numerous protest choruses (and one or two actions) during Obama’s eight years in office, when folks were trying to prevent deportations and setting up sanctuary cities, so this isn’t my first dance – nor is it my “big personal issue.” I usually focus on trying to learn more about/teach people about MMT and related theories/critiques, to be honest.

              Why are we even talking about Obama and Clinton? I wasn’t. Obliquely accusing me of “hysteria” and losing my calm isn’t really constructive either – it’s more on the line of an ad hominem attack, no? And using me as a straw person for establishment Democrats is hardly fair, since I am not an establishment Democrat and am not coming at this from their perspective.

              I’ve been learning about various forms of financial exploitation and following other issues on this site since Occupy Wall Street was transitioning into individual issue groups, and that’s still my reason for being here. Just because I comment on this subject doesn’t mean I am losing focus on every other issue.

            2. Brian

              People are being hysterical, because that’s how people need to get to act in protest. Protesting is a real drag. Propagandists rely on this to advance their causes. I wish it weren’t this way, but it is.

              In the subject at hand, the hysteria is perhaps merited, because taking some kind of action against Trump is merited.

              To pick on people acting out like this to undermine the real issues is kind of disingenuous.

              I think why more people are becoming alarmed, is that even those who are not political junkies, with a deep grasp of the historical ramifications of class conflict, can sniff that something has gone terribly wrong.

              The individual stories of human struggles directly related to this immigration executive order fiasco, are important, just because this really sucks for people that have done nothing wrong.

              What makes this different than all the other acts of fate that destroy innocent individuals?

              The difference is this: there is no remotely plausible justification for this. Not even if you squint your eyes just so. But here we have the most powerful man in the world, and his sycophantic aids, ruining people’s lives with the stroke of a pen, for no reason at all.

              Actually, there is a reason, and it is that this is part of Trumps bomb throwing, I don’t give a fuck about anyone attitude. I can destroy you for no reason. I can destroy your family. The courts can’t stop me. You work for the govt and don’t agree? Get the fuck out. From now on, if you are not within me, and servile, you are against me, and I will ruin you.

              This is the behavior of a bonafide sociopath. Most people are not like this. They are not ruthless. They have empathy for others. One sociopath, or a small group, who manage to grab power, and systematically act to consolidate it, can indeed take over a nation.

              We are already seeing it with republican congress things who are meekly acquiescing to this nonsense. It’s just sickening.

              I’ve been on the fence whether Trump is merely a pathological narcissists, or whether is a bonafide sociopath. At this point, I’m leaning towards the latter.

              In the meantime, he gets to fool the chumps who voted for him just that much longer that he is “keeping his campaign promises.” Trump believes in nothing outside of his own wealth, power and glory. Oh, yeah, never mind about that whole “drain the swamp thing.”

              I hope I’m wrong, but if I’m not, only a concerted effort focused on simply getting rid of Trump at all costs will minimize the damage he is going to do.

              All this nice arguing about who is the most legitist, anti-corporate leftist-est is just going to have to wait for another time. Efforts to build a true coalition of democratic-socialist leaders will be pissing into the wind until then.

          2. Lord Koos

            I used to spend a fair amount of time in Jamaica doing business in the late 80s, and I love the culture, but many Jamaican men are intensely homophobic. During the time I was visiting there were newsreports of a man simply *thought* to be homosexual being stoned to death on a beach.

      3. cnchal

        By that logic, we are all potential suspects for the vilest of crimes, and none of us should be given an ounce of leeway in how we are treated as we move through our lives.

        That is the logic used by the security state to justify it’s existence. All have to monitored so that the wheat can be separated from the chaff, and the definition of wheat and chaff can change at a moment’s notice, depending on the political desires of the leader.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is this comparable to the temporary closing of the entire North American airspace, but not say, airspace of a overseas military base (so there is some justified selectivity there)?

          In one case, the whole country was considered by the security people to be at risk.

          Here, we take temporary action against countries first considered to pose risk to the US by the security people (some worked for Obama, but maybe not any longer now).

      4. Ulysses

        “We are all potential suspects for the vilest of crimes, and none of us should be given an ounce of leeway in how we are treated as we move through our lives. We should all be in detention areas because we might decide to radicalize one of our belief systems and take violent action.”

        This is a near-perfect description of the ideology held by the DHS, CIA, NSA, and the other pillars of our “intelligence community” here in the United Stasi States of Amerikkka :(

      5. Praedor

        It’s easy to understand, IF true.

        If the worshippers were Sunni, and the shooter Shia, then you understand, OR if it was vice versa. The bulk of the shitpile violence in the Middle East of muslim against muslim (Saudi Arabia and its scumbrothers the UAE, etc) are Sunni majority nations seeking to quash Iran (majority Shia). Add it a sprinkling of illegal Israel and the anger that brings out on BOTH sides, and you get violence in the Middle East.

        Of course, it doesn’t help that the US and Israel both work in concert to stir up the shitpile for their own economic and militarist reasons.

  8. Steve H.

    : Who Hasn’t Trump Banned? People From Places Where He’s Done Business

    “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” – Wesley Clark, 2007.

    Trump’s banned list: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, and Yemen.

    There’s also the assertion that the list was of countries not involved in the central banking system. I can’t tell how credible the claim is.

    (I like this reflection, as well:

      1. Lord Koos

        Sure, N Korea for one. But it is the case that any leader in the world who attempts to operate outside the western financial system, often ends up dead. Especially if they have oil reserves. Saddam and Qaddafi being the most recent.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I’m surprised North Korea is not on the list, even just as a formality (not too many N. Korean tourists or H1B visa holders).

    1. Brian

      And your point? Trump’s act is pure propaganda, and he picked countries moslem countries that have been in the news for being failed states, Islamist States, dangerous places. Then he gets to say, well, I’m just following up with what Obama and Bush identified as the problem states. You liberals sure are a bunch of hypocrites!

      The man is an evil genius. Time to stop underestimating him.

      1. pretzelattack

        trump’s very bad yes. he shouldn’t be following and expanding on obama’s policies, but he is. while we oppose trump, we shouldn’t lose sight of how much obama and clinton cost us. people are demanding change; they didn’t get it with obama, they wouldn’t have gotten it with clinton, so they stayed home or voted trump because the other change candidate got robbed in the primaries.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Afraid that comes from 5 years of studying in the UK, 30 years of being married to an Englishman, and 5 yrs of being a ski bum in Whistler, BC (and skiing 100+ days a year: Yippee!) Plus it’s the term Kellaway herself used, so I just repeated her lingo.

      1. craazyman

        Seems like you’re double-counting some of that.

        It probably adds to 35 years, not 40. And it might only be 30 years if you took lots of ski vacations while married to an Englishman and studying in the UK.

        You can’t pull fast ones in the Peanut Gallery and have nobody notice.

    2. integer

      There’s room for both imo. I like to use “maths” as an abbreviated version of “mathematics”, and “math” as an abbreviated version of “mathematical”.

      1. integer

        Having thought about this some more I am compelled to admit that I basically just arbitrarily alternate between “math” and “maths”. Luckily the numbers are the same for both.

          1. integer

            Friedman sez:

            math + s = maths
            s + math = smath
            smath ≠ maths
            math ≠ maths

    3. craazyman

      I thought it meant addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

      That’s 4 things not one.

      What if somebody proved Fermat’s last theorem and then they discovered it wasn’t actually his last one. All that work for nothing!

    4. RMO

      Ah “Maths” properly written “M.A.T.H.S.” as it is an acronym for “Mathematical Anti Telharsic Harfatum Septomin.”

      Unless that “Look Around You” science program was some sort of a parody…

  9. Steve H.

    : Pause! We Can Go Back! New York Review of Books. Bill McKibben. Can we?

    Well, it looks like the cognitive dissonance of shilling for Buffett and Gates has finally popped a cork in McKibben’s head.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Sorry, but I find both those links extremely unconvincing. I spent many years involved in a variety of environmental campaigns and you frequently found yourself with all sorts of strange bedfellows. If their support helped and didn’t compromise you, you accepted it if it didn’t interfere with the battle at hand. The fact that on another day you would be opposing that company or individual is irrelevant. Purity is impossible in battles like that unless you want to lose, lose, and lose again. Sure, railroads will benefit if the pipeline goes ahead, and will support anti-pipeline groups, so what? To describe a minor alliance of convenience as ‘shilling’ is inaccurate and quite insulting to the campaigners involved.

          I don’t profess a deep knowledge of every campaign Bill McKibben has been involved in, but he has devoted himself to combating climate change and has never been afraid to challenge the establishment (unlike most establishment enviros he supported Sanders over HRC). You need a hell of a lot more evidence than those links if you want to suggest he is in any way compromised.

          And yes, I know the focus on Keystone as an issue is a tactic that not everyone agrees with. But the Canadian tar sands operations are ongoing and legal and so can’t be stopped. The same applies to the majority of the major tight oil extraction areas. The weak link for the industry is the lack of pipeline infrastructure and McKibben and others have focused on that on their campaigns. Given the success so far in stalling and raising costs for the oil industry, I think he was right.

          1. Portia

            any time you take money from someone, you have entered into a kind of partnership with them, and are constrained from criticism to a large extent–you don’t want to bite the hand that is feeding you. The corps have gagged you too a large extent. if you are going to accuse people of “purity” if they insist on fiscal independence, I consider that insulting.

            a point you don’t mention is that the coorporations deal with the elite, white groups. they do not ally with Native Americans or other indigenous people–they are on their own unless one of the elite groups decides to help them.

          2. Steve H.

            Have to respectfully disagree, PlutoniumKun. The primary problem is the development of the tar sands, and political pressure has (had) inhibited the pipelines, but not the pollution. Focusing on one transport path allowed the other to gain advantage and be developed quicker, with more speculative potential. And train transport expanded explosively.

            Meanwhile, activist’s time is being sequestered into a corporate cui bono, rather than focused on decreasing carbon development.

            1. pretzelattack

              if the pipeline is still going through, the other (railroads) hasn’t gained an advantage. we can fight both drilling and pipelines, it’s not mutually exclusive.

    1. funemployed

      I just assumed from the headline that Bill had just discovered DVR and moved on with my life.

  10. David

    On Hamon’s victory, if you can get past the FT paywall, then what it says is broadly true, with one exception, if not very profound. The exception is that Hamon’s victory was not a “surprise” it was entirely predictable after last week’s first round (I and others said so), and is simply another case where the people thumbed their noses at the candidate whom the media and the punditocracy selected in advance as the winner.
    It’s not so much a “hunger for change” though, since the French have undergone a hurricane of economic and social change over the last generation, but more a disgust with the political establishment, its corruption, stupidity and detachment from ordinary people. Anyone who says something a bit different, anyone who has been out of the public eye for a bit or anyone (like Hamon) who appears to come from nowhere, therefore has a built-in advantage. This was Fillon’s strength, but after last week I wouldn’t put money on him making it into the second round, or possibly even the first;

      1. fosforos

        If Mélenchon agrees to unite the Left around Hamon and a common program of government that includes abandonment of the idiotic Drug War, it already is strong enough in the polls to compete in the second round against Marine, surpassing Macron and Bayrou (or whoever else the Right comes up with to replace Fillon).

        1. David

          Agreed, but “if” is the word here. So far, Mélenchon is not showing much enthusiasm for the idea. If he withdraws (which is what is effectively being suggested) then Hamon would probably make it into the second round. If not, then it’s looking extremely doubtful as things stand.

  11. The Trumpening

    Looks like Trump’s travel ban is already paying off. Just hours after the Trump Administration announced they would very soon be adding several additional countries to the list, Trump sat down and spoke to Saudi leaders. Supposedly they agreed that Saudi Arabia would sponsor safe zones for Syrian refugees within Syria.

    Saudi Arabia has been VERY generous in sponsoring the building of new mosques in Europe for the recently arrived Muslims there. Those days are coming to an end and now they will have to spend their money not only financing the jihadi groups in Syria to wage war but also paying to settle the refugees that are produced because of the war.

    Refugees should be settled as close as possible to their homes so that when the war is over they can go back. So the safe zone idea has always been the best way to deal with Syrian refugees.

    It seems though that Socialist and Labor parties in the West are losing working class voters to the new populist parties so these left parties were eager to receive generations of new voters in the form of Muslim refugees and their progeny. Right / Liberal parties in Eruope may have had other motives for wanting masses of refugees, like destroying social cohesion or over-burdening welfare systems in order to shut them down, or even good old-fashioned cheap labor.

    But presumably this refugee influx is now soon ending. If safe zones are set up in Syria (patrolled by for example Egyptian troops, not American) then the Syrians who migrated to Europe can go back to these safe zones as a first step towards going back to their real homes.

    And the Syrian safe zone model can be exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, etc, wherever refugees are flooding into Western lands, this can be abated by setting up safe zones in the regions producing these refugees.

    Russia has already agreed to the Trump’s safe zone proposal. Bashar al-Assad should soon as well. I’m not sure if the Saudi-backed “moderate” rebels get a say in the matter but I suppose their Saudi sponsors could pressure them to accept.

    One huge beneficiary of these safe zones will be Greece which is currently overrun with refugees. And this is just in time for the next installment of the Greek Debt Drama. This episode should be particularly interesting as it is the first to occur with Trump at the helm. Oh what fun Trump is going to have with this one!!!

    1. LT

      “Safe zones” in countries involved in military conflict depend on so many things.
      Like accurate reporting about civilian casualties of war.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This whole travel ban furor cannot be good for saudi arabia.

      A few short months ago, the obama administration was vehemently opposing giving 9/11 families the right to sue the saudis for terrorism damages. Now those very same, out-of-power saudi champions are outraged because saudi arabia, overwhelmingly the greatest state sponsor of american terror, has been omitted from the list.

      It’s possible that Trump plays eleven dimensional chess better than obama could ever have hoped to.

    3. Brian Lindholm

      You’ve stumbled across a key question here:

      When you accept refugees into your country, do you expect them to ever go home again?

      How you handle refugees depends greatly on the answer to this question. If you expect them to head home, then you provide a safe space (with food, shelter, medical care, and such) where they can bide their time until things calm down back home.

      If you don’t expect them to ever go back home, then you provide language and culture and training classes so that they can fully participate in society and find employment to fully support themselves. If you don’t, they end up living among you as second-class residents forever dependent on charity.

      I sometimes wonder if anybody in government ever asks this question and plans accordingly.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Question: Will the new culture assimilate the host culture or the other way around?

          I guess it depends on the assimilation-resistance index of each culture, and the ratio of newcomers vs host population.

          The Pilgrims to the natives: “We will assimilate you.”

          The natives to the Amish: “We will assimilate you.” That is still work in progress.

    4. GERMO

      It seems though that Socialist and Labor parties in the West are losing working class voters to the new populist parties so these left parties were eager to receive generations of new voters in the form of Muslim refugees and their progeny.

      This is completely ridiculous — Trumpening, I have to assume you got this from some far-right outlet somewhere. Did they follow with some “The Violence of the Far Left” bit or other maybe?

    5. JTMcPhee

      Refugees should be settled as close as possible to their homes so that when the war is over they can go back.

      “Go back” to WHAT? Have you paid any attention to what the Imperial Project has done to Homs, to Idlib, Aleppo, Mosul that is what a surprise “still not ‘liberated,'” all the “homes,” just the demolition of structures and infrastructure is enormous… And what of any kind of community or comity?

      “Back to their homes”? I guess there is a “responsibility to repair and make reparations,” then? Or is the “we broke it, we own it” BS excuse for continuing to fokk up Iraq and Notagain?istan only “operative” to keep the suckers in the Homeland on the hook and the boots on the ground and the profits flowing down the logistics and procurement sewers?

      Nice comfortable view from 50,000 comfortable feet…

  12. PlutoniumKun


    Understanding demonetisation: Why there’s a war on cash (and you are in the middle of it), Understanding demonetisation: Who is behind the war on cash (and why), and Understanding demonetisation: The problem with the war on cash Must-read three-part series on the war on cash, culminating in today’s final installment– teases out implications that extend beyond India.

    Very good balanced articles. It so happens I had a conversation over coffee yesterday with colleagues and the general topic of EU moves to restrict cash came up and nobody (apart from me) seemed to be too worried. Lots of people now just accept that we are tracked through our phones, our privacy has gone. And to many the idea of making life hard for tax dodgers, corrupt officials/politicians, and criminals seems worth paying the price of losing some freedom.

    What I would be sceptical about is whether it would genuinely stop criminals and tax evadors. I’d strongly suspect that it would become just a minor inconvenience to them and alternatives, whether high tech like Bitcoin, or low tech like using gold or cocaine or whatever become proxy currencies. For as long as there has been taxes, people have used non-monetary ways of hiding money, usually by putting it into valuable objects such as antiques or jewellery or art, or just precious metals.

    I suspect that demonetisation would have all sorts of unexpected outcomes, such as creating widely accepted de facto currencies, just like in the old Iron Curtain days Marlboros become currency in some east european countries, or jewellery sold by weight of gold still is in the Middle East. In China, watches are often presented as a sort of standard bribe. I would guess one big winner of demonetisation would be luxury goods makers. Expect to see them release watches and handbags with names like ‘the Grand’ or ‘the Million’.

    1. Sally

      People are so ignorant about this issue. I agree with you that they just parrot the line of being protected from terrorism, and they don’t care about privacy. They are going to learn a very unpleasant lesson I believe. Whenever the elites want to take away our freedoms they always say they are doing it to protect us.

      As to why the public are so care free about going cashless? The reason is they have no idea of what constitutes money. They don’t understand how their money will now be in-prisoned in a corrupt and criminal banking system from which they will not be able to escape. They don’t understand how fiat currencies work and how money is created out of thin air, and how much debt is now in the system. The banks will now be able to charge endless fees. Yearly, monthly, transaction fees, and it will pave the way for negative interest rates. And you will not be able to do anything when the bail ins start.

      As for govt. The power to be able to just turn people off finacially who are difficult, or who protest or do anything the state finds irritating will be easy. You just turn off some ones bank account and they will not be able to buy anything. It’s a chilling future we are heading to. But most people would rather sit on tweeter and fire off hashtag tweets.

      The days of putting your money under the mattress or under the floorboards will be gone, and that exactly how the global elites want it.. Depositing money in a bank now is not safe. The govts around the world have re written the banking laws so depositors are further down the food chain than shareholders. When the banks go bust so will your money. The banks are mostly insolvent only being propped up by QE and bail outs. They are getting ready for the biggest bail out and robbery of all time. Your money!

      Even Warren Buffet has been getting out of digital, and paper, and is buying fixed assets you can hold or touch. Property, land, gold, silver. Get some before it’s too late.

      1. Brian

        And we still believe the FDIC can backstop our accounts. If the FDIC has to print (or deposit) all of your deposits back after the banks fail, what do you think that money will be worth? Will it be 90% of what it was before? 50%?
        Will the congress step in and make sure you are broke, again? No pension, no interest rate that allows you to save, inflation, hyperinflation.
        sorry, this is all happening now as the government props up the corporation that owns the idea that is America.
        I still can’t believe how prescient the Firesign Theater was.

      2. Brian

        Maybe most people already accept that they are totally at the mercy of the government under which they live?

        The other factor, I’m sure, is that digital cash is more convenient. It does provide some recourse if you are victim of theft or fraud. Idon’t think I’ve made a cash payment of over $1000 in a long time.

        I’m disturbed by this trend, but I can’t quite put my finger how it’s worse for the average citizen….

    2. grayslady

      And to many the idea of making life hard for tax dodgers, corrupt officials/politicians, and criminals seems worth paying the price of losing some freedom.

      I believe that a similar argument was used to decimate Fourth Amendment rights following 9-11. Back then the reasoning was trading safety for security. What I find really frightening is that so many people seem to feel that the world would come to an end without their cell phones. Those people (except for the French, it seems) have already allowed themselves to become slaves to technology and, in the process, enriched a few extremely wealthy individuals and companies who couldn’t care less about their well-being or their civil rights. Perhaps your colleagues have forgotten that criminals and corrupt individuals were successfully prosecuted for years prior to the introduction of debit cards.

    3. Jagger

      Posted this in the Europes War on Cash article but it seems to have disappeared. So repost here.

      So the official political reasons for a cashless society are efficiency, combating crime, terrorism, etc, etc…

      Funny because it smells to me more about profit and power. Profit for today’s rentiers but truly disturbing state power over the individual’s ability to make a living, to survive, without government approval. Control to the state, power to the state. And if times get difficult, next to the NSA, can you think of a more controlling tool for a police state than a cashless society? Sure a cashless society might be efficient and useful for combating crime and terrorism but I strongly suspect there are more compelling reasons for today’s push by states for a cashless society.

      If societies succeed in going cashless, will future historians compare the abolition of cash and loss of freedom to the enclosures, the confiscation of the commons? And will they wonder if a cashless society is just a natural step in the evolution of state power…or capitalism?

    4. susan the other

      I agree PK. Thanks Jerri-Lynn for this series. It’s like watching and imagining human evolution via “money”. Going cashless and digital (no difference except monopoly controls) will be a fits and starts endeavor. In India it has already demolished the poor who, it looks, were the bedrock of the Indian economy. So that’s interesting. Who will be the bedrock now? Microsoft? The underground economies will go off to some kind of barter, even a handshake, as the promise to pay. And what can you do? It’s fun watching central bank hubris stagger around. So who’s “unproductive” then?

  13. John Zelnicker

    This was meant for voteforno6 at January 30, 2017, at 7:56 am. I misplaced it.

    @voteforno6 – Treasuries serve to provide a risk-free credit asset that is used to facilitate certain financial transactions (repos) and to provide a benchmark for risk-free returns so financial intermediaries can price the desired return for riskier assets. They also provide a form of welfare to the banks and wealthy people who own them. They are not indispensable for the real economy to operate smoothly. The current practice of issuing Treasuries to match the amount of deficit spending is a holdover from the days when we were on the gold standard. It is no longer necessary.

    Treasuries are issued mostly by auction to 21 “Primary Dealers” which are mostly the big investment banks, such as Goldman and JP Morgan Chase. The Dealers bid the interest rate they will accept on the various maturities offered. Since there are usually 2-3 times as many bids as there are securities available, the Treasury will accept the lowest average bids. The Dealers then sell the Treasuries to the final purchasers. The public can also buy Treasuries through Treasury Direct at prices determined by the auctions.

    The Federal Reserve, through its Open Market Committee, participates in the secondary market for Treasuries to carry out its monetary policy by controlling the yield curve beyond the Federal Funds rate which it controls directly.

    They are used as a savings vehicle, but “soak up” may not be the best way to describe it.

    Hope this helps.

    1. voteforno6

      It does help, thanks. I was not aware of the role played by those big investment banks. Is the participation of the FOMC in the secondary market sufficient to prevent bid-rigging by the Primary Dealers (considering the institutions involved, a real concern, I think), or are there other measures in place to prevent that?

      It certainly makes sense to use them in the repo market – didn’t some banks run into trouble in the last crash, by using mortgage-backed securities instead?

      1. John Zelnicker

        @voteforno6 – I think the auction procedures discourage bid-rigging, but I imagine it’s possible. I’m not sure there’s a great incentive for them to do so. The Primary Dealers are required to purchase a certain amount of Treasuries as part of their obligation as Dealers and the prices are public. They can’t refuse to participate. The Fed consults with the dealers about the state of the secondary market on a daily basis, so they know the expected range of bids at the auctions. In addition, as you suspect, the Fed can control the prices and yields in the secondary market. Since the auction bids are going to be generally consistent with the existing market interest rates, the Fed does have some control over the bid ranges.

  14. Sylvia

    Re the Canadian Mosque attack I have tried to find out whether this Mosque was Shia, or some other minority branch of Islam, and whether the attackers were Sunni– perhaps Whabbi salafists. This branch of Islam is not only highly associated with virtually all terrorism–they also want to kill Shia and other religious believers. The state religion of Saudi Arabia is Wahhabism. The Saudi’s have spent billions spreading Wahhabism around the world. I wonder if this dynamic could be involved?

    1. DH

      Not much info has been released yet on the shooters, although by the names just released one sounds like a Quebec native and the other is of Middle East origin.

      However, I will put money on the guns that they used coming in illegally into Canada from the US.

      1. DH

        Apparently one of the two people who has been detained is a witness, not a suspect so the Canadian media have dropped their names from the coverage because the police have not told them which is which.

  15. katz


    Interesting read, and I appreciate the digging the author has done, but I don’t appreciate his hyperbole. Requiring nationals of certain countries to obtain visas before they come to the US does not ban them, as the author suggests, about three quarters of the way down. Is it discriminatory? That argument can be made. But it’s also worth pointing out that only thirty-eight countries benefit from this visa-waiver program in the first place (at least according to the state dept:

    It should go without saying that our muslim brothers and sisters have been mistreated horribly by the US empire for a very long time–by Obama himself. But exaggeration ain’t helpful.

    1. oho

      > But exaggeration ain’t helpful.

      Media/pundits calling Trump’s actions a “Muslim ban” is playing with the truth and I’ll argue is not helpful in the long run as it is ignoring/patronizing to the legit security concerns re. those 7 nations.

      Someone in the comments said yesterday to the effect: if you can’t win with the truth, you don’t deserve to win. And the Left is deluding itself if the substitute their version of reality for the truth

      1. David

        I reserve judgement on Trump’s actions, because I haven’t had time to study them, but don’t forget that it’s always been more difficult to get into your country than into many others. Even for a country in the visa-waiver program, you can be refused entry if you ever went to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. Because I was in Yemen once (before all the fighting) and have been in Sudan, I would need to make an appointment with the local US Embassy and go and plead to be allowed in, with no guarantee of success. I’m not sure what the legal position in my country of birth (Britain) is these days, but I do know that getting visas has become exponentially more difficult in recent years if you’re from anywhere in the Middle East, or even parts of Africa. I’ve heard three months delay is not unusual in some cases.

        1. Jim Haygood

          A notorious example of your assertion:

          (Sep 2004) A passenger plane carrying singer Cat Stevens to Washington was diverted to another city 600 miles away yesterday so the musician could be escorted off the flight by FBI agents and sent back to Britain.

          The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the singer, who converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, was denied access to the US “on national security grounds”.

          Flight 919 from London to Washington was diverted to Bangor International Airport in Maine, after US security officials were told Mr Islam was aboard.

          It was because of all the gratuitous violence in his songs. /sarc

          I’ve been crying lately
          Thinking about the world as it is
          Why must we go on hating?
          Why can’t we live in bliss?

          For out on the edge of darkness
          There rides the peace train
          Peace train take this country
          Come take me home again

          — Cat Stevens, “Peace Train”

          1. Portia

            what a beautiful human being he is


            Oh very young, what will you leave us this time
            You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while
            And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
            They will vanish away like your dads best jeans
            Denim blue, faded up to the sky
            And though you want them to last forever
            You know they never will
            (you know they never will)
            And the patches make the goodbye harder still.

            Oh very young what will you leave us this time
            There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind
            And if you want this world to see a better day
            Will you carry the words of love with you
            Will you ride the great white bird into heaven
            And though you want to last forever
            You know you never will
            (you know you never will)
            And the goodbye makes the journey harder still.

            Will you carry the words of love with you
            Will you ride, oh, oooh

            Oh very young, what will you leave us this time
            You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while
            Oh very young, what will you leave us this time
            Cat Stevens – Oh Very Young

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What has been the official attitude towards those 6 or 7 countries?

          Is it ‘There is something dangerous about them and we don’t always know what or when?’

        3. witters

          Add Bangladesh. An ex-student now colleague at Dhaka Uni refused a US visa to attend – invited! – a World Bank organized conference. This LAST year. Told him it was the usual thing for ‘people like you’. If only I’d known to blame Trump.

        4. Brian

          Would you guys get real? Trump, or perhaps Bannon, is a propaganda master. He picked these seven countries precisely because they were singled out by previous administration as being dangerous areas.

          These guys aren’t stupid. Do you really think they are not aware of existing vetting programs? That these are not Muslim countries from which terrorists have entered the US? This is nothing but a propoganda power play. While everyone freaks out about this, they are over there in the White House ruthlessly consolidating their power structure.

          1. pretzelattack

            and he excluded the countries obama did because they are major clients of the us military industrial complex. speaking of being real.

            1. deezypeezy

              Add on the fact that Trump has zero business interests in any of the seven countries either.

              Propaganda BS.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Let us be as real as possible: In a Bernays-sauce potage like the one we all are frog-boiling in, it is IMPOSSIBLE to “win with the truth.” Because NO ONE knows what “the truth” is, and even if they did, they ain’t telling. And “whistleblowers” tend to get the kind of treatment the Israelites dished out to a lot of their “inconvenient” prophets, including both Old Testament and New. For the same reasons.

        1. PhilM

          “Bernays-sauce potage we are all frog-boiling in.” LOL, quel bon mot. Will be used promptly, maybe without attribution.

            1. PhilM

              So if I understand you, we can out-think the Bernaise by following the Mornay?

              I love this commentariat.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I just type it into the bitstream. After that, since I am a tiny person and can’t defend copyrights, all are welcome to what-everrr.

      3. peter

        …it is ignoring/patronizing to the legit security concerns re. those 7 nations.
        It has absolutely nothing to do with security and is merely political. if this were about security, he would have banned Saudis and Kuwaitis. Say, when was the last time there was a terrorist attack from, say, an Iranian on US soil, if ever?

      4. tgs

        playing with the truth

        I think it has gone beyond that to seriously misleading if not out and out lying. Many countries with large Muslim populations (Indonesia, Pakistan, the Gulf states including SA, Turkey) are not on the travel ban list (though you could argue that some of them should be). Therefore, it is not a ‘Muslim ban’.

          1. dbk

            @tgs: thanks for that link to Phil Giraldi’s piece. It was from someone having many years field experience with the hard details of applications and an excellent understanding of how the system works as well as where it breaks down.

      5. Aumua

        Media/pundits calling Trump’s actions a “Muslim ban” is playing with the truth and I’ll argue is not helpful in the long run as it is ignoring/patronizing to the legit security concerns re. those 7 nations.

        It may not be helpful, but it’s somewhat understandable considering Trump did in fact say that he was going to ban Muslims. On more than one occasion as well, I’m pretty sure.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Speaking of “exaggeration,” have you seen chuck schumer crying and sniveling (john boehner he ain’t) over the travel ban? Both he and nancy pelosi have seen tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty as a result of Trump. Or so they say.

      And keith ellison has tried to tag Trump with the Canadian mosque shootings, since he is a president who “greenlights hatred of a particular group then, obviously, the negative people will come out of the woodwork and do things that would not be ‘socially acceptable’ like committing mass murder……Our country is in a Japanese internment space, and I hope people really focus in on that.”


      1. PhilM

        The hysteria is so polarizing; and vice-versa. Very bad cycle. Some cultural anthropologist will someday investigate it as rooted in two decades of self-help culture based on validation of emotions: “I know you feel bad about that man wearing an ochre hat to your office, and I understand where you are coming from. I’m just saying that you should come in off the ledge so we can talk about dress code from diverse perspectives.”

        A bit more of the “get over it or jump” attitude, lost in the mists of legendry, might have helped us out now.

        Also, having fewer people in marketing, people whose task is to generate a pandemic of unexamined and inscrutable impulses leading to resource misallocation, would help a lot, too.

        1. JTMcPhee

          generate a pandemic of unexamined and inscrutable impulses leading to resource misallocation

          What a marvelous capture of the essence of ‘market…”

          I had a church acquaintance many years ago who specialized in the neurochemistry and microbiology of the human brain. She stepped out of the lab for several years to have a couple of kids, but while not working the grant machine, she volunteered her services to I think it was Kellogg or another Big Cereal corp. Her axis of inquiry was to study the activation of neurons in behavior-producing pathways to see what combinations of colors, odors and shapes could be deployed to make the impulse to pick up and “cart” an item in the store essentially irresistible. She felt she was making great strides in the inquiry.

          Of course that was 30 years ago.

  16. kj1313

    If it makes Yves feel any better Trump went on an incoherent twitter rant defending himself and blamed the “big problems at the airport were caused by Delta computer outage”

    1. MRLost

      What will make Yves feel worse is that the Air Traffic Control (ATC) software is even older and clunkier and in far greater need of an up-grade. You think it’s a problem when Delta or United’s ticketing software crashes, just wait until the ATC software crashes for a day or two. Then maybe a few planes will crash. Landing one at an airport like O’Hare will be like trying to find a parking place at the mall on Christmas Eve.

      Federal Govmt spent around a billion of your dollars trying to fix the ATC a number of years ago. No joy. Decided they would create an even better system using GPS. We can all see how that’s worked out.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Speaking of older and klunkier, Even NPR is worried about the situation.

        And of course we Americans should be proud of our nuclear Air Force officer corps: “Cheating on tests at nuclear facility was common, ex-officers say,” Of course the MSM says it was just “alleged behavior …”

        Nor harm, no foul, right? Er. maybe not? “20 Mishaps That Might Have Started Accidental Nuclear War,” . And there are still more, if you go looking…

    2. DH

      The US air travel system is so bad that Delta’s outage Sunday night was able to go back in time and cause the detentions and airport chaos on Saturday.

  17. B1whois

    In the Jacobian article “No Time For Despair,” the author says the following:

    There are 400 billionaires in this country. They are the reason why there are forty-seven million poor people. You cannot have untold, obscene wealth unless you have untold, obscene poverty. That is the law of the free market.

    The last sentence invokes a zero-sum analysis, and I wonder, would this also be true of MMT?
    (my apologies if this is a stupid question)

    1. Foppe

      No, as MMT points out, these two functions are distinct, even if they are tied together legally (unless/except when ignored, of course), in order to keep the fiction that taxes (and loans) fund spending.

      But I don’t think the Jacobin author is making a monetary/fiscal point, here. Rather, it’s a political and economic point: when the wealth is distributed this way, the affluent are both able and motivated to keep it that way politically, while investors ensure it stays that way or gets even more lopsided economically, because of how money is pushed to beget more money. That’s why the War on Poverty is a sham until it’s reconceived as a war on inequality.

        1. Ian

          Look at who the winners are and then you have your answer to why it is always framed in the context of war.

          1. alex morfesis

            Truman & micc…although often blamed for starting the national security state, he may have been handcuffed by it…

            the us military was eating up 40% of gdp (100 billion/yr) to finish off the axis powers when fdr was killed & truman ends up president instead of wallace…truman orders the military reduced by 90% in 4 years…

            but he came up against the chowder society(mc) & OP-23(navy), along with the “revolt of the admirals”….

            Luckily for the micc, the korean war kicked in, with trumans demand the north be blockaded coming up against a navy that didn’t like him…and the micc was able to reintroduce into the theater all the gear that had been ordered scrapped that they had claimed was scrapped but had actually been hidden in undeclared “abandoned” bases…

    2. horostam

      i dont see the connection to MMT, hes talking about production and distribution of resources in a marxy way, class antagonism way.

      MMT is about untapped potential in our institutional framework, which would help the poor people (job guarantee, etc).

      The poor could be given a better chance, but the billionares would still have have way more than everyone else.

      but i could be wrong… i saw an interview with Richard Wolff and Stephanie Kelton where they discussed how more research needs to be done to combine Marxism and MMT, ie. monetary/fiscal issues with production distribution issues.

      so maybe it remains to be seen

  18. Carolinian

    Perhaps the most amazing thing in the linked Moon of Alabama article is mention of a just occurred special forces raid into Yemen that killed many civilians, lost a US service member and resulted in the “crash” or shootdown of one of our very expensive Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. Making ‘b’s point, a scan of the Washington Post mobile page doesn’t even show mention of this although a Google search pulls up a fairly detailed Post story whose print placement I have no way of knowing.

    Instead Post mobile is an endless series of screeds about the Muslim ban. Their Trump hate crowds out what, by any sane and objective standard, what would be a major front page story.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Unsurprising, yet significant and disappointing. A continuation of Bush Obama at their war-criminal worst in one fell swoop. The spooks and Saudis to name two, have got Trump where they want him now.

      1. Carolinian

        The AP story linked by Moon says the raid was planned by Obama admin, ok-ed by Trump. On further searching I see there are other outlets who reported yesterday afternoon on this incident but overall the lack of emphasis is striking.

        In my ever so humble opinion we are never going to have a Left again unless it’s an antiwar left. We have people marching in support of Muslims–so they say–but showing little or no concern about killing Muslims on the flimsiest of pretexts. As “b” says in his post, many of the “liberals” don’t seem to be all that authentic. Even people like Warren and Sanders seem timid on the subject.

        1. nippersmom

          Much as I supported Sanders, Foreign Policy was never his strong suit. Warren has always been a hawk- don’t look for her to lead an anti-war left.

        2. John k

          Maybe sanders decided to focus on the economy, knowing they would attach him as a socialist, and didn’t want to also be open to what some might think was unpatriotic.
          Trump showed it is possible to say the bush Iraq adventure was a disaster, so maybe a missed op.

    2. Ted

      My assessment is that (1) people get the targets of their outrage from their social media accounts or TV news channels. As a result, many have no idea about just how many wars, killings, bombings, etc. etc. have been going on for the past fifteen years. So, they focus on what their “thought leaders” tell them. And (2) many others don’t really mind that the state is bombing people “over there”: they cheer and clap loudly on Liberal shows like [Un]Real Time with Bill Maher every time he apes Neocon war making against select Muslims talk. This is a reflection on worsening Western Nihilism: a total collapse of any grounding morality or ethics in our political life and the ongoing fetishism of a unfettered will to power in its wake.

      1. RUKidding

        Good points, and I agree. I don’t have a tv and stopped watching Bill Maher many years ago, as I dislike him intensely.

        That said, most citizens, no matter how they politically identify themselves, are utterly clueless about how many wars are currently be waged in our name and with our money – wars mostly in MENA. Nor are most citizens aware of the bombings, drone killings and carnage ongoing in our names and with our hard earned tax dollars. If confronted with this information – as I do sometimes – their eyes glaze over and they come up with a bunch of excuses. The excuses depend on which “end” of the political spectrum they identify with, but to be concise, the excuses are crap.

        Most citizens have been carefully taught to be authoritarian tribalists, so most US citizens are very very very good at rationalizing shit in a NY minute.

        No there is not grounding morality or ethics in our political life anymore. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

    3. Jim Haygood

      From the NYT’s article on Trump’s Yemen debacle:

      Members of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 carried out the surprise dawn attack. The military said that about 14 Qaeda fighters were killed during a nearly hourlong battle. A Qaeda leader — a brother-in-law of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric and top Qaeda leader in Yemen, who died in a drone strike in 2011 — was believed to have been killed.

      It was the first counterterrorism operation authorized by President Trump since he took office, and the commando was the first United States service member to die in the yearslong shadow war against Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate.

      After initially denying that there were any civilian casualties, American officials said they were assessing [whitewashing — JH] reports that women and children had died in the attack.

      Well, now we know: the butthole billionaire is the same-old same-old trigger-happy American exceptionalist warmonger as his ersatz peace laureate predecessor.

      There is only one War Party.

      1. RUKidding

        Agreed. Yes one may correctly identify that this plan, apparently, was devised and set up by Sainted Savior Obama of the vast shining halo. However, Trump – who mostly presented himself as anti-war – clearly hesitated not one instant to go forward with this action. I expect more of the same from Trump going forward.

        What’s that song I keep hearing in my head??? Oh yeah: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

        1. Jim Haygood

          Arguably the Iraq invasion of 2003 was George W’s payback to Saddam Hussein for embarrassing Bush père in 1991 and possibly costing him a second term.

          Since the US constitution forbids “corruption of blood,” a point is made of punishing subsequent generations, just to make sure that every single sentence of the constitution is violated. /not sarc

      2. Carolinian

        If people want to find a reason to protest Trump this would be a good start even though they never did the same to Obama. Almost all the other things Trump has done are things he said he would do and, as Cillizza points out in the Post, 60 million people voted for him with that information available. If he backs off on his promise to let other countries run their own affairs then I would be first to say “to the barricades.” Trump did say while campaigning that he was going to go after Isis and that we should expect. But in that case the country where we would most likely be doing the bombing–Syria–would welcome the help. Here’s suggesting that this latest raid, like those tanks in Poland, was an attempt by Obama to ensnare Trump in Obie’s bad decision making. But we shall see.

    4. pretzelattack

      i read that the 8 year old daugher of anwar aw-awlaki was also killed in this raid. at least 3 people from one family, two of them juveniles.

      1. Katharine

        Yes, that was also in the headlines on Democracy Now this morning, and her grandfather said she suffered for hours before her death.

  19. cocomaan

    Great set of links today.

    I read Bill McKibben’s Going Backward as someone who carries a paper notebook around everywhere and plays pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons. Heck, I use the notebook to plan out the campaign for DnD, because I’m the dungeon master, baby. I have a responsibility.

    At work, I’m striving to no longer do business over email. I find that it antagonizes people the deeper and deeper we get into the digital age. Jokes fall flat. People dodge important business, claiming they never got the email. What used to be a godsend, the paper trail, is now just becoming an annoyance and doesn’t even matter 80% of the time. Fortunately, I work at a small place where I can walk to find someone else. I can’t imagine working in a huge structure where you never see people on the other end. In that case, I guess I’d use the phone.

    I think doing some of these analog activities has actually helped my mental health. So the article resonated with me.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      One advantage of going analog is that you become harder to track. Right now, Faceborg, Google, Apple, and Microsoft – aside from the NSA – know where you are, what you look like, what you eat, what you are working on. If you use Evernote or Microsoft OneNote, employees of those companies can even read what you write or what information you collect. After reading this blog for a number of years, I find myself drawn to the idea of going back to a dumb phone. I haven’t done that yet but I do turn off the location features of my phone.

      1. cocomaan

        Completely with you on tracking.

        What I’d miss on a dumb phone is email, which I keep up with only grudgingly, and the built-in GPS. The last GPS unit I owned, a Tom Tom, was awfully slow to boot and the updates screwed up the device something terrible. But I’m leaning that way more and more. I wonder if anyone has a guide to what they missed having a dumb phone.

      2. carycat

        If you can receive an incoming call, TPTB knows where you are, even if it is a “dumb phone” because mobile phones has to check in to the nearest cell tower. A “pure” GPS is one way, it listens to the satellites but cannot talk back so it is much harder to casually track where you are.

        1. Raj

          sure, but triangulating a cell phone is a little different than agreeing to have your location monitored via any number of apps.

    2. Annotherone

      Yes, I enjoyed Mr McKibben’s article too. I still regularly use notebooks, and the backs of any printed packing notes or other decent pieces of paper received. I’d not heard of Moleskine notebooks – had to look up that name. Being a gal of simple tastes though, I shall stick with whatever cheapo spring-bound notebooks are available at our local supermarket.

      I like to keep up handwriting using pen or pencil, to ensure any skills I possess (dubious as those might be) do not fade into absolute incompetence. I don’t know if handwriting is like riding a bike – a skill never forgotten.

      I have this theory that one day the internet will be no more, for any number of reasons. I’d prefer to still be able to function without it. So… one wall of our large garage is filled floor to ceiling, with husband’s lifetime collection of LPs, a working turntable is among our possessions. We don’t use smartphones, flip-phone only. No GPS, just a set of laminated state maps in the car.

      I’m not sure we’re classic Luddites, more some kind of hybrid, possibly due to our age group who grew up decades before computers arrived on the scene. We did embrace computers early on – met one another through the internet, across continents, so our feet haven’t exactly dragged on the modernisation front. We’re starting to feel now though that “progress” has overtaken what can sensibly be accepted, at least by us.

  20. Anne

    Reading a lot of “both-siderism” here this morning, a rhetorical tactic that utterly fails to address what is happening in the here and now.

    So, the questions are:

    (1) Do you agree with Trump’s executive order?

    (2) if yes, why do you support the restrictions?

    (3) if no, why do you object?

    (4) Can you explain and argue for whichever position you have without reference to what any other president did or didn’t do?

    (5) If you don’t support the new restrictions, do you think any new restrictions are called for, and if so, what are they?

    (6) Do you think the new restrictions have any wider foreign policy ramifications, and if so, what are they?

    (7) Do you think the restrictions should have started with respect to countries from which terrorists have actually originated?

    (8) What is the effect of leaving off the list countries from which terrorists have originated? Does that help or hurt the argument for restrictions?

    For myself, I do not see any reason why there needs to be a higher level of scrutiny and/or restrictions with respect to these particular countries at this particular time; at the same time, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to require visas for those who wish to travel here.

    Regardless of what Trump and his representatives are saying, I do think this will be viewed as a ban on Muslims entering – or perhaps eventually, non-citizen Muslims already in the country being allowed to stay. I also think it pours gasoline on the anti-Muslim sentiments already burning in the hearts of some significant number of Trump supporters.

    It was, in my opinion, poorly-conceived, and even more poorly-executed, and has hurt our standing in the world. There is a certain arrogance about it that I believe will not serve us well.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Nice start Anne….But you missed an important option:

      Here’s my take.

      I don’t care about the 90 day suspension order. Neither support nor object.
      I. Just. Don’t. Care.

      BUT if it’s part of the opening gambit in a severe restriction on H1-B visas, I’m all for it.

      Controlling the level of immigration is a good thing. Immigrants have been used for centuries to keep labor costs down and robber barons rich.

      See Silly Con Valley, contemporary example.

      1. Jim Haygood

        You might feel differently if you were arrested upon arrival in a foreign airport, having committed no crime and with a valid visa in your passport, simply because you were born in the wrong country.

        The rule of law don’t work that way.

        1. Waldenpond

          The vast majority of people can not afford to travel, ever. Many can’t afford a weekend camping trip. They are not concerned with the inconveniences of the elite during international travel. They are not going to advocate for someone else’s libertarian ideal that those that can should be free to travel where they want, when they want.

          1. Dave

            Can I please bring my box of knives to your house to be sharpened? You are awesome in the economy of your speech and ideas.

            let me append your post:

            “–when they want”…..”to help design new technical marvels that the elite can use, made in factories where nimble little Chinese hands create wealth for the elite, or create new vaporware, or where they can escape the restrictions of the primitive societies from which they came while they have the freedom to continue their cultural practices here while they feed off the American welfare system.”

      2. marym

        There is of course a huge problem with employers depressing wages by hiring H1B workers at the higher end of the pay scale and illegal immigrants at the lower end

        A ban on refugees, other visa holders, and green card holders from countries which are not major sources of wage-depressing labor, nor of security threats doesn’t seem to be an “opening gambit” for anything but hate- and fear-mongering.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          The “outrage” is being amplified by the text Titans. And that’s because H1-B is their business model and its in Trumps sights.

    2. WJ

      I’ll take a shot at this.

      (1) No.

      (2) N/A

      (3) It’s both unjust and counterproductive.

      (4) Yes. (But let me add an addendum; context matters for understanding political action, so, much like I can argue that whoever was ultimately responsible for 9/11 committed an action that was unjust in and of itself, arguing that does not help me understand why that action happened, nor how we should respond to it, nor how another action of its kind might be prevented going forward. To answer those questions–i.e. the political ones–you need context.)

      (5) N/A

      (6) An attempt to distract attention from our Sunni allies’ sponsorship of actual terrorism; expect a doubling-down on dangerous Shia nations–i.e. Iran–and on non-conformist Arab states–i.e. Yemen–as convenient Muslim-state whipping boys that allow Trump to have his cake and eat it too.

      (7) No. See (1) above.

      (8) I think it is a red herring. Most “terrorists” who have caused damage in the U.S.A. have originated from within the U.S.A. Perhaps Americans should be restricted from America.

      I agree with your final two sentences completely. But I take those sentences to be an accurate description of every major foreign policy action undertaken by the U.S. since 2001. So they can’t, for me at least, convey what is specifically wrong or catastrophic about this ban in particular.

      1. WJ

        The answer to (5) should read “No” and not “N/A.”

        Let me take the opportunity to offer a broader hypothesis about some of the back and forth today in the comments above. My own experience has been that many good liberals are not so much ideologically one-sided as they are simply uninformed. I have found that when I respond to these liberals’ quite sincere outrage at Trump with a “Yes, but…..” I alienate them unintentionally. From their perspective, they understand my attempt to link the policies of Trump (at which they are outraged) to prior policies and precedents of Obama (about which they are usually just unaware) as an attempt to minimize their outrage and the injustice to which it responds. It then takes me a long time to bring them back around to seeing that, yes, they should be outraged at this or that policy of Trump and that I understand and affirm that outrage. Only then do they agree with me that, in fact, these actions of Trump’s do not come from nowhere, but are in fact the radicalization or logical extension of the corporatism and militarism of the Obama administration, and, in fact, of the mainstream Democratic Party itself (as represented by its leadership, official organs, media representation, etc.). As a result of this experience, I have found that it proves more rhetorically useful in such cases to simply acknowledge and affirm the outrage of my liberal friends first, and only later, once this sympathy has been extended and received, engage them on the deeper, structural issues that (I hope) will have the effect of reorienting and refocusing their outrage away from Trump the man, and toward the corporatism and militarism that stands behind not only his policies, but the policies of his predecessors on both sides of the aisle.

        One of the things I have become attuned to over the past year or so is that my friends’ (many of these liberals are my friends) feelings of moral outrage need to be handled delicately. I run the risk of alienating them, and any future political alliance between us, when I respond to their feelings too analytically, too cynically, too quickly.

        I do not mean any of the above in a normative sense, and it is certainly not meant as a criticism of other commentators on this blog. I offer it only as something I have picked up from my own experience, which may or may not jibe with that of others, but which (to me at least) seems to in part explain some of our collective difficulty in discussing the policies of Trump.

        1. Anne

          I completely understand what you are saying. We aren’t living in a vacuum; what happens today is connected, always, to what happened before today, whether what’s happening today is a reaction to the past – positive or negative – or a building-onto of what came before.

          I have two reactions to the “Obama did it, too” argument: one, I am not one of those people who decides what I am for or against on the basis of someone’s political affiliation; if it’s wrong, it’s wrong, which I why it irked me no end to see Democrats giving Obama a pass on actions they vigorously opposed when Bush and the GOP engaged in them. Two, it takes me back to when my kids were little, and invariably one would need to remind me that her sister had also done whatever it was I was calling her out on, and I would need to remind her that it was wrong when her sister did it, too – and that, at that moment, the focus was on what she had just done and we were going to have to deal with that.

          As an aside, I don’t buy Trump’s argument that Obama-did-it-too, and I really wish people would read or get the gist of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 before they automatically assume that what Trump is doing is no different than what Trump is doing. I also would like them to recognize that Trump’s assertion that Obama also imposed a 6-month travel ban on Iraq is just not true – that never happened – but it’s just so typical of Trump to make these assertions as if they did.

          Finally, this constant need to deflect criticism of what is happening in the present with questions about or reminders of what the opposition party did in the past seems to me to just distract from focusing on how we go about changing or affecting what is happening in right now.

          We can hold ourselves hostage to the past, we can hold ourselves hostage to our political affiliation, or we can make up our minds to object, always, when we see things that are wrong, and support the things we see that are right. I happen to think there are Republicans who do disagree with and/or are frightened by what they are seeing from Trump, but they are allowing their party loyalty to get in the way and are waiting to see what everyone else is going to say – and they fear most, I think, their constituents booting them out of a job.

          I don’t see much courage these days, and the cynic in me has even come to question what does look like courage, because there’s more than a good chance it isn’t courage as much as it is political calculation. I am weary of that, and have no patience for it.

          Which sometimes makes me snarky and cranky.

  21. Vatch

    I have a question. This Wikipedia article claims that Jeff Sessions, Elaine Chao, Rex Tillerson, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, Ryan Zinke, and Wilbur Ross are all scheduled for confirmation votes in the Senate this week:

    But according to this web site, only Rex Tillerson, Ben Carson, Wilbur Ross, and Elaine Chao are scheduled for votes this week:

    The Senate site is the official one, although it’s possible that it takes some time for information to appear there. Does anyone know which nominees are really scheduled for votes this week?


    1. Portia

      this is what I found at (yeah, I know)

      Schedule for Week of Jan. 30

      Monday: Senate confirmation vote for Rex Tillerson, secretary of state; Senate Finance Committee vote on Steven Mnuchin’s nomination for treasury secretary

      Tuesday: Senate confirmation vote for Elaine Chao, secretary of transportation; Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Jeff Sessions’ nomination for attorney general; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote on Ryan Zinke for interior secretary and Rick Perry for energy secretary

      Wednesday: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee vote on Mick Mulvaney for director of the Office of Management and Budget (Mulvaney also needs approval from the Senate Budget Committee)

    1. voteforno6

      They could…on the other hand, the tech workers out there (as opposed to their bosses) will be rather pleased with that executive order.

      1. voteforno6

        I should add…focusing these Visa program only on the most highly-compensated workers is almost like a big F-U to the tech overlords. That’s the kind of thing that Bernie would do, I think.

    2. oho

      >It seems stupid for Trump to come out with these two EOs so near to each other; now his opponents can deliberately conflate the Muslim Ban with potential H-1B restrictions.

      Trump’s base is luvin’ it. For them, FINALLY someone is sticking it to our virtue signalling-Ayn Randian overloads and tassled-loafer Rinos.

      The Left should take notes.

  22. Portia

    The Legislative branch seems unable to detect the dangerous mental illness in the top members of the Executive branch of our Fed Govt. I see the signs all too clearly, having had a family member who was dangerous to himself and others. In my PTSD moments, they all look looney to me. Does no one think of locking the President and his sidekicks up? Not in a jail.

    1. Dave

      “unable to detect the dangerous mental illness…” Wow, everybody is suddenly a mental health expert!

      Cue the Beach Boys”

      “If everyone had a psych degree,
      Across the USA,
      Then everybody’d be a psychin’
      Like Calforni-a.
      You’d see em wearing their pussyhats,
      And safety-pins too,
      A pushy blonde N’er do,
      Psychin’ U.S.A.”

      1. Portia

        pussyhats, eh? one of the more misogynist replies I’ve gotten here. well, I’m one pushy blond who will n’er shut up.

        1. Dave

          Yes, that’s what they are called. Tens of thousands of them at the Womyn’s March.
          Goggle the image if you are unfamiliar with them.

      1. freedomny

        The posts in the link seem/feel like the poster could be credible. I believe that He/she did post that the Mexican President had cancelled the meeting prior to it making the news. Also, there are some interesting posts about “executive orders”/regulations (whatever) that are apparently coming down the pike. Will be interesting to see if they come to fruition….

  23. fresno dan

    It really is amazing how much effort elite types expend denying that trade has cost us manufacturing jobs. The latest entry is from Robert Samuelson who tells us that it isn’t true that manufacturing jobs have been lost to trade. Samuelson’s main source on this is Brad DeLong, who is actually a very good economist and surely knows better. ***
    Note that the level of manufacturing employment, while it has cyclical ups and downs, is nearly constant from 1970 to 2000 at around 17 million. It plunged in the early years of the last decade as the trade deficit exploded. Most of the fall in employment was before the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008. This is what happens when a trade deficit increases from around 1.5 percent of GDP, the mid-1990s level, to almost 6.0 percent of GDP at its peak in 2005-2006 (over $1.1 trillion in today’s economy).

    The U.S. went from 30% of its nonfarm employees in manufacturing to 12% because of rapid growth in manufacturing productivity and limited demand, yes? The U.S. went from 12% to 9% because of stupid and destructive macro policies–the Reagan deficits, the strong-dollar policy pushed well past its sell-by date, too-tight monetary policy–that diverted it from its proper role as a net exporter of capital and finance to economies that need to be net sinks rather than net sources of the global flow of funds for investment, yes? The U.S. went from 9% to 8.7% because of the extraordinarily rapid rise of China, yes? The U.S. went from 8.7% to 8.6% because of NAFTA, yes? ** **

    And yet the American political system right now is blaming all, 100%, every piece of that decline from 30% to 8.6% and every problem that can be laid its door on brown people from Mexico.

    By not making it clear that you are talking about 0.1%-points of a 21.4%-point phenomenon, I think you are enabling that. I don’t think this is a good thing to do…

    AND the entire DeLong argument at Vox

    I have provided the links – you decide who is right on NAFTA.
    A lot of this comes down to: who do you think is being intellectually dishonest? To give a flavor, in Vox, DeLong says this:
    “First, we lost a great many jobs in hunting and gathering, as agriculture and herding animals came in.”
    OK…, so many berry picking jobs lost 10,000 years ago….
    And I will also note that DeLong has the typical economist aggregation mindset – if GDP goes up 0.1 precent Whoo-pee (without thing about who gets that, and if they get ALL OF IT), but if some employment sector goes down 0.1 (even though it is a MUCH SMALLER base number, and therefore a BIG DEAL to the people affected) it is insignificant.

    *** Baker I think refutes DeLong, but Baker also has to OWN his own thoughts – Baker says IN FACT ” Brad DeLong, who is actually a very good economist and surely knows better.” Mr. Baker, either DeLong doesn’t know very much about free trade, and NAFTA, and consequently is NOT a very good economist.
    There is, however, something I view as far worse than merely not knowing what he (DeLong) is talking about. It means DeLong, is one of the most dishonest, despicable toady’s of advocating and defending neoliberalism.

    ** ** DeLong throws out a lot of percentages, but I really can’t find what the Percentages ARE that he is talking about.

    1. DH

      Automation, healthcare costs, and environmental regulations are what are costing manufacturing jobs. automation isn’t going anywhere and is actually taking over offshored jobs. We just have to live with it. Healthcare costs are something we can do about – all we have to do is come down to the next highest OECD nation cost and we will have knocked thousands of dollars per year off labor costs. Environmental regulations can probably be streamlined a bit, but do we really want to go back to 1969? China and other countries are working to improve their environment as they get richer, so over time those costs will likely even out.

      1. Vatch

        but do we really want to go back to 1969?

        That was when the Cuyahoga River caught fire because it was so polluted! Fun times!

      2. pretzelattack

        uh in 1969 global warming was still preventable. do we really want to go back to a world with another dominant life form?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      From Jonathan Turley:

      I think the odds are in [Trump’s] favor that [the court will uphold his decision]. But, people need to argue against what is there, not what is more easy to attack. The ACLU has said in the filings that this is a Muslim ban.

      That would be a great thing to challenge, but it is not this thing. It is not a Muslim ban. A court is not going to read into it that this is a religious test, because it excludes most of these other countries.

      There are plenty of reasons to object to this order, but not by making it into something it is not.

      1. DH

        The GOP learned not to talk about their voter ID laws after some of their statements became proof to the courts that they were focused on discriminating against racial groups. The Trump administration will soon learn to shut up since Guiliani and past Trump statements will likely be used in court against the order.However, it is still likely that most of the order will stand, but green card holders will be given largely unimpeded passage.

  24. LT

    Re: War on cash…

    The concept of “universal basic income” will be tied to being cashless.
    I fully expect UBI to used as a way to get people to bow down to the cashless society.

  25. cocomaan

    The howling about the ban from seven Muslim countries and over the Great Wall of Donald is rich considering our foreign policy ally, Israel, has been doing both of these things for years. They would be the first to argue that they were done to keep their citizens safe.

    1. maxhazard

      Does anyone have a good source comparing Israel visa/travel restrictions with what was just announced? I’m hoping that I can get some people to reconsider their indifference to the Palestinian cause. Never let a good crisis go to waste!

      1. cocomaan

        How Israel handles naturalization is probably where you want to start:

        Israel’s law “creates three tracks of naturalisation”: the highest track for Jews, a second track “for non-Jewish foreigners, who can apply for Israeli residency status through a process of individualised interviews and background checks”, and the lowest track for “Palestinian/Arab/Muslim spouses of Palestinian citizens of Israel who are prohibited from entry for the purpose of family unification”.

        They are prohibiting entry based on nationality. They also bar entry to critics on a regular basis:

  26. marym

    Muslim ban protest status

    @A_W_Gordon, writer for ViceSports, is keeping a list and has identified 98 so far. He’s generated a Google map, but I don’t find links to actual reports of the protests. If anyone’s interested, clicking on the map to find the location, then Googling location+protest will likely find you a local report.

    I provided links for Nashville TN, Omaha NE, Boise ID, Indianapolis IN, Birmingham AL, Louisville KY, and Morton Grove IL in comments in yesterday’s Links.

    Here are a few more from responses to his tweets
    St. George UT

    Dayton OH

    Mason OH

  27. Jagger

    So the official political reasons for a cashless society are efficiency, combating crime, terrorism, etc, etc…

    Funny because it smells to me more about profit and power. Profit for today’s rentiers but truly disturbing state power over the individual’s ability to make a living, to survive, without government approval. Control to the state, power to the state. And if times get difficult, next to the NSA, can you think of a more controlling tool for a police state than a cashless society? Sure a cashless society might be efficient and useful for combating crime and terrorism but I strongly suspect there are more compelling reasons for today’s push by states for a cashless society.

    If societies succeed in going cashless, will future historians compare the abolition of cash and the consequent concentration of power to the enclosures, the confiscation, of the commons? And will they wonder if the elimination of cash is a natural step in the evolution of state power…. or the power of capitalism…. or the power of societies?

  28. fosforos

    The *Politico” “liar” article is downright apologetics for the Corporate media’s unwillingness to use that word about Crooked Don (sauce for the gander…). It says ” A lie isn’t simply any old falsehood; it’s told with the knowledge that it’s false and with the intent to deceive.” How stupid! Any knowing falsehood (the only exception being an obvious “fish story” in a barroom context) is spoken with the inherent expectation that it will be *believed*. Intent to deceive is presumptive, not something needing any proof at all! We all have seen how *every* corporate media outlet *always* attaches the adjective “brutal” to the word “bombing” when the bombs are used by the Syrian government against jihadis. And why not, since bombing is always brutal, always has been, always and everywhere, no matter who is targeted ever so precisely or being indiscriminately bombed? Except that this particular adjective, “brutal,” is never, ever, attached to bombings carried out by the US or its satellites, or its allies. So it’s entirely proper to demand that the adjective “liar” be applied precisely where it is most appropriate: Crooked Don should *always* be referred to as “The Liar-President of the United States.”

  29. TheCatSaid

    Thanks for the link to the “trilogy” on demonetization. I challenge the premise accepted without question by many (most?) economists that negative interest rates is an effective way for central banks to stimulate growth. Sometimes it can work, but not always–like now (and like Japan over the last 20 years). (Banks benefit from getting low- or negative-interest money from central banks–but that does not automatically result in borrowing by consumers and businesses.)

    I’m grateful to economist Richard C. Koo for explaining this common misunderstanding so well.

    It is possible that the underlying (and not public) reasons for pushing this policy are not what is said.

  30. DH

    Some interesting info about building regulations. It turns out that following modern international building codes is saving homeowners and business owners from a lot of damage from the man-made earthquakes in Oklahoma. Older structures are ending up with damage while newer buildings are not. And there I thought that regulations were inherently evil and inefficient.

    1. Waldenpond

      This was actually a good example:

      Cause earthquakes. Increase the regulatory regime (building regulations and enforcement regime) going forward, abandon the losers.
      Poison water. Increase the regulatory regime going forward (water distribution at public expense, building regulation requiring mandatory filtration and enforcement regime), abandon the losers.
      Poison the soil. Increase the regulatory regime going forward (disposal regulations and enforcement regime), abandon the losers.

      Regulations that perpetuate exploitatiive systems are inherently evil and inefficient.

      1. Vatch

        You know, regulations can also:

        1. Prohibit fracking, so the unnatural earthquakes don’t occur.
        2. Prohibit the dumping of poisons in the water supply, so additional filters aren’t needed.
        3. Prohibit poisoning the soil.

        Regulations such as these aren’t evil or inefficient; they are virtuous and efficient.

        1. Waldenpond

          Well, those regulations look like they might risk privatizing the externalities and unfortunately that just might get in the way of an elite’s profits. That would be sad, so so sad. (insert evil smirk here)

  31. fresno dan
    Trump Tweet:
    “The joint statement of former presidential candidates John McCain & Lindsey Graham is wrong – they are sadly weak on immigration. The two … .Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III,” Trump wrote.

    McCain and Lindsey, probably the worst senators in the last century (and I only say ONE century because I am not that familiar with every US senator) should be asked, but never are:
    1. Essentially every military/foreign intervention that you*** have been in favor of has demonstrably left the US poorer and worse off security wise than if it had not been undertaken. YET you continue to advocate every more military actions despite indisputably evidence that it makes the US worse off -WHY should everyone not conclude that you are working for foreign powers to undermine the US….or are you merely trying to undermine the US constitution?

    2. Why are people who so vociferously support imprudent policies that could to lead to war with another nuclear power NEVER seen fit to be critically, intelligently, and continually questioned about their schemes????

    Will Trump turn out to be empirically worse than the duo of McCain and Graham??? I don’t know, whatever points Trump gets about WWIII is lost due to more ISIS nonsense, but the fact that there is so little debate about what these two senators have advocated for their entire careers, is what is really, in my view, wrong with the US these days….

    ***As McCain and Lindsey are the MIC, and most of the MSM is in that establishment cabal, or consensus, call it what you will, to critically question McCain/Lindsey would mean critically questioning themselves….

  32. Waldenpond

    Personless shipping doesn’t seem possible to me. Automated defenses would be hackable or easily disrupted. Still going to need a heavily armed force to prevent those without from seizing goods.

    1. River

      Plus corporations that tried this would be shut down by governments. Trying to encroach on the monopolization on violence is a redline for every government on the planet.

  33. DH

    Pipeline protestors are well meaning folks, but I think they are missing some hard truths:

    1. It is not new pipelines that leak. It is old ones. Pipelines have the same infrastructure issue as roads – many of them are 30+ and even 50+ years old and companies have deferred maintenance to increase their bottom line. They should be pushing for getting old pipelines closed and new ones built to replace them. If they could get a 1:1 shutdown-replacement ratio, that would be a major environmental victory and it would have significant impact on pipeline economics (one of their goals). Trump would love to have private money building more new pipelines to make American jobs while showing he is protecting the environment.

    2. Trump just handed them a crowbar on a silver platter. The Dems had tried to insert a poison pill provision previously of using American steel in Keystone XL bills before but it was shot down by the GOP Congress. Trump is now inserting that as a requirement – I would jump on it with both feet and support Trump on this requirement. Once again it hits pipeline economics and it will get American steelworkers on their side instead of against them.

    3. They keep railing about greenhouse gas emissions. All they are doing is alienating many voters and politicians. American car buyers are buying SUVs and pick-up truck in droves. If Americans cared about greenhouse gas emissions, they would be buying small cars and hybrids instead. Those voters are listening to the pipeline companies saying they won’t get gas for their SUVs without new pipelines. The GHG argument isn’t going to touch most Americans until the king tides are in their living room several times a year.

    1. Waldenpond

      Hard truth: Those pipelines will be built with public money (safety! doncha know).

      The right is arguing that Ds need to abandon abortion (there is a noticable liberal anti-abortion that is more public, even those with rose avatars are debating whether abortion should be banned at 6 or 9 weeks) but the argument the Ds need to abandon climate change is a loser…. there is money in greenwashing, there are billionaires that recognize climate change is human caused and want solutions or see it as an opportunity for profit. So that’s not going anywhere.

    2. Synapsid


      Your number 2 above:

      American steelworkers maybe but not American steel companies. The pipeline for Keystone XL was made by companies with their corporate headquarters in India, Russia and Italy. American steel companies don’t make product that meets TransCanada’s requirements for strength and pressure.

      Much of that pipe has been stored in pipe yards outdoors. Any that needs to be replaced will likely be made by the original suppliers, is my guess.

    3. pretzelattack

      the hard truth is we need to keep it in the ground, by any means necessary. you don’t address that.

  34. Dave

    About Amazon’s oceangoing vessels and takeover of the world…

    You can buy almost every large item Amazon sells much cheaper when you buy directly from the vendors who will often ship to you for free.
    Learn how to navigate Amazon’s website and you can find them.

    If you have Amazon Prime, you get free streaming video. Share that password with your friends, it’s a freebie.

    1. oho

      Can also go to Alibaba and often find the manufacturers some of whom will take individual orders. Have never tried it though.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If Amazon doesn’t take over the world, will Alibaba do instead?

        Is that something to consider?

        1. beth

          Amazon will. I just tried to order a book today from Book Depository[BD] in England. The website didn’t work so I looked up who owned the company. This is what I learned. BD was started in 2004 by a former Amazon employee with the goal of selling to 160 countries with free shipping on all books. They also ship from Australia. Bezos bought them out in 2011. I have emailed them about my inability to order but suspect that Amazon wants my business in the U.S. since the book will cost an addition 40-50%. Rec’d an email saying they are checking into my situation. U.S. today; the world tomorrow.

      2. carycat

        Just a word of warning. AliExpress is the front for a lot of vendors, one of which has stiffed me out of a pretty nice tablet by shipping me something totally bogus. But they got the delivery confirmation (package dropped at my door) and AliExpress’s dispute resolution is useless despite photos of the actual mystery little circuit board with some unmarked chips on it which looked nothing like fancy tablet on the web site. You have no way of knowing if you are getting alibaba or one of the 40 thieves. Caveat emptor.

  35. Catullus

    Related to Scott Adams’s Outrage Dilution thesis:

    This WaPo article has a similar take but uses a sports theme: Foul hard and often early on so the referees are worn down. Stretch the boundaries to see where the lines are at.

    I suspect we will see Trump doing more outrageous stuff til he crosses a line too far. It is both thrilling and scary. Trump probably will be the one who determines the boundaries of the Presidency – more than any other previous Presidents. FDR did stretch the boundaries in a major way for example.

    1. DH

      Trump is funding his opposition. The ACLU historically has gotten $4 million per YEAR in online donations. They got $24 million this WEEKEND – that is hardcore campaign fundraising levels. It appears that bombastic incompetent executive orders may actually create opposition that would not have existed to something quieter, better drafted, and with at least a tiny bit of notice to the implementing agencies. The Trump talking heads appear baffled about how literal translation of his campaign rhetoric is not going over well.

      1. Foppe

        afaik ACLU really only does civil rights, though — work-related issues (and the stuff Michelle Alexander describes) are not on the menu.

    2. pictboy3

      This happened during the Bush administration, whether it was conscious or not. It seemed like there was a new scandal every month. Playing politics with US attorneys, warrantless wiretapping, Gannon, appointing idiots to high level government positions. The list just went on and on, and I think people hit outrage fatigue after awhile.

  36. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Real 007 Used Fake News to Get the U.S. into World War II

    It’s odd seeing an American praise a foreign intelligence operation which targeted American citizens and government officials. Isn’t that what they call being a useful idiot? Oh well. The controversial activities of the innocuous sounding British Security Coordination (BSC) is the basis of my understanding of propaganda and the many failures of American intelligence. It’s wickedly funny that I originally brought this subject up in the 12/31 links with regards to the RUSSIA HACKS! propaganda only to find out later that a “former” British intelligence officer was behind a fictitious dossier on Trump. Oh, the irony!

    However, before long the floor-through office within was teeming with British and Canadian citizens, many in the U.S. on false diplomatic passports, and some Americans, all secretly employed by MI6.

    The recruitment of American citizens/volunteers was a violation of an agreement struck with Roosevelt Admin officials and the FBI with the BSC. That story gets better though. Stephenson groomed Donovan to lead American intelligence. It’s one of the reasons why Donovan didn’t become the head of the CIA. Also some of the Americans recruited by the British were repo’d over to American intelligence later on. Including some of the best operatives in the OSS like Donald Downes.

    It’s always amused me that so many people in the US intelligence community are unaware that so many of their founders were assets of a foreign intelligence service. While they’re quick to conclude that anybody who opposes their views are of the same status. I doubt much as changed though. If the FBI isn’t actively infiltrating people into CIA/NSA they’re failing America.

    Some people in the Roosevelt administration found the presence of the BSC unlawful and dangerous. Assistant Secretary of State Adolf A. Berle (snip)

    Roosevelt was reportedly furious over members of his administration being targeted by British intelligence. Stephenson was almost booted out of the country after Berle was tipped off by the FBI about being targeted. A meeting took place between Berle, Hoover, and other administration officials where they gave Lord Halifax a good tongue lashing and demanded these activities stop.

    In spring of 1941, the FBI received a map from BSC operatives supposedly stolen from a South American diplomatic pouch (snip)

    To his credit Hoover didn’t vouch for the authenticity of the map. I doubt Roosevelt even cared one way or another. I suppose I could point out this caused Congress to make changes to the Neutrality Act… but screw that. A contemporary analysis will demonstrate this kind of ruse is common. When Israeli intelligence handed pictures of an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor analysis provided evidence that the pictures were in fact photo shopped. If you want to know more just pick up Mike Hayden’s book. It’s hilarious.

  37. Foppe

    Oh, wow. Just ran across this promotional blurb on the 2017 speaker’s roster of the rather disappointing-seeming “American Monetary Institute”:

    Joe Bongiovanni is a second-generation monetary reformer, studying money systems for over 40 years, being the co-founder and co-Director, with J. Peter Young, of the Kettle Pond Institute for Debt-free Money.

    Joe is an important monetary blogger and though always polite, his posts are blocked from some websites such as the Naked Capitalist, and some MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) sites because they cannot answer his points.

    Joe Bongiovanni gave a richly informative presentation entitled Money: The Next Thing!

    Shame he doesn’t have room to provide a summary of his own position, but I guess mentioning this was more important.
    (I don’t recall ever seeing this name. Did he burn out quickly, or did he use a different handle?)

    1. alex morfesis

      Ruml did not “only once” say that the govt need not tax with its own managed currency…ruml was the ny fed chair and head of macys around ww2…a review of ruml’s speaches and articles can be found with specific dates showing he discussed this multiple times in multiple forums…and he spoke publically on his various ideas including colliers magazine…
      (ruml was also an advocate of a united states of europe)

      That joe (beehead or whatever other names he was using) does not know how to find the other sources are a reflection on his limited capacity to use boolean logic

      Methymx he got tossed by coming back over and over again with new sign ins after being booted again and again…

      having an opinion and knowing how to frame yourself in a googtube video does not make one an “expert”…

      It’s a big internet…

  38. Robert Hahl

    I don’t know about decent borscht, but a smooth vodka already is available in the US, Sobieski (Polish). And any vodka made from rye is apt to be good.

  39. freddo

    Everybody on this blog spends all their time saying whether X is better than Y or Z. Really, it doesn’t matter. Politicians just act according to the rules of the game in place. The enemy is not individuals it is the undemocratic structure of american politics. You need, at a minimum, compulsory voting, preferential voting, and end to gerrymandering etc etc and whatever else it takes to destroy the two major parties. Everything else is pretty meaningless, particularly assessments of who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy.

  40. chuck roast

    Thanks for mentioning Fitzroy Maclean. When they talk about “having a good war” they are talking about this guy.
    BTW, “Eastern Approaches” was an Americanized version of the original “Escape to Adventure”. Escape was considered (by the US publishers) to be too nice to the Soviets so it was dumbed down and the Russian sympathies edited out.
    Escape to Adventure is one of the greatest adventure books of all time

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I didn’t know that– and will now seek out a copy of Escape to Adventure. Fitzroy Maclean was on my mind b/c I recently finished reading Ben Macintyre’s new book on the origins of the SAS– and FM makes a memorable entrance in that narrative.

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